Dedicated to all the people who lost their life in the Battle of Kohima
April 14 – June 22. 1944
for your tomorrow
we gave our today.

I laid down on my bed and tried not to scratch my body. But I just couldn’t. I regretted taking Aspirin. I just couldn’t take it anymore. I didn’t even think if I could go out and meet Beautiful eyes.
Aparna came back around noon time to check on me
“Nina, I got you some Calamine lotion.” She passed the bottle to me
“Thanks Aparna”
I was just so grateful. I opened the medicine bottle and quickly applied some lotion on my body. The cold lotion on my sore body felt so good.
“Did you get to speak to Arjun?” I asked her
“Yes, he looked disappointed”
“I know”
I felt sorry for being so mean
“Do you want me to bring some lunch for you from the mess?”
I wasn’t in a position to eat any lunch. I was miserable.
I shouldn’t do this to Arjun. I should have the courage to tell him that I don’t love him. But I was afraid how he would react. When we had a simple argument he went for a long bike ride and if I tell him that I don’t love him, what would he do? I wish he would just look at me and realize that I am a big huge mistake. I don’t speak the language, I refused to cover my hair, I have a temper and I come from a very very bad/terrible family. What more reasons does he need to break up with me? It was obvious, he deserves a sweet and gentle Marwari girl. Not a monster like me. But how was I going to tell him that?
But the truth is, he accepted me for what I am and I have been nothing but ungrateful.
I couldn’t do this to Arjun. It wasn’t right. I decided not to go and meet Beautiful eyes.
“Bye Nina, I will see you after the class” Aparna took her note books from the shelf and went out. I didn’t even ask where Shylaja was.
I knew, she would have gone straight to the mess to eat and then rushed to the gallery to sit in my favourite place at the gallery. Stupid woman, fighting for a place at the gallery!
I couldn’t lay down on the bed, because my back was itching. I sat down on the bed and re applied the calamine lotion on my body. I looked at the clock. It was 12.45 pm.
I looked outside my room. Even the leaves on the tress were turning brown under the hot summer sun. I thought of the guy who was waiting for me at the restaurant in this heat. There was no way I could let him know that I won’t be able to see him.
Damn it Nina, how can you not keep your word? You told him that you would see him after Arjun had gone home. I thought.
Was it the thought of breaking a promise or was it the desire in my heart that made me wipe the pink colour calamine lotion off my body, change my cloths and leave my room?
I never knew the answer.
The security guard was staring at me
“What happened to you madam?”
“Allergy. I need to go to the clinic, Can I have the register book please?” I took the pen from my bag.
“It is ok madam, no need to sign. I will get an auto for you”
I stood inside the guard house. The heat and the itch was killing me. I promised myself, Even if I die, I will never take an Aspirin again in my life. I rather die than suffer like this.
When the auto came I got inside
“Are you ok madam?” The driver was staring at me
“Yes” I barked.
“Clinic no?” He asked
“No, bus station”
When the auto reached the bus station, I paid the driver and got out. My instinct was to look for signs of Arjun or any of my classmates. But I was too tired to be bothered. I could see his bike parked outside the restaurant and I walked in. He was sitting in the corner table. As I walked towards where he was sitting, I could see that everyone was staring at me
“My God Nina, what happened to you?” He got up from the chair and was staring at me
“What did you do?” He was laughing. I must have been a sight!
“Don’t ask” I was mad.
He had the audacity to laugh, when I was suffering? I did this for him. I felt like throwing the falooda that he was drinking on top of his stupid head. That would have been a pretty sight. Naga warrior with pink falooda as a crown!
“come sit down, Can I get you something to drink? Did you take any medicine?”
“No thanks. Can we go?” I couldn’t risk sitting with him in a restaurant often patronised by medicos from my college.
He paid the money and we walked out together.
“Where do you want to go?” He looked at me
“Anywhere out of here” I shouted. I was irritated, agitated, itchy and angry
He started the bike and I sat down behind him.
“Did you take any antihistamine?” He turned to look at me
“No. Can you please go?”
“Ok, ok ok. Don’t get angry”

On the way he stopped at some pharmacy and bought anti histamine for me. By the time we reached his favourite place, The itch had subsided, but I was sleepy and tired.
We walked to the place where we sat down last time. He was looking at me
“hmm” I mumbled
“I missed you”
“Did you miss me?”
“hmm, hmm, hmm?” He asked
“hmm, hmm,hmm,hmm” I replied
“Angry with me?”
“What do you think of yourself? You left without telling me, I had no idea where you were and then you pop out like this and expect me to see you. I can’t do this anymore. I had to eat Aspirin, to get this allergy, so I don’t have to go with Arjun. I can’t do this anymore. I can’t” I started to weep
“Nina I am so sorry. I am so sorry for leaving without telling you. There is something I need to tell you, there is a reason I left without telling you”
“what do you know about me?”
“That is easy. you are a mad man, I am hopelessly in love with”
“Seriously Nina” He sounded serious.
I looked at him? What has he been hiding? Oh No George! Has he been collaborating with George? Did he bring me here for some other reason?
“You do know I am from Nagaland right?”
“do you know anything about Nagaland?”
I shook my head. I have been wanting to read about it. Never found any good books about Naga History.
“Most of the Naga’s trace their ancestors to Tibeto Burmans. Some people say our ancestors belonged to the Chinlung civilization. Do you know that my people and the Indigenous people of Philippines and Malaysia have so much in common?”
“Malaysia? Which people in Malaysia?”
“Dayaks. People in the Borneo”
“Really. But that isn’t the issue. The issue is that I am a Naga. I am not an Indian”
“Pardon me. What do you mean?”
“I am trying to explain that. For that you need to know the history”
“Tell me”
“Most of the Naga people lived in villages, each village had village chief. They never had a common king or a ruler. But they were happy. Most of the villages had their own dialects, customs and traditions. I belong to the Ao group. We have our own culture and dialect. In 1816, Myanmar invaded Assam. Some of our tribes lived in Assam and it was a very bad period. Innocent people were being killed by the Myanmar army. Finally British East India company defeated the Myanmar army and took control of Assam. While doing so, they also annexed part of Nagaland to Assam. 1832 king of Manipur, Raja Ghambir annexed part of Nagaland to Manipur. Because we are have so many tribes in so many villages and because we don’t have a distinct borders or boundaries, you will now see Nagas scattered in Nagaland, Assam, Manipur, Arunachal Pradesh and in the Kachin state of Myanmar. But we are still not Indians. Naga means ‘hills people’ or people from the hills. We have nothing in common with the plains people. Everyone of us felt the same way. So hours before India got independence from the British, Naga national council led by Mr. A.Z. Phizo declared to the world that we are independent(14th august 1947). No one listened. Not least the Indian govt. Not even the British Government. Did you know my people fought the battle of Kohima along with the British against the Japanese Army during the second world war? Did you know how many innocent Nagas were killed by the Japanese, because they supported the British? Even after that, the British cheated us. They should have granted us the Independence. They knew we have nothing in common with the Indians”

I could feel the rage in his voice. I have never seen him this angry
“Indian government refused to grant us our independence. Instead they chose to ignore our request for freedom. India wanted freedom from the British, yet they couldn’t grant us our freedom. On 16th may 1951, Naga national council led by Mr. A.Z.Phizo conducted a national poll and 99% of the population voted saying that they want to be independent. So on 22nd March 1956 Naga National council established Federal Government of Nagaland. So what did the Indian Govt do?” He asked me
“Don’t know” I shook my head
“They send their troops, to kill and torture our people. Not enough, they learned the tricks of the trade from the British. They learned to divide and rule. So now we have so many factions within the Naga national council and outside the council. To make things worst, when the British came, they brought in the missionaries as well. The missionaries! they destroyed my culture and converted my people to Christianity. Earlier we drank rice wine and danced in circles. Missionaries felt that was against Christianity and they banned everything. They made us lose our identity”
‘You are not alone there” I replied
“What do you mean?”
“Well, my ancestors are Brahmins. If it wasn’t for the missionaries, I would still be a Brahmin, with my own identity and culture.”
“So you can understand what we are going through. We, the younger generation are now trying to keep our traditions alive. But it is so hard. India will not grant us independence we so badly want, Instead, Indian govt is wasting the money to suppress the dissent by military actions. It is never going to work. if it isn’t today, tomorrow we will get our independence and you need to know when I vanish without a reason, there is a reason! We are fighting a war”
“What do you mean?”
“Nina, I am a Naga warrior, I will fight till my last breath for the freedom of my people”

note: One of the longest civil wars in the world has been going on in India. But the world and Indians are continuously ignoring the struggle of Naga people. British cheated them once, Indians continue to cheat them.

Chinlung civilization
My three years in Manipur
Battle of Kohima

19 thoughts on “Naga

  1. Sarah,

    We Dravidians had our own culture and religion too. The Aryans who came from Central Asia drove the Dravidians southwords and converted us to Hinduism. Some were later converted to Christianity by the missionaries. So we are all covertees from some religion or the other. Dont stop at Brahminism, go back further and you will find out your true origins.

  2. If you are interested, recent history of nagaland is covered in somewhat unbiased manner in historian Ramachandra Guha’s recent book “India after Gandhi”

  3. art: Don’t know why I remember the dates..

    Toothless: One of the biggest problem with the world is apathy..

    Silverine: Me too

    Max Muller coined the term ‘Aryan'(superior race), for his Aryan Invasion theory(he later recanted and suggested that he only meant Aryan as a noble person, not as a race)
    The word Dravidian was termed by Bishop Caldwell from the Sanskrit word Dravida meaning(?) Tamil.
    Between the two of them they created the superior Aryan race and an inferior Drawidian race.
    But you will not find the racial divde portrayed by Caldwell or Muller in any of the Vedas.

    Before the British, there has been no indication of racial division in India. There was never a North Indian South Indian Divide. British needed a reason to be in India and also wanted to convert people to Christianity(they being superior race, they felt they have a right to rule the inferior race and it is only right that their dark skinned, ignorant subjects too follow their superior religion and there by get some redemption!)

    Are you sure the Aryans really invaded and destroyed our Drawidian culture?
    If so, then how come the recent excavation of Harappa didn’t show any evidence of the cities being burned or destroyed?
    Do you really think these nomads riding horse drawn chariot could conquer the mountains and deserts to invade the Indus valley civilization?
    Do you think it is possible to wipe out an entire civilization just like that?
    Why didn’t the invading Aryan’s occupy the cities they have plundered?

    Is it possible that a nomadic tribe can write the sophisticated vedas?

    Indus Valley civilization in all likelyhood was ended with the massive drought that could have dried the river saraswathy, not because of the Aryan invasion.

    And you are wrong to suggest that Drawidians lost their culture.
    Drawidians still have their culture, Saivism and Vaishnavism are the religions of the Drawidians are still thriving in Tamil Nadu. No one destroyed that.
    Unlike the missionaries, who came at different points of time, each preaching the same faith, yet created, Roman Catholics, Latin Catholics, Orthodox Christians, CSI and the recent avasha kristianis..and the rest of the groups.
    Unlike the missionaries who converted Indians to Christianity there are no evidence anywhere to suggest that, Indians have been forced to, cajoled to, required to,made to convert to Hinduism. Before the missionaries, there were the Jews and the Parsees in India, they too didn’t convert anyone!

    And yes, I did trace back my “true origin” and it took me to where it all started. The oldest religion in the world. Hinduism!!!.

    Janmam: what to is like that

    sjgregory: Thank you, will try to find the book in the local library

  4. Hinduism is considerd the most ancient religion. I use the word considered because recent excavations are throwing a whole new light on this concept. But it is alien to India. Even if for arguments sake we take Hinduism as the most ancient religion in the world, then we also have to accept that a lot of tribal and primitive religions existed way before Hinduism took birth. Hinduism as it gained ground crushed these primitive religions.
    I can cut and paste as lot of arguments here, proofs of Aryan coming into India and pushing us Dravidians southwards etc but then Syrian Christians love to bandy their “brahmin” roots and will not accept any arguments to the contrary. I am one so I know!

  5. WOW sarah..amazing…beautiful eyes sounds like a an amazing person!!!

    ANNIE: Syrian christians bang on about our ancestors being brahmins because in the olden days [from what my great grandmother said], the christians only looked at converting influential and high caste all old syrian christians[catholics] come from highly influential or even royal families..I have traced my roots when i heard this, and i for one can say its true..both in mine and my partners case..cheers

  6. Rosie: My comment was not for you.Revel in your brahminism and forget about your tribal roots. Cheers!

    sarah: Nagaland is an inalienable part of sovereign India. Tell your tale but please dont meddle in India’s internal affairs unless you have an Indian passport. As a non Indian you have no right to talk about my country! Stick to Malaysia and your Malaysian problems!

  7. Annie:
    Patriotism is a nice way of avoiding/ignoring the struggle of others.
    But ignoring a 50 year old civil war and shouting and saying this is my country, you have no right to interfere will not solve the problem.
    According to the Indian Govt, I am a POI, Person of Indian origin. They even issue a lovely certificate to say so, if I want.

    And whether you like it or not, I will write about what I consider to be wrong or right. That is my right.
    You always have the option not to read my blog.

  8. Hi Annie & Sarah

    Nagaland was never black and white as both of you say. While its true that under Phizo Naga council wanted an independent nation, there were also other opinions amongst the Naga tribals which was muted by the rebels. I do agree that Indian government didnt handle the situation particularly well. We should also look the scenario in perspective of the times. In 50’s we had just won the independence and even before standing straight, India had to suffer the travils of partition. The then national leaders like Nehru was not in their best elements to deal with a request for session from India. Phizo in particular didnt want any compromise.

    An interesting point to be noted here is the observation of Lion of Kashmir, Sheikh Abdulla. He started off as an India supported and later under the influence of right wingers in congress, Indian govt. jailed him for nearly 20 years where his opinion changed gradually from one favouring India to that favouring independence. However during the end of his life, he said that while it is romantic to think about an independent Kashmir, it isnt viable due to the fact that kashmir has borders with China/Paksitan/Afganistan and is close to Russia. So he felt that an independent Kashmir would be the hot bed of international intrigue due to the strategic improtance it has to Russia/America/Pakistan and China.

    Like wise, an independent Nagaland while is favorable to Angami nagas (i am not sure how likeble the idea for the other dominant tribes like Ao and Sema, it would be a hot bed of trouble even as an independent nation as it borders India, Burma and China.

    While I agree that justice wasnt done to the 7 sisters by the government, the best way to achieve that is by staying inside the federation. The strong all powerful centre is no longer a reality and in this changed scenario, the regional sataraps decide the fate of the nation. Best example is those of TN and AP, (and ofcourse now of UP)using their numbers to favour the state. Infact many a sisters of the the 7 sisters club like Assam, Meghalaya and manipur has now recognised their bargaining power inside the federation.

    I am not sure about the credentials of the NSCN for I have heard of stories of inter tribe rivellary and killing from my Naga friends.

    In the movie Blood Diamond Leonardo Dicapro cynically says ‘TIA – This is africa…’. I hope in this fight for freedom (by NSCN and co) and fight agaisnt rebellion (by Army) Nagaland doesnt become another TIN

  9. Aryans! dravidians!

    Annie/Sarah/other syrian christians/ and people in general who are proud of their ancestory. Why stop at a few generations? go on and trace it right back to the monkey…..:)

  10. sjgregory: I beg to differ
    See the statistics.
    Accessibility to healthcare is the basic right of an ‘Indian’ under the so called ‘soverign’ Independent India.
    Yet In 2002 there were only 496 health centers(including hospitals, phc etc) and 367 doctors,1278 nurses serving a population of 20 lakhs pf people.
    Compare that to Kerala.
    Why is there so much of disparity between the two states?
    It is obvious that central government isn’t interested in investing money in to Nagaland.
    The same goes for industries, apart from small scale industries, what other options are provided for the nagas?
    If you say that being sandwiched between India, Burma and China will spell trouble for the independent Naga nation, then you should know that Bhutan is sandwiched between India and China and has been independent since 1907 and the 2007 Indo Bhutan treaty explicitly states that “The Government of India undertakes to exercise no interference in the internal administration of Bhutan”
    So India could and would recongnize Bhutan, but not Nagaland!
    The GOI also doesn’t initiate any talk with the NNC. Why? Because the central Govt wouldn’t entertain any request for freedom of the Naga people. So they have talks only with rebel factions that claim to support the GOI.

    Abraham: You missed the point.
    It isn’t about being proud of the Brahmin roots.
    It is about people who had vested interests and converted ordianry people like my ancestors, who until that moment peacefully practiced a faith they knew for generations, there by creasting discord, disputes and calamities.
    My point is this.. I wouldn’t have lost anything being a Brahmin.
    It has nothing to do with the so called superiority of the Brahmins. It has got everything to do with the traditions and the culture and the identity that was “lost in translation”!

    What is your point? That the terrorists are Indians or Canadians?
    Does the nationality of the terrorists make the magnitude of the crime any less?

  11. Hi sarah

    I went through the link that ytou have sent me. Infact if you go through the figures, you would find that Nagaland is better off than any BIMARU states. (Bihar/Madhyapradesh/Rajesthan/Uttar Pradesh). I agree that Nagaland is far behind Kerala. But by that arguement most of Indian states are behind Kerala. There are many a reasons for that. The primary ones being the – Kerala was ruled by a set of benovalent Kings and was out of British raj. Unlike many of their counterparts in India, they did a good amount of development work. Unlike the NE states, christianity had deeper roots in kerala and health care and education was an assosiated business church was strong in. And most imp, Kerala economy is a classic case of a service economy – where the primary source of revenue is remitenance from outside and services – It can be compared to a la post modern EU state. Infact Kerala’s and track record is comparable to those of Japan according to WB survey.

    About industries, it doesnt happen overnight. I dont agree to your view point that GoI hasnt invested in NE. Yes the focus was absent for long and now GoI is rectifying that. and are the GoI policy regarding industry for NE.

    I quote from Jairam Ramesh’s speech “The Government of India contributes heavily towards the total expenditure of the eight states (the seven sisters and Sikkim). The total expenditure of these eight states is almost Rs 30,000 crore a year for a population of roughly 32 million or thereabout (depending on which Census Commissioner you believe) – Rs10,000 rupees per person per year is not a small sum.

    Now, where is this money coming from? In Arunachal Pradesh 85% of this money comes from the Centre; in Assam 51% comes from the Centre; in Meghalaya it is 70%; in Manipur 80%; in Nagaland 80%; in Sikkim it is a very small proportion, only about 40% comes from the Centre; in Tripura 70% and in Mizoram 72% comes from the Centre. In short, of the Rs 30,000 crore that is spent in this region, year after year, close to Rs 20,000 crore comes as direct transfer from the central government.”

    About talks with Nagas & NSCN, GoI have had with NSCN right from the beginning. Infact in late 70’s the noted leader JP was the mediator. Now whom do you call the genuine representative of Nagas? NSCN (I-M) or NSCN (K)? Each faction calls the other illegitimate!

    So what is your point? India should just give up Nagaland as you claim Nagaland has been “conquered” by India? If you accuse GoI being inflexible, isnt it the same with the Rebels clamouring for independence?

    Pardon me if this question is personal and rude – Have you worked in Nagaland? Have you tried to see the issue through the eyes of a naga who is a non supporter of independence?

    A quick recap on the Naga history/history of talks with GoI –

    Dr T Sakhrie, lieutenant of Phizo dissented his call for soverienity and wanted more autonomy under Indian federation and he was killed later (Rumours say that Dr.Sakhrie was killed by Phizo’s men). In 1960, the sixteen point Agreement was signed by Naga People’s Council (NPC) under the leadership of Dr. Imkongliba because of which – the State of Nagaland was carved out – the hardcore section of underground faction opposed it. In 1965-66 six rounds of high level talks were held between Prime Minister Indira Gandhi and NNC leaders. Indira Gandhi offered anything less than sovereignty. Finally, the talk failed. Army marched in Nagaland. Several hundred Nagas were killed in factional fights and counter-insurgency operations. Hard-core underground section harped on sovereignty.

    In 1975, the nine-point Shillong Agreement was signed with Governor LP Singh. They accepted to remain under India within the Constitution. Phizo was silent this time but others did not agree to the accord. This gave rise to the formation of National Socialist Council of Nagaland (NSCN) in 1980 with Th Muivah and Isak Chishi Swu as leaders challenging the hegemony of NNC. They had the support of Chinese Communism. Hardcores continued to trudge on the same sovereignty line while several hundred Nagas were again killed.

    In 1988 NSCN again got divided – Khaplang – a Burmese Hemi Naga and close associate of Th Muivah and Isak Swu came out from NSCN and formed NSCN (K) in 1988. The remainder was called as NSCN-IM (I= Isak, M = Muivah, K = Khaplang). Thus three-cornered war – NNC, NSCN (IM) & NSCN (K), began in which Nagas killed Nagas.

    In 1990 Phizo died in London. He was succeeded by Tobu Kevichusa. He and his elder brother Chalie Kevichusa was gunned down in few years. After the burial ceremony of Phizo, NNC was divided into two – NNC (Adino) and NNC (Yanthan).

    Then came the rise of Nagaland Youth Liberation Front (NYLF) whose leaders were slain within one year or so. Antagonized by factional fights, church leaders gave a unity call and appealed to halt the genocide. Political leaders also joined hands to stop rampant killing of Nagas by Nagas. When killing went on unabated, the army was called in as a last resort.

    The highest level first round of talk between Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and NSCN (IM) leaders – Muivah and Isaac was in January 2003. Without knowing the pulse of the society Vajpayee Government decided to extend cease-fire in Naga areas of Manipur, Assam and Arunachal Pradesh. Manipur opposed vehemently. Manipur Assembly, State Secretariat and all the MLAs and MPs were attacked by the mob and eighteen Manipuris were killed in police fire. Manipur State was in flame. Manipuri society came on the road with do or die determination. Lastly, Central Government retreated. The extension order of cease-fire was cancelled.

    Hey, i got to rush to office. Between, as I suggested, Guha’s book would be a good reference. My contention is that life and administration is never balck and white.

  12. SjGregory:
    The above is the UN charter on implimentation of the right to self determine. GA Res 1541, 1960, check out principle 4,5,6,and particularly principle 7.

    UN charter 1(2) says the purpose of UN is to develop friendly relationship among nations based on the respect for the principle of equal rights and self determination.
    The Key word is right to self determine.

    Till the Indian invasion in 1957, Nagaland has never been conquered or administrated by any country.(only a small territory was occupied by the British)

    So Nagas have the right to self determine.

    Why not have a referendum and see what exactly the people of Nagaland wants?

    Along with that there should also be a Human rights Tribunal(not through National council of Human rights) but through international organizations.
    The human rights tribunal is needed to find out how many Naga civilians have been killed in the last 50 years? and Why?

  13. I think what Rozann is trying to say is that it was POI’s like you who create dissenions in our country from foreign soils!

    Get on with your story lady and stop meddling in our internal affairs!

  14. Annie: Yet an Italian born woman is the president of one of the largest political party in India.
    Not to mention the other foreigners namely
    George Yule,William Wedderburn, Alfred Web,Annie Besant,Nellie Gray nee Sengupta also were former president of Indian National Congress representing Indians. So foreigners have been and are invovled in the internal affairs of India.
    You object to my right to criticize your Government’s policies, yet you do not have a problem with your Democratic government forcing their will on the Naga people, there by not granting them the basic tenet of democracy ie right to self-determination and the option to live under laws of their own choosing.

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