March 25, 2008

Nagalim

 

STATISTICS

Status: Occupied Territory
Population: 3 millions
Areas: Between China, India and Burma (120.000 km2)
Language: Tibeto – Chinese family and Tibeto – Burman subfamily, also Nagamese
Religion: Christian
Tribal Groups: Angami, Ao, Chakhesang, Chang, Khemungan, Konyak, Lotha, Phom, Pochury, Rengma, Sangtam, Sema, Yimchunger and Zeliang.

 

 
UNPO REPRESENTATION: NSCN

Formed on January 31, 1980, as a result of the difficulties "The Shillong Accord" caused, the Naga National Council (NNC) had formed the Federal Government of Nagalim (FGN), of which some members signed an Accord with India without having the mandate to do so, agreeing that Nagalim would unconditionally accept the Indian constitution. The Accord was condemned by the "National Assembly" of the Nagas, but President Phizo of the NNC refused to condemn the Accord. Immediately thereafter, a new Ministry was formed by the NNC under the leadership of Vice President Isak Chishi Swu and General Secretary Thuingaleng Muivah. The Accordists viewed that development as a serious threat and hatched a conspiracy. The two leaders of the new Ministry were arrested, many revolutionary patriots were killed, and all the offices of the NNC and FGN were violently occupied. Afte this, the people of Nagalim were left without a political party to guide and lead their national revolution. The National Assembly therefore decided in 1980 to form a new organization: the NSCN.

In 1988, Mr. Khaplang staged a coup against the NSCN, in which more than 200 Nagas were killed. Chairman Isak Chishi Swu and General Secretary Th. Muivah were saved from this military coup and after it the National Assembly condemned the coup and reaffirmed the leadership of the two men. Under their leadership, the NSCN attended various international meetings, visited numerous countries and gathered worldwide attention for the case of the Nagas.

In 1998, the NSCN made a notable achievement when the UN Commission on Human Rights allowed NSCN Chairman to address the 54th session of its Assembly held from 16 March to 27 April 1998. He made several speeches in the UN Sub-Commission meetings. From May to June 1999, a Consultative Body, convened by the NSCN, met for the first time. Each Naga community elects its representatives for the Consultative Body. The main purpose of the meeting was to gather information and opinions from all sectors of Naga society in order to establish a workable solution to the Indo-Naga problem. Many prominent public leaders expressed their support for the stand taken by the NSCN and the peace process, and reaffirmed the leadership of Isak Chishi Swu, Khodao Yanthan and Th. Muivah, the collective leadership of the NSCN. On January 23 1993, the NSCN was admitted to the UNPO.

 

OVERVIEW

GEOGRAPHY

Nagalim is situated between China, India and Burma. Nagalim occupies a compact area of 120,000 km² of the Patakai range between the longitude 93º east and 97º east, and in between the latitude 22.5º north and 28º north which lies at the trijunction of China, India and Burma. The part of Nagaland ruled by India consists of territory which today is administered by four different administrative units, the states of Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur and Nagalim.
 
The eastern part of Nagalim, ruled by Myanmar (roughly 100,000 km²) has been placed under two administrative units, those of the Kachin state and of Saganing division. The Nagas are racially and ethnically distinct people. Today there are 16 major and 20 minor tribes with a total population of a little over 3 million. About 95% of the Nagas are Christian. The Naga people originally came from Mongolia, migrating to Nagalim in the 10th century BC.

POPULATION

The Nagas are racially and ethnically distinct people. Today there are 16 major and 20 minor tribes with a total population of a little over 3 million. About 95% of the Nagas are Christian. The Naga people originally came from Mongolia, migrating to Nagalim in the 10th century BC.

ECONOMY

Nagalim used to be a region with rich mineral resources, such as forest products, crude oil, coal, gold, gromide, cement, iron ore, nickel, copper, precious and semi-precious stones, and uranium. Due to the exploitation of the mineral resources by colonial entrepreneurs, the ecological balance of the once rich lands was completely tilted. Although these entrepreneurs were eager to take away these resources, they didn’t set up a single industry within the territory of Nagalim.

Because factories and technical institutes don’t exist, employment possibilities for the Naga people are very minimal. As a result, the majority of the Naga people are forced to live below the poverty level. Because of the absence of industry, agriculture in these days still offers the Naga people a possibility to survive.

The terrain in Nagalim is full of mountains, so possibilities are limited. Slash-and-burn cultivation and irrigated rice terraces are the most widely used forms of agriculture.

HISTORICAL BACKGROUND

The Naga people originally came from Mongolia, migrating to Nagalim in the 10th century BC. They lived their lives very isolated in the hills of Nagalim untill the invasion of the British in the 19th century. With the invasion of the British, the problems for the Nagas began.

In 1832 the British invaded the Naga region and in 1881 Nagaland was declared a British District. The Nagas was not involved in the political movement taking place in British India.
 
1929 The Nagas submitted a memorandum to the British Simon Commission on constitutional reforms.

1947 India became independent but the Nagas did not want to join the Indian Union. The Naga National Council (NNC) declared independence, but he India government did not accept it and the Naga Hills District considered part of independent India.

1956 In response to the formation of the Federal Republic of Nagaland the Government of India enacted the Armed Forces Act.

1960 An agreement between the Naga People Convention and the Government of India was reached and eventually led to the creation of the state of Nagaland in 1963.

1964 The Nagaland Federal Government continued with its opposition against the India forces.

1975 The NNC-Federal delegation signed the Shillong Accord with India, there the main terms were unconditional acceptance of Indian constitution and surrender of arms.

1980 The National Socialist Council of Nagaland was formed.

1992 The Nagas have been involved in bloody clashes with the Kukis, who inhabit the same territory.

1993 The NSCN became member of UNPO.

1995 The Indians governments declared the state of Nagaland a ”Disturbed Area” empowering the armed forces.

1997 A cease-fire agreement was announced between the NSCN and the government of India.

HISTORY OF THE CONFLICT

Before the arrival of the British in 1832, the Nagas were independent of any foreign domination, living in permanently established village states. The colonial rule of the British kept the Nagas isolated, so that the Nagas were not involved in the political movements taking place in British India.

On August 15, 1947 India became independent but the Nagas did not want to join the Indian Union.

On July 19, 1947 a Naga delegation had met Mahatma Gandhi, the father of the Indian Nation, to assert the Naga’s intention to not be a part of the Indian Union. Gandhi at that time gave a historic statement: The Nagas have every right to be independent.

The Naga National Council (NNC), founded in 1946, claimed an independent and sovereign state for Nagaland and declared independence on August 14, 1947, as the British withdrew from their territory, and one day before India became independent. Nagaland was therefore not a part of the Indian Union at the time of India’s independence.

In 1947, before the independence of Nagalim and India, an agreement was reached by the NNC with the government of India called "The Nine Point Agreement". This agreement recognised the right of self-determination of the Naga people, stating that ‘the right of the Nagas to develop themselves according to their freely expressed whishes is recognised’.

The government of India was to have a special responsibility for a period of ten years to ensure the due observance of the agreement. At the end of that period, the Nagas would be free to decide whether they wanted to join the Union of India or be free. However, on November 9, 1949, India revoked the agreement unilateraly, stating that the Indian Government no longer considered the agreement valid.

The Nagas never accepted the Indian constitution. When the Nagas were invited by the Government of India to join the Union of India, which was formed and declared for the first time in history in 1949, it was rejected outrightly by the Naga people. To further strengthen their national stand, a nation-wide plebiscite was conducted by the NNC on 16 May 1951, where 99,9 per cent voted in favour of sovereign independent Nagalim.

In response to the formation of the Federal Republic of Nagalim by the NNC in 1956, India began military operations to restore Indian authority in the territory. Due to the activities of the Indian Government, the Naga People’s Convention (NPC) was formed in 1957. The NPC believed that the political future of the Nagas lay within the Indian Union. In 1960, after a 16 point constitution was drafted, an agreement between the NPC and the Government of India was reached and eventually led to the creation of the State of Nagalim in 1963.
 
At the same time, however, the Nagalim Federal Government continued with its opposition against the Indian forces. Continuous fighting between the Nagas and the Union of India took place until September 1964, when a cease fire agreement was concluded between the Indian Government and the Naga leadership. Six rounds of talks took place at the highest level, but India discontinued the talks in 1972.

On November 11, 1975 the NNC-Federal delegation signed the Shillong Accord with India. The main terms of the Accord were unconditional acceptance of Indian constitution and surrender of arms. The "National Assembly" of the Nagas held in August 1976 condemned the Accord as a betrayal of the Naga movement.

When President Phizo of the NNC refused to condemn the Accord, the National Socialist Council of Nagaland (NSCN) was formed on January 31, 1980. On August 1, 1997, a cease-fire between India and Nagalim came into effect. Peace talks followed, in Paris in 1998 and twice in Amsterdam in 1999.

However, the biggest impediment in the peace process, as the NSCN sees it, is the refusal of the Government of India to officialy extend the ceasefire to all Naga-inhabited areas, especially to the four Naga-inhabited districts (Ukhrul, Chandel, Senapati and Tamemglong) in Manipur. Other disturbances to the peace process include the attempted murder of the Nagaland Chief Minister, S.C. Jamir, in November 1999 and the killing of 12 NSCN activists by the 17 Para regiment on July 11 in the North Cachar Hills.

Notwithstanding these disturbing events, the Nagas are still committed to peacefully solve the matter.

On April 17, 2001, the Kuki National Army abducted Mr. Paul Leo, President of the United Naga Council. Although there have always been problems between the Naga and the Kuki people, tension seemed to diminish and peace seemed to prosper in the last years. The abduction could be a major setback in the rapprochement between the Naga and the Kuki people. However, some people say that India is involved in this conflict and tries to break the alliance between the two parties.

On August 22, 2000 the Thai Friends of the Nagas organized another symposium which brought together the same groups of people, who were concerned about the danger of the Indo-Naga peace talks breaking down because of the continued detention of Mr. Th. Muivah in the Bangkok jail. The symposium resolved that the release of Mr. Th. Muivah would be essential for the peace talks. In order to create a peaceful atmosphere for negotiations, implementation of the 1997 cease-fire agreement would be essential that the peace talks should be made more transparent and accountable, and that the peace talks should be held with mutual respect, confidence, and sincerity.

On July 23, 2000, a consultation organized by the Thai Friends of the Nagas brought together a spectrum of bipartisan participants from Thailand, India, Naga areas, and various international groups, to discuss the Naga conflict and the impending expiration of the 1997 cease-fire agreement.

The consultation resolved to appeal to both the Thai and Indian Governments to recognize Mr. Muivah as an essential participant in the Indo-Naga peace negotiations, and therefore endorse his immediate release from custody in the interest of peace and security in the region. To appeal especially to the Indian Government to urge for Mr. Muivah’s release as a demonstration of their commitment in reaching a peaceful solution to the Indo-Naga conflict, and to appeal to both the NSCN and the Government of India to extend their cease-fire agreement in order that the peaceful, constructive dialogue may continue.

In January 2000, Mr. Th. Muivah was arrested in Thailand for entering the country using false identity papers. Mr. Muivah said he was compelled to use the papers in order to travel to Europe for scheduled negotiations with representatives of the Indian Prime Minister.

To use an Indian passport would have been unacceptable by its implicit recognition of India’s claim to Nagalim. On September 13th, 2000, he was released on bail due to the intervention of UNPO and other international organizations. To date, he is still in Thailand and this could well threaten the peace process in Nagalim.

CURRENT ISSUES

ENVIRONMENTAL PROBLEM

Due to the exploitation of the mineral resources by colonial entrepreneurs, the ecological balance of the once rich lands was completely titled.

CULTURE AND LANGUAGE

Naga literature, arts and music consist of folk tales, folk dances, and folk music. Every Naga is expected to participate in the celebration of life. Folk literature and songs are sung by all. Tribal philosophy means a sense of ethical living.

Naga traditional society is characterized by equality. Apart from respect for age, there is no discrimination between rich and poor, male and female, in Naga society. Culture is not merely an accumulation of group habits which men have acquired in getting their physical needs met in this pysical world, but it is also evidence of men's longing for the Unseen, the Infinite.

The Naga generally believe in one Supreme Being with many subordinate deities and in a great number of spirits of Nature, of river, hill and forest, ghosts and other unseen spirits who affect human life at every point. The Nagas are brave, honest, industrious, humorous, self-reliant, tolerant, and, above all, a God-fearing people.

They are politically a democratic and socialistic people, with a free and independent outlook.

The Naga language is of the Tibeto-Chinese family and Tibeto-Burman subfamily. Hwever, each community speaks its own dialect, but English is the official language of the nation. Nagamese, a pidgin language, is also widely used as a medium of communication among a sizeable section of the Naga people.