Issued by NSF Organizing Committee for the commemoration of 100th Year of Naga Club under the theme, “Celebrating the Legacy”
Over a hundred years ago, our ancestors, who have been living fiercely independent and self-sufficient in a world of peace with themselves, had to participate in the First World War at the behest of Colonial rulers under different Companies of “The Naga Labour Corps”, travelled to Europe thousands of miles away from home. On their return, having seen the world, they began to share a vision of a collective Naga Voice. Simultaneously, there was in circulation a socio-political consciousness amongst members of few educated Nagas in the Naga homeland. This consciousness at various levels heralded the formation of Naga Club in 1918, the first political and social cornerstone of Naga Nationalism, as we understand today.
Looking back a hundred years, for a young Naga Nation, it is only a short period of time. But by organizing the Naga consciousness, the Naga Club ensured that Nagas are one amongst equal of nations. The Naga Club not only protected our proud Naga identity but also planted the growth of organized movements, which is today known as the longest running political conflict in South and South East Asia as Nagas unwaveringly fight in their search for an honorable and peaceful political solution from neo-colonial states like India and Burma.
Having laid the foundation of Naga-ness in a history of orally transmitted form of communication, the Naga Club undertook the first written political statement in 1929, wherein, the status and position of the Nagas as a distinct peoples and an independent Nation was clearly laid before the world in their Memorandum that was submitted to the then visiting Indian Statutory Commission appointed by the British Government more popularly known as the Simon Commission.
This Memorandum of the Naga Club is believed to have influenced the enactment of British-India Act of 1935, the most comprehensive legislation leading to the liberation of the Indian sub-continent from British rule and to declare all Naga areas as “Excluded areas”, in the background of the Britisher’s own experience where they could never subjugate a large majority of Naga areas under their colonial rule for over a hundred years. How India ever since its Independence in 1947, perpetuated a cycle of historical lies and state sponsored atrocities against the Nagas is all together a different issue.
As we look back at the wisdom of our ancestors, we are also reminded that our search for dignity and peace still eludes us. But we are reminded that the foundation of our nationhood was protected through the Naga Club, and specially in their Memorandum to the Simon Commission, where it is explicitly stated, that;
“We should not be thrust to the mercy of people who could never subjugate us; but leave us alone to determine ourselves as in ancient times”
And it is in the light of this legacy, which our ancestors left to us, that the Naga Students’ Federation is celebrating the 100th Year of Naga Club, to salute them as we mindfully hold that torch which we believe they have handed down to us, as today’s generation of Nagas who stands at the threshold of the future our ancestors had envisioned for us.
On this day, we remember our struggling and less fortunate brothers and sisters across the world who have completely lost their land and cultural practices and numerous lives as well as their history and identity. We also appeal to our people to reaffirm the pledge of our ancestors on this occasion of the 100th Year Celebration that our struggle for our identity and dignity is just and right and must be pursued till we attain them.