My personal letter to Revd Dr Hawlngam Haokip, who administered 25th Black Day Observation at Churachandpur
I once had an opportunity to help carry your bag as a young boy of 15 when you visited a Maring area during your MBC tenure. I deeply respect you till today as an elder clergy. I am in the ministry now inspired by all of you and called by our Lord. As a youth, I have had many good and cherished memories with our Kuki brothers attending a school in Ideal Mission School Pallel in the 80s. I was educated because the owner of Ideal Mission School gave me scholarships for my whole schooling. His name is Hawlthang Mate. I remain indebted and grateful to him till today.
The Kukis, today, are observing the ‘Black Day‘ in remembrance of the victims killed during the ethnic clash starting from 1992 to 1997. The Kukis have been terming the ethnic clash as ‘Genocide‘. However, as Dr. Tuisem rightly points it out, terming the conflict as Genocide, where one community deliberately attempts to wipe out the other – is not the case with the Naga-Kuki conflict as both the Nagas and the Kukis suffered major casualties.
As per the UNC report, from 1992 till 1997, 207 Nagas were killed, 197 injured and 2582 Naga houses were burnt down in the Kuki-Naga conflict. Hence the Kukis terming it as Genocide, Holocaust or ethnic cleansing is wrong in many ways.
Once in an academic discussion in Jawaharlal Nehru University, a noted historian from the northeast stated that the Kukis and the Nagas are traditional enemy, this was resented by some young Naga scholars and make the historian to retract his statement. It is true that despite the history of the Naga-Kuki relationship was marked by mistrust and suspicion, the enmity between the Nagas and the Kukis are not older than the colonial period.
In the colonial writings, the first reference to the ‘Kuki’ was made in 1777 when this tribesmen attack the British subjects in Chittagong when Warren Hastings was the Governor General of Bengal. In Manipur Sir James Johnstone, the Political Agent of Manipur in 1877-1886 writes in his book Manipur and the Naga Hills that ‘Kukis’ were first heard in Manipur, between 1830 and 1840. The influx of Kukis in Manipur during the 19th century created a lot of ethnic tension and administrative problem for the state. The inter-ethnic relation between the Meitei-Naga and Kukis underwent change with the influx of Kukis in 19th century and the settlement of Kukis migrants in the hills of Manipur adjacent to the Naga villages. BC Allan in his celebrated book, Naga Hills and Manipur writes that “ by 1845 the British administration in Manipur faced problems when the Kukis began to come in great numbers and started to ‘drive away’ many of the older inhabitant.”
Kaka D. Iralu
In a recent interview by an Indian T.V. News Channel, I was asked the question: “Now with the NSCN IM- GOI talks having given up the issue of Naga integration under one political entity, will the Naga integration issue become just a dream for the future?” My immediate reply was: “Naga integration under one political entity is not a future dream but a living reality that has been going on for the past more than 2000 years.” Now, what I meant by what I said, are based on the following facts.
Nagaland surely is among the most corrupt places in India. The usual politicians and bureaucrats merrily looting at will. These are people with no conscience. I have sat down with some Naga politicians and interacted with them and it is sad because after brief interactions I have realized that these are people with no vision and no responsibility towards our people.
I’ve met quite a lot of bureaucrats, most are well educated but then soon you realize the greed in their hearts. It is sad, really sad.