File photo of Candlelight vigil held in Manipur’s Ukhrul over the Naga peace talks Credit: File Image

Kohima: Announcing that “survival of the Nagas is at stake”, the members of the Global Naga Forum (GNF), a platform of Nagas from different walks of life living in different parts of the world, have appealed for unity among the Nagas for its overall development.

In its address to various Naga leaders of civil societies, tribal hohos, women associations and unions, churches, forums and student bodies across the “Naga Homeland”, the members of the GNF said, “Nagas have indeed come a long way from the time our forebears fiercely guarded and defended their village territories and ancestral domains to the hilt, leaving behind the seeds of freedom sowed with sweat and tears and nurtured by blood.”

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Informing that the GNF has the courage and the wisdom to carry forward the rich Naga cultural inheritance by addressing and resolving the divisions in the society, the release said, “We are on the cusp of a history-making decision. No exaggeration. We sense we have come this close to either slipping into the deep historical precipice of lost peoples or uniting ourselves to build a bridge to the other side of the precipice for a bright collective future.”

Our prolonged lack of unity has brought us to the brink. And it troubles us deeply that this generation of Nagas, especially the leaders, seem determined to blindfold themselves with antagonistic posturing of all kinds to take us all down, the GNF said, adding : After all our people have been through, we refuse to believe our leaders will choose that path, because we know it will slowly but certainly disappear the Nagas as a people from the face of the earth. We are not a numerous people.

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The forum has also urged the social and patriotic conscience of Naga leaders and said that if their formally uneducated forebears could develop and administer an orderly and sophisticated system of self government that stood united against foreign aggressors, why can’t Naga leaders in the 21st century, after a lifetime of sacrifice for the Naga cause, agree among themselves that Nagas are a people who have the right to self-determination and who belong together in an undivided homeland?

“And why can’t they take that united non-negotiable demand to the talks with the Government of India? We the Naga people cannot understand how any responsible Naga group can oppose such a basic principle or object to signing on to so universally accepted a human right as that,”it said.

It also clarified that the time for self-imposed stalemate is over. The survival of the Nagas is at stake, it said, adding : We are on the brink of a precipice. The entrenched culture of Naga divisions is killing us, because it is fed by alignments along sectarian NPGs, political parties, and their respective CSOs, each claiming a greater legitimacy based on mutually exclusive reasoning or rewriting of the history of the freedom struggle its way.

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“We believe in your leadership, collectively and as individuals. We know each of you has earned your position of leadership in our society in your own right, and you are exemplars of lives lived with conviction and commitment to causes greater than yourselves, for which you have our admiration and gratitude. We would like to end by humbly reminding you that unprecedented crises call for unprecedented leadership. And we are confident you will meet the unprecedented challenge facing the Naga people now. We can do this together with your leadership,” the release added.

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