TODAY -

Haipou Jadonang - our leader

Tasile N Zeliang *



A decade ago, there was a cry of crisis of identity. Every now and then, the political leaders, the Church leaders and the social organizations said that the path which Naga society had adopted would lead nowhere and the image of Naga society would continue to remain tarnished. Rather, the Naga society continued to be morally degenerated.

Economically, the society is climbing high step by step but morality the other important aspect of development is missing. There are political leaders, social leaders and church leaders but, of late, the crisis of leadership has also emerged adding doubly to the already existing problem crisis of identity.

The crisis of identity is still there, rather, on increasing trend but the present day leaders have now shifted the focus elsewhere. They are diverting the people's attention from one problem to other without solving any of them. Of late, the focus is being thrown on the crisis of leadership. This slogan appears to be ridiculous.

Why should there be a crisis of leadership when there are hundreds of leaders in various political parties, social organizations, underground organizations and church bodies. It is something like remaining thirsty while living in water.

The person who guides the society not by words but by deeds putting his own life as an example is a leader in true sense. Can Nagas find even a single person who is a leader upto the mark who practices what he says? How many present day Naga leaders mentioned above will qualify the efficiency check?

Not that there was no worthy leader in our society. There was but we failed to recognize them due to storm of westernization in the name of modernization.

Haipou Jadonang and Rani Gaidinliu were such Naga leaders who practiced word by word what they preached. They sacrificed their everything even their bodies for the cause of society without expecting anything in return.

The spiritualism, strong commitment to the society, bravery and fighting spirit for the genuine cause of the country were in born qualities of Haipou Jadonang all rolled into one. From the very childhood he was of uncommon qualities. He used to go in trances for consecutive several days.

He toured the area and mobilized the people to unite for fighting against British rule whose reign was expanding in Naga areas through deceptive means. He imparted military training to youths and formed a formidable Naga Army. He composed patriotic songs to rejuvenate the patriotism already in youths.

Tributes being paid to Haipou Jadonang on his death anniv - 2007
Picture Courtesy: TSE

"Haipou Jadonang (1905-1931) was a mystic Naga rebel who was spiritually inspired to organize the religion and social reforms among the Zeliangrong Nagas of Assam, Manipur and Nagaland. He also visualized a kingdom (Makam Gwangdi) of his people which was described by British as the Naga Raj. His concept of Makam Gwangdi brought him to headlong clash with the British government. He was distantly inspired by Mahatma Gandhi and the Congress movement for national freedom."
(Prof. Gongmumei Kamei in his book Jadonang-A Mystic Naga Rebel).

Jadonang was imprisoned at Tamenglong in December 1928 for prophesizing the end of British Raj and coming of the Naga Raj. He was executed at Imphal on 29th August 1931 on fake charges.

Rediscovery of Jadonang:

Jadonang was forgotten by his own people due to fear of suppression by British and Manipur government. After the release of Rani Gaidinliu, things had changed but her conflicts with the underground Nagas in 1960s produced a feeling of misunderstanding among the Zeliangrong people.

But from 1966 onward, a group of young intellectuals and social activists have been engaged in the interpretation of Jadonang and Rani Gaidinliu in the contemporary historical, social and political perspective. Their efforts have started bearing fruits when the movement for Zeliangrong integration was started. The leaders have started referring to Jadonang's Naga Raj concept for the fulfillment of Zeliangrong dream for a homeland.

Now Jadonang who was really the philosopher of the Zeliangrong greatness is now understood as a martyr, a religious leader, a social reformer and a protagonist of the Zeliangrong kingdom. Today, the country remembers him as one of the great revolutionaries who laid their lives for the freedom of the country from British misrule.

Jadonang Day is observed every year. Memorials to him are constructed. Children are named after him. His freedom stories are taught in schools. Jadonang has resurrected in spirit of his legacy. In larger perspective, Jadonang represents a tribal attempt to reform themselves and preserve the indigenous faith and culture to meet the challenges of the modern times. (Jadonang A Mystic Naga Rebel by Prof. Gangmumei Kamei).

Such were the greatness and glory of Haipou Jadonang. His life, if taught in schools and colleges, can inspire not only Zeliangrong community but whole of the Naga society.

Let us emulate his ideals in our day to day life and contribute our share in building of our beautiful Nagaland. The present day Naga leaders and youth leaders prefer to ignore the ideals and the doctrine of life set forth by Haipou Jadonang and Rani Gaidinliu to meet their selfish end. That is why the crisis of leadership has emerged today.

We have to look back on the lives of these two great leaders from our Naga society.

Read more on Haipou Jadonang here


* Tasile N Zeliang wrote this article for Huieyen Lanpao (English Edition) This article was webcasted at e-pao.net on 27th August 2009.



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