TODAY -

Angami Zapu Phizo's Surreal 2017 AD

Dr G Tonsana Sharma *



The surreal is the world of the year 2016 in Webster's English dictionary and meaning is very strange, like a dream. Born in 1913 AD, Phizo dreamed of an independent sovereign State carved out of India.

Educated by the Baptists, though under matriculation he was sharp and a poet, determined to compose "Naga National Anthem". While working on the docks in Rangoon he joined the invading Japanese troops on their march to India, apparently in return for Naga Independence should they win the war against the British.

Returning after the war he joined the NNC in Kohima and later in 1947 joined NNC delegate to meet Mahatma Gandhi in Delhi to express their Independence but in vain as Gandhi did not favour them.

In 1950 he was elected as president of NNC and committed the Nagas to full independence, in 1951 he and his men toured the Naga hills obtaining thump prints and signatures to a document affirming their support for independent Naga state which he later claimed to be a comprehensive plebiscite that revelled 99.99 pc Nagas supported the Naga independence.

The same year to express their desire of independence, three of NNC members along with him met the then Interim PM Nehru at Tejpur, Assam who had come for election campaign in which Nehru replied as absurd.

Again in February 1952 along with two of NNC members he met Nehru in Delhi and this time Nehru suggested for greater autonomy but Phizo denied and continued the struggle for independence which he expressed in a press conference. He further pledged to a war that would not admit of truces, retreats or compromises and to indulged in type of guerrillas' warfare to defeat the Indian army and declared formation of Federal Government of Nagaland in September 1954.

By the middle of 1956 war was in its full scale in Naga hills however the press both Indian/International were not covering the conflict as observed by one Naga doctor who wrote a later to the last British Deputy commissioner of the Naga hills, Charles Pawsey in June 1956 and mentioned that the war will affect the Naga/Indian relation for the next 50-100 years (2006-2056).

Yet the Nagas were inspired by the objective of a Naga nation and many youths abandon their villages to join the guerillas with full spirit of nationalism and patriotism. Mean time Phizo crossed to Burma and then to East Pakistan, from where he continued to direct the Naga resistant movement.

Finally considering the need of western world backing in his case, he reached Switzerland after travelling long under a forged EI Salvadorian passport, where he made contact with Reverend Michael Scott, a radical Anglican priest who had previously worked with the anti-apartheid movement in South Africa.

Nelson Mandela is worth remembering. With Scott's help Phizo reached London where he took refuge in UK. There he was able to internationalize their issue of Naga movement for a free nation out of India with the help of two personalities viz. Rechard Michael Scott and David Astor, the liberal owner of the Observer newspaper who played a stellar role in the fight against Nazis.

Phizo's charges were given wide play by the paper, and by several other journals in UK, etc. With this successfully internationalized Naga question, PM Nehru thought it prudent to make a state of Nagaland by carving out of Assam less his popularity was in stake globally specially in UK, USA and even China which may ultimately affect external affairs.

Nagaland thus gained statehood on 1st December 1963 and under Persuasion of Governor LP Singh some of the prominent Naga leaders were able to come to table for a Naga peace accord namely Shillong Accord 1971.

But due to the accord NSCN(IM) came up and finally the present framework agreement is reached almost ending the long traversed revolutionary journey of naga nation, the contents of which could be a onetime Monarchy independent state of Chogyal's SIKKIM with own flag, currency and ruler under the Indian Protectorate without disturbing the territories of the neighboring states of ASSAM, MANIPUR and ARUNACHAL PRADESH.

Let us all wait with folded hands for good-sake.


* Dr G Tonsana Sharma wrote this article for IT Times
The writer is Senior Citizen and Former CE PWD
This article was posted on January 10, 2018.


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