TODAY -

Veteran Naga leader SC Jamir recalls encounter with B K Nehru, mild tiff with Guv Burney

Nirendra Dev *

 Book Cover of 'Don't Mind, I am still Growing'
Book Cover of 'Don't Mind, I am still Growing'



Politics was something that fascinated veteran leader Dr S C Jamir and according to himself -- his political journey "was a call of duty for me to serve the people ''.

"After completion of my study, I was appointed as Circle Officer in 1958 and posted at Pokobhoto, Kohima district but I declined to join the government service as well because my possession and commitment was to join politics," says Jamir in a small booklet published recently.

The booklet titled 'Don't Mind, I am still Growing - A few memorable episodes in my political pilgrimage' was released on Oct 17, 2023, his birthday.

Born 1931, Jamir has served as Chief Minister for different tenures and for the first time in Nagaland was in power for 10 years continuously between 1993 and 2003.

He has served as Parliamentary Secretary under Pt Jawaharlal Nehru and that way worked practically closely with all Prime Ministers. He was also Governor of Gujarat for five months when Narendra Modi was the Chief Minister of the western state.

"Looking back, life has given me more than one can ask for," says Jamir in the Preface.

He also wonders in his typical statesmanship style -- "Who am I at the end of the day? A native Ao Naga, a trained lawyer, a practicing Naga politician and also an individual often called a protagonist of Indian nationalism?"

Jamir recalls two interesting episodes of his encounters with two Governors S.M.H Burney and B K Nehru.

On B K Nehru, Dr Jamir says the then Governor was furious after the regional party UDF government headed by Vizol implemented the election manifesto and released "all political prisoners". "There was a sharp reaction from the Army...", he recounts. br />
Chief Minister Vizol was summoned to Shillong as B K Nehru was also holding the charge of Assam and the Governor then was stationed in Shillong. "Vizol authorized me and Vamuzo (who also became CM in 1990) to proceed to Shillong on his behalf.... Before we could start saying anything, he ( B K Nehru) roared and scolded us for the release of political prisoners without his permission".

"Without showing any anger, I simply replied to him politely that as a political party in a democracy, implementation of its manifesto does not violate the Constitution nor any law of the land...," Jamir recalls adding, "As an experienced former ICS officer, B K Nehru just told us that he should have been consulted before the issuance of the said order".

Jamir's mild differences with SMH Burney, then the state Governor, in 1986 related to the Naga Students' Federation (NSF) and Naga Mothers' Association protest against the Jamir government's decision to implement or introduce 'IPS norms' for the state police.

"With a view to improving and updating police organisation the cabinet under me decided to introduce IPS in the state.....To my utter surprise some of the senior police officers were totally against it".

Then he talks about the 'protest' on the opening day of the Budget session. In fact the protesters had prevented the then Governor Burney mid-way while he was proceeding to the Assembly to address the session.

A furious Burney had angrily asked Jamir (Chief Minister) to dismiss DIG R S Jamir, who was then in charge of Governor's security. "After two days, I went to the Governor with a file pertaining to R S Jamir....(and told him) that it would be better to just suspend R S Jamir and start a formal probe. By that time, the Governor was in a relaxed mood and he readily agreed to my suggestion".

In this backdrop, Dr Jamir shares a Chinese proverb - "When you are angry do not take important decisions and when you are happy, do not promise too many things". In his characteristic style, Jamir adds: "This is a good lesson to all those who are in positions of authority".

The booklet can be a collector's delight as it throws light on certain critical and vital episodes related to the emergence and growth of Nagaland state. The former Chief Minister shares his own speech (welcome address) delivered at the Naga People's Convention on May 21, 1958 at Mokokchung.

In fact, Jamir was the chairman of the reception committee for the meet. Among other things, in his address, Jamir had said -- "We should first kill the Ape and the Tiger in us. The ape stands for primitiveness while tiger stands for ferocity. We should kill one more animal, the Donkey in us. It has been responsible for hardening our views, freezing our postures and rendering our attitudes rigid".

"By killing the donkey we shall kill the fanatic attitude and dogmatism which is responsible for much of the current confusion in our state and the world," he had said wayback in 1958.


( Views expressed are personal)


* Nirendra Dev wrote this article for e-pao.net
The writer is a New Delhi-based journalist.
He is also author of the books ‘The Talking Guns: North East India’, and ‘Modi to Moditva: An Uncensored Truth’.
And can be reached at nirendev1(AT)gmail(DOT)com
This article was webcasted on 02 November 2023.



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