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- by Kaka. D. Iralu
May 29, 2004

The Angami word Kelhoukevira which means Land where life is good very poetically and poignantly describes Nagas and Nagaland. But tragically today this beautiful land of ours have become a killing field where terror, abduction and murder has become the order of the day. Sadly today our land where life is good has become a land where death reigns (Kesiakelhoura).

And yet, there are those of us (and others too) who think that in our past head hunting days, Nagas lived in dread and terror of one another. But is that really true? Are we today a better lot than our forefathers of yesterday? At least in those days of headhunting we never heard of Nagas dying in their thousands through fratricidal wars. On the contrary, in those days, life - be that of a clansman or fellow villager was held in very great esteem. As a result, inter-clan or even inter village wars used to erupt due to the murder of a single member of a clan or village. However, today, even though within two decades (1980 - 2004) over two thousand Nagas have been murdered through fratricidal bloodshed there has been no cry for revenge from any clan, village or tribe. In the bygone days not to talk of valuing human lives, even the accidental killing of a hunting dog used to bring a penalty of seven days’ exile from one's village. And of course the accidental killing of a fellow villager used to be punished by seven years exile from one’s own village. In contrast, in today’s so-called modern Christian Nagaland, has any one single individual been exiled from his village because of the deaths of the over two thousand Nagas who had fallen through fratricidal bloodshed?

The question therefore is this: Are today’s Christian Nagas a better lot than our headhunting forefathers of yesterday?

In our past, leaders or elders of any village were respected and even protected by the whole village community. But today our best generals, statesmen and leaders have been gunned down by our own people. In our lust for political power and money power, we are exterminating the lives of any fellow Naga who would dare to oppose our personal ambitions. As a result, in our lust for power and money, we have converted Kelhoukevira into a killing field where life has become the cheapest commodity.

Of course, outwardly, we are smashing rum and whisky bottles as a show of religious zeal and social concern. We are also arresting drug addicts and trying to rehabilitate them. In many cases we have even shot drug peddlers and drug addicts. But do we realise that we ourselves have become hopeless addicts to a far worse addiction - the addiction to political power and money power? As far as I am concerned, this addiction is far worse than alcoholism or chemical addiction. It is a despicable addiction because it kills others for its own self-gratification.

And in this land of killings, where are our Christian dogmas and beliefs? Where are our hordes of Pastors and Reverends? Shouldn’t they be excommunicating these addicts not only from the churches but even from Naga society? And where are the millions of Naga Christians who claim that our land is a Christian land? In a Naga Christian land, is restoration of social justice for the value of Naga life an issue that belongs to the Home Department of the Government of India? Shall we beg for more Indian troops from Delhi for maintenance of law and order in our land? We are all crying for peace and a political settlement over our war torn lands - and indeed we must have a just and honourable settlement with India. But where are those Nagas who will speak for justice and peace within the Naga family and Naga lands?

After all, to seek justice with India while practising injustice among ourselves is a nullification of the very concept of justice. Justice in order to be justice must first be practised among ourselves before we demand it from others. If we do not follow this procedure, then others have a right to laugh at our demand for justice from them.



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