Naga Freedom Struggle: Story

If Nothing Else, Remember The Blood-Soaked Feet

Read Time:5 Minute, 49 Second

“Once, all villagers decided to pray for rain. On the day of prayer all the people gathered but only one boy came with an umbrella…

THAT’S FAITH

The content of the peace accord is still not known to the public. But still, the people of Senapati came out in praise of the Peace Accord. 

While we still wait in speculation, I am encouraged by the faith they have shown in the collective leadership…”

A very good friend of mine forwarded me this text after Senapati District held a Thanksgiving rally when the Government of India signed a historic Peace Treaty with the NSCN (IM) on 3rd of August, Monday, 7:30 pm.

Strangely, I found my peace with this text. I am glad my town finally gave it’s Thanksgiving too. 

Since the signing of this Treaty, the nation has been battling with reasons and speculations. Even among the Naga ourselves, the signing of this peace accord has not been all sunshine and rainbows.

The younger generation of Nagas is skeptical about the feasibility of the accord, and if the decisions made behind closed doors have been ‘in the best interest‘ of every Nagas.

The older generation, however, embraced the news. This to them was a sign of God fulfilling a promise, for all the emotional & physical torture they went through in the early days of the Naga struggle, and the endless prayers chanted over skinned knee.

old man
“Was observing, he was one of the earliest to reach the meeting ground yet he chose to be seated on the stairway. He may or may not see Nagas for the final Accord but at least he was there for the Acknowledgement Day. Proud of him” – WREN RALENG
Old people
The old people welcomed it with open arms. Their HOPE renewed. Photo: Mayothing Ningshen

And here I am, glad that something came out of this 70+ years of struggle.

Today, I would like to leave a story with you. From the initial Naga Struggle, something I grew up listening to. If nothing else, I hope this helps you reconsider why this Peace accord is after all, a good thing.

During the early 70s when the Naga struggle was at its prime, we lost hundreds of our patriotic men. This is one such story.

One fine August morning, in 1974, when the sun decided to peek-a-boo after a heavy downpour, 264 Naga patriots packed their bags and readied themselves for a long trek to China. Some of them had said their goodbyes to their loved ones while some couldn’t as they had run away from home to join the army. With a packet of salt, an army boot, and a rifle on their back, they set the trail for the land on the east, for better ammunition and a better training.

Come November and they were still pushing their way through the forest. Scramble away at night, rest when the sun was up. Then they started losing their men to sickness, ambush, and starvation. When they ran out of food and salt,  they dug into the jhum land hoping to find even one piece of leftover yams to survive.

All these soldiers did was- walk, rest, fight- walk, rest and all over again. Evn before they reached Burma, their shoes were already worn out. In their climb of the rocky mountains and thorny hills, some of their shoes succumbed to the journey. With no option left, some started to walk barefoot.

In three days time, their feet were soiled in blood and dirt, leaving trails of marooned footprint and snipped flesh. The feeling was so overwhelming that death seemed like a more reasonable option. But they dragged on. It was every man on his own, a rifle, a bag and each own sorry body to drag along.

By the time they reached China, there were only 159 of them, wearing soiled boots, patched uniforms made of many colors yet undeterred hearts, still set for nothing but absolute sovereignty. It was April by then.

After a considerable time of training at China, when they finally headed back home, they were met with the same ordeal. One time, their salt ran out and they had to survive on whatever green leaves and wild roots they could grab.

During this time, their bodies were filled with so many ticks and bugs that they could see them fleas hopping off from one body to the other. And as they neared the Burma border, they managed to bribe villagers to bring them packets of salt for 20-30 rupees, when they had actually bought the salt for less than 3 rupee.

The stories of their journey are far more bizarre than this. And I will tell you all about it another time.

As for the lives they lost, some were laid to rest at unmarked graves, covered with leaves and twigs, and a final prayer to guide the body. And when some men could no longer drag their tired body, they would be left in a snug corner, the only luxury away from the sun and sights of bullets. To those lives claimed by ambush and encounters, there was nothing they could do except for the fact that our slain patriots have made a patch of a foreign land, a naga-land.

It is for this very reason, their sacrifices and hardships that our struggle for freedom is built upon, I respect the freedom fighters till today. The slain patriots left us a solid foundation, and I believe this peace accord will in a way help us build a united nation, brick by brick.

I respect this accord for the sake of the men who gave up their life protecting their leader. We ought to respect this accord as a flicker of justice for the innocent lives lost in the hands of Indian Army- for the thousands raped women, beheaded menfolk and the countless orphans.

Like everybody else, I will respect the decision made by our leaders, for all that Nagas have been through. And for what it is worth, I am willing to put my unfailing faith in them.

We have to realize that what the whole Naga need is not the preamble to be made public, but a pinch of FAITH, TRUST and a whole lot of UNITY.

If a day comes that you would not want anything to do with Nagaland, I want you to remember the blood-soaked feet, walking on pebbles and thorn, just to fight for a better future, for our pride and for our Freedom.

Peace on NagalimWe Unite For Peace 

Naga Flag
Photo Courtesy: WREN RALENG

[PS: Had to re-edit the factual timeline. It may differ quite a tiny bit from when I first published it.]

5 thoughts on “If Nothing Else, Remember The Blood-Soaked Feet

  1. Yes true indeed, they gave for our tomorrow.
    The need of the hour is peace and unity but there is this one sentence which I fail to comprehend “…..what the whole Naga need is not the preamble to be made public.”
    Since this accord will determine my life, your life, our life, don’t we have the right to know and determine which is what?
    If peace and unity is the need of the hour, closed door accords and agreements won’t be the solution!

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