Kohima: Nagas fought both against the British and the Mughals and prevented the British conspiracy to make the northeast region of India a part of Pakistan, Nagaland Governor R.N. Ravi said on Saturday, on the eve of the India’s 75th Independence Day.
The Governor said that in the autumn of their rule, when the British conspired to divide India and give away the northeast region to Pakistan, the leaders of Naga Hills stood in solidarity with the rest of the country and thwarted the diabolical colonial conspiracy.
Naga leaders played significant roles in the constitutional evolution of India, he said.
Ravi, who is also the Central government’s interlocutor for the Naga peace talks, said that the British, in furtherance of their divide and rule policy, mischievously created a false narrative of perpetual conflict and warfare between the people of Naga Hills and plains.
The Governor said that when Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose while leading the Indian National Army launched a military campaign to drive the British out of India, thousands of Nagas had joined him.
“A large number of them suffered and many died fighting the British. Naga peoples’ love for Netaji and their immense sacrifices for India’s freedom lives today in the vibrant folk songs which have become a part of their tradition. Several monuments of Netaji’s war against the British are preserved with pride by the Naga villagers.”
He said that Nagas made glorious contributions to the movement against the British and thousands of Nagas were martyred and scores of villagers suffered worst oppressions resisting the British colonisation.
According to the Governor, beginning in the early 19th century when the British entered northeast India and looked up the Naga Hills, Naga warriors fiercely fought and defended every inch of the territory.
“The British launched numerous military expeditions and inflicted massive devastations during the century-old intrusion into and colonisation of the Naga hills to subdue the continuing resistance,” Ravi said.
Referring to the Nagas’ close bondings with the princely ruled Assam, the Governor said that marriages, including those between the Ahom Royals and the families of Naga chiefs, were not uncommon.
“Kan Seng, born of an Ahom princess and a Naga chief, held the top most position of Barpatra Gohain, popularly called Naga Gohain in Ahom administration.
“Ahom king Gadadhar married Watlong, a Konyak princess. When the Mughal invaded Assam, several thousand Naga warriors fought and died to repel the invaders,” he added.
Ravi said that in the pre-colonial days, the Naga Hills produced and traded a range of goods.
“Cotton, silk, lac and agar were among the most traded commodities. Silk products of Naga Hills found markets not only in the rest of India but also in China and Tibet. Kavoch Kapor, a kind of sophisticated embroidered silk of Naga Hills, was considered so precious and auspicious that Ahom warriors never missed donning it before going to war,” he added.