The situation in Nagaland in the mid-nineties was very volatile and violent. The mindless killing, kidnapping, robbery and extortion had threatened the peace, prosperity and communal harmony of the people in Nagaland and also in neighbouring states. The Merapani incident of 1985 added salt to the injuries. During Merapani uprising scores of innocent people were killed and the disturbance continued for several months. It was during those days I first met Dr S.C. Jamir, the then Chief Minister of Nagaland, at his official residence when I led a delegation of Central Government employees as general secretary of All Nagaland Central Government Employees Coordination Committee. The delegation included Shri Manoj Biswas and Shri Ranjit Paul from Accountant General'sOffice, Shri D.C. Rout and Shri Gulab Singh from Telephone Exchange, Shri H.K. Endo and Shri Neisakulie Angami from Census Operation and few more from different Central Government Offices stationed at Kohima. The office-bearers of the said Coordination Committee submitted a memorandum to Dr Jamir requesting him to provide security in the premises of our offices and in residential areas as well, because the Central Government employees were targeted and were more vulnerable. Three of the employees of the A.G. office were kidnapped from the office premises and taken to unknown destination, which led to a week-long strike in the office. I was then secretary of Audit and Accounts Association, Nagaland.
The delegation discussed the security problem in detail with Dr Jamir who gave a very patient hearing to us. We returned with a sigh of relief because of assurances given by him. Though we were not fully satisfied with what were done by the State Government it provided much succour to Central Government employees during those turbulent days. The day and night CRPF patrolling started in residential areas where Central Government employees lived and CRPF security guards were posted in most of the major Central Government offices stationed at Kohima and Dimapur. Chief Secretary Shri K.S. Puri and DGP Nagaland came to A.G. Office and addressed General Body meting of the employees assuring possible security arrangements.
The second time I met Shri Jamir was in 2004 at his Chumukedima farmhouse. I led a team of office-bearers of Hindu Mandir Society, Kohima and invited him to grace the Ram Katha utsav at State Academy Hall, Kohima. He thoroughly inquired about the identity of each member of the team. He asked about the activities of Hindu Mandir Society and then had a very free and frank discussion with us while sipping a cup of tea. He then said that he would let us know about his decision within two-three days. Though we were much pleased on his hospitality and befitting reception and response we had doubt that he would accept our invitation. Only after two days, I received a telephonic call on his behalf conveying that he had consented to grace the Ram Katha utsav and that he had asked for details of the programme. We were jubilant on Shri Jamir'sacceptance of our invitation. Hindu Mandir Society had ventured to invite Shri Shyamal Dutta, the then Governor of Nagaland and all the four former Chief Ministers viz. Shri J.B. Jasokie, Dr S.C. Jamir, Dr Hokishe Sema and Shri Vizol along with many former and sitting political leaders and public leaders from Naga society.
Shri J.B. Jasokie could not attend the function on health grounds. All the three former Chief Ministers?Dr Hokishe Sema, Dr S.C. Jamir and Shri Vizol shared the same sofa-set along with the Governor Shri Shyamal Dutta. The veteran social worker and a noted educationist Shri Manik Bhattacharjee and Shri N.C. Zeliang also were happy to share the VIP row in State Academy Hall. Swami Yatindrananda Saraswati, a Sanyasi from Roorkie, Uttarakhand, honoured the Governor and all the three former Chief Ministers with Kashmiri shawl and coconut and blessed them with Vedic mantras. Shri Manik Battacharjee and Shri N.C. Zeliang were also honoured for their selfless social services to the society. This function was of great significance for bringing Nagas and Hindus closer to each other. The venue of the utsav was jam-packed with almost one-third of audience from Naga society. The venture was appreciated. The idea was to enthuse mutual trust in every section of the society. This could be achieved to a certain extent. All these could happen because of encouraging response we received from Dr S.C. Jamir. The speech he delivered in the function was another encouragement towards bridging the gap between Nagas and non-Nagas. Some fanatics later criticised Shri Jamir in the media for attending this Hindu religious function. They questioned Jamir'spropriety of his Christian faith. But he preferred to remain quiet.
Except on these two occasions I had no other opportunity either to meet Dr Jamir or interact with him. But as a keen observer of the developments in Nagas society, both political and non-political, I have been reading the views expressed by Dr Jamir in the media including his most talked of booklet, Bedrock of Naga Society. I have also been reading the views expressed by Governors and top ranking political leaders, underground leaders, student leaders, church leaders and leaders of other social organisations. As a resident of the capital city Kohima, I have been watching the various political activities and cultural functions for last thirty-two years from 1975 onwards.
What strikes most to my mind is the lack of vision, the lack of ability to peep into near and far future and their crave for carnal pleasure in most of the Naga leaders, both overground and underground. When I say Naga leaders, it includes church leaders also who are supposed to be spiritual in approach and pious in behaviour. Before and after the publication of Bedrock of Naga Society, the top ranking Naga leaders admitted in private the facts narrated in that booklet. The armed section of Naga society blamed Shri Jamir for putting sovereignty movement into reverse gear.
Now, if the opinions/proposals are analysed objectively and subjectively, put-forth by several Naga leaders at different point of time right from Shri V. Sakhrie, the first NNC general secretary, Shri R. Suisa, Dr Imkongliba, signatories of Shillong Accord 1975, Dr Hokishe Sema, J.B. Jasokie, Shri Vizol till day'sNaga leaders, it will be seen that Dr S.C. Jamir is not alone in his view point about vexed Naga problem. The silent majority from Naga society has similar views. The only difference is that Dr Jamir speaks out while others not.
At home, Nagas stand fragmented not only today, but from the beginning. One may not admit but I have been noticing from last thirty-two years. They are killing each other. It is not only Dr Jamir whose head is wanted by whom (?), not by any non-Naga but by a section of armed Nagas, but the heads of all the top-ranking Naga leaders without even a single exception, are wanted by rival armed factions. Who is safe here in today'sNagaland? Can any top-ranking underground Naga leader claim that he is safe in Nagaland whose sovereignty, they claim, they are fighting for? No. They can'tclaim it. It reminds me the phrase?hate begets hate.
Because of assassination of dozens of giant geniuses from Naga society by their own people, the Naga community stands today starved of intellectual class who can match geniuses at national and international fora. In fact, people in other parts of the country are bemused to witness the mad killings here in Nagaland.
Dr Jamir has been attacked almost half a dozen times, the recent being at Changki village on November 23. God knows what will happen to him tomorrow. But frankly speaking, I admire him not for any other reasons but for his wisdom, his all-embracing behaviour and his contribution to Naga society and the country risking his own life.
Not that those who are manning the high ranks in underground organisations are not wise. In my opinion, they also possess high degree of wisdom. But their wisdom is not being used for the welfare of the society because they are working opposite to each other. As of today, there is no hope even in distant future that all these Naga intellectuals will come closer to each other. In the present crisis in Naga society if Dr Jamir is assassinated, it will be a great loss not only to Naga society alone but to the nation as a whole and for that matter, to whole of the humanity. It will not be possible to fill up the void so created in Naga society for long.