Dr. Moatoshi Ao gives a detailed account about how far flung Naga villages celebrated this year’s independence day indicating the days of conflict are over in the state and it has become part of the mainstream.
The joy of celebrating Independence Day is to cherish and pay respect to the martyrs and freedom fighters who have sacrificed for the Nation’s freedom. It is also a day to think for the Nation’s future and take pride in its rich resources, cultural heritage and achievements. Along with the rest of country, the tribal people of Nagaland celebrated the 74th Independence Day on 15th August, 2020 across the State. The National flag was seen hoisted not only in the government institutions but also in private residences and business establishments across the State.
The State witnessed a remarkable celebration this year with more than 53 Government High Schools and Senior Secondary Schools organizing events to commemorate the 74th Independence Day. To name a few, Govt. High School (GHS), Atoizu in Zunheboto, GHS Aitepyong in Wokha, Govt. Higher Secondary School (GHSS) Thangjam in Tuensang, GHS Tobu in Mon, GHS Nyengching in Longleng and GHS Kisum in Kiphire are some of the schools in the remotest part of the State which celebrated the Independence Day despite various odds.
In all the twelve-district headquarters and its sub-divisions, the National Flag of India was hoisted to celebrate the Independence Day amidst the gloomy shadow of COVID-19 pandemic and other odds in the presence of government servants, village council members, Gaonburas, Dobhasis, tribal elders, Village Guards, and student leaders. The celebration of Independence Day by the tribes was not only witnessed in the State’s capital but even in the remotest, unmotorable and inaccessible district sub-divisions like in Tobu and Phomching in Mon, Yoruba in Phek and Thonoknyu in Tuensang. In Longleng district, Nyengching ward youth sang the National Anthem, while in Kiphire district, the Phelungre Village Guards (VGs) displayed a memorable band. In Shamator sub-division of Tuensang district, the National Athem was sung by the Village Guards of Shamator town. In Satakha Sub-division of Zunheboto district, the National Anthem was sung by the tirbal Anganwadi workers. The Village Guards of Wakching village and Monyakshu village in Wakching and Monyakshu sub-divisions of Mon district and Seyochung sub-division of Kiphire district gave the Rashtriya salute at the unfurling of the National Flag of India. There was also distribution of food to the orphanages and jail inmate and also visit to hospitals by the district administration and voluntary youth organization in Tuensang district and Pungro sub-division of Kiphire district.
The Governor R.N. Ravi in his message paid homage to “all the heroes and martyrs, millions of working men and women, whose sacrifices under the leadership of the Father of Nation, Mahatma Gandhi, wrought this freedom and the Union of Free India was born.” He also paid respect to those heroes for their relentless vigil that has kept this country secure and their contributions that made this Union great and glorious. The Governor underlined that under the dynamic and visionary Prime Minister Narendra Modi, North-East is fast transforming and emerging as an economic hub, however, regrettably such waves of positive change and growth seem to have been bypassing the State with the dubious distinction of worst performing State in the country on almost all the significant indicators of Human Development. Further, education, which is one of the most important assets of the State, the Governor highlighted the deplorable state of the government schools that despite 80% literacy rate and the highest pupil-teacher ratio in the State as compared to the rest of the country, the drop-out and failure rates in Government Schools are alarming. He appealed for cooperation to the two million people of Nagaland to break the vice – like grip of the vicious circle of the network of vested interests and make way for the virtuous circle of peace, prosperity and happiness for the Naga people which cannot be achieved by Government alone.
In the State’s capital Kohima, the Chief Minister Shri Neiphiu Rio unfurled the National Flag of India and took the Rashtriya Salute. For peace, stability and all-round development in the State, the Chief Minister appealed for an early and honorable solution of the Naga political issue. The presentation of cultural songs and dances from various tribes further enriched the joy of the celebration.
The extent of celebration is a fact that the cloud which has been lingering in the minds of the hill tribes is gradually fading away with fervent hope of peace, economic development, security and liberty. The optimism of the people is the cornerstone in making a peaceful society and hope that the celebration of the Independence Day does not remain as a day affair but may the spirit of independence continue in building a glorious united nation.