My Vision for the Kuki People
By PS Haokip
History has never been kind to people who cannot rise to create and write it. Our forefathers have created history, in a way that perhaps can never be equaled in terms of the courage it takes, if not the scale, in resisting subjugation by the mighty British Empire of the time. But courage and valor alone proved inadequate before the might and powerof the british Empire, leading to their subjugation, but not before putting up a brave fight for two long years. As history is always written by the victors, our forefathers failed to rise to write history.
Today, as a consequence, almost a century later, we find ourselves struggling in every sphere of human life.On top of that, we are embroiled in internecine rivalries orchestrated by wily powers and scheming neighbors who can only stand to lose if we unite. Our vision has been blurred by narrow bands of intense colored clan fabrics and petty growths of fence bushes planted by detractors and self proclaimed benefactors. While the world had long performed the last rites on colonialism, or the rule of others, the Kukis have yet to realize self-rule, the postcolonial mantra. We continue to be victims of sub-colonial imperialism that resulted from indiscretions of a hasty and retreating British power that failed to concern themselves with finer details of liberation of each people they ruled.
We have seen it all, heard it all and been through it all-our sufferings-as a people. Words cannot capture the pain and agony in our hearts as our land lay devastated, our forests disappear, our rivers dry up, our people perish in abject poverty. We want answers, scramble for answers, blamed ourselves and entered into brawls pointing fingers at each other. As though starved canines in cages, we fought over crumbs of meat lobbed at us while the lobbers watch in evil amusement. They found delight with the degree to which they raised mistrust and instilled discord amongst us. A new system of authority had been imposed upon our land and its people. While the imposed system i.e. democracy, however good, slowly make our traditional system, i.e. Chieftainship, wane and wither, no sincere efforts are made to install the new system and make it deliver the goods and effectively replace the old.
Fellow countrymen, I know we take great pride in our rich heritage, our past glory and the legendary feats of our illustrious, brave and unrelenting forefathers. But let us for a moment reflect whether they would be happy to see our state today, whether we are worthy of their pride in our efforts to take our people forward, whether we have been able to match, if not better, their feat in emblazing the trails of history with Kuki valiance, pride and unity. Let us for a moment rise above the dusty blur and take in the bigger picture.
The world has been through a chain of historical evolution. From warring tribal groups to conglomerates of tribes fighting for territory and power, came little kingdoms growing to become huge kingdoms. The stronger kingdoms then conquered weaker kingdoms and heralded the age of empires. Empires broke down into national states formed by people sharing common languages, customs and culture and a common heritage. National states have gone on to form alliances and fought each other in the world theatre with unprecedented destruction. The alliances also crumbled and in their place have slowly but surely emerged corporate and business empires, first within the national states and then across boundaries, across regions and across all barriers. Feudal states to kingdoms to empires to nations to alliances to economic blocks to globalization, in short describes this evolutionary sequence. The question here is “Where are we?” Have we been left behind, and if so where? And where do we catch up with the world and how?
My beloved brethren, we need to see reality as it is before we can even begin to think of redeeming our nation and our glorious past. Some grim realities facing us today are so pervasive that they often shield the possibility of aspiring for an alternate reality from our imagination.
Despite our independent existence prior to British incursions into, and subsequent subjugation of, our ancestral lands, the post-colonial states denied any form of recognition to our right to self-government. The territorial limits of the new administrative units, i.e. states, were demarcated without taking us into confidence, whether in India, Burma or Bangladesh. We have reconciled ourselves to this reality in good faith and as a gesture of trust in the democratic system laid out before us, promising equality before the law and of opportunities. However, what followed since 1947 is testimony to the utter neglect and discrimination of our land and people, and the hollowness of the promises of equality.
What instead emerged has been the appropriation of authority over our land by the dominant communities who have by virtue of their numbers seized power within the new system without the desirable responsibility to serve each and every citizen equally and without any discrimination. This is a reality that we must perceive, a reality that we must challenge, and a reality that we must change to our requirement. Recognizing a reality is different from being overwhelmed by it. We need to set our minds free to get freedom. We must shed that mentality of helplessness, of surrendering to the harsh reality imposed upon our people and our land, that mentality of trying to cope with it however uncomfortable it may be.
That is precisely what the appropriators of our rights wanted, and that precisely is what we must rise up to resist. We must realize our capability to transform realities, change systems and boundaries to meet our requirements. Government is nothing but of the people, for the people and by the people, as famously stated by Abraham Lincoln, the great American President while defining Democracy. If we feel the government is not fitting into this description, we must fight to make it so, not lament over it.
The Indian state of Manipur is where a large chunk of our ancestral territory has been incorporated. But 60 odd years after Indian independence, there are telling evidences of the designed neglect our land and people have been subjected to. Roads, the life veins of a territory and its people, remain deplorable in all Kuki inhabited districts of Chandel, Churachandpur, Sadar Hills and Tamenglong. Valley-based contractors who are hand in glove with Meitei Engineers in the state PWD have consistently siphoned off the bulk of funds meant to widen and improve or maintain these roads into building mansions in the valley.
Teachers in Government schools located in the hills draw their salary from the comforts of their homes in the valley while the children in these schools stay deprived of education, the basic factor for human development. Funds for school building and other infrastructure in the hill villages have all along been diverted to build palatial houses for Engineers, Education officials and contractors who are almost always people from the valley. The cream of all such corruption has always been had by the Ministers in the state government, mostly, again, either Meiteis or Manipur Nagas. No institution of importance and no infrastructure of any prominence have yet to be located in the Kuki territories.
The Tangkhul Nagas, greedy of Kuki ancestral lands falling within the districts of Ukhrul, Senapati, Tamenglong and Chandel, have began surreptitious elimination of prominent Kuki leaders in Ukhrul district way back in the 1950s in a diabolic strategy to instill fear amongst Kuki villagers and to scare them off their land over time. One of the first instances of the targeted killings was the murder of Pu Chungkholet Touthang of Phaikoh village, a known Kuki figure, alongside three able-bodied Kuki men and two women villagers in the year 1957 by Tangkhul assassins. During the same year, in Nagaland, Naga insurgents instigated by Tangkhuls killed Pamang Haokip, younger brother of the chief of Akhen village, alongside two of his friends. The latest instance was the murder of Pu Shingkhokai alias Pakang Haokip, Chingsanglakpa of Maokot village in Ukhrul District, a vocal chief and tall figure among the Kukis who stood on the frontline of resisting Tangkhul strategy to usurp Kuki territory in Ukhrul and adjoining areas,on 26.05.87.
When the Tangkhul-Nagas realized that even ordinary Kukis are made of sterner stuff than ones to be easily haunted out of their land, and when Muivah realized that, more than the state government of Manipur, it were the brave and unrelenting Kuki villagers who stood in the way of his ultimate goal to have the four hill districts of Manipur merged into Nagaland, he resorted to a desperate plan. Kuki villagers in the said districts were served quit notices in the second half of 1992. Simultaneously, a genocidal campaign was unleashed on unsuspecting Kuki villagers by merciless marauders taking the guise of a certain Nagalim Guard, trained and led by NSCN (IM). The Nagalim Guard was nothing but a thinly veiled cover for NSCN (IM) to avoid endangering the prospects of a ceasefire agreement with the GOI and possible political dialogue thereafter.
Since the Kuki ownership of land stands to cripple all the grand plans of the NSCN (IM) based on deceptive claims about the four hill districts being owned and inhabited exclusively by Nagas, their plan was to purge these districts of Kukis. The half-baked strategy of the NSCN (IM) to deprive Kukis of their land by resorting to genocidal brutality is demonic, to say the least. But the irony lies somewhere else. The state machinery, led by a Tangkhul Naga and dominated by the majority Meiteis, remained a mute spectator to such inhuman slaughter of innocent Kuki villagers. No sincere efforts were made; rather, the killings were deliberately allowed to escalate. In 2003, distraught at the inaccessibility of government offices in district headquarters and other attendant facilities for Kukis living within Naga dominated districts of Ukhrul, Senapati and Tamenglong, following the NSCN (IM) orchestrated genocide on the Kukis, all Kuki chiefs of villages in these districts made a representation to the Chief Minister of Manipur.
They demanded their villages to be brought under the administrative jurisdiction of respectively appropriate and adjacent Kuki dominated administrative units of Sadar Hills ADC, Churachandpur and Chandel districts. Villagers in these Kuki villages had been denied their right to live as free citizens, as their lives were in grave danger if they were to approach the government, whose offices are located in the Naga dominated towns of Senapati, Ukhrul and Tamenglong, for any interface. A testifying example would be that of the chief of Tujang Vaichong village, Pu Khothang Kipgen, aged 54, who never returned home after he ventured to go to Senapati District Headquarters on 27-6-93to seek some relief for his villagers, put under seize by the Nagalim Guard. His remains were later found dumped in a river.
A concerned and responsible state government would have promptly intervened, or at the very least, promptly considered such an appeal from chiefs of so many villages to have a safe access to the government. It would have tried to effectively redress the grievances faced by a section of its citizenry, one way or the other. However, the Manipur State government, led and dominated by the majority Meiteis, lent a deaf ear to such a well meaning plea and chose to turn a nelson’s eye towards the deprivation, slaughter and sufferings of Kuki villagers. On the other hand, several settlements of the Meitei people located inside Churachandpur district are included in the electoral list of constituencies in Bishnupur District and residents of such settlements made to avail access to government through the Bishnupur District administration.
In recent times, valley based insurgents who have the sole objective of usurping Kuki territories disguised in their demand for a sovereign Manipur, penetrated our land and wreaked terror on our people. We cannot forget the assault on the modesty of our womenfolk by Meitei insurgents in Parbung and its surrounding areas. We cannot forget the force labor they extract from our villagers there. They have also mined large tracts of our territories in Chandel District in their cowardice, causing death and injury to many of our innocent women and children as they go about their daily chores. All the while, the state government would act ignorant as long as possible and until our cries become insuppressible.
More recently, the Meitei people had stalled the delimitation of Assembly Constituencies in the state just because it stands to give more shares of seats in the State Assembly to tribal Kukis and Nagas. To briefly bring the issue to focus, the Delimitation of Assembly Constituencies in Manipur was stalled by a stay order of the Imphal Bench of the Guwahati High Court on the basis of a writ petition filed by the All Political Parties, Manipur (APPM). However, the Supreme Court had impugned the stay order of the lower court and set the stage for the Delimitation Commission to complete its task in respect of the State of Manipur after several hearings on a writ petition filed by Indo-Myanmar Tribal Development Association (IMTDA) on behalf of various tribal organizations in the State.
Thereafter, the Government of Manipur and the All Political Parties of Manipur, having been defeated in the apex court, resorted to all available political pressure on the Central leadership to allow status quo in the State to be maintained and had obtained an ordinance to that effect. What is the status quo? The existing number of reserved seats for the ST population of the State of Manipur is 19 out of the total 60 Assembly seats, which works out about 31.6% despite the fact that the ST population of the State as per the 1971 census is more than 33 per cent. This means, even in the existing set up, a fair share has not bee given to the tribals.
The tribal population in the State of Manipur as per the 1971 census stood at above 33 per cent. This percentage forms the basis of reservation of seats in the State Legislature and in Government Employment opportunities, reservation of seats in educational institutions, etc. The provisional census of the State came up with a figure of 23,89,496 with the ST population at 9,63,849, which works out to 40.33%. However, the population growth in three sub-divisions of Senapati district, namely, Mao-maram, Paomata and Purul, were found to be abnormally high with over 165% increase over the 1991 census. In view of this, the Census Commission published an estimated figure for the three sub-divisions based on the average decadal growth rate obtained in the State. The final figure of the population of Manipur as per census 2001 therefore stands at 22,91,125 out of which 8,65,478 is the ST population, constituting 37.77% (38%) of the State’s population.
Now, Article 332(3) of the Constitution of India lays down that the number of seats reserved for the Scheduled Castes or the Scheduled Tribes in the Legislative Assembly of any State shall bear, as nearly as maybe, the same proportion to the total number of seats in the Assembly as the population of the SC/ST in the State or part of the State, as the case may be, in respect of which seats are so reserved, bears to the total population of the State. Further, sub-clause (iii) of proviso I of the Guidelines and Methodology for Delimitation provides that the number of seats to be reserved for the SCs and STs in the House of the People and State Legislature Assemblies shall be re-worked out on the basis of 2001 census.
This implies that the number of seats reserved for STs in the Manipur State Assembly shall have to be increased from the existing 31.6% to around 37.77%. In numerical terms, the existing 19 seats reserved for STs needs to be increased to either 22 at 36.6% or 23 at 38.33%. In simple language, a minimum of three more seats should be added to the seats reserved for STs. The All Political Party Manipur and the State’s SPF Government dominated by the majority Meitei Community in the state, whose interests would be adversely affected by a change in the status quo, could not accept the thought of having to cede a minimum of three legislative seats to the tribals, despite their clamor for the integrity of the State. Secondly, once the changed proportion of the ST population to the State’s total population as per census 2001 is made to reflect in the composition of the State Legislature, the natural process would be to implement the changed ratio in the matter of reservations in employment, education and other governmental programmes as well.
Whereas the census 2001 figure for the State has the ST population at 37.77%, they wanted the representation of STs in the State Legislature to be frozen at 31.6% till the 2031 census, not to mention ST representation in the Government bureaucracy, educational institutions, etc. While all these reflect an unabashed communal government on the one hand, it also reveals the fact that the meitei community who have been dominating the state government of Manipur made it a point not to develop Kuki areas, knowing at the back of their minds that it does not form part of Manipur as it were, and thus not likely to remain part of it in the future. This in fact is a recognition of Kuki ownership of land by our age-old neighbors, the meitei people themselves. But how long can a people suffer such a state of discrimination, neglect and deprivation?
Deprivation, of the right to live as a people, the right to self-govern ourselves and to plan our future, the right to secure our land and people, give security of life and livelihood to our men and women, to provide welfare for our widows and orphans, those maimed and handicapped by the brutal assault on our security of life, and most importantly, the right to provide opportunities to the thousands of Kuki young boys and girls to pursue their dreams. Enough is enough! While nations of the world are competing to give the best education, the best healthcare, the most efficient social security and most suitable environment for development of entrepreneurship to its citizens, we can no longer reconcile ourselves to crumbs that fall off others’ tables. It is unfortunate that while the world is busy turning their swords into ploughshares, we have been forced to turn our ploughshares into swords, for survival comes before everything else, and the very survival of the Kukis have been threatened.
I am a Kuki chief by lineage, and used to work in a bank. My wife was in a central government service and we could have lived reasonably well. I was happily involved in the Ministry of the Kingdom besides my job at the bank. We were blessed with five wonderful children, two girls and three boys. I have five brothers, all of whom are well settled in life. My life as an individual could have been without envy. I was supposed to be contented with life, and indeed I was, till evil took over the NSCN (IM) leadership in orchestrating an outrageous genocide on innocent Kukis. Even after the slaughters began, I held on to my family, mourned the dead by taking leave from office, helped the bereaved by doling out cash and kind at my disposal. Kuki brethren knocking on my door for alms grew by the day, and as the genocide went on taking its toll unabated, the count for the dead and missing grew by the day, and the bereaved to be mourned became overwhelmingly numerous. My leave at office spent; my resources for alms and aid drying up, and sleep becoming impossible with the all-too frequent sight of suffering and misery of fellow Kukis, life had posed a question before me.
Just before the NSCN (IM) began killing innocent Kuki civilians, I had started a daily routine of fasting and praying in the mornings and my prayer used to be for Christ’s salvation to every Kuki, in Burma, Bangladesh and India, so that though deprived of our fair share on earth, the Almighty would compensate Kukis in Heaven with abundance. Days went by, weeks turning into months and months accumulating to years, with the killers of innocent Kuki women and children continuing their brutal incursions into defenceless Kuki villages. It was abundantly clear that the state authorities were either helpless or were in complicity with the murderous Brigade of the NSCN (IM) by their act of omission, if not in an act of commission. The central government was prima facie seen to be gleefully unconcerned with the gross human rights violations of its citizens (Kukis), on a flimsy pretext of law and order being a State subject, which though, as later on revealed, was not out of jurisdictional limitations or cruel indifference, but a designed oversight allowing the slaughters to continue so as to score counter points against the NSCN (IM)’s vociferous claims at International Fora, of Human rights abuse by Indian Forces in the name of counter insurgency.
In such testing circumstances, apart from seeking God’s protection, it is human to look out for forces of protection. The Kuki National Army (KNA) was in the whispers of every Kuki and tales of KNA cadets’ valiant and combat skills filled the air as Kukis, desperate for protection of their lives and properties, and disillusioned with the inaction of the Indian Government, latched their hopes onto the KNA to salvage the sinking Kuki Ship. However, the initial trail blazing days of the KNA came to a sudden halt with the regrettable assassination of its Founder Chief, Pu Thangkholun Haokip. Thereafter, I perceived the KNA falling prey to internal suspicion and potent factional killings. Pained to the core at such development, I volunteered to mediate between the rival camps in an effort to bring about a compromise and put the KNA back on track.
In the process, both sides expressed their inability to accept the leadership of the other side and urged me to lead the re-unified KNA if I was really so concerned about unity and fighting for the Kuki cause. I was stuck in a point of no retreat. I wrestled God on the developments, asking, “God, I only asked you to guide me and bless my efforts so that all Kukis see you and thereby secure a place for every Kuki in your Kingdom. I have never sought your help in establishing an earthly place for the Kukis – Why this, now?” As I struggled with myself, doubting my ability to lead a national movement and handling the huge responsibility it demands, it dawned on me slowly that without securing an earthly place, a lebensraum, for the Kukis where they peacefully worship the Lord God, securing a place for each Kuki in God’s Kingdom is a tough proposition. I took that to be God’s answer to my question to Him.
Even after I had settled the issue with God, things were never going to be easy. My wife, whom I love most dearly, asked me, “God has blessed us so abundantly, giving us both paying jobs, five lovely children, and so much more. But you decided to choose a life away from it all. Don’t you love me anymore? Or have I displeased you anyhow? Why do you have to do this while even those whose families are directly affected by the killings decided it wiser to stay away from armed movement, she asked?” My brother, who is also well settled with a good job and a family to wish for could not simply accept my decision. He told me, “You cannot take this decision on your own. You are the eldest in our family, and if you are fully convinced that the cause is worthy, I should also resign from my job and follow you.” My mother, seeing I had decided and was beyond persuasion, composed a lamentation, which in gist says,
Mine, whom I had first held on my lap,
You’ve chosen to love Motherland over me;
In the midst of petty conceit, oh, hard times,
You must be tired, my first child;
Take a mother’s blessing in your journey,
That the message of hope you preach;
Like a vine in fertile soil spread to,
All corners of our land and inspire;
When the nation’s on edge and at trial,
None came forth to stand and fight;
Why, my precious first born stallion?
Bear ye fruit, all to harvest on redemption;
May, his name spread far on the land,
Of his good judgments you guided;
May, his sweat bring rich harvests for all,
This I beseech thee, Almighty God!
To my wife, I said, ‘I am fully aware of God’s blessings in my life and I love you like I always have, and you have caused me no ill will. My decision has been taken to dedicate my life for our people and our land. This misery has to be ended and while those bereaved should fill for the deceased, God has spared us of bereavement so that I can stand up for our people. The injustice done on our people needs to be told to the world and the future of our people secured to prevent a repeat of such inhuman suffering in the hands of evil forces.
This is a brief account of my life and how I plunged into the enormous responsibility of leading our movement for a lebensraum, or exclusive space where we can live, grow and progress as a people. I do not know for sure if God has chosen me like he had chosen Moses. But I am certain of one thing, and let me be very clear on this, that the movement is not about me nor do I claim anointment by the Almighty. The movement is about ordinary Kukis who struggle daily to make ends meet coming together to shape their future, to say enough of the present imposed grim realities and to strive together for a different reality, one which they deserve as brave sons and daughters of the brave warriors of the Kuki Rising of1917-19. It is about securing their future and the future of our sons and daughters, and their future generations.
It is about securing our land for posterity, about giving the present generation of Kukis a decent, respectable and adequate means of livelihood, adequate enough to give their children the best education, decent clothing and healthy food. It is about giving to ourselves good roads, safe drinking water, good schools and a serving government that facilitate and promote our human development. It is about harnessing the brimming talent of our youth in games and sports by providing them facilities and equipments to train and refine their God-given talents and to excel in them to compete in the world arena. I am confident that this movement will succeed because it is about us, our present and future and because I am convinced that every Kuki will be part of this march if not already; it is time to realize that it is about our dignity as individuals and as a nation, about our survival, our future and the security of our land and pride for posterity.
It is to this cause that brave young men and women have joined the ranks of our national army. In situations where the self-proclaimed protectors and benefactors have failed us, these men and women in uniform have served us, keeping their life on the line for our safety, braving the cold dark nights and fighting hunger and thirst as devoted sentinels so that our women and children can sleep in peace. Their bravery and sacrifices will go down in Kuki history. I am not blind to the occasional hardships these braves cause to common Kukis and I don’t justify the hardship caused. However, as in everything else, we are at the beginning and still in the process of building ourselves, and many areas need to be systematized and fine-tuned to suit our needs and requirements. Our army is no exception. It needs to be disciplined and that needs time and also need to be preceded by providing them well. Between fighting the enemy and being pursued by the forces of the imposed government, neither of these needs can yet be met to our satisfaction.
For till such time, I implore our people to treat them as their own and give them the love and understanding they deserve for their timeless sacrifices. Then there are other brave sons and daughters of the land who are yet to see the gains of uniting under one banner in our stride towards the same goal. They still choose to trust others to help them redeem our rights. To them, I stretch my arms out wide and warm, ready to embrace them, and to take them along and walk side by side with them towards our common goal, the moment they realize the untrustworthiness of those greedy for our land, the moment they realize how beautiful it is in the sight of God when brothers unite, the moment they realize the times are no longer for petty pursuits. Even as they are now, I salute their commitment and valour for the cause of the nation, which I do not doubt.
These men and women are but the flag bearers. Left to themselves, they cannot take us to our common destination. They need the full and unstinting support of every Kuki living in every part of the world. A revolution is not about an armed group of people effecting change by use of force. It is about the masses marching for change under directions laid out by visionary leaders and an armed group of volunteers giving protection to them and their cause. These are tough times in the life of our nation, and tough times call for tough decision towards unity. We can no longer afford to dwell on our petty differences. The toughest of times often are the most defining moments for a nation.
Our defining moment in history has come. It is not the time for small plans and illusions of petty, divisive and exclusive welfare. It is not the time to indulge in petty squabbles over what we should call ourselves. History has people refer to us as Kukis and that is what the world has known us to be, and that is the only basis for our claim over our land and heritage. Everyone of our tribesmen represented in alphabetical order from A-Z: Aimol, Anal … Vaiphei and Zou need to come and join this march to carve a place for ourselves on the face of the earth by resurrecting Zale’n-gam, our God-given ancestral land and its rich heritage, and to take it forward to become a respected member in the comity of nations.
From the inception of the Kuki National Organisation in 1988, there has been unceasing endeavour to fulfil the ideology of Zale’n-gam, which is to reunite the entire Kuki people, both ‘Old Kuki’ and ‘New Kuki’ and also restore the territorial integrity of Kuki ancestral lands divided by the British between India and Burma, consequent to the Kuki Rising of 1917-1919. As president of KNO, I am pleased to extend heartfelt felicitations to Kuki National Front (Military Council), Kuki National Front (Zogam), United Socialist Revolutionary Army (Vaiphei and Simte), Zomi Revolutionary Front (Paite), United Komrem Revolutionary Army (Aimol, Chiru, Kom, Purum, Koireng/Kolhen and Kharam), Zou Defence Volunteer and Hmar National Army for taking an unprecedented step to come together as one people of Zale’n-gam, particularly in order that we may achieve our desired political objectives. In July 2007, two more groups were added: Kuki Liberation Army (Manipur) and Kuki Liberation Army (Assam).
Today, in 2008, with the ground-breaking event of the United Old Kuki Liberation Army (Khoipu, Anal Maring etc) and the Kuki Revolutionary Front (Unification) also joining the groups sharing the KNO umbrella, the total number has risen to a formidable twelve. The unity of the Kuki people engendered by the ideology of Zale’n-gam is the first of its kind in the last fifty-plus years. When we shall have our land to ourselves, we would have bid bye to the unwieldy systems imposed on us. We shall resurrect our traditional systems with necessary improvements to suit our needs, our developmental and progressive requirements. Each village, under the titular headship of the traditional chief, would govern their affairs through the village council elected by the villagers. The Kuki government will provide assistance financially as well as with other resources needed for such activities that are not sufficiently available in the village. The virus of tribe recognition that has crippled our unity shall be erased, for we shall be grantors of recognition to other minorities in our state, not seekers of recognition.
We will only need our individual names to avail all benefits, which shall be given to each of us by our own government, in the truest sense of equality of rights and of opportunities. A new beginning shall dawn, when we rid our land and life of the ills thrust upon by the pretender governors of our land and build our lives, our institutions, our infrastructure needs, our economy and our reality by our own design and to suit our own needs. Towards that new dawn where our nightmares become distant memories, towards that new beginning when we can prepare our future rather than repair our past, I urge you and every Kuki to add to the voice of our movement by sharing the vision, by adding to the vision, and by taking it forward till we reach that cherished goal and celebrate our coming into being.
The KNO resolves to resurrect the sovereignty of Zale’n-gam from the imposed regimes of the governments of India, Burma and Bangladesh. These countries do not have the right to rule over our people. The tragedy of the past decade of the 1990s is sufficient evidence to manifest the plight of the Kukis that have occurred under the governments concerned. The governments mentioned above have replaced the previous subjugation by the British of our people. In retrospect, it is only right for the Kukis to believe that after the departure of the British; they should have been left alone to decide their own destiny, independent of others.
It is also fair to underline that for over sixty years the Kukis have meekly and optimistically integrated with the respective countries they have been included into. The result of that period is abysmal, looking at the Kuki people and their status today! Taking all things into consideration, if the three governments have an iota of self-respect then, in the name of democracy, they must hasten to support the cause of the Kuki people for self-determination, rather than stall their progress.
The writer is the President of Kuki National Organisation.