ZOMI NAM NI 2021
20th February 2021, Lamka
Zomi Nam Ni Chibai to all my fellow Zomis in different parts of the world. At the outset of this auspicious day of the 73rd Zomi Nam Ni, 2021. I humble myself with thanksgiving to the Almighty God who has led us this far in our journey.
Dear respected Zomi tribe leaders, leaders of Zomi frontal organisations, my fellow Zomi national workers, and my Zomi brothers and sisters, this Zomi Nam Ni, today, I will not go into the history of our movement. There is much to say on it, however, we have said it often and many a times in the past. Instead, I would like to share a few thoughts with you all on the state of our nation and some issues concerning our future. They are some of my reflections on matters that concern us all as a people, as a nation.
The theme for this year’s Zomi Nam Ni is ‘Onward Zomi Nation’. What we wanted to convey through this theme is the message of steadfastness and perseverance. To march forth; March ahead bravely. It goes without saying that we still have a long way to go.
Last year, around February-March, the world suddenly got engulfed by an unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic. Even as we battled the pandemic, it affected our economy severely. With God’s grace and the tireless efforts of our health workers, we Zomis did not lose as many lives to the virus as it was the case in many parts of the world. However, it has posed a serious challenge to many families. Thousands of our youth working or studying outside have returned home now. Many of them have lost their jobs.
The COVID-19 pandemic made me reflect on many issues.
- Firstly, it made me realise that Zomis are a people who will stand by one another in times of crisis. It was overwhelming to see the kind of selfless support people were giving to their fellow beings during this pandemic. The way we worked together, helped each other, dedicated their days and nights collectively fighting the pandemic in various capacities – all these are a testimony that we are ready to face any challenge if we stand
- Second, it also made me rethink on the state of our socio-economic conditions. That despite the many progress we have made in the past, there is a lot more to do to uplift our fellow Zomi brothers and sisters to a more decent standard of living, good health and better livelihoods. How do we encourage the positive use of available technologies for the betterment and development of our people and land? How can we work together to solve some of the pressing socio-economic issues of the day? It is my earnest appeal to everyone, and especially to our Zomi youth, who are the future of our nation, to work hard, to explore possibilities for solutions to the many challenges we are facing, to bring back what you have learned outside and to excel in any field of your pursuit. This could be in the field of education, sports, music and the arts, business or any
- Thirdly, the pandemic reaffirmed the thought that we Zomis love Zogam the most. We may work and live, study in different cities and countries, but we are all concerned about issues affecting our homeland. We all wanted to come back when faced with this pandemic. This is the only place on earth we can call our
Still in the midst of a pandemic, our fellow Zomi in Eastern Zogam, along with the people of Myanmar have been on the streets fighting for their rights to have a government of their choice. I would like to express our sincere support and solidarity with them. Installation of a full democracy in Myanmar has always been one of our objectives. Our decision to denounce autocratic rule and adopt democratic principles as a free nation is, in fact, the hallmark of Zomi Nam Ni.
In Western Zogam, the ZRO/ZRA has been under the Suspension of Operation (SoO) with the Government of India since 2005. In 2008, the tripartite SoO was signed with Government of India and Government of Manipur. After a decade, the Government of India under the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) appointed an interlocutor and initiated political dialogue in 2017. The peace process continues and talks are on for a political settlement. May God grant us the wisdom and courage to stand firm and fight for what is rightfully ours as we inch closer towards a political solution.
Our Zomi movement has been beset with many challenges in the past. Instances such as the COVID-19 pandemic and the recent Military government in Myanmar are external events that has come to affect the Zomi with a serious, severe magnitude. In such trying times, the question is how do Zomis work together or respond to such situations? I believe it is also a test of our moral strength, our ability to stand as one and fight collectively.
Zomis are blessed wherever we may be – in Western Zogam or Eastern Zogam or in USA, Australia, Europe, and other parts of the world, we have progress immensely. But we have many more mountains to cover before we can rest.
There are many issues that require urgent attention in Zogam. Our young workforce need decent employment opportunities and jobs. We need to explore innovative ways of job creation and improving our local economy. The state of our forests and environment – the decreasing forest cover, the drying streams and rivers. These are God’s gift to us and it our duty to protect and preserve them.
ZRO is also deeply concerned about the growing instances of anti-social elements in Western Zogam, disturbing the peace in and around Lamka. We have lost one precious life recently to fringe elements operating in this area. I would like to urge everyone to fight against such elements.
However, all these can be addressed when we are united and clear about our political objectives. Unity is our strength. Despite the many obstacles, let us not lose sight of our political goal. Without these two – unity and clarity of purpose – we will falter at the slightest challenge.
I am affirmative that the ceaseless prayers of Zomi prayer warriors will not go in vain. As we long for peace and reconciliation, it is important to understand that unforgiving hearts, hatred, pride and prejudices are impediments to peace in society. The Organisation is always open to peace and reconciliation. We issued general amnesty when our house were burnt to ashes. And today, we repeatedly stated our stand on peaceful solution within and outside the Organisation.
Dear Zomi brothers and sisters, this Zomi Nam Ni, let us be resolute in our commitment in the true spirit of Zophualva’s loyalty and fellowship. We have overcome innumerable challenges working against our collective aspiration and what we have achieved thus far is a testimony our commitment to the values and cause of the Zomi.
Today, we also express our deepest respect and gratitude for our brave Zomi national workers who have sacrificed their precious lives for the cause of our vision. It is my earnest prayer that their supreme sacrifice do not go in vain and that is our collective responsibility to carry on the torch they lit for us.
It is my solemn conviction that God is leading us to Freedom: Freedom from fear, hatred and oppression. His unseen Hand is present in all our circumstances in the past.
As we observe the 73rd Zomi Nam Ni, where our forefathers had – from the debris of the coloniser’s act of fragmentation – proclaimed to the world the indestructible bond of the Zomi and our existence as a nation, I believe that the spirit of Zomi Nam Ni is strengthening the thread that binds us, though we have been ethnified by arbitrary demarcations.
Zomi Nam Ni Chibai! For Truth and Freedom!
Zomi Re-Unification Organisation