ON THE INAUGURATION OF THE STATE OF NAGALAND
Dr. S. Radhakrishnan, President of India
DECEMBER 1, 1963
I have great pleasure in inaugurating the new State of Nagaland. It takes an honoured place today as the Sixteenth State of the Indian Union. Indian society has always been a multi-lingual, multi-racial and multi-religious one, having a variety of racial and ethnic groups –
Kirata huna’ndhra pulinda pukkasha
Abhira kanka yavanah khasadayah
Though diverse in origin, all these different communities were united by a common purpose. In accord with the traditional outlook of our country, ever since the achievement of Independence, attempts have been made, as your Chief Minister has just said, to see a separate Naga State within the Indian Union. These attempts to secure to you the fullest freedom to manage your own affairs have culminated in the creation of Nagaland State.
The Constitution (Thirteenth Amendment) Act, 1962, setting up the new State of Nagaland, provides that no Act of Parliament in respect of –
- Religious or social practices of the Nagas,
- Naga customary law and procedure,
- Administration of civil and criminal justice involving decisions according to the Naga customary law, and
- Ownership and transfer of land and its resources,
shall apply to the new state unless the Legislative Assembly of Nagaland by a resolution so decides. This way, the Constitution respects your distinctive identity.
The Fundamental Rights enshrined in our Constitution, such as equality before law, prohibition of discrimination on grounds of religion, race, caste, sex or place of birth, equality of opportunity in matters of public employment, freedom of conscience and free profession, practice and propagation of religion will apply to the people of Nagaland.
The rule of law and government by the consent of the governed are essence of democracy. Government must be the custodian of the general welfare of its people and not of any special interest. The Government must capture the hearts and minds of the people. The administrators must exercise the human, the healing touch in their relations with the people and should not deprive the Naga of their innocent joys, their songs and dances, their feasts and festivals which are not repugnant to our moral sense.
The special powers vested in the Governor to maintain law and order will cease to apply in the absence of any internal unrest. It is my profound hope that the people of Nagaland will whole-heartedly work under the Constitution and help to build up a prosperous and progressive State.
You have not only the qualities of loyalty, valour and discipline but also the habits of industry, an innate sense of beauty and artistic skill. Your women occupy prominent position in the Tribal Councils, etc. You have also proved your ability as civil administrators in more recent times.
The resources of Nagaland, limited as they are, will have to be developed to the fullest extent and yet there may be need for Central assistance for purposes of development and administration. I am sure this assistance will be available for the Naga people in full measure. Considerable progress has already been made in agriculture, education, health services, communications, etc., but the pace of development will have to be speeded up. I have no doubt that whatever money is provided by the Centre will be spend for the welfare of the people of Nagland. I do hope that the Naga people will take the fullest advantage of the fresh opportunities afforded to them and share in the building up of prosperity and progress in the country. We are still at the beginning of a new era and much hard work lies ahead. But nothing can stem the tide of progress of India if 450 million people are determined to achieve it by hard work, discipline and determination.
May I also express the hope that, now that the wishes of the Nagas have been fully met, normal conditions will rapidly return to the State, and those who are still unreconciled will come forward to participate in the development of Nagaland. The highest position in the country is open to every Naga: in the Parliament, in the Central Cabinet and in the various services, military and civil.
Understanding and friendship help to build a society where hatred and violence tend to disrupt it. Let us avoid the latter and adopt the former. On this auspicious day I make an appeal to all the Naga people: let all past rancour and misunderstanding be forgotten and let a new chapter of progress, prosperity and goodwill be written on the page which opens today. I once again say that a bright future awaits the brave people of Nagaland.
DECEMBER 1, 1963
SOURCE: President Radhakrishnan’s speeches and writings, May 1964-May 1967 by Radhakrishnan, S. (Sarvepalli), 1888-1975 -Publications Division, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Govt. of India