Rape of the Naga Nation
Sexual violence has been used as a weapon of war. When a kingdom or a nation falls; the victor takes control of its wealth and health. The city will be destroyed and plundered; old men will be slaughtered, young men will be captured and enslaved, while women will be literally raped to show the supremacy of the victors and shame the loser. Rape is used to defame a nation and its honour; disgracing a women’s body is the last straw over a defeat of any community. Histories like “The Battle of Troy”, “Ramayana”, “Sino-Japanese war”, “Sodom and Gomorra” are all associated with women; their honour and disgrace. Even in Naga politics, a warrior who takes the head of a woman was honoured for his bravery because women were well protected and secured from the invaders.
The Rape on the Naga nation began with the coming of the Ahoms and was followed by the Britishers who trespassed into the virgin Naga habitat. The British destroyed and plundered the wealth and culture of the Naga nation. Even before the Nagas could recover from the shock of the British infiltration, the Naga nation was brought under India who occupied the land and set the people under the mercy of its mighty Army. Thus the Indian Army not only destroyed the resources available with the Naga people but literally killed the menfolk and raped the womenfolk bringing shame not only to the Naga nation but to whole India. Till today, the rape on the Naga nation continues both materially, physically and psychologically. So much that it is demoralizing to know even our own blood have learned the alien culture and rape has become rampant in the Naga society today.
Why rape an issue here? The laws to tackle the rapist have not been amply competent in preventing the possible rape from recurring again. What actions have been taken to all those rapist in the past? Where are they now? What have been done to them? It seems that our law does not track the case of the rapist till the end. After the rape have been occurred, there will be lot of protest and condemnations, but soon afterwards nobody cares to know the whereabouts of the rapist; his final state. Most of our laws are too insignificant when it comes to dealing with the rapist. The accused were either asked to marry the victim or compensate the victim and her family in cash or kind or both – the price for sex (Payment for sex with penalty because done without a license. Does it not amount to public prostitution? We must stop this practice). This might have emboldened even the petty illegal migrants to beat up the man and rape the woman on the night of 6/2 in our own land thinking that they can go scot free if they pay up when caught. Rape is a crime and even if the accuser is willing to marry the victim, the law should be allowed to take its own course to discourage the crime. Crime is a crime and action must be taken not only as a punishment to the accused but also to show as an exemplary response for any potential recurrences. The rape and atrocities experienced by the womenfolk of the North East Region in metro cities of the country continues to haunt the victims, their families and all of us. Now people are anxious to send their children outside the state and especially those having young girls. Raping our women in the cities alone were not enough that it have reached even to our door steps and just in front our eyes.
Should we keep quite because it has not happened in my family? Not in my neighbourhood? Not even belonged to my tribe? Dear Naga menfolks, if we cannot protect the sanctity of our womenfolk than there is nothing for us to protect. The Naga Nation is being defiled everyday; our Nation has not only been conquered materially by the invaders but our conscience is also subjugated by the alien culture. So much so that even the migrants are now deliberately dominating our bodies. Where is our glory and pride my dear fellow Nagas? We have become too vulnerable to everyone. If this act goes on unabated then the time is not far when we will have to respond like Lot (…I have two daughters who have never known any men, you can do as you wish to them but please leave these guests alone.…). If we are not going to tackle this problem once and for all now, than a time will come when we have to say; “take our daughters they are all virgins. You do to them as you wish but please leave us alone”…. Oh God, I would rather not live to see those disgraceful days.
Tokato K. Yeptho
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