A Brief Life Sketch of Rev. Merhupfu Kent, former President, Naga National Council (NNC)

The Reverend Merhupfu Kent, son of Mr. Gwanhon Kent was born on April 5th, 1913 at Tsemenyu of Rengma land. He studied at the Kohima Bible School in 1942-44 following which he served as the Evangelist to the Rengma region during 1945-46. The American Baptist Mission then appointed him by paying a salary of Rs 10/-(rupees ten only) per month and posted him at Kontsunyu as the Evangelist from 1946 to 1949. The ordination took place on the 12th December 1949 at Phenwhenyu Baptist Church by the American Baptist Missionary Rev. Anderson and thus Rev. M Kent became a full time minister of the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, the calling to which he remained faithful all his life.    When the Naga national awakening began gathering momentum, he was appointed as the chaplain of the Naga Home Guards on 15th June 1956. He was then elevated to the post of Nagaland Head Chaplain on 15th March 1960. He held this position of serving the Lord in the national polity from March 1960 to April 1973. Then the need arose and he was called upon by the Federal Government of Nagaland (FGN) to perform national duty in another sphere by being elected as the Vice President, the Kedahllo, of FGN on 24th April 1973. He rendered dedicated service in this capacity under the guidance of Mr. Zashei Huire, President-the Kedahge, of Federal Govt. of Nagaland.

After sometimes, the Federal Govt. of Nagaland decided to send a delegation on a mission of outmost importance to main land China and Kedahllo Rev. Merhupfu Kent was made a member. But on 17th January 1975, the group was ambushed on route by the Indian Army and he was captured along with some companions. In the process some were martyred and the rest injured some physically, but everyone psychologically. So he came to be incarcerated in the Nowgaon jail. Upon the signing of Shillong Accord on 11th November 1975 by some leaders of the Federal Government of Nagaland, the Nagaland State Governor’s Advisor Mr. Zopianga came over to Nowgaon jail and declared; “if you append your signature to the effect of your approval to the Shillong Accord, you will be set free from jail”, but Rev. M Kent declined to sign. Latter on, he was ultimately released unconditionally on 5th June 1976. The stepping down of Mr. Khadao Yanthan from the Naga National Council Presidentship paved the way for the election of Rev. Merhupfu Kent was a man of impeccable integrity and had firm national convictions and the kind of patriotism that never ever flinches. But even for one endowed with such virtues, age with all its encumbrances had to be accounted for; and so by the end of 2002 he retired from NNC Presidentship. After keeping indifferent health for over two years or so, he went to be with the Lord on the 8th September 2006 and his mortal remains were laid to rest on the 9th September 2006 at 2pm at Zisunyu (Tsemenyu Basa). His sojourn on planet earth was 93 years. By his demise, the last surviving Reverend to have been ordained first hand by the American Baptist Missionaries had passed on, heralding the end of an eventful chapter.

Multitudes of Rengma leaders from all walks of life, specially the church, flocked in to pay their last respects befitting the true son of the soil. Included in the milling crowd of mourners were his comrades Gen. Thinoselie M Keyho, his lady wife and some leaders of the Angami Regional Council, NNC sharing the grief with the near and dear ones. One ever faithful in following Jesus Christ and a most senior staunch stalwart of the Naga National cause is no more. However, the achievement as well as the noble precepts and examples he left behind shall be cherished for all time to come. May the assurance of him resting at his eternal Home bring peace to us all    

Zapuvisie Lhousa 
Member Naga National Council