Rano M Shaiza, Nagaland’s first and so far only woman MP, died in Kohima on Wednesday. Elected to the sixth Lok Sabha in 1977, Rano Shaiza was 86 and is survived by two daughters and a son.
Born in 1928, she was the first Naga woman to study science after passing out of school. Her father, Sevilie Iralu, was the third Naga doctor while her mother, Vitulie-ii Iralu, was a sister of A Z Phizo, founder of the Naga separatist movement. Shaiza worked as a teacher before entering politics, in the process founding the Naga Mothers’ Association that worked for prohibition.
She was also the first president of the Naga Women’s Federation of the Naga National Council, and was imprisoned for 19 months during the early period of the Naga movement in the 1960s. She served as president of the United Democratic Party in a state where women hardly get space in politics.
When she entered the Lok Sabha, it was by defeating then Congress CM Hokishe Sema. Shaiza’s brother-in-law Yangmasho Shaiza (former Manipur CM) and husband Lungshim Shaiza were assassinated by the NSCN in 1984 and 1990 respectively. She helped organise a peace meeting between then PM Morarji Desai and her uncle Phizo.