In continuation with the government’s emphasis to build bridge with the North-East, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has instructed all his ministers to visit North-East at least twice every year and take up issues related to their ministries. This was revealed by Home Minister Rajnath Singh at Vigyan Bhawan in Delhi on Monday morning at the inaugural function of the birth centenary celebrations of Rani Gaidinliu, a legendary freedom fighter from Nagaland.
The event was inaugurated by the Prime Minister, in the presence of Finance Minister Arun Jaitely, Culture Minister Mahesh Sharma, DONER Minister Jitendra Singh, Nagaland and Assam Governor PB Acharya, Manipur Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh and Nagaland CM TR Zeliang.
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On the occasion, the PM also issued commemorative coin of hundred rupees and circulation coin of five rupees on Rani Gaidinliu.
Referring to her as Rani-maa, Modi said that it is our misfortune that people such as Rani Gaidinliu have either not been remembered adequately, or have been deliberately forgotten. He credited her with spreading the message of Mahatma Gandhi in the North-East, thereby connecting the thoughts of the rest of India with the North-East.
When Nagaland CM complained that the school textbooks in India have no mention of Rani Gaidinliu and other freedom fighters from the North-East in the history of India’s freedom struggle, Home Minister Rajnath Singh said that historians have not done justice to Rani Gaidinliu and the government is now considering to include a chapter on her contribution to India’s freedom struggle in the educational curriculum. Singh said the recent peace accord with the NSCN (IM) takes forward the dream of Rani-maa of securing peace and stability in the region.
DONER Minister Jitendra Singh said that as a tribute to Rani Gaidinliu, his ministry has allocated Rs 983 lakh for setting up a Library-cum-Museum in Kohima dedicated to her. He added that the DoNER Ministry has recently introduced DoNER At Door-step experiment, wherein a Camp Secretariat of DoNER Ministry is held by rotation in each of the eight States of Northeast for the redressal of problems of the people.
Rani Gaidinliu was a Naga spiritual leader of the Heraka faith who led a revolt against British colonial rule in India. She was born on 26 January 1915 at a small village in Manipur. At the age of 13, she became part of a political movement to uproot the British from Manipur and the nearby Naga-inhabited area. She was arrested in 1932 by the British authorities, and was released from jail after 14 years when India won independence in 1947. She passed away in 1993. The function began with a musical performance by the Nagaland choir in the praise of Rani Gaidinliu.
Meanwhile, some Christian groups in Nagaland are opposing the eulogising of Rani Gaidinliu by the NDA government. The Nagaland Baptist Church Council (NBCC) has said in a statement that at no point in history had Nagas ever acknowledged or attributed Rani Gaidinliu as their spiritual leader. NBCC General Secretary Zelhou Keyho said that christianity in general and the overwhelming Naga Christians in particular, had at no point of time ever considered any human equal to God, except Christ. He added that even in the days before advent of Christianity, Nagas were never Hindus nor was Heraka their traditional religion.