The World War-I Sumi Naga Labor Corps Association, under the aegis of Sumi Hoho, the apex body of Sumi Nagas, celebrated centenary at Zunheboto Town Hall in Zunheboto district of Nagaland on Saturday, marking a momentous occasion in Sumi Naga tribe history.
The media affairs of Sumi Hoho in a press release on Sunday said the centenary celebration was a momentous occasion in the Sumi history.
One hundred years back, Kuhoi Zhimomi Sema Naga (Sukhai) assisted by Hekikhe Awomi (Surumi) led 2000 Nagas, designated as 21st Naga Labor Corps, formed an expeditionary force to assist the allies’ war effort in the European theatre of WW-I.
Of the 2000 Nagas, 1000 were Sema Nagas while 1000 other Nagas were from Lotha tribe (400), Ao (200), Rengma (200), Chang and other trans-frontier tribes (200), the release said.
It said the Sumi community celebrated the centenary to honour and pay homage to their forefathers who courageously embarked overseas to assist the allied forces and in memories of those who never returned home.
“This chapter in Naga history should always be remembered for awakening a sense of Naga identity,” the release added.
In his address, Sumi Hoho president Hekhushe Shikhu gave a synopsis of how the centenary celebration was planned and organised taking the collective thoughts of Sumi Nagas at large and the descendants of the Sumi Labor Corps.
The programme was attended by more than 2000 invitees and descendants of the Sumi Naga Labor Corps.
A number of resolutions were adopted by a resolution committee during the celebrations.
One of the resolutions said the Sümi Hoho recognises the heroic, historic and legendary Sumi (Sema) Naga Labour Corps with pride who fearlessly and sacrificially took part in the World War I in foreign land and honours their noble services in the war that changed the global history of mankind.
“We honour and acknowledge the role they played in awakening the consciousness of Naga identity,” it said.
According to another resolution, the concept of Naga political consciousness “certainly evolved from the experience of the Labor Corps exposure to overseas during the war which in turn inspired the Naga elders of that era to an agreed concept of the Naga nationalism that was ultimately inscribed in the Naga Club memorandum subsequently submitted to the Simon Commission of the British India on the 10th of January 1929”.