Described by Jawaharlal Nehru as the ‘Rani of the Nagas,’ in 1937; given a tamrapatra as a freedom fighter in 1972; awarded a Padma Bhushan in 1981; honoured with a stamp in her memory in 1994. Who’s she?
Chances are 99 out of 100 people across India will not be able to name her. Rani
Gaidinliu’s fame after all dates back to 1932 when--as a 16 year old--she
evaded the British forces for a year before being captured and sentenced to life
imprisonment. She was freed only after India became independent. Today, her name
is a faint memory even in the Northeast, thanks mainly to the Hindutva brigade
which claims her as their own since she opposed the ‘Christian’ Naga
separatists in the early 1960s. It will however be an insult to confine
Gaidinliu to any particular camp or ideology. She was first and foremost a
champion of her own people, the Zeliangrong tribe comprising Rongmei (Kabuis),
Liangmei and Zemei (Kacha Nagas) groups, inhabiting the Tamenlong district...