I-Day debut for Naga emblem

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By OUR CORRESPONDENT in Kohima
  • Published 29.06.05
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Kohima, June 29: Nagaland will officially replace the national Ashoka emblem with one of its own on Independence Day.

Official sources said the state government had another date in mind, Republic Day, in the event of the emblem not being introduced on August 15.

The cabinet last week decided to replace the Ashoka emblem with one depicting symbols of Naga culture and, more importantly, with the word ?unity? above the state?s name. The explanatory note states that the indigenous entities in the emblem represent the current political set-up ?as a strong and vibrant government having its roots in the people?.

Designed by 23-year-old Merimvu Duolo, who owns the designer graphics shop Duolo?s Art Villa, the emblem was completed in 15 days. ?I had to work really hard to make it in a fortnight, after which the chief minister introduced the words ?unity? and ?Nagaland?,? the artist said.

An indigenous species of bison called mithun (Bos frontalis), symbolising wealth and status, dominates the emblem. It is perched on a logdrum and surrounded by other Naga symbols. ?The shield forming the background, originally used for defence by Naga warriors, speaks of the inherent trait of the Nagas to defend and protect their land and all the things that form a part of their lives,? says the accompanying note.

The initial reactions to the emblem have been good. Naga Students Federation vice-president Elu Ndang said the emblem was indicative of the uniqueness of Naga traditions. Government officials, too, said they were pleased to see the traditional motifs.

I. Imkong, leader of the Congress Legislature Party, said, ?It is a good move. But several other states also have their own symbols. So too much should not be read into the move.?

However, a source said the move was certainly aimed at sending a message to the Centre about the desire of the Naga people to come together under a single administrative umbrella. ?The timing tells it all,? he said.