Neiliezhü Üsou

Neiliezhü Üsou
Rev. Dr. Neiliezhü Üsou
Born July 7, 1941(1941-07-07)
Nerhema Village, Kohima District, then Assam, British India
Died January 30, 2009(2009-01-30) (aged 67)
Kohima, Nagaland, India
Organization Angami Baptist Church Council[1]
Religion Christianity
Denomination Baptist
Spouse Rüülhou-ü Üsou
Children Seven

Bharat Jyoti Award (2000), International Gold Star Award (2001),

Jawaharlal Nehru Excellence Award (2001)[2]

Rev. Dr. Neiliezhü Üsou (July 7, 1941 – January 30, 2009) was an influential Baptist preacher, theologian, Church musician, Music teacher and composer from the North-Eastern state of India, Nagaland.[3] He belonged to the Angami Naga tribe and hailed from Nerhema Village[4] in Kohima district, Nagaland, India. He was well known for his interpretive skills, powerful sermons and involvement with the State Government.


Early life and education

Rev. Dr. Neiliezhü Üsou, son of Putsolie Üsou, GB (Gaon Bura), Nerhema village,[5] in Kohima District, was born on July 7, 1941. He did his early schooling from the village Lower Primary School. He came from a Non Christian family but was inspired to become a missionary by witnessing Rev. B. I. Anderson, an American Missionary, and his wife playing Piano Accordion during their visit to Nerhema Village Baptist Church in 1951 led by Kenneth Kerhüo. He took water baptism on March 13, 1953, from Rev. Kevizelie.[6]

Rev. Dr. Neiliezhü Üsou conducting Eastern Theological College (ETC) Choir, 1962.

He joined the Naga National Movement and went underground for sometime. He resurfaced and continued his schooling in Government High School, Kohima. He joined the Eastern Theological College (ETC),[7] Jorhat, Assam and did his Bachelor of Theology (B. Th) from 1960 to 1964. Seeing his interest in Music he was sent to Leonard Theological College (LTC),[8] Jabalpur, Madhya Pradesh by an American Missionary, Dr. Frederick S. Downs,[9] where he did his Religious Education in Church Music from 1964 to 1965.

Neiliezhü Üsou joined Baptist English School, Kohima as teacher for sometime and married the youngest daughter of Rev. Zhapuzhülie Sekhose, Rüülhou-ü, on December 18, 1965, at the age of 24.


Neiliezhü Üsou and his wife Rüülhou-ü have seven children: three sons and four daughters.[10] They have two daughters-in-law, one son-in-law and eight grandchildren. Most of the children are involved in Christian Ministry.

Rev. Dr. Neiliezhü Üsou with family on Christmas Day, 2008.


Angami Baptist Church Council (ABCC)

After his theological studies he joined the Angami Baptist Church Council (ABCC) as Superintendent of Mission Hostel under ABCC from 1966 to 1968 and also in 1971. He also served as Youth Director of ABCC in 1968, 1971 and as Youth Promoter in 1972. He started Nagaland Christian Youth Movement (NCYM) in 1970 and Angami Youth Gospel Team (AYGT) in 1971 as the Director respectively.

The ABCC gave him license in 1974 and in 1975 he was appointed as Evangelist-at-Large and held the same post till 1977. He was the Vice President of the ABCC during 1987 to 1989.[11]

Nagaland Baptist Church Council (NBCC)

Rev. Dr. Neiliezhü Üsou was the first Honorary Youth Director of Nagaland Baptist Church Council (NBCC) in 1972 and actively participated in the Billy Graham Crusade held in Kohima the same year.[12][13]

He became the Liaison Committee Member of Nagaland Peace Council (NPC)[14] under the aegis of NBCC from 1975 till 2009.[15]

He led the Naga Choir as a Choir Director to India Youth for Christ (YFC) convention in 1975 at Kolkata.[16]

He along with other members of Nagaland Peace Council (NPC) met the then Prime Minister of India, Mrs. Indira Gandhi, and Home Minister, Shri. Giani Zail Singh, in October 1979 at the Prime Minister’s Office, New Delhi in connection with peace work in Nagaland.[17]

He actively took part in the movement spearheaded by Nagaland Baptist Church Council for total liquor prohibition in Nagaland which finally culminated in the Government of Nagaland passing the Nagaland Liquor Total Prohibition Act (NLTP) in 1989 in the Nagaland State Legislative Assembly.[18][19]

He attended the 16th Baptist World Alliance (BWA) Congress at Seoul, South Korea from August 14 to 18, 1990. He was among the 370 Ordained ministers from 149 countries to take part in Mass Baptism at the Olympic rowing competition site in Misari Regatta, where 10,000 (ten thousand) candidates received water baptism.[20]

Rev. Dr. Neiliezhü Üsou (extreme right) taking part in the BWA Mass Baptism at Misari Regatta, Seoul, South Korea, 1990.

Council of Baptist Churches in North East India (CBCNEI)

In 1974 he was sent by the Council of Baptist Churches in Northeast India (CBCNEI) to Arunachal Pradesh (Indian state bordering China) to conduct two weeks music seminar. Incidentally Arunachal Pradesh was famous for Christian persecution during those days. He successfully carried out the dangerous mission trip. He conducted music classes in the afternoons and Bible studies in the evenings.

School of Music

He established the first Government approved institute for Music studies in Nagaland, the School of Music, Kohima, on August 13, 1969, which has been producing many amateur musicians and Church Pianists. The School now has Voice, Violin, Piano, Saxophone, Drums and Conducting departments under the music exam boards of ABRSM (the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music) & Trinity Guildhall, London.[21] He did (Condensed Piano Course) from Kolkata in 1972 to equip himself better.[22]

Ministers’ Hill Baptist Church (MHBC)

Rev. Dr. Neiliezhü Üsou speaking at the Ministers' Hill Baptist Church (MHBC), 2003.

He was installed as full time Pastor on October 1, 1978, at Ministers’ Hill Baptist Church (MHBC),[23] located at a hillock named Ministers’ Hill Colony because it quarters Government Ministers.[24] He successfully completed twenty five years as full time pastor and was conferred the title of Senior Pastor during the Silver Jubilee celebration held on October 12, 2003, attended by many Church leaders and believers from various Churches including the State Chief Minister, Shri. Neiphiu Rio. The same evening a musical concert was organized to honour him. He opened the concert singing his favourite song “His Eye Is on the Sparrow”. Many local musicians and veteran singers participated.

Rev. Dr. Neiliezhü Üsou singing His Eye Is on the Sparrow at a musical concert to honour him, October 12, 2003.

He was ordained on December 20, 1981, at Ministers’ Hill Baptist Church (MHBC) and celebrated twenty five years as ordained minister on December 20, 2006. During his Pastorship the Church grew from strength to strength, the Church managed school Ministers’ Hill Baptist English School was alleviated to Higher Secondary level, Ministers’ Hill Baptist Higher Secondary School (MHBHSS), in 1998.[25][26] The Church and the School has been producing many theologians and missionaries. His dream project “The new church building” was completed and dedicated by him on December 22, 2002.

The Royal British Legion (RBL)

Royal British Legion Remembrance Day Service marking the 60th anniversary of the Second World War, Kohima War Cemetery, October 15, 2005.

He served as Officiating Chaplain of the Royal British Legion (RBL) from 1994 till 2009.[27]

Kohima is famous for the battle (the Battle of Kohima) between the British and Japanese during the Second World War. The slained soldiers of Britain, India and Nagaland are buried in Kohima War Cemetery.[28][29] Every three years the relatives and war survivors from the United Kingdom visit Kohima for memorial services where he conduct these solemn occasions.[30]

Rev. Dr. Neiliezhü Üsou (second from right) with Lady Keiko Holmes OBE (middle) at Kohima War Cemetery, November 11, 2002.

He chaired the Remembrance Day Service along with some Agape[31] members from Japan led by Lady Keiko Holmes, recipient of OBE, working for reconciliation on November 11, 2002, at Kohima War Cemetery.[32][33]


He plays several musical instruments with the piano Accordion as his favourite. He formed his family musical band christened Üsou’s Instrumental Praise in 2002, where he plays piano Accordion; his three sons on piano, saxophone, acoustic and bass guitar, Hawaiian guitar, drum and a daughter on violin and cello. They are considered to be the only musical family in Nagaland and they perform in different concerts, government functions and Churches.[34]

Rev. Dr. Neiliezhü Üsou playing a vintage German piano Accordion (the Weltmeister Meteor 96 Bass), 2004.

Rev. Dr. Neiliezhü Üsou was a composer and has composed many songs, including few theme songs which are sung by the respective members on appropriate and specific occasions.


He conducted several Revival Crusades in Nagaland and was also invited to a number of such crusades and Churches to speak.

Rev. Dr. Neiliezhü Üsou interpreting Billy Kim at the Nagas 90' Celebration in Kohima Local Ground, 1990.

He is considered to be one of the best interpreter in Nagaland. He has interpreted renowned preachers including Dr. Billy Kim,[35] Dr. Frederick S. Downs and Roger Houstma.[36] His interpretive skill was marked by speed, accuracy and enthusiasm.

Governmental engagements

Rev. Dr. Neiliezhü Üsou closely associated with successive Governments in Nagaland by invoking God’s blessing in almost all the important Government functions and dedications. Some of his important engagements with the Government are:

Rev. Dr. Neiliezhü Üsou at a State function in Kohima, 2003.
  • He dedicated the newly built Nagaland State Secretariat Building with over 200 rooms on May 30, 1994.
  • He invoked God’s blessings during the State level peace rally held on March 13, 1999, participated by thousands of people where Mrs. Sonia Gandhi was the Chief Guest.[39]
  • He also invoked Gods blessing for the Kargil heroes on the occasion of Kargil Vijay Diwas at Durbar Hall,[41] Raj Bhavan, Kohima on July 26, 2000.
  • During the Indian Republic Day Celebration on January 26, 2002, he chaired the farewell ceremony of the outgoing Governor of Nagaland, Shri. Om Prakash Sharma,[42][43] and delivered the farewell message at Durbar Hall, Raj Bhavan, Kohima.
Rev. Dr. Neiliezhü Üsou (seated, extreme right) at a State Function in Kohima, July 29, 2003.Also seen: Governor of Nagaland Shri. Shyamal Datta (seated, third from left) and Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio (seated, fourth from right)
Rev. Dr. Neiliezhü Üsou (fourth from left) at the inauguration of Multi Purpose Hall, Indira Gandhi Stadium, Kohima, August 1, 2007. Also seen: Union Minister Mani Shankar Aiyar (second from left), Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio (third from left) and Nagaland State Cabinet Ministers


  • He was twice Chairman of Kohima Baptist Pastors’ Fellowship (KBPF):[45][46] 1982 and 1995 to 2004. Prompted by the resolution passed on March 27, 1984, by the Kohima Baptist Pastors’ Fellowship (KBPF) that Tribal tunes and songs could be used in Christian worship, an Indigenous Tribal Music Concert was organized at Kohima College[47] Auditorium under his chairmanship on June 8, 1984, which was wholeheartedly participated by all Naga Tribal Churches in Kohima.
  • He became the President of All Nagaland Baptist Pastors’ Union (ANBPU) in 1994 till 1999.
Rev. Dr. Neiliezhü Üsou speaking at the combined Easter Sunrise Service held at the Kohima War Cemetery, April 19, 2003.
  • He was the President of Kohima Baptist Church Council (KBCC) from 1999 to 2001. One of his most remarkable achievement is that under his leadership the Kohima Baptist Pastors’ Fellowship (KBPF) organized a mass Holy Communion on Easter Sunday Sunrise Service held at Kohima War Cemetery on April 16, 1995, where believers from different denominations from all over Kohima city, in thousands, took part.[48]
  • He baptized and served the Holy Communion to the Naga Vigil Prisoner of Conscience, Mr. David P. Ward, a British citizen, on March 12, 1993, in Kohima District Jail.[49][50]
Rev. Dr. Neiliezhü Üsou baptising David P. Ward of Naga Vigil at Kohima District Jail, March 12, 1993.

  • He was the Convenor of the historic Naga Shisha Hoho Assembly where 1, 20,000 (one lakh and twenty thousand) Nagas congregated from February 25 to 27, 1994, and pledged to pray for peace and unity amongst the people.[51][52][53]

Awards and honors

Rev. Dr. Neiliezhü Üsou was awarded Bharat Jyoti Award on December 21, 2000; International Gold Star Millennium Award and the Jawaharlal Nehru Excellence Award for enriching human life and outstanding attainments on March 2, 2001, by the India International Friendship Society (IIFS) at New Delhi.

He was conferred Doctorate in Divinity (D.D)[54] by the International Institute of Church Management (IICM)[55] on August 24, 2002, at Gurukul Theological College, Chennai.


He researched on Naga indigenous music from 1981 to 1984 and published a booklet and also produced an audio cassette in 1985 with an aim to bring the Naga tribes closer through spiritual unity.[56]

He has compiled a number of song books which are widely used in school assemblies and Revival crusades.

His book Elementary Music[57] is used in Nagaland Schools as an externally assessed subject approved by Nagaland Board of School Education (NBSE).[58] He has also produced his own audio cassette of Christmas songs.

He also wrote a book on Naga Music, Naga Identity[59] which was published in 2007.

Later years

He fell sick in the first part of 2006 and was admitted to Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, New Delhi in the month of August and underwent major surgery. The Chief Minister of Nagaland, Shri. Neiphiu Rio, and many other dignitaries and well-wishers visited him at the Hospital. Than he was admitted to Apollo Hospital, New Delhi for follow-up treatment.

Under his dynamic Chairmanship his native village Nerhema Baptist Church successfully celebrated 100 years of Christianity from December 15 to 17, 2006.[60]

He launched the Naga Global Mission (NGM) in July 2007. The most significant achievement of this Mission is having supported two missionaries in China.

Rev. Dr. Neiliezhü Üsou speaking at one of the Churches in the United States, August 2007.

Soon after, he visited the United States during August 2007 on the invitation by Mt. Gilead Church, Indianapolis and gave sermons in different churches in Indianapolis, Kentucky, Michigan and Ohio.

His family band Üsou’s Instrumental Praise gave a concert at the State Academy Hall, Kohima on October 25, 2007, under the theme “Transcend” which was attended by the State Chief Minister, his Cabinet colleagues and many well-wishers.

Declining health and death

His health deteriorated and he was once again rushed to Apollo Hospital, New Delhi and in the month of November 2007, he was shifted to Tata Memorial Hospital, Mumbai for further treatment. For the first time in his entire ministry he was compelled to spend the festive season of Christmas far away from his family and his Church.

It was during this very critical period that the Nagaland Baptist Church Council (NBCC) General Secretary, Rev. Zhabu Terhüja, wrote an appeal to all the Nagaland Churches to pray for his health. And prayers of the believers were answered.

He came back home stronger and was able to continue serving the Lord by being one of the main speaker during the “Naga Peace Convention”[61] held from February 22 to 24, 2008, at Dimapur.

Rev. Dr. Neiliezhü Üsou breathed his last on January 30, 2009, at Naga Hospital, Kohima.[62] His mortal remains was kept for three days in his residence enabling thousands of mourners from all walks of life to pay their respect. His Funeral service took place at 2:00 PM IST on Sunday, February 1, 2009, in his Church (MHBC) and was attended by thousands. His demise was mourned by the then Governor of Nagaland, Shri. K. Sankaranarayanan, the then Governor of Maharashtra, Shri. S. C. Jamir, different organizations and Churches in Nagaland and the United States.[63][64] Speakers at the Funeral included the Chief Minister of Nagaland,[65] the NBCC, the ABCC, the NPC, the KBPF, the ANBPU and several others.[66]


Rev. Dr. Neiliezhü Üsou Memorial Award for Music

For his tremendous contribution to the growth of music in Nagaland, an award in Music was instituted and approved by the Nagaland Board of School Education (NBSE).[67] The first awarding of "Rev. Dr. Neiliezhü Üsou Memorial Award for Music" to the highest scorer in Music in High School Leaving Certificate (HSLC) examination in Nagaland was held on June 6, 2009, at the Rev. Dr. Neiliezhü Üsou Memorial Hall. Dr. Shürhozelie Liezietsu, Minister for Higher and Technical Education and Urban Development, Nagaland gave away the award as the Chief Guest of the auspicious occasion. This award is given annually and carries a citation and cash money of INR15,000 (fifteen thousand Indian Rupees).[68]

1st Death Anniversary

His first death anniversary entitled “A Tribute”: A life time of memories through Music and Testimonial was held on January 30, 2010, at Ministers’ Hill Baptist Church (MHBC) and was attended by family, church leaders, members, friends and well-wishers.[69]

See also

External links


  1. ^ ABCC website
  2. ^ Rev. Dr. N. Üsou short Bio
  3. ^ A visionary Church Leader
  4. ^ Nerhema Village, Kohima District, Nagaland
  5. ^ Nerhema Village in Wikimapia
  6. ^ Rev. Dr. Neiliezhü Üsou's profile "Profile Talk" in the MHBC Youth Quarterly Bulletin "TRAIL" 2005
  7. ^ Eastern Theological College
  8. ^ Leonard Theological College
  9. ^ Dr. Frederick S. Downs
  10. ^ Rev. Dr. Neiliezhü Üsou's profile
  11. ^ Positions held
  12. ^ Billy Graham in Kohima pdf
  13. ^ Billy Graham Kohima Crusade 1972 Christianity Today
  14. ^ Nagaland Peace Council "Dawn of Peace in Nagaland": Govt. of Nagaland website
  15. ^ NPC observes Peace Day Rev. Dr. N. Üsou and NPC
  16. ^ India YFC
  17. ^ detail of "NPC" members meeting Mrs. Indira Gandhi Naga struggle for sovereignty: its past and the probable future
  18. ^ Nagaland Liquor Total Prohibition Act 1989(NLTP) NBCC on total prohibition of liquor
  19. ^ Nagaland Church oppose review of liquor prohibition
  20. ^ BWA Congress 1990 at Seoul, South Korea A Survey of Baptist World Alliance Conversations with other Churches and some implications for Baptist Identity.
  21. ^ courses offered by SOM, Kohima
  22. ^ Neiliezhu Usou, the founding proprietor of School of Music, Kohima
  23. ^ Ministers' Hill Baptist Church (MHBC) under "ABCC"
  24. ^ info on Rev. N. Üsou as MHBC pastor
  25. ^ List of Higher Secondary Schools in Nagaland NBSE
  26. ^ Ministers' Hill Baptist Higher Secondary School, Kohima, Nagaland Rev.Dr.Neiliezhü Üsou, Pastor MHBC, 16th June 1998
  27. ^ info on Rev. N. Usou as Officiating Chaplain of the Royal British Legion (RBL), Kohima War Cemetery
  28. ^ Kohima War Cemetery Commonwealth War Graves Commission website
  29. ^ Kohima War Cemetery Govt. of Nagaland website
  30. ^ Royal British Legion revisits war memories "Officiating Chaplain Rev. Dr. N. Üsou conducts memorial Service marking the 60th anniversary of the Second World War" Nagalim.NL News retrieved 10/16/2005
  31. ^ Agape Reconciliation, Japan
  32. ^ Nostalgic Japanese apologize to war dead in Nagaland News
  33. ^ Japanese war delegation in Kohima, Nagaland, India retrieved 11/12/2002
  34. ^ Üsou’s Instrumental Praise to perform in the ABCC’s "125 years of Christianity" celebration in Kohima
  35. ^ Billy Kim in Nagaland Billy Kim's official website
  36. ^ Roger Houstma in Nagaland, India Christian missionaries and Christian NGOs in India Preparing for the harvest
  37. ^ Nagaland General Election 1987 pdf
  38. ^ Indian Prime Minister Shri. Rajiv Gandhi in Nagaland pdf
  39. ^ Sonia Gandhi in Nagaland and Manipur peace rally/public meeting attended by Sonia Gandhi: headlines Oriental Times vol. 1 Issue 42-43 Mar 22- Apr 6, 1999
  40. ^ Naga Bhavan Raj Bhavan (the Governor's House) in Govt. of Nagaland website
  41. ^ Durbar Hall, Raj Bhavan (Nagaland)
  42. ^ List of Nagaland Governor's and their tenures
  43. ^ Shri. O. P. Sharma
  44. ^ Shri. Shyamal Datta assumes Office as the new Governor of Nagaland
  45. ^ positions held by Dr. Neiliezhü in Kohima
  46. ^ the two-day joint workshop between the Baptist Peace Fellowship of North America (BPFNA) and the Naga Peoples Movement for Human Rights (NPMHR), from 25-26th November, 2002, at Japfü Hotel, Kohima the Kohima Town Baptist Pastors Fellowship (KTBPF) holding a special service with the BPFNA delegates at the Rivenberg’s Memorial Hall, Mission Compound, Kohima, on 24th November, 2002
  47. ^ Kohima College, Kohima
  48. ^ Rev. Neiliezhü, chairman of the Kohima Town Pastors' Fellowship (KBPF), speaks to "The Telegraph" Naga eves hum equality tune on Easter
  49. ^ 11/3/1993 India releases David Ward and Stephen Hillman, British Naga-Vigil members The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR): "Chronology for Nagas in India" published in 2004
  50. ^ Naga Vigil
  51. ^ Shisha Hoho prayer support & vision for the Naga people
  52. ^ Naga Shisha Hoho's role in bringing peace to Nagaland Chronology of Naga Movement
  53. ^ Nagas pledge for unification Nagalim News
  54. ^ List of people awarded Honorary Degrees at IICM website
  55. ^ IICM India
  56. ^ Rev. Dr. N. Üsou publishing's and works
  57. ^ "Elementary Music" by Rev. Dr. Neiliezhu Usou in NBSE syllabus pdf
  58. ^ Nagaland Board of School Education
  59. ^ Books and Authors: Nagaland
  60. ^ Rev. Dr. N. Üsou speaking at the Nerhema Baptist Church Centenary 2006
  61. ^ Rev. Dr. N. Üsou at the Naga Peace Convention 2008
  62. ^ Rev. Dr. Neiliezhü Üsou passes away
  63. ^ Nagaland Chief Minister mourns death of Rev. Dr. Neiliezhü Üsou
  64. ^ Rev. Dr. N. Üsou's death mourned
  65. ^ Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio's speech at the funeral service of Rev. Dr. Neiliezhü Üsou at Ministers’ Hill Baptist Church, Kohima, 02/01/2009 "He had great concern for bringing peace and harmony in our land through Christian healing and forgiveness. Despite going through the most difficult times he never lost hope and he showed tremendous courage in the face of adversity..."- the official website of the Nagaland Chief Minister
  66. ^ Rev. Dr. Neiliezhü Üsou laid to rest Late Rev. Dr. Neiliezhü Üsou, who passed away on January 30 at the Naga Hospital Kohima, was laid to rest at the family residence premises Kohima after the funeral service held at the Ministers’ Hill Baptist Church, Kohima, Sunday afternoon: the NagaRealm
  67. ^ Awards for HSLC and HSSLC rank holders Disclosures Under Sec 4 of Right to Information Act 2005: Nagaland Board Of School Education 02-07-2010
  68. ^ Sesino Savino awarded "Rev. Dr. Neiliezhü Üsou Memorial Award for Music" 2009 Eastern Mirror
  69. ^ "A tribute": 1st Death Anniversary of Late Rev. Dr. N. Üsou

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