Nagaland is a state in the far north-eastern part of India. It borders the state of Assam to the west, Arunachal Pradesh and part of Assam to the north, Burma to the east and Manipur to the south. The state capital is Kohima, and the largest city is Dimapur. The state of Nagaland has an area of 16,579 km2 with a population of 1,980,602 (nineteen lakhs eighty thousand six hundred two) as per the 2011 census making it one of the smallest states of India. The state is mostly mountainous except those areas bordering Assam valley. Mount Saramati is the highest peak in Nagaland with a height of 3,840 metres and its range forms a natural barrier between Nagaland and Burma. It lies between the parallels of 98 degree and 96 degree East Longitude and 26.6 degree and 27.4 degree latitude North of the Equator.
Nagaland, the 16th state of the Indian Union, was established on December 1, 1963. It is divided into eleven districts: Kohima, Phek, Mokokchung, Wokha, Zunheboto, Tuensang, Mon, Dimapur, Kiphire, Longleng and Peren. It is a largely mountainous state, inhabited by the Naga tribes. Agriculture is the most important economic activity in Nagaland. Principal crops include rice, corn, millets, pulses, tobacco, oilseeds, sugarcane, potatoes and fibres. Other significant economic activity includes forestry, tourism, insurance, real estate, and miscellaneous cottage industries.
The early history of the Nagas is the story of the customs and economic activities of the Naga tribes. The people were originally referred to as Naka in Burmese languages, which means 'people with pierced ears'. The Naga tribes had socio-economic and political links with tribes in Assam and Burma (Myanmar); even today a large population of Naga inhabits Assam and the hill districts of Manipur. Following an invasion in 1816, the area, along with Assam, came under direct rule of Burma. This period was noted for oppressive rule and turmoil in Assam and Naga Hills. When the British East India Company took control of Assam in 1826, Britain steadily expanded its domain over modern Naga Hills. By 1892 the British governed all of the Naga Hills except the Tuensang area in the northeast. This geographical area was politically amalgamated into Assam. Missionaries played an important part in converting Nagaland's Naga tribes to Christianity.
Not much is known about the history before the Burmese invasion or before the Naga people were converted to Christianity.
Road to statehood
During World War I, the British recruited 900 Nagas and sent them to France to work as aides at the front. While in Europe, the Nagas, who had always been fractured by tribal differences, began to unify under the banner of nationalism. On their return to their homeland in 1918, they organized, and thus began the Naga nationalist movement.
After the independence of India in 1947, the area remained a part of the province of Assam. Nationalist activities arose amongst a section of the Nagas. The Phizo-led Naga National Council demanded a political union of their ancestral and native groups, damaged government and civil infrastructure and attacked government officials and civilians from other states of India. The Union government sent the Indian Army in 1955, to restore order. In 1957, the newly established central Indian government began diplomatic talks with representatives of Naga tribes, and the Naga Hills district of Assam and the Tuensang frontier were united in a single political entity, Naga Hills Tuensang Area (NHTA), that became a Union territory directly administered by the Central government with a large degree of autonomy. This was not satisfactory to the tribes, however, and soon agitation and violence increased across the state — including attacks on Army and government institutions, as well as civil disobedience and non-payment of taxes. In July 1960, following discussion between the Prime Minister of India and the leaders of the Naga People Convention (NPC), a 16-point Agreement was arrived at whereby the Government of India recognized the formation of Nagaland as a full-fledged State within the Union of India. Accordingly, the territory was placed under the Nagaland Transitional Provisions Regulation, 1961 which provided for an Interim Body consisting of 45 members to be elected by various tribes according to the customs, traditions and usage of the respective tribes. Subsequently, Nagaland attained Statehood with the enactment of the State of Nagaland Act in 1962 by the Parliament. The Interim Body was dissolved on November 30, 1963 and the State of Nagaland was formally inaugurated on December 1, 1963 and Kohima was christened as the state capital. After elections in January, 1964, the first Nagaland Legislative Assembly was constituted on February 11, 1964.
Following its independence, India has faced a series of guerrilla insurgencies in the hills along its Border with Burma and Bangladesh. None has proved so difficult as the ugly guerrilla war which has raged in the Naga Hills since 1953. The Political turmoil in Nagaland has gone all but unnoticed outside of India,in large measure because of a cease-fire agreement between the Indian government and the guerrillas which took effect on September 6, 1964. For two years, the Indian representatives and the Naga guerrillas faced each other at the peace table, but the conflict was never resolved in a formal peace agreement. Y.D.Gundevia, the Indian negotiator at the peace talks, concluded regretfully in 1965 that the talks had led to "a truce without a political settlement". In the years since then, Nagaland has repeatedly faced the prospect of the resumption of full scale hostilities. Yet, despite important changes in the political situation, a delicate equilibrium has been maintained which has kept violent outbreaks at a fairly low level even though a political settlement seems to be as remote today as it appeared in 1965.
The cease-fire could hardly have survived from 1964 to the present without any progress toward a political settlement if there were only two sides each dedicated to eliminate the other. Instead, the present situation may be better understood as a very complex set of relations between a number of "parties" who have differing objectives, strategies, and capabilities. As a result, a precarious "stability" has been maintained over the for nearly fifty years while cease-fire violations occurring routinely and nearly continuously.
On 7 August 2012, all 60 MLAs across the parties in Nagaland, met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and sought an early settlement of the complex Naga problem.
Battle of Kohima
In 1944 during World War II the Battle of Kohima was the turning point of the Japanese U Go offensive into India. For the first time in South-East Asia the Japanese lost the initiative to the Allies which they then retained until the end of the war. This hand-to-hand battle and slaughter prevented the Japanese from gaining a high base from which they might next roll across the extensive flatlands of India like a juggernaut. The battle was fought from 4 April to 22 June 1944 around the town of Kohima. It is often referred to as the "Stalingrad of the East".