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, Myanmar to the east and Manipur to the south. The state capital is Kohima, and the largest city is Dimapur. It has an area of 16,579 km2 with a population of 1,980,602 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 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 was established on 1 December 1963 to be the 16th state of the Indian Union. It is divided into eleven districts: Kohima, Phek, Mokokchung, Wokha, Zunheboto, Tuensang, Mon, Dimapur, Kiphire, Longleng and Peren. Its native inhabitants are the Naga tribes. Agriculture is the most important economic activity and the 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. It is also known as the "falcon capital of the world".
The Nagas were originally referred to as Naka in Burmese language, which means 'people with pierced noses'. The Naga tribes had socio-economic and political links with tribes in Assam and Burma (Myanmar); even today a large population of Naga's inhabit in 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 all of the Naga Hills except Tuensang area by 1892. This geographical area was politically amalgamated into Assam. Missionaries played an important role in converting Nagaland's Naga tribes to Christianity.
Not much is known about the history of Naga's 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 themselves in the light of oneness and political solution, and this eventually led to the formation of 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. Phizo-led Naga National Council and demanded a political union of their ancestral and native groups. The political movement damaged government and civil infrastructure, 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. The Tuensang frontier were united in a single political entity, Naga Hills Tuensang Area (NHTA), this 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 recognised 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 30 November 1963 and the state of Nagaland was formally inaugurated on 1 December 1963 and Kohima was declared as the state capital. After elections in January 1964, the first Nagaland Legislative Assembly was constituted on 11 February 1964.
The cease-fire could have hardly survived since 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 for nearly fifty years while cease-fire violations occurring routinely and continuously.
However, the struggle of nationalism has been endlessly fought on. On the 7th of August 2012, all 60 Members of the Legislative Assembly across the parties in Nagaland met the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to seek 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.