Place:Nagaland, India

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NameNagaland
Alt namesNāgālandsource: Encyclopædia Britannica (1988) VIII, 480
TypeState
Coordinates26.0°N 94.0°E
Located inIndia     (1963 - )
Contained Places
District
Dimapur
Kohima
Mokokchung
Mon
Phek
Tuensang
Wokha
Zunheboto
Inhabited place
Englan
source: Getty Thesaurus of Geographic Names
source: Family History Library Catalog


the text in this section is copied from an article in Wikipedia

Nagaland is a state in the north-east of India. It borders the state of Assam to the west, Arunachal Pradesh and 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 with a population of 1,980,602 per the 2011 Census of India, making it one of the smallest states of India.

The state is inhabited by 14 tribes — Angami, Ao, Chakhesang, Chang, Khiamniungan, Konyak, Lotha, Phom, Pochury, Rengma, Sangtam, Sumi, Yimchunger, and Zeme-Liangmai (Zeliang)[1] Each tribe is unique in character with its own distinct customs, language and dress.

Two threads common to all are language and religion. English is the official language, the language of education, and spoken by most residents. Nagaland is one of three states in India where the population is mostly Christian.

Nagaland became the 16th state of India on 1 December 1963. 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.

The state has experienced insurgency, as well as an inter-ethnic conflict since the 1950s. The violence and insecurity have long limited Nagaland's economic development because it had to commit its scarce resources to law, order, and security.

The state is mostly mountainous except those areas bordering Assam valley which comprises 9% of the total area of the state. Mount Saramati is the highest peak at 3,840 metres and its range forms a natural barrier between Nagaland and Burma. It lies between the parallels of 98 and 96 degrees east longitude and 26.6 and 27.4 degrees latitude north. The state is home to a rich variety of flora and fauna.

Contents

History

the text in this section is copied from an article in Wikipedia

Antiquity

The ancient history of the Nagas is unclear. Tribes migrated at different times, each settling in the northeastern part of present India and establishing their respective sovereign mountain terrains and village-states. There are no records of whether they came from the northern Mongolian region, southeast Asia or southwest China, except that their origins are from the east of India and that historical records show the present-day Naga people settled before the arrival of the Ahoms in 1228 AD.[2][3]

The origin of the word 'Naga' is also unclear.[2] A popularly accepted, but controversial, view is that it originated from the Burmese word 'naka' or 'naga', meaning people with earrings. Others suggest it means pierced noses. Both naka and naga are pronounced the same way in Burmese. The ancient name of Nagaland is 'Nakanchi' or 'Naganchi', derived from the Naga language.

Before the arrival of European colonialism in South Asia, there had been many wars, persecution and raids from Burma on Naga tribes,(meitei people) and others in India's northeast. The invaders came for "head hunting" and to seek wealth and captives from these tribes and ethnic groups. When the British inquired Burmese guides about the people living in the northern Himalayas, they were told 'Naka'. This was recorded as 'Naga' and has been in use thereafter.[2][4]

British India

With the arrival of the British East India Company in the early 19th century, followed by the British Raj, Britain expanded its domain over the whole of South Asia, including the Naga Hills. The first Europeans to enter the hills were Captains Jenkins and Pemberton in 1832. The early contact with the Naga tribes was characterised by suspicion and conflict. The colonial interests in Assam, such as tea estates and other trading posts suffered from raids from tribes who were known for their bravery and "head hunting" practices. To put an end to these raids, the British troops recorded 10 military expeditions between 1839 and 1850.[2] In February 1851, at the bloody battle at Kikrüma, people died on the British and the Kikrüma Naga tribe side; in days after the battle, intertribal warfare followed that led to more bloodshed. After that war, the British adopted a policy of respect and non-interference with Naga tribes.

Despite this, between 1851 and 1865, Naga tribes continued to raid the British in Assam. The British India Government, fresh from the shocks of the Indian Rebellion of 1857, reviewed its governance structure throughout South Asia including its northeastern region. In 1866, the British India administration established a post at Samaguting with the explicit goal of ending intertribal warfare and tribal raids on property and personnel.[3][4] In 1869, Captain Butler was appointed to lead and consolidate the British presence in the Nagaland Hills. In 1878, the headquarters were transferred to Kohima — creating a city that remains an important center of administration, commerce, and culture for Nagaland.[2]

On 4 October 1879, G.H. Damant (M.A.C.S), a British political agent, went to Khonoma with troops, where he was shot dead with 35 of his team. Kohima was subsequently attacked and the stockade looted. This violence led to a determined effort by the British Raj to return and respond. The subsequent defeat of Khonoma marked the end of serious and persistent hostility in the Naga Hills.[2]

Between 1880 and 1922, the British administration consolidated their position over a large area of the Naga Hills and integrated it into its Assam operations. The British administration enforced the rupee as the currency for economic activity and a system of structured tribal government that was very different than historic social governance practices.[3] These developments triggered profound social changes among the Naga people. In 1926,it became a part of Pakokku Hill Tracts Districts of Burma until 1948,January 4.

In parallel, since the mid-19th century, Christian missionaries from the United States and Europe, stationed in India, reached into Nagaland and neighbouring states, converting Nagaland's Naga tribes from animism to Christianity.[3]

World War II

In 1944 during World War II, the Indian National Army with the help of Japanese Army, led by Netaji Subhashchandra Bose, invaded through Burma and attempted to take India through Kohima. The population was evacuated. British India soldiers defended the area of Kohima and having lost many of their original force were relieved by British in June 1944. Together the British and Indian troops successfully repelled the Japanese troops. The battle was fought from 4 April to 22 June 1944 from the town of Kohima, coordinated with action at Imphal, Manipur. The Indian National Army lost half their numbers, many through starvation, and were forced to withdraw through Burma.

There is the World War II Cemetery, and the War Museum, in honour of those who lost their lives during World War II during the fighting between the British Empire and Japanese troops. Nearly 4,000 British Empire troops lost their lives, along with 3,000 Japanese. Many of those who lost their lives were Naga people, particularly of Angami tribe. Near the memorial is the Kohima Cathedral, on Aradura hill, built with funds from the families and friends of deceased Japanese soldiers. Prayers are held in Kohima for peace and in memory of the fallen of both sides of the battle.

Naga national wakening

In 1929, a Memorandum was submitted to the Simon Statutory Commission, requesting that the Nagas be exempt from reforms and new taxes proposed in British India, should be left alone to determine their own future. This Naga Memorandum stated,


From 1929 to 1935, the understanding of sovereignty by Nagas was 'self-rule' based on the traditional territorial definition. From 1935 to 1945, Nagas were merely asking for autonomy within Assam. In response to the Naga memorandum to Simon Commission, the British House of Commons decreed that the Naga Hills ought to be kept outside the purview of the New Constitution; the Government of India Act, 1935 and ordered Naga areas as Excluded Area; meaning outside the administration of British India government. Thereafter from 1 April 1937, it was brought under the direct administration of the Crown through Her Majesty's representative; the Governor of Assam province.

The Naga Memorandum submitted by the Naga Club (which later became the Naga National Council) to the Simon Commission explicitly stated, 'to leave us alone to determine ourselves as in ancient times.'[5] In February 1946, the Naga Club officially took shape into a unified Naga National Council in Wokha. In June 1946, the Naga National Council submitted a four-point memorandum to officials discussing the independence of India from British colonial rule. The memorandum strongly protested against the grouping of Assam with Bengal and asserted that Naga Hills should be constitutionally included in an autonomous Assam, in a free India, with local autonomy, due safeguards and separate electorate for the Naga tribes.

Jawaharlal Nehru replied to the memorandum and welcomed the Nagas to join the Union of India promising local autonomy and safeguards. On 9 April 1946, the Naga National Council (NNC) submitted a memorandum to the British Cabinet Mission during its visit to Delhi. The crux of the memorandum stated that: "Naga future would not be bound by any arbitrary decision of the British Government and no recommendation would be accepted without consultation".

In June 1946, the NNC submitted a four-point memorandum signed by T. Sakhrie; the then Secretary of NNC, to the still-visiting British Cabinet Mission. The memorandum stated that: 1. The NNC stands for the solidarity of all Naga tribes, including those in un-administered areas; 2. The Council protests against the grouping of Assam with Bengal; 3. The Naga Hills should be constitutionally included in an autonomous Assam, in a free India, with local autonomy and due safeguards for the interests of the Nagas; 4. The Naga tribes should have a separate electorate.

On 1 August 1946, Nehru, President of the Indian National Congress Party in his reply to the memorandum, appealed to the Nagas to join the Union of India promising local autonomy and safeguards in a wide-ranging area of administration. It was after 1946 only that the Nagas had asserted their inalienable right to be a separate nation and an absolute right to live independently.

Since Indian independence

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 movement led to a series of violent incidents, that damaged government and civil infrastructure, attacked government officials and civilians. The union government sent the Indian Army in 1955, to restore order. In 1957, an agreement was reached between Naga leaders and the Indian government, creating a single separate region of the Naga Hills. The Tuensang frontier was united with this single political region, Naga Hills Tuensang Area (NHTA), and it 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 agitation with violence increased across the state – including attacks on army and government institutions, banks, as well as non-payment of taxes. In July 1960, following discussion between Prime Minister Nehru 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.

Nagaland statehood

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 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 democratically elected Nagaland Legislative Assembly was constituted on 11 February 1964.[6]

The rebel activity continued, in the form of banditry and attacks, motivated more by tribal rivalry and personal vendetta than by political aspiration. Cease-fires were announced and negotiations continued, but this did little to stop the violence. In March 1975, a direct presidential rule was imposed by the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi on the state. In November 1975, the leaders of largest rebellion groups agreed to lay down their arms and accept the Indian constitution, a small group did not agree and continued their insurgent activity. The Nagaland Baptist Church Council played an important role by initiating peace efforts in the 1960s.[2] This took concrete and positive shape during its Convention in early 1964. It formed the Nagaland Peace Council in 1972. However, these efforts have not completely ended the inter-factional violence. In 2012, the state's leaders approached Indian central government to seek a political means for a sense of lasting peace within the state.

Over the 5-year period of 2009 to 2013, between 0 and 11 civilians died per year in Nagaland from rebellion related activity (or less than 1 death per 100,000 people), and between 3 and 55 militants deaths per year in inter-factional killings (or between 0 and 3 deaths per 100,000 people). The world's average annual death rate from intentional violence, in recent years, has been 7.9 per 100,000 people. The most recent Nagaland Legislative Assembly election took place on 27 February 2018 to elect the Members of the Legislative Assembly (MLA) in 59 out of the 60 Assembly Constituencies in the state. The scheduled election in Northern Angami II constituency did not take place as only incumbent MLA Neiphiu Rio was nominated and was therefore declared elected unopposed. A voter turnout of 75% was observed in the 2018 election.

Historical rituals

Historically, Naga tribes celebrated two main rituals. These were feasting and headhunting.

Head hunting

Headhunting, a male activity, would involve separating men from their women before, during and after coming back from an expedition. The women, as a cultural practice, would encourage men to undertake head-hunting as a prerequisite to marriage. The men would go on an expedition against other tribes or neighbouring kingdoms, and kill to score a number of heads they were able to hunt. A successful head hunter would be conferred a right to ornaments. The practice of headhunting was banned in the 19th century British India,[2] but the Naga tribes practiced head-hunting and preserved the heads of enemies as trophies as late as 1969.


Feasts of Merit

In Naga society, individuals were expected to find their place in the social hierarchy, and prestige was the key to maintaining or increasing social status. To achieve these goals a man, whatever his ascendancy, had to be a headhunter or great warrior, have many conquests among women sex, or complete a series of merit feasts.

The Feasts of Merit reflected the splendor and celebration of Naga life.[3] Only married men could give such Feasts, and his wife took a prominent and honoured place during the ritual which emphasised male-female co-operation and interdependence. His wife brewed the beer which he offered to the guests. The event displayed ceremonies and festivities organised by the sponsor. The Feast given by a wealthier tribes person would be more extravagant. He would typically invite everyone from the tribe. This event bestowed honour to the couple from the tribe. After the Feast, the tribe would give the couple rights to ornaments equally.[3]

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