Nagaland: Green hills & fiercely independent People! (Part-1)
Nagaland is one of the seven sister states of Northeast India. It borders Assam to the West, Arunachal Pradesh and part of Assam to the North, Myanmar to the East and Manipur to the South. The capital is Kohima, and the largest city & commercial capital is Dimapur. It is one of the smallest states of India. The state is mostly hilly, except areas bordering the Assam valley.
The state is inhabited by 16 major tribes – Ao, Angami, Chang, Konyak, Lotha, Sumi , Chakhesang, Khiamniungan , Bodo-Kachari, Phom, Rengma, Sangtam, Yimchunger, Thadou, Zeliang and Pochury as well as a number of sub-tribes. Each tribe is unique in character with its own distinct customs, language and dress. English is the predominant language. Majority of the population is Christian.
Nagas belong to the Mongoloid race, and different tribes migrated at different times, each settling in separate regions and establishing their respective sovereign village-states, which had no friendly relations among them, but were perpetually at war with each other.
Nagaland has more language diversity than any other state in India. Naga people speak over 36 different languages and dialects, mostly unintelligible with each other. In 1967, the Nagaland Assembly proclaimed English as the official language of Nagaland and it is the medium for education in Nagaland. Other than English, Nagamese, a form of Assamese, is a widely spoken language. The script for Nagamese, as also other languages is English.
Nagaland became the 16th state of India in 1963. Agriculture is the most important economic activity. The state has experienced insurgency as well as inter-ethnic conflict, since the 1950s. This violence and insecurity has long limited Nagaland’s economic development, where it had to commit its scarce resources on law, order and security. In the last 15 years, the state has seen reduction in violence and annual economic growth rates nearing 10%.
The British Raj was forced to expand its domain over the Naga Hills, to prevent Naga warriors from raiding the tea estates in Assam. In 1878 Kohima became the administrative center.
Since mid 19th century, Christian missionaries from the United States and Europe, stationed in India, reached out into Nagaland and were responsible for converting Naga tribes from Animism to Christianity.
In 1944, the fierce battle of the Tennis court of Kohima was a major turning point in the defeat of the Japanese in World War II. The famous War Cemetery is visited regularly by the Japanese, as well as the Europeans. (To be contd)
After independence 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 demanded a political union of their ancestral and native groups. The movement led to a series of violent incidents. The union government sent the Indian Army in 1955, to restore order. Nagaland has a high literacy rate of 80.1 per cent.
The railway network in the state is minimal. Broad gauge lines run 7.98 miles (12.84 km), National Highway roads 227.0 miles (365.3 km), and state roads 680.1 miles (1,094.5 km). Road is the backbone of Nagaland’s transportation network. NH 39 ( Dimapur- Kohima-Imphal) is the life line of Nagaland & Imphal. Dimapur is the sole airport. ( To be contd).