Nagaland – at a Glance
Nagaland is one of the “seven sisters” of the North-East India. One of the smaller hill states of India, Nagaland is known for its myriad tribes with their rich culture and traditions. The State has a distinct character both in terms of its social composition as well as in its developmental history.
If India is a country that boasts of “unity in diversity”, then the North-East is its most visible embodiment. Among the North-Eastern states, Nagaland stands out as a land of diverse tribes, systems of governance, cultures, sheer colour and variety. As its 16 major tribes hold their festivals each calendar month of the year, Nagaland is often referred to as the “land of festivals”.
Nagaland represents sociological and anthropological gold mines because it is still scientifically unexplored. Nagaland emerged as a State, out of the Naga Hills district of Assam and NEFA province, in 1963. This late start meant that the State lost out on the benefits of the first three Five Year Plans. What is more, the State has had to confront insurgency on a continuous basis, committing much of its scarce resources to administrative and related expenditures. Though Nagaland has been confronted with special constraints and challenges in the areas of politics, economics, geographical terrain, and development, especially of infrastructure, the “social capital” and resilience of the Naga village communities are not only giving hope but also beginning to help overcome the other difficulties.
Indeed, in spite of its many constraints and challenges, Nagaland has continued to chart new developmental paths for itself and has shown a unique model for the country. The Village Councils, Village Development Boards, and the recently introduced Communitisation of Public Institutions and Services Act, 2002, in areas like education, health, power, etc., which have already been acknowledged as successful.
People, Art & Culture
Nagaland, the land of the hospitable and warm Nagas, lies in the corner of India’s North-East bordering Myanmar. It has always evoked a sense of awe and wonder in the minds of people including the visitors. Although most of the Nagas have now become Christians, they still preserve the remnants of their early animist culture and ancient traditions.
Historically, the Nagas have always been brave warriors. They consider the safety and security of their guests as an honour and prestige and will never allow any harm to be done to any of their guests/visitors. Topographically, Nagaland is mostly a hilly region with a pleasant and salubrious climate throughout the year, except for a small region in the foothills. Nagas are by race, of the Mongoloid stock and speak Tibeto-Burman group of languages. But English and Hindi are widely spoken and language is no problem in Nagaland.
Colourful life and culture are an integral part of the 16 officially recognized Naga tribes of Nagaland. These 16 tribes are different and unique in their customs and traditions. These customs and traditions are further translated into festivals which revolve around their agricultural cycle. Songs and dances form the soul of these festivals through which their oral history has been passed down the generations. Nature has been kind to the Nagas and their land. Though by virtue of her natural beauty, the whole of Nagaland is a tourist hotspot, yet certain exceptionally charming places have been identified and developed by the Government to promote tourism.