Jawaharlal Nehru University invited Fr. Abraham Lotha for a seminar lecture presentation on the topic “Socio-cultural foundations of Naga identity”, organized by North East Research Centre.
Several scholars gathered to witness his lecture, which was followed by an interesting discourse. Fr. Abraham started his lecture by stating that an important aspect of ethnicity was that members consider themselves as distinct from other ethnic groups.
He also examined how different cultural markers are articulated for Naga identity. In his lecture, Fr. Abraham Lotha gave scholarly approaches to the following questions: How do Nagas define themselves? What does it mean to be a Naga? Are they one people or many ‘tribes’? Is Naga identity a primordial and natural given or is it the product of instrumental factors such as such as colonialism and Indian nation-building process? What cultural resources are used to characterize Nagas’ idea of their peoplehood? What kinds of myths or origin or ancestry are employed that illustrate the development of their ethnicity? What are the cultural markers of Naga identity? What are the symbols and meanings through which Nagas portray their identity? He further examined the Naga’s claim for a unique history of an un-dominated and unconquered past, cultural distinctiveness objectified through everyday cultural practices, memorialization of particular events, and territorialization of the Naga nation.