Post Mortem

Nagaland: A diaspora of Nagas

By Nagaland Post | Publish Date: 1/27/2019 12:12:07 PM IST

 Nagaland is located at a strategic cusp in North-East India. However for decades it has suffered from armed conflict and political instability. Studies have predicted that exposure to such conflicts leads to increase in level of fear, which in turn would decrease psycho-social well-being (assessed with the indices like life satisfaction, self-esteem and general health). Issues ailing this hill state range from social, economic to political. The widespread corruption and struggle for power in the state is a routine affair. Conspicuous is the divide between rich and poor, the mighty and the humble which is rarely based on competence and is mostly attributed to tribal and ancestral affiliations. Ironically, it is observed that these very affiliations are also the ones that have kept the State together, acted as the glue and thwarted many anti peace activities. Tribal inclinations seem to be a necessary evil that while resulting in many dreadful activities are also vital to keep the area under control and organised. Old traditions and religion have played a pivotal role in providing simple and effective means to address issues and to organise the day-to-day life of the majority rural populace. To understand the nuances and challenges faced by the Naga society is complex. However, some issues clearly stand out and are evident even to a novice settler.

Firstly, socially, Naga is a word that provides patronage and a unique identity to numerous clans. There are over 12 different tribes under the Naga community. There are further divisions of the tribes into regions e.g Konyak tribe is divided into upper and lower Konyaks. A group of villages is generally of one clan and headed by a Chief Angh and Dy Angh traditionally. 
With the emergence of modern political system, dual hierarchy is being followed i.e traditional and political. Tribal affiliations, however remain supreme wherein pride of being a Naga is often subdued by the stronger affiliation to one’s clan and tribe. There have been many harmful outcomes of strong tribal affiliations as is evident from formation of numerous national groups working from their respective community strong points. However, off late the ease of travel and communication have also accrued few advantages which can be seen during  inter-tribe and inter-clan competitions giving rise to healthy contests in varied fields.
Secondly, politically, while the random Indo-Myanmar boundary demarcation by the British is never considered a sensitive issue of Naga ethnicity, the traditional system of governance and quest for authority has wrested the power in the hands of few. Independence of the country led to the establishment of constitutional system that is chosen by the people for the people. This process is however exploited and subject to deep rooted corruption in the state. It is easily discernable that the extent to which the development process should have progressed, has failed because of vested interests, lack of will and a parallel influence exerted by the numerous UG factions. This scenario over the past yrs has given rise to unemployment, under-development and colossal loss to the exchequer, thus completing the vicious circle of presence and sustenance of groups with vested interests. The keenness to become part of the social-political structure in the Naga youth is therefore very strong and overrides the initiative to initiate self help ventures.
Thirdly, economically, the porous boundaries along the Indo Myanmar border have led to illegal smuggling of contraband items, liquor and drugs. The homogenous ethnicity on either side and strong tribal affiliations further prevent any majanti smuggling drive/ actions to be effective.  As a result viable projects have yet to be operationalised and the local rural populace continues its way of life following primitive means of livelihood.
The state of Nagaland is a reservoir of resources but insurgency and socio-political interplay has prevented even the basic facilities of medicines and transportation to reach the hinterland. There is a bright scope of tourism and sports in the state. 
Hopefully, with the resurgence of peace initiatives between National Political Groups and Government of India, there is a glitter of hope and a strong positive sentiment that the near future shall bring in prosperity and growth, propelling Nagaland from the trenches of backwardness to being the Jewel of North East.
N Malhotra, (reachdeepanywhere@gmail.com)

Launched on December 3,1990. Nagaland Post is the first and highest circulated newspaper of Nagaland state. Nagaland Post is also the first newspaper in Nagaland to be published in multi-colour.

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