|Till 1963 Naga Hills formed a district of Assam. It was made into the state of Nagaland in that year. It is a land of rugged hills with small plains tracts, the total area being 16,579 square kilometres. The state is bounded by Assam in the north and north-west, Manipur in the east. The population according to the 1991 census is 1,215,573.
The bulk of the inhabitants of Nagaland are known as Nagas who are believed to be among the earliest migrants from south-east Asia to North-East India across the Assam plains.
There are more than twenty Naga tribes and sub-tribes, the more well-known among them being the Angamis, the Aos, the Semas, the Lhotas, the Konyaks, the Chakesangs, the Sangtams, the Changs, the Yimchungers, the Zeliangs and the Rengmas. All of them speak different dialects unintelligible to one another. For mutual communication they use a kind of pidgin Assamese which has been named Nagamese - i.e., Assamese as adopted by the Nagas. Incidently, contacts with the people oft the plains have been regular and abiding.
Sturdy and virile, the Nagas have been inveterate lovers of freedom. Inter-clan and inter-village feuds had been very common in the past and head hunting was once very much a part of the Naga way of life. Much of the Naga character of independence and alertness had been built up through the institution of the morungs or bachelors' dormitories
Today, the majority of the Nagas have adopted Christianity. Along with it, rapid spread of western education and the impact of modern western standards have made deep inroads into traditional Naga beliefs and customs. However, the Nagas are a tradition-loving people, and a more or less distinctive Naga way of life is still being maintained.
|The highlights of Nagaland are:
• The people and the landscape
• The interior villages
• Naga festivals
All these highlights and more are the subject of four books by Peter van Ham:
Diaries from the Hills in Northeast India
IN DEN BERGEN DER KOPFJÄGER
Indiens wilder Nordosten
THE HIDDEN WORLD OF THE NAGA
Living Traditions in Northeast India And Burma
THE SEVEN SISTERS OF INDIA
Tribal Worlds Between Tibet And Burma
MORE ON THE NAGA, ARUNACHAL PRADESH,
ASSAM, MANIPUR, MIZORAM, TRIPURA, MEGHALAYA