Nagaland: Wikis


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Location of Nagaland in India
Coordinates 69°24′N 99°05′E / 69.4°N 99.08°E / 69.4; 99.08
Country  India
District(s) 11
Established 1963-12-01
Capital Kohima
Largest city Dimapur
Governor Nikhil Kumar
Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio
Legislature (seats) Unicameral (60)
1988,636 (24th)
120 /km2 (311 /sq mi)
Official languages English
Time zone IST (UTC+05:30)
Area 16579 km2 (6401 sq mi)
ISO 3166-2 IN-NL
Seal of Nagaland

Nagaland (Hindi: नागालैंड) About this sound pronunciation is a hill state located in the far north-eastern part of India. It borders the state of Assam to the west, Arunachal Pradesh and part of Assam to the north, Burma to the east and Manipur to the south. The state capital is Kohima, and the largest city is Dimapur. With a population of nearly two million people, it has a total area of 16,579 km² (6,401 sq mi)—making it one of the smallest states of India.



The early history of Nagaland is the story of the customs and economic activities of the Naga tribes. The people were originally referred to as Naka in Burmese languages, which means 'people with pierced ears'. The Naga tribes had socio-economic and political links with tribes in Assam and Burma (Myanmar); even today a large population of Naga inhabits Assam. Following an invasion in 1816, the area, along with Assam, came under direct rule of Burma. This period was noted for oppressive rule and turmoil in Assam and Nagaland. When the British East India Company took control of Assam in 1826, the Britain steadily expanded its domain over modern Nagaland. By 1892, all of modern Nagaland except the Tuensang area in the northeast was governed by the British. It was politically amalgamated into Assam. Missionaries played an important part in converting Nagaland's Naga tribes in Christianity.

Not much is known about the history before the Burmese invasion or before the Naga people were converted to Christianity.


Road to statehood

During World War I, the British recruited several hundred Nagas and sent them to France to work as aides at the front. While in Europe, the Naga, who had always been fractured by tribal differences, began to think that they should work towards becoming unified in order to protect their common interests. On their return to their homeland in 1918, they organized, and thus began the Naga nationalist movement.[1]

After the independence of India in 1947, the area remained a part of the province of Assam. Nationalist activities arose amongst a section of the Nagas, whose Naga National Council demanded a political union of their ancestral and native groups, damaged government and civil infrastructure and attacked government officials and civilians from other states of India. The Union government sent the Indian Army in 1955, to restore order. In 1957, the Government began diplomatic talks with representatives of Naga tribes, and the Naga Hills district of Assam and the Tuensang frontier were united in a single political entity that became a Union territory, directly administered by the Central government with a large degree of autonomy. This was not satisfactory to the tribes, however, and soon agitation and violence increased across the state—included attacks on Army and government institutions, as well as civil disobedience and non-payment of taxes. In July 1960, a further political accord was reached at the Naga People's Convention to wit: that Nagaland should become a constituent and self-governing state in the Indian union. Statehood was officially granted in 1963.

Latter day unrest

The government’s initiative was vehemently condemned by the NNC which pointed out that these are measures to divide the Naga people. A ‘Peace Mission’ was formed which resulted in the signing of an Agreement for Suspension of Operation (AGSOP) with the insurgents on September 6, 1964. But violence continued and six rounds of talks between the Centre and insurgents failed. The ‘Peace Mission’ broke in 1967.

The Government of India banned the NNC in 1972 under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act of 1967 and launched a massive counter-insurgency operation. On November 11, 1975, the Shillong Accord was signed between NNC and the Government of India where the NNC cadres accepted “without condition, the Constitution of India”. However, a section of the NNC rebelled against the accord and formed the National Socialist Council of Nagaland (NSCN) in 1980. Tribal differences led to a split in the NSCN in 1988 leading to the birth of Isak-Muivah faction (NSCN-IM) and the Khaplang faction (NSCN-K). Both these outfits continued their movement with an avowed objective of establishing a Nagalim (greater Nagaland) comprising Naga inhabited areas of Nagaland, Assam, Manipur, Arunachal Pradesh and neighbouring Myanmar.

Insurgencies were quelled in the early 1990s. Violence had re-erupted and there was conflict between rebel group factions till the early 1990s. On 25 July, 1997, Prime Minister Atal Bihari vajpayee announced that the Government after talks with Isaac group of the Nationalist Socialist Council of Nagaland (NSCN) declared a cease-fire or cessation of operations.On August 1, 1997, the NSCN-IM and the Union government entered into a ceasefire agreement and have since held more than 60 rounds of dialogue (until mid-2009) to resolve the conflict. A similar ceasefire agreement was signed between the NSCN-K and the government in April 2001, though both sides are yet to start a process of dialogue. The ceasefire agreements with both the outfits have been periodically extended.

The militant groups have been continuously collecting ‘tax’ from the people and business establishments. This money is collected from all sources, including from Government departments and the extortion network spreads over not only the cities like Dimapur, Kohima and various District headquarters and townships but also over almost all the 1317 villages of the state. ‘Tax’ is also collected from commercial vehicles plying on National Highway 39, en route, to Manipur. Neither the Central nor the state Government is taking any action against this ‘tax collection’ by the militants. The ceasefire rules, which stipulate that the militants stay in designated camps, ban their movement in uniform and with arms and prohibit extortion, are also not followed by the militants. The cadres of the militant outfits move freely with their arms out in open and carry out all sorts of extortion activities. The police, Army and Central Para-Military forces were unable to take any significant steps in this regard for quite sometime but things appear to have been brought under control by 2009. In spite of the twelve year old ceasefire with the NSCN-IM and the eight year old ceasefire with the rival Khaplang faction (NSCN-K), the situation in Nagaland is still volatile. With the birth of NSCN-U, the situation turned murkier. Insurgency-related fatalities have been on a rise during the last few years in the state. Between 1992 and 2009 (till July), at least 2330 insurgency related fatalities have been recorded in Nagaland. The number of fatalities in insurgency-related activities increased from 154 in 2007 to 201 in 2008 (Source: Most of the fatalities are a result of clashes between the various factions of the militant groups, as there have been very few incidents of militant-security force standoffs.

Obstacles to reconciliation

Extending the existing ceasefire with both the outfits remains central to the government’s conflict management policy in Nagaland. Representatives of the NSCN-IM and the government continue to meet periodically to carry forward the negotiations. By far, however, little success has been achieved to break the deadlock over the outfit’s demand of integrating the ‘Naga-inhabited’ areas of Assam, Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh with Nagaland. Both the government and the NSCN-IM, however, on 31 July 2007, following a round of dialogue in Dimapur, took a decision to extend the ceasefire indefinitely. A few more round of talks have taken place since then in Delhi, but there were no concrete outcome of the talks. Recently, the Central Government has decided to change the Chief Interlocutor, K. Padmanabhaiah, who had been holding the post for the last 10 years. The NSCN-IM has expressed strong reservations against this move of the Government. The NSCN-K has also, now, expressed its interest in holding peace talks with the Central Government.

The government in New Delhi has done little in terms of stopping the internecine clashes between the outfits. It insists that the clashes between the insurgent outfits are a law and order problem, to be handled by the state government. The Nagaland state government, on the contrary, has always been a marginal player in contributing to the peace process.The internecine war has claimed more than 500 lives during 2004-2008 and it still remains the biggest obstacle in establishing peace in the state.

Since 2004, the Central government, the State government and the NSCN (IM) have been raising at intervals about the talk of an interim solution to the Naga question but even in 2009 the idea of an interim solution remains fruitless. A round of talks start at Zurich in Switzerland by end of March 2009, the interim proposals are still being discussed and reworked, and the stage for a possible confrontation has been set by the declaration by NSCN (I-M) leader Isak Chisi Swu that any relationship within the ambit of the Indian Constitution will be unacceptable.

Peace efforts

Civil society movements in Nagaland have been traditionally effective. The Church has been an important player in peace making among the insurgents, almost all of whom are Christian, since the beginning of the conflict. The Baptist Church Council of Nagaland played a prominent part in the formation of the Peace Mission in 1964. In July 1997, the Baptist Church organised the Atlanta Peace meet where the NSCN leadership accepted initiatives to start an unconditional dialogue process. In the first week of November 2007, a group of Church workers from the United Kingdom arrived in Nagaland to push for “reconciliation” between the NSCN-IM and the NSCN-K. A team from the North American Baptist Church too is involved in brokering peace between both the factions.

Organisations like the Naga Hoho and the Naga Mothers’ Association (NMA) have worked towards reconciliation among the warring factions. Even the tribal councils belonging to the different tribes in the state including the Ao Senden, the Sumi Hoho have tried to establish unity among the NSCN-IM and NSCN-K, albeit without much success. Organisations like the Naga People’s Movement for Human Rights (NPMHR) that periodically highlights the alleged abuses by the security forces, are seen as placating the interests of the NSCN-IM and have no influence on either the NSCN-K or the NNC. Some leaders of the NSCN-IM and the NSCN-K met in Niuland, near Dimapur on November 23, 2007 to declare the cessation of hostility between the outfits. However, the agreement was soon repudiated by both the outfits and the clashes have continued.

The citizens of the state are also now taking initiatives for bringing peace in the state. On May 20, 2008, peace rallies were organized in all the 11 district headquarter towns by the gaon buras (village chiefs) and dubashis (chiefs of Naga customary courts), asking the warring Naga factions to stop violence. In June 2008, a reconciliation meeting of the Naga factions, mass-based Naga organisations and tribal Hohos was organised by the Naga Reconciliation Forum, headed by Baptist clergyman Wati Aier, Baptist World Alliance and a UK-based Quaker group, at Chiang Mai in Thailand. But, the NSCN-K rejected the offer made by the rival NSCN-IM for a dialogue outside the country and the move failed.

The civil society organizations in Nagaland such as the Forum for Naga Reconciliation, the Naga Hoho and many other women’s and students’ organizations have played an important role in laying the groundwork for the emergence of lasting peace in the region. These are the actors who are working as a bridge between the various regions which comprises Nagalim, in Nagaland, Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur and parts of Myanmar; and without any substantial political overtones. They have been successful in reaching out to communities, both Naga and other ethnic tribes, and promoting dialogue and understanding at the civil society level between contesting aspirations of communities in the region, which the political outfits engaged in talks have not been able to do. They have joined efforts to talk to top rebel leaders to stop fratricidal killings among Naga insurgent factions and extortions and threats, and to include more women in the peace talks.

The marginalization of civil society organizations creates conditions for increased factionalism and violence, as demonstrated by the emergence of NSCN (U) (Unification) and the resultant increase in fratricidal killings. The Forum for Naga Reconciliation recently called for turning swords into ploughshares, and for working creatively towards ensuring enduring peace and a lasting solution to the Naga question.

Geography and climate

Great Indian Hornbill

Nagaland is largely a mountainous state. The Naga Hills rise from the Brahmaputra Valley in Assam to about 2,000 feet (610 m) and rise further to the southeast, as high as 6,000 feet (1,800 m). Mount Saramati at an elevation of 12,552 feet (3,826 m) is the state's highest peak; this is where the Naga Hills merge with the Patkai Range in Burma. Rivers such as the Doyang and Diphu to the north, the Barak river in the southwest and the Chindwin river of Burma in the southeast, dissect the entire state.

Nagaland is rich in flora and fauna. About one-sixth of Nagaland is under the cover of tropical and sub-tropical evergreen forests—including palms, bamboo, and rattan as well as timber and mahogany forests. While some forest areas have been cleared for jhum (cultivation), many scrub forests, high grass, reeds, and secondary dogs, pangolins, porcupines, elephants, leopards, bears, many species of monkeys, sambar, harts, oxen, and buffaloes thrive across the state's forests. The Great Indian Hornbill is one of the most famous birds found in the state.

Nagaland has a largely monsoon climate with high humidity levels. Annual rainfall averages around 70–100 inches (1,800–2,500 mm), concentrated in the months of May to September. Temperatures range from 70 °F (21 °C) to 104 °F (40 °C). In winter, temperatures do not generally drop below 39 °F (4 °C), but frost is common at high elevations.

Culture and religion

Naga girl

The (14) tribes of Nagaland are Angami Naga, Ao, Chakhesang, Chang, Khiamniungan, Konyak, Lotha, Phom, Pochury, Rengma, Sangtam, Sumi, Yimchungru, and Zeliang, of which the Konyaks, Angamis, Aos, Lothas, and Sumis are the largest Naga tribes. Tribe and clan traditions and loyalties play an important part in the life of Nagas. Weaving is a traditional art handed down through generations in Nagaland. Each of the major tribes has its own unique designs and colours, producing shawls, shoulder bags, decorative spears, table mats, wood carvings, and bamboo works. Naga Tribal dances of the Nagas give an insight into the inborn Naga reticence of the Naga people. War dances and other dances belonging to distinctive Naga tribes are a major art form in Nagaland. Some of these are Moatsu, Sekrenyi, Tuluni, Tokhu Emong, and Gan-Ngai.

A Replica of an Angami Naga dwelling at the Naga Heritage Village, Kohima

Christianity is the predominant religion of Nagaland. The state's population is 1.988 million, out of which 90.02% are Christians.[2] The census of 2001 recorded the state's Christian population at 1,790,349, making it, with Meghalaya and Mizoram, one of the three Christian-majority states in India and the only state where Christians form 90 percent of the population. The state has a very high church attendance rate in both urban and rural areas. The largest of Asia's churches dominate the skylines of Kohima, Dimapur, and Mokokchung.

Nagaland is known as "the only predominantly Baptist ethnic state in the world."[3] Among Christians, Baptists are the predominant group constituting more than 75 percent of the state's population, thus making it more Baptist (on a percentage basis) than Mississippi in the southern United States, where 52 percent of its population is Baptist.[citation needed]

Roman Catholics, Revivalists, and Pentecostals are the other Christian denomination numbers. Catholics are found in significant numbers in parts of Wokha district as also in the urban areas of Kohima and Dimapur.

Hinduism and Islam are minority religions in state, at 7.7% and 1.8% of the population respectively.[2] A small minority, less than 0.3%, still practise the traditional religions and are mainly concentrated in Peren and the eastern districts.


Almost all the tribes of Nagaland have their own language. Nagas speak 60 different dialects belonging to the Sino-Tibetan family of languages. The traditional languages do not have any script of their own. The Christian missionaries used Roman script for these languages.

In 1967, the Nagaland Assembly proclaimed English as the official language of Nagaland and is the medium for education in Nagaland.

Nagamese, a creole language form of Indo-Aryan Assamese and local dialects is the most widely spoken market language. Every tribe has its own mother tongue but communicates with other tribes in Nagamese. As such Nagamese is not a mother tongue of any of the tribes; nor is it written.


The population of Nagaland is nearly two million people.


District map of Nagaland

The Governor of Nagaland is the constitutional head of state, representative of the President of India. He possesses largely ceremonial responsibilities. A 60-member Vidhan Sabha is the state of ministers, led by a Chief minister—all elected members of legislature—forms the government executive. Unlike most Indian states, Nagaland has been granted a great degree of state autonomy, as well as special powers and autonomy for Naga tribes to conduct their own affairs. Each tribe has a hierarchy of councils at the village, range, and tribal levels dealing with local disputes. There is a special regional council for the Tuensang district, elected by the tribes of the area. The state is divided into eleven districts:

Districts - District Headquarters

Urban centres

Greater cities and towns

Dimapur, Kohima, Mokokchung, Tuensang, Wokha, Mon, Zunheboto

Urban agglomerations

There are four urban agglomeration areas with population of more than 40,000 in the state:

Rank Metropolitan/Agglomeration Area District 2001 Census
1 Dimapur-Chumukedima Dimapur District 230,106
2 Greater Kohima Kohima District 99,795
3 Mokokchung Metropolitan Area Mokokchung District 60,161
4 Greater Wokha Wokha District 43,089

Greater (non-district headquarter) towns

Tuli town, Naganimora, Changtongya, Tizit, Tseminyu, Bhandari, Akuluto, Pfutsero


Macro-economic trend

This is a chart of trend of gross state domestic product of Nagaland at market prices estimated by Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation with figures in millions of Indian rupees.[5]

Year MRs
1980 1,027
1985 2,730
1990 6,550
1995 18,140
2000 36,790

Nagaland's gross state domestic product for 2004 is estimated at $1.4 billion in current prices.

Agriculture is the most important economic activity in Nagaland, with more than 90% of the population employed in agriculture. Crops include rice, corn, millets, pulses, tobacco, oilseeds, sugarcane, potatoes, and threads. However, Nagaland still depends on the import of food supplies from other states. The widespread practice of jhum, tilling, has led to soil erosion and loss of fertility, particularly in the eastern districts. Only the Angami and Chakesang tribes in the Kohima and Phek districts use terracing techniques. And most of the Aos, Lothas, and Zeliangs in Mokokchung, Wokha, and Peren districts respectively till in the many valleys of the district. Forestry is also an important source of income. Cottage industries such as weaving, woodwork, and pottery are also an important source of revenue. Tourism is important, but largely limited due to insurgency since the last five decades.


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). There is one airport in Dimapur and another is being planned for Kohima, the state capital.


Railway: North East Frontier Railway

  • Broad gauge: 7.98 miles (12.84 km)
  • Total: 7.98 miles (12.84 km)

[Data Source: N. F. Railway, CME Office, Guwahati-781011]

Highways and towns served

National highways: 227.0 miles (365.3 km)

  • NH 61: Kohima, Wokha, Tseminyu, Wokha, Mokokchung, Changtongya, Tuli
  • NH 39: Dimapur-Kohima-Mao-Imphal (134.2 mi/216.0 km)
  • NH 36: Dimapur-Doboka-Nagonan (105.6 mi/169.9 km)
  • NH 150: Kohima-Jessami via Chakhabama-Pfutsero (74.6 mi/120.1 km)
  • NH 153: Mokukchung-Jessami via Tuesang-Kiphire (206.9 mi/333.0 km)

State highways: 680.1 miles (1,094.5 km)

  • Chakabama-Mokokchung Via Chazuba and Zunheboto
  • Kohima-Meluri
  • Mokokchung-Mariani
  • Mokokchung-Tuensang
  • Namtola-Mon
  • Tuensang-Mon-Naginimora
  • Tuensang-Kiphiri-Meluri
  • Wokha-Merapani Road

[Source: Office of The Chief Engineer, P.W.D., Kohima, Nagaland]



See also


  1. ^ The Naga Story - Then and Now
  2. ^ a b Indian Census
  3. ^ Olson, C. Gordon. What in the World is God Doing. Global Gospel Publishers: Cedar Knolls, NJ. 2003.
  4. ^ "Census Population" (PDF). Census of India. Ministry of Finance India. Retrieved 2008-12-18. 
  5. ^ Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation estimates

Further reading

  • Stirn, Aglaja & Peter van Ham. The Hidden world of the Naga: Living Traditions in Northeast India. London: Prestel.
  • Oppitz, Michael, Thomas Kaiser, Alban von Stockhausen & Marion Wettstein. 2008. Naga Identities: Changing Local Cultures in the Northeast of India. Gent: Snoeck Publishers.
  • Kunz, Richard & Vibha Joshi. 2008. Naga – A Forgotten Mountain Region Rediscovered. Basel: Merian.

External links

Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

Nagaland is in the north east of India.


There are 16 different tribes in Nagaland: 1.Angami 2.Ao 3.Chakhesang 4.Chang 5.Kachari 6.Khiamniungan 7.Konyak 8.Kuki 9.Lotha 10.Phom 11.Pochury 12.Rengma 13.Sangtam 14.Sumi 15.Yimchunger 16.Zeliang

Get in

Entry formalities

All foreign nationals need to get a Restricted Area Permit before arriving in Nagaland. Permits are available from Indian consular offices abroad, as well as from the Ministry of Home Affairs, South Block, New Delhi. Indian nationals wishing to visit Nagaland must get an Inner Line Permit from the Nagaland House in Delhi and Kolkata.

By train

The Nagaland city of Dimapur is on the Guwahati to Dibrugarh rail line and is well serviced by trains from Delhi, Howrah, and other important Indian cities.

By air

Indian Airlines flies to Dimapur from Kolkata and Guwahati.

  • Kickstart Adventures- an adventure tourism firm, has pioneered motorcycle tours in North East India. This adventure motorbike tour covers the states of Assam, Meghalaya, Nagaland, and Arunachal Pradesh, giving a traveller to visit to not only popular places but also rural parts of the region to experience first-hand of tribal cultures and traditions. The firm conducts tours all round the year.


Kohima, the state capital, houses the largest crucifix in Asia.

Touphema Tourist Village

Situated on a gentle hillock with panoramic views of the surrounding valleys at a distance of 41 km north of Nagaland capital Kohima, the Tuophema tourist village offers exquisite traditional Naga life in the lap of nature.

The resort offer all the modern comforts with an ethnic setting. The interiors of the resort provides fascinating insight into the history, tradition and ancient myths of the Naga people.

Visitors are offered warm Naga hospitality which include guided walk to nearby peaks or rice fields, hunting trips, cultural expeditions and visits to local homes.

As part of the Naga hospitality, tourists are also offered local dishes with home made rice beer. A recently refurbished Museum inside the village offers an extensive ethnographic collection including wood carvings, musical instruments, textiles, handicrafts traditional artifacts, jewellery ans archaeological finds.

"I have enjoyed it so much. It is a completely new experience and it is very impressive and very moving. Its a traditional culture still strong and still active. Most impressive, very moving," says Allan Wilson, a Scot tourist..

Hornbill Festival-(Naga Heritage Village - Kisama)

The Hornbill festival held in the first week of December shows that with its stunning natural beauty and great cultural traditions, Nagaland can offer a rich fare to tourists.

The state of Nagaland still supports a tribal culture and here at the Hornbill Festival, in the state capital Kohima, this is celebrated with a series of performances and demonstrations.

The festival sees each tribal Hoho (the leading body of each tribe) construct a Morung (boys dormitory), where the values of life are traditionally imparted. In these modern-day Morung, the tribes depict their original lifestyles as accurately as possible. Although they don't have the original totem poles or carvings, the ceremony still serves to give an authentic idea of the traditions of the tribes.

Traditional arts are also featured, with paintings, wood carvings and sculptures by modern Naga artists on display. Naga troupes sing folk songs, perform traditional dances and play indigenous games and sports.

In the evenings a programme of music concerts, catering for all tastes, ensure that the festive spirit continues through the night.

Dzükou Valley

Dzukou Valley Situated at an altitude of 2438.4 metres above sea-level, behind the Japfu Peak, it is 30 Km to the south of Kohima. The entire valley is overshadowed with a type of tough bamboo brush to make the place appear like a mown lawn. The serpentine stream that flows through Dzukou becomes frozen during winter. In summer, wild herbs sprout along the river banks. Lilies in white and yellow and a hundred of other specias of flowers in varied colour adorn the valley in summer. Rhododendrons in white and other colours ornament the hills surrounding the vale. This is one of the best trekking spots in the North-Eastern Region. A base camp for Trekkers' is being constructed on the way from the Jakhama route.

From June to September, the entire valley is covered with a carpet of wild flowers. Here, you are completely at peace with nature. The valley is surrounded by hills, natural caves & rocks and is thus, ideal for camping.

Get out

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Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary


Proper noun




  1. State in north-eastern India which has Kohima as its capital.


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