Academic journal article Madhya Pradesh Journal of Social Sciences

Insurgency in Nagaland: Possibilities of Peace

Academic journal article Madhya Pradesh Journal of Social Sciences

Insurgency in Nagaland: Possibilities of Peace

Article excerpt

The North-Eastern Region of India has eight states viz., Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Sikkim and Tripura. It covers an area of around 2,62,500 sq. kms, representing approximately 8 percent of the country's area and has a population (2001 census) of 39.04 million i.e. around 3.80 percent of the country's population. The region has a unique geographical configuration with 98 percent of its borders shared with neighbouring countries of Bhutan, China (Tibet) Myanmar and Bangladesh. Geographical contiguity with the rest of the country is through a narrow 20 km wide chicken neck corridor near Siliguri.

Insurgency has been defined as a protracted struggle conducted methodically and step by step in order to attain specific intermediate objectives leading finally to the overthrow of the existing order, (1) In modern times, insurgency covers a full spectrum of conflicts ranging from subversion to guerilla warfare and the convergence of guerilla bonds into regular units to fight in a conventional manner. The spread of insurgency has been more predominant in the developing and underdeveloped countries. Differences in matters like language, religion and ethnicity often act as motivating factors for the insurgents.

This paper aims to examine the Naga insurgency which has evolved into a complex problem with social, political, and economic ramifications. Ever since independence of India, Naga insurgency has seized the attention of almost all the political parties and social scientists The Naga problem is the epicenter and fore-runner of all insurgencies in North-East India. It encouraged almost all the ethnic groups in the region either for secessionist demand or for creation of separate statehood within Indian union. In the 'Life' magazine Nagaland was termed as Indian Vietnam. V.K. Anand has pointed out that "The Jungles of Malaya, Mountains of Greece and the slushy paddy fields of Vietnam can all be found together in Nagaland". (2) For continuing armed movements by the insurgents in Nagaland, there have been several favourable conditions: (3)

1. The inaccessible uneven rugged hilly region of Nagaland.

2. Between friends or foe it was difficult to differentiate in Nagaland.

3. The rebels drawing help from Bangladesh besides China and Pakistan and

4. The China returned extremists were in favour of continuing the fight.

The word Naga denotes a conglomeration of hill tribes rather than any single entity. Of the various interpretations offered, the most plausible is that the word 'Naga' has been derived from the Hindi root 'Naga' meaning naked. Nagas are divided into various tribes, sub-tribes and clans. The Naga belong to Indo Mongol race. The Nagas consist of about thirty odd tribes mainly Mao, Sema, Angami, Ao, Rengma, Jhankhul, Maram and Lotha who inhabit the present Nagaland state, parts of Manipur and a small part of the old Tirap district of Arunachal Pradesh. There are several Naga tribes who live in Mynamar in the Sagaing division opposite Nagaland and several tracts opposite Manipur. All these tribes have their distinct cultural traditions, dialect, customs, dress and system of governance. These tribes have more than 30 dialects, with every tribe constituting a separate linguistic group. Their cultural and social setup varies vastly from tribes to tribes. Their physique and appearance differ from group to group. The different tribes that constitute the Naga people are rigidly distinct from one another. In many cases these tribes existed in complete isolation. (4)

It is a common fact that Nagas are strongly built and possess fighting nature. Even today a Naga group would fight bloody battles with another group only to establish its supremacy. This practice is gradually disappearing. But it is a fact that Nagas were hunters by profession. Specially in Konyak Naga group, a Naga youth would not be married unless he possessed one human skull. …

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