The Reality about the People of Nagaland.
It is not unusual in my country to be discriminated for being different. Traditionally, India has always soaked in anyone from any background who came here. Religions , linguistics and every other form of social categories have always found a belonging in our country. So even after huge masses of immigration happened through out centuries , and everyone found a home in India, from time to time , we are be fooled to believe they were merely invasion. Not going into that discussion , as history is all about assumptions , yet we can see our ignorance as even in present times, we keep discriminating people of our own country for their different way of life. Here , from my experience I will try to light the true nature of Nagaland , as far as my experience of being their in my travels and tours.
The Nagas , refer to a cluster of tribes that belong from the northeastern states of India. To be told a fact , even outside Nagaland , Naga tribes spread in other states of Arunachal , Manipur , Assam and Mizoram. This tribes came into light under the British occupation of the region in late eighteen hundred. The origin of this tribes are disputed , as no strong historical evidence can be put forward to claim the source. However , at present there are 16 official tribes are inhabitants of the political region of Nagaland. English being brought in by the British with Christanity went a long way in bringing this tribes together. The ever warring Naga trives are now coexisting together for its development and in a quiet content way of living. They have reformed their practices , such as hunting into newer ways of economical avenues, saving the fine balance of nature and mankind. Being tribes, they always lived on hunting , and their ancestral accesories are all made of mostly tiger or leoprad claws, bones or skins of bear or deers found roaming in the wild, Bird feathers and meats are also quiet common for beautification and survival. However, with modern age , hunting has stopped , and they have conserved their forest for eco tourism to bloom and form the path towards a brighter future.
Being tribes, the people were very close to nature from there ancient days , and even now that can be seen in their general lifestyle. That dependency to nature and subsequent caring for it with utmost respect is what NAGALAND might inspire the rest of India to do. Almost all villages and tribes have a self sustainable living here. They depend highly on the nature that surrounds them. Wood from the forest , herbs for medicines or wild fruits to make wine and food is still a huge part of living in the modern Nagaland.
In ancient times, every tribe was almost at natural war with each other. Head hunting was a famous practice, where in , when two tribes met on battlefield, the winners would decapitate the fallen, and keep their heads or skulls as prize. These were awards to show the strength of a tribe and people. This practice is bygone now, and no more carried out. With modern social rules coming in, the tribes have found a cooperating existence among each other. Even though their languages and rules and laws , still differ, they adhere to the rules built up by the government. This is the proof , that if people are intending enough with good will , they can exist in peace. The Nagas known for their fierce battles and being warriors are also caring and happy family people, if you look closely. This myth , that Nagaland is only about soldiers and war , will soon perish as more and more travelers head there to see this beautiful culture.
Even though , in terms of GDP , the tribal areas do not contribute much , yet in the form of visions, they go a long way. Almost all houses in Nagaland have sustainable living, They make their general needs out of things they can find in their surrounding forest. From cultivating fishes to fruits and vegetables, each family has its treasure trove in its own , in the Naga country side. While on the tour in Nagaland , the food we eat in homestay is generally produced with in the surrounding of the house or cultivated, or found in the jungles nearby.
That was the way they lived hundreds of years ago, and still do. It is of importance to learn and realize this super value of the Naga society. Their needs are not much , and generally adheres to things that can be found with in the grasp of their natural habitat. The people here know how to make things and utilizes there time in every kind of handicraft possible from natural products, leaving no after effect on earth. The question is, with the advent of high consumerism , till when they can hold to their satisfied living?
Nagaland can also be called a state , where the rest of India must look up to for some inspiration , to diminish its conventional patriarchal miseries. Its a state ran by female power mostly. The Naga family heir is generally the youngest daughter of the house, and yet mostly family feuds are rare here, since their is a benevolent atmosphere. The homestays, where I lived in ,were all managed by women and they did a tremendous job. The women are also very productive here , since they create every house hold things necessary in the homes itself, rather relying on markets. Optimum utilization of time and nature can be seen, which needs to be implemented in our modern lives as much as possible too. Being a feminine driven state , the vibes are much more peaceful and relaxed here.
Nagas are primarily a non vegetarian population. The meats vary from tribe to tribe , but almost every tribe depends on that consumption. They have a healthy cuisine with lesser use of salt , as per my personal observation , which also helps their strong built. Chilies are heavily used , and cuisines mostly have meat as its primary ingredient. There is a negative obsession with what Nagas eat , specially the meat they consume. For the rest of India it is borne of classical conditioning. This curiosity behind the obsession , rather than being genuine, can be termed as a product of ethnocentrism of the Indian society.
A lot of this acceptance , that everything of a culture and tradition is because of the Geo political situation of a region and place , can be seen once you visit and live with the Nagas. This acceptance can breed tolerance and help our diverse country in bringing the ever glorified unity we so boast about , just like the different tribes of Nagaland has successfully practiced for modern coexistence.
Let me know your thoughts if you have been to Nagaland. If not, do plan up once, and let me know if my article motivates you to do so.
Note from the Author,
" Travel made me rich and free. Magic and miracles are true , once you wander on the roads to places different and divine. I have collected so many thoughts and stories while being a Tour & Trek guide for last seven years. Sharing with you all, those memories and stories , and wishing you all , that someday you guys travel far and wide too. I am not a great writer , so ignore my grammar and spellings, read it with feelings, and you might just be affected with the wanderlust to hit the road"