Naga Background

The Vanishing Naga -
An Ancient Culture in Turmoil

The various tribes known as the Nagas are to be found mostly in the north-eastern Indian state of Nagaland, but also in the neighboring states of Manipur to the south, Arunachal Pradesh to the north and Myanmar (Burma) to the east. These tribes inhabit a mountainous area of about 17,000 sq. kms. The Angami, Ao, Chakhesang, Chang, Khiamngan, Konyak, Lotha, Phom, Rengma, Sema, Sangtam, Tangkhul, Yimchunger and Zeliangrong are all Naga tribes that have historically been in contact with each other; sometimes trading, often at war. All Nagas distinguish themselves as people of the hills as opposed to people of the plains. They share a common ethnicity as well as certain basic social and cultural traits that group them together and set them apart from the people and culture of the plains. Yet they all speak mutually incomprehensible languages, harbor stereotyped prejudices about each other and each believes themselves to be superior to the others. Politically each tribe could virtually be a nation unto itself.

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