Naga culture is the portrayal of the but unknown Naga peoples. Their habitat is located in the mountains of Nagalim, disputably part of the north East of India and the Northwest of Myanmar, formerly Burma. Over forty tribs with common ancestry but a multitude of affiliated languages and attires make up the Naga community. Seeing them in their finest attires during festivals as well as in ordinary life is an extraordinary experience. And because their land until recently has been isolated from the outside world hardly a soul knows about them; this includes Indians and Myanmarese.Naga culture is photographed and written by Frans Welman Ngathingkhui Jagoi with important visual contributions from Caisii Mao and Famke Veenstra.
This book is dedicated to the resilience of the Naga Peoples who, against the odds, have been able to withstand invasions. As they want to live as Free Peoples, it is their culture which provided them the means to remain free on the basis of their right to self-determination.
Naga Culture is the portrayal of the unique but unknown Naga Peoples. Their habitat is located in the mountains of Nagalim, disputably part of the North East of India and the Northwest of Myanmar, formerly Burma.
Seeing them in their finest attires during festivals as well as in ordinary life is an extraordinary experience. And because until recently their land has been isolated from the outside world, hardly a soul knows about them; this includes Indians and Myanmarese because a Naga in Delhi frequently has to answers questions from other Indians like: Are you a Nepali, do you come from Bhutan?’, or you must be Burmese with: ‘Oh no, I am as Indian as you!
Though actually living in two neighboring countries, the Nagas - on either side of the border - are one in spirit. The reason for this distinction comes from the pronounced idea of separation decided upon by others than Nagas themselves. It was during the tenure of Jawaharlal Nehru (first Prime Minister of India) and U Nu (the second Prime Minister of Burma) after the assassination of Aung San (father of the now renowned Aung San Su Kyi), that the border suggested by British agents during colonial times was finalized upon. This, of course, much to the chagrin of the Nagas themselves who walked out on Nehru when he addressed a crowd in Kohima, capital of Nagalim*, but refused to talk to a Naga delegation who wanted to, on behalf of the Nagas, talk to him about their status. Because Nehru felt insulted by this demonstration of the Naga People - thousands of them were present - Nehru unleashed the occupational war not long afterwards, using words like: ‘if the sky falls down on us and India goes to pieces and the rivers turn red with blood, I will never let the Nagas become independent’
From then on the war initiated by India continues to date. Since they were partially colonized by the British and later re-colonized by Indians, there is only one thing the Nagas really want: namely to be left alone to rule themselves.
However, the International Community does not recognize the Declaration of Independence of the Naga Peoples of 1947, but determined the conflict a domestic problem. Since 1953, Nagas have lived separately in two countries - the border striking straight through some villages, even houses. From 1963 onwards they were again divided in the newly formed Nagaland State, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, and Assam. Consequently, in the realization that borders divide, Nagas want to be reunited and so they call for reunification between states and countries. Nagas want to live in their own sovereign nation and they stand up for this undying right to this day.
So, meet the Nagas as they are, living their rich culture, highlighted through their festivals and feasts of merit.
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