A Brief Review of literatures on Naga Books

A Brief Review of literatures on Naga Books

Some of the earliest literatures on Naga tribes are the work of A. Mackenzie (1884), Sir James John stone (1896), B.C Allen (1905), T.C. Hudson (1911), J.H. Hutton (1921), J.P. Mills (1922) etc. Sir James Johns tone (1896), one of the earliest literature, “Naga hills and Manipur” attempted to highlight briefly about the different tribes in Manipur and Naga Hills; the expedition of British in Naga Hills, education and religion. He also wrote a brief early history of British in connection with Manipur king-Ghumber singh.

A. Mackenzie 1989 (1884), in his book worth to mention is the discussion on Naga tribes about their early history and in particular to the government policy on the Inner line and non-interference policy. According to the Inner Line in 1872-73, the power is given to the Lieutenant-Governor to prescribe a line, to be called, “the inner line” in each or any of the district affected, beyond, which no British subject of certain classes or foreign residents can pass without a license.

B.C. Allen (1905) had attempted to throw some light on Nagas in their physical features; the British expeditions to Naga Hills and socio-economy life of the people.

J.H. Hutton (1921) in his book, “The Angami Nagas” discussed the occupation of the people, general appearance of the people; the law and customs; religion; folklore and language of Angami tribe.

T.C. Hudson (1911), in his book “The Naga tribes in Manipur” attempted to discuss about the Nagas in Manipur in particular to their geographical location; general physical appearance of the people; different legends of origin and socio-cultural life of the people.

J.H. Hutton (1921), in his book “The Sema Nagas” attempted to discuss the origin and migration of Sema tribe; he also briefly covered on occupation and food habit;social life, religion, language and folklore. However he skipped the culture of the Sema Nagas.

J.P. Mills (1926) in his book “The Ao Nagas” covered the domestic life of the Ao people, their law and customs, religion and brief introduction to language and folktales.

J.P. Mills 1980 (1937), “The Rengma Nagas” He attempted to study on origin and migration of Rengma tribe. He also studies on economic life and social organization. He covered the folktales, songs and language in his study.

Christoph Von Fiirer-Haimendorf (1939), an eminent Anthropologist discussed some important culture like feasts of merit; headhunting; Morung and some experiences he had visited the Naga Hills.

Elwin Verrier (1961), in his book, “Nagaland” attempted to observe the nature of Naga people and their history also about the Naga National Council. He also observed that the form of Christianity they follow will broaden out and adjust itself to the modern world and the greatest achieving of the Naga awakening has been to unite the formerly divided and warring tribes.

Elwin Verrier 1969 (1959), “The Nagas in the Nineteenth Century”, Is the collection of tour notes from different people who had visited the Naga Hills. It attempted to edit and put together all the tour notes on physical features; socio-cultural life of different tribes; early history and economic life of the Nagas.

North and North-eastern Frontier tribe of India 1983 (1907), Compiled by the chief of the staff army head quarter in India. In this book, relevant to review is about the early British expedition to Naga Hills. The country up to the Patkoi came nominally under British rule with the rest of Muhammadas possession in Assam in 1765, but no British came to contact with the Nagas until 1832.

Tajenyuba Ao, (1957): “Ao Naga customary laws”, one of the earliest literature available on Nagas written by the Naga scholar, attempted to study the Ao Nagas customary laws, which are practiced among the Ao Naga tribe.

V.K. Anand (1967), he studies on Naga social-cultural life and in his observation he found that the way of life seemed to be changing fast. He found that Morung is completely absent in today’s Naga villages also found that means of communication and lack of transportation facilities is the biggest difficulty. As an administrator, he also found that in no way casual treatment of their problems and dispute will win their heart. One has to know the history of the dispute before giving a decision, which might have started sixty to hundred years back when their grandfather were at the helm of affairs.

M. Alemchiba (1970), one of the Naga writers in his book “A brief history account of Nagaland” attempted to trace about the origin of Nagas, etymology of the word Naga and migration of Nagas to their present Naga Hills.

M. Horam (1975) is one of the eminent Naga writers attempted to discuss the socio-cultural life and starting of Naga National Movement in his book “The Naga Polity”. He also discussed the historical background and entomology of the word Naga.

M. Horam (1977), in his book, “Socio-cultural life of Nagas” attempted to have case study on the socio-cultural life of the Tangkhul tribe and tried to trace the social change. He stated that looking at their economy, political, social or religion, many transformations have taken place. He observed that some of the factors leading to social change are due to British intervention in headhunting, contact with plain people, Christian missionaries, and craze for westernization. In political sphere, the Naga underground held some responsibility to change in social life. In his conclusion, he found the awareness of the Tangkhul people in education.

S.T. Das (1978), he studied the Zelianrong tribe (Liangmei, Rongmei and Zemi) in particular to Zemi tribe. He discussed in brief about the socio-cultural life of Zemi tribe. He also mentioned that shifting cultivation is changed to wet cultivation due to not enough land for jhum cultivation.

Ringkahao Horam (1998) in his book “The Genesis of the Naga political movement” highlighted some historical background of the Nagas and the causes of he Naga political movement in Naga Hills.

R.R. Shimray (1985) had made a good attempt to elucidate about the origin and culture of Nagas in his book “Origin and culture of Nagas’. He had discussed different theories on origin of Naga and the etymology of Nagas. He gave his own hypothesis about the origin of the word “Naga” and he supported with some example that the word Naga was derived from the Myanmares word “NAKA’. He also discussed all the important culture of Nagas.

Imchen Panger (1993), another Naga scholar has done the work on Ao tribe. He had discussed on ancient religion and culture of Ao Naga.

R. Vashum (2000), in his book, “Nagas’ Right to self-determination” deals the Nagas in general aspects and Naga National Movement from commencing to 1999. He also discussed different perceptions of the different sections of the Naga people on self-determination.

Murot Ramuny (1980), the Indian author on Nagas, attempted to discuss on the early history of Nagas, how the British came to Naga Hills and the formation of Nagaland state. He also writes about the Christianity in Nagaland. In one word he described in brief about he Nagas history from ancient to the present world of Nagas.

Major General S.C. Sardespande (1987), one of the Indian authors on Nagas wrote about the Khiamnungans and upper Konyaks tribe inhabiting on both sides of India-Myanmar border in Tuensang and Mon districts of Nagaland. In his book, “The Patkoi Nagas” he attempted to write about the origin of these two tribes and their socio-cultural life. He also highlighted in brief about the change in socio-cultural life of the Khiamnungans.

Kanwar Randip Singh (1987), another Indian author on Nagas, in this book “The Nagas of Nagaland: Desperadoes and Heroes of Peace” writes about the outcome of his experiences and observation during his stay in Naga hills as a superintendent of police in Naga Hills. He writes in brief about the different tribe, then he attempted to trace the course of turbulent events ushered in by Phizo and the Naga National Movement Council and assess the forces working for and against peace and Nationalism among the Nagas

Sipra Sen (1987) in her book ‘Tribe of Nagaland” deals little about the different tribes of Nagas and she compiled the bibliography on Naga tribes.

Kiranshankar Maitra (First Ed.1991), “Nagaland-Darling of the North East”, He attempted to study on various Naga tribes on their socio-cultural life. He observed how the simple tribal people of the Northeast embrace Christian and he writes-
i. The missionaries impresses upon the ignorant dim-witted people that all the non-Christians, the heathens, are to pass through the hell fire
ii. Missionaries, and many pioneering works in the field of educations, medicals services, humanitarian social services
iii. The protective British helped them above all the various ways
iv. The pioneers worked with grit and determinations; they had in their mind a tremendous missionary zeal.
He also writes the changes in dresses, life style, cooking system, pattern of house-building, personal hygienic etc.

Subhadra Mitra Channa (ed.1992), in his book “Nagaland-A contemporary ethnography” In this book, one of the important topic worth to mention is the changing agrarian structure in Nagaland.

Ringyuichon Zimik, (1992) attempted to observe the change in Landownership and practice of jhum cultivation in recent years.

Joseph Athickal (1992), in his book, “Maram Nagas-A socio-cultural study,” attempted to study the socio-cultural life of the Maram Naga tribe, the only primitive tribe in Manipur. He also attempted to find the impact of Christianity in this tribe. He observed that the advent of Christianity seemed to have made the people dependent on institutions as in the case of Maram, whether it is education or social. In his conclusion, he also observed that Maram villagers show a tendency to move down to those sites where communication is easy and have better economic prospects. He also found that education certainly brought with it, a sort of affluence, hygiene ways of living, influence and development of ones own particular tribe, which the Marams failed to enjoy as they were comparatively late comers to benefit from fruits of modernization.

Hargovind Joshi (2001) another Indian author on Nagas attempted to discuss about the Nagas origin and migration to the present inhabitation; he writes the Naga history from ancient time to the present situation in term of socio-cultural and economy life of the people.

Note: The latest books published after 2000 AD are not included except one book.

Source from: http://nagas.co.uk/modules.php?name=Forums&file=viewtopic&t=187


2 thoughts on “A Brief Review of literatures on Naga Books

  1. N.K.Das was first Indian anthropologist to have used modern structural theory during his fifteen years studies among Nagas, some thirty years ago, and published books and essays on Nagas. Furer Haimendorf, an authority on Nagas, who examined his PhD thesis, has commented so much too. Several papers of N.K.Das deal with theoretical dimensions of legal anthropology, kinship, marriage, Stateless Tribe, Segmentary Lineage and ‘Cognatic’ Naga Kinship. Books and papers of N.K.Das are easily available in internet. N.K.Das has argued that the deconstruction of colonial categorizations is the foremost prerequisite to gain a better insight of Naga social formations. Labels such as Ao, Angami and Sema are appellations arbitrarily given by outsiders to various sections (‘tribes’/’sub-tribes’) of Naga people, which were endorsed and further distorted by the British. J.H.Hutton thus fabricated the term Angami by incorporating as many as six tribes (Tengima, Chakroma, Chakrima, Dzono-kehono, Memi and Kezami) for administration in Naga Hills. He repeated this term even in his book the “Angami Nagas”, though he describes only the Tengima section (Hutton 1921, 1969). Similar distortions of Naga names occurred in rest of Naga areas. Remarkably these ‘six tribes’ never formed any interactive network and, what is more, some of these had historically interacted more frequently with ‘other Nagas’ rather within so-called Angami tribes. Occupation of distinct hill ranges on part of these six tribes had further produced differences of cultural usages and dialects. In order to go deep into the issue of the ‘tribeship’ and politics of twist of identities in Naga Hills, this author took up for intensive study one Angami section called Dzono-Kehono though they always called themselves as Zounuo-Keyhonuo (Das 1993).
    A male child is greatly desired by the Zounuo-Keyhonuo. However, female members enjoy considerable status in her agnatic core too. One of the important obligations of the married woman is to participate in the village festivals of Sekrinyi and Terhunyi representing her agnatic core as member of father’s patrilineage (Das 1993:64-67). In many essays this author has provided numerous examples of such transfer of ‘cognates’ to mothers’ agnatic core. Here we notice matrifiliation as an alternative framework as recruitment of cognates to the agnatic core of their mother though it is not to construe that a widow has no right of residence in her diseased husband’s house. Despite the jural recognition of matrifiliation in the Zounuo-Keyhonuo society, patrifiliation is accorded the greater value.

    The descent groups, clan/lineage territories and age sets which defined the core elements of Naga political system could not be tormented or weakened by colonial interventions or modern transformations. Protection of indigenous rights of people over the land, forest and water bodies, restriction on non-Nagas to settle in Naga Hills, due to inner-line regulation in operation, as also a low population density and comfortable man-land ratio so far helped the Nagas to carry out agriculture in vast fields utilising their natural environment, judicially and ethically.

    Edmund Leach proposed the ideal models of ‘feudal hierarchy’ and gumlao ‘democracy’. Leach developed his ideal types chiefly by taking clue from social structures of the Naga tribes, using old ethnographies selectively, to establish the models of the gumsa hereditary aristocracy [based on Konyak and Sema Naga chiefs] and gumlao [based on Angami Naga ‘democratic’ polity]. According to Leach, Hutton found that both the Sema and the Konyak have some communities, which are democratic like those of the Angami but others, quite the reverse [Hutton (1921) b, p.121; (1929) pp. 28, 42.]. There is justifiable reason to compare Kachin and Naga data. This comparison guides us to fresh ways of thinking by recognizing broader processes, tracing continuities and discontinuities. Leach with his obsession for economic institutions over kinship, through his village –study Pul Eliya [1961], almost devastated the ideas of structural-functional stability of kinship groups as corporations. Meyer Fortes had categorically retorted Leach through rejoinder in order to re-establish the core function and role of kinship in tribe and tribe like societies.
    Rules of kinship and descent continue to govern in Naga societies, as there is no substantial interference from outside towards land, water, and forest rights traditionally enjoyed by the Nagas. Thus what is elucidated here in terms of the relationship between descent and territory, family and genealogy, corporateness and jural rights and duties, headmanship and political principles are empirical reality. While reviewing the monograph of N.K.Das ‘Kinship, Politics and Law in Naga Society’ [1993], F. K. Lehman observed that: “…this society (with no centralizing institutions) achieves cohesion from a commonly recognized use of kinship (and marriage and age set organization) mainly the complexly segmentary clan-and-lineage organization for political purposes. At various levels of segmentation, elders defined by their descent position and their concomitant position within the age set system, serve to manage the application of jural rules, whilst others, serve as exemplary models of social propriety on account of their prestige as men of wealth and generosity” . In contrast to Leach’s argument on the Kachin of Burma, the Naga data, according to Lehman, suggest that asymmetric alliance is not only compatible with acephalous/ non- acephalous polity but can also be constitutive of it. Uncovering the cultural nexus between descent and affinity and the structural linkage between asymmetric alliance and political egalitarianism requires a kinship analysis that is also an analysis of local constructions of gender. F.K. Lehman, an authority on Southeast Asia, studied the Chin and Kachin, who live in immediate neighbourhood of the Nagas, finds it striking that “in spite of fairly strict agnatic descent as the principle of the clan and lineage organization, daughters [among the Zounuo-Keyhonuo] inherit, though in a manner less irrevocable than do sons. Moreover, while on the one hand a woman is said to be transferred to membership of her husband’s lineage, on the other she retains a distinct claim on some of the land and other property of her natal family as well as possible residence there, so that we find a nice instance of a principle common to asymmetrical marriage systems, namely, that the more a woman seem to be transferred at her marriage, the more it is because what is really transferred is her status as a member of an affinal lineage, a principle Leach was unclear about with regard to Lushai, Lakher, and Kachin instances”( F. K. Lehman Anthropos 92, 1997). It is theoretically significant that the Naga women (in the Zounuo-Keyhonuo society) do possess a unique position, which is exceptionally comparable to hills people like the Kachin and their neighbours, where even though we are shown a set of oscillatory political paradigms, alongside inconsistent power implication still it seems that with little refocus one may predictably single out some pragmatic [descent] order and woman-favouring marital alliances.
    Interested research scholars may benefit discussing and exchanging notes pertaining to Naga situation with N.K.Das in order mainly to contribute towards theoretical anthropological studies in northeast India (nkdas49@gmail.com).

  2. Sir,
    In 70s I read a book on Nagaland written by one Mr.Strategy form Conservator of Forest of erstwhile Assam. He witnessed the first failed meeting of Nehru and the Tribal chiefs at Kohima.This happened immediately after independence.Shall be greatful if you could let me know the title of the book and publishers.

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