The Northeastern state of Nagaland today celebrates its 58th Statehood Day. It became the 16th state of India on 1st December 1963. It is bounded by Myanmar on the East, Arunachal Pradesh on the North, Assam on the West, and Manipur on the South.
After India attained Independence, Nagaland initially was a part of the province of Assam. However, a strong nationalist movement erupted that demanded a separate political union for the state. On the other hand, extremists demanded outright secession from the Indian union. This movement led to a number of violent incidents, and in 1955 the Indian army was called in to restore order. Following this, an agreement was signed between Naga leaders and the Indian Government. Accordingly, the Naga Hills and the Tuensang Frontier Division were merged under a single political region, Naga Hills Tuensang Area (NHTA) that was administered by the Indian Government. However, the unrest continued and in July 1960, following discussion between Prime Minister Nehru and the leaders of the Naga People Convention (NPC), a 16-point agreement was arrived at whereby the Government of India recognised the formation of Nagaland as a full-fledged state within the Union of India. Nagaland achieved statehood in 1963, and a democratically elected government took office in 1964.
The insurgency has continued in this part of the region that later gave birth to several factions that have been agitating for Naga independence. Nagaland has faced many challenges to date. The violence and insecurity have limited Nagaland’s economic development. However, there has been a drastic transition from the traditional to modernity.
The major recognised tribes of Nagaland are Angami, Ao, Chakhesang, Chang, Khiamniungan, Kuki, Konyak, Lotha, Phom, Pochury, Rengma, Sangtam, Sumi, Yimchungru and Zeliang. The Naga languages differ from tribe to tribe, and sometimes even from one village to another. They are, however, under the Tibeto-Burma family.
Nagaland is known as the land of festivals, because of the existence of diverse tribe in the state. The annual Hornbill Festival, called the “Festival of Festivals”, is celebrated from the 1st to 7th of December at the Kisama Heritage Complex which is 20 km from Kohima. The week-long Hornbill Festival is envisaged by the state government to let visitors witness the variety and richness of Nagaland’s culture at one venue. The highlights of the festivities are a glorious range of traditional songs, music, dance and indigenous games.
Remembering the sacrifices of the leaders whose efforts led to the creation of the state, the Chief Minister of Nagaland Neiphiu Rio said, “On the 58th Statehood Day, I extend my greetings to the people of the State. As we celebrate this historic day, we remember with gratitude those leaders who by their sacrifices, foresightedness and determination ensured the creation of Nagaland State as the 16th State of India.”
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday took to Twitter to extend his greetings. PM Modi said that all the people of Nagaland are known for their ‘courage’ and ‘kindness’ and hailed the culture of the state as ‘exemplary’. He also prayed for the state’s continuous development.
Besides PM Modi, Home Minister Amit Shah and Defense Minister Rajnath Singh also greeted the people of the state. Amit Shah on Tuesday extended his greetings to the people of the state. In a tweet, Shah wrote, “Greetings to our sisters and brothers of Nagaland on their Statehood Day. May this beautiful state scale new heights of progress in the years to come. Wishing the natives of Nagaland, Rajnath Singh said, ‘the Naga people are known for their exemplary courage and bravery. May the state keep progressing in the years ahead.’