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History of Nagaland

Nagaland 's History


The earliest references to Nagaland are found in the era of Mahabharata. Several characters from the region, such as Princess Ulupi and Prince Iravan, were referred to as Naga people in the Mahabharata. Ulūpī or Uloopi was one of Arjuna's wives. While Arjuna was in Manipur, the Naga princess became infatuated with him. She caused him to be abducted after he had been intoxicated with potent concoctions and had him conveyed to her realm in the netherworld. There, Ulūpī induced an unwilling Arjuna to take her for a wife. She was the mother of Iravan. She later restored Arjuna to the lamenting Chitrāngadā, one of Arjuna's other wives. She played a major part in the upbringing of Arjuna and Chitrangada's son, Babruvahana. She was also able to restore Arjuna to life after he was slain in battle by Babruvahana. When Arjuna was given a curse by the Vasus, Bheeshma’s brothers after he killed Bheeshma in the Kurushtra war, she redeemed him Arjuna from his curse. Iravat or Iravan (Sanskrit: इरवन), was the son of Pandava prince Arjuna and Naga princess Ulupi. He fought on the side of the Pandavas in the Kurukshetra war and was killed by the Rakshasa Alumvusha on the eighth day of the war.

The word Naga is perhaps derived from Nag or believers of snake god. The people were originally referred to as Chingmee (Hill People) or Hao (Tribes) in the history of Manipur.

The early history of Nagaland is the customs, economic activities of the Naga tribes. The Naga tribes had socio-economic and political links with tribes in Assam and Burma - (officially called Myanmar by the current ruling military junta)even today a large population of Naga inhabits Assam. Following an invasion in 1816, the area along with Assam came under direct rule of Burma. This period was noted for the oppressive rule and turmoil in Assam and Nagaland. When the British East India Company took control of Assam in 1826, they steadily expanded their domain over modern Nagaland. By 1892, all of modern Nagaland except the Tuensang area in the northeast was governed by the British. It was politically amalgamated into Assam, which in turn was for long periods a part of the province of Bengal. The Christian missionaries played an important part in transforming Nagaland. Many Naga tribes embraced Christianity, in particular the Baptist faith.

After the independence of India in 1947, the area remained a part of the province of Assam. Nationalist activities arose amongst Naga tribes, who demanded a political union of their ancestral and native groups damaged government and civil infrastructure, and attacked government officials and Indians from other states. The Union government sent the Indian Army in 1955, to restore order. In 1957, the Government began diplomatic talks with representatives of Naga tribes, and the Naga Hills district of Assam and the Tuensang frontier were united in a single political entity that became a Union territory - directly administered by the Central government with a large degree of autonomy. This was not satisfactory to the tribes, however, and soon agitation and violence increased across the state - included attacks on Army and government institutions, as well as civil disobedience and non-payment of taxes. In July 1960, a further political accord was reached at the Naga People's Convention that Nagaland should become a constituent and self-governing state in the Indian union. Statehood was officially granted in 1963 and the first state-level democratic elections were held in 1964. Insurgencies were quelled in the early 1980s. Violence had re-erupted and there was conflict between rebel group factions till the late 1990s. On 25 July, 1997, the Prime Minister, Mr. I. K.Gujral announced that the Government after talks with Isaac group of the Nationalist Socialist Council of Nagaland (NSCN) declared a cease-fire or cessation of operations with effect from 1st August, 1997 for a period of three months. The cease-fire has since been extended.

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