Essay on Nagaland as a State for Students

Nagaland is a small state in the far north-eastern part of India. It is bounded by Assam to the west, Arunachal Pradesh and part of Assam to the north, Manipur to the south, and the neighbouring country Myanmar to the east.

The state is mostly mountainous except for the Assam Valley border. The total area of the State is 16,579 sq. km; 20% of the total land is covered with wooded forest, rich in flora and fauna. The evergreen tropical and sub-tropical forests are found in the strategic pockets of the state.

Nagaland has a largely monsoon climate with high humidity levels. Annual rainfall averages around 70-100 inches—concentrated in the months of May to September. Temperatures range from 70°F to 104°F. In winter, temperatures do not generally drop below 39°F. Forest is common at high elevations. The State enjoys a salubrious climate.

Nagaland has a turbulent historical background. The Naga tribes had socio-economic and political links with tribes in Assam and Burma (Myanmar). Following the Burmese invasion in 1816, the area along with Assam came under the direct rule of Burma. This period was noted for oppressive rule and turmoil in Assam and Naga hills.

When the British East India Company took control of Assam in 1826, it steadily expanded its control over all the Naga Hills except the Tuensang area in the north-east by 1992. This geographical area was politically amalgamated into Assam.

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After the independence of India in 1947, the area remained a part of the province of Assam, while nationalist activities arose amongst a section of Nagas. The Phizo-led Naga National Council demanded a political union of their ancestral and native groups. They damaged government and civil infrastructure and attacked government officials and civilians from the other States of India. The Union government sent the Indian Army in 1955 to restore law and order. In 1957, the newly established Central Indian Government began diplomatic talks with representatives of Naga tribes and the Naga Hills district of Assam. It became a Union Territory directly administered by the Central Government with a large degree of autonomy. Thereafter the territory was placed under the Nagaland Transitional Provisions Regulation, 1961, which provided for an interim body consisting of 45 members to be elected by various tribes.

Subsequently, Nagaland attained Statehood with the enactment of the State of Nagaland Act in 1962 by the Parliament. The interim body was dissolved by 30 November 1963 and the State of Nagaland was formally inaugurated on 1 December 1963, and Kohima was declared as the State capital. Now Nagaland has a unicameral legislature of 60 seats and 1 seat in the Lok Sabha of the Parliament. Like all other States of India, the governor, representing the President of India, is the titular head and the Chief Minister is the executive head.

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The population of the State is 1,980,602 (nearly two million) as per 2011 census, making it one of the smallest states of India.

Every tribe in Nagaland has its own unique language. Nagas speak more than 20 dialects belonging to the Sino-Tibetan family of languages. The traditional languages do not have any script of their own. The Christian missionaries used Roman script for these languages. In 1967, the Nagaland Assembly proclaimed English as the official language and the medium of education in Nagaland. The literacy rate is 80% in the state. Folk songs and dances are essential ingredients of the traditional Naga culture.

As for religion, Christians are 90%, Hindus are 8%, and the rest are Muslims and others.

The economy of Nagaland mostly depends on agriculture—more than 90% of the population is employed in agriculture. Crops include rice, corn, millets, pulses, tobacco, oilseeds, sugarcane and potatoes. However, Nagaland still depends on the import of food supplies from the other States of India. About one-third of the population can be considered to be below the poverty line.

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As for transportation, the railway network in the State is minimal. However, there are 1,094 km State highways. Dimapur airport in Dimapur city (the most important city next to the capital city of Kohima) is the only airport in the State of Nagaland.