(Last Updated on : 22/12/2009)
The villages of Nagaland are famous all over India for their rich tradition and tribal culture. Nagaland is one of the `Seven Sister` states located in the north eastern India and a major portion of the state`s total population lives in the villages. The rich cultural diversity in the villages of Nagaland attracts many tourists from all over the country every year. The villages are also rich in arts and crafts, as the villagers are involved in making handicrafts for the past few centuries.
Christianity is the predominant religion in the villages and the state is referred to as "The most populated Baptist state in the world". Baptists, Catholics, Revivalists and Pentecostals are the major Christian communities living in the villages of Nagaland. There are several churches established in many villages of Nagaland. Apart from Christianity, the other major religious communities include the Hindus, Muslims, Buddhists, etc. Apart from these religious communities, there are also several tribal communities living in the villages of Nagaland. The major tribes include Angami, Ao, Chakhesang, Chang, Khiamniungan, Kuki, Konyak, Lotha, Phom, Pochury, Rengma, Sumi, Sangtam, Yimchungru, Zeliang, etc.
The people in the villages of Nagaland speak in more than 50 different dialects that belong to the Sino-Tibetan family of languages. Almost all the tribes have their own language and among these, the Nagamese language is spoken quite extensively. This is a variant language form of Assamese and is the most widely spoken local dialect. Though, Nagamese is neither a mother tongue of any of the tribes nor is a written language, it is spoken widely in the villages of Nagaland. However, English is the official state language and is the medium for education in Nagaland.
The educational scenario in the villages of Nagaland is quite good. The number of school going children is impressive and the governmental authorities have established many primary schools in most villages to provide primary education. There is scope for the students to pursue higher education as there are several colleges and universities established in the urban areas. The governmental authorities are also establishing new educational institutions in the villages as they feel the need of further improving the educational status of the villages of Nagaland.
The principal occupation of residents in the villages of Nagaland is agriculture. The villages basically have an agricultural economy and the villagers cultivate various crops throughout the year. They mainly follow two methods of cultivation, namely, Jhum cultivation and terrace cultivation. The major crops cultivated in the villages of Nagaland include rice, maize, arum, yam, millet, gram, rubber, tea, sugarcane, etc. The villagers in Nagaland also cultivate the fruits like banana, pineapple, orange, passion fruit, pears, plum, jack fruit, etc. quite extensively. Apart from these, the vegetables like ginger, garlic, chilli, tomato, potato, cabbage, melon, cucumber, spinach leaf, mustard, onion, brinjal, etc. are cultivated in the villages of Nagaland as well.
The villages of Nagaland are major sources of minerals like coal, lime stone, petroleum, marble, etc. A significant portion of the rural population in Nagaland is engaged with the mines and minerals industry. Apart from this, villagers are also involved in the cottage industry. The cottage industry plays a crucial role in the village economy in Nagaland. The major cottage industries include weaving and dyeing; work in cane; work in wood; pottery and excavation of salt, pulp and paper mill, etc. Spinning and weaving were the two most significant industries in the villages of Nagaland until independence. Several villagers have recently taken up soap-making, candle-making, bee-keeping, basketry, metal work, etc. as their occupation. The other industries like jewellery and beadwork, sugar mills, paper mills, plywood factories, bricks plants, etc. also provide employment to the people in the villages of Nagaland.
The cultural diversity in the villages of Nagaland is quite remarkable. The people from different religions follow different customs and also celebrate different types of festivals. The villagers regard the festivals sacrosanct and in certain tribal communities participation in the festivals is compulsory. The predominant theme of the festivals is offering prayers to a Supreme Being that has different names in different Naga dialects. The major festivals celebrated in the villages of Nagaland include Moatsu, Tsungrem Mong, Nazu, Sekrenyi, Tuluni, Yemshe, Hornbill, Bushu, etc. The festivals are actually a testimony to the fascination and love the Naga tribesmen have for art and craft. The people love to wear their traditional attires and also perform various traditional songs and dances during the festivals.
The most notable feature of village society in Nagaland is its rich arts and crafts. People in the villages of Nagaland are skilled in making various types of arts and crafts. The skilled tribal craftsmen and artisans have always been the pillars of a tribal society in Naga villages. Tourists from different parts of India visit the villages of Nagaland to experience the rich cultural heritage of Naga tribes.