ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Engaging Naga Nationalism

'Nationalism' among the Nagas and the struggle for 'Nagalim' has, in the half-century since the 1951 Naga referendum witnessed several shifts and changing phases. While definitions of 'freedom' and 'self-determination' may differ, and there is at present a plethora of Naga representative bodies, there is nevertheless broad agreement among Nagas, like with other movements in the north-east, of the hegemonic power of the Indian state. Governments at the centre have, by turns, adopted a policy of militarisation and of extending grants to a small section of the local elite that it has co-opted in the task of governance. Any resolution of conflicts in the north-east, including the Naga one, could begin when both sides negotiate from a position of equals, and by an end to the process of militarisation that has tended to largely view dissent as a sign of subversion and anti-nationalism.

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