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

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Naga Nationalism and Christianity

Christianity and Politics in Tribal India: Baptist Missionaries and Naga Nationalism by G Kanato Chophy, SUNY Press, 2022; pp 478, $37.95.

It is widely believed that the Naga political conflict is closely associated with the spread of Christianity. Several hypotheses have been proposed in this regard. First, the introduction of a common scripture and script helped the Nagas to unite as a community. The communal partition of India explains why the emergent community was imagined in (ethno)religious terms. Second, Christianity (and the colonial state’s scalar politics) ruptured the bonds between the hills and the plains and nudged the Nagas to reimagine themselves as a separate nation. Third, the ethnonationalists used the ethno-religious divide between the hills and plains to rally support. Fourth, the church actively aided the insurgency.

A nuanced account of Christianity among the Nagas is, however, lacking in most of these discussions. G Kanato Chophy’s Christianity and Politics in Tribal India: Baptist Missionaries and Naga Nationalism tries to fill in this gap. His book is part of the new scholarship on the North East that is questioning the colonial–anthropological wisdom and challenging the stereotypes that have governed much of the postcolonial policy and public debate.

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Updated On : 10th Oct, 2023
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