Foreign versions of Naga history and its negative effects on Nagas today

Kaka D Iralu

To begin from a broader perspective, many Christians think that history is not important. They say that the past is not important and we should not live in the past. Many as a result, do not know world history or even their own history and live under the influence the evolution theory and its fantastic version of history. Coming to the Naga context, prior to the advent of the 19th century, our only source of history was our oral history passed down from generation to generation through the Morung institutions.


Then came the British imperialist in 1832, and in the face of stiff resistance from the Nagas, their curiosity drove them to Manipuri and Ahom written sources of Naga history. These neighbouring sources were however often biased and one sided. As for delving into real Naga history through Naga sources, the British historians were able to do this only after the establishment of the Naga Dobashi (translators) institution which came into existence after the last battle of Khonoma in 1880.


After the British left, Indian imperialist came in the late 1940s. But like the British, they also came to conquer and rule. On their trail, they left thousands of Nagas dead and hundreds of Naga villages burnt to ashes. As a result, Indian writers who began to write about Naga history after the 1964 ceasefire had to write a “cover up “version of Naga history in order to cover up their crimes committed in Nagaland. These versions of Naga history and culture therefore portrayed Nagas as wild head-hunters and savages whose unlawful activities had to be crushed by the Indian army for the benefit of the Nagas’ themselves who had always been Indians in history. (for example, read Y. D. Gundevia’s book;”War and Peace in Nagaland” or S.C. Dev’s book “Nagaland, the Untold story”).


This then was how Naga culture and history was portrayed to India and the world before some Naga historians and authors appeared in the scene very recently. But in spite of these new developments, what greatly surprises one is the fact that even some of our educated history teachers in our own colleges and Universities still don’t know Naga history beyond the British and Indian records! Tragically, many of them still continue to teach these foreign versions of our history to their students.


Now, why is knowledge of one’s own history so important for the existence and overall development of a nation? The answer is as simple as that- if a nation does not know its own history; such a nation can be reduced to just some refugees in their own lands. Or to put it from another perspective, such a nation can easily be absorbed by a bigger neighbour nation into the neighbour’s history and identity. Such an “absorbed” nation will then become “subjects” or citizens of a neighbour nation without even realising what was happening to their own identity and history. Can Nagas be so stupid as not to realise that this is exactly what India and Burma has been trying to do to us for all these many years?


Finally, to end with the larger picture that I started with in this article, many Christians all over the world today are intellectually un-aware of the fact that all modern philosophies and political ideologies that have shattered the world from the 20th to the 21st centuries had their origins and inspiration from the theory of evolution that Darwin propounded in the mid 19th century (i.e. The Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, 1859). Inspired by this new theory of man’s origins, revolutions were launched worldwide by Scientists, Philosophers, Political thinkers, and Psychologists. In their own respective fields, they reduced mankind into a species of evolved monkeys, political animals, and economic commodities etc. The struggle of human history was portrayed by them as one were all nations were engaged in a desperate fight for the “survival of the fittest.”


In conclusion, if we know our own unique history and can connect that history to mainstream world history and the Bible (which is God’s, revelation of human history), then nobody can shake us or absorb us into themselves. But if we are not bothered about our own history, then we will have to be content with other people’s version of our history and ultimately become even “other’s people.” In the wider perspective, the ultimate choice for any nations on earth is whether they want a history connected to a personal God or a history connected to evolution and monkey ancestors.