‘Safeguarding Our Children's Future: The Importance of Preserving Our Nagas Identity’


We have many sisters and aunts in our own families who are married to non-Nagas and it's their choice so we have no objection to it. The problem arises when their children start using our surnames instead of their Father's and once they start using our surnames and village/khel names officially they start reaping the benefits of our original Nagas. Some of these non-Nagas sons and daughters are allowed to use our surnames unofficially but that is also not right because people identify us by our names and surnames. Our children's future is at risk because it's an open secret that whether it be in business or government sector these non-Nagas are taking advantage in every field, conveniently using their Father's name when it's to their benefits and using their mother's name when the situation calls for it which is almost like an amusing game to them. So my brother's, let's start identifying them and take measures…from our khel to village, let's help to safeguard our children's future.


Traditionally, it is considered taboo and a breach of village/clan’s law to allow ‘others’ to use a Clan’s name. A Clan’s name is sacrosanct to its members and his identity and prestige is inherent in his surname.

Each surname has sacred history and grand lores attached to it, whose spirit, only a clan member can truly understand and appreciate. It confers him status and is the animating principle that guides him through life.

There are two other problems that arises when you permit ‘others’ to enter membership into a clan/village.

1. There is a risk to loss of traditional/clans’ property to the new ‘outsider’ member. Tradition Land is sacred and a source of life. Attrition of land is considered as sign of death of a clan.

2. There is a risk of compromising the village sovereignty by giving membership to an ‘outsider’.

All the above practices and understanding has helped the preservation and the integrity of the ‘Naga village republic’. The above traditional practices affect every aspect of a Naga life - his identity, status, livelihood, marriage, vocation, role in the society and continuation of his lineage.

Traditionally, it is the women who marry-out of the tribe/clan and she is considered as belonging to her husband. She is expected to honour her role as a wife within the new adopted family/culture. New relationships through marriages are considered sacred. They enrich the ‘soul-spirit’ of a clan. Blessings and goodwill of one’s maternal uncle are considered as vital to a happy and fulfilled existence. This is how inter-clan relationships and alliances with ‘others’ were forged. Modern ways of diluting a Clan’s sanctity and purity are therefore taboo and harmful to the Clan’s Spirit.

Membership, of an ‘outsider’, into a Clan is not a new modern phenomenon but was not a common practice in old days due to the reasons cited above. Our patrilineal ways ensure our survival and continuity as a nation and therefore it is vital to discard newer liberal ideas that seek to desecrate our ancestral soul-spirit’ and devalue our ways of knowing and living. Modern/western understanding of how society should evolve and function - Hegelian Weltgeist - in principle, is inadequate to understand our experience of human history. Blind adoption of ‘liberal’ ethos may potentially jeopardise our existence and relevance. It is, ergo, obligatory on each Naga NOT to allow ‘others’ to use one’s Surname.

Why are you concerned? And, I can only make a guess out of your post. Guessing, because your post is incomplete. It's more like a rhetoric, less on substance.

If I have to go by the patriarchy, I can only conclude that it is widely assumed that purity or lineage is carried forward or maintained by the male members of the society. But does biology agree so? Na.

1. Naga Man + Tsümar Woman = Pure Naga

2. Tsümar Man + Naga Woman = Plain Manu!

The kid from the above combination can never claim to be of so called pure Naga blood.

If your concern stems out from the 'impurity' of Naga blood because of mixed marriage, make your concern gender neutral. You cant have different set of societal rules for Naga man and woman.

PS: Funny to see that he's worried about Naga identity borne out of a Naga mother and plain Manu but is silent when the gender is interchanged. Look around. There are many Naga kids who look like Tephriemia/Tsümar because of their non-Naga mothers but society accepts them because they got Naga fathers. 

Biology alone does not complete human social relationship. Man is not a robot or a machine entirely controlled and regulated by biology. Man is much more than a biological being whose social life is shaped completely independent of scientific principles. What keeps human above other beings is their social practices. How is marriage conducted, how the lineage is established, how the ancestral property is passed down from generation to generation, the festivals and cultural affinities that draws a group of people closer and edify a sense of belonging, the language that act as a conduit of communication and how it strengthen the social relationship; these are some of the contours from which a nationality is determined, an ethnicity is traced and an identity is established. If such elements are threatened from external forces, people have every right to object and repel the invading forces.