How Nagaland got its Name

Nagaland

Nagaland is a state in Northeast India.The state capital is Kohima, and the largest city is Dimapur.The origin of the word ‘Naga' is unclear.A popularly accepted, but controversial, view is that it originated from the Burmese word ‘naka’ or 'naga', meaning people with earrings. Others suggest it means pierced noses.

The ancient name of Nagaland is 'Nakanchi' or 'Naganchi', derived from the Naga language.Before the arrival of European colonialism in South Asia, there had been many wars, persecution and raids from Burma on Naga tribes, Meitei people and others in India's northeast. The invaders came for "head hunting" and to seek wealth and captives from these tribes and ethnic groups. When the British inquired Burmese guides about the people living in northern Himalayas, they were told ‘Naka’. This was recorded as ‘Naga’ and has been in use thereafter.With the arrival of British East India Company in the early 19th century, followed by the British Raj, Britain expanded its domain over entire South Asia including the Naga Hills. The first Europeans to enter the hills were Captains Jenkins and Pemberton in 1832.Over 1851 to 1865, Naga tribes continued to raid the British in Assam.On 4 October 1879, GH Damant (M.A.C.S), a British political agent, went to Khonoma with troops, where he was shot dead with 35 of his team. Kohima was next attacked and the stockade looted.Between 1880 and 1922, the British administration consolidated their position over a large area of the Naga Hills and integrated it into its Assam operations.In 1944, the Indian National Army with the help of Japanese Army, led by Netaji Subhashchandra Bose, invading through Burma, attempted to free India through Kohima. The population was evacuated. British India soldiers defended the area of Kohima and were relieved by British in June 1944. After the independence of India in 1947, the area remained a part of the province of Assam.Nagaland became the 16th state of India on 1 December 1963.