For centuries the Nagas were well a knit people with strong social cohesion, holding fast to the values of their community and solidarity, harmony with nature, and capable of strong corporate action. Their society and culture were based on true democratic principles, honesty, truthfulness, and faithfulness. They valued a person not in terms of material possessions or wealth but on moral and ethical standards with integrity. To them traditional religion, individual life, and community life were inseparable. Politically, the Nagas had a well organised administrative system under which citizens enjoyed stability and security without the interference of outside powers. Socially and religiously, they had their own community values and traditional beliefs that left no one an irreligious person or an individual. Egalitarianism was their way of life. There was no super-ordinate or sub-ordinate person. Economically, they were self-sufficient with no greed for more beyond their needs. Life was in its totality and originality without mass environmental destruction.
However within a century, Naga society has undergone a dramatic change as a result of encountering diverse influences and policies such as the British occupation and administration, Western Christianity, modernisation, and Indian annexation and occupation. It is of no doubt that these influences brought about economic development and social progress, political consciousness, new religious values putting down reprehensible customs, abolishing headhunting, warfare and slavery, and enhancing the people’s consciousness of their historical destiny and human dignity. Simultaneously, however, it also had a disastrous effect on the whole life of the Nagas as a result of alien culture, politics, morality, attitude, and practices demoralising the Naga traditional cultural values.
Being aware of these adverse consequences that befell the indigenous Nagas of North East India, this book is intended to analyse and acknowledge proportionately both the positive and negative outcomes and propose a methodology that will help the Nagas to recover and reclaim their traditional culture and synthesise them with different post-modern values and influences. This will, if confirmedly carried out, produce new relevant and constructive codes and principles built with the local lens to integrate contemporary ideas and contexts. Since the meaning of culture encompasses every facet and demeanour of life and society, the issues dealt in this exploration are compactly based on different subject perspectives such as Inter-cultural, Sociology, Anthropology, and Contextual Theology.