Poetry has always been the language of the soul of Nagaland. At its most beautiful it mirrors the joy, the glory and the peace that the soul of man can fathom. At its darkest, at its most barren it proclaims the desolation of the soul. Nagaland Poets cannot tell the story of Nagaland and the conflict that has been her lot, and therefore use poetry as a medium to convey the same. For the story of Nagaland is the story of the Naga soul on a long, lonely journey of pain, loss and bereavement, a silent holocaust in which words seldom were enough to carry the burden of being born a Naga. Therefore, Naga poets use poems to try to tell the Naga story.
However, despite all these memorandums and political and legal actions that Nagas had undertaken, in October 1954, Indian sent in over 54 thousand Indian troops and forcibly annexed Nagaland to India.
The Naga Hills have been occupied by the Naga people as early as 150 AD where Claudius Ptolemy (Claudius Ptolemy, Geographia vol VII (ii) p. 18) mentions their existence. The threat of occupation and annexation has always checkered the history of the Naga Hills. In 1228 AD, the Ahom rulers led by King Sukhapha and his great army were repulsed in their efforts to conquer the villages of Nagaland. Following this a war was unleashed where official statistics puts the number of Nagas killed at above two hundred thousand from the 1950s till the present time. The real figure exceeds that. Villages and granaries were burnt, women raped and mutilated, men tortured and killed, children smashed to death. Starvation and Disease destroyed a third of the rural population.
Killings between Indian soldiers and Nagas have reduced though there have been stray cases of Army excesses leading to civilian deaths. However, the Armed Forces Special Powers Act has been in force from the beginning of the conflict, which empowers the Indian Army to arrest and kill on suspicion, any Naga citizen. So Nagaland continues to be a battlefield...
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