KOHIMA, April 4: Nagaland Chief Minister Shurhozelie Liezietsu on Tuesday called upon the Konyaks, once known as the fierce Naga tribe, to remove their ‘backward’ tag and move forward with the rest of the Naga tribes.
The Konyaks were known to the outside world as headhunters until this practice was banned in 1960s. Beheading their enemies and hanging these skulls on their walls for pride was once considered a rite of passage for young boys.
Facial tattoos were the attributes of warriors, as were the ear piercings with inserted wild boar tusks, war hats made of animal fur, necklaces with small bronze skulls representing the number of heads they had cut off and other decorations such as hornbill feathers.
“There should not be backward or forward tribe, as labelling with the tag ‘backward’ will affect the psychological feelings of dependency among the people,” Shurhozelie, who is from the Angami Naga tribe, said.
Shurhozelie, who was gracing Gracing Aoleang Monyu festival, the premier festival of the Konyak Nagas, in Mon district bordering Myanmar, said that the Nagas should live as one family.
The Chief Minister called upon the younger generation to work in a way that the “backwardness” tag was removed and let the Naga people move forward as one family.
Speaking on the Aoleang festival, the Chief Minister said that this is the time to invoke God’s blessings for health of the people and for rich crops.
“It is a time to visit one another, to feast with friends, kinsmen and family members; it is also a time to make friends with one another. Therefore, he had come to strengthen the bonds of friendship with the Konyak people,” Shurhozelie said.
The Chief Minister also maintained that many ethnic groups around the world had lost their identity and even their language, but it was encouraging to see the Nagas were still preserving it.
Earlier, inaugurating the Konyak Union office building, the Chief Minister said that Konyak Nagas, being one of the biggest tribes among the Nagas, should work for the unity of the Nagas.
“Nagas had been scattered to other parts of the country as well as to other country (Myanmar) by the British for their own administrative conveniences,” Shurhozelie said.
“However,” he said, “we need to integrate all the Nagas living outside the state through democratic means and we need to maintain good relationship with our neighbours.”
Shurhozelie also announced that during the current financial year, the state government would take up the Mon-Namtola road and declare it as a national highway.
Featured image(courtesy): TrekEarth