The Battle against Tribalism in Nagaland – Lika S. Zhimomi, BA 6th Semester, Education (Honours)



Nagas are well known for their hospitality and friendly nature. Our social fabric and sense of belongingness to community life is so strong that it does not go unnoticed by visitors, non-locals and foreigners, who often comment on this, appreciating and even envying this special bond. Yet, there is something amiss as pointed out by Lika S. Zhimomi. This sense of unity seems to stop somewhere along the way. “Tribalism, she says, is the social threat of today.” We are waging a vicious battle against tribalism in Nagaland.

The Battle against Tribalism in Nagaland

Unity, according to the Oxford Advanced Learners dictionary means the state of being in agreement and working together; the state of being joined together to form one unit.
I would like to begin by stating to all the readers that whatever I’m going to write is not out of compulsion, but out of endless thoughts which pop out in me every now and then as I look at the prevailing situation in Nagaland. As a student, I honestly believe that whatever is going on in our society will not bring resolution for where there is no unity, the word “peace” cannot prevail. Development in the fields of economy, politics, society, etc. is not possible without unity and to bring development the presence of unity in a particular society is essential.
With the passage of time, the presence of various divisions has led to the creation of cracks in our social structure. The biggest of these cracks can be attributed to tribalism, which is a social threat that constructs an illusion of differences, and creates enemies and hatred. The presence of ‘ism’ has hindered our society’s progress. Life on this green planet races like the blink of an eye, and as Shakespeare once verily maintained that the world is a stage and we are just mere players. We have been created by a creator to perform certain tasks and this can’t be done without the presence of unity in our lives.
I’m elated to share one common, yet powerful, story. This is my version of the tale. Once there lived five brothers and their father. Their lives were filled with hatred and enmity among brothers. This was painful for the father. One fine day, the father called them for a task. He asked his eldest son to bring a stick and politely asked him to break it which the eldest son did into pieces. The father asked the same from his second son, and he, too, broke the stick easily. Likewise, the other three brothers were asked to do the same. The father then asked his sons to bind 30 pieces of stick tightly together and break it, which to their surprise could not be broken. The five brothers gave a stern look at each other as none of them could complete the task. Then their father told them, “Dear sons, have you realised that 30 sticks binded together cannot be easily broken. Likewise, the more united you are, the stronger you become.” Thereafter, five of them lived together as one.
This story is short but the message it gives out is huge. Perhaps we all need to realise that divided nothing can be achieved. The more we create identities to differentiate; ranks to classify, the more our society is going to slide away from development. The most important thing which this story teaches us is the importance of ‘unity’; unity to do the task together and to show unity in every breath of our life by eliminating anger, selfishness, and arrogance.
It is a known fact that the population of our state is comparatively low, and we have very few industries and factories. Our society has become a hub for unemployed youths. Nevertheless, this does not wash out our selfishness, arrogance, and bias against other genders and tribes. It hinders the young talented youths from securing the right job, which they are capable of, since they never have the right mindset towards work. On the other hand, the undeserving find jobs, owing to political backings and money power.
A society without the feeling of oneness will always lag behind in terms of social, political, and spiritual development. There will always be a lack of co-operation, adjustment, and moreover, various problems will arise bringing with them equally numerous consequences which we will have to face. Chaos will take place and slowly the society will be separated by factionalism.
Society is not solely for some men or women only, but it is an endeavour where everyone has to work together. One should treat others as one would like to be treated. People must not create a room for differentiation but, in fact, work together. To bring development and change in our society is not easy. Our path toward advancement is hindered due to lack of unity among Nagas. For the bright future of our loving state, each one of us must set a common goal and should have one common voice, for where there is unity there is peace and development. To sum up my thoughts, I would like to pen down a poem dedicated to my state.
Many have shed their blood;
More remains to be shed,
But what does it reflect,
If it all went in vain?
For there is no sense of oneness.

To create oneness,
Is to create love and peace,
Live as one,
Voice as one,

And resolve every challenge we face.

Degree of Thought is a weekly community column initiated by Tetso College in partnership with The Morung Express. Degree of Thought will delve into the social, cultural, political and educational issues around us. The views expressed here do not reflect the opinion of the institution. Tetso College is a NAAC Accredited UGC recognised Commerce and Arts College. The editors are Dr Hewasa Lorin, Anjan K Behera, Tatongkala Pongen, Nungchim Christopher, and Kvulo Lorin. Portrait photographer: Rhilo Mero. For feedback or comments please email:

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