Identity crisis of the nagas

Kezevinuo Catherine

The word ‘Identity’ refers to who you are and what you do, the individual characteristics established by the unique personality traits, affiliations, and social roles by which a person is recognized or known. In simple terms, it is what defines a person and distinguishes him or her from another person. But in this context, it not only means the definition of a person but the definition of the Nagas as a whole and how the word “Identity” is very much relevant in Today’s world.

We exist in an era where people identify themselves in many ways. We have the Naga youths of today who identifies themselves as youths, students, student leaders, entrepreneurs, influencers, etc. We have the Naga younglings who are not in the age to comprehend what identity means. We also have the Naga elders who identify themselves as leaders of the society, the torch bearers, activist, the example setter for the successors to follow and so on. These are some of the many identities prevailing in today’s Naga society and it defines what we are and what we do.

The variable identity in today’s society has led to the identity crisis of the Nagas. This heterogenous identity leads to conflict in achieving a unified goal as one individual identity does not remain consistent and are liable to change in order to adapt with the changing society. In spite of all the different identity existing in the present scenario, if we were to have a single, consistent identity and be true to ourself, keeping our conscience clear and manifesting our common goals, perhaps that may be more significant.

According to me, the singular identity in this context is the identity of the “Nagas for Christ” by which we identify ourselves being a Christian majority state. If we were to break down this identity to understand the values, it would be that of true Christianity. We are compelled to use the term “True Christianity” by virtue of being born into a Christian family. We have forgotten the true values of Christianity in pursuit of materialistic gains, power and social status to fit in our society. This can be explained by the way we, as a Christian conduct ourself in this contemporary world. 

Christianity is the identity that majority of the Nagas are born with but many fail to act upon by negligence of our duties as a Christian. We behave as a dedicated and devoted Christians on Sundays but fail to identify ourself as a true Christian on other days. Baptism is initiated to us by which we become members of the Church and children of God to which our identity changed in terms of spirituality. The origin and foundation of Christian Baptism is Jesus. We, as a Christians are not Baptised to be a Christian on Sundays only but are called to live the fullness of Christ, embracing fullness of life's responsibilities. 

We proudly proclaim “Nagaland for Christ”  but are we worthy to called ourselves “Nagas for Christ”? Are we living the life we are called for as a Baptised Christian? Are we fulfilling the promises we made with God? Are we giving back the due credit to God for all his manifold blessings or are we just living in a period of uncertainty? We say that we live in a Christian state but are we Christians because of the churches that are well established on every hill or because we are baptised Christians who does keep the Christian values. We need to ponder on the situation.

The pursuit of Power and Wealth have tested our faith and morality. While we yearn for the praises and applause from our society, we are slowly losing ourself, our true identity as a true Christian. The recent election which has taken place can be cited as an example and ask ourself where do we stand as a Christian. Although, in most places, it has been peaceful and modest yet in some places the temptation is inevitable to which many have fallen for it. We cannot deny the fact that there is always a question mark to our Identity as “Christian”. 

The words written above is not to humiliate anyone or any community in particular but to challenge ourselves as to whether we can rise up from the problems of identity crisis and establish ourselves with one true identity i.e. the identity of the Nagas for Christ. If every Christian individual is able to live up to one’s own identity as a Christian, we can definitely progress as one and achieve our common goal and proudly proclaim “Nagaland for Christ”.

The writer is Assistant Professor in the Department of Botany SJC (A).