The Sixth Semester students of the Political Science Department undertook a study tour to Mon, Nagaland from 19th to 21st January, 2018. Mon is commonly known as ‘Land of the Anghs’ in Nagaland due to the presence of the chiefs or kings called Anghs in almost all the villages of the Konyaks in Mon District. The objective of the study tour was to investigate the practical relevance of the principle of territorial sovereign state system and its effectiveness in the case of the tribal villages which share their borders with another nation-state (Myanmar). The study tour also was meant to explore of the pertinence of customary laws and practices in the political and social life of the people among the Konyaks.
The group consisted of nine students with Sir Dominic K. Khanyo, Assistant Professor and the Head of Department (Political Science) as the co-ordinator. The trip started at 4:30 PM on Friday 19th January, 2018. We reached Mon the next morning at 3:30 AM. We headed towards our lodging place which was in Don Bosco Parish; we were warmly welcomed by two cheerful faces, Fr. S. Arockasiamy SDB and Fr. Athili SDB.
In the itinerary, the main place of our visit was Lungwavillage, inhabited by the Konyaks which is about 40 kilometres from Mon district headquarters. As we made our journey to the village, we were simply mesmerized by the scenic view of beautiful and clean-shaven hills which were meant for Jhum cultivation. We reached Lungwa at 12:30 PM with the weather being enjoyably cold as the village lies on top of the hill. We entered one house which resembles a museum being well-preserved even to this day. The wooden carvings, ornaments, head-gears, animal skulls and weapons used by the Konyaks of the former time are kept intact in that house itself. We were excited all the more when we reached the House of the Angh. We conducted an interview with the Angh of Lungwa and also with his uncle based on the theme and objectives of the study tour. As it was narrated to us that the ancestral home of the Angh was bifurcated right in the middle, half of which falls under the territorial control of Myanmar and the other half comes under the Indian territorial jurisdiction. It was indeed a unique and peculiar division of the border.
In the course of our interaction with the Angh and his uncle, we learned the notion of territoriality has really no restriction or even limitation on the political and economic lives of the villagers. The people of the village get benefits and other welfare schemes from both governments of India and Myanmar. To our surprise, the Angh told us that he had voting rights even in Myanmar. For them the notion of citizenship and loyalty to one particular nation does not make much sense. In fact, when asked about his loyalty between the two countries, the Angh was frank enough to admit that he had love and respect for both of them equally. On that very pleasant note we ended our interview. After theinteractive session we also visited one house adjacent to Angh’s house which serves as a traditional museum wherein the family still uses one part as a kitchen and the other room to showcase the wooden carvings and other artefacts used by the Konyaks in past.
The next location of our visit was at the highest peak of Lungwa village. It is one of the highest peaks of the area measuring about 1970 metres above the sea level. From this peak we can get a glimpse of the gorgeous hills and the beautiful landscapes on the side of Myanmar.
The following morning after our breakfast and having packed our belongings we bid fare-well to Mon. We were dropped to Bhojo, a small town in Assam by Fr. Sam A SDB where we would board the train to Dimapur. During the journey, we were given valuable lessons on the various types of trees which are used for furniture, fuel and other purposes. We also witnessed some beautiful thatched huts along our way. We halted briefly for a cup of coffee at Don Boscoschool inTizit which is a major town in Mon district. We reached Bhojo, Assam before the usual lunchtime and remained there till the train arrived. We finally reached Dimapur at 11:30 PM, 21 January 2018. We found ourselves refreshed, energized and robust after the trip and felt happy of being able to visit one of our favourite places.
We are filled with gratitude in a very special way to Dr. Fr. Policarp Xalxo SDB, the Principal of Salesian College, Dimapurfor granting us the permission and for other necessary arrangements rendered to us while planning for the trip. We do not wish to forget the generosity and hospitability of the Salesian Community of Don Bosco Parish, Mon particularly Fr. Sam A. SDB, the Rector and Fr. Athili SDB, the Principal of Don Bosco Hr. Secondary School. Without them our trip would have been harder and less enjoyable. We also thank Sir Dominic K. Khanyo, HOD of Political Science Department for accompanying us and being ever enthusiastic and concerned for us on our journey. We would also thank all those who have a hand in making our trip a successful one.
The Sixth Semester Students,
Asst. Prof. Dominic K. Khanyo,
Department of Political Science