Wednesday, January 27, 2010
Nagaland is a hill state located in the far north-eastern part of India. It borders the state of Assam to the west, Arunachal Pradesh and part of Assam to the north, Burma to the east and Manipur to the south. The state capital is Kohima, and the largest city is Dimapur. With a population of nearly two million people, it has a total area of 16,579 km² (6,401 sq mi)—making it one of the smallest states of India.
Nagaland is largely a mountainous state. The Naga Hills rise from the Brahmaputra Valley in Assam to about 2,000 feet (610 m) and rise further to the southeast, as high as 6,000 feet (1,800 m). Mount Saramati at an elevation of 12,552 feet (3,826 m) is the state's highest peak; this is where the Naga Hills merge with the Patkai Range in Burma. Rivers such as the Doyang and Diphu to the north, the Barak river in the southwest and the Chindwin river of Burma in the southeast, dissect the entire state.
Nagaland is rich in flora and fauna. About one-sixth of Nagaland is under the cover of tropical and sub-tropical evergreen forests including palms, bamboo, and rattan as well as timber and mahogany forests. While some forest areas have been cleared for jhum (cultivation), many scrub forests, high grass, reeds, and secondary dogs, pangolins, porcupines, elephants, leopards, bears, many species of monkeys, sambar, harts, oxen, and buffaloes thrive across the state's forests. The Great Indian Hornbill is one of the most famous birds found in the state.
Nagaland has a largely monsoon climate with high humidity levels. Annual rainfall averages around 70–100 inches (1,800–2,500 mm), concentrated in the months of May to September. Temperatures range from 70 °F (21 °C) to 104 °F (40 °C). In winter, temperatures do not generally drop below 39 °F (4 °C), but frost is common at high elevations.
Almost all the tribes of Nagaland have their own language. Nagas speak 60 different dialects belonging to the Sino-Tibetan family of languages. The traditional languages do not have any script of their own. The Christian Missionaries used Roman script for these languages.
In 1967 the Nagaland Assembly proclaimed English as the official language of Nagaland and is the medium for education in Nagaland.
Nagamese, a creole language form of Indo-Aryan Assamese and local dialects is the most widely spoken market language. Every tribe has its own mother tongue but communicates with other tribes in Nagamese. As such Nagamese is not a mother tongue of any of the tribes; nor is it written.