Bible, guns, and land: Sovereignty and nationalism amongst the Nagas of India

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

This paper will argue that to understand Naga sovereignty, one must take into account the intimate connection between Christianity and nationalism. This relationship is centred on the idea of ‘Nagaland for Christ’, a central slogan (also seen as a covenant) for all Naga nationalist groups. It suggests that God is the primary agent in sovereignty, and that the land is connected with the idea of Nagaland for Christ. I argue that national territory is not an object or a place that can be fixed in time, but rather an act of narration and imagination with the power to shape where it belongs. I will make the case that we need to rethink modular forms of sovereignty that are based on a strong national state. Instead it would be more useful to think about sovereign territories as the organisation of space, or territoriality (Sack 1986). Robert Sack argues that territoriality is ‘intimately related to how people use the land’, how they ‘organize themselves in space and how they give meaning to place’ (Sack 1986: 2). If history has shown us that ascertaining the precise territorial lines of national units are always a challenge, it is more helpful to try and understand how people give meaning to place regardless of boundaries.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1097-1116
JournalNations and Nationalism
Issue number4
Early online date5 Mar 2018
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2018

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • nationalism
  • Christianity
  • sovereignty
  • Nagas
  • India


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