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

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    Rights statement: This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Longkumer, A. (2018) Bible, guns and land: sovereignty and nationalism amongst the Nagas of India. Nations and Nationalism, doi: 10.1111/nana.12405., which has been published in final form at http://doi.org/10.1111/nana.12405. This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Self-Archiving.

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1097-1116
JournalNations and Nationalism
Volume24
Issue number4
Early online date5 Mar 2018
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2018

Abstract

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.

    Research areas

  • nationalism, Christianity, sovereignty, Nagas, India

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