ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

Jelle J P WoutersSubscribe to RSS - Jelle J P Wouters

Genealogies of Nagaland’s ‘Tribal Democracy’

Compared to the bulky literature on caste and democracy, we still know little about the form and functioning of democratic politics amongst tribes. This is a serious lacuna, one which, at the level of sociology, impedes the kind of careful comparison that has long proven fruitful to capture the inner logic and intricacies of social life. If caste is deemed central to any understanding of contemporary Indian politics, what about those states and constituencies in which tribes preponderate numerically?

Land Tax, Reservation for Women and Customary Law in Nagaland

Can elected urban local bodies in Nagaland levy taxes on land and buildings when Naga lands and its resources are, under Article 371A of the Constitution, the domain of customary bodies and laws? Should women be allotted 33% reservation of electoral seats in these urban local bodies, as sanctioned by the Constitution, when customary institutionsand practices did not envision political leadership for women? These are divisive questions in Nagaland. A socio-historical background is offered.

Performing Democracy in Nagaland

Drawing on the February 2013 assembly elections in Nagaland, this article explores the continuities and connections between past Naga polities and modern electoral politics. It departs from conventional assessments of Nagaland elections, both scholarly and commentarial, which tend to emphasise its "electoralills", and subsequently, condemn it as a mockery, if not a slur on democracy. This article argues towards a more contextualised, culturally-embedded understanding of Nagaland's electoral processes, which renders bare the incongruence between modern democracy and different traditional Naga polities, and bestows agency to them. It shows how different Naga tribes, instead of adjusting themselves to modern democratic ideals, adjusted democracy to themselves.
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