ISSUE NO.1 | The Nagas | July 2017
AMONG THE CHAKHESANGS:
Porba, 25.6145° N, 94.3400° E
We reach Porba just after Longwa to document the life and culture of the Chakhesang Tribe living in the Phek District of this State. Chakhesangs are regarded as one of the most dynamic tribes in Nagaland. Rukuvo Sakhamoh helps us know how and why.
The village of Porba is situated at the east of Kohima, in the Phek district of Nagaland, a district that belongs to the Chakhesang tribe, one of the most prosperous and hard-working tribes in Nagaland. It was not hard to distinguish the change in lifestyle from the land of the Konyaks, who are still far away from developing Mon into a town that deserves to be called so. These people were previously known as the Eastern Angami before they decided to separately identify themselves as the Chakhesangs. The three syllables of ‘Cha’, ‘Khe’ and ‘Sang’ represent Chokri, Kheza and Sangtam people respectively. The minds behind the creation of this tribe were well aware of the crazy diversity among the Naga people, and so the most significant and respectful thing to think while being among the Chakhesangs is that this tribe, which is an amalgamation of so many communities, has accepted to coexist with peace and have been living like this for decades, without conflict.
“Most of it, I’d give it to the urge to develop and do good to one another. The village of Porba has never been at war. When I look at the rest of Nagaland and Manipur, I am not content with the way people choose to live.” says Rukuvo Sakhamoh, our friend from Porba. “I believe people can live by accepting the good things that happen to them. Instead of being unnecessarily revolting, if we can use that energy and zeal to work together to strengthen our small communities, unity and peace will follow, because we will not have the time to think about history or how many people of my tribe the neighbouring tribe had killed some hundred years ago. That is foolish. If we are too keen on history guiding our present and our futures, then we might as well become history and be nothing in the present.”
It was strikingly inspiring to listen to such a dynamic individual like Rukuvo, a proud Chakhesang. We had stopped at his home for the night after a tiring journey from Kohima to Pfutsero and then to Porba.
The Chakhesangs and the Angamis have worked together to build what they know today as the city of Kohima, the capital of this state, whose benefits are utilized by every tribe spread across this land. The fact that this tribe is economically self-reliant and a terrific hard worker cannot be denied when one goes back in history and remembers the amount of conflicts this land had witnessed in post-colonial era and the time these people had to build this city. So when we talk to Rukuvo’s father, Mr. Puthitso Sakhamoh, a retired teacher in this village, he says “I strongly believe the Chakhesang people really are progressing in every sphere of life, be it social or political or religious. We are neighbours to a lot of tribes, because this district is not isolated at all. But we have always been very accepting by nature: we want other tribes to know that we are a group of peaceful human beings. And this nature of kindness, apart from hard work, is the reason why we find numerous Chakhesangs as leaders in civil societies, churches, and in state politics.”