Naga is a type or wrestling originating from Nagaland, a state in north-eastern India. The wrestling style is of great social and cultural importance to the area.
Dueling has traditionally been a way of conflict resolution in the villages in Nagaland. Wrestling served as a way to release social tensions between clans and individuals within the village community. Wrestling positively served the social and political situation. In more recent history wrestling in Naga took place on a bigger scale (Wouters 2020). In the 1930s informal wrestling meets became common due to construction works under the British rule. The villagers worked on the construction sites used their lunch breaks to hold matches between the different villages (Yhokha 2017). In the period between 1940 and 1970 several big wrestling events between different villages took place. Wrestlers must promise each other to show hospitality when the opponent comes to visit their village. This way wrestling as conflict-resolution was expanded from intra-village affairs to inter-village contests (Wouters 2020). In 1970 the Nagaland Wrestling Association was founded. Wrestling matches are held on a regular basis on village, district and state levels. Due to this professionalization and commercialization however, wrestling lost its conflict resolving aspect, causing a more problematic social and political landscape with greater division (Wouters 2020).
- Nagaland Wrestling Association (NWA)
- Wouters, J.P.J. (2020). “Wrestling for peace: On the History and Politics of Naga Wrestling”, The Statesman, 21 September 2020. https://www.academia.edu/44128360/Wrestling_for_peace_On_the_History_and_Politics_of_Naga_Wrestling_The_Statesman_21_September_2020 - Nagaland Post. (2020). “Humble beginnings of the Naga Traditional Wrestling”, Nagaland Post. https://www.nagalandpost.com/humble-beginnings-of-the-naga-traditional-wrestling/212750.html - Yhokha, V. (2017). “Naga wrestling: the embrace of brothers”, The Read. https://www.thehindu.com/thread/arts-culture-society/naga-wrestling-the-embrace-of-brothers/article17441800.ece