Who sings for the Hornbill?: the performance and politics of culture in Nagaland, Northeast India
This photo essay reflects on the annual Hornbill Festival celebrated bythe Nagas of Nagaland in Northeast India. It provides an ethnographicaccount of the various activities and the different actors involved in theFestival, and examines what makes this a compelling tourist destination.The state of Nagaland capitalises on the colourful image of the Festivalas an ‘exotic’ location, which plays on the warrior and tribal identity oftenassociated with the Nagas; ideas of ‘traditional’ culture; and the mountainousand pristine landscape. While the region has witnessed over fifty yearsof armed conflict between the Indian state and different Naga nationalistsdemanding independence, the Festival provides a creative public spacewhere all sections of society – urban/rural; students/politicians/administrators;Indian army/Naga nationalists – can freely mingle, a temporary lull from theotherwise pervasive militarised landscape.
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