Korean culture is flooding into Nagaland. New trade treaties between India and Korea facilitated the exchange of Korean goods and enabled them to enter Nagaland with greater ease. Additionally, Nagas have long felt neglected by the central Indian government. This is especially the case with Naga youth. Many believe this lack of identity with central India informs Nagas’ embrace of Korean culture.
The political distance between Nagaland and the central Indian government is growing. Many mainstream government schemes, such as ration cards, do not reach Nagas. Basic government services are not reliable. Consistent power shortages go unattended. This neglect of basic services and amenities has contributed to this feeling of alienation on behalf of the Nagas toward the central government.
Naga youth have now started to adapt Korean culture. Korean television channels, programs, movies, and clothes are popular among Naga youth. Korean companies are looking into investing in Nagaland. The Nagaland State Government has even taken steps to embrace Korean culture: it hosts an annual Indian-Korean cultural festival.
However, this wave of Korean culture threatens traditional Naga customs. Elder Nagas fear the gradual disappearance of Naga customs in the face of globalization. As young people turn toward foreign cultural products and entertainment produced in other languages, this threat becomes ever real.
Traditional Naga culture is unique. Nagaland is comprised of sixteen tribes. Each tribe uses a unique language and has its own rich cultural traditions of dance, song, festivals and other key features. Korean culture’s strong pull on young Nagas will make it more difficult to preserve Nagaland’s important tradition and identity.