As in all history of a people and the experience of early settlers location of a settlement was always carefully chosen and always near a water source.
This is also true in the context of the Nagas even if once upon a time the concept of a Naga nation did not exist. Much similar to the much venerated Greek City States, the present day rural areas were dotted with villages mostly on top of a hill or a saddle which could control any unwanted or unexpected attack by enemies or rival villagers in the neighbourhood. As such, walls of mud, stone and wood surrounded the immediate premises of each village with strategic gates while the youth trained in the Morungs would keep vigil at night. They functioned more on the lines what may be termed as “Village-States.”
In such a set up there would have been little time for entertainment as we know of it today.However, during weddings or festive occasions which were mostly agriculture-based, taking place after all the formal religious rituals ended, the villagers would gather around several bon fires as old-timers narrated folk tales of love, tragedy and courage and the like. Such occasions called for singing folk songs and dances and humour was never far away as a talented pool of artists in every village provided comic relief. Hunting, sports and wrestling were primarily the domain of men. These then, in a nut shell constituted entertainment not only in the rural areas and more recently in the sub urban settlements,
In the last couple of decades as movie halls were restricted only to places like Dimapur, the people have turned to television viewing as the preferred mode of recreation. For the past many years, Dept. of Information and Public Relations (DIPR) maintained the ritual of sending its vans to selected places, preferably a town surrounded by several villages where at the junction of crossroads they showed selected classic movies in the genre of “The Ten Commandments” and “Ben Hur” etc especially during the Christmas-New Year season. These annual events were appreciated by the rural people; even though they may not have understood the English language, the visuals would be vivid enough. These days, with almost each and every household owning a TV set, majority of the people turn it on as soon as they can. What is most discernable without mentioning any particular tribe or community is that the majority of rural Nagas, who comprise eighty per cent of the overall population, seem to have a preference for Hindi serials and movies—at times almost to the point of addiction. Why this is so may well be the domain of the psychologists. But this is a fact.
For the more affluent section of the society most children have become glued to animated games and animation series like Doremon and parents are sometimes compelled to switch off the set. For the children it’s a recreation a break from school, tuition and also home work.
Be that as it may, there is still much scope for enhancing rural entertainment apart from what is currently available. The power of “mass communication”
is waiting to be unearthed to provide not only entertainment but “infotainment” which will enhance the quality of life of our rural masses.