NagaNaga. 1, A largo Tibeto-Burman people, who give their name to the Naga Hills, south and southeast Assam, Manipur, and Burmah frontiers; over thirty distinct tribes, mostly speaking different languages and forming three main divisions, the western, central, and eastern Nagas. Of all the Naga tribes by far the most powerful are the Angami of the central division, who occupy a large territory eighty by fifty miles between Assam and Manipur. For many years they gave great trouble to the British authorities in South Assam, but, after protracted frontier wars, were all reduced about 1885-86. The proper national name is Noga - i.e. "People" - and has nothing to do with the Sanskrit Naga ("snake"), nor are they Serpent-worshippers.
2, An ancient Indian people who traditionally ruled over a great part of the Indus Valley, with Patala and other cities as their capitals. They were of Sanskrit speech and apparently Aryans, with the Naga (snake) as their totem, and from the earliest times opposed to the Brahmins, by whom they were stigmatised as Asuras - i.e. Suras or Devas. With them originated the Buddhist and Jaina tenets, and Buddha himself was probably a Naga, whence the connection between the snake and these forms of religion. In the Puranas and other later writings the Nagas pass into the region of mythology and are no longer a historical people, but supernatural beings, or actual serpents. (Oldham.)
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