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The paper examines the role of women within an insurgent group called the National Socialist Council of Nagalim (NSCN) in Northeast India. The author highlights the different motivations, allegiances, and expertise women bring to the insurgent group both as combatants and in their noncombatant roles. Data for this paper is drawn from primary sources (field work, interviews with women insurgent leaders and cadres) and secondary sources.
The author dwells on the stature of women in the larger conflict affected society, highlights the juxtaposition between the influence of modernity and tradition, and how women both in the society at large and within the insurgent group navigate their roles and negotiate for better means of livelihoods. Dr. Goswami specifies that the antecedent conditions for women joining the insurgent group include a need for physical security, kinship bonding, and ethnic connections, but the reasons evolve and change over time specifically determined by the framing of the conflict that the armed group provides to its members.
The NSCN leadership structure is hierarchical and dominated by men, with women rarely making it to its top decision-making structure, not dissimilar to women’s role in Naga society.
U.S. Naval War College
Newport, Rhode Island
women insurgents, India, female motivations, Nagaland
Goswami, Dr. Namrata, "Women Insurgents in India’s Northeast" (2023). Women, Peace, and Security. 28.