Covering an area of 1786 Sq.km, the District of Mon is bounded in the North by Sibsagar District of Assam, Arunachal Pradesh in the north east, Myanmar in south east and Tuensang and Longleng districts of Nagaland in the south. The district is located between 94°49′ East longitude and 26°45′ North latitude at an altitude 897.64 meters above sea level. In terms of area, it is the 3rd biggest district representing 10.77% of the total area of Nagaland.
The area, which is now known as MON DISTRICT and is placed on the Northeastern part of the State of Nagaland, was not brought under the Civil Administration till 1948. Even in the beginning of the 19th Century, a vast tract of land lying between the administered areas of Assam and Myanmar (Burma) was not brought under the Civil Administration by the British. By the year 1914, the Foreign and Political Department of the Government of India, by a Notification, extended the Assam Frontier Tract Regulation of 1880 to the Hills, which were either inhabited or frequented by Abors, Mishmis, Singphos, Nagas, Khamptis, Bhutias, Akas and Daflas. It is by this extension of the aforesaid Regulation, the Government of India brought the area under some administration in 1914 and the area was named as the North East Frontier Tract. Hence, the present MON DISTRICT was also brought under same Notification but practically, there was no Civil Administration till 1948.
In 1951, the plains portion of Balipara Frontier Tract, Tirap Frontier Tract, Abor Hills District and Mishmi Hills were transferred to the administrative jurisdiction of the Government of Assam. Thereafter, the remaining areas of the said North East Frontier together with the Naga Tribal Area of Tuensang including the present Mon (District) were re-named as the North East Frontier Agency. The Mon Sub-division under the Tuensang Frontier Division was created and the officer who was first posted, as the Assistant Political Officer was Mr. W.H. RYNJAH.
The district was carved out of the Tuensang district (Nagaland) on 21st December 1973. The district was enlarged in 1991 by transferring some villages from the Tuensang district and creating some new administrative circle headquarters at Tobu (head by the Additional Deputy Commissioner), Mopong and Muknyakshu (headed by the Extra Assistant Commissioner each).
The term ‘Konyak’ is believed to have been derived from the words ‘Whao’ meaning ‘head’ and ‘Nyak’ meaning ‘black’ translating to ‘men with black hair’. They can be grouped into two groups, namely “Thendu”, which means the “Tattooed Face” and “Thentho”, meaning the “White face”. The Thendu group is mostly found in the central part of Mon district and Thenko group mostly in the upper part and in the lower part of the district in Wakching area.
Linguistically, the Konyaks come under the Naga-Kuki group of Tibeto-Burman family with each village having its own dialect. The dialect of the Wakching village is commonly used as the medium of communication.
A unique feature of the Konyak tradition is the practice of the Angh system. There are two different kinds of Anghs among the Konyaks, Pongyin Angh or Anaghtak Anghyong (the Great King or Monarch/Chief) and Anghha (small king).
The Pongyin Angh is found only in some Thendu villages. In a village where there is no Pongyin Angh, an Anghha is appointed. Such a village becomes a subject village to the Pongyin Angh from whose family the Anghha is appointed. The Anghha and the village council consisting of an elder from nokphong (clan) take care of the village administration.
Altogether, there are eight “Chief Anghs” within Mon District, namely (1) Chui (2) Mon (3) Tangnyu (4) Shangnyu (5) Longzang (6) Shengha Chingnyu (7) Longwa & (8) Jaboka. The Chief Anghs of these villages rule over a group of satellite villages under them, some of which are in Arunachal Pradesh and in Myanmar but have strong customary and traditional relationship with the rest villages in Mon District.
Konyak village is divided into different sections called the Baan (pronounced Paan). The baan is like the ‘Morung’ of the other Naga tribes. Interestingly, the term Baan is also used to denote the traditional institution of learning young men learnt the of war, traditional arts and crafts, hunting, folk dances and songs, wrestling and other traditional games and sports. It also served as a centre for religious and social activities. Another place Ywo was also a centre of learning for women. Today the Ywo and Baan system are almost non-existent.
Festivals occupy an importance place in the lives of the Konyaks. The three most significant festivals were Aolingmonyu, Aonyimo and Laoun-ongmo.
Aolingmonyu is celebrated in the first week of April, celebrated after sowing of seeds and marks the beginning of a new year. Its religious significance is to appease (Kahwang/ Yongwan) God for a prosperous harvest.
The Aonyimo is celebrated in July or August with pomp and gaiety after the harvest of the first crops like — maize and vegetable. The Laoun-ongmo is a festival of thanksgiving and is celebrated after the completion of all agricultural activities.
The Konyaks are hospitable in nature, warm hearted and fond of merry-making. Elderly men indulge themselves with “Khalap” which is black tea and a kettle is always left in the fireplace for boiling black tea.
The Konyaks are skilled in the art of making firearms. They are also skilled in handicrafts like basket making, cane and bamboo works, brass works etc. Shangnyu and Chui have been declared as ethnic villages providing a rich educational research work for anthropologists. These two villages are ruled by the Chief Anghs. Traditional architecture and old sculptures provide historical background of the past of Konyaks and their culture and tradition.
The District can be divided into two regions topographically, namely the Upper Region comprising Longching, Chen, Mopong and Tobu areas and the Lower Region comprises Mon, Tizit and Naginimora area. The foothills lie adjacent to the plains of Assam i.e., the Tizit and Naginimora areas. The hill ranges extend from the foothills to the slopes of Naga Hills and Patkai Range in the Eastern side of the District.
According to 2011 census, the district has 131 villages and two statutory towns viz., Mon Town and Naginimora Town.
The district had a population of 250,260 persons with the Density of Population (Persons per sq Km.) at 140. The overall Sex Ratio Total (Number of females per 1000 males) was at 899. The overall literacy rate stood at 56.99% with 60.94% male and 52.58% female. The Village having highest population was Monyakshu at 6,886 persons while Angphang is the largest village.
The district is home to the Singphan Wildlife Sanctuary which covers an area of 23.57 sq. Kms. This is far bigger than the Fakim Wildlife Sanctuary (6.42 sq. km and Rangapahar Wildlife Sanctuary (4.70 sq. km).