The rise and the popularity of Non Governmental Organisations have seen an increase globally since the 1990s. These organisations now play bigger roles in the policy making processes of governments across the world including the international intergovernmental organisations like the UNO. Even in Nagaland the term came into vogue from the nineties but the confusion over the role of these organisations exists. Although it might have been a misnomer, but initially all these organisations in Nagaland were referred to as NGOs. It is only very recently that the definitions of the terms became clearer and the organisations are now clubbed together in the broader term; civil society.
The rise in civil society organisations in Nagaland may be attributed to some extent to the increase in the Naga nationalistic fervour among the people with the coming of the armed groups back from the neighbouring countries. Concurrently, the liberalisation of markets in India in 1991 would be another reason which had far reaching effects on the people than accounted for. The sudden exposure to information through mass communication starting with something as basic as cable television that beamed information from around the world right to the homes would have played a major role in the minds of the people. Whether it was the role of a negotiator between the warring factions or between the armed groups and the security forces, the civil society slowly became a necessity. The organisations also became strong pressure groups against the government, security forces and also the factions in times of atrocities as it is the case in any conflict zone. If one day it was against a faction, then the next day it was either against another faction, the security forces or the government. The chances of being led and instigated can never be ruled out, but these organisations were sought after by all.
Subsequently on the downside, even after a semblance of peace arrived in the state, the hangover persists. The civil society without any clear distinction among the many types of organisations have the tendency to take the state at ransom anytime. Moreover, in present day Nagaland, nothing gets done without the assistance from these organisations or any other association or union. As subjective as the term might be for scholars across the world, the confusion over the role of these organisations has only increased. These organisations have also tasted power and also realised the power that it wields and slowly some have become like a person drunk with power. It might be next to impossible to disband some of these organisations unless the members decide so, and that mental maturity might take another 50 to 100 years. However it is time to separate the political from the apolitical; the cultural from the traditional; the religious from the tribal; the not-for-profit from the welfare; the trade union from the business; the registered from the unregistered and so on and so forth. It is time to separate the sheep from the goat.