The Nagas

Hill Peoples of Northeast India

Project Introduction The Naga Database

miscellaneous papers, notebooks and letters on Nagas by Ursula Graham Bower, 1937-1947

caption: 'The Ancestors of the Zemi' - myth
medium: notes
person: Nriami clanNeomi clanNamkiagh
ethnicgroup: Zemi
date: 7.1940
person: Graham Bower/ Ursula
date: 1937-1946
person: private collection
text: Nriami and his wife were created by God, then and a mithan. They built a house and lived in it. One day an egg fell from Heaven and landed in front of the house. Nriami said: "What is this? Will a bird come out of it, or a tree , or a man?" He built a fence round it and looked after it carefully, and one day it opened and Neomi came out.
text: Nriami said: "I was here first. I built a fence round your egg and looked after it carefully, so that the tigers and jungle cats did not get it. You are my servant, and must do as I tell you." But Neomi would not agree, and they used to argue about it daily.
text: Neomi married Nriami's daughter, and they all lived together in one village. After some time they agreed it was time to move to a new site, so they packed up and left together; but Nriami carefully left one hen behind. When they were half way to the new site Nriami said: "I have forgotten a hen. Run back and fetch it for me. " Neomi ran back and brought the hen, and Nriami said :"I told you you were my servant, and I was right. Look how you obeyed my order!" and they fell to wrangling all over again.
text: In due course their children and descendants were very many, and they spread from village to village, as far as they are to- day.
text: Their place of origin is called Noui. It is said that there are two stones there, one for Nriami and one for Neomi. Once upon a time there were some of people who did not know what division of the clan they belonged to; so they went to the stones and made trial; and whichever jat they were, they should automatically sit on the right stone, Nriami on Nriami's stone, Neomi on Neomi's, and so they found out which division they belonged to.
text: (According to Namkiagh (himself a Nriami) Nriami are the leaders and "owners" of the land. All the villages in this area, except Bara Nenglo, were founded by Nriami. He himself has founded the colony at Impoi.) (July 1940)