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: homicide and murder
medium: notes
ethnicgroup: Zemi
person: Graham Bower/ Ursula
date: 1937-1946
person: private collection
text: Homicide
text: Accidental killing, e.g. spearing a fellow villager in the confusion of a tiger-hunt, is punished with expulsion. An inquiry is held, and if it is settled that the affair was a genuine accident, the killer must provide the mithan, cloths, money, etc. for the funeral, and the dead man's kin must take a solemn oath of peace, calling on Heaven and on Earth to see that the spears of the dead man's relatives never pierce the killer's body. In case the temptation proves too strong, the man must leave the village for 3, 4, 5 years as the case may be. For the same reason, he does not attend the enquiry, but is hidden elsewhere with a sentry over him.
text: Murder is punished by expulsion from the village, as with adultery. The victim's relatives would probably make a feud of it if they could; but immediate revenge was prevented and the murderer expelled.