The Nagas

Hill Peoples of Northeast India

Project Introduction The Naga Database

typescript tour diary of W.G. Archer, S.D.O. Mokokchung 1947

caption: visit to Mezoma
caption: halls and dormitories
medium: tours
person: Thepfuhie AngamiNisonuma clanPfepetsuma khelNiruhu AngamiVihotsuma khel
ethnicgroup: Angami <Western
location: Mezema (Mezoma)
date: 9.1.1947
person: Archer/ W.G.
date: 31.12.1946-14.2.1947
text: Unlike other villages which I have so far visited, there is no standard organisation of morungs and the various halls conform to two different types. All of them are dormitories and each adjoins a vantage point. But while in some cases the hall is an entirely separate building, in others, it is only the front half of a private persons dwelling. In the Nisonuma clan for example a morung is located in the house of Thepfuhie Angami. The front half is occupied by the morung members and the back half by the owner. The house gives on to an airy open space (16) part of which is fenced off and provided with stone and log seats. Inside the morung there were no spears but two shields were suspended in the entrance. I was told that the custom of the sharing of this particular house has been coming down for more than a century. A similar arrangement exists in the house of the Nisonuma gaonbura. A large fort towers above his house and its open top is used by the morung members for chatting and drinking rice-beer. No fees or services are levied from them. They do not for example have to help him in his cultivation. The only requirement is that should the house itself require repair the morung youths must carry in the beams and thatch and help to place them in position. In another case from Pfepetsuma Khel, Niruhu Angami also shares his house with a morung.
text: As against this type the Vihotsuma Khel have erected a separate hall for their morung members. The hall which is a very handsome building is at the top of a fort and is reached by a flight of stone stairs. It gives on to an open airy space from which immense views of the villages, the fields and surrounding hill-sides can be had. The barge-boards contain pictographs of little black shields and in the hall itself three shields were hanging from the walls.