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 Thenizumi
caption: cat genna in cases of theft
medium: tours
keywords: tehubakemovo
person: ThepfuseuHutton
ethnicgroup: Angami <Eastern
location: Thenizumi
date: 18.1.1947
person: Archer/ W.G.
date: 31.12.1946-14.2.1947
seealso: 'Angami Nagas', Hutton
text: Close to Thenizumi, Thepfuseu (dobashi) showed me a heap of bamboo spears and explained that they had been cast there at a cat genna. The genna is described by Hutton as follows. 'In cases of theft where the thief is unknown, the owner of the stolen property assembles his kindred before the morning meal and taking a cat, or a kitten, ties up its legs and mouth and impales it on a bamboo stake which he plants in the ground outside the village gate beside the path. He then goes with his kindred to the tehuba and curses the thief that he may suffer as the cat suffers'. In cases where the thief or mischief-maker is known, Hutton describes another ceremony. 'A sort of Commemoration Service may be held. The Kemovo gets up before the assembled clan,... and announces that so-and-so has done such-and-such a deed, whereon the people answer 'Sa, Sa' 'let him die, let him die'. This curse is believed to be a powerful one, and to strengthen it still further a branch of green leaves is put up to represent the person cursed and everyone hurls spears of wood or bamboo at the bough... The spears are left where they lie, the bough withers, and the subject of the curse dies likewise'.
text: At Thenizumi, the genna which took place two years ago combined features of both these ceremonies. An unknown thief had been ravaging property and with a view to dooming him, I was told that a cat was taken, trussed up like a fowl and then buried under leaves. All the people of the village (28) assembled, cursed the unknown marauder and plunged stick after stick into the spot, crying 'let him die'.