The Nagas

Hill Peoples of Northeast India

Project Introduction The Naga Database

manuscript notes made by W.G. Archer between 1946 & 1948, and miscellaneous papers and letters

caption: significance of village gates
medium: notes
person: Tsotonoma khelSemoma khelVizema khel
location: Kohima Merema (Merhema) Thizama (Thezama) Chedema (Chidema) Kidzematuma (Kedzematuma) Khonoma
person: Archer/ W.G.
date: 1946-1948
refnum: 12:31
text: Aspect of the gate.
text: The importance of the gate is shown by the fact that the dragging is an occasion for solemnly ratifying village and Khel pacts. The gate in fact is regarded not merely as the clue to Khel welfare, but indirectly as the welfare agent for all those with whom the Khel is allied. For this reason all Khels or villages in alliance with the Khel contribute to the cost of the dragging and send envoys to re-declare the ancient friendships. At Kohima (Tsotonoma Khel) (1947) the villages of Merhema, Thezama, Chidema and Kedzematuma all sent envoys while 9 Khels including the Semoma Khel of Khonoma also sent representatives. Each group arrived either the day before the dragging or on the day itself and brought cash contributions which ranged from Rs 30 to Rs 500 (from a Khel of Vizema). As they gave their presents, each said 'we give this small sum in the name of our Khel. May our friendship long remain'. During their visit they were the guests of the Khel and on the night after the dragging, there was a formal feast with meat and rice-beer. After the feast, complete silence was ordered and each of the visiting groups re-declared its alliance. Since the Kohima Khel was the head of the confederation, it was addressed as the leader or guardian. 'We belong to different Khels but we are sons of one father. We will always stick together. You are our guardian. Of old you saved us from our enemies. May you long continue to protect us. May our friendship last forever'.