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: Sangtam bride-price and betrothal
medium: notes
ethnicgroup: Sangtam
person: Archer/ W.G.
date: 1946-1948
refnum: 5:31
text: Sangtam - Bride price.
text: 1. A rich man's daughter:
text: 1-2 mithan
text: 1 pig
text: 1 cloth
text: in return the bridegroom receives:
text: 1 granary
text: 1 dao
text: 1 dog
text: 1 hen
text: 1 sow
text: arm ornaments.
text: 2. Middling status:
text: 5-6 pigs (of which 1 must be a sow)
text: 3. Poor or ordinary status:
text: 3 pigs & 1 sow
text: (If a sow is not included in the pigs, the couple will not get any children).
text: Betrothal - in rich families usual when boy and girl are small, this is to avoid the relatives getting a right of temporary usage over the movables. Sometimes the boy's father gives a dao to the girl's - this links them. After the harvest, marriages taken up. A strict ban on pre-marital intercourse - if a girl has an illegitimate child, the boy is heavily fined - the baby is starved - genna to breast feed it - the girl stays in her parent's house - a concoction of salt, some bitter jungly leaves - up to 2 months abortion possible, after that not.
text: Once betrothal has been celebrated with a dao, the young couple can sleep together - otherwise not. The ordinary assumption is that every Sangtam girl is a virgin at her marriage - older tradition - strict segregation - but nowadays the Ao custom of free mixing is creeping in, semi-christian villages also a demoralising factor, plus Govt. ban on starvation of illegitimate children has weakened the old sanction.