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: use of mithan as a fine
medium: notes
location: Tuensang Pangsha Shamnyu Chingmei
date: 11.1947
person: Archer/ W.G.
date: 1946-1948
refnum: 6:5
text: The role of mithan in Naga society.
text: These [] were widely illustrate in November 1947 when I was camping at Tuensang. Early in the year, the village of Pangsha had attacked Shamnyu and taken 60 heads. Head-taking in the area is not entirely forbidden but massacres on such a scale are usually punished. In this case it was decided to levy a fine of one thousand rupees. Pangsha however explained that it would be impossible to pay this fine in cash and I accordingly agreed to accept 10 mithan in lieu of actual coins. I assumed that we should in fact be able to market the animals and that the fine would thus be realised. When I reached Tuensang, ten magnificent animals were tethered in a little grove and I [] No one in Tuensang would buy them. 'We have got more than enough' they said. No Ao would buy the male ones - 'We cannot sacrifice them. They are tainted by the fine.' Only good ones, specially brought and reared. Chingmei dancers did not want them - 'Give us money', they said. [General rule is that a mithan must to be sacrificed not have any white on its head.]