The Nagas

Hill Peoples of Northeast India

Project Introduction The Naga Database

manuscript - Christoph von Furer-Haimendorf, Naga diary one

caption: sexual relations open, avoidance taboos
medium: diaries
person: ChinyangNgamang
ethnicgroup: Konyak
location: Wakching
date: 7.8.1936
person: Furer-Haimendorf
date: 2.6.1936-11.7.1936
note: translated from german by Dr Ruth Barnes
person: School of Oriental and African Studies Library, London
text: In the afternoon I had already discovered a few things about the attitude of young people to sexual matters. When I passed the rice granary on the path down from the village, my two little friends Chinyang and Ngamang, one perhaps twelve, the other hardly older than eleven, showed me the closed verandahs with a certain degree of amusement. There the girls sleep with their lovers. They also told me spontaneously what this is called in their language and they supported their declaration with rather obvious gestures. As they had gone this far I asked Chinyang who has an older sister how he would say to Ngamang (172) "you sleep with my older sister". He translated this without embarrassment and had no objection to name his sister in this context. On the other hand it would be totally inappropriate and embarrassing to make any ambiguous comments in the presence of women of his own morung or the related morung. This reserve also applies to the sister of one's mother although she belongs to a different morung, not however to her daughter. These avoidance rules are identical with the marriage rules.