The Nagas

Hill Peoples of Northeast India

Project Introduction The Naga Database

manuscript - Christoph von Furer-Haimendorf, Naga diary four

caption: abortion and bleeding at defloration
medium: diaries
ethnicgroup: Konyak
location: Hungphoi
date: 25.2.1937
person: Furer-Haimendorf
date: 12.2.1937-31.3.1937
note: translated from german by Dr Ruth Barnes
person: School of Oriental and African Studies Library, London
text: I now ask Chingai whether it does not happen occasionally (90) that a woman or girl intentionally brings about a miscarriage. Chingai now insists that this does not happen in Oting and is very 'genna'. If an unmarried girl gets pregnant and the man either cannot or wishes not to marry her, the child belongs to the father and brings no shame upon the girl. If she has had intercourse with several men then the one she has most frequently slept with is considered the father. The Hungphoi men too insist that abortion is not practised among them. I now ask whether there is any genna connected with the defloration of a girl which is denied amidst laughter. When I then comment that then too blood will show this causes the greatest merriment. Chingai admits that the first intercourse is slightly painful to the girl but he has never heard of any bleeding, but the Ang should know about this as he has slept often enough with girls who have had no previous experience with other men. However the Ang too knows nothing about bleeding at the time of defloration but he comments: "To be the first to sleep with a girl is like looking at a new path in the jungle".