The Nagas

Hill Peoples of Northeast India

Project Introduction The Naga Database

manuscript - Christoph von Furer-Haimendorf, Naga diary four

caption: incest, rape, love affairs
medium: diaries
person: Shankok
ethnicgroup: Konyak
location: Wakching
date: 25.3.1937
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
seealso: notebook 12 p.13
text: During a conversation with Shankok the talk turns to incest, that is initially actually to rape. If a Thepong man rapes a Bala girl in the forest he has to pay no fine "As love affairs with Bala girls are customary". If however he rapes a married woman her husband demands a compensation which is not fixed. (230) Rape of a girl of one's own morung, however, requires a fine to be paid to the parents. Apparently, however, this violation is not looked upon as especially horrible.
text: A love affair between two young people of the same morung is not punished and causes no particular attention. The only punishment which the misfits encounter is that people say disapprovingly "These are shameless people". But incest within the clan is considered a severe fault and theoretically it is punished with banishment. But as is seen in the case of a Bala man (Yongyo, Leunokhu) who committed incest with the daughter of his father's brother, this is not always taken seriously. The girl went to Wanching for some time but then she married a Thepong man. Yongyo only moved to another house, left his wife in the old house, and recently married a Thepong girl. (See notebook 12 p. 11). However one Ang from Wanching was deposed because of incest. (Notebook 12 p. 13). Brother-sister incest occurs in one story or rather a chant (p. 14 ff.) but I did not hear of an actual case. (231) The idea of father-daughter incest caused Shankok and the chowkidar to laugh in disbelief. They could not believe that any such thing occurred among other tribes. "That is acting like pigs, like chickens". Mother-son incest seemed even less probable to them.