The Nagas

Hill Peoples of Northeast India

Project Introduction The Naga Database

manuscript - Christoph von Furer-Haimendorf, Naga diary five

caption: what happens if unmarried girl has child from married man
medium: diaries
ethnicgroup: Konyak
location: Wakching
date: 16.5.1937
person: Furer-Haimendorf
date: 1.4.1937-26.6.1937
note: translated from german by Dr Ruth Barnes
person: School of Oriental and African Studies Library, London
text: In the evening Shankok and I talked about what happens if an unmarried girl has a child from a married man. In this case the man pays one laya each to the girl's parents and to his wife's family. The child first stays in the girl's parents' house but later it lives with its father. (153) The affair is slightly embarrassing to the girl but in no way dishonourable and her marriage prospects are not affected. In Chingtang, however, far higher fines are supposedly imposed. There the girls sleep in the girls' morung and have rather indiscriminate relations with many men, often without recognizing one in particular in the darkness. When they feel pregnant they hold on to one of the men and force him to reveal his identity. This man is then considered responsible for the child and he either has to marry her or pay a fine of a large pig and a field. Clever girls try to catch a particularly rich man. In Wanching things are supposed to be similar. In Wakching, however, intercourse is much less chaotic but just today Metlou was teased because he is sleeping with other girls during the time in which he has to abstain from his wife (that is the six months after the birth of her child).