The Nagas

Hill Peoples of Northeast India

Project Introduction The Naga Database

manuscript - Christoph von Furer-Haimendorf, Naga diary five

caption: information about the Nieng-ba
medium: diaries
person: Shungna
ethnicgroup: Konyak
location: Wakching
date: 18.5.1937
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: Wakching 18/5/1937
text: The weather now is rainy and remarkably cool. In the evening it is almost too cold to eat out on the verandah. In the morning I worked with Yongang and Chinyang. I again touched upon the question of the Nieng-ba and set several things right. In the Angban there is no proper Niengba but the Ang and Nieang have the same function as the Niengba of the other morungs. Shungna, the Ou-wok-ba who reads the auguries, was once asked to come here from Chi but now he usually lives on the plain and only comes to Wakching to take the omen for the fields. He does not have a son and when he dies (160) the people of Wakching have to find a new Ou-wok-ba. Yongang says that doing the auguries is a dangerous undertaking. That is why the Ou-wok-ba families die out.
text: Nowadays the gaonburas have taken on some of the functions of the Niengba. They take care of peace and order in the village. They settle disagreements and theft of money and similar matters, and together they eat the fine. The Niengba settle field disputes and the stealing of pigs, however they do not demand the fine immediately but only after the rice harvest when all disputes of the year are settled. But the reparation of damage occurs immediately, that is, if caught, a thief has to replace what he has taken right away.