The Nagas

Hill Peoples of Northeast India

Project Introduction The Naga Database

manuscript Christoph von Furer-Haimendorf notebook three

caption: adoption and inheritance
medium: notes
person: Chinyang
ethnicgroup: Konyak
location: Wakching
date: 15.8.1936
person: Furer-Haimendorf
date: 8.1936-6.1937
person: School of Oriental and African Studies Library, London
text: (75) Wakching 15/8/1936
text: Informant: Chinyang.
text: If a child's parents die, the child is brought up by one of the father's brothers. Adoption happens if a rich man is childless; then the adopted son becomes his heir. If later on the adoptive father gets children of his own, the adopted child (son) gets a few fields to cultivate. He can keep them all his life but they don't become his property and he cannot sell them.
text: The adopted child must always be of the same clan, but if he is not of the same sib he (76) won't get or inherit any property. Only if the adoptive father has no other relatives of his own the adopted son inherits.
text: If a man dies and leaves three sons, the eldest son inherits the house and the moveable property and all the fields, but he gives to the younger sons some fields which they cultivate, but they can't sell them and can't dispose of them in any way. The eldest brother pays their marriage prices, but they live only as long in his house as they are unmarried.
text: When the eldest son dies (77) all his property goes to his eldest son.
text: As long as the younger brothers remain in their elder brother's house, they can earn property of their own and take it with them when they leave their brother's house. The latter also provides them with cooking utensils.
text: A father can give one of his fields to a younger son even as a donation inter vivos. The younger son may have the usufruct of a field but it never can become his property. "Ghawang gave the eldest son to the parents to be the heir, so he must inherit everything". The other sons (78) are also from Ghawang, of course. When the eldest son marries he remains in his father's house. When the younger marry they build houses of their own. They can't leave the fields of which they have the usufruct to their sons, for the fields are the property of their eldest brother's sons.
text: If an eldest son dies before his father but leaves a son, all the property [of] the father will go at his death to the son of his eldest son, even if he is a small child, and nothing to his younger sons.
text: (79) If a man dies leaving no sons and has an elder and a younger brother, the whole property will go to the elder brother or his sons.
text: If a man dies leaving no son but a widow and three daughters, these women will stay in his house and have the usufruct of his fields till the last daughter marries. The mother goes to live with her and the house and all the property is taken over by a clansman of the deceased.
text: A man cannot leave anything to a man who is not of his own clan. (80) He can't leave anything to his morung. The morung does not own any fields, but hires every year some fields.
text: But the Wakching morungs have a strange right over land very far away, as near Tanhai, Pungkung, Oting and Shiong, and Lapha. From these villages who cultivate the land of the Wakching morungs, they get a sort of rent or tribute. They get most from Shiong because these fields are so near that they would be of use to Wakching itself.