The Nagas

Hill Peoples of Northeast India

Project Introduction The Naga Database

typescript - J.H. Hutton's tour diary in the Naga Hills

caption: Oath-taking in denial of use of a charm at Purebama
medium: tours
person: Vikwe/ of PurebamaKudemohol/ of Purebama
location: Pfutsero (Tekhubama) Purabami (Purebama)
date: 9.8.1925
person: Hutton/ J.H.
date: 3.8.1925-12.8.1925
person: Pitt Rivers Museum Archive, Oxford
refnum: Hutton Ms. Box 2
text: 9th
text: To Tekhubama I.B. On the way Purebama came in in a great state of excitement about "very serious matter". Apparently as a result of a number of misfortunes in the village - a large part of it slipped down the hill a few years ago - the village in general came to the conclusion that someone or other was using a kadezu. A kadezu of which I had not heard before, is apparently a charm for ill-luck. No-one has ever seen one, but is supposed to be "like a bracelet" and of some sort of metal, but not iron or brass. If anyone has one anywhere, there is no luck in that place. If you would be keeping cattle they die on you; if you would have a land dispute you lose it; if there were petty thefts going on in the village the thieves would not be caught and people would lose their goods, and so on. The village therefore decided that they would all take oath that they were not using a kadezu, and kindred by kindred the leading man of each proceeded to take oath on the lives of all his kin. But when it came to a certain kindred an unpleasant old man named Vikwe came forward and said that the father (deceased) of one Kudemohol had long ago told him that he had, and used, a kadezu. This accusation upset Kudemohol's kindred who refused to include Kudemohol and his brother in their oath. Suspicion also attached itself to Vikwe, who seemed to know so much about kadezu, but as his kindred had sworn for him he was left out of it and the village proposed to turn out Kudemohol and his brother. These two offered to swear on their households but the village refused to hear their oath, thought their own kindred were willing.
text: Much against the will of the gaonburas and others, I made the two brothers take oath, dismissed the case against them, and warned the Gaonburas that if anything was done to the two men, I would hold the whole village, and the G.B.'s in particular, responsible. As a matter of fact it was admitted that Vikwe had enmity with Kudemohol, and I fancy the whole accusation was merely an attempt on Vikwe's part to get Kudemohol into trouble.
text: There were a lot of other cases here, mostly excessively trivial and excessively contentious.