The Nagas

Hill Peoples of Northeast India

Project Introduction The Naga Database

miscellaneous papers, notebooks and letters on Nagas by Ursula Graham Bower, 1937-1947

caption: marriage
caption: incest
medium: notes
ethnicgroup: Zemi
person: Graham Bower/ Ursula
date: 1937-1946
person: private collection
text: Incest. Occasionally occurs secretly between unmarried pairs, but is kept strictly secret. The young sinners will catch if from their parents if they find out.
text: If they propose marrying, their parents forbid it and there is a row.
text: No case known to my informant (N.) of first cousin or true sister incest. But thinks that if it occurred the culprit would be expelled from the kindred and family, the Naga equivalent of cutting off with a shilling.
text: The incestuous couple would incur the extreme displeasure of their relatives and deceased ancestors. Their children will "not be good", i.e. sickly and unfortunate, and they won't be rich. Any marriage with a woman known to be related on the father's side is strictly speaking forbidden. The Western group seem still stricter, and forbid marriage with one's own clan - i.e. Nriami- Nriami.