The Nagas

Hill Peoples of Northeast India

Project Introduction The Naga Database

manuscript notes on the Zemi Nagas by Ursula Graham Bower

caption: gennas
caption: Hameo-roa-kappu-hera genna: to protect ripening crops
medium: notes
person: Graham Bower/ Ursula
date: 1939-1946
refnum: Betts papers, ring binder 1
person: Centre for South Asian Studies, Cambridge
text: Hameo-roa-kappu-hera
text: Done at any convenient time after the rice begins to set seed, whether the reaping has begun or not. Done in the path to the fields by the cultivator himself if he knows how, or by an old man if he does not. It is a matter of choice to do this genna, and not obligatory.
text: The performer takes a stick of the wood 'nkuong-taing', a miniature chunga, a model bow and two arrows, and the fowl or pig which is to be offered, and two ears of rice in which the seed has failed to come, and goes to the path leading to the fields in question at any convenient time. He sticks the 'nkuong' stick into the ground, upright; offered the fowl to the spirit or spirits concerned (no one seems sure who they are) and then strangles it. If the offers a pig, he transfixes it with a sharpened bamboo. In a chunga he has water in which 'deo-moni' beads have been washed. He plucks out some of the fowl's feathers, digs up the earth a little and sticks the feathers upright in a ring, and asks the spirits to make a fence of the feathers round his fields to prevent the crop being damaged by wind, and taking out some of the fowl's entrails, he puts these inside the ring of feathers. Then he puts a small strip of the seedless ear in a split in the end of one of his toy arrows, and tells the seedless rice to go away to the Kacharis, to anywhere far away, to someone who has not done this genna, and leave his fields to be full of grain. This done, he shoots away the toy arrow. Then he hangs up the chunga with the water, the basket in which he brought the fowl, the toy bow with another arrow in the string and a piece of the fowl's liver run on it, sticks up the empty ears and a few more feathers on the 'nkuong' stick - if he killed a pig, he sticks up the basket he brought it in - and goes back with the meat of the sacrifice, which he consumes himself, first offering salt, ginger and zu at the hearth; when the meat is cooked, it is offered again at the hearth before the man and the household consume any. That day the house is closed to strangers, and no field-work may be done, though this may be avoided by doing the genna in the evening, after a day's work in the fields.