The Nagas

Hill Peoples of Northeast India

Project Introduction The Naga Database

manuscript notes on the Zemi Nagas by Ursula Graham Bower

caption: Le-hera genna: a sickness genna for removing evil spirits from the village
caption: gennas
medium: notes
person: Graham Bower/ Ursula
date: 1939-1946
refnum: Betts papers, ring binder 1
person: Centre for South Asian Studies, Cambridge
text: 13th Day: Nru-heliem (a genna for success in hunting).
text: First thing in the morning, before they have eaten, the men go ho-hoing to the village spring with their spears and guns, and wash. Each dips a corner of his cloth and kilt in the water and wrings them out, to 'throw out the bad things'. They all return together to the village gate, and there are met by the tingkhupeo and his usual assistant, the old men being inside and the bucks and men outside. The tingkhupeo has brought a cock, ting-ram and ntin. He calls upon the spirit who created all the animals and asks him to give so-and-so (naming the man first in line) tiger, bear, deer and so on. The man then comes inside the village gate. This is repeated for each man in turn. Every man has a piece of tingram on his spear or gun, and as each enters, the tinkhupeo cuts it with a dao. Inside the gate are figures of bear, tiger, and so on, and as the men come in, each stabs the figures with his spear or aims his gun at them and lets out a loud screech. Guns being important to the whole village as well as the immediate owner, they are brought to the ceremony by somebody else if the owner is absent.
text: When they are all inside, there is a general ho-hoing. The tingkhupeo offers the cock to the spirit previously addressed, and asks for success in hunting for the whole village. He then turns to the men and says: "I have asked for everything. Take!" They all shout: "Ahang!" ('It's mine! I have taken!).
text: They all go together to the hazoa and ho-ho there. The tingkhupeo throws the cock up in the air and the men all try to catch it, as the catcher will have great success. Once the bird is caught, the tinkhupeo kills it and gives some of the feathers to each man, and they take them home and burn them in clean fire brought from the dekachang. They must cook on this fire, and eat their morning meal apart from the women. The tingkhupeo and his assistant eat the cock, but each dekachang fetches a little of the flesh which is divided into tiny scraps, each would-be hunter eating one.
text: The remains of the mens' breakfast is put outside the house and finished off by the boys and old men. The women may not work or pound dhan until the men have finished eating.
text: No field-work is done, but the village is not closed.