The Nagas

Hill Peoples of Northeast India

Project Introduction The Naga Database

typescript 'Village Organization Among the Central Nzemi Nagas', M.A. thesis by Ursula Betts

caption: chapter two - the village
caption: the kuloa
caption: monuments to commemorate sexual liasons and other monuments
medium: theses
ethnicgroup: Nzemi
location: Hangrum Hajaichak (Haijaichak) Hasonghaju (Hasanhaju) Khangnam
person: Betts/ U.V.
date: 1950
refnum: M.A. thesis, University College, London
note: footnotes indicated by boxes within square brackets
text: Monuments outside the village include those set up to honour the living as well as the dead. The commonest is heram-leo-sum-le, a line of upright stones set up by a village path to commemorate the liaisons of the man honoured. A larger monolith is generally set at the head of the line, and if the man conducted successful affairs simultaneously with a mother and daughter, or with two sisters, without either of the two women knowing of the other liaison, this is recorded by a small stone set in front of one of the other stones in the line. The tally of liaisons is not exact and is generally exaggerated, sometimes by as much as 25%. Examples of these stone rows occur at Hangrum, Haijaichak and Hasanhaju; the row at the latter has 47 stones and that at Haijaichak 36, while double liaisons are shown in a row at Khangnam. Rows are erected by a man's own kienga or by both the kienga of his village; food, drink and a cash present are given in return by the man himself, if still alive, and by his heirs if he is dead. Ponds (thakwa-ki) are made in honour of rich men during their lifetimes and named after them. They are also, but less frequently made in honour of the dead. When a kienga has had no death among its members during the year, it celebrates a feast named Matui-ra the following summer. In the course of this a pond is made in the name of one (33) of the young men of the kienga, and his father is expected to entertain the young people liberally and to present them with a bull for the feast. Ponds may be round, square or oblong; they may be made at the village spring itself, at another close by, at one some distance away in the jungle, or they may depend solely on rainfall.