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 three - the Ram or village community
caption: the kienga
caption: effects of discrete dormitory-based groups on cross-cutting ties
medium: theses
person: Puchatsuma clan/ Kohima
ethnicgroup: Nzemi
location: Kohima Mozama
date: 1876
person: Betts/ U.V.
date: 1950
refnum: M.A. thesis, University College, London
note: footnotes indicated by boxes within square brackets
text: The discrete kienga is found in no other Naga tribe and it may be asked what effects it has on the solidarity of the other Central Nzemi units, the village community, moiety, tsami and domestic family. By linking in common kienga membership autochthons and non-autochthons, men of both moieties and of many different tsami and families, the discrete kienga provides a counter-pull crossing the natural lines of cleavage in the Central Nzemi village. The fact that men on both sides are linked to men on the other by ties of kienga loyalty mitigates bitterness in such inter-moiety, inter-tsami and inter-family disputes as arise. There are among the Nzemi no such serious riots as among the Angamis of Khonoma, where inter-clan struggles have often ended in fatalities, nor such incidents as the (51) massacre in 1876 of the Puchatsuma clan in Kohima, when 40 men of Mozama village were admitted to Kohima by the Puchatsuma's neighbouring clan, whose men stood by and watched the resulting slaughter. Moiety, tsami and family loyalties in the same way prevent inter-kienga disputes from becoming of a serious nature. Some danger to tsami and domestic family solidarity is, however, recognized, and youths with close kin in the rival kienga will usually retire from the struggle or avoid contact with opposing kinsmen when the young men of two kienga become involved in a rough-and-tumble, as they often do at the annual festivals. These withdrawals and half-hearted participations lessen materially the fierceness of inter-kienga clashes.