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 individual's relations with the kienga
caption: activities in boys' dormitory group; patrons
medium: theses
ethnicgroup: Nzemi
person: Betts/ U.V.
date: 1950
refnum: M.A. thesis, University College, London
note: footnotes indicated by boxes within square brackets
text: He and the other boys under the age of puberty sweep the hangseoki, run errands, and act as fags to the young men. When the men of the kienga go out to fetch firewood for the hangseoki woodstack, the boys go with them and bring in kindling. Before a feast, the boys go to the jungle under the supervision of an older youth and cut and carry back leaves on which the meat may be cut up. At the actual feast in the hangseoki, one dish is reserved for the boys, one for the young men, and one for the married men. In the hangseoki, each boy attaches himself if he can to an older patron, a youth above the age of puberty. This patron passes on to him discarded necklaces and cloths. He allows him to share his bedding and sleeping-bench in the winter, a coveted privilege when a boy's only covering, day and night, is a worn cotton wrap; he takes him on hunting and fishing expeditions of a minor kind, the boy learning to lime and snare birds, set traps and dig for bamboo-rats. His patron also occasionally takes him with him when he goes courting. The youths do not punish the boys formally, that being reserved for the old men of the kienga, but they do not spare their reprimands. A dirty or lazy boy finds no one to act as his patron, and the troublesome or ill-mannered have their heads knocked together or their ears twisted by angry seniors. (53)