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: clothing of married house-holder; role and activities
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: The young man has now ceased to be a rahangmi and has become a hangtingmi, a married householder. He ceases to wear the heni-pai body-cloth, which is woven with a single warp and is worn only by boys and unmarried men, and adopts the pai-takup, woven with a double warp and restricted to married men. He discards the characteristic rahangmi ornament known as hetse-teo, a ring- shaped collar of cane decorated with cowrie-shells; (66) he may simply give it away to a younger brother, or it may be claimed from him by any older man who requires one for a son. He gradually wears out and does not replace his gala dress and rahangmi clothing, acquiring instead a plain kilt and body-cloth of undyed fabric; the eighteen or twenty necklaces he wore as a youth are reduced to a coil of banana-seed beads worn throughout life as a protection against witchcraft, and one or two strings of the yellow beads known as 'deo-moni' and much valued by all the Naga tribes. His father may have presented him with a piece of land on marriage, but the fact that he owns no land does not prevent him from cultivating; he cuts his fields in the block selected for cultivation in that particular year and pays rent in rice at the accepted rate to the land-owner. He and his wife work regularly in their field, assisted from time to time by working- parties made up of kinsmen and friends, the latter usually contemporaries of his own kienga. He does not pay them but provides food and drink for them, and he and his wife assist in return on the same terms when any of these helpers require labour. He continues to use the hangseoki as a club and workroom, sitting there when at leisure and working at basketry and similar crafts, and he participates in stone-dragging, maintenance of the water-supply, feasts, and all other kienga tasks and activities. While his wife ceases to dance immediately she marries, he continues to join in dances for several years after and, if an adept, may be chosen as a hangseo-mui-te-peo and himself lead, train and direct the young people. (67)