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: function of Feasts of Merit; distribution; political power
medium: theses
person: Ritening/ of ImpoiNamkiabuing/ of Impoi
ethnicgroup: Nzemi
person: Betts/ U.V.
date: 1950
refnum: M.A. thesis, University College, London
note: footnotes indicated by boxes within square brackets
text: Between 1940 and 1946 only one Feast of Merit (the kamarum-ki celebration in Impoi, mentioned above) was performed in the Central Nzemi area; there was no performance of kapeo-ki during this period, though one or two kapeo-ki buildings set up previously were still existent. No specimen of hekwi-ki existed, and it was doubtful whether the ritual formulae of this feast survived in the Central Nzemi area. There had been (71) a celebration of it some ten or fifteen years previously among the Western Nzemi, and though the house itself no longer stood, it was thought by the Central Nzemi that the formulae were likely to be known in that village. In 1941 Ritening of Impoi, father of Namkiabuing, urged his son to complete the full series of Feasts of Merit, even if on a nominal scale, to preserve the procedure and rituals. Namkiabuing planned to perform the kapeo-ki feast in 1944, but was prevented by bad harvests and the war. It was understood that in 1946 that he intended to perform the feast as soon as he had a good enough harvest to supply the rice. There are no figures to show whether, as a Central Nzemi believe, the number of Feasts of Merit performed by them has in fact declined sharply; but it may be noted that among the Kabui Nagas, whose series of feasts is very similar to that of the Central Nzemi, every village has at least one Feast of Merit house and some have two or three.