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: woman's relations with the kienga
caption: girl's dress; modesty; children's work
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: 5. The Woman's Relations with the Kienga.
text: While a boy transfers to the "man's bed" of his parents' house at about the age of four, a girl continues to sleep with her mother on the "woman's bed" until she is old enough to go (79) to the leoseoki. Like her brother, she goes quite naked as a small child, but at the age of three or four she is provided with a small petticoat. At first she is as likely to play with it and trail it behind her as wear it, but this phase does not last long. She is next provided with another wrap which she wears over her head. It is early impressed on girls that it is immodest to uncover her head; a child with her first petticoat often wears it there instead of in its proper place, and a small girl surprised by a stranger when she has only her petticoat on will frequently snatch it off and drape it over her head. From an early age she helps her mother in the house, and never enjoys the leisure for play allowed her brothers. Even when playing she frequently carries a smaller brother or sister slung on her back. By the age of five and six she is carrying small loads of firewood or water and has begun to learn the rudiments of weaving and spinning.