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 four - The village administration
caption: village officials: the secular officials, their function and selection
caption: the secular officials, their function and choice
medium: theses
person: Namkiabuing/ of Impoi
ethnicgroup: Nzemi
location: Impoi
person: Betts/ U.V.
date: 1950
refnum: M.A. thesis, University College, London
note: footnotes indicated by boxes within square brackets
text: The Village Administration.
text: 1. The Village Officials.
text: Every Central Nzemi village, unless it is very small, has a total of eight officials. Four of these are secular and four religious. The secular officials are.-
text: a. The kadepeo, representing the founder.
text: b. His assistant, the kadepeo-katseipeo or 'little kadepeo', representing the co-founder. A man of the opposite moiety to the kadepeo.
text: c and d. The hebhi mathai [1 [Record T86807]
text: e. The tingkhupeo, or senior village priest, who also has secular function as adviser on custom to the village council. He is selected, irrespective of his tsami, for his knowledge of ritual and traditional practice, and he must be at least past the age of procreation and preferably of great age. For a younger man to address the spirits during the major ceremonies would be an act of impertinence and would result in supernatural retribution on either the culprit or the community or both. During rituals, and in all matters concerning rituals, the tingkhupeo is in control and the kadepeo acts under his direction.
text: f. The tingkhupeo-katseipeo, or junior village priest. He is selected in the same way as the senior priest and must possess the same qualifications, but he is usually a few years younger so that on the death of the senior priest he may succeed to the office and hold it long (88) enough to train his own successor.
text: g and h. The kabai-za, men who act as town-criers and as general assistants to the two priests, who are often so aged as to be extremely feeble. As with the senior and junior priests, the kabai-za are chosen irrespective of tsami, but they are usually men who are likely in the fullness of time to become priests.
text: All these officials are selected by the village council. The secular officials are chosen from the appropriate tsami provided suitable candidates are available. If they are not, men otherwise suitable are chosen from other tsami, including those which are non-autochthonous. These men act as administrative headmen only and cannot fulfil even the limited functions of a kadepeo. For example, the ceremonial feast [2 [Record T86808][Record T86809]