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 eight: conclusion
caption: kinship groups of paternal kin
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: Upon the tsami organization is largely based the mutual assistance by which essential daily work is carried on. For help in his field-work, in the payment of bride-wealth, in the settlement of debts, for loans in financial difficulty, for support in disputes, for aid, in fact, in every possible (152) adversity, a man looks first to the men of his own tsami, his paternal kin, and secondly to his affinal kin, the men of his wife's tsami. The help so given is on a reciprocal basis. A man receives help more rarely from his maternal kin, the men of his mother's tsami, because the obligation here is not reciprocal, and although a sister's son is bound to assist his mother's brother there is no answering obligation to help the sister's son. The tsami as a corporate body also owns farm land. Every male member will in time enjoy the right of usufruct from it, and a part of this benefit may be transferred to female members for their lifetimes only. These advantages - mutual assistance, mutual support and the corporate ownership of a certain amount of farm land - are powerful factors in the maintenance of village cohesion, and the disadvantages entailed in their forfeiture make banishment from the village the effective sanction it is among the Nzemi.