The Nagas

Hill Peoples of Northeast India

Project Introduction The Naga Database

published - extracts from 'Account of the valley of Munnipore and of the Hill Tribes' by Major W. McCulloch

caption: status of women; markets; cloth-making
medium: articles
person: McCulloch/ Major W.
date: 1858
refnum: from: Selections from the Records of the Government of India, No. 27 (Calcutta) 1859
text: The women in Munnipore are not confined as in Hindostan. They manage all the domestic concerns; nay more than that, they are more supporters of their families than their husbands are, and in many cases they support them entirely. The sepoys having lands given them which they cultivate, or if unable to do so, which they rent to others for a certain allowance of rice or money which would buy as much, their families may be said to be supplied with rice by the men, but for every thing else almost, they are dependent on the women. Besides the sepoys, others of course cultivate land, but the fear of the "Kei-roi-thau" before spoken of, and other annoyances, deter a very large number from doing so. Rather than endure these they reside in the capital, eschewing cultivation, and in such cases they and their families are supported by the exertions of their wives. There is a market daily (19) attended only by women. Every woman carries a basket containing something not immediately required for the consumption of her household; this she barters for something immediately wanted, or she sells it and purchases what she wants with the proceeds. After market she returns and prepares the dinner for the family. This done she will prepare her cotton for spinning the thread, with which she will afterwards make cloth for her husband, herself and family. Though thus useful and laborious, women are but indifferently treated. Considering this, the many temptations they are exposed to, and the unbounded opportunities they have for any bad end, I must say they appear to me to be more virtuous than under the circumstances would have been expected. These remarks I am sorry to say do not apply to the females of the ruling family, or to their descendants in the first generation at least. They are notorious for laxity, to check which I have never heard of an attempt.