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: lack of law; punishments for Brahmins and women; bribery; inheritance of property
medium: articles
person: McCulloch/ Major W.
date: 1858
refnum: from: Selections from the Records of the Government of India, No. 27 (Calcutta) 1859
text: (20) In Munnipore there is no law. The will of the reigning Prince is paramount to everything. Treason is the highest degree of crime. Murder is next, and is reckoned a capital offence, though not always, if money be judiciously applied, treated as such. If committed by a Brahmin or by a woman, neither would be punished capitally. The utmost punishment of the Brahmin would be his expulsion from the country; of the woman, her exposure with shaved head in the Bazaar. The Chirap, the only Court, besides the Paja, judges every matter brought before it, not in the jurisdiction of the latter. Formerly, it had 60 or 80 hereditary members, but as with the Paja, the members do not now inherit their seats, but obtain them by means of money. As might be expected, they are corrupt in the extreme, and implicitly subservient to the Raja, unless in most glaring cases, justice without a bribe is not looked for; and even in glaring cases it would be considered dangerous not to bribe some of the leading members. But glaring or not glaring, bribed or not bribed, were it intimated to them that the Raja's views inclined in a certain direction, in compliance with such views would the case be decided. And if it were even thought that the Raja interested himself in any case, though he had expressed no opinion on it, it would remain undecided, from a fear of offending him by giving a decision which might be against his wishes. There is no law as to the descent of property. It is willed away according to the pleasure of the testator, but is generally given to those individuals of the family who are most in need of it without reference to seniority.