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: terms of address; language; names
medium: articles
person: McCulloch/ Major W.
date: 1858
refnum: from: Selections from the Records of the Government of India, No. 27 (Calcutta) 1859
text: (22) In their intercourse amongst themselves, the Munniporees are ceremonious. They address one another by the name of the office they may hold, or may have held, or as younger or elder brothers. To call a man "Angang," literally child, is most respectful, and when called by a superior to answer "Aigya" is the most respectful response. The Raja and members of the Royal family call all male Nunniporees "eepoo," grandfather; and females, "eebel", grandmother.
text: The male members of the Royal family are called "sunna", or golden; the females " seesa." Their actions are described in a different style of language from that of the rest of the people; thus, they do not walk but move; they do not sleep but recline. A common Munniporee, if riding, would be spoken of as " sagontongle," a Prince as Sagonnetle." The eating of the Commoner would be designated " chak chaba" , of the Prince, " look haba" and so on. Individuals are spoken of and known by their surnames; the laiming, or if I may use the expression, the Christian name, being seldom known to or used by any but the nearest relatives. All but the Royal family have surnames. The Christian name is written last. The introduction of surnames took place in the reign of Chalamba, about two hundred years ago, and of the laiming since the profession of Hindooism. The surnames are evidently derived from some peculiarity in the individuals who first bore them. The oldest family of Brahmins in the country is called Hungoibum. Hungoi means a frog, and that such a name should be given to a person who bathed so much more frequently than Munniporees had hitherto been accustomed to see, seems very natural. The same is the case with almost every family; all the surnames indicating either the profession, or some peculiarity of its original holder.