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: Murring tribe - origins; hairstyle; officials; marriage; stone mounds
medium: articles
ethnicgroup: Murring
person: McCulloch/ Major W.
date: 1858
refnum: from: Selections from the Records of the Government of India, No. 27 (Calcutta) 1859
text: In the same way, on the eastern side, the Murring seems to connect the tribes of the South with the Tangkool which fuses into the Loohoopa. The Murring was not long ago a numerous tribe. It is now represented by nine small villages. Amongst all the tribes we have yet noticed, the Munniporees are spoken of as a younger branch of themselves, but the Murrings say the place of the origin of a portion of their tribe is the part of the Munnipore capital at present called "Haubum Maruk," and that another portion took their origin at Leisang Kong, a village in the valley some seven or eight miles South of the capital. The Murrings tie their hair up in front like a horn, and I may observe that the state headdress of the Munniporees is adorned with a protuberance of the same sort, they have their hereditary Koolpoo and Koollakpa. Of the two, the Koolpoo is the greater, these Officers have no revenue from the village, but at feasts, they have a portion of the flesh and the first of the wine. Amongst them, the distinctions of families- the Koomul Looang,&c. are strictly observed, and the prohibitions against marriage of members of the same family rigidly enforced. The regulated payment for a wife is three gongs or two methins, in fault of which, the first child born becomes a slave. Run-away matches are made, but the regulated payment is not on that account relaxed. Adultery, theft, &c. are punished as amongst the Koupooees. Every male-child is "Moba" and every female one "Tebee"; to distinguish them, when they grow up, any (66) other name is added. For piercing the ears of their children they have no stated time, but do it as it suits their convenience. To erect a pile of stones is considered a meritorious act. The individual who does this must be rich, for on such occasions six methins are expended, but, from the hope that their names will live as long as the mounds erected by them, the methins are not grudged. A Murring must not think of white washing the front wall of his house (which is of boards) unless he can give a feast for which six methins are killed. And the young men of the village, who assemble together like the Koupooees, cannot have a rejoicing of their clubs, under an expenditure of four methins. These are the only festivals they have, and unless the village be very rich they can occur but seldom, their customs at a death and the manner of burial are like those of the Koupooees. The advantages of facility of communication they appear to have felt. Good roads, now mostly all covered with jungle, connected their villages and led to the plain.