The Nagas

Hill Peoples of Northeast India

Project Introduction The Naga Database

book : 'Konyak Nagas' by Christoph von Furer-Haimendorf, (1969)

caption: Chapter Two. The Social Structure and its Units
caption: village council adjudicates disputes and fines
medium: books
ethnicgroup: Konyak
person: Furer-Haimendorf/ C.
date: 1969
refnum: with permission from Holt, Rinehart & Winston, New York41:5
text: In Wakching there was a village council consisting of the chief, a shadowy figure, and ten morung officials known as 'niengba.' This council adjudicated disputes and punished offences and breaches of taboos concerning the community as a whole. The fines imposed on offenders consisted usually of pigs and rice, and even if a fine was paid in land, the latter was soon sold and converted into pigs and rice beer. All fines were shared between the members of the village council, and those harmed by the offender derived no benefit. Thus, if a man accidentally set fire to a piece of forest, he had to pay a fine of one big basket of rice, which was consumed by the village councilors. The man whose forest got burned received no share in the fine and no compensation. This system of justice discouraged litigation, for whatever the outcome of a case, only the councilors profited from the fines paid.