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: example of tribute paid to Thepong morung
medium: books
person: Thepong morung/ Wakching
ethnicgroup: Konyak
location: Wakching Aopao (Chongwe)
person: Furer-Haimendorf/ C.
date: 1969
refnum: with permission from Holt, Rinehart & Winston, New York44:2
text: One day in October about thirty men from Chongwe, a village then situated in unadministered territory, brought their tribute to Wakching. After putting down baskets filled with rice in front of the Thepong morung, they were entertained by the Thepong men, and were given substantial quantities of salt as a present. The Wakching people could obtain salt from the plains of Assam, but for the men of Chongwe, who lived too far in the interior to have much trade with the plains, salt was a valuable commodity. By this voluntary gift the Thepong men perpetuated the tribute system, which by that time had become virtual:y meaningless as far as Chongwe and Wakching were concerned. For Chongwe was, even then, often at war with its neighbors, while Wakching was under British control and the Thepong men were, therefore, hardly in a position to lend armed support to their allies, even had they wished to do so. The sanctity of traditional obligations combined with a desire for trade goods, however, was a sufficiently strong motive to induce the Chongwe men to continue to pay their tribute year after year. The Thepong men felt that the principle of reciprocity had to be maintained even in the changed political situation, and so they substituted gifts of salt for the military aid they could no longer provide.