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: hereditary officials within the morung and their duties
medium: books
ethnicgroup: Konyak
person: Furer-Haimendorf/ C.
date: 1969
refnum: with permission from Holt, Rinehart & Winston, New York47:3
text: I have referred already to the 'niengba,' the representatives of the morung who, together with the chief, constituted the village council. In some morungs there was only one 'niengba,' whereas in others there were two such officials. Their office was hereditary and was handed down from father to son, or, failing a son, to the next agnatic kinsman of suitable age. Some of the 'niengba' had special duties. The 'niengba' of the Oukheang, a descendant of the village founder, announced the days of the principal village rites, and one of the two 'niengba' of the Balang made a similar announcement regarding the performance of a rite to avert pests affecting the crops.
text: In addition to proclaiming days of ritual rest, the 'niengba' of the Oukheang performed the initiation ceremony for all boys entering a morung. Before the suppression of head-hunting it was also his duty to cut off the ears, nose, and tongue of every head brought in and to bury them under a stone in front of the Ang's house.
text: In most villages there were, in addition, morung officials known as 'benba' whose duty it was to kill sacrificial animals at certain rites and to perform functions which were considered magically dangerous, such as the painting of coffins.