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: comparison of marriage system of Thenkoh and Thendu villages
medium: books
ethnicgroup: KonyakWanchu
location: Wakching Oting Niaunyu (Niaunu)
person: Furer-Haimendorf/ C.
date: 1969
refnum: with permission from Holt, Rinehart & Winston, New York61:5
text: At first sight the marriage system of Thendu villages may appear as totally different from that of a Thenkoh village such as Wakching. Closer analysis, however, reveals a considerable area of agreement. The exogamy of clans is basic to the marriage system of both groups, but whereas in Wakching the wards represent the next larger exogamous unit, among Thendu Konyaks and Wanchus it is the village which constitutes an exogamous unit in respect of all persons of equal status. Thus, a village such as Oting or Niaunu compares to the exogamous units formed in Wakching by a combination of two kindred morungs such as Oukheang and Thepong. And just as in Wakching members of a chiefly clan could intermarry with commoners of their own ward in disregard of the general rule of ward exogamy, so in Thendu villages members of different classes could, and often did, intermarry within one and the same village; but whereas in Wakching intraward marriages between aristocrats and commoners were rare exceptions, in villages such as Oting marriages between persons of chiefly status and commoners were the rule, and viewed from the village perspective, this situation appears almost as an instance of "class exogamy." Such an interpretation would be misleading, however, for members of all three classes freely intermarry with persons of their own class provided they belong to different villages and, hence, not to the same clan or to clans standing in a "brother" relationship.