The Nagas

Hill Peoples of Northeast India

Project Introduction The Naga Database

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

caption: Chapter Three. Phases of Life
caption: equal and affectionate marital relationships
medium: books
ethnicgroup: Konyak
location: Wakching
person: Furer-Haimendorf/ C.
date: 1969
refnum: with permission from Holt, Rinehart & Winston, New York80:1
text: Most marriages which survived the period when the spouses lived in the houses of their respective parents were based on mutual affection. Since most couples knew each other intimately before the enactment of the formal marriage ceremonies, this is hardly surprising, for marriages were not usually concluded in the first flush of a passionate attachment, nor did material factors unduly sway the partners in their decision to marry. The camaraderie and complete equality prevailing among unmarried boys and girls persisted in the tenor of the relationship between spouses. For a girl who had for years been accustomed to act independently and had learned to handle the approaches of boys and young men in the girls' dormitory would not be likely to submit to a husband's domination. Those who have observed the Konyaks at work in house and field, at leisure, and at feasts and rituals must have realized that in most practical matters women were the equals of men. Within the sphere of her household a wife operated freely, and as the needs of the household were the focus of family economy, a woman's influence on economic decisions was considerable.