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: reasons for divorce, mainly incompatibility
medium: books
ethnicgroup: Konyak
location: Wakching
person: Furer-Haimendorf/ C.
date: 1969
refnum: with permission from Holt, Rinehart & Winston, New York81:7
text: For those men who were permitted only one wife, childlessness was a common cause for divorce, but neither husband nor wife was required to produce specific reasons for breaking up a marriage, and mutual incompatibility was considered sufficient cause for a parting of ways. Harsh or cruel treatment by either spouse was rare, and in the many case histories of broken marriages which I gathered I heard of only one, apparently psychopathic husband who was reported to have hit his wife. That this was regarded as monstrous by other Konyaks speaks for the rarity of cruel behavior on the part of husbands; such an action would have drawn an immediate response from the wife's kinsmen, who were linked with the husband through the many reciprocal obligations created by the marriage. The backing a wife expected from her natal kin was considered an important factor in the stablization of a marriage, and the parents of a girl wedded to a man of a village other than their own were accustomed to seek out a friend in that village and request him to take the young wife under his protection. In the event of a dispute or if the girl was divorced by her husband, the man standing in loco Parentis received the fine and compensation which was normally payable to a divorced woman's father. Such a guardian was chosen from among the men of clans which stood to the husband's clan in affinal relations, that is, men who could have become the husband's father-in-law.