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: differences by rank of attitudes to adultery among Wanchu
medium: books
ethnicgroup: Wanchu
location: Niaunyu (Niaunu) Niaunyu (Niaunu)
person: Furer-Haimendorf/ C.
date: 1969
refnum: with permission from Holt, Rinehart & Winston, New York84:3
text: In Niaunu and the neighboring Wanchu villages, which are ruled by autocratic chiefs, the attitude toward the adultery of a commoner's wife differed from the reaction to the infidelity of a chief's wife. A commoner had no legal redress if his wife committed adultery, and her lover could take her into his house without having to pay compensation to the duped husband. A husband, however, who divorced his wife had to pay her parents compensation to the value of one average-sized field. The same applied to women of intermediate class and even those of small Ang status. No fines were imposed in the event of their infidelity. Women married to a chief of great Ang status, however, were subject to a stricter code. Their adultery could place their life as well as that of their lovers' in jeopardy. The father of the present chief of Niaunu had two of his commoner wives as well as their lovers drowned in punishment for their infidelity. Even a chief's wife of great Ang status would have been executed by drowning if caught in adultery. Such punishment was, however, liable to result in feuding between the two chiefly houses originally united by marriage, for the guilty wife's kinsmen felt free to avenge their kinswoman's death, even though they might not have approved of her conduct.