The Nagas

Hill Peoples of Northeast India

Project Introduction The Naga Database

book : Return to the Naked Nagas (1939;1976)

caption: Chapter Five. Heathens and Baptists
caption: why bachelors' halls are no longer used
medium: books
ethnicgroup: Ao
location: Chantongia
person: Furer-Haimendorf
date: 6.1936-6.1937
text: I asked the "pastor" why the bachelors' halls were no longer used.
text: "How could a Christian boy sleep in these houses of the heathen?" was his answer. "To use them would be against our rules."
text: (47) In the past the older boys and girls were not allowed to sleep in the houses of their parents, lest it led to incest, but the missionaries encouraged their converts to disregard tribal laws and customs even in spheres not directly connected with religion. The bachelors' hall is an institution much like the English public school. One may agree or disagree with the principle of giving boys a training in community spirit outside the individual family, but there can be no question that the morung was one of the main pillars of the Aos' social order. The bachelors' hall was the social centre of the village, the age groups of the morung were the natural labour teams for every public work, and the rights and obligations of every member of the community were regulated by his place in the age-group system.