The Nagas

Hill Peoples of Northeast India

Project Introduction The Naga Database

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

caption: Chapter Eleven. Sacred Chiefs
caption: social ranks among the Angs
medium: books
person: Dzaknang/ of OtingChingai/ of Oting
ethnicgroup: Konyak
location: Oting
person: Furer-Haimendorf
date: 6.1936-6.1937
text: Dzaknang invited me to his house, a long building in a prominent position. His two daughters were covered in jewels and seemed rather plumper than the other girls of the village, perhaps because they worked less than the daughters of ordinary men. Though they were not particularly young, both girls wore lead rings in their ears. They were a warning to the boys, for the rings clearly said, "all trespassers will be prosecuted." But it was not enough for the Ang to forbid his daughters to flirt with the commoners of the village; now he was faced with the necessity of finding them husbands, if possible of corresponding rank, from the chiefs' houses of the neighbouring villages. This was a pressing and not a very simple task, for at the moment there seemed to be a dearth of possible husbands for such girls. The houses of Wangla and Lunglam were out of the question; they were too nearly related to the Ang of Oting. It was a pity, the Ang said, that the houses of Punkhung and Hungphoi had no sons of a suitable age, for many of the Angs of Oting had taken their wives from these villages in the past. When Tanhai was mentioned, the old Ang only shook his head; he looked down on the Ang of Tanhai. He was not his social equal, he said. The Oting girls, on the other hand, were not of high enough rank for the sons of the great Angs of Chui, Sheangha, Hangnyu, and other powerful villages. To my question why they could not marry half-brothers of the great Angs, belonging also to the small Ang class, Chingai remarked that it is better to be the wife of a chief in a small village than the less respected member of a great chief's house.