The Nagas

Hill Peoples of Northeast India

Project Introduction The Naga Database

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

caption: Chapter Twenty-six. Tribesmen Of Tirap
caption: class composition of Wanchu Nagas
medium: books
ethnicgroup: Wanchu
location: Niaunyu (Niaunu)
person: Furer-Haimendorf
date: 1962
text: The class composition of Niaunu seemed typical of many villages of the Thendu group. There were four classes, known as Wangham (great Ang), Wangsa (small Ang), Wangsu (intermediate), and Wangpeng (commoner) . The Wangham class consisted exclusively of those members of the ruling chief's lineage who were the issue of marriages between men of Wangham class and women of similar status from other villages whose chiefs were unrelated. As marriage within the Wangham lineage of the same village was inadmissible, all alliances in which both spouses were of Wangham rank had to be contracted with chiefly houses of other domains. Men of Wangham class could marry secondary wives of Wangpeng class, and the issue from such chief-commoner unions constituted the Wangsa or small Ang class. Girls of Wangham class were never married to commoners of their own village. Ideally they had to marry men of Wangham class of other, unrelated villages, but if no husband of equal status could be found, they were given in marriage to men of Wangsa status. These too had to be unrelated and hence of another village, for different lineages of chiefly class never co-existed in the same villages.
text: Men of Wangsa or small Ang rank could either marry wives of similar status from other villages or conclude unions with commoner girls of their own village. The children from both types of union were of Wangsa status, for no further lowering of status by repeated admixture of commoner blood detracted from the rank of descendants of a great Ang.