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: the economic power of a chief
medium: books
ethnicgroup: Wanchu
location: Niaunyu (Niaunu)
person: Furer-Haimendorf
date: 1962
text: The economic power of a chief was derived from his ability to command the free labour of all the inhabitants of his village and in the case of a paramount chief, such as the Ang of Niaunu, also that of the people of tributary villages. His subjects helped to clear fields to be newly taken under cultivation, and to prepare the soil for the rice seed, which the chief then ceremoniously started to sow. He also called the villagers to work on his fields at the time of weeding and harvesting, and with so large a labour force he could produce vast quantities of grain. In return for their labour he provided the workers with food and drink, but there was no question of paying them a wage. Similarly a chief's subjects were expected to give him help in building his enormous house even in the annual repair of the roof, which was a major operation.