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: execution of criminals
medium: books
ethnicgroup: Wanchu
location: Niaunyu (Niaunu)
person: Furer-Haimendorf
date: 1962
text: (222) The chief of Niaunu told me of three cases of execution by drowning which were still well remembered. One of the victims was a habitual thief, one was sentenced to death because he had killed other people's mithan calves and sold their meat surreptitiously. The third case was that of a man who had tortured his own daughter because of the girl's affair with a man of whom he did not approve. His cruelty to the girl was considered so abhorrent that the council ordered him to be drowned. I found this latter case of particular interest, for among many other primitive populations, as for instance the Ifugaos of the Philippines, violence between kinsmen as closely related as brothers, or father and sons, tends to go unpunished because any potential avenger is bound by identical kinship ties to the offender and to the victim, and is hence not in a position to take punitive action. Among the Wanchus, on the other hand, the chief and his council represent impersonal justice and feel entitled to intervene even in disputes between members of a family.