The Nagas

Hill Peoples of Northeast India

Project Introduction The Naga Database

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

caption: Chapter Twenty-seven. Return to Nagaland
caption: the old, opium smoking Ang and his family history
medium: books
ethnicgroup: Konyaks
location: Tang
person: Furer-Haimendorf
date: 1970
text: The Ang I met was an oldish man, apparently much addicted to smoking opium, and looking rather ill. Though his household with twenty wives and a number of children and grandchildren was still large and his recently rebuilt house impressive, his influence seemed to be on the decline. His eldest son had died, and the widow with two small daughters was given the choice of staying on in the Ang's house, or returning to her home village. She opted for Tang and was to marry her late husband's younger brother, the Ang's heir, a young man about eighteen to twenty years old. No formal wedding was to be held for the young man would automatically take his brother's place, and the young woman would become the wife of the ruling chief, and the head of the women's side of the large household. Most of the old Ang's wives were women of commoner status, and hardly distinguishable from domestic servants. One whole side of the long building is taken up by women's quarters, and individual wives have their own hearths where they cook for themselves and their children. The Ang himself lives mainly in the front hall which struck me as (240) extremely orderly with a large collection of dao of various shapes and other weapons and utensils neatly pinned to the walls.