The Nagas

Hill Peoples of Northeast India

Project Introduction The Naga Database
caption: footnotes
text: 1. The only example of polygyny in the period 1940-6 occurred at Hangrum. The wife of the man concerned had borne him several daughters but no son, and as they were both no longer young, she suggested he should take a second wife who might give him a son. He was at first unwilling, but later agreed in order to please her. She selected a suitable young girl, whom he married; a son was born, the younger women relieved the older of the heavy work of fetching wood and water, and the arrangement appeared entirely successful. A well-known Nzemi headman in another village was anxious to make a similar second marriage to relieve his wife of heavy work and leave her free to entertain his frequent guests, but was unable to do so, as, to his genuine bewilderment, she burst into tears whenever the subject was broached and said she would face any quantity of heavy work rather than share him.