The Social structure of Tangkhul Naga

The social structure of Tangkhul Naga society has three tier system;

Frstly, Tangkhul Villages

Secondly, Tangkhul Naga Long and

Thirdly, Naga Hoho

  1. NAGA HOHO: The Naga Hoho is a federation of all Naga tribes and is the third institution of the Nagas, the first two being the Naga Village and the Tribe Hoho. IT was form on 25th June 1994 at Wokha and its constitution was adopted after official formation of the Naga Hoho on the 11th and 12th March during the 1998 session at Zunhebuto. The Naga Hoho is not political or a Government body, nor is it like other NGOs and social organizations. But it is a tribe based apex body of the Nagas under the traditional system of the Naga people. Most political and social organizations begin first with the formation of the apex body and only subsequently the structures at the regional, district and block levels are organized and formed. But the Naga Hoho was formed in an almost unique and indigenous manner unlike other organizations. It was built upon the Naga traditional institutions which evolved naturally.

The sequences are as under;

  • The Village: The first among Naga institutions at the grassroot level.
  • The Tribe Hoho: The second among Naga institutions at the Tribe level
  • The Naga Hoho: The third and apex institutions of the Nagas.

As seen above the Naga Hoho did not organize and form its units. The first among the Naga institutions, that is, the villages had existed for generations before the Naga Hoho came into being. Likewise the Tribal Hohos of the Naga tribes such as the Ao Senden, The Sumi Hoho, The Tangkhul Naga Long/Tangkhul Naga Long, The Angami Public Organization, The Konyak Union, The Lotha Hoho etc. were already in existence before the formation of the Naga Hoho. The formation of this apex Naga body was through a process that was intrinsic to the Naga ethos and way of life. The tribe Hohos are the foundation on which the Naga Hoho now stands. Thus the Naga Hoho was formed by the Naga people with the following objectives:

  • To uphold the solidarity of the Nagas.
  • To rebuild the Naga family.
  • To facilitate early settlement of the Naga issue.
  • To safeguard and protect the Naga system and tradition.
  • To promote the social, cultural, economic and political heritage.

Members: Other organizations belong to some individuals or group of people. But the Naga Hoho belongs to all Nagas irrespective of tribe or whether they are underground or civil/overground, young or old, man or woman. The members of the Naga Hoho include 37 tribes with associate memberships from rest of the Naga tribes which have not been officially affiliated.

Constitution: Other organizations have independent constitutions framed as per the desires and designs of the founding members. which are also amended to suit the situations. But, the Naga Hoho cannot have a constitution that is totally independent of the customary laws, traditions, conventions that are totally independent of the customary laws, traditions, conventions and common practices of the Nagas. Its functioning is governed by the Naga world view from which it derives its objectives and goals.

 

2. Tangkhhul Naga Long: The Tangkhul Naga Long is a federation of all Tangkhul Villages and is the second institution of the Nagas, the first one being the Tangkhul Village. IT was form on before 1914 before the world war Started and its constitution was adopted after official formation of the Tangkhul Awunga. The Tangkhul Naga Long is not political or a Government body, nor is it like other NGOs and social organizations. But it is a tribe based apex body of the Tangkhul Naga under the traditional system of the Tangkhul Naga people. Most political and social organizations begin first with the Villages and it was built based on the Tangkhul Naga traditional institutions which evolved naturally.

The sequences are as under;

  • The Tangkhul Village: The first among Naga institutions at the grassroots level.
  • The Tangkhul Naga Long: The this is the apex body of Tangkhul Villages at the Tribe level.

Tangkhul Naga Long and the villages headman had existed for generations before the Naga Hoho came into being. Likewise the Tribal Hohos of the Tangkhul Naga tribes “The Tangkhul Naga Long/Tangkhul Naga Long” were already in existence before the formation of the Naga Hoho. The formation of this apex Tangkhul Naga Long was through a process that was intrinsic to the Naga ethos and way of life. Thus the Tangkhul Naga Hoho was formed by the Tangkhul Naga people with the following objectives:

  • To preserve the Tangkhul Naga identity and history and to uphold the solidarity of all Tangkhul Nagas vilages
  • To rebuild the Tangkhul Naga family.
  • To protect from other war from outsider.
  • To safeguard and protect the Naga system and tradition.

There are four historical longpang(court) located in Ukhrul town; all the cases were settle  according to their geographical location. However, if there is dispute among the Longpang or if the petitioner or accused or victim are not satisfied with the decision of their Longpang then They can go to Longrei(which is the apex court in the Tangkhul Tribe).

  1. Ato (North) Longpang
  2. Aza (South) Longpang
  3. Zingtun (West) Longpang
  4. Zingsho (East) Longpang

And the Apex is Longrei; this is the apex body of four longpang.

 

  1. Villages: Tangkhul villagesis a Naga tribe living in the Indo-Burma border area occupying the Ukhrul district in ManipurIndia and the Somra Tangkhul hills (Somra tract) in Upper Burma. Despite this international border, many Tangkhul have continued to regard themselves as “one nation”

There are number of villages in the tangkhul community. There are 16 Tangkhul villages in Burma; the entire village has numbers of clan. Most of the villages have common surname; each clan has eldest member is called “Pipa” he represent the clan in the village council. In the village council all the clan sent their representative and they administer the village. There are two main bodies: one is king of the village (Kingship) and other is chairman of the village (chairmanship). Both the king and chairman have their own power laid town in the constitution of the village and it varies from village to village. Tangkhul (Tangkhul Naga) is a Sino-Tibetan language of the Tangkhul branch. It is spoken in 168 villages of Ukhrul districtManipur, India, with speakers scattered in Nagaland and Tripura as well.

Tangkhul is not close to other Naga languages. It is a dialect continuum, in which speakers from neighboring villages may be able to understand each other, but a dialect farther north or south will be less easily understood, if at all. The lingua franca is the Hunphun (Ukhrul) dialect.

The language dialect spoken by the people of Hunphun (the traditional name of Ukhrul) became the most common dialect among the Tangkhuls because the British set up their administration in Ukhrul. The American Baptist missionary Rev. William Pettigrewtranslated the Bible into the Hunphun dialect.

 

Village council: According to the latest research there are approximately 380 Tangkhul villages. Among them, 16 Tangkhul Villages are located in Burma.

  1. Each clan sent their representative to village council; they are called “hangva”

2. The eldest of the clan enjoy his right with the king of the village and they are neither nominated nor elected but their right derives from the history. All the land revenue right and historical conflict cases were hander by them in the village court.

The constitution (Riyan) is the head of the villages no person in the village including King, Pipa, Hangva  and Chairman can’t override the Riyan of the village. The riyan is the supreme where all customary law, traditional rule, historical boundaries and some event were written in it

 

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