Khinalughs - Sociopolitical Organization

Until the beginning of the nineteenth century Khinalugh and the nearby Kryz and Azerbaijani villages formed a local community that was part of the Shemakha, and later the Kuba khanates; with the incorporation of Azerbaijan into the Russian Empire in the 1820s, Khinalug became part of the Kuba District of Baku Province. The chief institution of local government was the council of household chiefs (earlier it consisted of all adult males in Khinalugh). The council selected an elder ( ketkhuda ), two assistants, and a judge. The village government and the clergy oversaw the administration of various civil, criminal, and matrimonial proceedings, according to traditional ( adat ) and Islamic (Sharia) law. The population of Khinalugh consists entirely of free peasants. At the time of the Shemakha Khanate they did not pay any sort of tax or provide services. The only obligation of the residents of Khinalugh was military service in the khan's army. Subsequently, up to the beginning of the nineteenth century, Khinalugh was obligated to pay a tax in kind for each household (barley, melted butter, sheep, cheese). As part of the Russian Empire, Khinalugh paid a monetary tax and performed other services (e.g., the maintenance of the Kuba post road).

Mutual assistance was common within the community, for example, in the construction of a house. There was also the custom of sworn brotherhood ( ergardash )

Conflict. In cases of murder the guilty party, at the command of the village elder, donned a white shroud and went to the home of the victim for reconciliation. At the victim's house he bowed, kissed the hands of the senior men, then, attended by the mullah, the killer went to the grave of the victim in the cemetery and knelt upon it. The mullah read a prayer. The village elder set the blood-price, which the killer's family paid to that of the victim. The recompense for the killing of a man was thirty to forty rams and ten beehives. Traditional law made no provision for recompense for the killing of a woman, and a blood feud was likely to result.

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