Nagas - Economy



Subsistence and Commercial Activities. Lhotas, Semas, Aos, and other Naga tribes use jhum cultivation almost exclusively. The Angami have a diversified agricultural system that involves jhum cultivation and terracing (steep hillsides are arranged in terraces, or panikhets, which are flooded and used as rice fields). Terraces are fed by channels (bearing water from streams) and hollow bamboo irrigation pipes. Crops are grown for consumption and sale. Rice and millet are the main staples. Additional crops grown are Job's tears, maize, great millet ( Sorghum vulgare ), beans, oil seeds, gourds, cucumbers, chilies, spinach, mustard, and kachu (a taro, Colocasia antiquorum ). Cotton and jute for clothing, thatching grass for house construction, wood for housing and fuel, and bamboo are also grown. Agricultural implements include the following: ax ( merre ), spade or hoe ( keju ), mattock ( sivu ), rake ( paro ), hoe ( saro ), sickle ( zupfino ), and the marking stake ( kethi-thedi ) used for the marking of jungle or thatch for cutting or to prevent crop misfortune resulting from complimentary remarks about their condition. Domestic animals include: gayals (for trade), cows (for meat and trade), gayal/cow hybrids, pigs, dogs (for meat and hunting), cats (in limited number for food and magicoreligious purposes), fowl, bees, and goats. Hunting for food and sport is known among the Angami, frequent targets including serows (mountain goats), wild dogs, and deer. The usual hunting implements are spears and guns. Fishing by the use of poison, while frequent among many Naga tribes, is limited in use among the Angami. Iron, conch shells, Assamese chabili (carving knives used by the Ao), and barter were used as currency before the arrival of the British rupee.

Industrial Arts. Angami industrial arts include the following: the manufacture of black, blue, scarlet, pale terra-cotta, and yellow cloth (made of cotton, a species of nettle called wuve, or a species of jute called gakeh ); blacksmithing (particularly the making of iron spear heads, brass wire, and brass earrings); the making of clay pots (a specialty confined to Certain villages) ; basketry; the fashioning of bamboo mats; carving and woodwork; work in hard substances (e.g., shells, ivory, bone, and horns) ; the manufacture of musical instruments; and the production of salt (now a rarity among the Angami, but one of the chief products of the Kacha, Sangtams, Tangkhuls, and others).

Trade. The Angami and other Naga tribes trade in beads and other manufactured items with other Naga tribes and with their Assamese neighbors. The Ao trade pan, cotton, chilies, ginger, gourds, mats, and the gum of the liyang tree to obtain salt and dried fish from traders in the plains. These commodities are then traded to the Phoms and Changs in Exchange for pigs and fowl. The Ao also trade in wild tea seed with plains dwellers. Certain Ao villages grow cotton, the surplus of which is traded in the plains for salt. The decrease in intertribal conflict and the general political stabilization of the hill country in the late 1970s brought increased opportunities for trade.

Division of Labor. Weaving and cooking are the exclusive province of women among the Angami and the Ao, while hunting and warfare are men's activities. Agriculture and trade are carried on by members of both sexes. Among the Tangkhul, women manage most domestic affairs including the raising of children, the weaving of cloth (and the teaching of this art to female offspring), the storage and preparation of food, the brewing of rice beer and rice wine ( zam ), the drying of tobacco, the feeding of pigs, fowl, and cattle, the carrying of water, and the pounding of rice. Women also participate in agricultural tasks (e.g., jhuming). Among the Konyak, a husband is recognized as head of the household and the owner of the family home (since it is constructed on a site that belongs to his lineage). He is responsible for the upkeep of the house, its granaries, and its furnishings. The purchase of metal and wooden implements and baskets are his duties. The preparation of food and the weaving of textiles not purchased from other villages are the responsibilities of Konyak wives. Men claim personal ownership of implements associated with their activities (weapons, tools, etc.) as do women (cooking utensils, looms, textiles, etc.). Men are responsible for rice cultivation and storage while women plant, harvest, and dry taro.

Land Tenure. Among the Angami, individual ownership of terraced fields, wood plantations, gardens, building sites, and most jhum land is allowed. As such, its disposition is at the discretion of the owner. In the case of ancestral land, the seller retains a small parcel in nominal ownership to guard against death or misfortune. In several Angami villages, However, land on which thatching grass and cane (for bridge Construction) is grown is the property of kindred, clan, or an Entire village.


User Contributions:

Comment about this article, ask questions, or add new information about this topic:

CAPTCHA