The Daughters-in-Law – myth

Once there was an old man who had eight sons, and he got wives for all of them. Now the old man had a fine necklace, very valuable and very heavy, and all the wives wanted it.

“Very well,” said the old man, “Let all of them go and prepare zu and I will see which is the best wife and give it to her.”

That night he went secretly and slipped an egg into each woman’s dhan-pounder, and when first thing in the morning the women got up and began pounding furiously in order to be first with the zu, the eggs smashed and the more they pounded the worse was the mess. The youngest of all, however, stopped to clean out her dhan-pounder before she began, and found the egg, which she took and showed to her father-in-law.

“Arre! he said. “The hen must have laid it there!”

Now all the other wives had prepared great vats of zu, thinking to please the old man that way; but the youngest girl prepared only a very little, and that very carefully, and the old man found hers much the best. However, he said nothing but: “I am hungry. Prepare me food, that I may eat.”

Then the wives set to and prepared quantities of meat and vegetables and chillies. The youngest girl prepared only a little, but so carefully that it was delicious, and the old man said only:

“I am an old man and feel cold, so I shall sleep by the fire. Go and get fine big pieces of fresh wood to build up the fire and keep me warm.”

Off went all the wives and cut quantities of wood, but the youngest girl only pulled off bark and took that back.

“Apao,” she said. “I have only brought this, not fine logs like the others; if I go far into the jungle my children will be hungry and cry; so what shall I do?”

The others put their wood on the fire, but the logs were full of sap and refused to burn, and clouds of smoke filled the house; but the girl put the bark on carefully, bit by bit, and it burned with a bright, clear flame and the old man was warm.

Then he said: “we will all go to the fields.” They all went together, and on the way the old man said: “Look, at that huluk in the tree!”

Now there was no huluk, but the wives, thinking to please him, cried out: “Oh, yes, I see it!” “Look, there are two!” “No, three!” and so on. Only the youngest said: “Apao, there must be something wrong with my eyesight. You and all the others can see it, but I can see only the tree.”

Then the old man said: “you are short-sighted and afflicted and greatly to be pitied, and so I shall give you the necklace.” And he took it off and put it over her head.


LATER VERSION: Then the old man said: “there is no huluk, so where could you see it?” and he took off the necklace and put it over her head.


(Extracted from UG Bower N.I., July 1940).


Bees as messengers of love


In the old days it was said among the Zemis that if you tied a hair from your head to the leg of a certain small wild bee and turned it loose to go to your loved one, it would, wherever he or she was, and the loved one would know the hair as a love-token. This is a very old traditional belief, no more than “we have heard the old men say that….”

At Bara Nenglo one of my Tangkhul servants caught a bee and declared he was going to tie a hair to it and send it to the girl he was shortly going home to marry. Namkia exclaimed that it was an old, old Zemi custom, and here was another Naga from a country they had never even seen using it in the middle of the same road. Surely indeed it was true that all the Nagas were one people and all came from the same place! He was much struck with it and embroidered on the theme for some time.

16.3.1940 by UG Bower (Extracted from Note Book by UG Bower)


Note: Even I have heard the same story from my parents and others too. It is said that bees were used to send the love message in antique. – Thohe Pou

Sex-workers but no red light area in Nagaland (Part II)


When I came to learn from the local dailies that there about 1000 sex workers in Mokokchung, my heart is literarily bleeding. After the sex-workers news was published, I have followed up to read the rejoinder from the concern Naga people but I did not find any rejoinder nor apologizing news from DC for more than a week and finally I came to conclude that the figure must be correct as the DC also from the local people. And I believe that more than 90% of the people who read the news will assume the figure to be correct. However, after reading my Article Part I by a concern Naga friend, he has mailed to me that there was rejoinder and DC, Mokokchung has apologized for erroneous figure.


I have no authority to question anyone but as a Christian and as a concern Naga citizen, I would like to put up some questions for the concern leaders/government to ponder and tackle the sex-workers problem in Nagalim (Naga inhabited areas) and NE India. Who are the main sex workers in Nagalim? Are they from the local people or immigrants? Do you want to have red-light area in Nagalim? What is the main reason for becoming sex-workers in Nagalim or in NE India? Are they Christians or non-Christians? How many rehabilitation centers are there for the sex-workers in Nagalim? Should we allow having red light area in Naga-land/Nagalim? How the sex-worker problem can be solved before forming a red light area? How many NGOs are working for sex workers and how to tackle the sex workers problem are now become a social concern?


Some suggestions for solving sex workers problems:

It is very encouraging to learn that Miqlat Ministry, which is part of the women’s wing of the Nagaland Baptist Church Council (NBCC) is actively involve in counseling the sex workers in Dimapur. As a Christian, we are all responsible to help the sex workers to bring them back to the mainstream of the society.  In addition to Christian Ministry and NGOs, the tribe leaders also need to involve in solving the sex-workers problem.


(1) Spiritual counseling: From a Christian perspective, spiritual counseling can be one of the important attributes to help the sex workers to bring back to the mainstream of the society. The word of God has the power to change the heart of the people; even the stony heart of a murderer also can be changed. The Churches in Nagalim need to pray for the sex-workers and the people who are helping them to bring back to the main stream. The Christian leaders need to have one-to-one Bible studies and counseling with the sex-workers and pray for them. Teaching Bible to them can be one of the best solutions to help them to bring to the main stream.


(2) Personal/Social Counseling: Not everyone wants to listen to the word of God. “For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed” (John 3:30). There are some people who do not want to listen to the word of God and they don’t want to see even the man of God. In this case, the NGOs and other social leaders will be helpful for them to change their lives. The word of God has the power to change the life of man but both the believers and non-believers need rehabilitation and counseling as it takes time for healing. Counseling and inviting them to rehabilitation center will help them to come out from their present bondage.


(3) Legal Action: Some people need spiritual and personal counseling but there will be some people who will never listen to spiritual and personal counseling.  In this case, we may need some legal actions to be taken on them.  There are also some people who do not fear God nor fear anyone until the legal is taken on them; they realize and repent only when they feel pain physically.


Some of the legal actions:

(a). Police force: The State Police involvement in checking all the illegal and detrimental activities in the state/society will be helpful. All those women and men involving in illegal sexual activities should be arrested and send to jail or rehabilitation center. However, this we need to do with love and care as we love them and want them to come back to the main stream of the society.


(b) Underground leaders: As the undergrounds also running a parallel government in Nagalim, it would be good if they also involve in checking the illegal activities of the sex-workers. If the underground are sincerely working for the people and for a better society, their prompt action will help to rescue the sex-workers problem.


(c) Naga customary law: We need to apply the Naga customary whether the sex-workers are Nagas or non-Nagas as it is found in Nagalim. In Naga society, generally the rapist, murderer etc are ex-communicated or expelled from the village and we may also need to implement a suitable customary law for sex-workers.


(d) Tribe leaders’ involvement:

Sometime the unsolicited advices leads to unwanted troubles and many other people who are not from their own clan or tribe may no like to give any advice or do counseling. All the Nagas are one and all the Naga leaders may want to solve the sex-workers problem but sometime, due to too much clans and tribes in Naga community, it becomes a hindrance to give any unsolicited advice. It will be also good if all the tribe leaders work together and help them to bring back to mainstream of the society. In a community like Naga having diverse clans and tribes, the best model for controlling or helping the Naga people in general will be controlling or helping their own tribe people.


It is alleged that there are also sex-workers in other places in Nagalim and the concern leaders, and those who love our community need to join their hands to eradicate the sex-workers while the number is still ignorable. The present sex-worker issue is a great embarrassment for all the Nagas and it will be more embarrassing in the future for a Christian community like Naga if we   do not solve the problem. If the above suggestions do not work out to solve the sex-workers problem in Nagalim, the ultimate solution will be leaving them to the hand of HIV and AIDS for their final judgment. Today, it becomes a well known saying, ‘Nagaland for Christ’ but this Nagaland for Christ should not be changed into ‘Nagaland for Sex-workers’ due to our shortsighted vision and selfish love for our own jobs and careers. Concluded.