Culture and People
Tamenglong is inhabited by majority Zeliangrong Naga tribe ( comprising of Rongmei, Liangmei, Zemei and Pumei) and Kukis, besides minority Hmars, Chirus and Khasis. Racially or physically and linguistically Zeliangrongs are Tibeto-Burman (Indo-Mongoloid) of Sino-Tibetan family of the Mongolian race. Based on history it is assumed that Mongoloid groups including Zeliangrong Nagas were inhabiting the upper course of the Yangtze and Howang Ho rivers in China in the prehistoric times.
The Zeliangrong belongs to patriarchal social system. Each clan enjoys equal status. Clan exogamy is strictly observed. Cross-cousin marriage is most preferred but parallel cross-cousin is seldom. Besides following many other normal customs of a Naga-tribe, they also have some strange and fearful customs. Some of them are as below:
- Nasitheimei or Nathitheimei
- Mandu (Bone money)
- Marriage system
Nasitheimei or Nathitheimei
Should a woman die in childbirth the child is not permitted to live but buried with the dead mother.
Mandu (Bone money)
Mandu is the bone price of wife. Patrilineal relatives of the wife demand this. On the death of a wife her father demands Mandu from the husband, or if he be dead, the late husband’s nearest relative. Mandu ensures that every care will be taken both of wife and offspring.
Besides normal marriage like by engagement or by elopement there are also other kinds of marriage.
- Noumang-mei-Nou-kao (Marriage by Service): With the agreement of both parties the boy stay at the girl’s parents’ house and stay for three to four years and live as husband and wife then finally return home.
- Chamemei : Here a girl is given in marriage even against her consent to a family to whom the girls parent are in debt or some obligations.
- Naokakhaomei: In an accidental death of a man, the nearest next brother will look after the children and remarry the wife of his brother.