About the Book
The original form of this book is the thesis submitted in fulfillment of the requirement of the degree of Doctor of philosophy in Sociology, North Eastern Hill University (NEHU) Shillong, Meghalaya. The title of the thesis and contents is restructured and revised into the present form to enhance the usefulness of the book analyses the transformation of family, economic and politico-juridical institutions in the village social structure with the structural historical approach. This book describes how the Naga village positively responds to the external factors such as formal education, Christianity and new development policy of the state government in the process of modernization.
About the Author
Dr. Kewepfuzu (Kewe) Loge is a native of Chizami Village, Nagaland. He graduated from St Edmund’s College, obtained MA, M. Ph. D in Sociology from North Eastern Hill University (NEHU) Shillong, Meghalaya. He is currenty Vice Principal, Baptist College, Kohima, Nagaland.
This study is an attempt to investigate the processes of Naga village social structure and the changes. The original form of this book is the thesis submitted in fulfillment of the requirement of the degree of Doctor of philosophy in Sociology, School of Social Sciences, North-Eastern Hill University (NEHU), Shillong, 2002. The title of the thesis is structured to the present form for the purpose of publication The candidate is solely responsible for the title, contents and the way of presenting data in it.
At the very outset, I would like to express my heartfelt gratitude to the Supervisor of this thesis, Prof C.L. Imchen for his guidance, understanding, encouragement, patience and overall support, all of which has enabled me to complete this Ph.D. research work.
I am greatly indebted to all the faculty members in the Department of Sociology, NEHU for their valuable suggestions at various junctures of this research work. Their thoughtful and unreserved contributions have definitely enhanced the quality of this thesis.
I am extremely thankful to the leaders of Chizami village and representatives of different clans: Mehuchumvu Mero Naga National leader, Village and Church leader; Khwezulo Mekrisuh, Ex. Village Council Chairman (VCC), Ex Head GB; Esolhilo Tsuhah, Ex.VCC; Eneipelo Thopi, Ex. VCC; Kelhizullo Mero, present VCC; Neikhape L. Mero Village Council Secretary; Mesewe Chirhah, Secretary Village Development Board (VDB); Rev. Mese Rakho Pastor Chizami Baptist Church; kewete Lasuh, Chairman, youth Society; Kedu Rakho, Convenor, Chizami literary Committee, Kezukhwelo Chirhah, Priest Medanyi Religion; Lhitelo Kezukhwelo Chirhah, Priest Medanyi Religion; Lhitelo Khitelo Kapfo, Masafu Lohe, Kedutsozu Mekrisuh, Kekhwetsolo Naro, Melhipe Teno, Kewatshilo Venu, Melhirulo Wetsah, Wechuru Wezah, Kezutshu Edemi, Khenemvu L. Mero Eneitshu Wezah, Wekhwezu Chirhah, Wezonyi Mekrisuh, who gave freely of their time and extended me generous hospitality when I interviewed them. The generously provided records, personal files and spent long hours with me relating the story of their migration, traditional and present social institutions in the village which formed the primary data. I am very much benefited from the long hours of interaction with them.
I also take this opportunity to express my deep gratitude to Esolhilo Tsuhah Ex.VCC; Wechuru Wezah, Ex Chairman, Tribal Council; Melhirulo Wetsah, Public leader; and Kotsope Rakho, Ex. Youth Chairman, Chizami, who extended great help in drawing the rough sketch map of Chizami village. It would be improper for me not to mention Kotsope Rakho who not only generously provided his vehicle but actually accompanied me on several occasions for data collection. Along with an experienced elder who guided us, Rakho drove the vehicle, climbed a steep and unforgettable road and track and took me into the important places of Chizami boundary land.
I am also indebted to Dr. V. Thingo, Head of Department, Geography, Science College, Kohima, for lending me his altimetre for measuring the altitude of the Chizami village.
I would like to express my thanks to Wetshokhrolo Lasuh, Research Scholar, N.U; Seyiekhriele Whiso, Lecturer, Baptist College; Depe Naro, project Officer, State Resource Centre, NEHU, for helping me to find out appropriate vocabulary in explaining the traditional village concept.
My thanks goes to N. Delhu khate, principal, Baptist College, Kohima for understanding, encouraging and helping me to complete my Ph.D. work early as possible.
I am thankful to my brother Dr. Weyiete Lohe for sparing no pain in helping and encouraging me to do Ph.D. He has been and always is behind me, strengthening me physically, emotionally and financially. He himself typed some portions of the first draft of this Thesis.
I am greatly indebted to my friend Tasongwi Newmei and his wife phoebe Newmei for carefully going through all the words, sentences and pages of this book and for making necessary correction and suggestions. They lovingly renderd their time and physical effort in working at the computer till their eyes grew weary and minds became exhausted in the late night. I would also like to express my grateful appreciation to my daughter Neiwetshu-u Lohe Sharon, niece Ale Thopi, nephew Wepezo Thopi and Ediwe Kapfo ,who stayed with me in Kohima, for helping me in cooking, serving, washing, cleaning the house and house house articlese because which Igot enough time to concentrate on my work.
I highly acknowledge University Grant Commission (UGC) for granting me JRF to complete this Ph. D. Research Work.
I also acknowledge Indian Council of Social Science Research (ICSSR), North Eastern Regional Centre (NERC) for providing some amount of contingency grant to meet typing and binding expenses.
I extend my heartfelt thanks to EBH Publishers (India) for publishing this book.
Above all, I thank God for giving me strength, Knowledge, guidance, privilege and financial needs to complete the Ph.D. program.
In the primordial past, the village social system remained relatively stable as external influences could not enter deep into it. The result was that for centuries, the real social organization, power structure and leadership, retained their traditional hierarchical character with the higher castes, landlords and kinship system maintaining the power equilibrium. But since the advent of British and Indian national movement which culminated in August 15, 1947, Indian village life has been confronted with the new challenge to be involved in the process of democratization With many legislative and tenurial reforms and finally with the inception of development schemes of rural reconstruction, the village system is coming face to face with new forces and factors of social change. Therefore, today the village, its social organization, its culture, its value pattern, its economic structure, and in fact, the entire village community is positioned at the brink of the beginning of a new era. The old power structure which was based solidly on the traditional caste structure, feudalistic traditions and kinship system is now challenged by new forces of democratization in the shape of constitutional, rural panchayats, village council and Village Development Board (VDB) at the village level and entire parliamentary democracy at the national level. Therefore, changes of far reaching socioeconomic importance are being ushered in by the villages themselves, greatly facilitated by innovating leadership on the one hand and the conscious attempts by the state on the other, so that the people may be motivated to pursue their own goals and build on politically, educationally and economically sound and productive system.
It is true that the real India consists of villages; 74.3 percent (1991 Census of India) of the country’s population are village dwellers. But it is found that, in general, the village presents a picture of poverty, malnutrition, very poor standard of public health and illiteracy. It is therefore, obvious that if the nation is to progress, the rural community should be given top priority (Saksena 1978:17) The India village is a very complex system, with the diverse habits and tastes, social practices and traditions, area of beliefs, and social structure, somehow forming an integrated whole. Therefore, if the state intends to take the initiative in order to bring about radical change in the village community it would be easier to a sociological approach (Saksena, 1978:18).Dube points out that the planning, administration and execution of rural development programs can be greatly assisted by contributions of the social scientists, whose resources and tools such as in the areas of social organization, human relations, culture and values likely to be affected by the programs will programs will prove invaluable. Therefore, a full appraisal of their attitudes, values, sentiments and beliefs should be obtained first before launching on any schemes. The key areas that require special focus include agricultural policy and population with the objective to raise per capita from output, land tenure and land reform, studying village social structure and traditional cultural patterns in relation to development and changing technologies, and weighing problems of implementing new programs. Possibilities are improving of government administrative structures, skills and practices in order to raise the abilities of those in those in government to satisfy people’s legitimate aspirations. (Y. Singh 1986:10).
These new tendencies in sociology have other implications as well They define the new task of sociology as essentially social engineering and social policy science (Y. Singh 1986:10). Therefore, in order to get immense help towards better planning and execution of development programs, better administration and social harmony, the study of social dynamics of rural society is strongly needed.
The specific contribution of sociology is in the area of village studies and research methodology. An important conceptual framework for the village studies conducted by an American anthropologist which influenced Indian sociologists was that of peasants was that of peasant society and peasant culture formulated by Robert Redfield in the course of his studies of his studies of Mexican villages. Its paradigm had many elements which harmonized with pre-existing orientations of India sociology. One of the most important elements was the emphasis on tradition and its social organization; another element was the emphasis on linkage between folk and elite traditions in the understanding of both the culture and social structure of traditions. Also, implicit in its logic and methodology was a third element, which assumed great significance in the village studies in 1960, that is of unity between unity between urban and rural social structure and traditions (Y. Singh:1986:10-12).
The study of the Indian village began in the 18th century with the intensive survey work regarding land holding (S.Sharma:1985:117-118). Later, the Indian village was compared with villages of Mexico, England and Africa (S. Sharma: 1985:14). However, in the present century, intensive empirical studies of the economy of the village became quite popular. The early systematic studies particularly by Metcalf, Maine and Baden Powel considered the Indian village a closed and isolated system. This view, however, created a lot of resentment among several anthropologists and sociologists. The studies of the Indian village in the fifties were, therefore, based on the assumption that the Indian village was not static and homogeneous. (S. Sharma 1085: P. 117)
Like the official view of the caste system, the official view of the Indian village was that India was that India was a land of village republic self sufficient and corporate villages. Louis Dumount refers to three meanings of the term village community: (a) as a political society, (b) as body of co-owners of the social, and (c) as the emblem of traditional economy and polity, a watch word of Indian patriotism (Singer and Cohn, ed. 1970:13). Thus, the village community in India has been seen as part of India’s polity and economy by scholars of different dispositions Including Marx and Maine.
However, the Nation of village republic, self-sufficient and corporate groups were not accepted by subsequent studies. Its dependence on wide economic and political institutions and instrumentalities has been well brought out in recent studies (S. Sharma 1985:18).
The British administrators as well as Indian national leaders preferred to call the Indian village a republic self-sufficient and autonomous due to their respective ideological predispositions. Village even today exists as a territorial cohesive unit. Village identity, solidarity and loyalty cut across caste and community, but divisive factors also exist simultaneously. Land reform, changes in power structure, and social and cultural mobility could be witnessed within a given village as well as village of a given area in terms of new form of stratification relation (S. Sharma 1985:18).
It is noted that the fifties and particularly the year of 1955 marked a watershed in the studies of village communities viz: S.C. Dube’s (1955), M.N. Sriniva’s (1955) and Mckim Marriot’s (1955). These studies covered a vast range of data and experience from different parts of India. The folk-urban continuum and the little community frame Works of Reddfield were examined by B.R. Chauhan, D.N. Majundar and several others. Chauhan (1974) in Rural Studies (a trend report) draws four lines of approach in the study of castes in relation to the village communities.
List of Tables
Formation of Village, Social Organization and
A Glossary of Kuzha Words
Published and Unpublished Misc.
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