There are ten tribes in Taiwan (Formosa) and each tribe have different culture and tradition. The Puyuma and Tsou tribes have some resemblance with Nagas tribe in their tradition. The Payuma tribe had the institutions for males and they stayed in their Assembly Hall, so as to build them strong bodies to protect their tribe. Before men get married they stay in their assembly hall.
These groups are divided according to their ages and they are trained to defend their tribe. The Nagas had very similar assembly hall or Morung, where males stay there and trained in different ways in singing, folkdance, fighting and other skills. The Naga men also lived in their Morung till they get married. To quote Elwin Verrier, he writes,
“Prominent in many villages is the Morung or dormitory for the young unmarried men – some tribes also have small house for the unmarried girls. The morung are guard-houses, recreation clubs, centres of education, art and discipline and have an important ceremonial purpose.”
In Naga society even the females group also have assembly hall or Morung (dormitory) where different age group sleep together. The different activities carried out in Puyuma assembly hall and Nagas Morung is similar in many aspects. The TSOU tribe of Taiwan also have assembly hall. The young men lived in Assembly Hall and are trained in different skills before they are married.
There are traditional taboos prohibiting the women from setting foot into the “Kuba” (the Assembly Halls)23 Like the Tsou tribe, the Naga tribe also have a kind of Assembly hall called “Morung”. The young man folk stay in Morung and were trained in different skills till they are married. The Naga young woman folk have separate Morung, the man can go to female’s Morung but the females are prohibited to enter into man’s Morung, which is also similar with the Tsou tribe. The Nagas belief that if woman enter the men’s dormitory, it would bring misfortune in the village, thus woman was restricted to enter in men’s Morung.
“Headhunting was a cultural practice of some of the indigenous tribe of Taiwan. The men of the Atayal tribes were required to bring back a head to earn manhood and the ability to marry headhunting struck fear in many settles on the Island who gave the people the name “savages”. The Japanese abolished the practice during their occupation from the 1890s to the 1940s.”
The Naga tribes also required like the Atayal tribe of Taiwan to bring back a head to earn manhood and ability to get marry a beautiful woman in the village. For those people who could not get even single head couldn’t elevate their reputation and status in the society in those days. In those days, bringing a choke off head from other village is a must to be highly recognised and to earn high status in the society.
The similarities in custom and tradition of Nagas with some of the Indigenous tribe in Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia and Taiwan is convincing that once the Nagas lived near the Southern Seas or Archipelago and migrated from the southern seas to the present Naga Hills.
It also believed that some of the indigenous groups of Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia and Taiwan were the same group of Nagas who retreated from the southern seas of Myanmar. Some of the Naga scholars believed that some of the descendants of Nagas were left near the seacoast and those people went further to the southern archipelago.
By:- R.B. Thohe Pou
VIA: E PAO