From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : Article 371A
Mains level : Naga customs and their constitutional protection
Some villages in Nagaland are trying to revive a traditional form of punishment that seeks to check crime with an itch in time.
What is Khujli Ghar?
- Social offenders or violators of Naga customary laws have over the ages dreaded a cramped, triangular cage made from the logs of an indigenous tree that irritates the skin.
- The dread is more of humiliation or loss of face within the community or clan than of spending at least a day scratching furiously without any space to move.
- Such itchy cages are referred to as khujli ghar in Nagamese but each Naga community has its own name.
- The Aos, one of the major tribes of Nagaland, call it Shi-ki that means flesh-house.
- The cage is usually placed at a central spot in the village, usually in front of the morung or bachelor’s dormitory, for the inmate to be in full public view.
- The cage is made of the logs of Masang-fung, a local tree that people avoid because of the irritation it causes.
- It does not affect the palm but people who make the cages have to be careful.
Naga belief in this
- It is not proper to view the itchy cages from the prism of modern laws.
- They have served a purpose for ages and have often proved to reform offenders, as identity and family or clan reputation is very important to a Naga.
Do you know?
Article 371(A) of the Constitution guarantees the preservation of the Naga customary laws.
The State also funds the customary courts in villages and towns where cases — mostly dealing with land litigation, money-lending and marital disputes — have a high rate of prompt disposal.
Back2Basics: Article 371A
- Parliament cannot legislate in matters of Naga religion or social practices, the Naga customary law and procedure, administration of civil and criminal justice involving decisions according to Naga customary law.
- Parliament also cannot intervene in ownership and transfer of land and its resources, without the concurrence of the Legislative Assembly of the state.
- This provision was inserted in the Constitution after a 16-point agreement between the Centre and the Naga People’s Convention in 1960, which led to the creation of Nagaland in 1963.
- Also, there is a provision for a 35-member Regional Council for Tuensang district, which elects the Tuensang members in the Assembly.
- A member from the Tuensang district is Minister for Tuensang Affairs. The Governor has the final say on all Tuensang-related matters.