North-East India – Security and Developmental Issues

What is Khujli Ghar?

Note4Students

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.

Terminologies associated

  • 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.
Subscribe
Notify of
0 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments