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Traditional oath and ordeal systems of the zeliangrong of North East

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Author: 
Dr. Kamei Budha Kabui
Abstract: 

In tribal society of Northeast, when there is lack of enough evidence and witness for deciding a dispute or a village court case, divine guidance is usually sought through oaths and ordeal. The Zeliangrong people too took oath and ordeal as final resort of any dispute. Oath and ordeal are directed by and under the direct supervision of the elders of Pei (village council). The important oath and ordeal forms are biting the tooth of tiger, oath taken on a meteoric stone or paddy seeds or in the name of village presiding deity, diving in water etc. After the oath, the materials used are deposited in the Peikai, house of Pei. Usually, a period of one year from the date of oath is fixed as a time limit, and only deaths occurring during within this period are considered to have a bearing upon the result. The ordeal of diving in water is the common and easiest way for deciding a dispute, because one can find out easily the right or wrong doer on the moment of the swearing in ceremony. But, with the introduction of modern judicial system, oath and ordeal systems are no longer exist in the Zeliangrong society. In traditional society, politics, judicial and religion are interdependent.

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