The Nagas

Hill Peoples of Northeast India

Project Introduction The Naga Database

book : Return to the Naked Nagas (1939;1976)

caption: Chapter Twenty-two. Love and Poetry
caption: taunt song about a rival morung
medium: books
person: Oukheang morung/ WakchingThepong morung/ Wakching
ethnicgroup: Konyak
location: Wakching Kongan
person: Furer-Haimendorf
date: 6.1936-6.1937
text: Just as the Konyaks sing the praise of their own morung during the communal dances, so do they delight in heaping scorn on the members of rival morung. The following taunt song is sung by the men of the Balang morung, which belongs to the morung-groups opposite to the exogamous groups formed by the Oukheang and Thepong morung; it is the men of the latter two morung who come in for ridicule:
text: Wakching, greatest of all villages'
With the shells of the ears
(194) With the drums of the ears
Hear, O hear our song.
O villagers, O commoners,
O chieftains, hear our song.
text: Prick your ears like the ears of dogs,
Like the long, long ears of dogs.
text: Those commoners plotting
The destruction of villages
What work have they done?
text: On the crossroad,
At the rubber tree,
In the morning they swore an oath;
Alone they found the Kongan men,
And yet they took to flight,
Where the Phei-wang river flows.
text: Search for your mother's carrying bands
Hold on to the shelves above your hearths
Hanging there, weep and cry for your mothers.
text: Those destroyers of villages
What work have they done?
text: This song refers to an abortive raid undertaken by the men of the Oukheang and Thepong morung on the village of Kongan. The unsuccessful raiders are referred to as "commoners", because all the members of these two morung belong to Ben clans, while the leaders and several clans of the opposite morung-group are of chiefly rank and blood. The men of Oukheang and Thepong had apparently gathered at a certain crossroad below their morung and sworn to raid and burn Kongan. But when they arrived at the village their courage faltered and when the Kongan men, who were alone and unsupported by any allies, put up a stout opposition, they fled across the Phei-wang stream between Kongan and Wakching. In the last part of the song it is suggested that the disgraced raiders should hang themselves by the carrying bands of their mothers or hold on to the bamboo shelves that hang suspended from the rafters over all hearth fires and cry for their mothers like terrified children.