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: dance poems in praise of founders of a morung
medium: books
person: Oukheang morung/ WakchingAngban morung/ Wakching
ethnicgroup: Konyak
location: Wakching
person: Furer-Haimendorf
date: 6.1936-6.1937
text: Dance poems in praise of the founders of a morung or of a warrior's exploits are sung only by the members of that particular morung. But apart from such compositions there exist songs which, though of a more general character, are regarded as the property of individual morung and any infringement of "copyright" is fiercely resisted. I have mentioned already that even with in one linguistic area there are certain differences in the poetic language of the various morung, and once a dance-song has been composed by the men of the morung they watch jealously lest the young men of any other morung appropriate the composition. Innumerable quarrels have arisen over the proprietary rights on songs and the only time I saw the Wakching men come to blows was when during the great Spring Festival the young men of the Angban morung danced to a song and rhythm belonging to the Oukheang. The provocation was all the greater since they danced to the disputed song in front of the Oukheang under the eyes of its lawful owners. The Oukheang men were not slow to interrupt the dance and the ensuing fight completely wrecked the ceremonies of that evening. Some years previously a dispute that began over the rights in a particular song led to man-slaughter and resulted finally in the temporary expulsion of the entire Bala morung from Wakching.