The Nagas

Hill Peoples of Northeast India

Project Introduction The Naga Database

manuscript notes made by W.G. Archer between 1946 & 1948, and miscellaneous papers and letters

caption: Konyak attitude to killing
medium: notes
person: ChingaiGandhiShozhu Sema
ethnicgroup: Konyak
location: Wakching Longkhai Shiong Chingtang (Chintong) Totok Longmien (Longmein) Shenhah Choknyu
person: Archer/ W.G.
date: 1946-1948
refnum: 2:12
text: One (comic) aspect of the Konyaks is the quite extraordinary delight they take in killing and the pleasure with which they hear that a village has been raided and heads taken. Wakching, Longkhai, Shiong, Chintong all were delighted when they heard that Totok had taken 37 heads from Longmein. Even the news of the Choknyu massacre when 400 were killed filled them with an excitement which was obviously almost entirely pleasurable. To destroy a village and butcher the women was for them the best, in fact the only form of superior amusement - the type of action which delights, fascinates and thrills.
text: It was while I was waiting for further news of raids that I received information of Mahatma Gandhi's death. The news sent a shock of pain through myself and the two Assamese - Doctor and Teacher in the village. But when I told Chingai that Mahatma Gandhi was dead, he looked with puzzled bewilderment. I said 'Surely you know who Gandhi was?' 'No' said Chingai 'I have never heard his name'. 'Gandhi' I said 'is responsible for the British leaving India. It is he who has got India its independence. Day in day out for 40 years he has said the British must go'. 'I see' said Chingai 'It is he who has caused all this trouble for the Nagas'. Shenhah gb. was also there. 'I have heard the name Gandhi' he said. 'Is he a Hindu or a Muselman?' Shozhu Sema my servant said 'Gandhi Raja is a Hindu but I do not know what he does'. But what was even more significant was the Konyak reaction to Gandhi's method of death. I told them that a Hindu youth had put 3 bullets into him - one in the chest and 2 in the belly. They listened to the details with delighted amusement and when I said that as a result Gandhi had died, they all laughed aloud.