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: attitude towards tigers and leopards
caption: were-leopards
medium: notes
person: Chirongchu
ethnicgroup: Sangtam <Southern
location: Anangba Siphire
person: Archer/ W.G.
date: 1946-1948
refnum: 5:50
seealso: Hutton, 'Sema Nagas' 202
text: Chirongchu (gb. of Anangba)
text: When I was born, I was given a leopard. My soul has always been in it. My leopard is still alive. If it died, I would die too. All my sons and daughters have leopards also. My leopard is in Siphire (S. Sangtam). My son's leopard is with me there too. We kill pigs and cattle. Once when I was sleeping I heard a shot pass by my head. I fell off my bed. I woke up. I knew my leopard had been fired at but the shot had missed. If a man wants a leopard, I try to find him one. If I succeed, he has a dream. He meets his leopard. If a man dreams he has a leopard and does not want it. I can rid him of his leopard. We change cloths. I take his and he takes mine. Then his leopard goes away and he sees it no more. My soul does not live in my body. It lives in the leopard. It is not in me now. It visits me in sleep. I meet it in dreams. Then I know what it has been doing'. (ie. the soul does not leave the body in sleep - it is normally not in the body at all - it comes back off and on - gives an account of itself and goes back cf. life indices - hence possession - due to the reentry of the soul - not due to its evacuation or wanderings). [Hutton's statement at Sema Nagas 202 quite wrong].
text: 'If anything happened to my leopard in the day, my soul would come and tell me. I would get the same wounds. If nothing happens to my leopard, my soul comes to see me in dreams'.