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: children's morungs
medium: notes
person: Mauwang
ethnicgroup: Konyak
location: Oting Wangla Tanhai Punkhung Lunglam (Longlan) Longkhai Wakching Wanching
person: Archer/ W.G.
date: 1946-1948
refnum: 4:7
text: Konyak . Children's morungs cf. prep schools.
text: Oting, Wangla, Tanhai, Punkhung, Longlan, Longkhai (but not in the Wakching, Wanching group.) In Longkhai - each morung has its childrens morung a short distance away.
text: I first saw the Ang childrens morung as it stood only 30 yards below my camp. I noticed that a lot of little boys were sheltering in it from the rain and every now and then they would come out and play some village game. When I went inside I found a fire blazing on a little hearth, some planks for sleeping on and a small log drum lying down one side. The morung members followed me in and ten of them ranged themselves along the drum and beat out the various rhythms. The strikers were aged about 12 but the ages range from 6 to 14. The rhythm is set by a leader who stands in the middle of the line while a boy at each end hammers on the head and tail.
text: In the lower morung (Lamun), the children's house is the other side of a little rise. There are two log-drums - an old one on the ground and a new one berthed above it. There are substantial sleeping platforms and a fireplace with a fire. All the little boys sleep there, play children's games, learn to play the log- drum, and to imitate the war dance. They bring their own firewood but are not required to 'fag' for the senior morung. There are no initiation ceremonies for entering the children's morung.
text: I noticed, however, that at my camp in Longkhai it was some of the bigger members of the children's morung who brought the water and firewood for the camp - a club-house in the day, a dormitory at night.
text: Both the Longkhai morungs have far fewer carvings than I expected in view of the Ang's interest in carving and the skill of his half-brother and dead elder brother. Even Mauwang's own house has not a single carving. Mauwang said 'No one else in the village can carve. If we put up more carvings, people from other villages will come and say, who did this? who did that? And every time the villagers will give the same answer. If they say Mauwang did them all, Mauwang will hang his head in shame'. I doubt however that this is the real reason and I suspect it is because Mauwang is actually rather lazy and there is also no money in it.
text: All the carvings black with smoke - and some difficult to see against this background.