The Nagas

Hill Peoples of Northeast India

Project Introduction The Naga Database

typescript 'Journey to Nagaland', by Mildred Archer. An account of six months spent in the Naga Hills in 1947

caption: warriors' dance at Anangba
medium: diaries
person: Churungchu
location: Anangba
date: 8.11.1947
person: Archer/ Mildred
date: 9.7.1947-4.12.1947
text: As they were finishing, there was a bloodcurdling cry, the cat-call of the successful warrior returning with a head. It is a cry that sends shudders down one's spine. Then a long (135) line of boys entered the camp, the leader flourishing a dao and old Churungchu bringing up the rear. He was in full ceremonial dress with a crimson spear and it was he who was uttering the cries which must have brought back memories of many raids. Then the boys went nimbly hopping round, the black tails of their panji-baskets swinging rhythmically on their buttocks and their scarlet baldricks tossing and shining in the sun. Their hornbill feathers spun in the wind and their cowrie aprons flapped to the beat. All the dances relied on neat footwork - permutations of hops, stamps and kicks. There was the victory dance of the successful head- taker and Churungchu again uttered his quavering cries; there was the buffalo dance miming the beast pawing the ground as it comes to take salt or drink water. There was the dead man's goodbye when his spirit stamps the ground as it leaves the earth, but I liked best the crow dance, where the boys hopped perkily backwards and forwards.