The Nagas

Hill Peoples of Northeast India

Project Introduction The Naga Database

manuscript - Christoph von Furer-Haimendorf, Naga diary one

caption: new rice granary being built
medium: diaries
person: Nian-pong/ of TamluA-tung/ of TamluWo/ of Tamlu
ethnicgroup: Konyak
location: Tamlu
date: 21.7.1936
person: Furer-Haimendorf
date: 2.6.1936-11.7.1936
note: translated from german by Dr Ruth Barnes
person: School of Oriental and African Studies Library, London
text: Tamlu 21/7/1936. In the morning we had almost an hour of heavy rain. As soon as the sun came out again I went into the village. There is considerable activity in and around the Menhambang morung. A new rice granary is being put up behind it. Huge stacks of palm leaves were lying in front of the morung. They were tied into long rectangular pillows by the old men in the morung to cover the roof with. Four to five men were working at such a pillow
text: In the meantime others bring the two big posts which will carry the gable. They have fastened them in a narrow bamboo frame to allow more people to lift them. Now they pull the heavy poles up the sunken road with rhythmic calls, the equivalent to our 'heave-ho'. (124) In this hollow path a lot of palm leaves have been piled up and set on fire. They burn and smoulder all day and often envelop the workers in thick smoke. Thereby flies and mosquitoes are kept away from the naked bodies shining with sweat and the people gladly accept the smoke. Now the two main posts are erected in the centre of the two narrow sides. A short fork has been left in place at the upper end. This will later support the ridge beam. Bamboo poles are laid over the side posts so that a skeleton of the entire house is created. But posts and reinforcements are not enough to secure the stability of the new house. Supernatural forces are needed for its protection.
text: An old man, the head of the morung, brings a chicken and a tethered piglet. Near one of the main posts he cuts the chicken's throat with his dao the cutting edge of which points up and he smears some blood onto the post
text: After this interlude the building continues. Bamboo poles are laid as a frame over the posts and they are then tied together
text: Men and boys now rush to the morung where the lucky completion of the new granary is celebrated with streams of rice beer. Towards evening I myself go to the house of the dobashi Nian-pong, the son of the famous and wealthy Wo. Then I also visit the Ang of Tamlu, A-tung, who is also Ang of Wanching and gaonbura on top of it. His grandfather, Tun-kem, came from Wanching. A-tung is not of pure Ang blood though, as his mother came from the Lao-nok clan, the same clan as his wife. At night one hears for a long time the songs of the christian community of Tamlu.