The Nagas

Hill Peoples of Northeast India

Project Introduction The Naga Database

manuscript - Christoph von Furer-Haimendorf, Naga diary one

caption: feasting and chewing betel
medium: diaries
ethnicgroup: Konyak
location: Wakching
date: 7.8.1936
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: Now the people of the house and the girls take rice and meat from the earthen pots and fill big quadruped bowls with the food. Four boys together sit in front of each of these bowls and they devour enormous quantities of rice. They are wearing their normal costume, possibly with only a few more neck and arm bands. The girls on the other hand are covered very modestly in naturally coloured coats with thin red stripes. One of the older men who helps [unclear in text] is wearing nothing apart from his belt. After the meal once again betel is chewed ceremoniously and at length. (170) None of the young gentlemen pay much attention to the girls who still sit in the ante-room and only occasionally pass around pan leaves and betel. An old woman is asleep on a bed in the same room. A small child sleeps on another bed. Finally the young men get up to join the girls on the part of the platform which is protected by the jutting roof. Here they now crouch on a big mat in front of the girls who rather silently sit with their backs to the wall. There is little conversation, only now and then the girls laugh about a joke but they say little themselves. But betel is chewed the more vigorously and the girls sitting near the wall raise the mat every few moments in order to spit underneath it.