The Nagas

Hill Peoples of Northeast India

Project Introduction The Naga Database

manuscript - Christoph von Furer-Haimendorf, Naga diary two

caption: strips to a handkerchief and swims
medium: diaries
ethnicgroup: Konyak
location: Wakching
date: 6.9.1936
person: Furer-Haimendorf
date: 2.6.1936-11.7.1937
note: translated from german by Dr Ruth Barnes
person: School of Oriental and African Studies Library, London
text: Now I don't wait any longer. With the help of my braided belt and a handkerchief stuck into the front I have quickly constructed a completely correct Naga costume. I slip out of my shorts and hand Nlamo camera and tropical helmet and jump into the water. It is beautifully cool yet not cold. The spectators break out into loud but approving cheerfulness about the sahib in this outfit. With a few strong strokes I just can manage against the current. Then I turn over onto my back and now it goes even faster. That stirs interest among the audience as the Naga do not know how to swim on their backs although they are perfectly at home in the water. I can see how an old man nods at me with the approving expression of an expert. Rocks form the river bank on one side and overhanging trees offer a strip of shade. There I hold on for a little while together with others and enjoy the coolness, but I have to take photographs, so I swim to the other bank where my possessions are lying.