The Nagas

Hill Peoples of Northeast India

Project Introduction The Naga Database

manuscript - Christoph von Furer-Haimendorf, Naga diary two

caption: a story of civil war in Totok and head hunting
medium: diaries
person: KatwangHi-ong
ethnicgroup: Konyak
location: Wakching
date: 12.9.1936
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
seealso: notebook 6,pp.87-90
text: (29) In the afternoon I talked with the Ang and with Chinyang. They told me a remarkable story about a civil war in Totok of which I had already heard another version from Ahon. (see Dairy vol. 1 p. 177 following). After the Ang morung had been expelled from Totok its members first went half to Shiong, half to Chinglong, but eventually they all settled in Shiong. Their leader was Katwang. After some time Totok sent a representative, Ang-long, to Shiong to one of the other ones exiled called Hi-ong and promised him that he and his family could return to Totok if he killed Katwang. Hi-ong agreed to do so and when Katwang walked to Chinglong one day he decided to ambush and kill him along the way. He told his wife about this plan and they agreed that he would rush directly to Totok while she, with his entire family, would secretly leave Shiong at night and meet him in Totok. Coincidentally this conversation was overheard by some boys who went and told the village elders. But both Katwang and Hi-ong were already on their way. Yet Katwang's brother came to his assistance. (30) He reached him in time but still fell into the ambush planned by Hi-ong and Ang-long. Katwang was wounded by a shot into the shoulder but his brother succeeded in getting Hi-ong with his spear. The latter could escape with his injury to Totok.
text: In the meantime the discovery and foiling of Hi-ong's plan was kept secret from his family and brother. Instead Shiong sent a message to Wakching that there were some heads to be had. Wakching did not need to be told twice and all four morungs (Bala was in exile at the time) sent people. Chinyang was among them. As Hi-ong's relatives now were on their way to Totok in the middle of the night the warriors of Shiong and Wakching were waiting for them. Only Hi-ong's wife who originally came from Shiong was spared and allowed to go on to Totok. Hi-ong's parents, brother and children were all killed and heads, eight all together, were cut off. These heads were all brought to Wakching rather than to Shiong "because that is a small village", apparently because Totok's revenge was feared. Totok however abandoned Hi-ong's cause and declared that it was not interested in the whole affair (31) which absolutely fits in with anything I have ever heard about Totok! (see notebook 6 p. 87-90).