The Nagas

Hill Peoples of Northeast India

Project Introduction The Naga Database

manuscript - Christoph von Furer-Haimendorf, Naga diary two

caption: drum beating and chanting to honour dead
medium: diaries
ethnicgroup: Konyak
location: Oting
date: 8.10.1936
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 all go into the morung. Wood is put onto the brightly burning fire and the guests stand in two rows along the drum. Powerful beats make the house resound. In the centre stands the man who beats the rhythm. It is not the young Ang but a Ben man who is versed in the art of beating the drum. (111) He has a stick in each hand while the others have only one in their right hand. The rhythm changes a few times. At first it is not very marked and all hit the drum with full force. Later the leader beats two strong notes and the others fall in with quick beats. Then follows a rhythm with short complete pauses after which the leaders call quietly and the two rows fall in all in one beat. I notice that the young men who busily rush around to get wood for the fire pass the row of drum players always bent down. Although the Ang is such a young man and also stands with his back to them, their awe towards the Ang blood forces them into this submissive position.