The Nagas

Hill Peoples of Northeast India

Project Introduction The Naga Database

manuscript - Christoph von Furer-Haimendorf, Naga diary three

caption: ceremonies used when making peace: Wakching and Totok
medium: diaries
person: Medzou
ethnicgroup: Konyak
location: Wakching Totok
date: 21.1.1937
person: Furer-Haimendorf
date: 28.11.1936-11.2.1937
note: translated from german by Dr Ruth Barnes
person: School of Oriental and African Studies Library, London
text: (193) Wakching 21/1/1937
text: This morning I ask Medzou about some details in yesterday's ceremonies and then come to talk about the ceremonies customary for making peace. As an example we set the occasion of a war between Wakching and Totok when Wakching wants to initiate peace negotiations. There are some families who live in Wakching but originate from Totok who can be negotiators. For Totok it is genna to kill them. A spear is given to such a man and he tries to reach the village of Totok in the evening without much notice. There he goes immediately to the Ang's house and sits down near the hearth. Soon all influential Totok men gather round him and ask about his demand. He passes on Wakching's offering of peace and offers them the spear. If Totok agrees to make peace it takes the spear and a meeting of the leading men is agreed upon, but it may also be that the men of Totok say: "Wakching has killed so many of our fathers, brothers and sons we want revenge not peace. (194) Go home with your spear and tell the people of Wakching that soon we will come and get some heads". In that case the war will go on.
text: If however Totok wants to initiate peace it has to take another approach. That is because no man from Wakching is living in Totok, therefore the Totok people turn to one of the villages that at the moment they as well as Wakching are at peace with, as for example Chingtang. Then people will take presents such as a gong, from Totok to Wakching and then pass on Wakching's conditions to Totok which usually consist of a demand for tribute. If Totok is willing to fulfill this there is a meeting of the Ang's and leading men from both villages at the Sinyang River on the border between Wakching and Totok territory. Wakching now may demand that Totok declares to be its "son" and pays annual tribute to Wakching although that may be nominal under some circumstances.
text: If both parties have agreed (195) the peace agreement is solemnly made. The two Angs or two other outstanding men speak the oath while each of them breaks a stone in two and gives one half to the opposite party. The two halves of the stones are carefully kept in each village, either in the house of the Ang or in the "genna place". As Chinyang says: "Ghawang sees the stones and protects the oath". The oath of the Wakching men would be as follows in this case: "Wakching and Totok now are friends, from today onwards they are friends. If I now kill a man from Totok then more Wakching people shall go and die. From now on we are friends. If I now shall kill people from Totok, if the words of this oath are wrong, if I break them then make that as many Wakching men shall be killed as there are huili fruits on the trees, as many as there are grains of millet". These words are addressed to Ghawang.