The Nagas

Hill Peoples of Northeast India

Project Introduction The Naga Database

manuscript - Christoph von Furer-Haimendorf, Naga diary four

caption: the misbehaviour of the Ang of Chen and his murder
medium: diaries
ethnicgroup: Konyak
location: Wakching Chen
date: 13.2.1937
person: Furer-Haimendorf
date: 12.2.1937-31.3.1937
note: translated from german by Dr Ruth Barnes
person: School of Oriental and African Studies Library, London
text: He also told me about Chen where he has recently been. Chen used to have a Great Ang. The last Ang however exploited his people so ruthlessly that finally they revolted against him and killed him. This is how it happened. It is the custom in Chen that the Ang receives the head and a leg from every mithan (5) no matter whether the mithan is slaughtered or whether the animal dies naturally. Now the Ang used to go into the jungle secretly to give salt to other people's mithan. Then when they licked the salt of his hand he would quickly cut off their tongue. He then ate these tips of the tongue and as the mithan inevitably died as a result of the injury he as Ang also received the head and a leg. This game he could play for some time without the villagers noticing what was happening. One day he cut off the tongue of a mithan which belonged to a man who had no children and relatives. When the animal died the man refused to give the head to the Ang and said that he did not depend on the Ang's benevolence as he had no children and that he wanted to keep the head for himself. But when he divided the head he noticed that the mithan's tongue had been cut out and soon everyone in the village realized that nobody but the Ang himself could have been responsible for the death of all the mithan as he who received the heads would have brought the missing tongues to their attention. (6) That caused terrible anger and they killed the Ang and all the members of the Ang clan. The bodies were thrown into the jungle. Only one woman who was working in the fields could flee with her little son to a neighbouring village.