The Nagas

Hill Peoples of Northeast India

Project Introduction The Naga Database

manuscript - Christoph von Furer-Haimendorf, Naga diary four

caption: problems concerning timing of head-taking ceremonies in other villages
medium: diaries
ethnicgroup: Konyak
location: Wakching
date: 18.2.1937
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: Wakching 18/2/1937
text: Today was restless and unproductive as was to be expected. Dobashis and gaonburas settled around the bungalow and I had all kinds of problems with people from those villages which so far had not received their share of the heads. These are Longkhai, Lungnyu, Wangla, Longlam, Lapha, Punkhung and especially Oting. While I was away Chingai had already come twice to Wakching to receive Oting's share. Now they put pressure on me to divide the head today. I realize myself that I cannot delay much longer and so I decided to go on and tour through several of these villages the day after tomorrow to watch the ceremonies.
text: This way I would arrive in Longkhai on 20th and bring Longkhai's share with me, but there now is a particular problem concerning Longkhai. Just the day after tomorrow is the first day of the big Spring Festival, "bihu", which is the equivalent to Wakching's Oulingbu. On this day the sacrificial pigs are killed and the next day is the feast with dancing. If I now bring the heads the day after tomorrow the village will be genna for two days and the celebration of the Oyabu has to be put off as the ceremonies for bringing in of heads cannot coincide with those of the Oyabu. Although I can see the problem I am not very pleased to give them their part today as I then won't be able to see any of the ceremony connected with the heads. In any case I certainly want to take the head portions to Oting and Wangla which now again Chingai tries to talk me out of. For hours we go round and around in this way while I always have to take care not to aggravate these good people too much.
text: Finally a solution is found which half-way satisfies everyone. Tomorrow I shall divide the heads for all except for Wangla, Oting and Punkhung where I will take the portions myself. (30) As a result there will still be a slight overlapping of feasts in Longkhai but I am especially interested in seeing how that will be handled.