The Nagas

Hill Peoples of Northeast India

Project Introduction The Naga Database

manuscript - Christoph von Furer-Haimendorf, Naga diary four

caption: use of taro
medium: diaries
ethnicgroup: Konyak
location: Oting
date: 2.3.1937
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: In the afternoon I go through the village. It is quite deserted and the morungs are empty. All men are clearing the jungle and the women are digging up taro in the old fields. In Chingai's house I see four different types of taro. This now seems to be the main source of food. (121) A kind of madhu is also made from taro. Small taro roots are allowed to boil in a pot, the pot is then sealed and put aside. After about six days the taro has fermented and mixed with water it is drunk as madhu. For the fermentation a grain similar to millet is used. Fresh fermentation matter can also be made from rice flour and a small bit of old yeast which is baked to a cake and hung up over the hearth. Madhu preparation is entirely done by women. Chingai says that a man must never touch the fermentation matter. While he is out hunting his wife too may not touch the yeast as otherwise he would have no luck.