The Nagas

Hill Peoples of Northeast India

Project Introduction The Naga Database

manuscript - Christoph von Furer-Haimendorf, Naga diary four

caption: Shankok's marital problems
medium: diaries
person: ShankokShikna
ethnicgroup: Konyak
location: Wakching
date: 31.3.1937
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 evening Shankok came and once again I had a long talk with him about matters of the heart. It seems that he is very unhappy that he has to part from Shikna. "It hurts when you have to part like this, from one day to the next, after having been together for so long. We helped each other with everything, like brothers, like father and child". To my question whether they really could not at all see each other any more he says that even when they accidentally meet during the day they would be too shy to speak with each other, and at night they certainly could not meet. It is possible to get together secretly (254) with a woman who lives with her husband in some remote, out of the way, rice granary, but such fleeting encounters are not the real thing, and one always was in danger of getting beaten up by the husband and his friends.
text: But Shankok now finds some comfort in smaller adventures. The girl he liked so much two days ago in Chingtang he actually had success with and he spent the night with her. He chased away some Chingtang youth who also were competing for her favours by claiming the rights of a member of a big and strong village. In former times powerful villages seemed to have allowed themselves quite a few impositions in this respect. As is well known, Kongan was destroyed several times by Wakching, and when they finally asked for peace they had to accept several oppressive conditions. Wakching sent two Ang's to Kongan, one of the Angban, one from the Balang, but it was especially the Balang which ruled Kongan. The Balang even sorted out disagreements within Kongan and "ate" the fines which the Kongan people paid, but when a Balang man came to Kongan and slept in a house there it could happen (255) that he would send away the man of the house and spend the night with the wife. Nowadays the people of Kongan no longer allow this.
text: As Shikna will now soon have her and Shankok's child we start talking about giving birth. Supposedly it is not uncommon that women give birth in the fields while travelling if they are surprised by the labour. Shankok tells me that some time ago a man saw a woman in the rest house along the Aukheang path who had fainted and still had a new-born child between her legs. He quickly left as this is very "shorom". Usually old women help the woman who is giving birth.
text: Shankok still does not have the courage to get divorced from his wife as he is afraid that the gaonburas will demand an exhorbitant compensation for his wife because of his wealth, and that her clans-people may destroy his house. Yet he does not even speak with his wife, and just as little with her daughter who is growing up in his house as his daughter. From the very beginning he has completely ignored his wife. A year ago he started to say a word to her now and then but then they had an argument and now he treats her like air once again.