The Nagas

Hill Peoples of Northeast India

Project Introduction The Naga Database

manuscript - Christoph von Furer-Haimendorf, Naga diary five

caption: leeks grown to commemorate ambushed men ; cost and rents of land
medium: diaries
person: Shankok
ethnicgroup: Konyak
location: Wakching
date: 10.6.1937
person: Furer-Haimendorf
date: 1.4.1937-26.6.1937
note: translated from german by Dr Ruth Barnes
person: School of Oriental and African Studies Library, London
text: Near the path below the Balang close to the wood sheds, Shankok showed me a spot in the jungle which was completely overgrown by the kind of leek which is also used to indicate the borders of fields. A Wakching man had been ambushed here by people from Yungya and had been beheaded. His relatives now plant the sort of onion on the same spot as it is not destroyed by fire or anything else. The point of the custom is to remind the murdered man's descendants of his death and to keep awake a desire for revenge towards the enemies. The Ang and the chowkidar soon stayed behind but Shankok went on with me for a long while. We tried to count up his fields and came up with about two hundred and fifty as at each of the eight paths where the land is planted in turns (219) he owns about thirty fields all of which were acquired by his father. For some of them he paid sixty to eighty rupees but today land is cheaper, but for a large field nowadays one still pays an annual rent of 8rs. or more. Shankok said that for this reason it was actually difficult for poor people to get sufficient land for planting, especially as the rent is paid in cash, though in instalments rather than in rice.