The Nagas

Hill Peoples of Northeast India

Project Introduction The Naga Database

manuscript - Christoph von Furer-Haimendorf notebook fourteen

caption: funeral and rituals after evil death
medium: notes
person: Medzong
ethnicgroup: Konyak
location: Wakching
date: 20.5.1937
person: Furer-Haimendorf
date: 1.5.1937-3.6.1937
person: School of Oriental and African Studies Library, London
text: (70) Wakching 20/5/1937
text: Dzingben:
text: Yesterday a young man, Medzong of Leunok (Bala), fell from a tree and died. [konyak]. (71) In order to avert the evil influences of the apothia death, which also results in the dying of the seeds and rice plants, a dog was killed by Shungna (Shungtahu, Bala) who had been with the deceased when he fell from the tree. This was done in front of Medzong's house. No words were said. All members of the Bala, old and young men and women, smeared some of the dog's blood on their hands and teeth. (72) Mendzong's body was brought by the young men of the Bala to his house and put near the pounding table. In the same night after the corpse had been in the house less than one hour, the old men of the Bala carried the body to the jungle and put it on a place, a bit down-hill from the other corpse platforms. No real platform was built, but the corpse, wrapped in a mat, was fastened to a bamboo laid over crossed sticks. (73) The members of his own house-hold give some food offerings to the deceased. No words are said during the funeral. No fire is lighted near the corpse. People killed in war were equally treated. The dog was killed after the corpse had been disposed. Today the whole village is genna. Yesterday night people eat their own rice, but in the morning they sent to neighbouring villages for (74) some cooked rice, (Aukheang, Angban and Balang from Shiong, Thepong from Chingtang, Bala from Wanching). All people eat tiny bits of this rice, "for it is clean". Only afterwards they may eat their own rice. All water which is in the houses is poured out and new water fetched. Also all cooked food is thrown away. All fires are extinguished and newly lighted.