The Nagas

Hill Peoples of Northeast India

Project Introduction The Naga Database

manuscript - Christoph von Furer-Haimendorf notebook fourteen

caption: killing of slaves to cure dysentery
medium: notes
ethnicgroup: Konyak
location: Wakching
date: 29.5.1937
person: Furer-Haimendorf
date: 1.5.1937-3.6.1937
person: School of Oriental and African Studies Library, London
text: (163) Wakching 29/5/1937
text: Price paid by the Oukheang for a slave boy from Chongwe
text: 10 layas, 2 Assamese cloth, 3 Ang daos, 60 spears and hoes. There was an epidemic in the Oukheang (dysentery) and the other morungs prohibited the Oukheang people to enter their khels. Then the Oukheang men searched for a slave and heard that Chongwe would be willing to sell a boy who was a fugitive from (164) Mongnyu (Phem). His name was Niakshu. When they had agreed on the price, two Oukheang men met the vendors and the boy at Chinglong. These Oukheang men were Dzingben (house 9) and Chinyang (dead - Yamahu). They led the boy, who was not tied, down to the river and across the cane bridge. The other Oukheang men waited on the other side and when they saw them coming they rushed forward and cut off the boy's head, before he could even scream. Hamlien said that they did it very quickly in order not to see the boy before and have (165) pity with him, for he was a human being after all and it was a bit shameful to kill him in this way. But he (Hamlien) himself cut off his head. They brought it home in triumph and danced a lot. Thereby they drove out the epidemic which actually soon came to an end.
text: The Oukheang men gave one hand of the victim to the Balang and some part of the body to Tanhai. When Wakching was fined, although it was not administered at the time, the Balang and Tanhai paid part of the fine. (166) The head cut off is called "shou", and the song when carrying it home "shou-shu-bu" (head drag). It consists of rhythmic shouts: "O-hui, o-hui!" The Oukheang men cut off the body completely as everybody wanted some piece, to carry it home. Tanhai got a whole basket filled with the middle part of the body. Chinyang (GB) did not take part in the killing, for he had taken heads in war and thought it a shame to kill a boy bought, but even the small Wakching boys cut up the body.