The Nagas

Hill Peoples of Northeast India

Project Introduction The Naga Database

published - 'Report of the Survey Operations in the Naga Hills 1875-1876' by Lt. R.G. Woodthorpe

caption: surveying; reach Lungkhung, lately destroyed by Letum; accidental death
medium: tours
location: Lungkhung Litim (Letum) Mongsenyimti (Boralangi)
date: 15.2.1876-16.2.1876
person: Woodthorpe/ R.G.
date: 1875-1876
text: 29. The next morning, shortly after daybreak, I went up to my mark. The day was beautifully clear, and I observed till 2.30 p.m., when I returned to camp for breakfast, and went out plane-tabling till 7 p.m., the most satisfactory day's work since leaving Nankam. On the 16th we marched into Lungkhung, a village which had lately been destroyed by Letum across the river. They had only just rebuilt it. The inhabitants received us with the utmost friendliness and confidence, bringing in hutting materials for us, and the children coming down in large numbers and fraternising with the sepoys and coolies. Outside Boralangi village, which we passed through during the day, we say the body of a young man, only a few hours dead, stretched on a small maichan without any covering except his cloth. This circumstance, and the fact that he was lying far from the regular resting-place of the dead, excited our curiosity, and we were informed that he and another man from the next village (Susu) had been at Boralangi the day before to attend a merry meeting, and had made too merry with the Naga beer; in consequence of which, the night being dark, and the path just outside the stockade a narrow and tortuous one amid a forest of long panjies, he had tripped and fallen, and a panji had passed right through him from side to side below the ribs, and he had died a few hours later. My informant added that men who died violent deaths in this way by accident were simply tied up near the spot where they fell, without covering or ornament, as their death is attributed to their having incurred the special disfavour of their gods. I noticed a similar custom last year among the Nagas about Bormutan and Senua.