The Nagas

Hill Peoples of Northeast India

Project Introduction The Naga Database

published - 'Notes on the Wild Tribes Inhabiting the So-Called Naga Hills, on our North-East Frontier of India', by Col. R.G. Woodthorpe, 1881

caption: treatment of the dead; violent deaths
medium: notes
ethnicgroup: HatigoriaDupdoriaAssiringia
location: Mongsenyimti (Boralangi)
person: Woodthorpe/ R.G.
date: 1881
refnum: given at a meeting of the Anthropological Institute, 1881
text: The bodies of the dead are wrapped in mats and disposed on platforms roofed over and fenced in. All the personal decorations and clothes of the deceased, his shield &c., are arranged about the platform or fence. The ground around is sometimes panjied as a protection against the attacks of wild animals. The gourds and other domestic utensils belonging to the deceased are suspended from this (71) platform for his use in the next world, holes being made in them to render them useless to any who might otherwise be tempted to steal them in this world. These bodies are placed in groups on either side of the road between the two outer stockades, and consequently it is not always pleasant travelling along this road. Outside one village, called Boralangi, we saw 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 had been at Boralangi the day before to attend a merry meeting, and had made too merry with the Naga liquor: in consequence of which, the night being dark and the path just outside the stockade a narrow and tortuous one amid a forset of long panjis, 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 upon the spot where they fell, without covering or ornament, as their death is attributed to their having incurred the special disfavour of their gods. This custom obtains among many of the tribes.