The Nagas

Hill Peoples of Northeast India

Project Introduction The Naga Database

book : Return to the Naked Nagas (1939;1976)

caption: Chapter One. The Naga Hills
caption: difficulties of house assessing, description of village
medium: books
ethnicgroup: Angami
person: Furer-Haimendorf
date: 6.1936-6.1937
text: Whenever we arrived in a village the inhabitants held a holiday. It is difficult to say whether it was from joy at our visit or whether, according to the old Naga belief, it was for a genna, when the abstention from work averts the evil consequences of any such unusual event as an earthquake or the violent death of a member of the community. Crowds of men and boys followed Mills from house to house, and the women peeped shyly and curiously out of their doors. It is not an easy job to count the two or three hundred houses of a large village and at the same time to check all the statements of the gaonbura as to poverty and inability to pay on the part of the individual villagers. Even the purely physical exertion is considerable. Since most of the villages climb steplike up the mountain slopes, scarcely three houses stand on the same level, and strolling through the village you have incessantly to scramble up and down stone steps and slippery paths. In front of a house there is often a drop of more than thirty feet to a neighbour's roof.