The Nagas

Hill Peoples of Northeast India

Project Introduction The Naga Database

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

caption: Chapter Two. Feasts Of Merit
caption: the siege of Kohima in 1944
medium: books
person: Pawsey/ C.R.
ethnicgroup: Angami
date: 1944
person: Furer-Haimendorf
date: 6.1936-6.1937
text: How different was the siege of 1944. Both sides were then armed with modern weapons. Once again the defenders of Kohima were hard pressed, the attack was sudden and the scarcity of water was one of the main difficulties. But this time the Nagas fought staunchly on the side of the defenders and in innumerable ways helped the cause of the Allies both inside and outside Kohima. To simple and illiterate hillmen, who for two generations had looked upon the Government as supreme and all-powerful, the temporary British weakness must have been a trying puzzle, but even when the Japanese swept over the hills with apparently irresistible force, and C.R. Pawsey, the Deputy Commissioner, was besieged and impotent in Kohima, the Nagas never faltered in their loyalty. They slipt through the Japanese lines with valuable intelligence, rescued Allied wounded, and misled the Japanese giving them false information. Villages that were for three months in enemy hands, still maintained contact with the Allies, and the news received from them by runners travelling secretly and at night, often guided the Allied air-arm.
text: This co-operation was only part of the Nagas' share in the common fight. After seventy years of peace the blood of warriors stirred again amongst the Angamis. Poorly armed, they ambushed and killed many a Japanese straggler and brought in a large number of prisoners. It would seem that fewer Japanese heads were 24) taken than one might have expected. Nagas anxious to win the status and fame of head-hunters would not have bothered to take prisoners, and we may thus assume that as an institution head-hunting was dead among the Angamis. Konyak Nagas would no doubt have made better use of the chance to perform once more the head-hunting rites and not many dead Japanese would have been found with their heads still on their bodies.