The Nagas

Hill Peoples of Northeast India

Project Introduction The Naga Database

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

caption: Chapter Six. Death in the Rain
caption: decomposing corpses
medium: books
ethnicgroup: Konyak
location: Wakching
person: Furer-Haimendorf
date: 6.1936-6.1937
text: In the heat of the summer a corpse decomposes very quickly, and already on the day after the funeral swarms of buzzing flies surrounded the platform. The putrescent liquid of decomposing flesh oozed through the slits in the bier and dripped on to the ground. No words are necessary to describe the suffocating stench round every corpse-platform. To make matters worse, Chinyak's corpse had been disposed of in the middle of the village. One gets accustomed to most things, but not to that revolting smell of disintegrating flesh. Even the Konyaks are by no means insensible to the evil smell of rotting corpses. They hold their noses when passing anywhere near a platform, and a small boy once complained to me that the smell of the corpses in his parents' back garden was so sickening that at meals he could hardly swallow a mouthful of rice.