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: ritual of capturing soul of dead person for hunting luck
medium: books
person: Shankok/ of WakchingShouba/ of Wakching
ethnicgroup: Konyak
location: Wakching
person: Furer-Haimendorf
date: 6.1936-6.1937
text: The men of the Thepong had been unable to spear the necessary (63) game for the rebuilding ceremony of their morung. Many days had they set out hunting, only to return in the evenings without any luck. The people reflected, and it came to their mind that perhaps the soul of Shouba, the father of Shankok, and once the richest and most important man of the whole village, might not sufficiently support the men of his old morung. So they sacrificed a cock at the skull-urn of Shouba. They brought a fish-net with them, and threw it over the urn, to catch the soul attracted by the offering. Contentedly they carried the net into the morung, certain that the captured soul of the famous Shouba would now communicate its 'virtue' to all the men of the morung. As a matter of fact, they killed an antelope next day. Shankok himself took part in the capture of the soul, and he seemed to have no misgivings that he might inconvenience his father.