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: inexactness of knowledge of age
medium: books
person: Ngamang/ of WakchingDzeamang/ of Wakching
ethnicgroup: Konyak
location: Wakching
person: Furer-Haimendorf
date: 6.1936-6.1937
text: One morning I found Ngamang and Dzeamang on the veranda -- two curious and at first rather shy boys of eleven and thirteen. A Naga hardly ever knows exactly how old he is, and the parents lose count of the years as soon as the children pass six or seven summers. Indeed, the number of years is of little importance. Important only is the age-group to which the boy belongs -- that is, with which set of boys he entered the morung; for during the whole of his life they form a close unit. I tried to make friends with Ngamang and Dzeamang, for they were merry youngsters, and, surprisingly enough, we got on very well. Both of them had a smattering of Assamese -- in fact we all three had a smattering of Assamese. That simplified matters, for I found it much easier to understand these boys than the men who spoke so fluently.