The Nagas

Hill Peoples of Northeast India

Project Introduction The Naga Database

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

caption: Chapter Eight. The Harvest
caption: planting taro; importance of taro for Nagas
medium: books
ethnicgroup: Konyak
location: Wakching
person: Furer-Haimendorf
date: 6.1936-6.1937
text: Taro, on the other hand, a tubercular fruit found as far away as the islands of the Pacific, but little cultivated in India, is planted by the women. They dig small holes in the ground with their dao in which to lay the tubers, and then cover them over with earth. It is the women's task also to carry home the taro harvest, for to carry taro is considered shameful for a man. Yet it occupies an important place in the diet of the Konyaks, and this prominence points to the primitiveness of their culture. There are even several villages to the east of Wakching -- for instance Chen -- where no rice, but taro and millet are grown. It may be that rice is of comparatively recent introduction, and that taro was the original staple crop of the Konyaks. It is possible, too, that the cultivation of taro was primarily the responsibility of the women, who thus did the bulk of the work in the fields.