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: visit to a field-house; cutting the rice and bringing it home
medium: books
person: Dzeamang/ of Wakching
ethnicgroup: Konyak
location: Wakching
person: Furer-Haimendorf
date: 6.1936-6.1937
text: The reaping was in full swing as I went one morning with Dzeamang a pleasant, talkative young man of the Bala morung, to his fields. They lay an hour's walk from Wakching, not far from the village of Shiong. In the field-house we found Dzeamang's brother and his wife just boiling tea -- nine out of the ten times you see Konyaks resting they are boiling tea ! lt is strictly taboo to enter another man's field-house during the harvest. Apparently, however, I was above such taboos, for they invited me in and offered me tea. We sat talking a while, and then Dzeamang's brother asked me whether I would not like to help cut rice. He handed me a toothed reaping-knife, and I felt I could hardly refuse. Soon I stood between the two brothers, cutting one bundle of rice after the other, and piling them in small heaps. It was tiring work, for it needed a lot of care to raise the rain-beat stalks before cutting, and at the same time to avoid the fleshy leaves of the taro growing in the same field, and a great deal of physical energy to stoop continually and to work the knife with the unaccustomed movement. It was not long before my back ached and my hands were sore from little blisters. How I admired these people, standing from morning to evening with bent backs on the fields, diligently and unceasingly reaping rice! But I admired them even more on the steep path home -- after a long day's work. Here they were carrying baskets heavy with grain, not once, but sometimes twice up to the village.