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: reaping the fields, work groups, and threshing rice with feet
medium: books
ethnicgroup: Konyak
location: Wakching
person: Furer-Haimendorf
date: 6.1936-6.1937
text: (82) One day, the boys of the Balang morung called to me as they passed on the path below my bungalow: they were going to reap their morung field, they shouted. The Sahib should come and watch the work. I finished writing some notes and then made my way to the Balang morung field. Long before I reached the field I heard the cries of the boys; both sides of the path leading to the field-house were literally covered, on the one side with girls' rain-hats and on the other with long rows of boys' spears stuck shaft foremost into the earth -- a glance at this "cloakroom", and it was easy to enumerate the workers that day. Long lines of girls worked on the lower slope, reaping their sheafs and throwing them behind. When a whole patch had been cut they would gather the sheafs together and carry them up to the field-house. There the boys threshed out the rice with their feet, throwing the empty straw through the opening at the back of the house, where two boys stood on top of the stack, continually pitching it on to make room for the next bundle. Higher and higher grew the stack of straw, and the dust-clouds blowing round the field-house thickened. Now and then the threshers would give a peculiar quick, swelling laugh, ending almost in a shout, and this would be taken up and echoed by the groups working on the fields. How different were these fierce cascades of cries from the rhythmical work-songs of the Angamis!