The Nagas

Hill Peoples of Northeast India

Project Introduction The Naga Database

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

caption: Chapter Ten. Paradise in the Jungle
caption: absence of murder and adultery
medium: books
ethnicgroup: Konyak
location: Oting
person: Furer-Haimendorf
date: 6.1936-6.1937
text: Happy Oting people, whose only quarrels concern the faithlessness of women, who cannot imagine a murder or a thirst for revenge disturbing the peace of their village. Are they angels forgotten in this far off paradise? They are certainly nothing of the kind, for their blood boils quickly, and they show a certain naive indifference to the value of human life which manifests itself in the custom of head hunting. But side by side with this you find an amazing tactfulness. Rarely is anything mentioned before a man that he might find embarrassing. "His mind would hurt" is the literal translation of the stereotyped explanation for such consideration. All Nagas are careful not to hurt the feelings of others, and often, when I worked with several informants, one of them would come to me afterwards and tell me that one of his friends had made a mistake, but he had not wanted to contradict him in his presence, for "his mind would have hurt."