The Nagas

Hill Peoples of Northeast India

Project Introduction The Naga Database

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

caption: Chapter Eleven. Sacred Chiefs
caption: simulation of head-hunting raid
medium: books
person: Dingdon morung/ Oting
ethnicgroup: Konyak
location: Oting Mon
person: Furer-Haimendorf
date: 6.1936-6.1937
text: They rested for a short while, and then proceeded to the open space in front of the house of the late Morung Ang. Here, in the failing light of dusk, they enacted a dramatic representation of all the phases of a head-hunting raid. With cat-like movements, one of the warriors crept over the open place, peering to left and to right, and then, seeming to sight his quarry in the distance, (97) cautiously retreated, fetched another warrior, and pointed out the discovered enemy. Now, signing to their companions to remain in the background, both the warriors crept forward. After breathless moments, considering themselves near enough to the enemy, they raised their dao and fell on their victim with furious yells. A short fight with the imaginary enemy ensued ending with one triumphant warrior's cutting off the head off his victim. Now, all the other warriors rushed on to what must have been innumerable enemies, suggesting by the frantic movements of their dao a wholesale massacre. This slaughter continued for a few minutes, and when not a single enemy could conceivably remain, they raised their spears to the sky, shouting battle-cries that rang out in wild, ghastly shrieks. Then they paced in a circle round the open place, and one man recited over and over again: "The small Ang of the Dingdon morung is dead, the great Ang of Mon feels therefore great sorrow".