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: pig killed in hunt, eaten over fire
caption: Joboka men mistake Haimendorf for a British official
medium: books
ethnicgroup: Konyak
location: Oting Joboka
person: Furer-Haimendorf
date: 6.1936-6.1937
text: The next morning the guests exercised their right to spear one pig within the area of the Dingdon morung. The animal was not held and slaughtered in the ordinary sacrificial manner, but was chased, as on a hunt, and killed by hurling spears. The men of Mon fastened the pig to a bamboo, singed it over an open fire, cut it up, and, boiling the meat, ate it on the spot. The honour shown to a deceased morung Ang on such visits has thus to be paid for, and I think that the young men consider the eating of the pigs of the mourners the main part of these ceremonial visits of condolence. Late one night, sitting writing in my hut, I heard voices outside, and I stepped out into the darkness to see what was the matter. The small light of my oil lamp shone upon two figures, prostrating themselves full length at my feet. Unused to such oriental homage, I was rather bewildered at first, and at a loss what I should do with the men who were brushing the ground with their huge feather plumes face down in the dark. However, a little persuasion finally induced them to stand up and tell me what they wanted; they were from Joboka, a village beyond the frontier, and had come to welcome me, bringing with them two chickens as "salaams." As soon as I heard they were from Joboka, I began to understand. The day before, Chingai had told me of the ambush the Joboka men had laid for a group of Yannyu people returning from a trading expedition in the plains, when they captured the large number of nineteen heads. The Nagas themselves do not consider the ambushing of trading expeditions as legitimate game, and such exploits are not looked on with favour by the officials of the adjoining districts. So the Joboka men, hearing that a white Sahib was in Oting, had no doubt seized the opportunity to find out how the land lay, and whether they would be called to account for their recent exploit.