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: after-effects of tattooing; treating illnesses; malaria and other diseases
medium: books
ethnicgroup: Konyak
location: Hungphoi Oting
person: Furer-Haimendorf
date: 6.1936-6.1937
text: It is proof of the enviable health of the Nagas that the tattooing wounds, though they often bleed profusely, hardly ever become septic. Even the best constitution, however, is no protection against diseases such as malaria, and while Wakching lies above the danger zone, the villages on the lower ridges often suffer severely. Wherever I went, numerous Nagas crowded round my camp, hoping to be cured of something or other. As long as it was only a question of malaria, quinine brought at least temporary relief, and I even attained some measure of success when treating acute indigestion or open wounds. But I learnt to curse my reputation, which used to fly before me into the villages, so that I would arrive to find crowds waiting to be treated. After all, what was I to do with people, like one old woman in Oting, who complained of a pain in her stomach, which, she told me, had begun when she was a young girl?