The Nagas

Hill Peoples of Northeast India

Project Introduction The Naga Database

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

caption: Chapter Twelve. Towards Unknown Country
caption: purchase and killing of slaves
medium: books
person: Chinyang/ of WakchingYongang/ of Wakching
ethnicgroup: KonyakPhom
location: Wakching Aopao (Chongwe) Mongnyu
person: Furer-Haimendorf
date: 6.1936-6.1937
text: "One day, when I was a young man," related Chinyang, "the Chongwe people asked us whether we should like to buy a slave. "Where did you get him from?" we inquired at first. He was a boy they had captured from Mongnyu -- that is a Phom village behind that mountain, and he pointed to one of the mountains to the south. "So, he is a Phom; well, if he is a Phom, we'll take him. We paid for the boy twenty laya (brass discs, now worth between two and six rupees), one pig, and a lump of salt. All the men had to contribute. Then a few old men went to Chongwe to fetch the slave; it was a small boy, and he had no idea what was going to happen. They put a feather headdress on his head and led him away with friendly words, for they felt sorry for the boy. There below, near the river, our young men lay in hiding. When they saw the boy, they rushed up to him and cut him into pieces. But I only looked on," added Chinyang, "for I had captured heads in a real raid; after all, it is rather a shame to kill such a young boy." Yongang had behaved with less reserve. He told me he had carried off a leg of the victim, and that after a few moments, when nothing had been left of the boy, the Wakching men hurried home singing and dancing.