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: at Anangba, greeted by Chirongchi, veteran of First World War; the spiked helmet of Prussian grenadier
medium: books
person: MillsChirongchi/ of Anangba
ethnicgroup: Konyak
location: Anangba
person: Furer-Haimendorf
date: 6.1936-6.1937
text: Mills found his old friend Chirongchi waiting to greet him. He was a man with an eventful past, for during the First World War (113) he had enlisted in the Naga Labour Corps recruited in administered territory. The chance of great deeds of war induced him to join the "raid" and he soon found himself with many other Nagas on the way to Europe. It speaks for their cold-bloodedness that although they had never seen a great water before, they did not panic when they were shipwrecked in the Mediterranean. To their bitter disappointment they were not allowed to fight, but put to the more peaceful task of building roads. It was incomprehensible to them that they were even forbidden to cut off the heads of fallen foes. The only trophy that ever found its way into the Naga Hills was the spiked helmet of a Prussian grenadier -- not a bad substitute for a head! Chirongchi himself succeeded in smuggling an army rifle in his uniform trousers, but a rifle without cartridges was of little use in Anangba, and he finally gave it up to the Sub-divisional officer at Mokokchung. I wonder whether the experience of his journey to Europe had widened his horizon. He appeared very dignified in a magnificent plaited hat with floating red goat's hair, but in no way different from his less travelled fellow villagers.