The Nagas

Hill Peoples of Northeast India

Project Introduction The Naga Database

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

caption: Chapter Thirteen. The Camp On a Peak
caption: Mills caustic remarks about anthropologist's squeamishness
caption: pipe-line for water which had been built to avoid head-takers
medium: books
person: Mills
location: Chentang Sangpurr
person: Furer-Haimendorf
date: 6.1936-6.1937
text: "I like you anthropologists," remarked Mills. "You come to the Naga Hills in order to study the head-hunters, and when we show you a nice little practical example, you are horrified. I am sure that more than one man has been slaughtered on this path."
text: He was right, for outside Chentang we passed under a pipeline that, we were told, the men of Chentang had been forced to build because so many of their women had been killed in the last years on the way to the spring to fetch water. It was a clever idea, for the water now flowed unaided from the spring through the narrow bamboo pipes supported on poles, high above the ground, to within the defences of the village.
text: But the Yimsungr are war-like people, and since apparently they no longer found an opportunity of ambushing the women of Chentang when they fetched water, they entered the village while the men worked on the fields, and set fire to the houses. One man of Sangpurr lost his head in the adventure, and it was his hand we had seen hung up in Helipong. But even the head dangling from a high bamboo pole in Chentang was small comfort to the people for the loss of their houses. More than half of the village (119) had been burnt, and now only a few small miserable huts stood among the charred posts. ln this part of the country trees are scarce in the vicinity of the villages, and at short notice it is often difficult to replace the houses with their strong posts and gable boards.