The Nagas

Hill Peoples of Northeast India

Project Introduction The Naga Database

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

caption: Chapter Eighteen. A Skirmish with Head-Hunters
caption: through the fortifications
medium: books
ethnicgroup: Kalyo Kengyu
location: Pangsha
person: Furer-Haimendorf
date: 6.1936-6.1937
text: The path leads through fields already reaped of rice, but the giant millet growing in between the cut stalks stands yet in ear. It is amazingly high, this reddish millet, standing well over ten feet, and affords us excellent cover. As long as the slope lies in the shadow we approach unnoticed. Quite close to the village we have to cross an open clearing, and this is the moment the sun chooses to rise over the ridge of the mountains, shining full in our faces. This morning the sun befriends the Pangsha people, for in the first dazzling blaze, their sentries suddenly catch sight of the enemy so near the gates, and immediately a long-drawn cry comes from the villages. A cry that is echoed all over the valley and relayed along the ridge in the direction of the main village. There must be Pangsha scouts spread over every yard of the mountain.
text: A stone wall blocks the pathway where it leads over a narrow shoulder, but it is not defended, and the small holes that should be filled with cross-bow arrows are unmanned. It is a matter of moments and a few pushes, and the stones give way under our weight. The inner side is reinforced with banana stalks, for it is an old Naga belief that banana stalks "cool" bullets and render them harmless.