The Nagas

Hill Peoples of Northeast India

Project Introduction The Naga Database

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

caption: Chapter Twenty-one. Head-Hunting Rites
caption: woken by Shankok and Wakching friends; splitting up heads
medium: books
person: ShankokDzeamang
ethnicgroup: Konyak
location: Wanching Wakching
person: Furer-Haimendorf
date: 6.1936-6.1937
text: In my sleep I hear voices in front of my door and, dragging myself out of bed and stepping into the open, I find myself in the midst of my Wakching friends. Shankok is the first to greet me, and there is Dzeamang and many others whose faces I know, but whose names I cannot for the moment remember.
text: "We have spent the whole night on the way, Sahib; we heard yesterday evening that you were coming, and we set out immediately with torches. We were not even afraid of the tigers in the Dikhu valley."
text: "But in any case I would have brought you the heads. . . ."
text: "No, Sahib, that is not the same thing; we ourselves must bring in the heads, as if we were coming from a real raid."
text: "I see; but shall we divide up the heads here?"
text: "Yes, yes, Sahib. . . I want a bit. . . and I -- you promised me a piece. . . and me too!"
text: "Sahib, don't give everything to the Wakching people; we are from Namsang and we also want a piece."
text: "We are from Wanching -- Sahib, Sahib -- a piece for Wanching." There is a turmoil of voices, shouting against each other, for boys have come from all the neighbouring villages.
text: "Now peace! Don't shout all together, and let's sit down and divide up the heads."
text: I take the heavy dao Chingmak gave me in Chingmei, and set (166) to work. Never had I thought it could be so difficult to hack up a skull.