The Nagas

Hill Peoples of Northeast India

Project Introduction The Naga Database

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

caption: Chapter Twenty-two. Love and Poetry
caption: do natives think and feel like western people ?
medium: books
person: Furer-Haimendorf
date: 6.1936-6.1937
text: (179) To record ceremonies and ritual, to discover the basic elements of a tribe's social structure, and to learn of myths and religious beliefs, is easy compared to the task of gaining an insight into the psychological and emotional relations between individuals and of understanding a people's attitude to fundamental human problems. At first a stranger among a primitive tribe is so much the centre of interest and colours by the very attention he attracts every situation to such an extent, that he has little chance of observing the people's normal reactions to events belonging to their own sphere of life. Unless he is particularly unlucky or the village where he stays has had bad experiences with outsiders, he will soon find men prepared to tell him a good deal about their work and their possessions, about customs, rites and festivals and perhaps also about the traditions and history of their village or tribe. But the subjects touching the individual man and woman most intimately, those joys, hopes and disappointments which affect the most primitive no less than the most civilized man, they are not likely to discuss with a stranger.