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: Shankok and his life history
medium: books
person: ShankokShoubaShiknaShongaThepong morung/ WakchingBala morung/ Wakching
ethnicgroup: Konyak
location: Wakching
person: Furer-Haimendorf
date: 6.1936-6.1937
text: Last year, Shouba, Shankok's -father, died. He was the richest man in the village, and left a huge fortune, which Shankok, as his eldest son, inherited. His two hundred and fifty fields lie strewn over the Wakching land, and this year, he tells me, his wealth of rice and millet fills four granaries. Shankok is popular for there is always a place at his hearth for the hungry, and during the great feasts his house is full from morning to night.
text: However, even among the Konyaks wealth carries its burden, and in these first days of spring, Shankok, despite all his riches, is not happy. His heart aches for his love Shikna, and his spirit revolts against a fate, which would be considered cruel in any society.
text: When Shankok was still a boy, his father had married him to Shonga, the daughter of a rich man of the Bala morung. The girl was already full-grown at the time, and her father had hesitated to give her in marriage to so young a boy. But the old Shouba had overridden his objection, promising that if the marriage broke up, Shonga should receive heavy compensation.
text: The boy Shankok was not greatly interested in this marriage, for according to Konyak custom Shonga stayed in the house of her parents as long as she had no child. She was a pretty girl, and had no lack of lovers. No doubt it mattered little to her that so many years must elapse before the consummation of her marriage. In time she bore a son, and should have moved to her husband's house, but the child died, and she remained with her parents, continuing her love affair with one of the boys of the Thepong morung. About eight years ago she bore yet another child, this time a girl, and then went to live in Shouba's house, under the same roof as Shankok.