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: sexual affairs between boys and girls
medium: books
ethnicgroup: Konyak
location: Chingtang
person: Furer-Haimendorf
date: 6.1936-6.1937
text: He shows me the room in the chief's house where the girls sleep, each in her own tiny compartment, each on her own small bench, which looks narrow even for one, but which, Shankok assures me, is wide enough for two. Completely enclosed, these small compartments give on to a corridor, but the entrance is so narrow that the girls can easily shut it to unwanted visitors. Yet it does sometimes happen that under the cloak of night strange boys slip in and dally a while with by no means reluctant partners. If no word passes and the dark throws no betraying shadow, they leave unrecognized, and a girl of Chingtang may thus find herself with child, unaware of the father's identity. In such a case, Shankok tells me, a clever girl will entice a rich youth into her chamber, but instead of letting go in secrecy, will hold him tightly, screaming at the top of her voice, so that all the members of the Ang family come to see what is happening. The sly maid then accuses the unfortunate lover, caught like Ares in the net of Hephaestos, to be the father of her unborn child. Circumstances speak all too plainly, and there is nothing left for him to do but marry the girl 184) or pay a fat fine.