The Nagas

Hill Peoples of Northeast India

Project Introduction The Naga Database

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

caption: Chapter Twenty-four. The World Beyond
caption: relaxed attitude to death, and the land of the dead
medium: books
person: Chinyang
ethnicgroup: Konyak
person: Furer-Haimendorf
date: 6.1936-6.1937
text: Often I am surprised by the equanimity with which the Konyak views his own entrance into the Land of the Dead. As Chinyang put on his head-dress with buffalo horns and human hair at the Spring Festival, he told me quite calmly that this ornament would eventually adorn his death-monument: "I would not give it up for any price, for when I die it shall hang on my death monument, so that all shall say 'That is the death-monument of Chinyang, who himself captured heads'. And in Yimbu I need all my ornaments and all my weapons, for the men I have slain in this life wait for me on the way to Yimbu, and I must fight them all once more."
text: He said all this in a casual tone, as though he talked of the work on the fields, or of a feast shortly to be celebrated. The Konyaks speak with sorrow or sentimentality only of their deceased relatives and friends, but never of their own death. They consider it unavoidable, and do not fear it in the same way as other peoples.