The Nagas

Hill Peoples of Northeast India

Project Introduction The Naga Database

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

caption: Chapter Twenty-seven. Return to Nagaland
caption: enormous political changes; head hunting
medium: books
ethnicgroup: Konyaks
person: Furer-Haimendorf
date: 1970
text: The change of attitudes involved in all these new alignments is profound. Only those who have experienced traditional Naga society can appreciate the magnitude of the transformation of the political outlook. To a Naga of the older generation mankind appeared as divided between a small inner circle of co-villagers, clansmen, and allied villages, on whose support he could depend and to whom he owed assistance in emergencies, and the entire outside world consisting of the inhabitants of other Konyak villages as well as the people of neighbouring tribes, who were potential enemies and legitimate victims of head-hunting. A category of neutral communities or individuals and the idea of gaining political allies from among communities outside the narrow circle of the in-group had no place in the Naga's picture of the world. Today all this has changed, and the Nagas have got used to constructive co-operation between formerly hostile villages and even across tribal boundaries.