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: resistance to Christianity by the old autocrats; the new powerful Christian officials
medium: books
ethnicgroup: Konyaks
person: Furer-Haimendorf
date: 1970
text: It is mainly in the villages traditionally ruled by autocratic chiefs that there is still some resistance to the changeover to an entirely new ideology, and the chiefs and other members of the old aristocracy are the staunchest protagonists of the traditional religion. But power and prestige has passed to those Nagas who are holding positions in government service, and these men are without exception Christians. Yet it is precisely among the most highly educated Naga Christians that one meets a realization of the threat to their traditional values and cultural heritage implicit (255) in the wholesale acceptance of a novel pattern of life. They are conscious of the fact that converts have been persuaded to abandon many aspects of Naga culture not inherently connected with religion -- dress, ornaments, institutions such as the mens' house and girls' dormitory, feasts of merit, seasonal festivals, the consumption of rice beer, the Nagas' national drink, and even such artistic expressions as wood-carving, dancing, and traditional music. The ban on some of the purely secular activities in no way inconsistent with Christian doctrine is a reflection of the excessively puritanical ideas of the early American missionaries, ideas which have become part and parcel of the beliefs of Christian Nagas.