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: belief that Nagas were being corrupted from outside; drink; high wages
medium: books
ethnicgroup: Konyaks
location: Wakching
person: Furer-Haimendorf
date: 1970
text: Most surprising, perhaps, was the reaction of one Wakching man who had blatantly profited from modern developments. He lived in a modern house situated below the village, and earned a good income by operating as a contractor. While discussing the changed conditions, he remarked that the Konyaks were being corrupted by contact with outsiders: "They used to be honest and reliable and are now dishonest. They had had discipline and now have none -- nobody obeys the village leaders any more. Many men are now drinking heavily, not only rice-beer, but (256) distilled liquor brought from Assam. For work on the road they had to be paid Rs 15 or even Rs 20 a day, otherwise they were not prepared to work at all." These figures were indeed surprising, for in 1970 even in Delhi or Calcutta the daily wage of an unskilled labourer was not more than Rs 5.