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: meeting with widow of Ang of Longkhai; death of Ngapnun
medium: books
person: NgapnunMauwangLikau/ of Longkhai
ethnicgroup: Konyaks
location: Longkhai
person: Furer-Haimendorf
date: 1970
text: In the porch of the Ang's house we found a shrivelled grey-haired old lady wearing only the traditional narrow skirt. As I spoke to her, she suddenly recognized me and became electrified and excited. She clapped her hands and patted me affectionately, gesticulating wildly and talking and laughing. She was one of the secondary wives of Mauwang, the late chief who by his personality as much as by his position as great Ang had dominated Longkhai in my time. When I produced photographs of Mauwang and of Likau, his principal wife of royal blood, the first reaction was also excitement and wonderment. But then the old woman became sad, and tears filled her eyes as she thought of her husband and the glorious old days. As Likau had had no male issue her son had succeeded as Ang of Longkhai, but owing to his mother's lowly status he was only of Wangsa or "small" Ang clan. He was not in the village, but his younger brother and a gaonbura came to talk to me, and a crowd of old women gathered and marvelled at the pictures of Mauwang and many of his contemporaries. I asked about Ngapnun, the attractive and high spirited Ang girl, and was told that she had died. While we revived memories of the old days, a bevy of school boys and girls surrounded us. As soon as they had seen us arrive in a jeep they had rushed to their houses, and changed into immaculate white shirts and blouses worn with blue shorts and skirts. Their modern dress contrasted sharply with that of the older people, and I noticed that even young adults wore many items of imported clothing. Somehow I sensed also a lack of vitality though that impression may have been subjective.