The headhunting culture of the Nagas: reinterpreting the self

  • Venusa Tinyi

Abstract


'Headhunting', as a term, was essentialised as the defining identity of the Nagas during the colonial period. Without rejecting the term per se, I endeavor to present an understanding of what headhunting culture means to Nagas and from the viewpoint of a native. In part, I do so by analyzing the term “headhunting” in the Chokri language of the Chakhesang tribe. Next I discuss this term in relation to the elitist culture of trophy hunting popular during the colonial period. I then proceed to explain head-hunting in relation to some core traditional values and beliefs of the Nagas, namely, equality, freedom and justice. Understanding the culture of headhunting from the perspective I tried to present here is likely to affect the way contemporary Naga groups perceive each other in a more positive manner.  But not only that, it may also provide readers with some insights as to why Nagas not only constantly question the superiority of others and the right of others to subjugate them but also struggle passionately to reclaim their fundamental rights to live as a free and equal people.

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Published
06-May-2017
How to Cite
Tinyi, V. (2017, May 6). The headhunting culture of the Nagas: reinterpreting the self. The South Asianist, 5(1). Retrieved from http://www.southasianist.ed.ac.uk/article/view/1858
Section
Special Section - Nagas in the 21st century