India is a land of mysteries and marvels. With over a billion people, our country is a treasure chest of stories. East, West, North or South, channel into any direction and chances are that you will end up with a story you will never forget. This story here, takes us to North-Eastern India, into the land of the Konyak Naga Tribe. For centuries, this tribe has been known as the world’s most fierce headhunting warrior tribe. Sadly though, majority of Indians have no idea about their existence.
Often referred to as the war-loving tribe, the Konyak Nagas reside in parts of Arunachal Pradesh and in the Mon district of Nagaland.
The tribe is often feared as the ‘head takers’, for it is a rite for them to take the heads of the person they have defeated. Yes, the entire head, cut apart from the enemy’s carcass.
For every head a warrior brings back home, he is rewarded with a massive tattoo either on the face or on the chest. The bigger and greater the number of tattoos, the better the warrior is respected amongst the tribe and equally feared by the enemy.
Once a conclave of fearless warriors, the tribe has failed to fight globalization just as well. Young Nagas now stray from the tribe to find settlements in the city. Festival celebrations are no more as gala as they used to be. There are no tribal wars and they aren’t allowed to show-off their collection of human heads as well.
The last head that was hunted by a member of the tribe was way back in 1990. The government has kept a tight hold of tribal feuds ever since.
The countable few warriors left, who are now in their 80s, wear custom-made jewellery with each head depicting the number of kills.