Last Surviving Konyak Headhunters

PhotographerShantanu Saha
PrizeHonorable Mention
Entry Description

Last year, I decided to explore the remote mountainous parts of Mon district of Nagaland, India, home to the headhunting Konyak tribe. They were known to have a strong warrior tradition who were still headhunting until the end of 1960, when the American missionaries came and converted them into Baptist Christianity. The tattoos on their faces and chests were honors bestowed upon them by their village chief, known as "Angh", after taking an enemy tribesman's head. While most of those warriors have either perished or moved out to nearby towns and cities, a handful of them still continue to live in the remote districts along the Indo-Myanmar border. The region has been under political turmoil for over a decade now, having a total of 7 tribal insurgencies at the moment. This man is one of the last few surviving tattooed Konyaks.