To to commemorate the August 4 peace accords between the Indian Government and the Nationalist Socialist Council of Nagaland (rebel group), I want to share this image of the Khiamniungen Naga warrior Khon with “tiger chest” tattoo. With the stroke of several pens, 60 years of armed conflict will tentatively end and hopefully signal a new beginning and lasting peace across Northeast India.
Khon’s V-shaped torso markings not only indicate that he is a successful warrior and headhunter, but that he could become “tiger-like” when he struck down his enemies. The collar tattoos were earned for a military tactic related to the way a tiger hunts its prey: circling the enemy and then successfully defeating them from behind. Khon took five trophy heads from neighboring Naga groups during his prime. Photograph shot on location in Noklak village, Nagaland, 2008.