The Nagas

Hill Peoples of Northeast India

Project Introduction The Naga Database

published - extracts on the Nagas from 'Census of India, 1931 - Volume III - Assam Report'

caption: Appendix A. The effect on the tribes of the Naga Hills district of Contacts with civilization, by J.P. Mills, I.C.S
caption: effect on the Nagas of missionary suppressions
medium: reports
person: Mullan/ C.S.Mills/ J.P.
date: 1931
text: The suppression of the wearing of all ornaments or tribal finery, of dancing, of singing (except hymns), of village feasts and of all artistic outlet i spreading an unspeakable drabness over village life. Old songs and old traditions are being rapidly forgotten. Told year in year out that all the past history, all the strivings, all the old customs of his tribe are wholly evil the Naga tends to despise his own race, and no night of the soul is blacker than this.
text: The suppression of the "Morung", in which young Animists learn to be useful citizens is unwarrented by any good reason that I have ever heard. It is part of the tendency to abolish old things just becuase they are old, and substitute for the strong communal feeling which has enables the tribes to survive for so long an individualism which is really foreign to them. Not only is this individuallism wrapped up with the strong emphasis on personal salvation; it is also the direct and natural reaction against the destruction of all the old things what mattered in village life and fall the old expressions of the artistic and social genius of the tribe. "My tribe has erred hopelessly" says the convert " all through the centuries it has tried to work out its destiny. I will work out mine and mine alone". An Animist puts his village before himself. A Baptist puts himself before his village. No Semas are as prone to disobey their Chiefs as Christian Seams, and Christian Aos have often refused to take the part in village government to which their years and experience called them. A "Civilized" Naga is apt to call customary discipline restraint, and many of them are eager to leave their villages and live free of all control.