The Nagas

Hill Peoples of Northeast India

Project Introduction The Naga Database

book - 'Naga Path', by Ursula Graham Bower, published John Murray 1950

caption: Chapter twenty-seven. The Scheme Begins
caption: red cloths
medium: books
person: Graham Bower/ Ursula
text: The difficulty now was to put into the Zemi, so long trodden on by everybody, a little backbone. After the first week or so they came back complaining bitterly that without red cloths, the outward and visible sign of official status, they had no authority. They must have red cloths.
text: The civil supply was in any case strictly limited, and had now been stopped by the war. We sent an SOS to " V " (194) Force H.Q., by then located down at Barrackpore. They immediately ordered red blankets from some woollen mill on the other side of India.
text: Some two weeks after, an officer strolled into the A. & Q. office, and remarked :
text: " Lovely grey blankets those are for North Cachar ! Wouldn't mind one myself."
text: " 'Grey ?' " said the A. & Q., with a stack of " Urgents " from us stacked up on his desk. " Did you say 'grey' ? "
text: " Good Lord, yes ! "
text: They rushed to look at the bale. The blankets were grey.
text: A captain jumped into a jeep and drove to Calcutta. He went the rounds of the military hospitals, and, by some sleight of hand or other means peculiar to the unit, came away with nineteen scarlet British Military Hospital blankets, which were despatched at once to Mahur. That gave us one per village group of scouts, and some over for the H.Q. staff at Laisong; and wrapped in these, vested with their brief authority, Watch and Ward embarked on its true career. I believe our own red blankets went by mistake to Kohima, where " V " Force H.Q. kept them and made them into arras for the mess - at any rate it was draped in blood-red and looked like a setting for the Black Mass, or worse, when I happened to call there a year later.