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 thirty-four. Magulong
caption: singing
medium: books
person: Graham Bower/ Ursula
text: Tim and I stopped and stared. Still it came; faint, far and haunting. Then, with the field-glasses, we saw. Ranged on a ledge of rock a little below the village, a group of bucks and girls were singing together.
text: All through the long, hot trek through the grass the distant singing fell to call us on. As we reached and climbed the opposite slope, mounting a narrow ledge which twisted and crept up the fantastic, rugged, Wagnerian hill, the singing came down to us full and clear, the girls' high voices blending with the boys'. At the back of the file our own growing tail of Nagas answered them, and, strophe and antistrophe, verse for verse, we came up the last half-mile to the village gate.
text: The sound of our party's singing had brought the villagers out. Elders, children and housewives were at the gate. Life dissolved suddenly into a kind of opera, for the people of Magulong were so steeped from childhood in music and dance that they expressed themselves in song just as readily as they did in speech, and slipped from one to the other two or three times in the course of a conversation. Escorted by the bucks and girls, still singing, we turned to the gate itself. The entrance rose steeply, in a narrow flight of steps. Up we went, through the gap in the cactus hedge; and were at once in an airy village street, the wide Barak valley lying far beyond and dark, weathered houses dotting the spur. The chorus deployed behind us and continued to sing.