The Nagas

Hill Peoples of Northeast India

Project Introduction The Naga Database

manuscript notes made by W.G. Archer between 1946 & 1948, and miscellaneous papers and letters

caption: letter from W.G. Archer to D.C. about head-taking and slave traffic in the Tribal Area and on the Burma Border
caption: future of Tribal Area
medium: lettersnotes
person: Archer/ W.G.
date: 1946-1948
refnum: 13:9
text: 2. The recrudescence of warfare and slave traffic in the lower tribal areas brings to a head the whole problem of transfrontier administration. Even if the tribes are deemed to be independent states, can the Indian Union tolerate continued slave traffic as well as head taking on its borders? If the area is regarded as of strategic interest how is continued anarchy compatible with defence requirements? If roads, schools, hospitals and agricultural advice are the means by which the Indian Union will seek to obtain a loyal and contented frontier how can these amenities be given so long as head-taking flourishes? If head-taking is tolerated a day or two's march across the hills will it not be only a short time before the Naga Hills themselves are re-infected? In the wider interest of all the tribes along the frontier, should not the central Government intervene at once and establish a protective administration? Even in the interests of the tribes, themselves, will it not make for greater happiness if head-taking is now stopped and the tribe is forced to evolve some kind of ritual substitute for human heads? If Angamis, Aos, Semas, Changs, Lothas and Sangtams can do so, why should Konyaks, Kalyo Kenyus and Phoms not? Since matters will rapidly get much worse, the earliest possible decisions are needed. (copy of a letter from W.G. Archer)