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: letters between Walker and Mills about the Konyak area
medium: lettersnotes
person: Walker/ G.E.D.Mills/ J.P.Rau/ B.N. <SirCaroe/ Olaf <SirNehruPawseyImlongHopongki
ethnicgroup: ChangSangtam
location: Namsang Borduria Tirap F.T.
date: 16.4.1947
person: Archer/ W.G.
date: 1946-1948
refnum: 17:32
text: Confidential.
text: Office of the Adviser to the Governor of Assam for Tribal Areas and States.
text: S.O. No. A.11.46 Shillong 16/4/1947
text: Dear Walker,
text: I have put off answering your D.O. No. AXV-1/47/8 of 26th March, 1947 until I had a chance of seeing Sir B.N. Rau, Constitutional Adviser to the Constituent Assembly. His view is that no constitution can be forced on a tribal area. This is in accordance with the statement Sir Olaf Caroe recently made at a big jirga on the North West Frontier. In his speech at Delhi on April 13th Pandit Nehru went even further and said 'We do not want to compel any province or portion of the country to join Pakistan or Hindustan'.
text: 2. The constitutional position as Sir B.N. Rau explained in more detail, is that the de jure tribal areas, such as the Namsang- Borduria area and the Naga Hills tribal area, cannot have a constitution imposed on them. The position with regard to the de facto tribal area (ie. the whole area from the Bhutan frontier to the starting point of the defined external boundary of Assam at the foot of the hills in Tirap Frontier Tract) is not quite the same. In theory the Advisory Committee could devise a constitution applicable to this area, since it is legally an excluded area. But in fact, Sir B.N. Rau thinks, this area is likely to remain under Central Control, as being intimately concerned with Defence, and will be run much as it is now.
text: 3. It is quite impossible to say when representatives of the Advisory Committee will visit Tirap Frontier Tract, but when they do it will be incumbent on representatives of the excluded area to meet them, and I think it will be for the representatives of the Advisory Committee to decide whether they will hear your views.
text: Representatives of the de jurae tribal area would also be well advised to attend, for they will wish to know what is going on, since however great their local independence in the future nothing can alter the fact that they live in India. They can explain that they come from a tribal area and wish to gain information before formulating their views. They would also, I think, be entitled to put you forward as their spokesman if they so desire.
text: 4. Last summer I prepared a note on the resemblance between our tribal areas, both de facto and de jure, and States, and this is now being examined by Sir B.N. Rau who will discuss it further when he returns to Shillong later this month. If the position is accepted that the tribal areas are for all practical purposes States, their negotiating position will be strengthened.
text: 5. In any case the general lines of their legitimate demands seem fairly clear. They must realise that salt, textiles and other supplies come from Assam, and that friendly relations with the Province are therefore essential. They will also realise that if they are invaded by an external enemy it is India which will defend them, and that it is India who is now spending very large sums on them. They would therefore be well advised to ask that the present system continues, that is to say that India can establish posts in their territory and will continue to help them both by settling their feuds and by giving them medical and agricultural assistance.
text: I would not advise any tribe to go into too great detail at this stage, but a little later, when the future is clearer, I think concrete proposals could best be put us through Foreign.If we are told this is the wrong channel we shall doubtless be informed of the correct one.
text: 6. I am sending copies of your letter under reference and of this reply to all Political Officers and the Deputy Commissioner, Naga Hills. Sd. J.P. Mills.
text: G.E.D. Walker Esq., M.B.E., J.P., Political Officer, Tirap Frontier Tract.
text: Copy to C.R. Pawsey, for information. If the parts of the tribal area to which administration has been extended wish to say now that they will accept any constitutional arrangement decided upon for the Naga Hills District proper I do not see why they should not do so. A declaration of this kind once made cannot be revoked, and tribes such as the Changs, who are still completely independent may prefer to see what the future layout is likely to be before accepting it. sd. J.P. Mills.
text: ...Copy to Addl. Deputy Commissioner, Mokokchung for information. Imlong and Hopongki might be asked for the views of Changs and Sangtams. sd. C.R. Pawsey