The Nagas

Hill Peoples of Northeast India

Project Introduction The Naga Database

typescript 'Journey to Nagaland', by Mildred Archer. An account of six months spent in the Naga Hills in 1947

caption: British Colonial administration in the Naga Hills
caption: W.G. Archer's previous work in India
medium: diaries
person: Elwin/ VerrierFurer-Haimendorf/ ChristophMills
person: Archer/ Mildred
date: 9.7.1947-4.12.1947
text: Christoph and his wife Betty, had visited us in Dumka, headquarters of the Santal Parganas district of Bihar in 1945. By then Bill was jointly editing with Verrier Elwin the Indian Journal of Anthropology, Man in India. He had earlier published his first translations of tribal poetry, The Blue Grove (1940) and he was deep in his studies of Santal life, love and poetry to be published in 1974 as The Hill of Flutes. Christoph was well- known to Verrier Elwin and he and Philip Mills had both contributed to Man in India. Bill was the only expert in Bihar on the tribes of Chotanagpur - the Oraons, Mundas, Kharias and Hos, - not to mention his greatest love, the Santals. It was natural, therefore, that over a drink one evening Christoph should venture the remark 'Why don't you widen your knowledge of tribal India and go to Assam?' 'Assam?' Bill answered. 'Yes, Assam', Christoph had replied. 'If you'd like to go, I can easily write to Philip and he'll get the Bihar Government to lend you to them'. And so it all happened. Philip Mills had leapt at the idea and early in 1946, while Bill was finishing his report on Santal Civil Law, he was told by the Bihar Government that Assam would like to borrow him for an initial period of three years. Bill had accepted and after four short months of leave in England, he had left for India anticipating three years of deep immersion in Naga life.