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: head-taking in the tribal area
medium: diaries
date: 30.7.1947
person: Archer/ Mildred
date: 9.7.1947-4.12.1947
text: Meanwhile trouble of another kind has come to a head. Beyond the frontier lies a great tract of unadministered hills. The portion of it known as the 'control' area hugs the frontier to a depth of twenty to thirty miles. Beyond that the huge hills go tumbling into Burma, forming an ill-explored zone which is called the 'tribal' area. This area must be very like the Scottish border in the thirteenth century, when war seldom ceased and clans of farmer warriors were at feud among themselves, at war with the Scots and acknowledged no officer of the Crown. (23)
text: Into these two tracts of country no one who is not a Naga can go without the Assam Governor's permission as the risk of 'incidents' is regarded as too great. At the same time the S.D.O. is required to exercise 'control' in the intermediate zone. Interpreters are stationed in remote villages to act as listening posts and head-taking is as far as possible kept down to a few deaths a year. In the 'control' area war with rifles on any scale is banned, but in the 'tribal' area only head-taking massacres are visited with reprisals. When a village gets unduly refractory, an expedition is sanctioned and with the aid of an armed column, the S.D.O. crosses the frontier and punishes the culprits.