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: life in Mokokchung
caption: visits from villages
medium: diaries
location: Mokokchung
date: 31.7.1947
person: Archer/ Mildred
date: 9.7.1947-4.12.1947
text: During the day villagers are always calling. They are a mixed crowd. There is the educated Christian Naga with his shirt, shorts, Wellington boots and umbrella. There are soldiers from the Assam Rifles in their smart bush hats and battle dress, who march slickly in, salute, click their heels and present their discharge papers for Bill to sign and give exemption from house tax and forced labour. Then there are the villagers of the old type dressed in only an apron and a cloth, and brilliant with shell, boars' tushes and cornelian ornaments. Beside the drab Christians their vitality almost exudes and some of them might almost have walked out of a D.H.Lawrence novel.
text: Most of these villagers come in to discuss village problems and affairs, to dispose of ticklish cases, to ask advice or to settle some personal matter. They may want a savings certificate signed or a pass for fishing and shooting, a permit for wood, or a gun-license. The visit to the bungalow is an excuse for a meeting with other Nagas whom they have not seen for a long time, for a hobnob with the interpreters and much general chat with the S.D.O. They usually bring an offering for us, a chicken, a pineapple or a few eggs. In return Bill gives all the headmen a tot of rum which they swallow out of an eggcup in a single gulp. They come at all times of the day and there is no privacy in the bungalow. When Bill first arrived he tried to confine these visits to certain hours. But he soon abandoned the attempt. Callers come streaming in at any time and now Bill patiently welcomes them whenever they arrive. So often when we have just had our (29) baths and are settling down to a drink before dinner, we look up and see the familiar red cloths through the curtains. Yet another village has come in and a clucking hen is deposited on the rug at my feet.