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: news of referendum in Assam
medium: diaries
location: Mokokchung
date: 8.8.1947
person: Archer/ Mildred
date: 9.7.1947-4.12.1947
text: Another day a P.W.D. engineer came up the hills and began aligning a new road. He was a Bengali from Sylhet, the district of Assam which has just had a referendum to decide whether it is to go to Pakistan or stay India. He comes of one of the Bengali families who are in a minority there and who are disliked by the Muhammedans and also by the Assamese. In the days when English education was less widespread, their ancestors had very early adopted English as a medium of instruction and had then secured the best posts. Now that the Assamese are growing more educated they are trying to oust the Bengali on a narrow provincial plea of Assam for the Assamese. The Bengalis on their side are to blame for wherever they go they remain Bengalis and never adapt themselves to their new homeland. This engineer had been a polling officer at the referendum and he described the trials of voters. Since Sylhet is a maze of waterways, boats were often the only means of reaching the polling booths. If a boatload of Hindus came along, a Muhammedan village would prevent them passing and often they had eventually to return home without recording their votes at all.