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: developments in Kohima
caption: Indian Independence day
medium: diaries
person: Pawsey/ CharlesKevichusa
location: Kohima
date: 23.8.1947
person: Archer/ Mildred
date: 9.7.1947-4.12.1947
text: Indian Independence Day, it seems, flopped badly. Pawsey had to hoist a flag on the office and take the salute. But apart from a few Assamese the great parade ground was deserted and not a single Naga was anywhere in sight. A little later the Civil Surgeon, a Bengali, hoisted his own flag, but it had only been up an hour when a crowd collected and some angry Nagas hauled it down. That was the only time the flag appeared.
text: But if, in Kohima, Indian Independence Day was 'dry chilly and lifeless' (as the Naga Nation described it) the move for (52) Naga Independence also proved equally feeble and abject. On 14 August the Khonoma group had boldly drafted telegrams to the press declaring the independence of the Naga Hills. Twelve copies were made and addressed to the leading newspapers. But before they were despatched the postmaster referred them to Pawsey. He decided that they would only make trouble so he ordered them to be withheld. Nothing therefore reached the press, not a word appeared announcing their tremendous step.
text: Other action seemed doomed to failure also. On Indian Independence day itself, Kevichusa's house in Kohima witnessed a strange scene. His wife, who is a stout and strapping Lushai, decided to hoist the Naga Independence flag. She therefore tied a piece of Angami cloth to a cord and hoisted it on a bamboo. No sooner had she done so than her action had startling consequences for it immediately revived the old Kohima - Khonoma rivalry of head hunting days, for Kevichusa, although he lives in Kohima, is from Khonoma village. Nagas of Kohima began to gather. 'We have not declared independence,' they said, 'Take it down.' Kevichusa's wife did nothing. The crowd got large and noisy and finally Pawsey was sent for. When he arrived he found the Nagas on the point of wrecking the house. Pawsey decided that the cloth must be removed. By now Kevichusa's wife was in hysterics and amid her weeping protests the 'flag' was taken down.