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: future of the Semas when the British leave
medium: diaries
person: HuttonMillsPawsey
ethnicgroup: Sema
date: 14.9.1947
person: Archer/ Mildred
date: 9.7.1947-4.12.1947
text: 14 September. Baimho.
text: All today and yesterday the Semas have been discussing the coming changes. 'Our grandfathers and fathers knew only the British. It is like losing a father. You cannot get used to a new one quickly.' 'My father,' said a retired interpreter, 'went to Africa with a Sahib and died there. Hutton Sahib was our father. Mills Sahib was our father, Pawsey Sahib is our father. Aos, Angamis, and Lhotas - these can look after themselves, but the Semas are like orphans. The Sahibs are going and still we cannot read.'
text: The situation is all the more acute, for the Aos have little love for the Semas, and being much more educated they are likely to enjoy far more political power. To 'catch up' with the Aos, the Semas have gone Baptist, but since the Americans are now forcing them to 'pay as they go' they are still deficient in many of the schools they need. Out of the whole tribe, only three Semas have passed the Matriculation, while among the Aos three are already graduates. To the Semas, the passing of the Sahibs means either a reversion to anarchy, subordination to the Aos or subjugation by the 'unspeakable plainsman.' Neither is palatable and they are viewing the future with a growing despair.