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: quarrel between Longsa and Sapotemi
medium: diaries
person: Shoizhu
location: Longsa Sapotimi (Sapotemi)
date: 19.9.1947
person: Archer/ Mildred
date: 9.7.1947-4.12.1947
text: As we waited for lunch, I saw my first Naga fight. Suddenly there was a great noise and I noticed that people were rushing from the compound. Bill went out to investigate and found that there had been a quarrel between the Ao village of Longsa and the Sema village of Sapotemi, both of whom had come to meet us. It seems that a long time ago these Semas squatted on Ao land and for years there has been ill feeling between them. The Sema headman had set the ball rolling by remarking, 'If my grandfather had not been there, we would have killed the lot of you.' To which the Ao headman replied, 'If the British had not been here, we would never have allowed you to come on our land. It was because you said you would behave that we let you come to our village.' Then the Aos got angry and raised their hands as if to strike. This was too much for Shoizhu, of all people, who thought it expedient to intervene. He rushed in with a great log of wood and smote the headman on the jaw. Having received this blow the headman leapt about in a kind of war dance calling on his men to rout the Semas. As the Aos were in a majority, there was a great stampede and the Semas rushed off down the hill leaving Shoizhu to face the Aos alone. Having got him at their mercy, the Aos proceeded to spit all over him. When Bill arrived the Ao headman was nursing a swollen cheek and Shoizhu was covered in spit. Bill at once sent both villages off in different directions, gave the headman ten rupees and dismissed Shoizhu to the kitchen.
text: Now all is quiet and I am sitting watching a flight of scarlet minivets with their canary yellow wives fluttering in a small cypress. They look like glass birds flaunting on a Christmas tree.