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: shopping in Mokokchung
medium: diaries
location: Mokokchung
date: 23.9.1947
person: Archer/ Mildred
date: 9.7.1947-4.12.1947
text: 23 September. Mokokchung.
text: Today I went shopping. Mokokchung possesses a 'V Stores', run by the Nagas under Government supervision. It sells kerosene, ghi, rice, dal, yarn for weaving, umbrellas and cloth. The season's supply of standard cloth had just arrived and we went to look at it. There was a good assortment of khaki drill, shirting and strong cottons at controlled prices.
text: Besides these stores, there are three main shops owned by a Chang, an Ao and a Sangtam. They are more like clubs than shops and we found the whole of Mokokchung 'society' gathered there. In one a game of karam was proceeding while the spectators sat around in basket chairs.
text: These shops are like village emporiums in England. The owners are influential members of the community and usually have the latest information concerning the district. Their stock is a mixture of school-books, cigarettes, medicines, (89) soap, torch batteries, knitting wool, foodstuffs and footballs.
text: No one is allowed to open a shop in the Naga Hills without the permission of the S.D.O. or until the wishes of the local people have been consulted. They are asked whether they want a shop and whether the proposed person is suitable. In this way exploitation of villagers by merchants has so far been avoided and the shops are a public benefit. There is a great demand for shops in Mokokchung, especially among the soldiers who have returned from the war. They see greater chances of profit and an easier life in shop-keeping than in cultivation. But Mokokchung has so far kept them at bay.