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: travelling with the Naga delegation
caption: communal riots in India
medium: diaries
person: Sachdev
date: 28.9.1947
person: Archer/ Mildred
date: 9.7.1947-4.12.1947
text: 28 September. Mokokchung.
text: Sachdev, the Sikh Manager of the coal mine has again come to Mokokchung and has spent an evening with us. On his way to Mussoorie, the Naga delegation boarded his train and he travelled with them up to Lucknow. 'Most of the delegates,' he said, 'were in shorts and shirts, but at Manipur Road, nine Angamis joined them. They were all in kilts, elephant tusk armlets and great necklaces. At every station crowds gathered. You could not get out for the rush. At Katihar some Biharis got into their compartment. When they saw who were there they threw their luggage out and rushed away. At every station people said, "There are some Bhutiyas." All of the Nagas demanded first class tickets. But how could a station-master find so many places? He gave the leaders a first-class compartment and the Angamis a second. At Lucknow, the Angamis went to the refreshment room. "Take some tea and pastries" I told them. "We must ask our leader," they said. Then they gave (92) their order. As they were drinking the tea, the crowd got bigger and bigger. I told the crowd, "Do not get excited. They are Indians like you. They are really very good people."'
text: From Lucknow, Sachdev's journey was uneventful, but his holiday at Mussoorie was clouded by events at Lahore. After days of anxious waiting, he heard that his brother's house had been attacked by the mob, burnt and looted. The family had escaped by a back way and were given a lift by the military to a refugee camp. After six days they managed to reach some relations in Amritsar. Just after his brother had been rescued, a military lorry containing twenty-four women and children, was stopped by the mob. The driver was pulled out, and all the twenty-four were butchered in the street. Sachdev says there is not a Sikh or Hindu left in Lahore and not a Muslim in Amritsar.
text: Even Mussoorie shared a little of the panic. Sachdev was sharing a house with a family whose daughter was about to have a baby. In case she should need to be carried to the hospital in the night, her parents had arranged for four coolies with a palanquin to sleep at the house. When Sachdev arrived home that evening, his ayah rushed out to his wife and said, 'There are four Pathans in the house. They are armed with swords. They are going to murder us.' In order to put the ayah's mind at rest, he went and asked the family what had happened. The parents led him to the verandah, pointed to the four sleeping coolies and said, 'There are your Pathans.'
text: Another incident had bigger consequences. A Mohammedan boy at the Skating Rink made an amorous gesture to a Hindu girl as he swooped past her. The girl created a scene, and the Mohammedan management gave the boy a beating. The next day he attempted the same thing, but this time the Hindus rallied. The police had to be called in and as a result the town had a curfew for a fortnight. (93)