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: economic problems in the Naga Hills: cash crops and lack of transport
medium: diaries
date: 7.10.1947
person: Archer/ Mildred
date: 9.7.1947-4.12.1947
text: 7 October. Mokokchung.
text: The Naga Hills have their own peculiar economic problems. Today a Sema came to tell Bill that he had just harvested a bumper crop of potatoes. There were far too many to sell to his own village and he could see no way of marketing them. Mokokchung would willingly buy them - potatoes are difficult to get here - but there is no transport. Every Naga is a cultivator, there is no great social inequality, there are scarcely any landless labourers and carriers are almost impossible to hire. 'Coolies' can only be requisitioned for Government work so the potatoes will have to remain stranded in heaps in the village.
text: This is a problem which will continually recur now that more educated Nagas are beginning to grow 'money crops' and to experiment with new types of cultivation. As long as the economy of the village was self-sufficient, no such problems arose; each colony of houses on the lonely hills was an isolated unit. But as soon as villagers begin to grow more than they need, problems of transport arise. It is clear that the encouragement of new crops must go hand in hand with the broadening of bridle paths and the provision of jeeps.
text: Tonight there is a full moon and the sky is clear with the brilliance which only comes at the end of the rains. As I looked out just now at the velvety black sky, the stars shining like points of mica on a path and the moon white and distinct, I thought of Bharati Sarabhai's lines (100)
text: 'Here, after the shut-in cold of the fierce mountain
text: is the piercing thrill
text: of the outside moon.'
text: The hills lay cold and precise in the grey light, revealing all their folds. In the garden even the leaves were sparkling in the moon-light and the branches looked as though they were covered in small white jasmine flowers.