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: 'Hills and Plains' celebrations in Shillong
medium: diaries
person: Hydari/ Sir Akbar
date: 12.10.1947
person: Archer/ Mildred
date: 9.7.1947-4.12.1947
text: 12 October. Mokokchung.
text: Today the newspaper reports that the 'Hills and Plains' celebrations sponsored by the Governor's wife have opened at Shillong. The object of these celebrations is 'by exhibition of local arts and industries, by the organising of representative songs, dances and dramatic programmes, and by the meeting of delegates from all over Assam to foster a closer relationship between the Plains and the Hills.' The celebrations are 'to enable people to know each other through their arts and handicrafts, dance and plays and thus bring about more friendly relations by removing their long-grounded suspicions against each other.' The Naga Hills has sent examples of weaving, wood carvings and weapons to the exhibition.
text: But the scheme seems ill-fated. At the opening huge crowds assembled and 'before less than half the number could get into the exhibition rooms, time was declared over and the (105) rest had to retire cursing their luck and condemning the management.' The Governor and his family then arrived to watch a show which included various tribal dances. 'But for the want of adequate accommodation and failure of microphone, the programmes had to be abandoned after one performance and Sir Akbar also could not address the gathering on that account.' He was able, however, to show himself to the audience and 'was acclaimed with Jai Hind by a jubilant crowd.'
text: Moreover, due to various factors which might perhaps have been avoided, no Nagas apart from a football team, will be attending. Throughout the Naga Hills the villagers are now engrossed with paddy harvesting and this will continue until the exhibition is over. This is the busiest month of the year. What Naga is willing to leave his work, tramp for three days to the plains, travel by train and by bus to Shillong in order to fraternise with people whom he dislikes and despises? Moreover the slow reluctance with which the Assam Premier accepted the Governor's 'agreement' has not engendered feeling of affectionate trust. On the contrary, it has merely deepened Naga suspicions. Only a dramatic gesture emphatically demonstrating a genuine sympathy for their aspirations could have induced them to support the Hills and Plains Week. As for the football team, that is unlikely to stimulate friendly feelings as throughout India, nothing is so productive of bitter hatred as football matches.