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: drafting of a constitution by NNC committee
medium: diaries
person: ZopiangaKrusihuNchemoMayang
date: 15.10.1947
person: Archer/ Mildred
date: 9.7.1947-4.12.1947
text: 15 October. Mokokchung.
text: All this week the Naga Committee, appointed by the N.N.C., has been meeting to examine the Governor's 'agreement'. The Angamis are represented by Zopianga, a stout and sensible Assistant to the Deputy Commissioner, and Krusihu, a serious earnest-minded clerk. Nchemo has come in from Wokha for the Lhotas, while Mayang is attending for the Aos. The Semas are busy with a tribal council and their representatives have not arrived. (106)
text: The committee began by looking at the district budget and almost immediately hard facts forced them to modify their demands. Under the Governor's 'agreement', forests, agriculture, education and minor civil works were all to come under Naga control provided that the Nagas paid for them. But at present the Naga house-tax accounts for less than a quarter of what is spent on these departments, and if full control is to be taken, the tax will have to be increased by four or five times. 'The villagers,' Mayang said, 'will pay anything for complete independence, but what will they pay for this? If we double the house-tax they will grudge it. "What are we getting?" they will ask. If we treble it they will refuse to pay any tax at all.' 'In Kohima,' Krusihu said, 'the Independence party will laugh at us. They will tell the villagers, "You have not got Independence. You have only got taxes."' 'Then what are we to do?' said Zopianga, 'Double the house-tax and give up a department?' 'I think so,' said Mayang. 'But the schools at least we must keep. We can give up Civil Works, but never the schools.'
text: So the Civil Works were abandoned and the Committee turned to the courts. 'Our Naga courts must be Naga,' Mayang said. 'We cannot admit even the Deputy Commissioner. If a foreigner quarrels with a Naga, let the Naga S.D.O. try it. We will never have a plainsman.'
text: In this way the talk went on and on and gradually a constitution was drafted. The Committee have insisted that the Nagas themselves should control the entry of plainsmen into the Hills and that while the Deputy Commissioner will continue to issue passes, he must be bound by Naga advice. They refused to discuss the representation of Nagas in the Assam Assembly. 'We will have nothing to do with it,' they said. 'If the Assam Government wish to hear our views let them ask the N.N.C.' Similarly they said nothing about Clause 9 with its demand for freedom after ten years. 'That is a matter for the N.N.C. to decide.' (107)
text: Another meeting of the N.N.C. is being held at Wokha on 22 October and everyone is speculating whether it will accept or reject the committee's report. All the Mokokchung members, people think, will support the committee, but as to the Angamis, no one can say.