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: Mayang's reasons for Naga dislike of plainsmen
medium: diaries
person: Mayang
date: 3.11.1947
person: Archer/ Mildred
date: 9.7.1947-4.12.1947
text: I asked Mayang why such bitter feelings had grown up against the plainsman, as it is obvious that they are not merely due to the recent war contacts with dishonest Indian contractors. 'Oh, it goes far back,' said Mayang. 'Long before the British came. When we used to take our vegetables down to the plains to sell, the plainsmen would say, "Put them down on the ground." We would do so and they would then pour a little water over them as if to say, "These people are so filthy we cannot touch anything they have been near."' 'How foolish it was,' said Mayang, 'as if a little water could make them clean. It was just the same if we ever had to stay with them. They would give us a cot right out in the courtyard in the dew. But if they came to stay with us we always gave them of our best and welcomed them. When the plains people think we are like dogs, how can we love them and trust them?' Mayang went on to explain that when a Naga talks to a plainsman at once something 'like an unseen wall between us' immediately springs up. 'A Naga cannot be frank with them and we can never talk about the things that really matter.'