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: visit to Litsimi
caption: rice-pounding songs
medium: diaries
person: Hevetu
ethnicgroup: Sema
date: 22.11.1947
person: Archer/ Mildred
date: 9.7.1947-4.12.1947
seealso: Sema rice-pounding song
text: 22 November. Tizu camp.
text: As the next camp was only five miles away we spent the morning in Litsimi village and did not move on until the afternoon. Everyone was most friendly and we wandered from house to house.
text: Some of the girls wearing their attractive bead-skirts - yellow, blue and red - sung rice-pounding songs. Four girls stood each side of a great boat-shaped pounder, alternately swinging their great pestles up and down, making a criss cross pattern that was paralleled by the interlacing melody. As they swayed with the graceful movement, the looped skirts swung heavily against their buttocks.
How difficult it is to find a lovely girl, a lovely boy,
In only a little time they are gone like flowers
Youth follows age
And the world is always changing.
text: But they ended with a song, which, although the tune was traditional, has new words. As with the other tribes in India, new songs spontaneously arise for any occasion:
The Sahib and the Memsahib
Took the soldiers out to war
Now like hornbills they are settling on our village
Hevetu is doing salaam to the Sahib and Memsahib
We would like them to stay always
But they have no time and are going away
text: Then the men danced in their ceremonial dress and the whole village sat round to watch.