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: dilemma of the Naga flag and future government
medium: diaries
person: PawseyMayangAlibaSubong
location: Zunheboto (Zenibotto)
date: 24.11.1947
person: Archer/ Mildred
date: 9.7.1947-4.12.1947
text: With the bridle path we have returned to politics. Sema interpreters were waiting full of worries and news. It appears that last week three Ao school boys from the Mokokchung Mission school visited Zenibotto with the Naga flag - red, white and green - and asked the school to hoist it. Only a junior interpreter was there and he said that he could do nothing as the President of the Sema Tribal Council and the Junior Head interpreter were all out on tour. So they went back again. The interpreters wanted to know what they should do if the boys came again. Bill at first said that they must on no account let the flag be hoisted on Government buildings. Then the interpreters said, 'But suppose they insist, are we to use force?' Bill replied that force was always bad and they must manage as tactfully as they could. 'If they won't listen to you let them put the flag up and then take it down again as soon as they are gone.' Then the interpreters said, 'But who is to take it down? If any one of us do it, he will be known as the man who took down the Naga flag. None of us dare do it. If this happens we will leave the flag alone and send a report to Mokokchung.' 'Whatever will be the use of that,' said Bill, ' I shall merely order one of you to take it down.' 'But if we do it, the Semas will be so enraged that even though it is your order some them may kill us.' 'What will you do,' continued Bill 'if the N.N.C. sends you an order to resign from government service? You know that if you leave Government service without permission you can be put in jail for a year and lose your provident fund and guns.' 'What can we do?' said the interpreters, 'If we leave government service we go to jail, but if we stay the Semas will kill us. Even if they do not kill us, what will (159) happen when the N.N.C. eventually becomes the government? Everyone will say, "These are the men who went against their own people".' 'What we want' said one interpreter 'is a clear order from Government about the next ten years. Are we to be under the Assam Government or the N.N.C.? Until the government tells us, we do not know where we stand.' Then Bill said, 'All of you know that I have got to go to Calcutta for a few days. On my way back I will go and see Pawsey Sahib and find out what is happening in Kohima. If anyone wants to hoist a flag or resign from service, tell him to wait until I come back on December 16th. Don't do anything in a hurry. Wait and see what others do first. We will see what Pawsey Sahib, Mayang, Aliba and Subong are all doing and then we can decide how best to meet the situation.' And with these sage words, the matter ended.