The Nagas

Hill Peoples of Northeast India

Project Introduction The Naga Database

manuscript - Christoph von Furer-Haimendorf, Naga diary five

caption: dancing at Borjan , a nautch troop
medium: diaries
ethnicgroup: Konyak
location: Borjan
date: 12.5.1937
person: Furer-Haimendorf
date: 1.4.1937-26.6.1937
note: translated from german by Dr Ruth Barnes
person: School of Oriental and African Studies Library, London
text: In the evening there was more entertainment. The factory's babu had engaged a nautch troop consisting of three men and two women. The two women danced to the accompaniment of the men for an audience which consisted of Borjan's entire population. The men played a small harmonium, two drums which they beat with their hands, and several cymbals. Only one woman danced at a time and she sang at the same time with a not very melodious voice. She accompanied her singing which seemed to refer to dramatic events with sweeping conventionalized arm and hand movements. The rhythm was in particular obvious in her quick small steps and the bare feet with bell anklets.
text: These nautch girls were probably not first class but I had to admire their endurance. The one dancer seemed to have drunk a bit too much and the sweat was pouring down her face (147) but again and again she danced the most exhausting dances and often even found the strength to twirl around like mad. The audience once again made up of numerous races had their eyes fixed on the dancers and aroused them through further calls. Here too Castle had a radio installed and so we and the whole audience heard the King's message which he was reading apparently very nervous and sometimes stumbling. Even late at night it was still quite hot.