The Nagas

Hill Peoples of Northeast India

Project Introduction The Naga Database

manuscript - Christoph von Furer-Haimendorf Naga diary on his return to Nagaland, 1970

caption: a meeting to encourage school attendance
medium: diaries
ethnicgroup: Zemi
location: Laisong
date: 18.8.1970
person: Furer-Haimendorf
date: 12.8.1970-9.9.1970
person: private collection
text: This afternoon was spent entirely in attending a meeting called by a party of officials who had come from Haflong. The party consisted of two executive members of the District Council, who are politicians, and four officials. The former were Semion Zemi, and Lalwbura, who is Hmar. The latter Mr. Buyan, Subdivisional Planning Officer, Zemi, Block Development Officer, H.P.Thaosen, District Social Education Officer and a Subinspector of Schools.
text: I found them holding court and drinking rice-beer in the master's quarters, and those I had met in Haflong hailed me as an old friend. Several gaonburas came to see them. - Then they moved to the lower and oldest morung, and there held a meeting which was meant as a part of the drive to encourage enrolment of school children. There are a number of schools in Zemi villages, but attendance is poor. In Laisong, for instance, only 25 children attend the school. (In addition 16 pupils attend the Mission school.)
text: The Hmar politician had called the teacher and all the school children from the Hmar village of Tulpai, (40) to serve as an example to the Zemis, and probably also to show off his own influence. The children and many teachers from nearby - and not so nearby - schools sat on the benches of the morung and chairs and tables were provided for the visitors. They were carried up quite unnecessarily from the school and perhaps the dispensary.
text: The proceedings were opened by Lalwbura, the Hmar politician, who spoke in "broken Hindi" - and very broken it was. He told the people about the value of education, the efforts of Government to establish schools etc., and deplored the poor response of the Zemis. His speech was dotted with references to the progress of USA, England and Japan and the backwardness of these hills. Even in Nagaland the people are more progressive.
text: Then Mr. Buyan spoke. He first asked whether Assamese would be understood, but on receiving a negative response he continued in Hindi, very much in the same vein. After a speech by Mr. Thaosen, there followed addresses in Zemi by the B.D.O. and the Zemi politician. I did not feel that the Zemis present were particularly appreciative or enthusiastic, but I suppose that even the Zemi speeches were above their heads. The gaonburas certainly looked rather glum, and I doubt whether the function will have much effect.
text: When given a chance the schoolteachers present came forward with complaints about the absence of school materials and delay in the payment of salaries.
text: At the beginning and end Bande Matara was sung, and I doubt whether it means much to the Zemis. When the meeting was over the visitors were entertained in the house adjoining the morung;- there was rice-beer (of two qualities) and some roast or stewed chicken. I have the impression that a visitation of this kind (41) is considered more or less as picnic by the officers concerned, and in a way it is a tax on the people who are supposed to provide chickens and ricebeer. I noticed that the officers sat by themselves in the back-porch while the Zemi gaonburas sat round the fire. There is apparently little fraternization between the tribal politicians and the tribesmen.
text: Among the teachers who had come to Laisong there was a Hmar, who is teacher in Guilong. He left this morning at 7 am and reached it at 1 pm. He said the Guilong people had received instructions from Doalagupu to build a basha and they were doing so. Taking advantage of the presence of the officials we arranged for five permanent porters to take us to Guilong on the 22nd August.