The Nagas

Hill Peoples of Northeast India

Project Introduction The Naga Database

letter from Henry Balfour to J.H. Hutton

caption: photo of Kigwema door; objects collected in Naga Hills not yet arrived; effect of alien influences on Nagas; Hutton's prospective Transfrontier tour
medium: letters
person: Hutton/ J.H.NihuNikrihuLengaan
location: Kigwema
person: Balfour/ Henry
date: 7.3.1924
person: Pitt Rivers Museum Archive, Oxford
refnum: Hutton Ms. Box 315-17
text: Langley Lodge,
text: Headington Hill,
text: Oxford
text: 7/3/1923
text: My dear Hutton,
text: Many thanks for yours of Jan. 26. I had to miss last week's mail in replying, as I was obsessed with committees and awfully busy. The pile of work that accumulated while I was away is a terrible handicap and I I struggling with it, but have only made a small hole in it as yet. Thanks much for the excellent photo of the Kigwema door. This is very clear and I'm glad to have it. I wish I could have made a comprehensive study of these doors, as they would form a valuable comparative series, bringing out the local differences. I wish I were back in the Hills with lots of time to concentrate on certain items of culture. Fancy a card dropped by me on the New Sema Road turning up again. I was much amused. Most of my specimens have not yet turned up and are, I suppose on the high seas. I am getting anxious about them as they must have been shipped from Calcutta in December or January, and I've heard nothing of them. I had to let off a Presidential address to the Folk Lore Soc. the other day, and as I had to refer to the death of Rivers, I harped upon his work in regard to the welfare of primitive peoples and their administration. I quoted the Nagas in illustration. But I hope that you are going to make a detailed report on the effects of outside influence and white control upon the Nagas. It is an excellent field since I have 'strata', so to speak, from which the effects of alien influence can be studied comparatively. There are
text: (1) The independent and almost untouched Nagas of the Eastern districts.
text: (2) The Nagas along the Eastern border of the administered area, now under Government control, but as yet little changed.
text: (3) The Central and Western Nagas, more or less altered by missionary intrusion.
text: (4) The Western (mainly) affected by the Plains influence.
text: Also you have the effects resulting from the making of the Dimapur-Manipur Road.
text: These 'strata' should give an excellent basis for intensive study of the efects of outside influence and give a clue to what effects are desirable and what are the reverse.
text: Such a report would be valuable not only for local administration, but also would serve as a guide elsewhere.
text: How I envy you your transfrontier trip. I wish to goodness I could be with you as it should be fascinating. I will be very anxious to hear what you find in the untouched country. I hope that the political work won't take up all your time and that you will be able to give plenty of time to ethnology and the distribution of arts and appliances etc.
text: I do hope that Mrs Hutton is better now, and also that I will see her if she comes home in the Autumn. I'm sorry that your leave will be postponed, but look forward anyhow to seeing you next year. I want to hear about the solution of the Dimapur carvings. Have you any spare copies of you miscellaneous communications to "Man" etc? I would like very much to gather these together in one cover for reference.
text: I get bouts of malaria at intervals. I had 3 on board between Bombay and Plymouth and one about a fortnight ago. So the bug hasn't ceased to worry me yet. Otherwise I'm all gay. I must rush this off to catch the mail so I won't write more now.
text: Best wishes for success on the transfrontier trip. Would to goodness I were going too.
text: Please study the question of distribution and special used of bull-roarers among Nagas in general. Also tatuing implements, and the bow among the untouched Naga tribes.
text: Salaams to Nihu, Nikrihu, Lengaan and the rest of my Naga and Kuki friends.
text: Henry Balfour