The Nagas

Hill Peoples of Northeast India

Project Introduction The Naga Database

manuscript - 'Diary of a Tour in the Naga Hills, 1922-1923' by Henry Balfour

caption: Accommodation at Government House, Ganeshkhind; formal dinner and nautch
medium: diaries
date: 1.9.1922
person: Balfour/ Henry
date: 1922-1923
person: Pitt Rivers Museum Archive, Oxford
text: Fri, Sept. 1st
text: At the first station from Bombay, my bearer walked into the compartment, just as though nothing had happened. How he got there I don't know, but he seemed to be fairly sober. I gave him several jagged pieces of my mind, as I was furious at his having let me down at the start. Noisy, very dusty night journey, though cool in the early morning. Was called by bearer at 5.17 a.m. at Talegaon station, dressed, & arrived at Kirkee station at 6 a.m. Chuprassies and a car met me & I was driven to Government House, Ganeshkhind, where an A.D.C. took me to my room, a very nice large one with very large verandah. Chota hazri was brought & after a bath I dressed leisurely for breakfast at 9 with the A.D.C.'s (the Governor did not appear at breakfast). The house is very fine & spaciously built with fine state-rooms. The sentries (Bombay Lancers) looked very fine & supplied a splash of colour, as also the servants, all in scarlet. After breakfast I strolled around the gardens, which are extensive, partly formal and partly semi-wild. A quarry has been turned into a large bathing-tank. Lots of birds, kites, vultures etc. Many I could not identify. Minute striped palm squirrels everywhere. H.E. (Sir George Lloyd) materialized at lunch time & gave me a welcome. After lunch we sat & watched some symbolic dances, performed by various servants & saises of Government House, who are allowed to perform these dances once a year. Quaint costumes; drum-music. One dance symbolized a boating scene, with action of paddling etc; dancers all men, except 1 woman & 2 small boys. Another dance, by saises, was a Shiah ceremonial dance of a somewhat involved nature. After tea I had another stroll round; wired to E; visited the stables, which are quite good, nice & airy. Large full-dress dinner-party in the evening; 42 sat down. Ceremonial etiquette strictly observed. Table decorated with orange & scarlet zinneas, which, with the body-guard of Bombay Lancers, the scarlet chuprassies etc. made a wonderful colour effect, predominantly scarlet. I took Mrs. Westmoreland into dinner, & afterwards had a long & interesting talk with Mrs. Mead. Bed at 11.30 after a somewhat tiring 24 hours. Numbers of fruit-bats (Pteropus) were flying about & quarrelling in the palms, making a lot of noise.