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: Imphal court-rooms and bazaars; Manipuri and Bengali nautch
medium: diaries
person: Hutton/ J.H.Gimson/ MrMangaljaoDallas Smith/ MrsJolly/ MrJolly/ MrsJolly/ MissAmery/ MrsCrawford/ Mr
ethnicgroup: TangkhulChiruKabuiManipuriKukiKoirao
location: Imphal Imphal (Manipur)
date: 28.9.1922
person: Balfour/ Henry
date: 1922-1923
person: Pitt Rivers Museum Archive, Oxford
text: Thurs. Sept. 28th
text: Breakfast at 8.0. Hutton & Gimson went off to shoot snipe, & I went with an English-speaking Manipuri clerk, Mangaljao by name, to look around IMPHAL. We first visited the Civil Court (for local cases only); a rectangular Court-room, open along the front, very simply furnished. A frieze of paintings by a Manipuri state artist very crudely depicts scenes from the life of Krishna. The adjacent Criminal Court is a similar building, having a similar frieze depicting scenes in Hell, very lurid & thrilling scenes of torment, serving as a warning to liars & perjurers. Next we went round the Bazaars. The Naga section is very interesting, where were grouped Tangkhuls, almost naked & with much distended ear-lobes, Chirus with large annular silver ear-ornaments, grooved outside for the ear lobe, like a bicycle-wheel for its tyre; and Kabuis. (
text: After lunch I went with Hutton round the Bazaars & markets. Thousands of Manipuris, Kukis, Koiraos, Tangkhuls etc. etc. were massed there & a brisk trade was being conducted in fish, meat, vegetables, betel-nut, pan leaves & lime; pottery, basketry, turned stone pots (at 2 annas apiece), wooden articles, chillam pipes with coconut water-holders & wooden stands, etc. Native jewelry, silver & brass ornaments etc. were on stalls in the covered market; other commodities were mostly spread out on mats or flat baskets on the ground. There is a big trade in cloth goods, mostly of native make. The fish-stalls stank so furiously that we had to fly from them. A small, slimy-looking black cat-fish was in great abundance, very unattractive in appearance, & most repellant to the nose. I met Mrs. Dallas Smith in the market & escorted her to the tennis club-ground. Mr. & Mrs. Jolly & their daughter, Mrs. Amery, and Mr. Crawford came to dinner at the Residency, & we all went to a 'nautch' at the Drill shed, where performances were given of Manipuri dances & songs, Bengali dances & songs, sword-dancing & tumbling & a number of comic plays. We were there from 9.30 p.m. till well past midnight. The Drill Hall was absolutely packed. Most of the English residents were there & hundreds of natives - a most picturesque sight. The singing was very high-pitched & nasal & the music seemingly inconsequent & hard to follow. The dancing mostly consisted in posturing & hand & arm movements, very little foot-work.