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: Socialising in Yongiemdi; houses, morungs and an annoying crowd at Susu
medium: diaries
person: Yanchu/ of YongiemdiMills/ J.P.
ethnicgroup: AoPhomKonyak
location: Yongyimti (Yongiemdi) Salulamang Chuchu Yimlang (Susu) Mokokchung Mongsenyimti (Mongsemdi)
date: 7.11.1922
person: Balfour/ Henry
date: 1922-1923
person: Pitt Rivers Museum Archive, Oxford
text: Tues. Nov. 7th.
text: I got up at 6 a.m. to see the sunrise. The snowy range of Himalayas looked splendid in the background & I made a rough sketch of them. We went & visited some of the chief Yongiemdi people in their houses, and hobnobbed with them. I photo'd Yanchu & his wife, the latter very shy & difficult to persuade to submit. I took them on the platform at the back of their house. We walked to Salulamang (an Ao village with Phom admixture). I was carried uphill in the chair from the small river at the bottom of the valley. In the village I sketched a xylophone & a carved post at a roofed-over sitting-out place. The houses are partly in the Ao style, with rising gable-roof, & partly in the Phom style with slightly hog-backed ridge. This visit made a digression from our route to Susu. From Salulamang we crossed two valleys & streams, the last by a cane suspension bridge. The very steep climb up to Susu I did in the chair. Outside Susu, the richest man in the Ao country met us, very grimy & poorly dressed! We passed right through the village & camped on the bridle-path at a point 19 miles from Mokokchung. We had left the bridle path at Mongsemdi & had been on Naga paths since then. Most of us felt seedy & off-colour, I don't know why. Headaches were prevalent & I had a splitting one. I walked about Susu village in the afternoon - a good-sized village built along a ridge. In the morungs, which are of Konyak type, the xylophones resemble closely those at Yongiemdi. The big morung is open in front & has a front platform on piles, from which the interior is in view. The usual buffalo-horn trumpets & double-membrane drums are kept in the morung. The front gable is carried high up & there are some fine carved posts. Many well-carved posts stand in front of rich men's houses. The village is a rich one, owing largely to its acting as distributing centre for salt from the plains of Assam. The crowd was a great nuisance & difficult to keep back while I was sketching. I returned to camp very tired & feeling really seedy, & lay down to read Fabre's "Insect Adventures", but the noise of a large crowd of Naga litigants all disputing was awful. They yelled & shouted all at once, a few yards from my tent & went on for hours, till Mills came & drove them off with vigorous & well-aimed kicks. Passers by stood & stared at me in my tent in a very disconcerting manner, but I was too seedy to buzz things at them. It was a warm night for the time of year, but we had a large log fire burning outside the tents & the reports from exploding bamboo joints on the cooking fires sounded like rifle shots, but, doubtless kept the evil spirits away. A leopard came onto the ridge & my pony bolted but was recaptured after a long chase. I was given a fringed spear-shaft in the village. Fine moonlight night.