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: Departure from Mokokchung; divination by firemaking; march to Chuntia
medium: diaries
person: Mills/ J.P.Mongsem khel/ KensaNikrihu
ethnicgroup: Ao
location: Mokokchung Khensa (Kensa) Chungtia (Chuntia)
date: 2.12.1922
person: Balfour/ Henry
date: 1922-1923
person: Pitt Rivers Museum Archive, Oxford
text: Sat. Dec. 2.
text: I spent my last morning at Mokokchung in packing up & settling accounts. After lunch I said goodbye to Mills with very great regret, as I had had a splendid time with him & had experienced every possible kindness from him. Four packing-cases of specimins were made ready for sending off by cargo boat from Calcutta. Mills's pony was waiting for me. A long line of dobashis & other Nagas had formed up to say goodbye & they gave me a good send off. I felt very sorry to leave them all. [On the previous day an Ao had asked me whether I would like to consult the omens as to whether my journey to the Plains would be successful. I readily answered "yes", and wished to see his methods. He went through the process of frictional fire-making (with stick & cane thong) & when the thong broke, he measured the two parts against each other and finding that they were of unequal length, he declared that the omen was favourable & that I would get through without trouble. That was satisfactory. It occured to me afterwards that I was perhaps unwise to resort to divination, since, if the omen had been inauspicious, the carriers would probably have refused to start & I might have been delayed, with awkward results.]
text: I started off at 2.30 p.m. & rode for 5 miles, past Kensa village, then walked for 3.5 miles & rode the last 1/2 mile to the small bungalow at Chuntia (Ao village), arriving at 5.20 p.m. The Mongsem gaonbura & others had met me outside Kensa bringing me zu, & saying that they regretted that I had not visited the Mongsem section of Kensa on Thursday. I was equally sorry, but time had been short, as was explained to them. Later I met the Chuntia gaonburas waiting for me with zu & with a present of two chickens. They accompanied me to Chuntia bungalow, and another gaonbura turned up with a third chicken. I regretted having no cheroots to give them, but had forgotten to ask Mills for a supply. My safari consisted of Nikrihu, a dobashi, a cook, a sais & his boy, 7 coolies carrying loads & 1 in reserve. Mills's 'bearer' was to join me next day.