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: Leaving the Hills; train journey in the Plain
medium: diaries
person: Nikrihu
location: Lakhuni (Lakhu) Nakachari R.S. Mokokchung Cholimsen (Cholemsen) Dimapur
date: 6.12.1922
person: Balfour/ Henry
date: 1922-1923
person: Pitt Rivers Museum Archive, Oxford
text: Wed. Dec. 6.
text: Breakfast at 7.30. After sending the coolies on ahead. I started at 8.15 a.m. on 'George'. Most of the way was downhill, becoming more level as we approached the Plains. By midday the level became absolute & the foothills were left behind. Nearly all the track was through jungle & bamboo brakes. As the Plains were reached, the typical Plains avipanna replaced that of the Hills. Vultures, Kites, Padi-birds, White Egrets, mynahs & grey-necked crows became dominant. I reached the Dak Bungalow (a very bad one) at 12.45 p.m., about 15 or 16 miles from Lakhu, and after tiffin I walked 1.5 miles to Nakachari Station, to find out when the train would be leaving (10.14 p.m.). I then returned to the Bungalow & paid off the carriers & provided rice for their return trek to Mokokchung. The coolies were paid at the rate of 4 annas each for each of the first two stages from Mokokchung; 6 annas from Cholemsen to Lakhu, and 6 annas from Lakhu to the Dak Bungalow; (8 annas to those who carried loads as far as Nakachari Station). Near the Bungalow I saw a small woodpecker, somewhat like our Greater Spotted Woodpecker, with pied back and wings, black cap, pale grey cheeks & with a few black marks on the sides of the throat; buff below with bright red rump. I dined at the Bungalow & waited there till it was time to go down to the station. I had a long wait for the train which was late. There was a waiting-room on the platform with a notice saying "For persons of European quality only". I did not use it, but saw a very dark native who assumed the status of "European quality" on the strength of his wearing a straw hat and sock-suspenders (but without socks!) & who invaded the room without hesitation. I got a compartment to myself in the train. The loads were put into a 3rd. class with the 'bearer' and Nikrihu, but at the last moment were transfered to another compartment nearer to mine, & only just got bundled in as the train started. Nikrihu was very nearly left behind through his characteristic slowness. For once he streaked along the platform like greased lightning & it was very amusing to watch him. He just managed to get on board after the train had gained pace & had a very bad scare. The train started at 10.40 p.m. Exceedingly cold journey to Dimapur, as I was wearing shorts & my blankets were not accessible. I walked up & down the compartment trying to get warm, but without avail.