The Nagas

Hill Peoples of Northeast India

Project Introduction The Naga Database

Typescript, J.P. Mills, Tour Diary, March 1927, with comments by Ursula Betts, 1986

caption: Long march to Baladhan, a prosperous village; comparison of Kolang Kukis with other groups; Christian converts
medium: tours
person: Bell/ Mr
ethnicgroup: KonyakKuki <KolangKuki <ThadoAngamiAoLushai
location: Baladhan Hangrum Shongkai (Shongai) Jiri R. Malushei Hakholo Leiri Duijung Laisong Silchar
date: 11.3.1927
person: Betts/ UrsulaMills/ J.P.
date: 3.1927
person: School of Oriental and African Studies Library, London
text: 11th.
text: To Baladhan 17 miles. From this morning we entered country new to Mr. Bell. We went by Naga paths along the eastern face of the range and counted all the villages on the way. Some of the going was pretty stiff and we were out from a quarter to nine (the coolies being late) till half-past six. After climbing up from Hangrum we dropped straight down to Shongai, an old and big Naga village, on a fine site on a flat-topped spur. The neck was defended by a double wall of stone, the inner wall being loop-holed for a gun. Against the wall were four curious hook-shaped stones. They were found in the jungle and have certainly been (14) artificially shaped. Either they are old phallic stones of the Konyak type, or they are the broken halves of two small, rough stone arches. They are only about 2.5 feet high.
text: [UGB: I went over this route in 1942 when recruiting for V Force and again later and saw the loopholed wall. I must have taken a shorter route to Baladhan, as we certainly did not do Mills' 17 mile march, but I was in touch with this area throughout 1942-44.]
text: The village had ample good land and is well off. The young men wear exceptionally pretty ear ornaments of minivet feathers. They insisted on dancing for us and were very good.
text: From there we went right down to a stream - nearly as low as the level of the Jiri - and up to Malushei, with two very steep climbs on the way. Malushei is a Kolang Kuki village. Thence we went on to Hakholo, a small Naga village, and from thence to Leiri, a Kolang village, with Duijung, a Naga village, just beyond it. Thence we climbed up to Baladhan. At first sight Kolangs closely resembles Thados. The Khosak clan, however, set up wooden figures of the dead very like the Angami figures. By the side of the figures are planted madar trees, apparently of a species which the Aos use for head trees. I hope to see some more of them in the next few days. We met a few Christian Kukis and a bumptious Lushai pastor in a pink coat, with a brood of sons in dirty shorts. In order to leave no doubt in the mind of the casual observer that they are a chosen people, some of the converts of the Welsh Mission no longer live in Kuki (15) houses, but in houses like Bengali clerks' quarters. Manchester calico is popular with all and the women wear a sort of untidy shift instead of their national dress.
text: At Baladhan one hears what sounds like heavy guns fired towards the south. No one seems to know what the explanation is.
text: [UGB: This is a very odd phenomenon. I have heard it from Laisong. The noise came from the South, from the Silchar area, the weather being calm, clear and still. They are also heard in the Sunderbunds and, apparently, in many other parts of the world. See the now rare ENIGMAS, by R.T. Gould (Unwin 1929 pp. 150-8). The noise I heard was just like heavy artillery firing on a distant range.]