The Nagas

Hill Peoples of Northeast India

Project Introduction The Naga Database

typescript - J.P. Mills, tour diary, August 1928

caption: sparsely populated area round Sangbar; agriculture; elephant damage; decline of indigenous brass casting and conflict with Welsh Mission
medium: notestours
person: Bania/ of Sangbar
ethnicgroup: Biete
location: Sangbar Lushai Hills
date: 2.8.1928
person: Mills/ J.P.
date: 8.1928
refnum: (from): J.P.Mills and others, "Tour Diaries and Administrative Notes from the North Cachar Hills, Assam. 1928-1940. Unpublished Government Papers" at SOAS Library, London. Pam. Assam B 314349.
text: 2nd August. To Sangbar 12 miles. 7 - 11. An easy march, with a sharp drop and fall at the end which we shall have to do in the reverse direction tomorrow morning. The country is very sparsely populated and much of the thatching grass land could be regenerated if fires could be checked. Sangbar, one of the few ancient Biete villages left, had better crops than most people last year. The mission planted a teacher on them, but he gave up in despair and left. There are complaints of damage to fields by a solitary elephant. I will proclaim it if I can get a description.
text: At Sangbar there lives Bania, the last of the Biete brass casters, a craft for which the tribe was once famed. I am trying to take steps to ensure its preservation, but it may be too late. The Welsh Mission are greatly to be blamed for helping to kill the one indigenous craft of these and the Lusha [sic] Hills which had great artistic possibilities. I have seen really fine pieces of work from the latter area. The education for which the Mission shows such zeal and demands such grants is only useless book learning. Instead of encouraging indigenous art they have looked sourly at the use of any ornaments produced by it.