The Nagas

Hill Peoples of Northeast India

Project Introduction The Naga Database

diaries kept by Ursula Graham Bower on visits to Manipur and North Cachar between 1937 and 1940

caption: visit to Kambirong; village dance
medium: diaries
person: Hamja'George''Nijinsky'Cummins/ Paddy'Charles''Cupid'
location: Kambiron (Kambirong)
date: 19.11.1938
person: Graham Bower/ Ursula
person: private collection
text: (14) Nov. 19th. Barak Bridge. 14. Celia & I left for village about 8.40a.m., escorted by bucks, headmen and Hamja.
text: Saw woman weaving Kabui cloth (15) (outer strip, with red border).
text: Proceeded further into village. Sundry drums thudding. Came to what was presumably headman's house, were received by assorted elders, and parked on morahs on spread matting with hens and zu laid in huge quantities before us. Village then gathered in a body, most of it in a rag and a bead, and beamed and stared and giggled. Bucks appeared in fragments of costume. Babies invaded the matting in all stages of nakedness. Hamja went off to stage-manage. Drums continued to thud intermittently. More babies invaded the matting, including one in a shirt; it (the baby) was reluctantly persuaded to accept a safety-pin. More partially dressed performers appeared and giggled. Crowd thickened, so did atmosphere. Small (16) boy behind Celia explored intricacies of cable-stitch on her jumper.
text: Drums began to gather. Saw Charles among drummers, tastefully decorated with yellow flowers. Hamja chivvied performers. Headmen chivvied babies, fathers, mothers, and Derby pi-dog, which sat down to nest in middle of dancing space.
text: Ho-hoing began, enegetic but off-key in one or two tones, and performers marched in, first a dozen bucks, then girls, then more bucks.
text: Saw Charles after the dance; told him, via Hamja, to come down to camp and I would give him his photo. He duly turned up, and I gave him 2 pictures and one of Cupid, whom Charles picked out. Charles developed an angelic grin which went right across his face, and we have another friend in Kambirong. Cupid wearing a cloth, but brass rings in the ears instead of safety pins.