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: to Irangmukh
medium: diaries
date: 27.11.1938
person: Graham Bower/ Ursula
person: private collection
text: (50) Nov. 27th. Irangmukh. 6.
text: Left by raft, all the baggage going too. Had a shortish march to Irangmukh; all the dogs distributed among the rafts, one to each and none to ours. Had a sweetly jungli boatman. Arrived junction of rivers about noon, our boatman full of chat about the scenery, imminence of camp, etc., and had fat chortle over Shamshu's method of poling, which sounded like a demented paddle-wheel. Jeff fishing up Irang when we arrived. Hamja joined him and left us with the boatman. He was trying to light a huge Kuki pipe with flint and steel when I gave him a box of matches. He was thrilled, & asked Celia if he could keep them. I said he could, but he asked both of us again, and was so pleased he tumbled out of the boat and held palm-leaves - with which Celia was trying to shelter herself from the sun - over us. Cleopatra wasn't in it. (Prior to this he had left the raft, removed all his clothes and had a thorough wash all over, about 20 feet away from us.) Transferred to shade to save him from cramp. Sun grilling. While waiting (51) for Jeff and Hamja Celia & I sang chiefly "Three Blind Mice" and "Frere Jacques" as rounds; to boatman's intense delight and amusement. Hearty chortles from him concluded each verse.
text: By the time our bathing things arrived from other bank we had had tiffin, so went over to other bank & had siesta. Elephant tracks all round camp belonged to tame elephants grazed by man in camp 1/4 mile below ours. About 4.30 got up & went out for swim. Celia wasn't feeling her best, so didn't come. Couldn't get along bank, so after many qualms took raft and embarked on bosom of Barak. To own surprise, got safely out of port, poled & paddled (with much difficulty and perspiration) up to bend and top of island, crossed Barak, rounded island, and found Jeff just setting out to fish when I reached foot of rapid. Went up Irang and swam, Jeff going on upstream to fish. Paddled home and made perfect 3-point landing without aid of Kukis, a sulky lot anyway.
text: In evening elephant-grazer came over & (52) asked for quinine for his young brother. Nice fellow, from Silchar. Gave him quinine. Had a sing-song, to interest of Kukis, who tried to build a super fire & lugged up log the size of a redwood; but it smouldered out, and they sat round it so close we got no heat & couldn't even see it. Camp fair; some way from river, and basha fronted with rose-trellis arch, sans roses, and two pairs of tired banana trees like an embryo avenue. H. of P. most insanitary on record. Smell nearly gassed us out of camp. Guessed someone else had been using it before us.