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: Thingkra to Talbung
medium: diaries
date: 2.12.1938
person: Graham Bower/ Ursula
person: private collection
text: (66) Dec. 2nd. Talbung. 7.
text: Left camp along W. bank with escort of headmen, small boys etc. Crossed river sans Hamja & co. and in charge of demented Kuki in decidedly Somerville & Ross hat. Much to our surprise we and what appeared to be 2 ton cattle raft rammed bank more or less safely. Climbed by highly precipitous path up spur and then along slightly more level ground to Talbung village, poised on usual spur. Large place, mixed Kuki and mission-Kuki, and sprawled along ridge for nearly three-quarters of a mile. Various dignified headmen offered zu, oranges etc. Basha publicly situated in centre of village, with superb view into lit bathroom from main village path. Huge crowd of people, mainly babies and all very dirty. Inquired after weaving and went up village with Forest Chaukidar who would speak English I couldn't understand, and filmed and photographed plain tension loom in house, enormously hampered by large crowd and almost total (67) lack of light.
text: Went on up village and found woman weaving complicated checked and banded cloth. Offered one for sale. Celia got it. Must ask her to swap if only other cloths come through, as promised, as I badly want one to illustrate loom. Jeff came back with us to negotiate for cloth, but no success. Another, smaller, produced from different house, but it had masses of pink in it. We rejected it. Celia later got black and yellow cloth from F.C. Oh, damn, my chances of cloths are just about nil, and I should have one to illustrate loom.
text: Photographed old man with fine face and white hair,
text: Round fire in evening christians sang hymn to drum accompaniment. Proved to be "Adeste, fideles". Began with hint of real tune and relapsed into natural Kuki. Very pleasant to listen to. Had very smoky dinner owing to misbehaving fire. V. cold, too. Camp and village full of outcrops of lava, black rock full of bubble-holes. Observed cliffs on E. with strata tilted 30o, up our end, down towards E. and Burma; Barak cliffs on W nearly horizontal with slight dip towards W; rocks in river-bed at ferry nearly vertical, with dip to W. Some rocks in Hatea like large blobs of rock congealed together, presumably all volcanic.
text: Hamja better, K.D. still pretty seedy. Issued Shamshu with Vapex as preventative measure.
text: K.D. and H. both refused hot whisky and aspirin, to Jeff's annoyance.
text: F. chaukidar brought his wife and baby to talk cloths. Wife suddenly gave a convulsive wriggle and for a moment we thought we were in for a maternity case; but she was only shedding her skirt, which she proceeded (69) to sell to Celia!