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: dispensary; Kokadan dance; Chiru dance; visit from Gaipuiga; Gaidiliu case
medium: diaries
person: AtongbaGaipuigaGaidiliuJadonangChamthai
date: 10.1.1939
person: Graham Bower/ Ursula
person: private collection
text: (111) Jan. 10th. Tuesday.
text: Daybreak and Abung, as before. Also dispensary. Another baby, and various sore eyes, coughs, boils, colds, burns, thorns in the foot, and miscellaneous ailments. Kakadan announced their intention of carrying on the party and dancing for me - no, the Chirus thought of it first, and then Kakadan weighed in. Soon after lunch, in came Kakadan, marching up the path from Atongba's house, in full dress all round and carrying a drum slung on a pole. They danced the usual dances, and then, after I had expended nearly a glassful of whisky in an 80/20 zu-whisky mixture, the headman thought of a dance which he said represented the mother-hornbill feeding her young. A man danced at the end of a line of girls, who represented the young birds; the girl soloist, who was very good, danced to each in turn, with "putting" movements into her cupped hands. (In the morning I sent a man down with a chit to Jeff, asking for more cigarettes.) Then she did a little solo turn out into the country and came back to the next. (112) When she had been to them all they formed a line and they all danced round, the man and girl soloist leading. She was Atongba's niece.
text: There was more dancing in the evening, and Gaipuiga and I went down in state and sat side by side behind a roaring fire and watched the dance. He went off to have a drink, and the lame (114) man, who was rather tight, pinched his chair, to his annoyance, as his old bones needed a rest; so I let him have mine. Eventually the party ended, and Gaipuiga and I walked home with the S.B. and G's hostess. When he turned up I told them to kill the goat, and told them to keep the hind leg for me, and divide the rest between Atongba and Gaipuiga. The Chirus who killed and cleaned it got the head and stomach.
text: Gaipuiga went to bed early, and left me by the fire with the lame man and three Kukis. The lame man kept trying to get me to sing local songs, and when at last the Kukis went - after an English lesson - the small Chirus came up and started dancing to the drumbeat of the dance at Atongba's. They were most amusing. Then we got them singing, and I made some sort of a 'plan' of the tune, and will try to get it all. It was in two phrases, and sung in strophe and antistrophe between two at my fire and two in the cookhouse, with Kabui obbligato by the lame man (115) and Abung, off. Then the small Chirus went, and the lame man, who I don't think is quite all there, poor devil, sat on and eventually carried everything into the basha for me and all but put me to bed. The last thing I saw of him was his lost dog face peering round the door at me.
text: During the afternoon I got cloths from the headman for Rs 13/-, thanks to the Kukis bargaining powers, with chorus by Abung. Got woman's dance skirt, 2 sashes, (white) man's dark blue dance sash, and young man's cloth. Notice the white sashes (khapailkhla) are worn as loincloth, like the Sema flap, by men.