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: witchcraft (jadu) at Jessami
medium: diaries
person: AbungLuikai
location: Jessami
date: 26.3.1939
person: Graham Bower/ Ursula
person: private collection
text: (28) March 26th Jessami.
text: The cat's out of the bag. After dispensary (various cuts, scratches, & some bad sores) Abung came in with a long and partially intelligible tale of jadu. Apparently the Chingjaroi men & the Kharasom crowd have told my chaps Jessami put jadu in their zu, and whoever drinks it will die on the way, so they are all crawling about looking quite pop-eyed. Tackled Luikai about it, & said their was no jadu in Jessami. He said instantly 'Hai!' and called me up to the gate, just above the perao. There was a cane basket containing an egg; a thread of cotton was round the basket and a bit of boric lint with Antipeol on it on top. Crowd immediately gathered from empty air. All my seven quite pop-eyed, including even Abung, and swearing it was magic against me. Burnt lint in Sp. Vin. Rect., to awe of Luikai (I hope) and after discussion with my seven took up egg-basket, called village lambu (gaonbura in bed) and asked him about it. He said it was sick man's 'genna' or whatnot. We said 'Well, why the lint?' He denied the lint, (29) the remains of which I then produced. Lambu thoroughly rattled, I think, and towards the end, lying good and hearty, I also think, for the sake of the village. Said there were no wizards in Jessami now, but there used to be. Could see from the Tangkhul's faces what they thought. Luikai had bad toothache all day; very seedy. Gave him my rezai. Went up village in p.m. Did house to house. Old gaonbura got chill or 'flu, or something worse, poor old boy. Issued cough mixture and castor- oil to various others. Had Abung as assistant and most of the other Tangkhuls trailing along for company. Went back to village and dispensed till long after dark. 7.45. Comfortably large dinner, and so, cursing all magic, to bed.
text: Woman produced with awful Naga sore, the kind you can smell coming. Thunderstorms and rain, just to brighten things.
text: Chingjaroi men went home this a.m.