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: bathing near Jessami; Luikai's mimicry
medium: diaries
person: LuikaiChinaorangJefferyJenapChowba
date: 31.3.1939
person: Graham Bower/ Ursula
person: private collection
text: (39) March 31st 3-4 miles.
text: Dispensary as usual. Went down to river about 11.15a.m., reaching it 12.15; very steep Naga path; saw cane bridge as per photos. Bathed in fine pool & dived off rocks. Luikai went in too, swimming dog-paddle. Angamis came from fields & swam at bridge. One stark naked gentleman started to invade my province (I was undressing) till warned off by yells from my escort, squatting on rocks above my pool. Chinaorang went fishing with his fingers, Luikai washed his loincloth, and sat about in his cloth as a petticoat, and Zahilo went in for a wash. Luikai was very distressed on the way down because he'd forgotten the soap. Asked him where he learned to swim, & he said there was ' much water in the river at Nungbi'. River had several dead fish about, relics of Lozaphemi's fish poisoning. Luikai full of chat about Jeff's bungalow on way home. Heard Jeff, as follows:- 'Shamshu!' - 'Shamshu!!' 'SHAMSHU!!!' - 'H'zur!' 'L'wai macha!' Luikai said he was terrified, and said 'Oh! if the Sahib's like this, we people will die!' To which Jenap, soothingly:- 'It's all right, (40) there's nothing to be afraid of; he's always like that!' Luikai said he was terrified, and fled from the bottle-Khana. Shamshu was always telling him 'Don't come - keep out of there - the Sahib will kill you!' No wonder he looked permanently pop- eyed. He didn't miss much, though, and gave a good imitation of Jeff. Sad tale of Chowba - 'He gives the others clothes, to every one, but every day he slaughters me - I never get anything right!' If I heard Luikai right, Chowba was on the drink a good deal.