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: dancing to gramaphone at Hangrum
medium: diaries
date: 15.3.1940
person: Graham Bower/ Ursula
person: private collection
text: (32) Hangrum. March 15th.
text: Went up the village with medicine-chest & gramophone, the latter by special request. After dispensary, tried g. in dekachang, but the crowd too big, so we took it out & finally perched it on a sitting place. The whole village turned up! Small boys under the platform, everyone who could conveniently fit there on it, and me & the dobashis & H.M.V. in the middle! Found the hot sun was warping the records. Wrote letters, & got dobashi to make bundobast for a coolie. In p.m. another spear-throwing, & the young things danced, though heavily hampered by much too small a dancing-ground & the threat of rain. They did two dances with bamboos, one long thick one for the men, one ditto thin for the girls. The lines advanced in turn, swinging their bamboos, with everyone in a line behind their respective one and their right hands on it; after some advancing & retreating they met in the middle and swung the bamboos up above their heads and changed over somehow, very neatly, at (33) the top of the swing. The second dance was with the two poles stuck together to make one of double length; with the boys at the top and the girls (and the Uncle Superior) at the bottom they swung it battering-ram fashion, but - as the U.S. demonstrates afterwards with much sarcasm - with much too little verve and much too ladylike an action. They also did the usual Highland-fling step dances, winding in and out and unwinding again.