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: to Bara Nenglo; love tokens; spear throwing
medium: diaries
person: Gumtuing/ of Bara NengloLuikaiNamkia
date: 16.3.1940-17.3.1940
person: Graham Bower/ Ursula
person: private collection
text: (34) Bara Nenglo. March 16th.
text: The Uncle Superior and another took my letters, and we left for Nenglo. Gumtuing went yesterday with the sub-overseer, whom he said wanted to beat him or kill him or both for not having attended to the road. Just short of Nenglo we met him & I sat down for some coffee. The men had picked a kind of wild honeysuckle which they stuck in their ears - even Hainingba; but he took it out when he saw me looking. Dispensary. H. of P. even more gaps and less leaves than previously, and the door had disappeared. Very public, with fine view of the village.
text: As we were sitting with Gumtui by the road and insect like a small bee settled on somebody; and that set Luikai off on a tale of how the Tangkhuls catch one of these, tie a hair to it and set it free to fly to the loved one with the hair as a love-token. That set Namkia off; for he had never seen Tangkhuls before and were (sic) rather doubtful that they were Nagas at all, but this custom was an old, old Kachha Naga (35) one which he had been told of as a boy; and here it was turning up, as he said later, with men so different "in the same road!" So that started him on the common origin of all Nagas, and the tradition of the one village they all come from; and how a man's sons would found new villages, & so drift on and on, always new settlements. Must get the name of the original village from him. [Note: Name of village Novi. See story of Nriami and Neomi.]
text: (36) Bara Nenglo. March 17th.
text: Halted. Spear-throwing in p.m. More dispensary. Heard Gumtuing having an argument with somebody else about unpaid house-tax. Most of the area must have heard it too, and the gesticulations and sweeps of the red toga were terrific. Took some colour-pictures.