The Nagas

Hill Peoples of Northeast India

Project Introduction The Naga Database

miscellaneous papers, notebooks and letters on Nagas by Ursula Graham Bower, 1937-1947

caption: letters from Ursula Graham Bower
caption: preparations for trip to Kakadan
medium: lettersnotes
person: AbungShamshuArjunJeffery/ C.F.Gaideleu
date: 6.1.1939
person: Graham Bower/ Ursula
date: 1937-1946
person: private collection
text: January 6th 1939 c/o C.F.Jeffery,Esq.,
text: Imphal, Manipur State
text: My dear Humps,
text: Just a very hasty line., The arrangements have gone more or less through, and I am supposed to leave for Bishenpur (20 miles off) to-morrow, and go on on Sunday to a Naga village called Kakadan, where I am scheduled to stay a week. My only staff at present is a half-tamed Kabui Naga called Abung, who looks like a depressed wombat. At least, I think he is my staff. He showed up just now, watched Shamshu pack my bedding, gave a horrified thirty-second look at my pile of stores and vanished, clutching an empty gin-bottle; so he has probably deserted. Not that I blame him. This has finally dispelled all doubts about my sanity. Jeff's staff now know I'm not only mad, but rabid. Arjun keeps watching me round corners, presumably waiting for me to jibber and climb up the curtains. It's the idea of my going alone to live in a Naga village has shaken them right off their bedplate. The Mahommedans think I am afflicted of Allah, and the Nagas, like Arjun, aren't sure whether I'm that or a reincarnation of their prophetess Gaideleu (Now doing time for murder, in Shillong jail).
text: We are dining out with the C.O. to-night. Lexie and Co came to dinner last night, Lexie looking very seedy after a bad cold; I meant to inquire for her to-day, but there's been such a rush, packing, sorting and so on, that I hadn't time - I also have to try and get a cook; I meant Abung for the job, but my interpreter has failed me so he will have to interpret, and I must try and get another man to cook. I am to pay Abung 30/- per month. Goodness, what a howling picnic! You would laugh, Humps, if you could see the menage (or menagerie). I have kept on writing in fits and starts to Mummy, but I will really try and get it finished at Kakadan (if I ever get there!)
text: Stop press. Jeff's Kuki lambu has produced an English- speaking Kuki student, no Kabuis being in any way available, so he is billed to go with me to-morrow. Lord! What a picnic!
text: Lots of love, Ursula