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 Nungbi and Chingjaroi
medium: lettersnotes
location: Ukhrul
date: 12.2.1939
person: Graham Bower/ Ursula
date: 1937-1946
person: private collection
text: Feb 12th 1939 Ukhrul, Manipur State
text: My dear Humps,
text: ........I am leaving to-morrow early for Nungbi, ten miles off, and after that three days' march to the north to Chingjaroi, a march or so from the Naga Hills border. It is late already, so perhaps you'll understand if this is a short letter. I shall be up there less than a week, and I may possibly be able to send a letter down by coolie, but if you don't get a letter for a fortnight, please don't worry, because you'll certainly hear quick enough if anything does happen! I have the Manipuri compounder along with me for medical work, and a whole thappu- full of medicines. I hoped Celia would have come with me, but she has to get back. I have booked, as I told you, on the Strathearn, March 11th. I am staying at Chingjaroi as long as I can for the medical work, as one can't do much in even a week, but I expect to be in Imphal again on March 2nd. I am due here in Ukhrul again on 25th and then I'm going down the longer road with an extra halt and a day in Tuinem to film weaving.
text: The others are going back on Tuesday 14th, arriving about 18th in Imphal. We are all camped in the dak-bungalow at present, and it is chilly beyond belief - Ukhrul village was so overcome by the sight of six memsahibs in a body - 5 of us and Mrs Duncan - that it made us a presentation. Daphne and I were alone in the bungalow when suddenly a whole covey of gorgeously-blanketed headmen appeared, with two young men hauling an unwilling bull. I was then presented with the following address, which I received on behalf of the party - "To the brave girls, and lady who have faced all risks and reached our village safely and have condescended to visit our humble village, with great pleasure and humble submission, we the elders of Ukhrul present ONE BULL."
text: The bull had by then sat down in a flower-bed, and rain had begun to fall heavily. We retired into the verandah and set about dividing the future beef. At last I had to send Daphne flying to fetch Duncan, who sorted the matter satisfactorily, and about half the bull went back to the village, while we kept two hind- legs and various oddments....The packet from Wallace Heatons is probably colour film, if you care to have a look at it. Wallace Heatons tell me the films are good. I hope they're right. I have taken a lot more, mostly of the Tangkhul dances and the wedding procession we saw the other day. I still have a little left, but not much.....I have been practising spear-throwing hard and have a very stiff arm as a result, and have shattered several banana stump targets. The others have rough bamboo trumpets from Lumbui, and the whole district has been ringing with weird moans like a cow with wind, as they try to play the wretched things. They nearly blew me out of the bungalow yesterday. ...Ursula