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: medical work
medium: lettersnotes
date: 30.3.1939
person: Graham Bower/ Ursula
date: 1937-1946
person: private collection
text: I am due back in Imphal on April 20th, but considering how little we have adhered to schedule, that's nothing to go by. When we were at Kharasom and due to march up here the headmen of Chingjaroi came bustling in with a hen and asked us to go at once to their Christian suburb, where a woman was dangerously ill. So off we streaked at half an hour's notice; and reached there at 5. (It was 10 miles, and we were with the patient by about 6). Then I had a 2-mile crawl back to camp in the dark, escorted by headmen with pine torches - dramatic, but exhausting. Then my highly troublesome compounder wanted to go to Imphal, so I had to let him go; with a list of stores and medicines as long as my arm and a pious hope that he would come back, and no sooner had he gone than everybody fell ill at once, including one unfortunate girl who had some sort of spasm. I coped, with whisky and liniment and aspirin, for 2 and a half hours, in pyjamas and dinnerless in a red-hot Naga house chock-full of young bucks and the patient's girl friends, who chatted and drank zu while the patient moaned and kept passing out and her old papa called her by name in a pathetic voice. Gosh! it was a picnic! Eventually she more or less came round, and I fled. She kept on relapsing, with intermittent fever, but her pulse was strong all the time, though she seemed to be in frightful pain when the attacks came on. We are heading back to Chingjaroi in a day or two, and I hope to Heaven she's all right.