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: from Jessami to Huining
medium: lettersnotes
person: Graham Bower/ Ursula
date: 1937-1946
person: private collection
text: From Jessami we turned south again to Kharasom and Chingjaroi, then to Paowi, then to Kachai, where we met a chicken-pox epidemic in a light-hearted Christian village where patients were strolling about among the other children, and next to Talloi, a huge village where they told me they wanted all their children to catch chicken-pox, so that they wouldn't have it again. As they seemed keen to apply the principle to me and my camp, I harked back again to the Paowi-Chingjaroi road, to Phungam. They weren't expecting us, the camp wanted repair, so of course it turned bitter cold and rained in sheets; the huts leaked like mosquito-nets, all the new thatch blew off as soon as it was put on, and we spent two shivering, wet and smoky days - I mostly in bed with a fine old English cold. Luikai also had a beauty, with rebarkable effegts od his Hidoostani (sic). Then we moved on here (nearly four miles - a desperate march) and are camped behind a cactus fence between the Christian village and the water-supply. We have been amusing ourselves with spear- throwing; that is, we stick up a banana-stump (head-hunter's slang for a human enemy, I regret to say, but now quite literally a plain stump) stick a packet of cigarettes on top, and leave the village to it at 15 yards. The greatest fun comes from sticking a rupee in the stump, but I'm getting towards the end of the trip, so we have come down to cigarettes only. Abung has just decorated my table with a bunch of roses stuck in a cactus section by way of a vase, and two of my orchids - I am taking a collection to Imphal - have been misguided enough to burst into bloom.
text: We are due in Imphal on 20th, and I am to sail on 29th...Ursula