The Nagas

Hill Peoples of Northeast India

Project Introduction The Naga Database

manuscript notes on the Zemi Nagas by Ursula Graham Bower

caption: physical characteristics
caption: physical powers
medium: notes
person: Graham Bower/ Ursula
date: 1939-1946
refnum: Betts papers, ring binder 1
person: Centre for South Asian Studies, Cambridge
text: 40 miles in a day over steep country is about the limit for an unladen man. 20 is the usual distance. In easier country, women will do 25 miles as a matter of course.
text: Distance running - not practised.
text: Speed unladen, on a bridle-road, averages slightly under 3 m.p.h. I have known a buck do 36 miles (and collect a tin of kerosine) in approximately 14 hours. Zemi will ordinarily do without a midday meal without inconvenience, but on a long march or in the fields carry a cold lunch to tide over the gap. They feel it if they abstain 12 hours or more, but seem able to do 8 hours without trouble.
text: Cold - They stand cold and exposure remarkably well, but tend to get thin-skinned if they start wearing clothing. Heat - Though ordinarily wearing no head-covering, a man will pile his cloth on his head for protection of a broiling day. Weight carrying - The Zemi are not conspicuous weight carriers. All loads are carried on the back; women use a plain head-strap, men a head-strap with the Kuki wooden yoke. The head-strap is used in preference to a shoulder-strap, as in a peat-creel, because the head-strap is easily flung off in emergency. The statutory coolie load limit is 60 lbs., and a day's march not more than 15 miles.
text: Climbing - They are magnificent hill climbers, but never climb cliffs if they can help it. Young men and boys climb trees well, with or without nicks as steps.
text: Swimming - Relatively few can swim. Some of these can duck-dive, high-diving not known.
text: Minor actions - Feet are sometimes used for holding objects, e.g. picking a walking-stick when the man is laden, when making bamboo wicker-work, steadying a fire-hearth etc.