The Nagas

Hill Peoples of Northeast India

Project Introduction The Naga Database

manuscript notes on the Zemi Nagas by Ursula Graham Bower

caption: Namkia's life story
medium: notes
person: NamkiaAliJarmanCarseBoothPaodekumbaHainingba
location: Garoloa Impoi Asalu
person: Graham Bower/ Ursula
date: 1939-1946
refnum: Betts papers, ring binder 1
person: Centre for South Asian Studies, Cambridge
text: Namkia.
text: I was born in Asalu too. My elder brother who is now Impoi G.B. was born where Ngalsong now is, Garoloa, and came from there. Having been born there he came, with my mother and father also, and they lived in Asalu. My father lived in Garoloa, but he married into Asalu, so when my brother was still small he came and settled there. After my brother, there is my elder sister who is now in Hakaokhang. She was born in Asalu. After her, a brother was born, older than I. After him there wan one more born before me, then after him I was born. After me, my other sister was born. After her, two more sisters. They died when they were small, when they could not stand properly yet. Then the one next above me, after being ill for a long time, died, when he was almost a deka. Then after some time the next eldest, a strong youth, not yet married - then illness came everywhere, when everyone died, fifty people died in Asalu, up north people died - at that time he died. Sometime after that the youngest sister of all died. Then my eldest brother married. Then my eldest sister married, another took her. After he married my eldest brother stayed two or three years and built a separate house. I was then a young man, and after a while both I and my other sister were married. After I was married I did not build a separate house, because there was no brother after me to look after my parents. Then the Naga trouble started. Ali Sahib wanted a dobashi, but no one would go, Hangrum didn't want to; he got one from Baladhan, but he said "Let me go, let me go", the whole time; so my brother was chota G.B., another was bara G.B., the two of them said to me, "You go, you will be looked after like a son. You won't have any trouble". At that time they had taken away my gun, the one I have now, and my brother wanted it back very much, so he said "If you go then the Sahib will be pleased, and we shall get out gun back, as no other village wants to go. So I went with the 2 G.Bs to Haflong and talked to the Sahib in Kachari; I spoke a little Kachari - "That's all right", he said, "You can do it". So they left me there and there was one there above me, Paodekumba, so they said to him: "Look after him and teach him and sometimes we'll come and bring you zao and turkari, look after him well". So I stayed there. I went everywhere with the older dobashis. The evening of the day I came Ali Sahib gave me 5/- to buy myself things in the bazaar. Later the daroga brought a dhuti from Hangrum and other things and Ali Sahib gave them to me. After that, working and working, I got to know what to do, and then Ali Sahib got orders to go. I wanted to go home, because I didn't know enough work and was afraid to work for another Sahib, but he said he would write it all properly in the office and I was not to be afraid. Then Ali Sahib went, and Carse Sahib came, and after staying some time he left. When Carse Sahib went, Jarman Sahib came. I don't know how long Jarman Sahib stayed. Two or three times I asked for leave and brought Hainingba as my substitute. I asked him myself, but he would not let me go. I said my father was old and in difficulty, and Jarman Sahib told me to bring him to Haflong and he would see that he was all right. Twice or thrice Hainingba came and had to go back, and at last, after writing a petition very properly, I got leave and came away. Then I stayed in my village. I asked leave to build a new village from J. Sahib but he refused. Then I asked again from B.S. The old men said that the place was good and healthy and there was too much fever in Asalu, and if the new place was not a success we would return to Asalu. If it is good, then the Asalu people can come up here. Then the Sahib gave the order and I built the new village. Asalu is very old, the ground is too full of graves, that is why there is too much fever there; for this reason the old men took thought and we built the new village on fresh ground.