The Nagas

Hill Peoples of Northeast India

Project Introduction The Naga Database

book - 'Naga Path', by Ursula Graham Bower, published John Murray 1950

caption: Chapter one. The Beginning
caption: first sight of the Nagas
medium: books
person: Lexie
person: Graham Bower/ Ursula
text: A group of hillmen scattered before us and stood on the roadside, staring. They were not the slim-built Assamese of the low ground. The sight of them was a shock. Here were the Philippines and Indonesia. Bead necklaces drooped on their bare, brown chests, black kilts with three lines of (4) cowries wrapped their hips, plaids edged with vivid colours hung on their coppery shoulders. Tall, solid, muscular, Mongolian, they stood, a little startled, as we shot by.
text: I turned on Alexa beside me.
text: " Lexie ! Who on earth are they - - - ? "
text: " Why, Nagas," she said, surprised.
text: It's twelve years now since that moment, and I still don't know what happened. There was a sudden surge of recognition.
text: I must have sat there like a fool, gaping. Nagas ! - of course ! - illumination so plain, so known and obvious, that I was speechless at my own stupidity in not remembering sooner.
text: And suddenly, in the split second before it reached full consciousness, the knowledge was gone. It vanished as cleanly and completely as writing wiped off a slate. The car swept on up the twisty road; and I sat there dumb in the back seat, trying to snatch from the edge of my mind the vital, the intensely important, thing which a few seconds earlier had been so clear.
text: I never did.