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 nine. First-Fruits Festival
caption: Laisong's hostility due to misunderstanding with the Government
medium: books
person: Graham Bower/ Ursula
text: And now that I was established and in constant touch with the Zemi, the pieces in the puzzle fell into place. Here were no treacherous savages, but honest, stubborn, conservative cultivators, excitable and credulous, it is true, and living by simpler and sometimes more brutal standards than ours; but the vast majority of them decent folk and good citizens. Between them and the Government had been built up a wall of misunderstanding, fear, suspicion and mistrust. A conspiracy of silence cut the tribe off from all strangers, and behind the invisible barrier their tribal life went on, warm, human, and rich with tradition. When I first reached Laisong, I was outside it. As their reserve melted, the wall dissolved, and I found myself on the far side and looking back at a familiar world seen topsy-turvey, as Alice passed through the looking-glass and saw her own room reversed when she looked back. So seen, the world I had left did seem odd; there was foundation for the Zemi attitude. Civilization had certain features which were only apparent to an outside view. Nevertheless, it was all wrong that so profound a misunderstanding should exist. I made up my mind to do what I could to right it.