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 twenty. The Land and the People
caption: Asalu village
medium: books
location: Asalu
person: Graham Bower/ Ursula
text: Tired and shabby, the blight of malaria on it, much of its young blood gone up the hill with Namkia, it stood on its long spur in the open parkland. Strewn in the grass around were ancient relics, stone rows and monoliths, the weathered remains of a century's occupation, and, perhaps, of settlements earlier still. Beyond the village the spur levelled, and here was the site of the John Company outpost, for forty years headquarters of North Cachar. There was almost nothing left of it now - only the old stone guardhouse, earthquake- cracked and split apart by trees, a broad stretch of gravel, where, they said, the parade-ground used to be, and, in the thick grass, a bungalow plinth. It was uncanny to go to the site with Namkia in the dusk, when the hills were blue-grey and the sunset an orange band along the western plateau, and hear him pointing out in the barren waste where this and that had been - there, by a stunted bush, the clerks' quarters, there the sepoys' lines, there the rifle-range, there the Sahib's big mango-tree, which had lasted long and at length had perished too. It was all so sharp a reminder of death and decay. The Sahibs, the clerks, the station all were dust, the village was failing. Only the wide, clear arch of the sky remained, the dulling sunset, the night wind coming down from the quiet hill.