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 thirty-two. Tamenglong
caption: leave in Calcutta, then 'watch and ward' wound up
medium: books
person: PerryAlbrightScott
location: Laisong Magulong
date: 11.1944
person: Graham Bower/ Ursula
text: I was due for leave and took it, Bill staying in charge. Down in Calcutta, it was an effort to undress for bed after sleeping so long in my clothes. One felt so unprepared in case of a night alarm, and it was difficult to get used to the idea of security. The second or third night, I woke to find myself groping about on the floor for my Sten gun. When I came back, Bill was recalled to active service, for the war had gone forward again and Watch and Ward was again a back area.
text: In November, when the war was well down into Burma and there was no more need for us, Watch and Ward was wound up.
text: Perry, Albright and Scotty came up for the final meeting. All the men came in. Laisong village and the camp were crammed. Magulong, the finest dancers of the Zemi, sent a picked party
text: It was a cool, bright day when we paid them off. A small camp table stood outside the house, the wind flipping the papers and making us grab at them. On three sides of it, in a solid bank, were the gathered scouts; a hollow square of scarlet blankets and jet-black heads,
text: One by one the scouts were summoned to the table, received their presentations - guns, ivory armlets, knives, certificates or cash - took their discharge-papers and retired
text: Next morning the battered boxes went, the rifles and my old Sten, and Namkia's tommy-gun. The Assam Rifles escort went, and Albright, Perry and Colonel Scott. The long line of porters wound away up the village street and was glimpsed once more, finally, where the road climbs the spur, the point where, long ago, we had first seen Rawdon Wright. Then it was gone. The camp was empty, turned civilian again.
text: But it was not the same. Too much had happened. The scouts, scattering to their villages, hugging their treasured guns - they were not the same. They had put their trust in us and we in them, and, when the crisis came, neither had failed. Our varied elements had been welded into such an entity as a year earlier I would not have thought possible. But, most important of all, the glass wall had gone. It had melted, one couldn't say when. What we set out to do had been done.