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-four. Magulong
caption: invitation to stay in Magulong
medium: books
person: Khutuing
location: Magulong
person: Graham Bower/ Ursula
text: Magulong was a remarkable settlement, a thing I had come increasingly to realize in the last few years, and its headman Khutuing was not the least remarkable thing about it.
text: I first came across Magulong on a wettish evening in March of 1940, when a party of them sought shelter in Asalu camp when I was on my very first trip in North Cachar. They were gone in the morning, grey, anonymous shapes of which I cannot now identify one. They reappeared again in the following years as files of salt-traders bound for Mahur market, distinguished from the other bands on the road by the black-and-white striped skirts which the women wore. But, as they lived in Manipur State, outside British India and thirty miles off across forbidding hills, we had no real contact with them till 1944, when, in June, Bill Tibbetts and I recruited scouts from them to watch the Barak crossings. I first remember Khutuing then, when he came to Tamenglong to see us - a stocky, thick-set, short-necked, laconic man in a worn scarlet cloth.
text: That summer the village had a dysentery outbreak with a heavy death-roll. We sent the " V " Force doctor there in (239) a hurry and had to provide them with free relief later on. When I passed through the place on one of my last tours, they were still in mourning and could not welcome us as they would have liked to do.
text: It was when they appeared for the " V" Force show that we saw them as they really were. They came down out of the hills like a gale from the past. They were Naga incarnate, tremendous, rip-roaring savages, men who had taken heads but danced like Nijinsky. For drive, for discipline, for skill, for sheer zest, they made our North Cachar Zemi look like a flock of sheep. Oh, they were heady wine, were Magulong, a rich and earthy vintage, splendidly barbarous !