Ursula Betts (nee Graham Bower) interviewed by Alan Macfarlane  4th November 1985 – Part 1.

0:00:17 Introduction; early life; Roedean; archaeology first love; met Alexa Macdonald on Skye and invited by her to Manipur in 1937; first impressions of India; Dimapur;  first sight of Nagas; sense of déjà vu; Angamis; Kohima; Imphal; tour with Civil Surgeon to Ukrul in Tangkhul Naga country; tour with Civil Engineer; Kabui Nagas; walking stick from Skye; Barak River; fishing;  knitting; Silchar

0:15:41 Imphal; Sir Robert Reid’s visit; Mao dancers; bought Mao costume and later gave it to Horniman Museum; returned to England but invited again the next year; trip to south Manipur; photographs; during previous months in England met Hutton and Hodson; photographs exhibited at Royal Geographical Society; in Manipur asked to do trip alone aged 24; went to Kabui village for ten days; brought back cloth and basket; went alone again to Tangkhul country, to Ukrul and beyond near the Burma border; followed this with trip to North-East Manipur on the border with unadministered Naga Hills; Somra village; head-taking

0:22:48 Reasons for head-hunting; return to Imphal; friendly Tangkhuls; attempt at black magic in Jessami; simple first-aid; elders way of locating culprit

0:28:13 Use of interpreter; servants; returned to England April 1939; in London Ambulance during “phoney war” with Alexa; both decided to return to India; family did not object; went in December 1939 but couldn’t continue in Manipur; went to see J.P. Mills the Governor’s secretary who sent her to North Cachar to the Nzemi Nagas;

new religion causing problems; death sacrifice; Gaidiliu; Hangrum massacre

0:35:19 Millenarianism; capture of Gaidiliu; mistaken for reincarnation of Gaidiliu; reported to Mills and then returned; 1942 Japanese threat

0:39:37 Went to live in Laisong among the Nzemi; lived within the village perimeter; description of the village; young men’s houses; village headmen; lived as part of the community and abided by village law

9:46:38 Striking features of a Naga village; physical appearance of Nzemi; costume; swift pattern on cloths; earrings of feathers and orchid skin; Nzemi not warlike and often attacked by Angamis; very loyal; March 1944 Japanese invasion and by April were 20 miles away; no soldiers in area but Nagas watching for Japanese; Naga bodyguard returned to homes for the night but came back and resumed search; Namkia; Nagas loyal to the British; their heroism rewarded with muzzle loaders