Tuesday, May 15, 2007

The Naga Queen!

I don't know what made me post this story, but I think not very many Punjabis including myslef know much about Nagaland except that it is a state in India somewhere. I wish we were taught more about other such states when going to school as kids. It seems like most of the Indians are kept ignorant about their own faith, diverse cultures and values and are taught more about things, cultures and places (mainly Western) that education department decides. Here is an interesting story I thought people would enjoy. A few questions unrelated to the story:

1) Are there any Gurdwaras in Nagaland?
2) If not, why not? How can there be no Sikhs in a hill state so close to Punjab?
3) Why is Nagaland called “Nagaland”? Do they have a lot of snakes there or something?

Anyways, read if you like!

The Naga Queen
Trina and David Child, with the man they call Uncle Yongkong, came into the Home Truths studio to tell the story of a remarkable family legacy and how one woman's story continues through her daughter...
Bored with life in Britain, and as a girl, discouraged from going to university, Trina's mother, Ursula, took the bold step of setting of for India in 1939. There, in Nagaland, she found the life that her adventurous spirit craved. Ursula became a real- life heroine, nicknamed The Naga Queen and the Jungle Queen by the Americans. She led guerilla spy missions against the Japanese, gathering information for the Allied forces, dispensing medicine and becoming an amateur anthropologist. She was more than a friend to the Naga people; she was one of them.
Whilst in Nagaland, Ursula met her husband, Colonel Tim Betts, who had that similar need for excitement and adventure. Trina explains, "He heard stories of this intrepid woman, fighting the Japanese from a Naga village, and wrote to his mother, "This is the one for me!" After the war, he wangled an invitation to her camp, and proposed after four days! I think she accepted out of surprise."
Trina always dreamt of going herself to the almost fairytale Nagaland, "We almost didn't believe it existed." The seeds of her achieving her ambition came in 1960, when four Naga Queens, accompanied by Uncle Yongkong managed to visit Britain. "It proved they did exist - they were there!" says Trina. Uncle Yongkong met the almost legendary Ursula for the first time in Britain, "Thick jungles with wild tigers and elephants, where strong menfolk did not dare enter alone, this young lady ventured - she was very kind-hearted, and the people became very much attached to her."
Contact had been made, but it was 1986 before Trina made her first attempt to vist her mother's Naga village. This time she wasn't able to gain access, but Trina met up with other Nagas in India, and kept in close touch with them.
Trina's mother, ill at the time, wasn't too enthusiatic about her daughter's involvement, "I was treading on her toes a bit - she was a little jealous. There were difficulties going out there, so I didn't tell her until I came back, and she didn't talk to me for a week. She did come round and suddenly we had enormous amount in common that we didn't have before."
Uncle Yongkong sees similarities between mother and daughter, "Trina's spirit is almost the same - she's become attached to the cause of the people of her mother. I appreciate it very much."
Eventually, Trina did achieve her ambition of visiting her mother's village. Her welcome as the daughter of their beloved Naga Queen was ecstactic! "There was a lot of talk about 'Everything will be all right now!' " says Trina, "I had to be very very careful of that. It was tribute to my mother, not me, and the way she was remembered."
It was her husband, David's idea to have their marriage blessed in that same village where Trina's parents had married, "It was a remarkable experience!I was greeted by a representative of each Naga tribe." He also saw a side of his wife he'd never seen before, "For three days afterwards, Trina held court to various tribal deputations - she was extremely firm with their requests - a very good neogtiator."
The political situation after the war made it impossible Trina's mother to return to her beloved Naga people. She'd had seven intensive years with them, but Trina hopes to carry on her mother's work for long into the future.
If you've a tale of high adventure or derring-do about your parents' or a relative's life, and its impact on your own life and relationships, tell us about about in the Home Truths message boards...



Anonymous Ravinder Kaur Bali said...

Answering the first question, there are quite a few gurudwras in Nagaland, a place where I grew up and spent a quarter of a century. There is one in the capital Kohima, one in Dimapur which is as far as the Indian Railways get to in Nagaland. And of course, there are always gurudwaras in the Sikh Regiments posted in Nagaland. Secondly, Nagaland is nowhere near Punjab, the former is one of the seven sister states in India's north-east, whereas Punjab sits on the northwestern border, and the two are separated by no less than the sub-continental breadth!
Thirdly, Nagaland is the land of the Naked people, not snakes!
And I have yet to meet a people as honourable and as brave!I am sure that means something, coming from a Sikh woman!
I have had the pleasure of meeting Trina's sister, and of having been in correspondence with Trina for the last 3 years.I finally expect to meet Trina (Catriona) in Delhi,may be next week!

10:23 AM, December 10, 2009  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

NAGALAND is home to many naga tribes they are not naked but that it is there custom they are warriors... there are many sikhs family came there before 1947 partition.... there is beautiful gurudawara in dimapur and also one in kohima...and we people are more in our sikhism then any other in punjab or sikhs in delhi... gur fateh!!

6:52 AM, April 24, 2011  
Blogger ask said...

Nice informations.

3:53 AM, August 18, 2016  
Blogger ask said...

Nice informations.

3:54 AM, August 18, 2016  

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