Expedition Naga Diaries from the Hills in Northeast India 1921-1937 & 2002-2006

Front cover image

Peter van Ham and Jamie Saul

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Hardcover with free CD
ACC Editions
Territory: USA and Canada
Size: 12 in x 10 in
Pages: 296
Illustrations: 453 color, 150 b&w

RRP $75.00

  • A vivid comparison of culture, living conditions and social circumstances in the Naga Hills in Northeast India in the 1920s and '30s and the present (2002-06) through photographs, film and text
  • Includes a free documentary DVD; this is the first time that contemporary film material from the area has been seen

Expedition Naga is a multisensory trip into one of the world's most remote and least accessible regions. Diaries written by British administrators/explorers during punitive expeditions in the 1920s and '30s against the Naga, a people once notorious for their headhunting activities, are compared with contemporary notes written during the last 5 years when the authors were given special permission to do fieldwork in the long-forbidden border areas between India and Myanmar (Burma).

Four hundred contemporary and historic photographs, most of which are published here for the first time ever, allow the reader to explore both the present and the past of one of the least known, yet most interesting, cultural realms as it has never been possible before. Also enclosed is a free DVD that contains 150 minutes of rare historic and contemporary footage never seen before.

This book will appeal to travellers, anthropologists, as well as anyone interested in exploration and photography. Furthermore, the subject is spectacular in that many rituals, such as headhunting and other rites associated with fertility, are still taking place, since the area has been closed for such a long time. The culture of the Naga people is amazing to witness in the twenty-first century when such cultural traits rarely exist. The reader will learn that they are not associated with Indian culture, but rather with African or Indonesian.

Peter van Ham works as an educator, author and producer of visual and acoustic media in Frankfurt, Germany. He has written extensively and has had bestsellers with his published works on the Northeast of India. He was the first foreigner to travel in the region's most remote and restricted parts for consecutive explorations from 1996 until 2005. Van Ham has been actively involved in the production of two documentaries and three international exhibitions on the peoples of Northeast India. Together with friends from Nagaland he has formed a society for the preservation and promotion of Naga heritage (SPNH), of which a number of people from around the world are members. Furthermore, he is a Fellow of the Royal Asiatic and Geographical Societies, London, and the Explorers Club, New York.

James D. Saul was an architect by profession and lived in Johannesburg, South Africa. He was the first to work extensively and publish on the Naga peoples of Burma since limited access to their region was granted for the first time in 2001. In addition, he was working closely with Naga and other sources in compiling a database of unpublished materials and maps of the central and eastern Naga groups, with a view to making this material available to future Naga scholars through the SPNH. In Spring 2006 he passed away under tragic circumstances in the Burmese Naga Hills.