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 twenty. The Land and the People
caption: economic results of the destruction of cycle-migration
medium: books
person: Graham Bower/ Ursula
text: But if these effects were bad, the economic results were even worse. There was bitter competition between Zemi and Kuki for the means to live, since neither side had enough land - squabbles, boundary-disputes, trespass, and sometimes more serious troubles - and, of course, since both tribes must eat, (152) progressive over-cultivation. As the years passed, the damage became apparent. Forests receded, grassland-areas increased; fallow intervals grew less and less; villages split and shifted restlessly in a vain search for space; jhums were cut on steep and impossible slopes from which the monsoon washed away soil and crop. Throughout the area the level of prosperity fell. There were no more 'hekwi-ki,' no more great feasts. First the annual surplus dwindled and then the grain reserves, until, in the worst-bit parts, there was no safety-margin at all. Year by year more and more households could not grow enough to feed themselves, and a grim insecurity began.