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: attempts to introduce wet-rice cultivation
medium: books
location: Asalu Impoi Gareolowa
person: Graham Bower/ Ursula
text: Since there was not enough land for shifting cultivation, it was necessary to change to permanent fields, by which the (153) same population could live on a fraction of the acreage needed for "jhuming ". An excellent system was to hand in Angami wet-rice terracing; funds were allocated, demonstrators engaged, and a start made with experimental terraces. Although the Zemi believed that to have water in one's fields caused death by dropsy, the economic position was such that they took to terraces gladly. Within a year or two a number had been constructed at Thingje, Haijaichak and Asalu.
text: By far the worst sufferers in the decline were those Zemi villages caught at the end of a cycle. The hardest hit of all were the Asalu group. They had been on the Asalu site, the unhealthiest of their three, for more than a hundred years; while disease had reduced their numbers by just a half, they had lost no less than five-sixths of their former land and were left to struggle along on a worn-out fraction. When harvests began to decline - about 1920 - they would, in the normal course, have moved away, but all Gareolowa's and most of Impoi's land had passed to the Kukis.