The Nagas

Hill Peoples of Northeast India

Project Introduction The Naga Database

typescript tour diary of W.G. Archer, S.D.O. Mokokchung 1947

caption: visit to Cheswejumi
caption: house tax and khel organization
medium: tours
person: Nasa khelRengatsumi khel
ethnicgroup: Angami <Eastern
location: Cheswezumi (Cheswejumi)
date: 17.1.1947
person: Archer/ W.G.
date: 31.12.1946-14.2.1947
text: 17th January
text: All today I was on my feet counting houses in Cheswejumi. The houses in each Khel have first to be counted, exemptions are then made for Government and village officials and for the old and destitute and on this basis the house-tax of each Khel is calculated. In certain villages such as Khonoma or Jotsoma, counting would not be unduly tiring as each Khel is a geographical unit. In Cheswejumi, on the other hand, geography is only partially the Khel basis and in fact houses of all the Khels are found in every part of the village.
text: This interspersion of Khels has had a number of consequences. The sense of the Khel for example, which in the Western Angami country is so strong seems here to be comparatively weak. There do not seem to be any Khel rivalries. There are no inter-khel defences. Even the village gates which further west are reflections of Khel pride are limited to two and both are over- grown with moss. In Cheswejumi, Nasa which was founded 100 years ago and is an offshoot of the Rengatsumi Khel there are neither defences nor gates.
text: The Khel is not however a complete cypher. Through its gaonbura, it still functions as a unit of Government. If a householder is refractory to Khel discipline, expulsion is still resorted to, and in going through the various exemptions, I found not less than three women who (25) had been forced to change their Khels because of insubordination. When they were expelled, other gaonburas admitted them to fresh Khels but I was told that if a woman failed to comply with her new gaonbura's orders, she would be forced to seek another village. Finally marriages in Cheswejumi can only be arranged between Khels and unions within the Khel are completely forbidden.