The Nagas

Hill Peoples of Northeast India

Project Introduction The Naga Database

manuscript notes made by W.G. Archer between 1946 & 1948, and miscellaneous papers and letters

caption: murders in the Trans-frontier region
medium: notes
ethnicgroup: SemaAo
location: Nantaleik R. (Tizu R.) Dikhu R. Mozungjami Namsang
person: Reid/ W.J.WilliamsonArcher/ W.G.
date: 27.9.19051946-1948
refnum: 13:1
text: 7. It has been admitted that this state of affairs is deplorable, and the two questions which next arise are whether it can any longer be tolerated, and if not what remedy is possible. On grounds of humanity no arguments are necessary, and I have both seen and heard enough to make calm writing a difficulty. There is another point of view which requires attention - the effect on the people of the district proper. As has frequently been pointed out, the powerful Sema communities along the upper waters of the Tizu had nothing to gain by being annexed. They were strong enough to take care of themselves, to compel the payment of tribute from their weaker neighbours, and to protect those who did pay them tribute. During the eighteen months that they have been British subjects one village that was formerly under their protection has been raided, and another that used to pay them tribute has killed one of their traders. That they have refrained from themselves taking vengence in either case, is a striking proof of the weight which direct orders carry in these hills. The Tizu is a mere geographical boundary. The people on our side and those on the other are close relations, and it is hopeless to expect to civilise our Semas while their brothers across the river are allowed to indulge their savage instincts unchecked. Along the Dikhu the case is different. We have taken in the whole of the Ao tribe, and so have not here a race partly under and partly outside our control. But the Ao villagers on the west bank of the Dikhu have intimate dealings with the independent villages on the other side. The Aos go across in large numbers to trade, and frequently send their cattle across the river to graze. It is true that the risk of occurences such as those that led to the Mozungjami expedition is now-a-days slight, but still it exists. What seems to me the chief objection to our present policy is its effect in retarding civilization. Mission work among the Aos has been carried on longer and with more results than among any other tribe in the district. The number of Schools is considerable and will shortly increase. And still I was told only the other day that a certain village was shamed because the coolies we took with us to Mozungjami had returned without any heads. My point is that so long as the Aos see and know what is happening across the Dikhu we cannot hope to civilise them, or at least the process must be painfully slow. As for the few villages in the north-east corner of the Mokokchung subdivision, which are inhabited by settlers from across the Dikhu, the recent case in which Namsang was concerned is another proof of the difficulty of preventing our people from interfering in trans-Dikhu warfare.