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: head-hunting and control area
medium: notes
person: Adams/ P.F.DundasGodfrey
date: 30.5.1947
person: Archer/ W.G.
date: 1946-1948
refnum: 13:1
text: Office of the Deputy Commissioner: Naga Hills. Kohima, Naga Hills.
text: Dated the 30th May 1947
text: D.O. no. 30G
text: My Dear Adams,
text: Please refer to Godfrey's D.O. no. 13/Naga 12/46/11 Ad dated 14th February 1947. (I wish your office would shorten your reference numbers. Their length is absurd.) Godfrey says that His Excellency has had the files examined and can find only one case in which such a proposal (ie. to stop head hunting) was not accepted. I can only say that the search was conducted in a most perfunctory manner. I am assuming that the stony silence which greets most of the proposals submitted to Shillong is the equivalent of non acceptance. All proposals to extend either the administered or the control area are of course designed solely to establish law and order, the pre-requisite of which is the prohibition of head hunting.
text: I enclose extracts from the files for the year 1939-45. These extracts will I trust prove my statement that "Our recommendations have invariably been turned down" or perhaps the word "ignored" should be substituted for "turned down".
text: It is sometimes stated that all this head taking is something new and abnormal. The two extracts attached from reports of the Deputy Commissioner and Sub-Divisional Officer for the year 1908 will show that is not the case. It is remarkable how similar the views of the present Deputy Commissioner and Sub-Divisional Officer are to those of our predecessors forty years ago - an extract from a letter written by Mr Dundas, Sub-Divisional Officer, Mokokchung in 1905 shows what he thought of the use of guns in tribal warfare.
text: I have made no reference to matters now under discussion. In view of all that the Sub-Divisional Officer or (A.D.C.) and myself have tried to do to stop head-hunting. I do not think it is a fair criticism to say that for some time past the influence of the A.D.C. and his Dobashis across the frontier does not seem to have been very great with the result that there has been a lack of information on feuds in their early stages and therefore of opportunity to mediate before bloodshed occurs. (Adviser's letter dated 28th December 1946.)
text: Yours sincerely,
text: Sd. C.R. Pawsey.
text: To P.F. Adams Esq. M.B.E., I.C.S. Secretary to the Governor of Assam. Shillong.
text: Mr Dundas, Sub-Divisional Officer, Mokokchung writing in 1908 said with reference to the Melere-Akhegwo-Larure area. "So great seemed their dread of the Kukis that they were afraid to cultivate their old fields across the boundary, even while living in our territory----the hardest case seemed that of Kaghami. The Gaonbura showed me two bundles of sticks, one about five times as large as the other, and explained that the larger bundle represented the number of people killed by the Kukis and the smaller those still living in the jungle away from their site ---- Here was a paradise indeed till the Kuki came with his gun".