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: birthplace of the Ao
medium: notes
person: HuttonAdams/ P.F.
ethnicgroup: AoSangtam
location: Chare Chongliemdi (Chongliyemdi) Longsa Ungma Lungkam (Lungkham) Langyok Phire-Ahire (Phire Ahire)
date: 11.192311.19471941
person: Archer/ W.G.
date: 1946-1948
refnum: 6:6
seealso: Hutton, 'Diaries' p. 44-45
text: The birthplace of the Aos. (See Hutton's Diaries.)
text: During a tour in 1923 of what was then the unadministered territory east of the Naga Hills, Dr J.H. Hutton visited the village of Chare. This is a centre of the Sangtam tribe and its houses are clearly visible from the heights of Mokokchung. During a camp of two days, Dr Hutton inspected the legendary origin of the Ao tribe. (44-45).
text: Twenty four years later on almost the same day in November, I also was camping at Chare. The village has changed considerably during this period. It is more than half Christian. It boasts a large up school and has now received the 'benefits' of administration for more than [] years. Finding myself so close to Chongliyemdi, I decided to pay a similar visit in order to inspect the stones and observe the present condition of this historic site. When I broached the matter with the Sangtams, however, I was met with expressions of horrified dismay. They explained that the Kanka dhan was still in ear and that my visit, however respectful, would so enrage the stones that they would indubitably send a gale of wind. They accordingly begged me not to ruin the harvest by such an injudicious visit. Finding them so distraught, I enquired whether we could not avert the calamity by sacrificing a pig or a bullock. I was then told that in 1941 P.F. Adams, the S.D.O., had visited the site with a deputation of Ao elders from Longsa, Ungma and Lungkham. The object of the visit was to 'reserve' the site as a holy place for the Aos. Chongliyemdi itself is a purely Sangtam village and the headmen at first declined to allot any of their land to the Aos. Ultimately, however, they were induced to gift the site and the six stones in their little patch of jungle were cordoned off and reserved to the Aos forever. This visit took place in January at the time when Chongliyemdi had still a number of 'ancient' houses. A bullock was sacrificed but in spite of this gesture of appeasement the stones vented their displeasure on the village with a night of heavy rain. At the present time the whole of Chongliyemdi is Christian and there is therefore no person who is competent to perform a sacrifice.
text: In view of this difficulty, the distress of the Sangtams, and the fact that a hot night was obviously presaging rain, I decided to postpone my visit until January or February when all the crops would be cut.
text: So far as the Sangtams are concerned, I could get no corroboration of Dr Hutton's suggestion that they also originated at Langyok. 'We came from further out' they said. The headmen of Chare however stated that the Phoms had formerly occupied the Northern Sangtam area and had been driven to the present sites by Sangtam pressure. Phire Ahire, a Sangtam village, was a former Phom stronghold. They said that to the best of their belief the Phoms also traced their origin to the '6 stones' of Chongliyemdi.