The Nagas

Hill Peoples of Northeast India

Project Introduction The Naga Database

typescript - extract from tour diary of C.R. Pawsey, 1925

caption: Borduria; use of term abor; resemblance to Eastern Angamis; salt springs; children's swing; treatment of dead; houses; lack of granaries; lack of furniture; Ang's house; drum; belief that Pawsey was Holcombe's son, come to recover his head; deterioration of village due to contact with plains, lack of warfare and opium addiction; suggestion that Kohima coolies would offend Borduria through lack of clothes
medium: tours
person: HolcombeMotilal RoyTekhum/ of BorduriaHangspal
location: Borduria Nianyu Bua Kohima
date: 6.11.1925
person: Pawsey/ C.R.
date: 10.1925-11.1925
refnum: Proceedings, Government of Assam, Appointment and Political Department, 1926. P/11515.
person: India Office Library, London
text: 6th
text: To camp below Lungchung (Lungto). Borduria came in, in force, all begging either for pice or opium and showing a complete absence of the usual Konyak Reserve. They are in fact not Konyaks, but an entirely different tribe. The resemblance to the Eastern Angamis was extraordinary, chiefly owing to the method of hair-dressing being practically identical. Here as at Chanyu, tribes to the east are called abor.
text: [Margin note: The term 'abor' as opposed to 'bori' tribes held to be used all through the Naga Hills (vide early Tour Diaries) and the term seems to be as old as the younger Pliny who speaks of the 'Aboriman' (i.e. aborimanuh) tribe in a valley of the Himalayas (VII-II) - J.H.H.]
text: A few men were carrying spears with the genuine Aoshed spear markings complete, and one or two had long Singpho knives.
text: Visited Borduria. Just below our camp was the village salt spring. The water is baled out by means of a bamboo chunga attached to a bamboo and is then allowed to percolate through a kang full of wood ashes into a wooden trough. It is then placed in half sections of bamboo about 18 inches long each, each section being kept open by a piece of wood. These sections, in all 120, are placed on top of a furnace made of stone rammed with earth with a fire at one end and condensation takes place. Although it takes ten days to get each section of bamboo full of salt, the standard price for less than two seers being 12 annas.
text: At the entrance to the village three very long bamboos each twenty yards apart have been stuck up and the ends tied together to make a swing for the children.
text: On one side of the path there were a few machans in which corpses are dried, the heads however not being removed at all. Each clan has its separate machan group. One machan was completely covered with cloths and there were a good many brass utensils in the vicinity.
text: The houses differ in pattern from those of any other Naga tribe. They are all built on machans varying greatly in height, according to the ground, and the entrance is by means of a ladder cut of a single tree, a strip of wood connecting each step being left in on both sides so as to form hard grips. In some cases the ladder ended up in a pair of horns. There are no verandah and you walk straight into what appears to be the main living room with a fireplace in the middle and a dhan-pounder facing the entrance.
text: [Margin note: From this description they appear to be identical with the houses of the Rangpang and Hokong valley Nagas - J.H.H.]
text: In this outer room the dhan is kept in bins, the sides of which are made of bamboo wood, planed down smooth and the grain being covered first with a bit of old matting and then with a layer of rough stones to prevent the rats eating it. I saw no granaries and was informed that all the dhan was kept like this. If so there can be very little or no grain in the village. Considering that the whole village has the acquisition of opium as its one and only ambition this is not surprising.
text: I was not encouraged to go into the inner reaches of the houses as the women were rather shy and stayed indoors, but I went into two. There were no beds in either, mats being used in their place. The two houses I went inside had two inner rooms, each with its fireplace. There was practically no furniture. I got hold of two drinking cups of a type I had not previously seen. They were hanging up with the tops down to keep them clean.
text: [Margin note: This is most un-Naga, but typical of Indonesia, and the pipe ? [sic] - J.H.H.]
text: The Ang's morung had no sizeable decorations. There was a good collection of heads, mostly of a good age, kept on a shelf over the drum and not on the back machan. The drum was a gnarled hollow tree with ends open. Several men were squatting inside it.
text: I spent some time in the Ang's house. The Ang himself was an old man now and seems to do nothing but smoke opium. The house was disappointing. In the main outer room there was an appalling collection of jobera, three pistols (one home-made and two foreign, all out of repair); several good Singpho daos, a collection of old chairs and furniture all covered with the dirt of generations. The Ang had distinctly Aryan features, with very small hands and feet. He knew all about my relationship to Holcombe, the number of my brothers and children, told me all about the various sahibs who had visited him before.
text: [Margin note: It had been rumoured that Mr Pawsey was Holcombe's son, come to better Nianyu and recover Holcombe's head.] Altogether he was rather entertaining and quite a character. He has a son aged about 25 who badly wants sitting on. He was dressed in complete plains kit and fancied himself not a little. The death of the old man will probably lead to a break-up of the Borduria empire. Last year the village lost two children to Niounyu and took no steps to get them back, and already this year they have allowed heads to be taken from Bua, a dependency, without doing anything. The village was probably very stout at one time, but opium, contact with the plains, and having no enemy near its gates, has resulted in a general deterioration. Some of the young men are distinctly of good physique. It would do the village good to be raided well and truly.
text: I was shown an extraordinary epistle from the Political clerk, Dibrugarh, to the Surveyor Mr Motilal Roy, asking me not to bring on to Borduria land the Kohima coolies, as their lack of clothing would be obnoxious to the people of Borduria. In view of this and of the fact that Deputy Commissioner, Dibrugarh, had appointed his representative one Tekhum of Borduria, a bastard relative of the Ang, probably as big a scoundrel as there is in the whole of the hills, I decided that I had better return.
text: I made all arrangements for ration supply and left Hangspal with two months supplies in hand.