The Nagas

Hill Peoples of Northeast India

Project Introduction The Naga Database

typescript - J.H. Hutton tour diaries in the Naga Hills

caption: Jhuming; introduction of terraced agriculture; experimental barley in Aochagalimi partly destroyed by cattle; seed
medium: tours
ethnicgroup: Sema
location: Emilomi Aochagalimi
date: 5.5.1917
person: Hutton/ J.H.
date: 22.4.1917-23.5.1917
person: Pitt Rivers Museum Archive, Oxford
refnum: Hutton Ms. Box 2
text: 5th
text: To Emilomi, where I disposed of a large number of pending cases on this and the following day.
text: On the way I visited Aochagalimi to look at my experimental barley crop. This had suffered the usual fate of innovations in agriculture, and had been practically destroyed by the village cattle, as no one had regarded it as worth the trouble of protecting. However, enough had survived to yield a certain amount of first class "Modhu" and convinced the head-men of the advantage of giving it a proper trial, and many applications for seed were made. The point of it is that at present it is impossible to get a third crop from jhum land, because the weeds come up in such vast numbers by the third rains that it is impossible to keep the fields clean enough to get a crop, and the only possible course is to let the jhum go back to jungle, so that the higher growths which spring up in time may kill out the weeds. As however barley can be grown in the cold weather, when the weeds do not come up to any considerable degree, it will be possible to clear the stubble of a jhum about to be given up and to get a third crop off it, thus increasing the area under cultivation by 50%. Jhuming is usually spoken of as very wasteful form of cultivation, and so it is, but it is not perhaps realized that it is the only form possible in this country, unless terraces can be made in which the water will do each year what in jhum land must be left to be done by the growth of higher vegetation. Terracing entails enormous labour in the first instance, and although it is being slowly introduced into the Sema country - very slowly at present owing to the absence of funds, as it is very costly - it is not everywhere possible to construct terraces, as excessive jhuming has cleared the heavy forest at the top of the hills and destroyed the water supply, so that the terraces that are made become entirely dependant on an early and continuous rainfall.
text: [Note: I have asked Hutton for definite proposals for the extension of terraced cultivation in the Sema country. - Sd. W.J.Reid, 11-6-17]