The Nagas

Hill Peoples of Northeast India

Project Introduction The Naga Database

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

caption: giving money as security for good behaviour before various khels permitted to return to old Khonoma sites; dispute over Merhema khel's genna and puja site; gaonburas of Khonoma given power to hear petty cases
medium: tours
keywords: Naga Labour Corps
person: Thevoma khel/ KhonomaSemoma khel/ KhonomaMerhema khel/ KhonomaSrisalhu/ of KhonomaThepfuvitsuVidilhuWoods/ Col.Debi SinghReid/ W.J.
location: Khonoma
date: 22.5.1917
person: Hutton/ J.H.
date: 22.4.1917-23.5.1917
person: Pitt Rivers Museum Archive, Oxford
refnum: Hutton Ms. Box 2
text: 22nd
text: To Khonoma with the Commandant. Here the Thevoma khel, having deposited the first half of their security, are building temporary houses on their old sites. The Semoma khel is still collecting money. They claim with some reason that they cannot be expected to raise so much as Thevoma as they are only part of their khel and much fewer in number, numbering 117 houses against 281. They say that on their representation Colonel Woods fined them more lightly than Thevoma. The attitude is a reasonable one, and if they had put it to me before I passed orders I should have made their security less proportionately. On that day, however, they were occupied in frivolous arguments on irrelevant points, and forgot to mention this one. It is true that their Gaonbura was ill and the khel dobashi, Srisalhu, away. I told them that when they have collected Rs 1500/- I would consider their case. The Rs 2000/- raised by Thevoma was all raised in the khel I believe, except the last Rs 150/-, which they borrowed somewhere in Kohima, so the amount fixed upon was not far wrong. It was invested in Post Office Certificates which were deposited in the Treasury as Security.
text: The Merhema khel also asked to come back to their sites, i.e. the Khonoma Fort. I said that this could not be considered at present, but that it was conceivable that they might be able to do so at some time if the other two khels showed that they could live together amicably.
text: I have never seen Khonoma so chastened, nor near it. I should not have believed it possible. They hardly argued even when I prohibited building on certain sites which they were particularly anxious to re-occupy for sentimental reasons. I forbade buildings on the flat open site of the Semoma khel where the riot had taken place and also on a corresponding site belonging to Thevoma. Probably it will be possible to let them build on these also if the rest settle down quietly as they seem to be going to do, but at any rate not for a year or two. I asked some Merhema men the reason of the chastened mood of the other two khels, and they said they were afraid of irritating me into any order which could interfere with their return. In case of future questions arising I would add that Thepfuvitsu, Srisalhu, Vidilhu and all the Gaonburas know what is prohibited in the way of building.
text: A question arose about a place where the Merhema khel do gennas just outside the Fort. This spot is the one where a tiger and a man emerged from the ground and gennas are occasionally done there. The sepoys also regard it as probably prolific in deos and in the old days did pujas there, but Colonel Woods had this stopped. The last Jemadar - Debi Singh, now gone to France with the Naga Labour Corps, re-fenced the place and put an iron trident in a niche in the rock. The Nagas complained and I ordered its removal. The Jemadar was inclined to object but admitted Colonel Wood's order. He also offered to remove the fence and trident on condition that the Nagas did not do gennas there either, but I gave him an unconditional order. I am sorry to interfere with the Military Police pujas, but I think that in this case it was necessary.
text: Before leaving I gave to Khonoma Gaonburas power to hear and decide petty cases in their own khels and to fine up to Rs 5/- when the Gaonburas of the khel in question were agreed on the point. In the case of litigation between parties of different khels the Gaonburas sitting jointly have the same power - provided they agree as to their decision.
text: [Note: this is an interesting experiment. The Khonoma people for the moment seem to be well behaved to a degree that is almost uncanny. - Sd. W.J.Reid, 11-6-17.]