The Nagas

Hill Peoples of Northeast India

Project Introduction The Naga Database

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

caption: request by manager for liquor and opium shop at Borjan Colliery; Santali coolies to replace Pathans on yearly contracts
medium: tours
ethnicgroup: SantalPathanMakranis
location: Borjan Santok
date: 28.9.1920
person: Hutton/ J.H.
date: 31.8.1920-7.10.1920
person: Pitt Rivers Museum Archive, Oxford
refnum: Hutton Ms. Box 2
text: 28th
text: Went down to Borjan by the bridle path which is also a truckway after the Colliery is reached. A fresh piece of land has been taken up since I saw it last, and the Manager should therefore be responsible for more of the path than he used to be, but it will not be for the good of the path.
text: The Manager is very anxious for a Liquor and Opium shop to be opened on his grant. At present his men go down to Santok on Sundays and it is detrimental to his own Sunday Hat, which so far as it is successful has greatly cheapened the cost of living for Babus etc., and made it possible to get fish, vegetables and fruit. A Liquor shop is certainly desirable as there is illicit brewing and until a shop is established the Manager will not be inclined to help much in its prevention. I am less sure about opium, but the Manager could be satisfied if one of his men was specially empowered to buy a fixed quantity of opium for consumption on the Colliery and all his opium eaters listed and rationed. If these were done the ration of the opium shop at Santok could be proportionally reduced and no harm would be done. Definite proposals for a liquor shop have gone up.
text: [Note: And have been sanctioned since. J.H.H.]
text: The Manager has lately taken to importing Santal coolies. He has a considerable number of Santalis now working and is endeavouring to replace all the Pathan labour by Santalis and Makranis. The Santali are obtained from one Martin - Supervisor, Colliery Labour Department, Dumka. They are sent up by this man with chalans like Tea Garden coolies and the men are shown in the chalans as "Act free labourers" or "not under Act VI", but at the same time the men have all executed agreements before leaving Dumka to the effect that they will remain for one year and if they fail to keep their agreements, will render themselves liable under Section 492 I.P.C., I told the Manager that I thought that these written agreements were illegal and at any rate worthless, but apparently he has come to the latter conclusion himself as he has, he says, never tried to enforce them. He says that it would be bad policy to do so as those that remain earn Rs. 20/- to Rs.30/- a month and are contented. He says that he returns any that are discontented but admitted having had two desertions. He returns all his Santalis as soon as their year is expired, as the recruiting agent will not let him have them on any other conditions as he says it is bad for recruiting. He has 3 men for whom he got permission to keep on, as they did not want to go back, but only with considerable difficulty, he says.