The Nagas

Hill Peoples of Northeast India

Project Introduction The Naga Database

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

caption: Decay of Chowuma and Thekrojenoma villages; speculation on reasons for decay: temperature change or apathy due to suppression of head-hunting
medium: tours
location: Thekrezenama (Thekrojenoma) Sachenobama (Sachanobama) Tsowoma (Chowuma)
date: 28.1.1921
person: Hutton/ J.H.
date: 3.1.1921-31.1.1921
person: Pitt Rivers Museum Archive, Oxford
refnum: Hutton Ms. Box 2
text: 28th
text: I had hoped to reach Mezoma, if not Khonoma, but when I got to Sachanobama my coolies were already so far behind that I saw I could not and they did not reach Thekrojenoma until 2.15 when even Mezoma was out of the question so I camped where I was. Last time I was at Chowuma there were only 3 houses, Angamis, an offshoot of Khonoma. These three have now become four and taken to themselves five others, three Kacha Nagas and two Kukis. I believe the village was once quite a decent size, but like all its neighbours has dwindled steadily. Thekrojenoma used once apparently, within human memory they say, to have 90 houses. When I was last here I think it had 30 to 40. Now it has 20, though the empty house sites and the very elaborate stone work in all directions, overgrown as the place is by jungle, gives the impression of the village having had some 150 to 200 houses at one time or another.
text: I find great difficulty in accounting for this decay. Most of these sites are high and the water is good, of course their fields are low for they like to cultivate the rich land in the Diphu valley and the perpetual change of temperature from the field to the village may have something to do with it. Possibly it is due to mere apathy which the suppression of head hunting has given rise to. This cause has been more or less proved to have been strongly operative in Australasia where the population of whole islands in Melanesia has begun to die out owing to the stoppage of this invigorating pursuit and the absence of any interest to replace it, Sunday gennas and hymns not having proved adequate. In New Guinea the Administration is taking special steps to provide substitutes for head hunting before entirely suppressing it, in order to prevent the resulting apathy and lack of interest in life which has caused such decadence elsewhere, but I do not know that any useful substitute has been found. The Khonoma substitute is litigation, gambling and drunkenness which seem to serve the purpose only moderately well.