The Nagas

Hill Peoples of Northeast India

Project Introduction The Naga Database

typescript - J.H. Hutton's tour diary in the Naga Hills

caption: Detailed description of the history of a new Kuki village, Kanjang; desire to be part of the Naga Hills, not Manipur; migration; Tangkhul traders firing the jungle; tiger traps; fish poisoning; beeswax; pots
medium: tours
keywords: Kuki operationsAishan Kuki expedition
person: Nguljalen/ of KanjangPasutWoods/ Col.GimsonHiggins
ethnicgroup: KukiTangkhulMemi
location: Kanjang Lapvomi Somra Tusom Khunou (Tushom) Wahong (Vahong) Phoding R. Pensat (Pansat)
date: 5.2.1923
person: Hutton/ J.H.
date: 25.1.1923-22.2.1923
person: Pitt Rivers Museum Archive, Oxford
refnum: Hutton Ms. Box 2
text: 5th
text: To Kanjang. This village at present only a hamlet started by Nguljalen to form the nucleus of a village - is the result of the Kuki Operations. During those operations Nguljalen and his brothers raised a force, commandeered all the local guns, licensed and unlicensed, mostly the latter, built a fort and garrisoned it, and thus prevented a number of Memi and Tangkhul villages from raids by hostile Kukis. It was no small thing of Nguljalen to remain loyal against the order of his "Piba" and to remain actively so, particularly as he had an old grievance against Government. His brother Pasut also acted as a guide for us, against several hostile villages. After the Operations were over Nguljalen asked to be allowed to go back to the site near Lapvomi from which he had been ejected by Colonel Woods on the Aishan Kuki expedition. This I refused, and when I asked the reason he wanted to go back, he said that in addition to his objection to living under the Manipur State's regime, it was the same reason as had made many Kukis restless and disloyal, the fact that they had no land of their own but had to pay rent to some Naga villages or other for any fields they cleared, and had to accept what land the Nagas offered them. This of course is perfectly true. The Kukis were driven north by the Lushais into land already occupied and in many cases have never been able to obtain land of their very own. Under the circumstances I consulted Mr. Higgins and afterwards Mr. Gimson, and offered Nguljalen a site at Kanjang which was well north of the Riokhong which it was then taken for granted would form the northern boundary of the Manipur State, if Government eventually agreed to recognize the claims of the State based on their de facto realization of unauthorized revenue from Tushom and Vahong. If the broken hills north of the Chingai be taken as the boundary, the bulk of Nguljalen's land, and possibly his village, will go back into Manipur. He objects to this as he dislikes the State (he is not alone in this) and it is very doubtful if the State would recognize his title in the jhum land north of the Chingai, against any other villages that might want to cultivate there. The State has never been committed to the orders putting him in possession in this land, which come from the Deputy Commissioner Naga Hills. Meanwhile he is very useful as he occupies his land, with fixed boundaries, on the understanding that he allows no unauthorized Kukis to come north of the Chingai unless they settle in his village and under him. Two or three attempted migrations have already been stopped by him, and Kuki hamlets scattered about the very difficult country behind Lapvomi and Marami would be exceedingly difficult to deal with. Kanjang entertained me with a mithan, lashings of zu, and a vicarious dance in which Lapvomi supplied the dancers. Several points were raised which are not easy to deal with. The Kukis state that Tangkhul traders from Somra often come to Kanjang and that they are in habit of firing the jungle wherever they go, which spoils the land for cultivation. Also that they frequently move by night and that the Kukis are accustomed to set spring spears for tigers at night round the village and to remove them in the day. This of course entails no damage to ordinary traders or travellers, but they are afraid of getting into trouble for spearing some fly-by-night Tangkhul from Somra in them. Two more objections there were in which Lapvomi joined, one that Tangkhuls came and poisoned the Phoding river for fish, the Phoding being partly Nguljalen's eastern boundary and partly running through Lapvomi land, the other that the Somra Tangkhuls came and collected bees-wax from nests on the Lapvomi-Kanjang ridge. These two practices of course date from the time not more than a few years since, when Lapvomi was kept in terror of raids by Somra Tangkhuls. The traders seem mostly from Pansat with pots for sale at Lapvomi.