The Nagas

Hill Peoples of Northeast India

Project Introduction The Naga Database

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

caption: plans to climb Saramati mountain; Sakhalu threatens trouble if not allowed to settle; Sangtam inability to run village - idea that Semas would impose order
medium: tours
person: Lukarr khel/ ThachumiPutsoniLhokeviSakhalu
ethnicgroup: SangtamSema
location: Primi Longphurr (Niemi) Sakhalu Khuvukhu Ngoromi Phozami Makware Lumakami Saramati Mt.
date: 15.2.1923
person: Hutton/ J.H.
date: 25.1.1923-22.2.1923
person: Pitt Rivers Museum Archive, Oxford
refnum: Hutton Ms. Box 2
text: 15th
text: To Primi - a longish march through a new village, started by part of the Lukarr khel of Thachumi, but apparently not yet occupied, to Lumakami thence to Ngoromi and so to Primi. Saramati still visible all the way. February would probably be the best month to attempt to climb her. Three days out (and three days back) from Karami should do it, and as there are no villages up there, a nominal escort would be enough. Niemi are quite friendly and Makware have probably not forgotten their lesson in 1911, and these two are the nearest villages. Before leaving Thachumi I sent off Putsoni and Lhokevi to lay a boundary between Khuvukhu and Lumakami, which are always squabbling over land. Thachumi supplied my coolies and make no difficulties. The escort camped at Ngoromi which is just outside the new area.
text: Sakhalu before leaving in the morning gave me clearly, though quite politely, to understand that as I would not go out of my way to find him a site for a new village - i.e. make him a gift of some one else's land - he would see that I got plenty of trouble from his quarrel with his brother, hinting perhaps that I should be glad to plant him out somewhere else ultimately. I expect before they have finished one - or both - of that couple will get planted nearer home.
text: As a matter of fact I should have been glad to see Thachumi adopt Sakhalu as a "father" and settle him on their land. These Sangtams have not the remotest idea of running a village or conducting their affairs on any decent or orderly plan at all, and it is that which makes them succumb entirely to the Sema when he goes and settles among them. I fancy a dose of Sema really does a Sangtam village a vast deal of permanent good. The Sangtam system is on this plan - A. died rather unexpectedly. B. - his great grandson has sometime in his youth heard a vague rumour that C. - long dead - possibly poisoned him. Some of C's clan - twentieth cousins thrice removed, live in another village 15 miles away, and one of them owns a mithan. B. getting old and hankering for the comforts of life goes to D. and says "Look here - so and so, in the other village, owes me a mithan for poisoning my great-grandfather, whose name I forget. I will sell you that mithan for two pigs and a pocket knife". D. promptly buys, and without reference to the mithan's owner goes and drives it off, brings it home and kills it and eats it up as quickly as possible to make quite sure (1) that he won't have to return it (2) that no-one else shall remember that his own great-aunt was also once accused of poisoning a man who did not die. This is not an extreme instance. Everybody is doing this sort of thing all the time in Thachumi and there is in consequence so little security in any property that no one ever succeeds in being reasonably comfortably off at all. A Sema chief is no doubt a trying infliction, but he does reduce a village to order. I told the Indian Officer at Primi that he could withdraw at the end of the month unless he got orders to the contrary. His ration will run out soon after that.
text: Phozami brought in their revenue here and I took it to save them the trouble of coming in.