The Nagas

Hill Peoples of Northeast India

Project Introduction The Naga Database

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

caption: Spring Festival at Kongan; sale of wood to Borjan Colliery; the Railway, coolie labour and suspected suicide at Kongan; Assamese buying pan at Kongan
medium: tours
person: WongMenda HamShakespear/ Capt.AhonHeolum
location: Kongan Lungnyu (Longnyu) Oting Wangla Kanching (Chota Kanching) Borjan Colliery
date: 25.4.1923
person: Hutton/ J.H.
date: 23.3.1923-1.5.1923
person: Pitt Rivers Museum Archive, Oxford
refnum: Hutton Ms. Box 2
text: 25th
text: To Kongan.
text: On the way I met three or four parties of Nagas from distant villages - Longnyu, Oting, Wangla, returning from having gone to see that their mile was clear. Some of them must have come three days journey for this perfectly useless purpose. There was nothing in the way and the path was in perfect order. These parties cut a few stalks of grass which was all they could find to cut, and to call them for a waste of time and trouble of this sort is very bad work on someone's part. One expects this sort of thing in the Manipur State but not in the Naga Hills. It is the Muharrir's business to know in what condition the road is, and if he did not know that it was in perfectly good order and that there was no jungle to clear he ought to have done, anyway he had no business to put such distant villages to trouble for nothing at all. The Sub Divisional Officer will deal with him. I also met a Chota Kanching man returning from Kongan whither he had gone, by Wong's order, to feed the prisoners we brought away from Tangsa who like most of the bad characters of this part are Wong's friends.
text: There is a wild fruit tree now ripe all through this country (we first struck it at Yungya) which the Gurkhalis call Kaphur or something like that and which the Nagas of Kongan speak of in Assamese as Bihu thenga. It has a pronounced taste of strawberry combined with the acidity of the lemon, but I can conceive that if cultivated it would be made to yield a most delicious fruit. As it is, it's too sharp to eat much of raw, but is quite good when stewed.
text: In Kongan I found the village celebrating the spring festival in gala dress with much drumming,
text: The Kongan Gaonburas came to me about the Khat, they said that they only received Rs.40/- as revenue from the Sub Divisional Officer this year instead of Rs.50/-. They said first that they got it from Wong, then that Ahon brought it to their village. The Sub Divisional Officer will enquire and report. Outside Kongan village below the Inspection Bungalow there were some Assamese who had slept in the jungle having come up to buy pan. I gather from the Kongan people that this is a regular thing. They say that certain Assamese have been in the habit of coming up to buy pan since before Kongan was taken over, which is possible, of course, though not very probable. I rather doubt if, with the Colliery on Kongan land it would be possible to prevent plainsmen from coming up to Kongan village without passes, unless Kongan go back to the Namsang plan of "chopping" them whenever they can safely do so.
text: I talked to the Kongan Gaonburas about their arrangement with the Borjan Colliery for the sale of wood, but could make nothing at all of their statements. They said that they had leased the forest on their land below the Colliery's grant to the Manager for Rs.60/- per annum for five years of which three were still to run. If this is the case this is something entirely new and an agreement which the Manager has no right to make. He will of course cut out all the wood and leave the land worthless. The Gaonburas could tell me nothing of the proposed payment of 1 pice per tree or whatever it is about which the Sub Divisional Officer wrote to me. They said they had never heard of it.
text: Heolum came to me with a wail, that he had been dismissed by the Sub Divisional officer, and a bottle of modhu. He said he was sacked for failing to report the death of a transfrontier Naga in the Colliery.
text: The Wakching and Wanching coolies who had carried down the luggage etc. of the escort to Sibsagar Road came up, on their way back and I paid them off. I take it very ill of the Railway that they should have refused accommodation to the returning escort and its mal from Naginimara and that on the preposterous ground that the Naginimara branch is not open to passenger traffic. One of the subsidiary reasons for opening that branch, and making the Railway a present of Kongan's land, was to facilitate communication with the outpost, and the train on the Sunday carries any number of passengers. Trucks only were asked for and all that was necessary was to start the shuttle train two hours earlier from Mariani so as to give the connection with the midday down train. The Assam Bengal Railway could have done it perfectly well if they had pleased. They are glad enough to have the Assam Rifles on the line when there is a strike.