The Nagas

Hill Peoples of Northeast India

Project Introduction The Naga Database

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

caption: Khel building plans at Khonoma; dwelling places for ancestral spirits; khels allowed to build for two months
medium: tours
person: Merhema khel/ Khonoma
location: Khonoma Dzula R. Kohima
date: 17.6.1923-18.6.1923
person: Hutton/ J.H.
date: 6.6.1923-18.6.1923
person: Pitt Rivers Museum Archive, Oxford
refnum: Hutton Ms. Box 2
text: 17th
text: To Khonoma. The Dzula was in flood, higher than I had any idea it could rise, and it is still raining. The falls this side of Yekura were very fine and the river itself though discoloured was at its best.
text: Khonoma have a building craze. For the first time, anyway since 1909, all three clans have agreed on keeping a permanent peace, and each will allow the others to erect any sort of mound and stone business they please without objecting, whether it is a baze, a Kwehu, or a dahu. All want to build, and as no one else objects I see no reason why I should. It will keep the young bucks out of mischief and liquor smuggling for a time at any rate, and there is no question but the village believes that these erections enhance their material prosperity. I think they are really dwelling places for the ancestral spirits on whom depend the fruits of the earth. All three khels are to begin on the same day and build for two months, when they must stop. Otherwise, without a limit, this game would most certainly lead to serious quarrelling. I do not anticipate any quarrels during these two months. At the end of them I am to come back and see whose erection is the best. The proposed building plots were ready flagged out for my approval when I arrived. Merhema propose to build a latter-day tower of Babel, I gather, but the time limit will considerably handicap their very ambitious scheme. They are also going to move in the fort wall at one corner so as to bring a cow path through. 18th To Kohima.