The Nagas

Hill Peoples of Northeast India

Project Introduction The Naga Database

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

caption: Visit to Khonoma to inspect the stone dahu newly erected by the three khels
medium: tours
person: Merhama khel/ KhonomaSemoma khel/ KhonomaThevoma khel/ KhonomaVisarRhizoleKrulelhoSokraleLhudaleFezherKhusapraDosilhuNisapra
ethnicgroup: Angami
location: Khonoma
date: 9.10.1923
person: Hutton/ J.H.
date: 9.10.1923
person: Pitt Rivers Museum Archive, Oxford
refnum: Hutton Ms. Box 2
text: Tour Diary for the month of October 1923.
text: 9th
text: To Khonoma, and back, to see the new "forts" and put a stop to further building.
text: The three khels have erected each a big stone dahu. These will not be added to without permission, and the khels are warned that I regard them as a sort of security for good behaviour and shall not hesitate to demolish all or part of any one or all of them if the clans riot and use these dahu in the course of the riot.
text: They have cost a tremendous lot in labour and expense, and are magnificent specimens of Angami stone-work which cannot be approached in any village in the hills. They contain a great deal of dressed stone, which of course the older erections did not, though Samaguting claim to have used dressed sandstone for graves before the British occupation. The Merhama dahu has stone waterspouts, and projecting stones bored with holes to carry the bamboo scaffolding used to build the upper parts of the wall. In the case of this dahu the parapet round the top is dressed to a fine edge instead of being merely composed of flat stones. The Semoma dahu has a very large platform of rough stone filled with earth and a rather smaller tower, made partly only, of dressed stone, with the usual sitting place in the top. The lower platform is to be partly paved later to cover the graves that there are in it. The Thevoma dahu is at present much like that of Merhama, bigger but not quite so well built; the lower platform was to have been much broader on one side, though not so big as Semoma. The ground however, has slipped, the whole gone [sic]. It was flagged out with stick and strings and I gave leave for it to be rebuilt to the extent for which it had slipped. Thevoma and Semoma as well had asked leave to put an inscription with my name on stating that I had given leave for the erection of these dahu. I said that if they used my name they must show me what they were going to put up first and that they could not in any case use it unless they added that I had also said that I would pull the dahu down again on the least provocation. Merhama had a blank tablet ready and a written inscription to be vetted, from which I cut out my name and passed an inscription saying that the dahu had been built with the permission of the D.C. Semoma had already put up an inscribed tablet in better English than I should have expected setting forth the history of the affair in a quite unobjectionable manner, but adding that "J.H. Hutton Esqr, C.I.E., I.C.S." had given leave for the erection of the dahu on which account "they were heartily pleased to erect this stone to the memory of Mr. Hutton", and requested Govt. officials not to interfere with it. This seemed a little premature and as they had of course added nothing about my threat to pull the dahu down again I ordered them to put up a revised inscription leaving me out of it. A dahu is a better thing to have called after one than a Law College, but unless I had built them myself I would as soon have my name on a sewage-farm as either. Thevoma had wisely refrained from any sort of tablet. They nearly always show better taste than the other two clans, to that extent justifying the claim of the Thevoma to be the aristocrats of the Angami tribe.
text: Present - Dobashis - Visar, Rhizole, Krulelho. Goanburas - Sokrale, Lhudale, Fezher, Khusapra, Dosilhu and Nisapra.