The Nagas

Hill Peoples of Northeast India

Project Introduction The Naga Database

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

caption: Serious problems with coolies en route to Tobu; detailed description of Tobu
medium: tours
keywords: head-huntingdefencesritualmorungscarvingsthroneburial customshairstyleseconomyphysiologyclothingsteel
person: Chingmak/ of ChingmeiOngliWoodthorpe
ethnicgroup: AngamiKacha NagaKonyakChang
location: Tobu Maksha Teithung R. Moyung R.
date: 13.11.1923
person: Hutton/ J.H.
date: 1.11.1923-30.11.1923
person: Pitt Rivers Museum Archive, Oxford
refnum: Hutton Ms. Box 2
text: 13th
text: Left Hakchang in fairly good time, the coolies turning out well, and started for Tobu via Maksha. The arrangement that had been made was that Hakchang and Maksha should carry us as far as the river which divides their land from Tobu, with whom they are very much at war, and to whom they have recently lost a number of heads. Here Tobu was to meet us and carry us up to their village, this arrangement having been made for us by Chingmak of Chingmei, who is friendly with both villages.
text: Hakchang had, as I noticed when passing out through the east door of the village the familiar arrangement of thorny creepers on posts to be cut down in war time so that the thorns are an impenetrable barrier, a plan followed by the Angami, Kacha Naga, and by the Wa of Burma. Maksha, through which we passed, has I should say about sixty houses, and closely resembles Wakching. I noticed "buffalo-horn" pattern graves.
text: On our way down from Maksha to the river the Ninyam gaonburas calmly told us that they had been to Tobu and that a fresh arrangement had been made there that Tobu, as they would be carrying our load to Chingmei, would not come to meet us at all, but Hakchang should carry all the way up to Tobu; when we got to the Teithung, Hakchang, not unnaturally, flatly refused to go a step further. We were ready for them, however, and at the critical moment had them parked in an open space between the Moyung, a tributary of the Teithung, and the Teithung. At first we tried persuasion, which was useless; then at Ongli's suggestion we quietly got sepoys all round the edge of the open space and then told them (1) that they would be fired on if they bolted (2) that they must carry or the sepoys would "spoil" them. Luckily they did not call our bluff, and after another half hour of threatening, cursing and coaxing, while many had their daos out and all were either sulking or shouting and looked rather nasty, we got them on the move across the river and up the hill. I was still very anxious as the Ninyam headmen had reported that someone, obviously of Tuensang or of Hakchang had been "dirtying our path", and there was a report about in Tobu that we had sworn to eat some village this trip, and the non-appearance of Tobu as arranged looked bad. However, they had cleared the path, and, when about half-way up the hill, two of the Tobu headmen turned up, much to my relief. It also re-assured Hakchang a little, though we had a great deal of trouble with them before we finally got into camp just outside and below Tobu. There we let Hakchang and Maksha go after paying them in red wool-rupees - rupees do not run here - and hared off down the hill in a scrum, daos drawn and shouting.
text: The approach to Tobu on this ridge consists of a narrow ridge about 25 yards wide level along the top and with the ground falling away very steeply at the edges. It commands magnificent views both east and west, and we occupied the width of it for our camp, an admirable position from every consideration. It had held, till the morning when we came, the body of a Hakchang man, who was killed at the end of October in an attempt to raid Tobu, minus his head and the lower parts of his limbs, and impaled on a stake. This they had removed for fear of hurting the feelings of our coolies. Several Hakchang men had tried to get heads off Tobu and had been surrounded and killed. The path up had been studded with stumps the whole way and only cleared for our benefit. As the sides of the path and the adjoining jungle is panjied anyone from another village ignorant of the by-paths of the jungle, would have to use the tubbed path when escaping after a raid, and must sooner or later trip and fall. Anyway he would be delayed long enough for the pursuers to get round and cut him off by paths only known to themselves. The same path had shallow holes in places, which holes had held panjis - covered with a false surface for the unwary to put his foot through and spike it.
text: As we entered Tobu, Ongli, who had a relation lose his head to that village, had to perform a ceremony to conciliate the dead man's spirit, as I understood, for his action in entering Tobu in peace, and being entertained by Tobu. A friend threw down for him a small dao blade, over which Ongli poured some liquor and muttered a speech, finally striking the blade with the iron butt of his spear and flicking it aside off the path, leaving the blade for anyone who might choose to pick up, which the friend who had put it down for him prompty did. Even after this he was unable to drink Tobu's liquor for fear of losing his eyesight and his teeth.
text: Tobu was disappointing in some ways. I had imagined it full of carving, and Woodthorpe's account of the stone seats of the chiefs had misled me. The village is very large in population but does not cover a very big area. Several families live in one house and there are 16 principal morungs, with many subsidiary ones, but the houses are not striking, and the morungs are notable principally for the shape of their roofs which start low and curve upwards in a sort of horn pointing skywards.
text: The chief's stone seats were just an ordinary boulder placed at the top of a pile of smaller stones exactly like an Angami Kipuchie in Kohima village. Woodthorpe says that only the chief is allowed to use it, but it was crowded by all sorts and conditions when we came up. There are other stone sitting places, like the chief's seat, and apparently attached to a morung, which are made exactly on a common Angami pattern,
text: The women cut their hair close and keep it so for life, plucking out a triangle on each side of the forehead more or less clean but smaller in the area than Yongphong, Ukha and Yunghong. The small boys wear their hair in a narrow sort of cocks-comb down the centre of the head very much like a Tangkhul, and are tattooed in a broad stripe down the nose and chin. The clothes are very finely woven and finished off as Angami cloths are. I was warned off the site of a burnt house because it had been struck by lightning, and if I went there my feet would ache. I suppose if I lame myself tomorrow it will be put down to that.
text: Oranges are grown by Tobu, and I noticed flint and steel used, also the bark belts I saw further south in April, as well as the cowrie belts common to the southern Konyaks and the Changs. I was also struck by the resemblance of some of the Tobu basket work hats to those of the Igorot in the Philippines.
text: The general appearance and physique of the Tobu people compare most unfavourably with that of the Changs as a whole. Hakchang are small and un-Chang like, but Tobu are miserable specimens, small, weak and goitred. The women reminded me rather of the poorer type of Angami in Cheswema, Nerhema, Keruma and Tofima, where panikhets have never really superseded jhum.
text: The Tobu word for man is konyak so that the word for the whole tribe is probably merely the word for man like the Lhota kyon. Further north, however, the Konyak word for man is shenyak.