The Nagas

Hill Peoples of Northeast India

Project Introduction The Naga Database

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

caption: Gaonbura cloths; magical tree; beliefs about lizards; cenotaph; Angami widowhood customs
medium: tours
person: KohotoVisar
ethnicgroup: AngamiSema
location: Chipoketami Phegwima (Phogwemi) Metsalemi (Metsalimi) Khuzami (Khozami) Meluri (Melomi) Sagazumi (Zegazumi)
date: 5.9.1925
person: Hutton/ J.H.
date: 2.9.1925-15.9.1925
person: Pitt Rivers Museum Archive, Oxford
refnum: Hutton Ms. Box 2
text: 5th September
text: To Chipoketami, via Phogwemi, Metsalimi and Khozami, some 25 miles. At Phogwemi an ingenious suggestion was made, by the Metsalimi G.B. I think, that his cloth should be given before the time, so that he could bring in his revenue and get his cloth at the same time. As a matter of fact, I think this could be done with advantage in all cases, and it would merely mean giving out next revenue season all cloths due up to January 1st 1926 and making those due from then onwards wait until the revenue was paid.
text: At Metsalimi I was disappointed. There was reported here a few days ago a remarkable plantain tree, which first whined and then growled like a tiger, and Kohoto had sent word that this prodigy was to be preserved for my inspection. Unfortunately the message was not in time to prevent the awe-stricken village from cutting down the unnatural tree and observing a day's genna for the whole business.
text: I find that the so-called "blood sucker" lizard is regarded as particularly associated with women by the Angamis, as the sand lizard is by Semas.
text: On a cenotaph put up for an Angami of Phogwemi, who foolishly went, urged by a daimon, to see what Melomi was like in the old days and was never heard of again, a birch tree had been planted "in the man's name" alongside the usual soul stone, and two pines at the back to prevent grass growing on the top of the cenotaph.
text: As the result of a case at Zegazumi an Angami custom came to light which I think was new to me. Visar says it applies to all Angamis, though I knew it of Semas only. If a man dies leaving a widow, who brings up his children in her deceased husband's house, she must remain chaste as long as she occupies that home. If she err she is ejected with the loss of her beads and of her share in her husband's estate except what she would have been entitled to if divorced by him for adultery, modified by the allotment of a share of the paddy if she has no parents to go to. On the other hand if she goes to another house and does not occupy her deceased husband's, she is free to conduct, or misconduct, herself according to her inclination.
text: I gave out a number of medals here and issued a number of summons.