The Nagas

Hill Peoples of Northeast India

Project Introduction The Naga Database

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

caption: burial of Pongithung; case exemplifying treatment hill-people receive in the plains
medium: tours
person: Yano/ of PyangsaOpansao/ of MailangSonathan/ of RengmapatharThano/ of RengmapatharMills/ Mr
ethnicgroup: Lhotas
location: Pyangsa Lotzu (Lotsu) Yamho-Yantha Pungitung (Pongithung) Tesophenyu (Tesiphenyu) Mailang Rengmapathar Golaghat Nazira Bhojo Bokajan
date: 10.12.1925
person: Hutton/ J.H.
date: 16.11.1925-17.12.1925
person: Pitt Rivers Museum Archive, Oxford
refnum: Hutton Ms. Box 2
text: 10th December
text: To Pyangsa, about 10 miles, which I counted after counting Lotsu and Yamho-Yantha on the way. I noticed that the Lhotas all round here normally use stone graves - lined with flat stones and paved with a flat stone on the top and walled in the same way. In Pongithung I saw a burial taking place: the body, on a plank, was rolled round with a mat and laid in the grave, and a sloping board put across it to keep the earth from resting on it directly. Flat stones would have been used had not the necessary people been genna and only one or two old men available to carry out the interment.
text: In the Pongithung mingethung there is still an intact skull, taken of old from a man of Tesiphenyu.
text: Yano G.B. of Pyangsa retiring, I appointed his brother in his place. I only found out too late that the other section of the khel ought to have been given the chance of supplying the G.B. this time. I told them to see that they got it next time there was a change. Yano, who says he has been G.B. for 30 years and resigns, claims that his cloth is overdue.
text: Mailang and Pyangsa came up in the evening with a tale of woe about a man of Mailang named Opansao who went to the plains last January with cotton. A man of Rengmapathar named Sonathan tried to snatch his load and he resisted, a tussle followed in the course of which a man of Rengmapathar, named Thano, smote Opansao on the head with a lathi injuring him severely. They took the man to Golaghat and took him to the dispensary, where they got him treated by the Doctor Babu who gave them much abuse (doubtless of the usual "Sala Noga" description) but eventually painted the skull with iodine. Later they gave the Doctor Babu Rs.10/- when the man got proper attention. They went meanwhile to the thana and they were there for a whole day while the daroga took down details of the case and told them it should be taken up. Then he asked for money, and so did anyone else. After paying a number of small sums, the Lhotas got fed up with oiling palms and said they did not understand and were not used to this method of conducting cases and would go to their own Deputy Commissioner. They went to Mr. Mills who said that he could do nothing as it was a criminal case outside his jurisdiction. They had meanwhile taken the injured man back to the village. Later on he died as a result of the wound on his head, but this they never reported to anyone, until I turned up this year. They produced a hospital ticket of Golaghat dispensary dated 19-1-1925, but this gave no other information worth having. I told them that it is probably impossible to do anything now, as they have left things too long. Mr. Mills would certainly have taken it up if he had known that the man had died, but he did not. However, the case is worth putting on record as typical of the sort of treatment the hill-man may expect in the plains unless he visits them armed and on the warpath. Also because I gather that the villages intend to go down 30 or 40 strong to Rengmapathar this year, and as they will be spoiling for a fight, I wouldn't be surprised if the Rengmapathar people got their belly-ful on the slightest provocation, and serve them right too. It is also very typical of the Sibsagar police force who are notorious in this district, from Bhojo to Bokajan, and have been so for the past twelve years or more (the Thana at Nazira excepted).