The Nagas

Hill Peoples of Northeast India

Project Introduction The Naga Database

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

caption: Holkang, Kuki village on site of a Naga village; unusual system of land tenure - rent and rampo rights; disagreement over an elephant shooting reward
medium: tours
person: Thangjapao/ of SailimLoilut
ethnicgroup: KukiKacha Naga
location: Holkang Holkang (Halalo) Lakema Birema Zalukemi (Jalukema)
date: 19.5.1926
person: Hutton/ J.H.
date: 14.5.1926-9.6.1926
person: Pitt Rivers Museum Archive, Oxford
refnum: Hutton Ms. Box 2
text: 19/5/1926 To Holkang, about 16 miles or possibly a little less - a Kuki village on a site that formerly belonged to an extinct Naga village Halalo by which name it is still often spoken of. On the way I dealt with a three cornered land dispute between Lakema, Birema and Jalukema (Misc. Case No. 114 of 1926). I took a long time on account of the unusual system of land tenure among the Kacha Naga with which I was unfamiliar, and as the dobashis were bad at explaining it took me much trouble to elucidate. The Kacha Nagas have a survival of the communal ownership of land in the right, held by villages as distinct from individuals to levy rampo (or rapeo) from certain land. Originally no doubt the ownership of the land and the right to rampo from those who cultivated it were vested as a matter of course in the same community, but since then the repeated cultivation of particular plots of land by individuals and families has given rise to private rights in land independently of rampo and a man may pay rent for a field to an individual and rampo for cultivating to the community. Further, the right to rampo has come to be regarded as alienable and separable from the right to the land, so that a village can sell and in some cases has sold, the right to rampo or to a share in the rampo over certain land, entirely independently of the cultivating rights have been established by one village on a land from which it has never been entitled to any rampo at all, this been eaten by another village, the rampo thus becoming a sort of feu duty or ground rent in perpetuity. In this way A of one village may rent land from B of another and pay rampo to a third for the same land.
text: Thangjapao of Sailim came with a story that he shot a proclaimed elephant in 1924 in the North Cachar Hills, and a reward was paid him of Rs. 30/- through one Loilut a Mauzadar (and a man of some notoriety on this side of the district boundary). Thangjapao's friends, however, who went with him to shikar the elephant accuse him of not having given them a fair share as they affirm that he really got Rs. 50/- and concealed Rs. 20/- like Ananias. Would I, he said kindly refer to the Sub-Divisional Officer of the North Cachar Hills and let his friends have authoritative information as to the real amount of the reward. He doesn't seem to suspect Loilut, but I wouldn't be at all surprised if he had had Rs. 20/- commission for handing over Thangjapao's reward. Birema applied for a school. I have no money available, so I suppose they will have to wait till another year, by which time they will no longer want it.