The Nagas

Hill Peoples of Northeast India

Project Introduction The Naga Database

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

caption: Death by misadventure at Khukiya; various methods of oath-taking, including cutting off tip of finger
medium: tours
person: Nitoi/ of NikiyaSakhaluKilamo/ of Thachumi
ethnicgroup: Sema
location: Satakha Khukiya Chishilimi
date: 29.7.1926
person: Hutton/ J.H.
date: 5.7.1926-4.8.1926
person: Pitt Rivers Museum Archive, Oxford
refnum: Hutton Ms. Box 2
text: 29/7/1926 Halted Satakha, went to Khukiya to see the site of a reputed homicide, a woman having been killed by a stone coming down from a jhum being cultivated higher up the hill. I came to the conclusion that she died by misadventure.
text: The rest of the day was taken up with the innumerable cases which also come in "like a river to increase, and ceaseless flow", but there is no word of "peace" about it.
text: Among other cases was that of a man not a principal in a case at all, but an accidental eye witness to a case of adultery. He had been so angry at his statement being questioned when the village was trying to settle the case that he took a dao and chopped off the end of the forefinger of his right hand as an oath. In this case, however, he did not swallow it, as I have seen done on another occasion, but swallowed his blood only and brought the finger tip into court and laid it on the table as evidence. There was also a Christian gaonbura of Chishilimi who when told to take oath accepted the tiger's tooth, and then picked up half a torn summons from the floor and put it on his head to swear, under the impression, I gathered, that he was swearing by the Book, but it may have been in the hopes that this substitute for a testament might intervene between him and the wrath of the sky involved in a Sema oath.
text: Nitoi of Nikiya came in. The wounded man was not one of his men but one of Sakhalu's, and Kilamo of Thachumi sent him back, with others of Sakhalu's people, safely to their village.