The Nagas

Hill Peoples of Northeast India

Project Introduction The Naga Database

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

caption: A difficult march; attempt to capture a monitor lizard; iconoclasm and goitre at Awohomi
medium: tours
ethnicgroup: Semas
location: Sheshalimi Awohumi (Awohomi) Tsiyi R. Tsiyi Bridge
date: 16.3.1929-17.3.1929
person: Hutton/ J.H.
date: 11.3.1929-4.4.1929
person: Pitt Rivers Museum Archive, Oxford
refnum: Hutton Ms. Box 2
text: 16 March.
text: Up a stiff climb to Sheshalimi which I assessed. Thence along the spur to Awohomi which I also assessed. Thence I sent the camp direct down to the mouth of the Tsiyi river and went down the opposite side of Awohomi to see the proposed site for the Tsiyi bridge. The descent was precipitous and I felt no inclination to climb back, so worked on down the Tsiyi to the end of the spur the foot of which we climbed to get back to the path leading down to the camp. The going was ghastly and consisted of either water to the waist or breakneck scrambles round the precipices which form the walls of the river, the stones of which were the slipperiest I struck. The Nagas put the distance along the Tsiyi river at three miles, but it took us three hours to cover it. Altogether about 9 miles only but a very hard day. When we got out into the river again at the end of it there was a collection of Semas in great excitement watching the opposite cliff. Someone had seen an 'Am' there. I did not know what animal that was, nor did my Sema interpreter. However, one of the keener lads climbed up to try and get it, when a very big monitor lizard dashed out of the scrap of cover it was in and plunged down the cliff eventually rolling over and falling with a plump into shallow water where it totally disappeared. Someone suggested it was not a real lizard but a local god, as the moment it fell there was a rush to the spot but no monitor. Very hot all day; thunder storm in the evening. Awohomi all have goitre and a lot of the village look only half developed. They badly need a supply of iodine salts. They complained of a sacred stone torn out and destroyed by Christians but have been unable to identify the offenders otherwise I should have had much pleasure in applying a section of the Penal Code which is provided for this sort of gratuitous iconoclasm.
text: 17 March.
text: Halted. A dak came in which I disposed of, as well as several complaints.