The Nagas

Hill Peoples of Northeast India

Project Introduction The Naga Database

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

caption: to Tamphung; stone constructions; cash shortage; villages on Manipuri border
medium: tours
location: Tamphung
date: 10.5.1934
person: Hutton/ J.H.
date: 4.5.1934-27.5.1934
person: Pitt Rivers Museum Archive, Oxford
refnum: Hutton Ms. Box 2
text: 10th To Tamphung. The first march on this tour without rain (to speak of). The path does not go along the ridge, as in the map, except when there is cultivation there. At present it descends very steeply to the terraces in the valley (c.2500 feet), rises to the southern shoulder of the Sololong ridge and then goes up and down over spur after spur till it reaches the Tamphung ridge near that village, nearly doubling the distance of the path as shown. My dog put up several quail by the way. On the way down I asked the significance of a little oval circumference built up of small stones with a single upright stone in the middle. The answer was that it marked the spot where a woman gave birth to a child on the way up from or down to the fields. In Tamphung I saw a sitting place with a little dolmen built into the side of it and looking very like the stone table on which Konyaks expose enemy heads. I was told it was a cenotaph, built apparently by a rich man before his death to serve as a refuge for his soul after it. It was specifically stated that he was not buried there but that it was nevertheless a sort of tomb. I was asked here to explain the great shortage of cash in circulation, which prevents the Naga from obtaining any price for his cotton and is so great that even chillies taken to the plains have to be left at a price which does not pay for the carriage down there, while no one now employs coolies to cut cane etc. in the cold weather. The only comprehensible explanation I could offer was that notes and rupees were token money issued only against a gold reserve, and that the gold reserve of the British Empire was depleted by having had to use it to buy munitions of war.
text: I stayed at Tamphung in a basha kept up for the Sub Divisional Officer, Tamenlong. It is a curious arrangement that this single village, cut off by the Barak from Tamenlong, should fall into that Sub Division while the similarly situated villages of Thuyeng, Yang etc. are in Manipur Sadr.