The Nagas

Hill Peoples of Northeast India

Project Introduction The Naga Database

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

caption: ritual relations between Pulomi and Chekwema concerning a regularly burnt place, Kelagim, for shikar purposes; boundary problems; Pulomi genna
medium: tours
person: Scott/ J.E.Higgins
location: Pedi Ridima (Ndunglo) Pulomi Yang Khulen (Chekwema) Kelagim
date: 23.5.1934
person: Hutton/ J.H.
date: 4.5.1934-27.5.1934
person: Pitt Rivers Museum Archive, Oxford
refnum: Hutton Ms. Box 2
text: 23rd. To Pedi. All along the bridle path, as everywhere in the Kachha Naga country, much jungle has been gratuitously burned for want, partly, of proper fire lines to keep the fire from spreading when burning jhums. No wonder land is scarce and crops poor, though in actual area the Kachha Nagas must be better off than any other Naga tribe. In past the fires are due, no doubt, to the deliberate firing of jungle by shikar parties who want to drive game or to attract it to fresh short grass, and I threatened Ndunglo that if they would not control their fires I should try suspending their gun licenses.
text: Pulomi (Kenoma) came in at Pedi, and I asked them about the burning of the place called Kelagim (vide entry of the 8th May, above). They call it Kelaghon and say that the custom in regard to it is well established. It is burnt for shikar purposes annually, and word has to be given before burning by Pulomi to Chekwema (Yangkhulen) who then have to provide a complete new set of household equipment for the indwelling deity. Chekwema go to the place after the burning with all the necessary pots, baskets and household utensils for the equipment of the house and present them for the use of the god until the place is burned again. In return Pulomi present Chekwema with a leg from every head of game killed in Kelaghan. Pulomi add that they could not hear of the river as a boundary, since they own much more land on the Manipur side than Chekwema do on the Naga Hills side, and one of my dobashis added that several attempts had been made to see if the river could not be taken as a boundary between the land of the two villages but that had proved quite impossible to fix it there. I think I remember this case as a 'cause celebre' when Mr. J.E.Scott was D.C. in 1912-13 and that his decision was found quite unworkable and had to be revised by Mr. Higgins and myself at an inter-district meeting.
text: The question of the big Pulomi genna when the village is closed for a month was raised. The genna cannot be performed at present as the Kemovo is in gaol. The village wants him out. Apparently they have no objection to strangers going to the village during the genna, but no one will go since every one firmly believes that the first person to enter the village during the genna always dies within the year. Obviously there was a time when he died at once, as in so many agricultural festivals all over the world. I heard two or three cases at Pedi and renewed gun licenses.