The Nagas

Hill Peoples of Northeast India

Project Introduction The Naga Database

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

caption: Wokha hospital; problems in running Lhota Committee (tribal self-government)
medium: tours
ethnicgroup: Lhota
location: Wokha Phiro Mokokchung Longsa
date: 26.7.1934
person: Hutton/ J.H.
date: 9.6.1934-30.7.1934
person: Pitt Rivers Museum Archive, Oxford
refnum: Hutton Ms. Box 2
text: 26th. Halted Wokha - Heard cases. Visited the hospital to see the site selected for the isolation ward, as I am not satisfied that the best place has been chosen. I left a note in the hospital inspection book. Also visited the serai and the transport lines which Commandant no longer requires. I propose to keep these as the serai and to hand the serai over to the Lhota committee in exchange for the derelict shed on the site I propose for the new ward. It will involve their moving their meeting house as well, as that will be too near the new ward, but this would cost very little and could probably be covered by the existing estimate for the new ward.
text: The Lhota committee is experiencing difficulty in raising its contributions - The principal recalcitrants are in Sadr and not in Mokokchung. The big and very badly run village of Longsa was the leader in refusing contributions, though the rate only amounted to -/1/- or -/2/- annas per house. Now Phiro, a very influential village, and a number of less important ones have followed suit. The Lhota Committee is our first experiment in tribal self-Government. It meets annually and the members are composed of representatives from all villages who consider it worthwhile to attend - Practically every Lhota village in Mokokchung sends someone, and most villages in Sadar have done so at one time or another. The Committee levies a cess of (generally) -/2/- per revenue paying house and uses the funds for maintaining inter village communications, building bridges to make the Dayang passable during the rains, and on education. The villages in Sadar have benefited by a good track from Longsa to Mailang on which the Dayang is crossed by a wire rope bridge, but part of Longsa has never subscribed and now most villages are 3 or 4 years in arrears. The institution is only six years old and is whole-heartedly supported by all the Mokokchung villages. I had hoped that it would not only be successful but would be extended to other tribes. I am therefore warning all the villages in Sadar that unless they pay up the subscriptions asked for they will not be invited to send representatives to the Committee; further, I propose sending important cases (other than criminal) in which their villages are concerned, and particularly cases involving question of Lhota custom, to be heard by the Committee, but they will of course have no seats on the bench unless they have paid their quotas. An appeal from the Committee will lie, of course, to my court, but I am likely to accept the Committee's findings as to custom as final, and I have no doubt that they are better judges of fact than I am where their own tribe is concerned. I am also asking the Lhota Committee to form a small standing committee of four - two Xtian and two Ancient, with the dobashi who is posted to Wokha as an ex-Officio fifth to form a nucleus to which I can refer matters when the general committee is not sitting. The four chosen should be from villages adjacent to Wokha so that they can easily meet there, but of course not from villages like Longsa which have paid no quota.