The Nagas

Hill Peoples of Northeast India

Project Introduction The Naga Database

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

caption: Assamese sub-assistant surgeon wants to stay at Wakching; opium ration reduction; Ang of Wanching deposed for incest, but Wanching unhappy about having a new Ang from Chi
medium: tours
location: Wakching Chi Wanching
date: 13.9.1934-15.9.1934
person: Hutton/ J.H.
date: 9.9.1934-27.9.1934
person: Pitt Rivers Museum Archive, Oxford
refnum: Hutton Ms. Box 2
text: 13th, 14th, 15th - Halted Wakching. Many villages in here. Visited the hospital. Here I found what I have never known before. A Sub-Assistant Surgeon (he is a Assamese Muslim) who likes Wakching, is liked by the local people, can talk their language, and does NOT want a transfer. In fact when I asked him why he had not offered himself for examination in Konyak Naga, he said that he was afraid that if he did he would get transferred. Under the circumstances I should strongly recommend that be left where he is as long as possible. Generally speaking any S.A.S. sent here loathes the place, dislikes the people, and keeps up a constant request for transfer. Nagas hate it as much as plainsmen, as a rule.
text: I visited the opium shop also. The shop ration is being steadily reduced; last year cultivation of opium was reported across the frontier in the control area but it was stopped and none has been detected this year, though it is far from unlikely that it will be started again if the reduction of the opium ration is too drastic.
text: One case here had to be heard at great length. The Ang, i.e. the priest-chief of Wanching had recently to be deposed for incest with his sister, which rendered him ceremonially as well as morally unfit for his duties. He was the representative of a line of Angs imported from the transfrontier village of Chi when the original Wanching line failed. The first of the Chi line was closely connected by blood and marriage with the old Wanching line, but failed to maintain its purity - a real Ang must be of Ang blood on BOTH sides - and all its existing representatives in Wanching were of commoner stock on the mother's side, and the incestuous one was not the first to be ejected for unsatisfactory conduct. In view of past history Chi claimed the right to supply a new Ang to Wanching; Wanching on the other hand objected to a stranger from across the frontier from a village where the Ang's prerogative is very much higher and more abitrary than it has been in Wanching for the last two or three generations. Wanching therefore chose a descendant of their old line by a plebian mother, though there was definitely a party that considered that it would be more satisfactory to have a real Ang of pure Chi line than any Ang of debased lineage, such as experience had shown likely to end in trouble, "for a servant when he ruleth is confusion to the end." After hours of discussion I proposed as a compromise that the Chi Ang should be accepted subject to certain recorded restriction in the matter of his prerogative. As I wanted the people themselves to come to a decision I sent them off to sleep on this. Apparently it satisfied no one, as next day they agreed on appointing a fresh Ang from the adulterated Chi stock already domiciled in Wanching, thereby avoiding the danger of King stork, and mollifying in some degree the unhappiness of the Ang of Chi over the original choice of Wanching.