The Nagas

Hill Peoples of Northeast India

Project Introduction The Naga Database

letter from J.P. Mills to J.H. Hutton

caption: importance to Nagas of proof of race; intermarriage
medium: letters
person: Hutton/ J.H.Chaongchir clan/ MongsemdiChina-SangbaShwasClarke
person: Mills/ J.P.
date: 5.8.1922
person: Pitt Rivers Museum Archive, Oxford
refnum: Hutton Ms. Box 330
text: Mokokchung,
text: 5/8/1922
text: Dear Hutton,
text: While we are on the subject of mothers the following story may interest you, showing the importance Nagas attach to the different terms as a proof of race.
text: Once upon a time a people came over the hills, from the plains of Burma it is believed, and settled at Mangrong (Mang = corpse, rong = burn), so called because they used to burn their dead. Otherwise they were very careful to be like Nagas (n.b. Aos), but one of them called out 'ayo, ayo' as he died, and so everyone knew that they had no right to call themselves Aos. Their descendants are the Chaongchir clan at Mongsemdi, who are reckoned in the (Chongli) Chami phratry.
text: Query:- What people burn their dead and call their mother 'ayo'?
text: As for Mongsen and Chongli intermarrying, I am told Clarke is wrong in saying they did not do so at first. He has got hold of a story of a particular Chongli boy and Mongsen girl, China-Sangba and Shwas, who could not marry. A long and notable love story, like the Manipuri story of Khamha and Shoibi in parts. To show that Mongsen and Chongli did intermarry there is an impossible story of how a Chongli man at Chongliemdi married a Mongsen girl, when the Mongsen people were living down below Mokokchung. She used to betray Chongli stragglers to her people. Eventually Chongliemdi went and bust them and brought the Mongse to hoe at Chongliemdi.
text: I have not started putting part 1 together yet. The migration and clans are terribly complicated and clans are so local that I practically have to go to the spot to get the information. I will let you have a few words on migration there sometime.
text: J.P. Mills