The Nagas

Hill Peoples of Northeast India

Project Introduction The Naga Database

letter from E.T.D. Lambert to J.H. Hutton

caption: tattooing done by men; head-taking; in Kohima, acting D.C. for Pawsey; anti-mission agitation in Mokokchung; dangers of tea drinking; bride-price; Chanki village growth; Sema conversions; churches
medium: letters
person: Hutton/ J.H.MillsPawseyLuvisilieBlahInahoNizekhu/ of VekahomiHezekhuHekiyaKohazuNye/ Capt.GimsonStewartThevoniKohoto
location: Kohima Totok Chi (Chui) Apan Mokokchung Shichemi Litami Lotesami Changki (Chanki) Lakhuni Changchang Natami Sakhalu Baimho Sheyepu
person: Lambert/ E.T.D.
date: 21.3.1938
person: Pitt Rivers Museum Archive, Oxford
refnum: Hutton Ms. Box 339-41
text: Cherokejima,
text: Kohima
text: 21/3/1938
text: Dear Dr Hutton,
text: Reference to your letter to Mills dated 12/2/38 which has just reached me on tour.
text: 1. Kohima village: I'll let you know when I get back early next month.
text: 2. Tattoo: No; all tattooing in the Naga Hills is not done by women. I don't know whether I sent you a copy of my tour diary of the Survey but I had noticed in Totok a number of newly tattooed faces as a result of a head having been taken from Chui and Apan, (= Panwang) the young Ang told me with pride that he had done them all. I asked him if it was the Ang's prerogative but he said no, that he happened to be rather an expert at it. I am writing to Blah, asking him to find out what he can. I'm almost certain that the Chang, fleur-de-lis is done by men, but most people go to Hakchang to get the tattoo done.
text: I'm still acting for Pawsey. He has taken an extension up to April 1st but there are rumours that Mills is taking leave, he is to act and I am to continue here. I hope they're true. Everywhere people are ringing your praises and Luvisilie makes constant enquiries. I want to join them as I know full well it is due to your teaching that I am now acting D.C. in the Naga Hills; a policeman for, I believe, the first time. I have just been on a visit to Mokokchung where everything goes well but, though, I think Blah most certainly deserved it, it is a pity there is a 'kala manuh' in Mokokchung. There is just that slight undercurrent of feeling there. There is some anti mission agitation going on there now amongst the christians on two grounds:
text: 1. The Mission do not appoint Nagas as 'chota sahibs'.
text: 2. They've at last discovered what a ghastly evil all this tea drinking is. Gastritis and other stomach complaints increasing out of all proportion amongst the christians. It is certainly borne out in the hospital records.
text: As a result of (2) 9 houses in Shichemi the first Sema christian village have just staged a walk out and other villages are talking of following them. The old chief of the village the day after I'm told was found in bed with pains in his side after laughing so much. He always refused conversion though the whole village had turned christian.
text: There is another great laugh now going on in the Sema country. Inaho (you will remember the anti-marriage price agitation) has just married off his son to the daughter of Nizekhu, late chief of Vekahomi. The price he paid was 9 mythen and Rs 425/-. No Kinimi has ever before paid even half this sum as a marriage price. The confusion now existing is amazing as all the people who listened to Inaho, mainly Litami and Lotesami are now demanding marriage prices though in some cases the so-called marriages took place as long as 4 years ago! Another most amusing thing is that all Hezekhu's chief enemies in Mokokchung, the Kinimis, Awomis, Aieymis and so on are all asking that he be put back at once as head Sema D.B. They're rather fed up with Hekiya and Co. One of the main reasons being that in the last few cases where Semas and Aos were concerned the Aos won hands-down! Changki village has now almost touched the 400 mark and they've got so many women they don't know what to do. They've married off a large number of them in Lakhuni and Changchang but even then they still far exceed the males. The wave of conversion in the Sema country still continues and Natami and Sakhalu are now the only two villages left in the M.chung area without christians. Churches in Baimho and Sheyepu! There were at one time 3 christians in Sakhalu but I hear that Kohazu knocked the nonsense out of them with a large stick! Do you remember Capt. Nye, he's now back in Kohima, a Major, as Comdt. A darned good bloke who always asks before he does anything.
text: Gimson has just gone on leave and Stewart has taken over. Thevoni who is with me at the moment sends his salaams and Hohoto who left me at Sakhai asked me to send you his too.
text: Eric Lambert