The Nagas

Hill Peoples of Northeast India

Project Introduction The Naga Database

manuscript - 'Diary of a Tour in the Naga Hills, 1922-1923' by Henry Balfour

caption: Visit to Melomi: livestock, houses, hair-cutting, sacrifice, morungs, granaries, defences
medium: diaries
person: Hutton/ J.H.Nikrihu
ethnicgroup: AngamiRengma <NakedKuki
location: Tizu R. (Tuzu R.) Meluri (Melomi) Raza-Ru R. (Razair R.) Mol Len Mt. (Mollen Mt.)
date: 12.10.1922
person: Balfour/ Henry
date: 1922-1923
person: Pitt Rivers Museum Archive, Oxford
text: Tues. Oct. 12
text: We broke camp & left the Tuzu at 8.10 a.m. & walked to MELOMI arriving at 12.50. It was a long, grilling & tiring trek, at first along the Tuzu valley, then along the RAZAIR R., after which it was a long pull up hill for several miles. Very little cultivation along the route - just jungle. Huluks & Barking-deer (muntjak) were heard, & a Barking-deer got up quite close to me. After about 6 miles Hutton & the rest took the Naga path (shorter & steeper) & I followed the bridle-path with Nikrihu & the gaonbura of Melomi. Outside the village of MELOMI a lot of water-buffaloes were huddled together in a mud-pool wallowing in the mud, the scum glistening off their backs. No mithan are kept here, only water-buffaloes. I was very tired on arrival but went round the village & took photos. The village is laid out in 'streets' the houses being largely alligned & facing one another. They are unlike the Angami houses & are only occasionally boarded in front; the walls being usually of cane-lattice. The interiors have two compartments divided thus
text: The 'bungalow' is a very rough two-roomed shelter of poles with straw walls & roughly thatched roof. Each room with 'bath-room' at the back, mud floors & doors of cane-work. A bench of poles & dirty matting serves as a bed, & mine was as hard as a table-top & far less even! A small hole for window; no furniture. The overhanging roof formed a 'verandah' in front. Very fine view of Mollen ('Big Mountain') which is over 10,000 ft. high. This district was overrun by the Kukis during their rebellion. Small black flies, called 'dim-dams' (the name is the best & most appropriate thing about them!) were very pestilential during the day, but there was none at night & practically no mosquitoes. Was disturbed in the night by a buffalo which passed close by emitting the weirdest grunts & groans. I thought that a large pig had got into my room. One rarely shuts the bungalow doors at night.