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: Crops and snakes en route to Sakhai; houses, dress and ornamentation
medium: diaries
person: Hutton/ J.H.
ethnicgroup: SemasAngami
location: Chipoketami Sakhai Kohima Tizu R. (Tuzu R.)
date: 22.10.1922
person: Balfour/ Henry
date: 1922-1923
person: Pitt Rivers Museum Archive, Oxford
text: Sunday, Oct. 22
text: We left Chipoketami at 9 a.m. & rode to Sakhai, about 12 miles [78.5 miles from Kohima], following the valley of the Tuzu, high above the river. At first there were areas of jungle, which gradually thin out as the extensive jhum lands of the Semas are approached. I saw a vividly-green snake on the track (non-poisonous, I fancy), and, later a dull greenish one, about 3ft long & said to be very poisonous, passed between my feet as I walked. I saw a large black squirrel in the jungle. We passed close to a Sema (mixed) village & led the horses down a steep hill to cross a small river; and then rode up to Sakhai. There were few patches of jungle here, most of the hillsides having been jhumed. A few panikhets can be seen in the neighbourhood, the system having recently been introduced. Millet and Job's tears (Coix lacryma) seem to be the chief crops of these Semas, the latter being a principal food. We went to the Inspection bungalow, arriving a little before 1 p.m. I went round the village with the gaonbura & drank beer made from millet, job's tears and rice, quite pleasant to drink, though not to look at. A number of Y-shaped posts, recording mithan sacrifices, stand, singly or in groups, in the village. The houses are walled with bamboo lattice, the thatched roofs reaching to within 2 or 3 feet from the ground. They are apsoidal at both ends & do not have an open verandah. The front is of lattice work & has a doorway at