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: Description of a Naga mob; cultivation; Sakhalu's and his brother's homes
medium: diaries
person: Hutton/ J.H.Sakhalu
ethnicgroup: SemaAngami
location: Sakhai Sakhalu
date: 23.10.1922
person: Balfour/ Henry
date: 1922-1923
person: Pitt Rivers Museum Archive, Oxford
text: Monday, Oct. 23
text: We left Sakhai followed by an excited mob, clamouring about some dispute which Hutton was to adjudicate upon. The row was deafening & was varied by the constant throat-clearing & spitting so characteristic of all Nagas. H. had to investigate a land-claim, so when about half-way to Sakhalu, I left the whole lot jabbering away and rode on on Hutton's mare, reaching Sakhalu (11 miles) a little before noon. H. turned up later on my pony. The views were very fine. The country very open, from jhuming operations, and virgin forest was only seen in patches; the rest being either under cultivation, or reverting to young jungle. Several Sema villages were passed, all small.
text: Coix lacryma, sorghum & millet are chiefly grown, with some rice, and a few small panikhets were seen low down in the valleys. I visited the village and had to drink zu in Sakhalu's large house, and also in his brother's - the two brothers hate each other - Sakhalu's home has been burnt three times & reerected. It is spacious with large front room where the dhan-pounding board stands. There is a large, thatched apsoidal front, taking the place of the verandah of Angami houses; a smaller central room contains sleeping-boards; a large back room with two doors (back & side) & cooking-hearths of the usual 3-stone variety. At the back is a small apsoidal store-room. Two carved tree-trunks support the roof in the front room, which is further decorated with heads of sacrificial mithan. A number of forked posts, carved with mithan heads stand outside the house, & sitting-out platforms are alongside, with seats cut out upon them. (