The Nagas

Hill Peoples of Northeast India

Project Introduction The Naga Database

typescript - J.P. Mills, tour diary, January 1928

caption: Outbreak of smallpox at Gobin; land shortage and over-grazing; immigration by Gurkhalis; debt
medium: notestours
person: Bell/ Mr
ethnicgroup: RangkolTipperaKhasiMikirGurkhaliPunjabi
location: Kalim Gobin Haflong Barail Range Hokai Michidui
date: 19.1.1928
person: Mills/ J.P.
date: 1.1928
refnum: (from): J.P.Mills and others, "Tour Diaries and Administrative Notes from the North Cachar Hills, Assam. 1928-1940. Unpublished Government Papers" at SOAS Library, London. Pam. Assam B 314349.
text: 19th Jan. To Kalim 8 miles. 8 - 11. A short march, but one with plenty of ups and downs. On the way we passed Gobin, a small Naga village which is one of the places affected by the present outbreak of smallpox. Our little column passed it with great care, well protected with charms and in silence lest the spirits of smallpox should come buzzing out like a swarm of bees. We saw some of the cases which have been segregated in a field house. The original source of the infection of the Subdivision is said to be a foreigner who developed smallpox when he arrived in Haflong and was concealed by another foreigner in the bazaar. The Subdivisional Officer will mete out whatever the situation may call for.
text: Kalim is a small Rangkol village. They claim to be Tipperas and to have originated from Tripura State. When they came this country was in process of colonization by Nagas from the Barail Range, but was chiefly inhabited by people (variously called Mikirs or Khasis) who are said to have made stone circles. I hope to see some of the circles.
text: The land is poor and can with difficulty support the Naga and Rangkol population. In spite of this Gurkhalis and their buffaloes have recently been allowed to spread themselves over the face of it. All the profits go to merchants in Haflong and the position of the Gurkhalis is as pitiable as that of the hill-men whose land they are destroying. We dropped on a typical case. We found a Gurkhali who had migrated from Hokai land a year ago with fifty buffaloes having grazed out the land he was on. Mr. Bell allowed him to come without ever coming to see the country. He is nothing but the slave of a Punjabi merchant in Haflong, who took out and keeps his pass, and pays the grazing tax. He lent the Gurkhali Rs. 1000/- some years ago to buy buffaloes. The conditions were that interest should run at 2% per month, that all ghee must be sold to the shop-keeper at a rate sufficiently low to allow a 25% profit on the re-sale, and that the Gurkhali does not get the price in cash, but in rice etc. at the shop, on which another profit is made, of course. The wretched Gurkhali does not even pretend to know what his debt amounts to now. This case will be cleared up in two months, but I understand that it is only typical.
text: Later the Nagas of Michidui came in together with four graziers against which they are complaining. It is the same story. Orders were passed in office on the recommendation of the Mauzadar who admittedly finances one of the graziers, and is said to have taken money from the others. Having grazed Gobin land till there is nothing left they have taken 400 head of cattle into Michidui land. They will have to be removed entirely from this area. There are no Christians in Kalim. They dislike the Mission and have for the last two or three years succeeding in preventing any preaching in the village.