The Nagas

Hill Peoples of Northeast India

Project Introduction The Naga Database

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

caption: Naga-Kuki boundary dispute and problem with nomads; poor condition of land due to indiscriminate firing
medium: notestours
ethnicgroup: RhangkholKuki
location: Ridima (Ndunglo) Heraikilo Kalim
date: 20.1.1928
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 Unpublished Government Papers" at SOAS Library, London.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: 20th Jan. To Ndunglo via Heraikilo 11 miles. 8 - 12-30. The old path along the ridge has been abandoned and we had to take the lower path, which was very bad indeed. We laid a boundary between Kalim (Rhangkhol) and Heraikilo (Naga). Kalim, as is the habit of nomads of the Kuki group, claimed the right to cultivate wherever they chose and were intensely disgusted at being ordered to conform to a boundary. Heraikilo, the moment the Kalim people had left, said they had been worried by them for years and were delighted to be given peace at last. I think people are beginning to see that the end is approaching of the Raj established by a staff composed almost exclusively of Rhangkols.
text: The land round here is about as bad as anything I have ever seen. Save for the steep, wooded sides of the streams there is nothing but miles and miles of thatching grass. It is a marvel that a crop of any kind is produced. The real trouble is that no care is taken with fire and the hillsides are burnt nearly every year. Hundreds of acres have been burnt by accidental fires this year. If protected from fire I think the land would recover in time. The Subdivisional Officer is going to attempt the up-hill task of trying to improve matters. Very few cattle are kept and convenient spurs on which fire could be controlled should be set aside for grazing grounds. Jhums should have a boundary cleared round them, and all useless burning of hillsides should be punished. The Rhangkols are likely to give most trouble. Not only are they utterly careless and improvident but they are quite capable of firing Naga land from which they have been excluded. For them temporary reduction of opium rations would be an easy and salutary punishment.
text: We had a dismal camp on an exposed site on burnt ground. Neither I nor the Subdivisional Officer possess a tent fit to use. I have borrowed the Commissioner's but he is in one you can almost see through. The skies are grey and I only hope the present unpleasant drizzle does develop into a downpour.