The Nagas

Hill Peoples of Northeast India

Project Introduction The Naga Database

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

caption: Opium use at Bongkung; crops, weeds and pests; cotton and lac production; Christians-Ancients conflict
medium: notestours
ethnicgroup: Rhangkol
location: Paija Bongkung Chenam Chaptuk
date: 24.1.1928
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 Unpublished Government Papers" at SOAS Library, London.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: 24th Jan. To Paija 7 miles. 8-11. Went through Bongkung, which, like Paija, is an opium sodden Rhangkol village. Nevertheless Paija prepared a very good camp for us, far better than Chenam. We went through the best jungle I have seen this tour and the crops ought to be good. Nevertheless there are bitter complaints about a weed with a flower like a very small copper coloured dandelion bud, which is so vigorous that all efforts at weeding cannot prevent its choking the rice. It has only been known here for three years and, having seeds with feathery tufts, is spreading with alarming speed. The Rhangkols have no name for it, merely calling it the new weed.
text: The cotton crop here appears to be excellent, a great contrast with the Naga Hills this year. Far more lac than I thought is grown, 'Raha dal' being used. No real way of keeping ants away is known, applications of ash only being effective for 4 or 5 days. Some cheap, easy and effective means of dealing with this pest is perhaps the greatest need of lac growers in Assam. At Paija lives the Kalim (chief) of all the Rhangkols in Assam, a very impoverished old gentleman.
text: Till this evening there was one Rhangkol christian. Chaptuk, where he lives objected to the presence of this irritant in their midst. Both sides came in this afternoon. The Christian said he was one, not because he wanted to be one, but because he had once been a mission teacher, and was afraid the missionary would claim damages in cash from him if he gave it up. His fears having diminished after discussion he said he would return to the faith of his father, which he preferred, would cease to refuse co- operation with his fellow villagers, and would discard his uncouth raiment. He and his opponents then went off the best of friends.