The Nagas

Hill Peoples of Northeast India

Project Introduction The Naga Database

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

caption: Christians-Ancients conflict leads to marriage breakdown; expulsion of migrants; megalithic remains; ancient hill forts; terracing experiments
medium: notestours
person: Bell/ MrRoberts/ WatkinSajar
ethnicgroup: BeteNepaliKukiRangkholJaintia
location: Khartong Jahai Malangpa Saichang Waipa Imphal (Manipur) Jowai Maldam Nalangpe Kalimkhu Korungma
date: 30.7.1928
person: Mills/ J.P.
date: 7.1928
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 Unpublished Government Papers" at SOAS Library, London.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: 30th July. To Khartong via Jahai and Malangpa 7 miles - 8 - 11.0. The first is a small Bete village. Malangpa is a Christian Naga village containing quite decent folk. One young couple had a dispute. Both, before marriage, had become Christians for the same reason; they suffered from poor health and were told that conversion would do them good. She says she feels better, but he says he does not. So he wishes to go to an ancient village and she refuses. Neither seems to have the slightest affection for the other so they are allowed to separate.
text: We could see the land occupied by Saichang and Waipe (see the last part of my diary for June 30th) and the leading man of both were in. Saichang came in from Manipur first. Mr. Bell apparently told them to leave, but finding that his orders were ignored, reversed them and allowed them to stay. No local enquiry was made. Then Waipe came and were allowed to stay by Mr. Bell without any enquiries. They have no fellow tribesmen here, the land they are on is required as a rotation 'jhum' reserve by our own villages they pay scant attention to orders, and they were allowed in in flat contravention of the Commissioner's orders. I have therefore ordered them to leave by January 1st next. They wish to go to Jowai, where they will certainly make trouble, as they contain some adherents of Mr. Watkin Roberts' Mission. At present the Welsh Mission are trying to win over these households, and they are prepared to declare themselves adherents of whichever mission is the most convenient at the moment.
text: This plateau is full of monolithic remains. Just outside Maldam there is a site of the people who carved the pear-shaped stones with holes in the top. It also contains some typical sitting-stones. Near Nalangpe is a very fine sitting stone, shaped like a bun and carved with footprints. At Khartong itself is an extensive site of the pear-shaped stone people. The stones are nearly all broken. The site seems to have been reoccupied by another tribe, who have left an ordinary row of memorial stones for which they have used split pear-stones. A Nepali has now built his 'kuti' on the site and completed the ruin. The stones are of a rather peculiar type; there is no bottom half of the pear in some cases the top with the hole in standing on a flat base. Between Malangpa and Khartong are upright monoliths of a distinctive type. One face is flat and the other round, giving a shape like a cricket bat. Possibly they are conventional human figures. Pairs of small tanks are common. The local Kukis call these 'lamjol' "dancing places".
text: In the evening we went up to Kalimkhu, a survey station from which we obtained a superb view. It has been a very strong fort. The only approach of it is along a narrow neck defended by a double ditch. The fort itself is surrounded by a double rampart. The Rangkhols say that this fort and Korungma were built for Sajar, a Jaintia notable, seven lives (about 500 years) ago. The terraced rice demonstrator is with us continuing his survey. He has met with surprising success. So far 8 out of 13 villages have agreed to make a start, and he will find others in this area. Of course many will not keep their word, but some are said to be really keen and once we can get a few successes the idea will soon spread. It may be that the economic regeneration of a great stretch of country has begun.