The Nagas

Hill Peoples of Northeast India

Project Introduction The Naga Database

Typescript - J.P. Mills, Tour Diary, November to December 1936

caption: Poor land and alders; language, carving, head-taking customs ; attitude towards slavery
medium: tours
ethnicgroup: ChangYimsungrAoAo <MongsenSangtam
location: Kuthurr Chamyung R. Chingmiren (Chingmirem) Tobu Mokokchung Yimpang
date: 18.11.1936
person: Mills/ J.P.
date: 11.1936-12.1936
person: School of Oriental and African Studies Library, London
text: 18th November
text: To Kuthurr (sq.58) - 9 miles. We dropped 3500 feet to the Chamyung stream and climbed 2500 the other side. About two miles before reaching Kuthurr we passed through Chingmirem, a Chang outpost now at peace with the Yimsungr. The land is terribly poor and over-jhummed, but much of it is planted with pollarded alder, the seed of which was obtained from Tobu. There were no heads in the village. The Chang custom is to hang them from the head-tree first and then put them in the morung. Chingmirem say they no longer keep them after they fall from the strings at the head-tree as they consider they spoil the crops.
text: Kuthurr is an interesting Yimsungr village. They were very friendly, but shy. There were small boys in the village, but every woman except the wives of two gaonburas had disappeared. I was struck by the resemblance to [Aos]. One of the drums had a buffalo's head, after the Ao fashion; and one hostess startled me by urging me to drink more in Mongsen Ao, my reply to which she apparently understood. It is not the Chang custom to put up forked posts in commemoration of a mithan sacrifice, though I am told a few men are beginning to do so. The Yimsungr, however, put up posts very like those of the Sangtams, save that they fork further from the ground. One had a mithan's head carved below the fork. Heads are not hung up in the morungs, but tallies are put on the outside of houses exactly as among the Sangtams. The morung was newly built and ready for a drum to be made. From a ridge pole there were hanging a rough representation of a head, and an anatomical carving intended to leave no doubt in the minds of beholders that the men belonging to the morung are real he- men. Huge frames are put up to commemorate the dead, and across them matting arcs, representing rainbows, are fixed, another parallel with the Aos. It is to be hoped the weather will improve. We began the day in rains, and there has hardly been a gleam of sun all day.
text: It is worth noting that so great is the horror the Changs feel towards anything connected with slavery that when the poor little slave boy now in Mokokchung was being brought from Yimpang a special hut was made for him outside Chingmirem. Had he slept in the village one day's genna to purify it would have had to have been observed.