The Nagas

Hill Peoples of Northeast India

Project Introduction The Naga Database

typescript - memoir of time in the Naga Hills as a Deputy Commissioner, 1919-1920

caption: education in the Naga Hills
medium: articles
person: Kevichuse
person: Cantlie/ Keith
date: 1919-1920
form: private collection
refnum: loaned by Dr Audrey Cantlie
text: The policy of District officials had been to introduce changes in tribal customs to as small an extent as possible. This attitude influenced the policy of introducing education. The languages in my time reduced to writing were only Angami and Ao. At Kohima there was a High School with the American missionary in charge and at Impur there was a Mission School conducted by the American missionaries for the Ao christians. Mills makes no mention in his book on the Aos in 1926 of any High School at Mukokchung which lies in the Ao country. Though Angami Nagas did not take to education one Angami, Kevichuse, got into the Assam Civil Service and became S.D.O. Mukokchung. So a few got secondary education sufficient to take them to Cotton College at Gauhati. Experience in the plains did not encourage the education of large numbers. By the time I went to the Khasi Hills in 1931 and on to my retirement on the public service commission any vacancy would attract hundreds of applicants ranging from clerkships to Magistrateships. Except the Head Clerk, a plains Assamese, the office staff at Kohima were Nagas. The annual number admitted to classes was fixed at what might be expected to get a livelihood. None of those who had received secondary education wanted to go back to the fields to work. There were no primary schools save at Kohima and in the Ao country. The Pastors of the American Baptist Mission must have been literate and, so I suppose, knowing English sufficiently well to read the Bible in English but I have forgotten details. They had an Ao translation of the Scriptures for their Church Services.
text: At Kohima there was a The Bomfylde Fuller Technical School named after the first Lieut. Governor of Eastern Bengal and Assam, opened in 1906. A Chinese carpenter taught carpentry and a Gurkha blacksmith taught the forging of daos and knives and spears and hoes. A boy passing in carpentry got a present of a set of tools. I suppose after training as a blacksmith a smithy set was given. Semas were in special need of smithy training as a generation before they could not do iron work. The iron mostly came from the very large and heavy hoes on tea gardens after they had been worn by use.
text: Little could be spent on improvements in the Naga Hills. The Govt. of India contributed the cost of the five battalions of military police in the province, one being at Kohima, and this made the district a deficit one financially. The only tax was a house tax of two rupees.