The Nagas

Hill Peoples of Northeast India

Project Introduction The Naga Database

published - J.H. Hutton, Diaries of Two Tours in the Unadministered Area East of the Naga Hills', 1926

caption: first tour
caption: introduction - previous expeditions; reasons for present trip
medium: articlestours
person: Mills/ J.P.Woodthorpe/ Lt.Shakespear/ Capt. W.B.
ethnicgroup: Konyak
location: Yungya Kamahu
person: Hutton/ J.H.
date: 4.1923-27.4.1923
text: APRIL, 1923.
text: The following notes were taken in the course of a tour made by Mr. J. P. Mills, I.C.S. and myself to a part of the Naga Hills which, as far as is known, has never been visited by any white man, except for the tour made for survey purposes by Lt. (afterwards General) Woodthorpe, R.E., in 1876, when he made a journey through some of the villages with which this diary is concerned. Occupied by the necessity of making maps against time, Woodthorpe must have had even less opportunity for anthropology than we had, and that was so little as to consist in taking occasional notes of anything that happened to catch our attention, to which I have added such observations as occurred to me at the time or afterwards.
text: Strangers passing with a strongly armed party through villages whose attitude can hardly be less than suspicious at the best, and is always liable to turn to active hostility as the result of any trifling misunderstanding, do not get much chance of getting to know the people, and this must be particularly the case when the responsibility for their personal safety does not rest with themselves, so that they can go nowhere without armed sentries standing over them like warders guarding a recaptured convict. Capt. W. B. Shakespear, who commanded our escort, and who should at least have a sort of a family feeling for ethnology, was sympathetic but taking no risks, and in addition to these obstacles, much of our time was inevitably taken up with transitory matters of politics, supplies or transport arrangements. On the top of all we had to contend with consistent bad weather. A succession of very rainy days not only dilutes enthusiasm, but very much limits opportunities. One advantage we had which does not always attend such trips ; our escort included two pipers and a drum, which in the shyest of villages succeeded in luring from obscurity a few of the more curious or musically inclined. Even so, it is possible that our hosts regarded our tunes as intended to blight their crops although in April, the month of the tour, wind instruments are in season in most Naga tribes.
text: I should add that one of the first objects we had, was to visit the Konyak Naga village of Yungya in connection with a recent raid in the course of which men of that village had wounded a man of the village of Kamahu, pursued him on to the administered side of our frontier and there had killed him and taken his head.