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: Second Tour
caption: thorn creepers uses as a barrier in wartime at Hakchang; buffalo-horn pattern graves at Maksha; Hakchang forced to carry to Tobu; coolies paid in red wool; camp built on site where at Hakchang body had been displayed; paths panjied; Ongli performs conciliation ceremony at Tobu for a relative who lost his head there; morung roofs; Tobu make cloths, pots and daos for neighbours; buffalo-head carving; head-tree; chief's stone seat; position of chiefs; stone causeway; Y posts; disposal of the dead; women and boys' hair-styles; bark and cowrie belts; basket-work hats; physique; goitres
medium: articlestours
person: Chingmak/ of ChingmeiOngli
location: Hakchang Maksha Ninyam Tobu
date: 13.11.1923
person: Hutton/ J.H.
date: 10.1923-11.1923
text: 13th. Left Hakchang in fairly good time, the coolies turning out well, and started for Tobu via Maksha. The arrangement that had been made was that men from Hakchang and Maksha should carry us as far as the river which divides their land from Tobu, with whom they are very much at war, and to whom they have recently lost a number of heads. Here Tobu carriers were to meet us and carry us up to their village : this arrangement having been made for us by Chingmak of Chingmei, who is friendly with both villages.
text: Hakchang had, as I noticed when passing out through the east door of the village, the familiar arrangement of thorny creepers on posts, to be cut down in war time so that the thorns are an impenetrable barrier, a plan followed by the Angami, Kacha Naga, and by the Wa of Burma. Maksha, through which we passed, has, I should say about 60 houses, and closely resembles Hakchang. I noticed " buffalo-horn " pattern graves.
text: On our way down from Maksha to the river, the Ninyam gaonburas calmly told us that they had been to Tobu and that a fresh arrangement had been made there, and that Tobu, as they would be carrying our loads to Chingmei, would not come to meet us at all, but the Hakchang men should carry all the way up to Tobu ; when we got to the Teithung, the Hakchang carriers, not unnaturally, flatly refused to go a step further. We were ready for them, however, and at the critical moment had them parked in an open space between the Teithung and its tributary the Moyung.
text: At first we tried persuasion, which was useless : then at Ongli's suggestion we quietly got sepoys all round the edge of the open space and then told them, (1) that they would be fired on if they bolted ; (2) that they must carry, or the sepoys would "spoil" them. Luckily they did not call our bluff, and after another half hour of threatening, cursing, and coaxing, while many had their daos out, and all were either sulking or shouting, and looking rather nasty we got them on the move across the river and up the hill. I was still very anxious, as the Ninyam people had reported that someone, obviously of Tuensang or of Hakchang, had been " dirtying our path," and there was a report about in Tobu that we had sworn to eat some village this trip, and the non-appearance of the Tobu men as arranged looked bad. However, they had cleared the path, and, when about half-way up the hill, two of the Tobu headmen turned up, much to my relief. It also re-assured the Hakchang men a little, though we had a great deal of trouble with them before we finally got into camp just outside and below Tobu. There we let the Hakchang and Maksha carriers go after paying them in red wool - -rupees do not run here - -and they hared off down the hill in a scrum, daos drawn and shouting.
text: The approach to Tobu on this side consists of a narrow ridge about 25 yards broad, level along the top and with the ground falling away very steeply at the edges. It commands a magnificent view both east and west, and we occupied the width of it for our camp, an admirable position from every consideration. It had held, till the morning when we came, the body of a Hakchang man (who had been killed at the end of October in an attempt to raid Tobu) - minus his head and the lower part of his limbs, and impaled on a stake. This, they had removed for fear of hurting the feelings of our coolies. Several Hakchang men had tried to get heads off Tobu, and had been surrounded and killed. The path had been studded with stumps the whole way, and only cleared for our benefit. As the sides of the path and the adjoining jungle are " panjied," anyone from another Village ignorant of the by-paths in the jungle would have to use the stubbed path when escaping after a raid, and must sooner or later trip and fall. Anyway, he would be delayed long enough for the pursuers to get round and cut him off by paths only known to themselves. [Cf.Butler who reports the same practice among the Angamis in pre-administration days. Rough Notes on the Angami Nagas, J.A.S.B. 1975.]
text: The same path had shallow holes in places, which holes had held "panjis" covered with a false surface for the unwary to put his foot through and spike it.
text: As we entered Tobu, Ongli, who had had a relation lose his head to that village, had to perform a ceremony to conciliate the dead man's spirit, as I understand, for his action in entering Tobu in peace, and being entertained at Tobu. A friend threw down for him a small dao blade, over which Ongli poured some liquor and muttered a speech, finally striking it with the iron butt of his spear and flicking it aside off the path leaving the blade for anyone who might chose to pick it up, which the friend who had put it down for him promptly did. Even after this he was afraid to drink Tobu's liquor for fear of loosing his eye-sight and his teeth. [Cf. The Sema Nagas, p. 180.]
text: Tobu was disappointing in some ways. I had imagined it full of carving, and Woodthorpe's account of the stone seats of the chiefs [Vide my entry of April 16th.] had misled me. The village is very large in population but does not cover a very big area. Several families live in one house and there are 16 principle morungs with many subsidiary ones but the houses are not striking and the morungs, are notable principally for the shape of their roofs which start low and curve upwards in a sort of horn pointing skywards (Pl. 14 fig. 2
text: There were a few heads in each morung decorated with Buffalo horns in the usual Konyak style, but no single morung held as many heads as the principal Hakchang morung held heads taken from Tobu (Pl. 12, fig. 1
text: The chief's stone seat was just an ordinary boulder placed at the top of a pile of smaller stones exactly like an Angami Kipuchie in Kohima village. Woodthorpe says that only the chief is allowed to use it, but it was crowded by all sorts and conditions when we came up. There are other stone sitting-places, like the chief's seat and apparently attached to a morung, which are made exactly on a common Angami pattern, only the scaffolding of the machan put up as an extension to the stone is of bamboo instead of wood. I gathered that the chiefs - there are more than one - are rather small beer. At any rate they have nothing like the position of the Ang in villages further North, and their houses are just like other peoples. The stone causeway with a culvert through that Woodthorpe mentions, still crosses a depression between two khels, but though higher, it is not as well made, as for instance, that at Angfang, nor nearly as long. I noticed Y posts here, placed as by Phom villages along the outer face of the house verandah. The dead are first disposed of on a platform covered by thatching in a style resembling the buffalo-horn cover, only the roof is horizontal instead of curved up at the ends. For the second disposal figures of basket-work with their chests made of bamboo spathes painted with the usual Chang pattern, are set up in what I take to be family groups (Pl. 12, fig. 8 ; 14, fig. 5). These figures have no heads, but the neck and shoulders are surmounted by a hollow basket-work frame the bottom of which is padded with cloth for the skull to rest on. I saw none with the skulls in, but presume the use of these figures is the same as at Ukha, which is one of the nearest villages. The women cut their hair close and keep it so for life, plucking out a triangle on each side of the forehead more or less clean but smaller in area than at Yungphong, Ukha and Yonghong. The small boys wear their hair in a narrow sort of cock's comb down the centre of the head very much like a Tangkhul, and are tattooed in a broad stripe down the nose and chin. The cloths are very finely woven, and finished off as Angami cloths are. I was warned off the site of a burnt house because it had been struck by lightning, and if I went there my feet would ache. I suppose if I lame myself to-morrow it will be put down to that. Oranges are grown by Tobu, and I noticed flint and steel used, also the bark belts I saw further south in April, as well as the cowrie belts common to the southern Konyaks and the Changs. I was also struck by the resemblance of some of the Tobu basket-work hats, to those of the Igorot in the Philippines, and one I obtained had a sham hair knot with a bone skewer through it attached to the back. To save the owner's wearing a chignon, I suppose.
text: The general appearance and physique of the Tobu people compare most unfavourably with that of the Changs as a whole. Hakchang men are small, and un-Chang-like but those of Tobu are miserable specimens, small, weak, and goitred. The women reminded me of the poorer type of Angami in Cheswema, Nerhema, Keruma and Tofima, where panikhets have never really superseded jhum.
text: The Tobu word for man is Konyak, so that that word for the whole tribe is probably merely the word for man like the Lhota kyon. [Cf. also the oceanic Kanaka, which has I believe the same meaning.] Further North, however, the Konyak word for man is shenyak. [SKETCH