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: to Shothumi; head-taking dispute between Cheshorr and Phesami; Hutton permits limited war between Cheshorr and four Ghovishe brothers; lycanthropy
medium: articlestours
person: WoziyaKhuvethaZukishe/ of PhesamiSittobungHezekhuGhovisheHovokhuZhetoiKhuzhokhu/ of Shothumi
location: Shothumi Cheshorr Phesami Honronre Kyutsu-Kilong (Kyutsukilong)
date: 21.11.1923
person: Hutton/ J.H.
date: 10.1923-11.1923
text: 21st. - To Shothumi, about 7 miles ; water bad. No trouble with transport as the coolies turned up very promptly, being half Semas from Shothumi itself. Camped again at over 7,000 ft. and very cold. The old quarrel between the two khels of Shothumi is on. Woziya refuses to pay the customary leg of animals killed to Khuvetha who in turn refuses to admit Woziya's right to any land of his own. It is as much Woziya's fault as Khuzhokhu's I fancy and any way all their land was grabbed from Shothurr and Honronre.
text: A case came up of a head-taking dispute between Zukishe of Phesami and the village of Cheshorr. Two men of Cheshorr went to join some Phesami friends in sneaking a head from Honronre. Apparently it was not an official Phesami raid and was concocted privately. The two men of Cheshorr in fighting kit - shields, spears, 'panjis,' etc., fell in with some other men of Phesami who thought it was someone coming to raid them and turned out to cut them off. Yazathu, Honronre and other villages round about joined in the pursuit and decapitated one of the two adventurers. The other, too exhausted to speak, happened to run into Zukishe's son, whose companions were for killing him at once but the young man prevented them and took the survivor home and let him go. In return for this Zukishe claimed, and got a mithun from the man of Cheshorr. Now, however, Cheshorr have come forward with a claim against Zukishe for having treacherously enticed two of their men to be killed by his villagers, and demand the mithun back. Their statement that Zukishe himself invited them is based on alleged statements made in his village by the dead man only, and I do not think they fit in with the fact that one man was saved. Any way they are incapable of proof, and even if the statements were made they may not have been true. Sittobung and Hezekhu tried to settle the case on the lines that the two men of Cheshorr went out for war, and got what they were looking for; the mithun was rightly paid as the price of preservation and the matter should end there. Cheshorr refused this solution and referred the question to me, saying that they had a casus belli and wished for war, and intended war. I said that they had better have what they wanted, but that the war was to be limited to Cheshorr on the one side (about 500 houses) and the four Ghovishe brothers - (about 400 houses I fancy) on the other ; and that Kyutsukilong and other inoffensive villages were to be left alone unless they joined in of their own accord. Kyutsukilong is to flag the boundaries of its fields, which march with Cheshorr this year. Both sides agreed to this and I said there must be 10 days' truce before the katakati started but that it should be open from December 2nd. I doubt if anything more will come of it than a state of war and perhaps a few odd heads. Anyhow I fancy the only proper way of ending head-hunting, if it is to be ended, is by very gradually limiting its scope, until it gets rarer and rarer and the taste for it dies a natural death. Zukishe, I understand, is very unhappy about the fine he paid last year. It was a very heavy one, and has as he put it, " taken all the meat off his bones." I noticed at Shothumi a smallish erect stone put up by a Yimtsung inhabitant "because the stone was a nice one" People had sharpened their daos on the top of it. [SKETCH
text: I managed to get Zukishe, Hovokhu and Zhetoi - all notorious lycanthropists - to talk about the subject in Khuzhokhu's house. Zukishe to a chorus of assents, stated quite definitely that the peregrinations en tigre always took place during sleep and that more often than not the country was strange and distant from their own village, but that sometimes they happened to kill near home and then only, were able to indicate to others the locality of the kill after awaking. Some are better at this than others, and I gather Zhetoi has achieved notoriety that way.