The Nagas

Hill Peoples of Northeast India

Project Introduction The Naga Database

miscellaneous papers, notebooks and letters on Nagas by Ursula Graham Bower, 1937-1947

caption: moving village sites
medium: notes
person: GaidelueNamkiagh/ of Impoi
ethnicgroup: Zemi
location: Hajaichak Nenglo Kepelo Impoi Asalu
person: Graham Bower/ Ursula
date: 1937-1946
person: private collection
text: One of the reasons for changing a village site is that in an old village burials and memorial stone monuments take up so much room that later burials are apt to be a trifle unhealthy. In that case the village moves. It does the same if the jhum-land runs short, if the site seems to be unhealthy, or if there is a split through some quarrel. Thus Hajaichak broke up, the more peaceful moving up the hill towards Nenglo, and Gaidelue's partisans going north half-a-mile to form Kepelo. The split was chiefly due to the more respectable elements fear that Hajaichak would be burned in punishment for the sins of the few. Jhum-land may have had something to do with it, too. At any rate Kepelo have thriven, and have been able to sell surplus rice when other villages were running badly short.
text: Similarly the large village of Impoi moved to the lower site of Asalu, probably because the jhum-land on the hills is very limited and the distance to the lower fields was too great. About 1937-38 a small colony left Asalu and founded a village on the old site. Internal politics in Asalu probably had a good deal to do with the split. Namkiagh, leader of the colony, being a decidedly strong-minded and independent character. The official (Impoi) explanation is that the old site is much more healthy than Asalu.