The Nagas

Hill Peoples of Northeast India

Project Introduction The Naga Database

typescript 'Village Organization Among the Central Nzemi Nagas', M.A. thesis by Ursula Betts

caption: Chapter six: Cycle migration
caption: migration-histories of the Central Nzemi villages
medium: theses
person: Mbairaong/ of Impoi
ethnicgroup: Nzemi
location: Hangrum Laisong Asalu Shongkai Paisa (Peisia) Hajaichak (Haijaichak) Khangnam Baladhan Thumjang Klang Mt. Katsingpeo-ki Mt. Magulong Jiri R. Impoi Hange Jenam R. Gareolowa Chikhu R. (Chiku R.)
person: Betts/ U.V.
date: 1950
refnum: M.A. thesis, University College, London
note: footnotes indicated by boxes within square brackets
text: The migration-histories of other Central Nzemi villages show in a simpler form the same type of pattern as that observable at Hangrum, and the complexity of Hangrum's movements is probably due to the large size of the village in relation to the size of the pockets of agricultural land available to the community. Laisong and Asalu have each three main sites and Shongkai, Peisia, Haijaichak, Khangnam and Baladhan all have at least two. It is significant that all these villages lie either on the mountain knot surrounding Thumjang Klang and Katsingpeo-ki, or on the steep range immediately to the east of it; multiple sites are not apparent in the easier country (124) east of the Jiri River, but the phenomenon reappears at Magulong, a borderline village which for purposes of this paper has been considered as Northern Nzemi. Magulong stands in steep and rocky terrain on the slopes of a mountain block and conditions there closely parallel those of the Thumjang Klang-Katsingpeo-ki complex.
text: Hangrum is believed to have moved to its present site about a generation ago. Laisong left the Jiri for the Jenam Valley about 1910, Peisia carried out a move about 1920, Asalu in 1936, and Shongkai in 1941. The process of movement can be studied most clearly at present in the Asalu cluster. This comprises three main and two minor sites, Impoi Gareolowa and Asalu, all with Nriami kadepeo, and two small sites with Neomi kadepeo, one of which is at present occupied under the name of Hakaokhang. Impoi is believed to have been the first settlement. The indications are that it was, with Hangrum and Hange, one of the earliest communities of immigrant Nzemi to arrive in the area. There is no evidence as to the size of the village at its foundation, but it later received accretions of further immigrants, among them the Habeingtsami, of Kabui origin, who came to Impoi from Hangrum. It controlled an immense and rugged tract of territory extending from the Diyung River on the north-west to the Jenam River on the south-east. Some time after the founding of Impoi a descendant of the immigrant Habeingtsami led a colony from the parent village to settle at a place called Gareolowa in the Chiku valley. This site (125) was strongly defensible and had cultivable land in its vicinity, but it also had access to the large and otherwise inaccessible stretches of hillside on the western side of the Jenam Valley. These the Gareolowa villagers presently had to dispute with Hangrum, which seems to have reached its sites on the east bank of the Jenam River at about this period. Gareolowa was certainly founded before 1706, for one of its Habeingtsami kadepeo acted as go-between or Nzemi agent for a Kachari King ruling at Maibong. The existing remains at the site suggest that Gareolowa was a village of 40 or 50 houses.
text: There is no information as to the movements of the Impoi community immediately after the departure of the Gareolowa colonists, but there is a surviving tradition that the Asalu site has been occupied more than once. This first break-up of the Impoi community forms the only point in time as which such an early Asalu settlement could have taken place. Later on, towards the end of the 18th century, when Angami pressure on the Nzemi was beginning to make itself felt, the Impoi community were certainly on the Impoi site and a man named Mbairaong, the kadepeo-katseipeo and a member of the Nubumheungtsami, was murdered at the village gate by an Angami raiding-party. [6 [Record T86863]