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: pressure of Angami and village migration
medium: theses
person: Ritening/ of AsaluKilungba/ of Gareolowa
ethnicgroup: Nzemi
location: Impoi Injaona Magulong Katang Hange Gareolowa Asalu Hasonghaju (Hasanhaju) Hakaokhang
person: Betts/ U.V.
date: 1950
refnum: M.A. thesis, University College, London
note: footnotes indicated by boxes within square brackets
text: Angami pressure now became so acute that a number of Northern Nzemi communities migrated to escape the danger. The most northerly apparently had no hope of returning and travelled on past the already closely-settled Central Nzemi area to find permanent homes in the emptier plateau country west of the Diyung Valley. Those from more southerly villages such as the Magulong cluster regarded the increased Angami menace as a transient phenomenon and sought shelter in existing Central Nzemi villages until such time as they could return home. Injaona was incorporated in Impoi, raising the community's strength to 140 houses, and Magulong and Katang found lodgement in or near Hange, then a village of 80 or more houses. Early in the 19th century the Impoi community was for a short time increased by Manipuri refugees fleeing before the Burmese invasions.
text: Not long after this Impoi was temporarily abandoned. In accordance with custom the hazoa was marked by a monolith. The then representative of the Habeingtsami, the kadepeo tsami of Gareolowa, buried a stone-bowled tobacco-pipe on the site of his Impoi hearth so that his descendants might recognise the house- platform when the site was re-occupied. With the move the Impoi community disintegrated into its component parts. Although Magulong and Katang remained, Injaona presumably returned to its own site, for there is no further trace of this community in the Central Nzemi area. The Asalu kadepeo and autochthons settled at the Asalu site, apparently accompanied (127) by the Impoi kadepeo and the Nriami autochthons of Impoi and the Gareolowa kadepeo and the Gareolowa autochthons, for there is no trace just then of a resettlement of Gareolowa. The Impoi kadepeo-katseipeo, however, and the Neomi autochthons of Impoi built a separate settlement a short distance from Asalu, at the place where the Asalu rest- house now stands. Yet another Neomi segment, the remains of a Neomi-founded village driven by Angami pressure to seek shelter in Impoi, settled at Hakaokhang, slightly over a mile to the southwest of Asalu.
text: After a few years the Impoi kadepeo-katseipeo and his followers found their small village untenable and rejoined the main community on the Asalu site. The other Neomi settlement, Hakaokhang, was by this time on bad terms with Asalu. The move to the Asalu site had made accessible the lower slopes of the Diyung Valley and Asalu was disputing these with a Western Nzemi village, Hasanhaju, on the west bank of the Diyung River. Hakaokhang was aiding Hasanhaju by sheltering their men when these raided Asalu, and the Hakaokhang villagers did their best to induce the Impoi Neomi to join Hakaokhang instead of Asalu, but loyalty to the community with which they had been associated so long was stronger than the call to moiety solidarity, and the Impoi Neomi were incorporated, as we have seen, in Asalu. At about this time Asalu was attacked by Angami raiders and suffered heavy casualties, and Angami pressure presently forced Hakaokhang to make peace with Asalu and enter the larger village for protection. In 1845 Asalu (128) men raiding Hasanhaju accidentally killed a sepoy of the police-post established there, Asalu was burned by a punitive expedition, a police-post was placed at the village, and in 1855 the headquarters station of North Cachar was established there. Asalu village at that time numbered about 80 houses.
text: The Angami menace ended by the year 1879 and some time about this date the kadepeo of Gareolowa seems to have led his autochthons to resettle the old village. The reoccupation does not appear to have lasted long. About the year 1900 Rintening, the eldest son of the then Gareolowa kadepeo, left Gareolowa with his wife and family and moved to Asalu, where his wife's kinsmen lived. A remnant community lingered on at the Gareolowa site for a few more years after this, but after the death of Kilungba, the kadepeo, the site was again left and the villagers returned to the main community and the Asalu site.