The Nagas

Hill Peoples of Northeast India

Project Introduction The Naga Database

manuscript - H.H. Godwin-Austen, Journal of a Tour in Assam, 26th November 1872 to 15th April 1873

caption: surveying boundary with Munipur; dissatisfaction of villages with new boundary; Raja of Munipur likely to punish villages which opt for British rule; stone-dragging; feasts on surplus due to lack of trade
medium: tours
person: ButlerThompson
location: Barak R. Visemeh Napoo Phosemei (Phusamah) Dzulu R. (Zullu R.)
date: 14.1.1873
person: Godwin-Austen/ H.H.
date: 26.11.1872-4.4.1873
person: Royal Geographical Society, London
text: 14th Jany.
text: Camp moved back to Visemeh, I to take up survey of the boundary. Projected board in morning early & had it ready by bkfast time. Butler & Thompson went of to new camp while I started along the ridge to Napoo & plane tabled into Phusamah. This village is now by the new boundary placed in the Native State of Munipur owing to the representations put forward by the Raja. This has given universal dissatisfaction to the bunch of villages situated north of the watershed of the Barak & Brahmaputra & the men crowded round me pressing fowls on my acceptance & begging to be my sons & daughters. All I cd tell them was to get a petition drawn for the Gov Genl & present it to Capt Butler to be forwarded.
text: (22) The half measures we have adopted in this matter will lead to future complications & the Raja will to a certainty come down on these villagers whenever he has the chance for shewing a preference to our rule. His authority over the Nagas in this part of the country consisted in sending in large raiding expeditions of 800 men & looting as much during their stay as they could & retiring to Munipur with their booty. Even now the Munipuris by petty excuses abt [russud] &c try all they can to delay the laying down of the Boundary. However they will not succeed. Made a sketch in the village of one of the houses & then we made for camp crossing the Zullo at the junction of the Kaburrhi (Aneroid 25.68 on ft.) & thence up through the fields by gradual ascent into the villageof Visemeh & fd the camp in the ravine on opposite or N side. Passed mineral spring with very offensive smell just opposite the junction of the streams above mentioned: probly sulph'd. hydrogen: it left a white deposit on leaves & sticks in the water along the edge but a black inky one in the deeper water that flowed away. Temp 68 degrees. There was a considerable flow from under a lare rock. Sandstone transported blocks are seen low down on the sides of the valley resting on the slaty shales & one block was quite 20x18x12 at 25.5 feet. All the stones set up near the village & along the Napoo ridge are of sandstone brought up from near the bottom of the valley running from the Burrail range & each represent a certain amount of wealth expended for on setting them a great feast is given to many men by some individual who thus perpetuates his own memory. After feasting & drinking "mot" for 3 or 4 days all proceed & drag in the stone & set it up. In a country where they trade but little & where stores of grain must largely accumulate & are the only representative of wealth this is the one way of getting rid of it, pounded by the guests into a coarse flour & fermented for drink, but it is a custom which as a people become more civilized & wander further into the settled districts & learn the value of money must gradually die out. Did not get into camp until after dark, but the boundary line is nearly all surveyed & I had set up 10 Plane Tables.