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: further difficulties with Munipuri troops; plane-tabling; murder of a Kooki scout carrying letters; to Kezahkenomah
medium: tours
location: Sopromah Ridge Phunami Sidzu R. (Sijjo R.) Khezha-Kenoma (Kezahkenomah)
date: 20.1.1873
person: Godwin-Austen/ H.H.
date: 26.11.1872-4.4.1873
person: Royal Geographical Society, London
text: 20th Jany.
text: Munipur coolies have now been told they are to bolt even if Thompson moves at all without the Major, but on his sending to the Major to say he wd hold him responsible if they did so, the coolies and guard have been ordered to go with him as far as Kezakenomah & not a step farther. We marched after the tents had dried a bit. Stopped & took a sketch on the Sopvomah ridge a striking one with the foreground full of the huge stones the Nagas erect. The village of Phunami on the ridge beyond, backed by the SW point of the Burrail clad with heavy forest to the summit. My last station shewing up well on one of the highest points & the effect of the white smoke of the still burning forest in a high (25) column against the background of dark grey sky was particularly striking. Set up Plane Table in the village where we had been the day before & had the usual inquisitive crowd of Nagas soon round us. the view had changed much from the previous day when nearly all was buried in mist; now all was clear & in the bright sunshine of the most lovely day. We were invited into one of the houses to take a drink of their liquor "dzu". It is not bad stuff when it is cleanly made, with an acid taste & is made out of fermented rice previously pounded. Just after passing the village a dak overtook us owing to the murder of the Kooki scout with the dak. It wd appear that the man was accompanying one of my calashies "keh man". The latter stopt to drink water, the other did not stop. On the calashie getting into the village marked for the Kooki who had preceded him but not being able to speak well said no more. Some children coming in with the cows in the evening found the body a little off the road with 11 spear wounds. James has taken all the men off. Stopped while Butler wrote a hurried order or two - one that his dak should leave every Sunday from Simagooding & another leave on same day from our camp. Sent order to [Moring Zank] to supply the dak men with spears. We then proceeded on by capital road down the spur under Thebonumi & reached the Sijjo River abt 3.30pm. I searched for shells in the river but without success. The total absence of Melaniadie in both the Zullo & the Sijju is remarkable. The valley is here [blank] feet. Hill sides mostly covered with grass & open thin forest of oak left here & there on the steepest & most stony parts for most of it has fallen to the axe. The ascent was then pretty stiff & path narrow up to the more level parts of a spur from Tellizo & passing under which to a spur from there to the NE. We dropt onto the village of Kezahkenomah. It was almost dark when we got in & the men were still hutting themselves. No sahib had ever been into it before. The people were very civil & brought fowls & firewood & straw for our people to sleep on.