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: to Sikhamah; Kezamah Nagas refuse to eat chicken as they were debarred by having done feast which allowed them to put up house-horns; Ogle injured by panji; village enmities
medium: tours
person: OgleButler
ethnicgroup: Kezamah
location: Sikhume (Sikhamah) Solepe Mt. (Tellizo Mt.) Khezakenomah
date: 22.1.1873
person: Godwin-Austen/ H.H.
date: 26.11.1872-4.4.1873
person: Royal Geographical Society, London
text: Jany 22nd.
text: It was decided to go to towards Sikhamah & settle the matter of the coolies with the Munipur Major & finish the boundary work there. Marched up over via Tellizo Trig Station working at the inch Plane Table. Thence along the watershed to Sikhamah. Took it very easy & got into camp abt 5 o/c. The day's work had been down the grassy slopes from Tellizo & which extend towards the forest-clad range on the East, the continuation so-called of the Burrail. Nearing the village the ridge becomes covered with forest but the country on the south on the Barak & its tributaries is for the greater part very often grassy land. A curious custom eked out while we were bkfasting on Tellizo the previous day and in a very accidental way. (27) A portion of broiled fowl offered by Butler to two or three of the Kezamah Nagas who were sitting by looking at us. They refused it, a very uncommon thing with a Naga when it is a matter of grub. But when asked why, for another Naga took it, they said that after giving the feast which entitles a householder to put up the curving projecting horns on the gable end, they were debarred eating cocks but cd eat any other kind of meat. Found Mr Ogle in camp who had just marched in from Sopvomah. He was very well, but had, coming down some hillside, ran among some panjies & had got one into his shin, which had made a painful wound & inflamed the leg. These panjies are long thin very sharp pointed bamboo sticks, stuck slanting into the ground among the grass & this is done so well & the panjies so numerous it is almost impossible to go off the paths in certain parts specially where rival villages are out at one another. The state the Nagas live in is extraordinary. Neighbouring villages are invariably deadly enemies one with the other & even clans in the same village will be the same & a sort of Debit and Credit account in lives goes on year after year. This state of things was seen at Khezakenomah in the morning. Only two coolies were wanted for some extra baggages, but these men wd have had to pass their ancient enemy the village of Megwimi so some 20 of the Khezakenomah young men got up in their war paint, their cloths tied up across the breast with their long colored shields each with some different device & two spears in hand escorted them to our destination & returned. I took a good sketch of one of them in this costume. Getting here a good number of birds new to me.