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: description of wall of skulls in Sikamah; letters from Munipur Raja disputing British right to territory east of Kohima
medium: tours
person: Romah SinghThompsonButler
location: Sikamah
date: 24.1.1873
person: Godwin-Austen/ H.H.
date: 26.11.1872-4.4.1873
person: Royal Geographical Society, London
text: 24th Jany.
text: Next day I started after chota hazari to do some plane tabling from the ridge above camp & first visited the village of Sikamah. On leaving the old gaonbura (headman) on passing his house called me in to drink some of their liquor. I found a partition opposite the entrance door & just within it covered with the skulls of animals eaten at the feasts he had given - cow, mithan, pig, deer - it was so fair a display I sat down & made a sketch of it & then after liquoring up went on a short way to the West & got a fine PT Station overlooking the headwater of the Sijjo & another extensive view into the Munipur side. It was wonderfully clear & I saw a good many new villages. About midday Romah Singh came in with a letter from Raja of which the principal paragraph said he was not aware the British Govt had any territory E of Kohima & Kidima. The Major said distinctly on being asked directly whether he wd assist Col Thompson in going on with us that they would not neither Guard or coolies & was evidently in a great rage when it was explained to him that we wd supply the coolies & that he wd go on & be quite independent of them. He left camp again for Mekromi where he at first said he should remain, but he changed his mind before going & comes on here tomorrow & then departed saying he should send a message to both the Political Agents next morning. (I fully expect he will follow Col Thompson; he denied all knowledge of the raid.) (One objection to going on with us was the matter of supplies but Butler told him that he wd arrange that & that as long as he had a half of it should be given to the Munipuris.) Finished up the Plane Table of boundary. Kookies singing their peculiar chant in very low bass. As I close this, their singing is by no means unmelodious.