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: letter writing; to Razami; villages burnt by Munipuris; geographical features - names
medium: tours
person: Bhimnarain
location: Razama (Razami) Gazifhimah Zailomai (Thizami) Kataphemei (Khipimi)
date: 28.1.1873
person: Godwin-Austen/ H.H.
date: 26.11.1872-4.4.1873
person: Royal Geographical Society, London
text: 28th Jany.
text: Busy all early part of the morning writing official & home letters, packed & despatched the boundary map & sent in a batch of some 50 birds to Simagooding. Bkfasted & got off about 12 o/c. Path led at first direct up above camp, then gradually ascended alongside of spur into forest where the ascent was stiff for some way. Underwood principally & bamboo with thorny joints. We came out on to the open ridge just where the old mark had been put up - we were most anxious to see what the country was on the other side & we were not disappointed with the view for it was very fine. The ridge falls in a steep scarp to the east, with gradual fall thence to more level part below, where stood the fine village of Razami (321 houses) with fine & extensive rice fields on the west side. There was no doubt now as to the visit of the Munipuris for there lay the blackened sites of Gazifhimah, Thizami, Khipimi burnt & it was very satisfactory to see them with our own eyes & thus prove the matter without question of doubt, for Munipur wd have sworn through thick & thin that no force had ever gone in. We put up the PTs near the pass over the ridge & joined by Butler went on to the mark where we found Bhimnarain with the help of the Nagas of Kezahkenomah & Razamah had cleared the site & put up the mark, a really good bit of work & at very little cost, only Rs 25/-. We descended from the station by more direct road down spur, steep at first, bare & covered with grass all the way down. A few solitary crab apple trees standing here & there.
text: [31] The northern side of this high ridge is quite precipitous, the sandstones dipping over the NW & rising towards the highest point, the Trig Station. The nomenclature of these mountain ranges is not easy. The Nagas have no general term to express a range & only know the peaks by their respective names. But in writing of their rivers & physical features names expressing certain masses or lines of elevation are necessary & I shall therefore adopt the names of the highest peak on a range or ridge to discriminate between them. The Burrail is now an old term (of Munipuri origin I believe) & written Burraoil in some of the old maps. There up to the highest mass of Japvo & Tenepu this now comparatively well-known term must stand, but it is evidently unsuited to the Eastern extension of the main watershed Eastward. A cursory glance at the map will shew that there the Gt Hill region is composed of many parallel ridges high & low with a general NE-SW strike running northward from a watershed on the south having a more or less NW-SE run. The first of these ridges East of the Burrail Mass I shall call the Sopvomah from the group of villages situated near the point where the ridge leaves the main watershed. This Sopvomah ridge separates the rivers Zullo & Sijjo & runs NNE for 25 miles. The two streams there unite & form the Doyang.
text: The next ridge is of considerable elevation, some 7000 to 8000 feet. It is a principal feature in the landscape & shuts out from the valleys of the Zullo & Sijjo all the country to the eastward & forms a separation between the Nagas of the respective sides of the country. This I shall call the Kopamedza ridge from the name of a high point & trig station. It commences with the gradual rise to Tellizo Peak & continues to the NE 45 miles. The other ridges I shall mention as we map them out. The whole mountain region to the East of the Doyong I propose to call the Eastern Naga. At present it is impossible to say where the main line of watershed between the Irrawaddy & the Brahmaputra may lie, whether from Kopamedzu the ridge running away north, so connected with a mass on 26o,25'-94o,48'. In which case the large river the Lanier does not flow to Assam & the main watershed will be thrown down on a line SE from Kopamedzu to meet the high NE-SW range on which lies the high peak X. We got into camp just before dark. Razamah is one of the most striking villages we have seen, the fields around of large area at the foot of the gradual slope from the base of the sandstone scarp. The village stands on the edge of a steep fall overlooking the valley below the Achirhi which divides into two, the western branch running up to a low pass over into the Barak. Razami contains abt 300 houses, some of them very fine & substantially built. The people crowd about the camp but were [32] very quiet & well-behaved & I have never yet seen the slightest sign of impertinence on the part of any of these Nagas so unlike the demeanour of the Bhutias who were constantly impudent to a degree both high & low. They brought in heaps of wood & rice & in fact could not have done more. This village stands high [blank] feet & the night was very cold. When I took down the min abt 6 o/c it marked 32 degrees & white frost covered the ground.