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: angry inhabitants of Shipvomi eventually make peace; loss of dhan; on to Yemi
medium: tours
location: Yemi Shipvomi
date: 3.2.1873
person: Godwin-Austen/ H.H.
date: 26.11.1872-4.4.1873
person: Royal Geographical Society, London
text: 3rd Feby.
text: The day broke very clear. Peak X ("Saramati") was capped with snow after the late rain but dense mist filled the valley of the Lanier. It was determined to march & Yemi was considered the best line, but was not decided on for about 10 o/c armed Nagas in considerable numbers began shewing themselves on a spur coming up on the East & were seen concealing themselves behind trees & stones around the village. Butler sent a dobasha or two to call to them to come in & after a great deal of shouting & talking at a distance 3 of them came in. One was recognized as having been spokesman on the first day of our arrival. The principal man now was evidently in a great rage & no wonder & said that having lost all what was the good of making friends. Nothing satisfactory was got out of them & they were told that if they meant fighting they had better come on, if peace to say so. They were taken to see the old woman who was wounded & to our surprise appeared to taunt her in their own language & when she asked for a drink of zu out of their gourd it was indignantly refused. They then left & we remained on watch to see what they were about, firing a shot or two to shew that we did not intend to let them in close. After bkfast they came in again & they agreed to make peace in formal way by sacrifice of a fowl, which Butler held the head of, the Shipvomi men the legs & wings & it was then decapitated by Thompson. Men of Yemi came in about 10 & gave up their spears. It appears they are no friends of Shipvomi as evidenced the preceding day when they were detected firing the remaining houses. We decided as it was in the interests of the Survey work, to go on to their village, and after the peace was made the advance was sounded & the advance Guard & coolies moved off. I remained behind with rear guard & as we stood on the highest part of the place as the coolies filed away down the narrow lane out of the place the inhabitants came flocking in. A rush was made by a lot of them at the large shingled house we had occupied where much property in the way of mats, rice cleaning implements, dhan &c baskets, which [38] rapidly taken possession of. Some women & children were also in the place & it is a serious loss they have sustained, but entirely through their own action & it will be a good lesson to them & the neighbouring villages that we stand no nonsense. Yemi now is exceedingly civil & on arrival at the encamping ground under that place we found huts had been put up by them & they brought in a present of two fowls, firewood &c. On the way passing up the valley where a mass of detritus form the high ridge on the North has formed a broad belt with gradual fall, I picked up a piece of sandstone containing 2 sp of fossil bivalves. Night colder with frost. Min ther 33 degrees.