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: geology; back to Munipur; Thompson's letter to the Raja concerning the survey and the Shipvoma affair; Raja's reply refusing to allow the survey to proceed
medium: tours
person: ThompsonThuillier/ ColButlerSenaputty ChowbaAmoo Khong Shangbah
location: Shipvoma Thybong
date: 19.2.1873
person: Godwin-Austen/ H.H.
date: 26.11.1872-4.4.1873
person: Royal Geographical Society, London
text: 19th Feby.
text: Got away pretty early. Left the road & walked up the grass below the road, bagging a couple of Black partridge & a pintail & snipe which I believe will be led to breed here, with several other small reed birds. An immense flock of geese were [sic] grazing out in the fields about 500 yards from the road, into which I took a shot with rifle & secured one, had another shot at a small cluster but not with such success. Fine cool morning with a little cloud to the Eastward coming up overhead, which left it cool the rest of the day, still very hazy. Turned off road at the low Tila of Lokpaching, which I found to consist of soft ochry sandstone & thin shales, weathering to a red color. Strike N by W, S by E, dip East by North 70o. Thin veins of milky quartz running through it, some of this is very crystalline, containing perfect pure crystals. The veins generally run across the strike of the beds E & W, E S E, W N W but there was no regularity. They were from one to three inches thick & here & there appeared agglomerated into a mass. On the Western face a strong sandstone came in overlying the thin shales again, the veins of quartz penetrated equally into this sandstone. In places along the base of this same Tila, there was evidence of local crushing of the thinner shaly beds.
text: (51) Breakfsted at the 1st stream with good water & got some delicious milk. Ogle not being well got a pony & I walked into Munipur. Breeze sprang up from the West and in a short time the haze disappeared & all the distant hills came out clear & sharp. Peaks all well distributed for triangulation & I have selected all the principal stations. The road leading over the Laimatol ridge will gradually facilitate these operations as good points lie both right & left of it above the village of Bishenpur. The villages about here stand alone in the open grass plain surrounded principally by bamboo clumps & a few fruit trees, the cotton tree being common in some. Forgot to record that just prior to starting from the bungalow when some Naga said to be from Shipvomi were brought in, that with them were two Munipuri interpreters, who were evidently prompting them what to say. This was noticed & Thompson told them to stand aside. As they did not do so he stept forward & took one of them by the arm & led him on to the lawn about 8 yards off. This very apparently insignificant action was not recorded by me but as since the Raja in a public letter has called the act using violence to his interpreter & therefore an insult to his Major, I now record the fact. This change of tone there is not the slightest doubt is to lead up to the fact that Thomson is of violent temper owing to the "wound in his head" which his enemies have made such free use of & which Col McCulloch in a letter referred to, but very likely has only heard of this 2nd hand.
text: During our absence Col Thompson had it appeared written a letter to the Raja which he very kindly allowed me to read. It explained very clearly to the Raja what the survey had to do & asked him to depute one of his Majors to see into his rights & to put these forward on the ground when both the Politicals were there & for this reason it was absolutely necessary he (Thompson) should go on to the Boundary & see its demarcation. This letter called for an escort for this purpose. The letter closed with a full account of the occurrences at Shipvomi & the cause of its being burnt. This explanation being given in consequence of a request proferred by the Raja. This day the 20th the Raja's reply was received, a long document, & immediately handed over for translation & by early evening the first sheet of foolscap was brought to us by the Baboo. It was a most decided refusal to give any aid & declared no British Territory existed East of the Mao river, the Zullo including Kohima & that he should prevent Thompson's & forbade Butler's going into it - so much of it being known I sent off telegram to Colonel Thuillier acquainting him that survey work was stopped & Col T & Capt B sent off telegrams to their respective chiefs.
text: (Copy of letter, 1 para. "Sir, Your letter of the 17th February I have received & considered with my ministers. I have already forbidden you from going to the East of the Mao River as the country in that direction is all mine. Your going to those places now with Captain Butler, & Thangol Major and an escort of sepoys I deem unnecessary and forbid, assigning the following as my reasons....until further orders are received to this memo of mine. I forbade your going East of the Mao River, but you without taking any notice of my requests went there and destroyed a village of mine called Thybong. With you were Capt Butler & his sepoys & the survey sahibs also my Kolya Nagas." In the latter part referring to Shipvomi he writes, "When you first sent Thulhool for tribute they said they are Munipuri subjects & will not pay. On a 2nd demand they paid 10 bundles of salt, 2 brass khojees, one spear & 4 keso. It appears to me that they were not inclined to fight with you, but that you without waiting for them to make another road attacked and destroyed them". And the finale, "If you all misrepresent in any way my claims to Govt the truth will come out." At end of letter Thompson is accused of violence to interpreters when certain Nagas of Shipvomi were brought before him:... Extract fr. Raja's letter 20th Feby. "The Nagas of my village Thyboong which you destroyed came here and I sent them to you in order that you may hear what they have to say. With them I also sent my interpreter Senaputty Chowba & Amoo Khong Shangbah. When these two men were going to speak Captain Butler said something to you in English & you immediately rising from your chair (being a Hakim) & in the presence of my officers, catching Senaputty Chowbah by the neck took him to a distance of 5 or 6 paces & made him sit there. Coming back again you did the same with Khong Shangbah. Seeing your treatment towards my interpreters, the Nagas of Thyboong who were in a great fright of you already, were unable to say what they wanted. I was very sorry to hear that they underwent such threats. When you did this before my officers, you may have done something more in their village....P12 Until the Lord sahib will not decide & pass final orders, I forbid you to go.") ("You state that the goods & coolies were withdrawn under my orders. I gave no such orders to Roma Sing Major.")