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: Munipuri prisoners beg for British protection
medium: tours
person: Thomson
date: 12.3.1873
person: Godwin-Austen/ H.H.
date: 26.11.1872-4.4.1873
person: Royal Geographical Society, London
text: 12th
text: Thomson & Butler were off about 9 & I determined to take a quiet day, writing up PT & writing letters, continuing accounts etc. About 2 pm we were roused from our work by a rush of men & hubbub on the side of Thomson's bungalow, some men closely pursued by others coming up the garden. On going over to see what was up, I was rushed at by 4 prisoners in their irons, who were so blown they could not speak, but they held their hands supplicatingly & put their heads on the ground at our feet. When they had recovered their breath it appeared that their term of imprisonment being up & not getting their release, they determined to seize the opportunity working opposite the residency up the road to give their guards the slip & see the burra sahib which they were not allowed to do not even write to him. I took down their names & placed them in charge of our Police Guard at the house until some authorized person should come & take them over & I prevented the Munipur sepoys from taking them which they made the attempt to do by force. They were in a terrible stew as they knew what was probably in store for them for what they had attempted to do and which has never been attempted before by any prisoner. On the jail Jemadar arriving on the scene I gave them over to him, telling him they were not to be touched until Col M Thomson had been there & they were taken crying out of the compound. The punishments are terribly severe & for petty theft a man often gets 5 to 6 years of imprisonment.