The Nagas

Hill Peoples of Northeast India

Project Introduction The Naga Database

unidentified published pieces

caption: extracts of a letter from a member of the survey party [Godwin-Austen]
caption: Gaziphima destroyed
medium: tours
location: Gaziphima
date: 30.1.1873
person: Godwin-Austen/ H.H.
date: 26.11.1872-4.4.1873
person: Royal Geographical Society, London
text: On the 30th we marched thorugh Thizami, still smouldering, to Gaziphimi, finding the body of one Naga across the stream, scalped, showing the undoubted presence of Kukis with the Munipur raising force. One could not very much pity the villagers of Gaziphimi for the ill luck that had befallen them. Just before entering the village, we passed through the spot where the skulls they had taken in their many raids of the past are exhibited. We counted no less than 52 stout posts, 10 to 12 feet high, in different stages of decay, and some quite new, each of which had carried its human head fixed on the top by a thin long peg driven through it. Many had fallen, and were lying on the ground, but about a dozen were still in position. On smaller sticks at the base of the posts the hands of their victims were tied. It was a very sickening sight, but it must be remembered that Gaziphimi is no worse than its neighbours, and thus these wretched blood-feuds go on, and can only be checked by the active interference of the British Government, whereby permanent peace would be secured both in the hills, and most effectually on the border, and the lives of many innocent women and children would be saved, who yearly fall by the spears of ambuscades. Gaziphimi's turn for punishment had arrived. Now fallen and weak, she will lose many a head. The night before we marched away, some men had crept into the place, where the inhabitants were then putting up in temporary huts of mats - their outside defences of hedge and stockade, of course, now all burnt - and thrown six spears into one, shouting out as they bolted, "That's from Yomi." Only one spear took effect, although the hut was full, and that struck a little girl of about 7, and passed through the small of the back, but she was still living when we went to see her the next morning. A hundred more police in these hills would stop all this kind of thing most effectually - 150 hardly permits the district officer to move about - and yet leave a sufficient force for the safety of the head quarter station. We made a halt here on the 31st, our camp lying on the east side of the ridge, and about 200 feet under the village. Below in the valley flowed the large river, the Lanier, broad and deep, rising to south-east, its source some thirty miles distant, receiving many large tributaries from the south in the intervening country.