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]
medium: tours
location: Japvo
date: 20.1.1873
person: Godwin-Austen/ H.H.
date: 26.11.1872-4.4.1873
person: Royal Geographical Society, London
text: A friend sends us the following interesting extract from a private letter dates Naga Hills, the 20th January 1873 :-
text: "I have been getting on with the survey work very successfully, ascended and cleared the highest point in this part of the hills (the Barrail), called Japvo, about 9,900 feet. From it I got a most splendid view, on a magnificent day after some rain (it was snow with us!) right away to the eastward, and secured a fine cone-shaped peak, which I have called X. It was capped with snow for about 1000 feet, and must be over 11000 and in Lat. 24-45-0, L. 95-4-30. I have got into the run of several ranges in that bit of terra incognita to the N and E of the sources of the Barak. I have lately, with Captain Butler, the Political Agent, and Colonel Thompson, ditto of Mannipur, been surveying the boundary at the head of the Rivers Zallo and Siju. We are accompanied - or rather Colonel Thompson is - by a Major Roma Singh, deputed by the Raja, and we have had a great deal of trouble with him. The boundary laid down and ordered by Government, after a special Boundary Commissioner had been sent up to investigate the Mannipur claims to the Naga villages lying north of the Barrail water-shed, does not at all satisfy, and they are very wroth. They even went so far the day before yesterday as to threaten to knock down all the boundary pillars that have been set up, and only desisted when told by Captain Butler that if they proceeded to do so, he should protect them, and prevent it, if necessary, by force. Colonel Thompson wished to proceed with us to Keza Kenomah, on the east of the new line of boundary; but his coolies, and even the guard and chaprasis, which are all found him by the Mannipur Raja, have received instructions that if he proceeds with Captain Butler and self to Keza Kenomah, they are to desert him - a most insulting order to the G-G's Agent. Roma Singh was called up yesterday, and asked before us by Colonel Thompson if such orders had been given by him, and he acknowledged that they had. The co-operation of Mannipur will never ben given to the exploration of the Barrail further eastward. After visiting two other trigonometrical stations, which I have selected, Captain Butler and I go on as far as we can go to the east among Naga tribes, which we know nothing about as yet. I hope they will be friendly to us, as we shall then be able to get in the geography of a very large part of this high range south of the Brahmaputra. These Nagas are a very interesting race to be among, and their costume is particularly picturesque, with their plaited cane leggings and bunches of wool or red hair in their ears fastened to boars' tusks. I am making a lot of drawings, which I will send down to be shown at one of the Asiatic Society's meetings. The climate here is lovely, and the country under the finest state of cultivation I have anywhere seen. The terrace cultivation for rice is quite wonderful and most extensive."