The Nagas

Hill Peoples of Northeast India

Project Introduction The Naga Database

published - 'Report of the Survey Operations in the Naga Hills 1875-1876' by Lt. R.G. Woodthorpe

caption: Letum's destruction of Yangemdi; jhoom fires; Burmese raids; tribute paid to Assam Rajahs
medium: tours
keywords: duars
ethnicgroup: DupduariaHatigoriaAssiringia
location: Lungkhung Yongyimti (Yangemdi) Litim (Letum) Lungkam (Nankam) Ungma Longmisa (Semamantin)
date: 17.2.1876
person: Woodthorpe/ R.G.
date: 1875-1876
text: 30. On the 17th, I went out to a conspicuous point known as Yangemdi, about six miles from Lungkhung, along a narrow and jungle-grown path, to put up a mark there. It is the site of a village which was so frequently attacked by its inveterate foe Letum, that the villagers about eight years ago had retired to Lungkhung, where, however, they seem to fare but little better, as in the last raid, besides burning the village and killing the headman and about a dozen others, the Letum men had carried off about twenty women and children, they were consequently very anxious that we should visit and destroy Letum. It was a dark, cloudy morning, but cleared about 9.30 a.m., and I was able to commence observing. Immense jhoom fires were lighted to the south during the morning, which sent volumes of thick brown smoke rolling down the valley of the Tzela, and threatened to blot out the whole of the ranges to the east. Fortunately, the very high wind which had been hindering my work somewhat, here came to my assistance, and, keeping the clouds of smoke constantly moving northwards, disclosed, one by one, almost all the peaks I could observe, and by 4 p.m. our work was satisfactorily finished, and I returned to camp. The gaonbura told me, on my inquiring why some villages had two names, that a Burmese army had crossed the watershed to the east of Nankam, he could not tell me exactly where, and descending to that village had burned it, Ungma, and Semamantin, and had then proceeded, via Tablung, to the plains of Assam. The villages that were burned were rebuilt, and most of them received new names, though they were still frequently mentioned by the old names. Assamese names were given to all villages from which the Assam Rajahs exacted tribute. For convenience in collecting this, the villages were divided into duars, and names given to them arbitrarily by the Rajahs; hence the tribal names, unrecognised by the Nagas themselves, such as Dupduarias, Hatigorias, Assiringias, etc. etc.