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: Appendix D. H.M. Hinde's report
caption: lack of interpreters; Lonkao village's fear of being burnt by the British
medium: tours
location: Lonkao Maihua
person: Woodthorpe/ R.G.
date: 1875-1876
text: After leaving Niassia, we found that none of the inhabitants of the villages we passed through understood Assamese, whereas, in the villages previously visited, one or two at least of the Nagas could understand me and reply. At Lonkao, the first village we reached after Niassia, our approach created a great commotion: the war-drum was beaten, the young men flocked in from the fields and got into their war-dress,and as I halted before the village, I heard the crash made by the fall of planks, rice-pounders, and other miscellaneous property, as they were thrown into the street to save them from the anticipated conflagration. I found it extremely difficult to devise gestures expressive of my peaceable intentions, and at the same time intelligible to the Nagas; in fact, I have not the least idea which of the many signs I employed succeeded in conveying the desired impression: I did succeed, and four men came in unarmed, and on all-fours, the Naga attitude of submission. They talked fluently in their language, I in Assamese; we neither of us understood the other, but we were mutually satisfied, and I passed through the village on my way to Maihua. A man of Lonkao accompanied us, and explained to the Maihua men that we meant no harm, and we were thus enabled to pass through quietly, and encamped for the night in the ravine between Maihua and Niassia.