The Nagas

Hill Peoples of Northeast India

Project Introduction The Naga Database

part of original tour diary of Lt. R.G. Woodthorpe 1876

caption: Possible hostilities concerning rice supplies prevented; problems caused by unofficial "escorts"
medium: tours
person: Tulloch/ ColGuzeram
location: Kamahu Wanching (Tablung)
date: 12.2.1876
person: Woodthorpe/ R.G.
date: 1875-1876
person: Pitt Rivers Museum Archive, Oxford
text: Saturday 12th.
text: (Cloudy morning and murky. Little rain in afternoon and little sun and glimpse of blue sky at intervals. Fine evening. Height of mark by today's reading 4340/4170 M = 4255. Height of camp at 9 a.m. 4180/4050 M = 4120 at 9 p.m. 4160/4050 M = 4185. Max. during day = 75o. Min. at night = 54.5o.)
text: This morning about 1 a.m. we were aroused by two or three shots and going out at once found that according to the sentries stones had been thrown at them from the road above. Taking a few men with us Col. T. and I went up at once and entered the village. The gate was fastened but a constable easily got round and opened it. We tried to get the gaonbura but he hocked it with the others in the morung, only one poor wretch being caught whom I afterwards released and as the village was quite quiet and every one apparently in his own house, we came away and were not disturbed again during the night. Early sent up Guzeram about 7 to the village to make enquiries about the stone throwing. He came back about 9 with several men but not the gaonbura who was not to be found. They professed entire ignorance about the stones saying they were all asleep when they heard the shots. We sent them back to the village to collect more rice and to give the gaonbura warning that more stones would entail punishment. As it looked rather promising about 10 o'clock I started for the hill and managed by 4.30 to get a good bag of angles. A few of the furthermost peaks did not show up at all, however. Came back and heard that the villagers above had been nautching with shields and spears drumming and fifing for about half an hour. (29) Col. T. and I went up at once to enquire into the demonstration and though we were met at the gate by our Tablung friend who told us the villagers of the two extreme villages were quarreling as to the rice to be given to us, the furthest demanding it from the other instead of giving from their own supplies, yet when we got inside the attitude of some men in full war paint who were collected in the morung and others dodging about houses was anything but friendly towards us. We made the Tablungias interfere to persuade the others to keep the peace with us. Cooped up as they were in large numbers, the slaughter would have been horrible if we had once opened fire on the poor brutes. At length we made them understand apparently that we did not go up for "feltin'" and they became a little quieter and we came down again giving them to understand that any further demonstrations of hostility would be promptly dealt with. It seems that the village just above us where this took place, has furnished us with most of the rice we have got here - so why they should want to fight is another thing I do not understand. The Tablungias came down shortly after and said that they had demanded rice etc. for themselves but the villagers had refused to give it them saying that they had supplied us and they could not give to every one who chose to come from neighbouring villages. I fancy these Tablungias are the origin of the disturbance. They probably in the refusal to give rice threatened the villagers with our vengeance saying we would go up to force rice from them as the Tablungias had come with us, whereas they are a party who have come on their own work hook. There has been and still (30) is (10 p.m.) (but decreased soon after) at intervals a good deal of talking, the man's voice being frequently heard in loud remarks. The Tablung men came in after we did. I did not know there were so many till we saw them this evening in the village. We must try to prevent followings of this sort, they only create complications.