The Nagas

Hill Peoples of Northeast India

Project Introduction The Naga Database

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

caption: Hostile contact with belligerent Nagas avoided with much difficulty
medium: tours
person: GuzeramTulloch/ Col
ethnicgroup: SemaKuki
location: Lumitsami (Limitsami) Shichemi (Chichimi) Therugunyu (Themoketsama) Longmisa
date: 22.2.1876
person: Woodthorpe/ R.G.
date: 1875-1876
person: Pitt Rivers Museum Archive, Oxford
text: Tuesday 22nd.
text: (Fine but very hazy. Again very cold after sun down. Road today good throughout and along a ridge the whole way. Height of Longmisa [sic error for Limitsami] no. 1 at 11 a.m. 3860/3710 M = 3785 about 120 houses. Height of no. 2 at 1 p.m. 4410/4200 M = 4305 Houses about 200. Height of Chichimi 3 p.m. 4310/4030 M - 4270 about 150. Height of camp at 9 p.m. 3780/3750 M = 3765. Min = 41.5o. These villages are Sema apparently. To be described further on. See page []. Height of camp at 7 a.m. 3870/3750 M = 3780.)
text: Up at 6. Started about 6.30. About 7.30 came near Longmisa [sic error for Limitsami] 1st village. Had not seen it before and was surprised to find a village there. As we approached we heard great shouting and about 400 men in full war costume appeared at various points and along the paths. One young Themoketsama friend was despatched to the front with Guzeram and a couple of constables. He yelled for a long time and at last some men put down their shields and spears and came down to talk and presently brought eggs for us and rice but as they would not hear of me going near the village, I refused to accept them. I said if there was a road close by the village I would send all the coolies etc by it, and they said there was, but on my commencing to advance they showed us the one that went down the khuds. I told them if they did not make up their minds to show us the way (41) we should go through the village and we got all the coolies over the first little entrance and commenced to skirmish up to the village which we entered and took up a good position, the villagers falling back as we got up to them. I did a little plane tabling and some of them came in. A young fellow brought in about 1 maund of rice for which he was paid and was exceeding pleased with the small silver coins saying he should put them on his large becowried waist flap. All the rest being collected in groups below us told them to bring rice etc. I showed them how easily an express bullet could penetrate two thick boards. At the sound of the shot, the villagers below thinking it the signal for an attack commenced to dance and yell after the first impulse of flight. Those with us also danced and yelled and brandished their daos, shouting apparently that it was all right. Then one of them snatched up the boards and raced off with them for the inspection of those below. Leaving the Colonel to look after the coolies and get any more in, I went up to the frontier end and put up my plane table. When I had finished I sent word to the Colonel and going out of the village had breakfast under the shade of a tree. Col. Tulloch joined me soon after and when he had breakfasted, we all went on, the immense army of Nagas preceding us, and a few following. When we arrived at the 2nd. Longmisa [Limitsami] a second palava and a little confusion ensued but we went on steadfastly. I put up my plane table outside and a crowd assembled to whom I showed my burning glass. Then we came on to Chichimi, where all the Nagas who had preceded us joined a large party already assembled outside the slight stockade and it was some time before we could persuade them all to go in, whence we followed and went peaceably through the village and I put up my plane table outside. Again a large crowd assembled near. The Colonel and sepoys were on the look out while I was at work. Some movement on the part of a sepoy frightened them and they all made a dive down hill (42) tumbling over their shields and spears which they left behind them on the ground. Becoming reassured, and convinced that it was a false alarm, they returned and to prove, apparently, that it was not fear that induced them to skedaddle, they began to go through their war paces. As this might have excited them to real earnest, we stopped them and then came on and finding water off the road about half a mile with a fair camping ground, I sent for the Colonel who came on with the coolies and we encamped about 4. A young Naga came in with them and we told him to collect rice etc for us. Shaded my plane table till dark. Young Naga and two others came in shortly after bringing a fowl and a handful of rice. Sent off again with a request for a larger supply.
text: This has been a very trying day. The villages are all within a mile of each other, so that we had no sooner passed Scylla than we found ourselves in Charybdis. The attitude of all these fellows was anything but confiding, that we could not relax our watchfulness for a second, and the slightest thing would have provoked an outbreak. I hope they may be brought to understand how friendly our intentions are. I expect both sepoys and Kukis think this lame work and wonder why I don't give the order to plunder and ravish with all this provocation we received today. It was well that we came straight on, the road was through so many villages that to have avoided the first would only have given us trouble afterwards.