The Nagas

Hill Peoples of Northeast India

Project Introduction The Naga Database

published - Chapter II, 'Detailed Report on the Naga Hills Expedition of 1879-80', Capt. P.J. Maitland

caption: Damant's view of the situation at Kohima
medium: reports
person: DamantCarnegy
ethnicgroup: AngamiKatchaSehmaNaked NagaTankhol
location: Kohima Khonoma (Konoma) Jotsoma Mezema (Mozima)
person: Maitland/ Capt. P.J.
date: 1880
person: India Office Library, London
refnum: IOR L/MIL/17/18/24
text: Some months after ( Apparently in May 1879.) the establishment of the post, Mr. Damant, Bengal Civil Service, who had succeeded Mr. Carnegy as Political Officer, wrote to the Chief Commissioner as follow: " The effect of the occupation of Kohima has been unmixedly good, and the proof of it is the fact that since August last there has not been a single murder committed by the Katcha or Angami Nagas. In many instances, villages which have made preparation for fighting with their enemies, have been induced or forced to abandon their intentions; and in one instance when two clans of Kohima were at war, both parties were actually drawn up fully armed to attack each other, when I arrived with a force and prevented them. The influence of the occupation has been felt further than my most sanguine hopes led me to anticipate. Deputations or messages have been sent to me, not only from the most distant of the Angami villages, but from the Sehma naked and Tankhol Nagas.
text: All these people have come of their own accord to assure me of their good intentions, and their willingness to obey the orders which have been issued prohibiting raids; and for the present raiding has been stopped. It is too much to expect the present state of things will last long. I fear the love of fighting is too deeply implanted in a Naga's nature to be exterminated so quickly, and we must expect occasional raids for some years to come.
text: We only hold our position here by right of the strongest." "At present the Nagas hardly realise we intend to remain at Kohima, and I have made many villages promise to lay aside their feuds for as long as we remain here, they refusing a truce for a longer period. These feuds are of course still smouldering, and might burst forth any moment; still I think the state of things is much better than could be expected, and I confidently hope that a few years will see the Nagas as quiet as the Mikirs or Khasias."
text: Mr. Damant certainly took a sanguine view of the effect produced by the occupation of Kohima, and of the happy future in store for the Naga Hills District. His opinions were, however, shared by the Chief Commissioner, in spite of the fact that the Angamis, and particularly the inhabitants of Konoma, were collecting firearms and large quantities of ammunition. Confident as Mr. Damant was, he did not intend to enforce the payment of revenue throughout the District for some time to come. His intention was to do nothing in this direction for the first year, until the Angamis had become accustomed to our presence, and convinced that it would by permanent. The neighbouring villages, particularly the turbulent group,-Konoma, Jotsoma, and Mozima,- might then be brought under subjection, and the authority of Government gradually extended over the whole country as opportunity offered.