The Nagas

Hill Peoples of Northeast India

Project Introduction The Naga Database

published - Chapter III 'Detailed Report on the Naga Hills Expedition of 1878-80', Capt. P.J. Maitland

caption: decision to destroy crops before harvest
medium: reports
person: Maitland/ Capt. P.J.
date: 1880
person: India Office Library, London
refnum: IOR L/MIL/17/18/24
text: In making the arrangements above detailed, it was of course assumed that most decided measures would have to be taken to restore order in the Naga Hills District. The local authorities, in conjuction with the Brigadier General Commanding the District, were of opinion that a regular expedition, having for its object the " complete subjugation and disarmament of the implicated villages" was imperative. Immediate action was urged. The relief of Kohima seemed a pressing necessity; the present season was very favourable for operations in the hills; and, moreover, the crops of the Nagas were still uncut. To destroy their crops is one of the severest punishments that can be inflicted on the Angamis, whose system of cultivation is laborious, and not unscientific. It also lessens greatly the chance of prolonged resistance, by depriving them of their chief food supply.
text: In view of the serious nature of the outbreak, no opposition was made to the above proposals either by the Commander-in-Chief or by the Government of India. The strength and composition of the column were, moreover, decided by the authorities on the spot. It consisted of all the troops available at the moment, and we have seen that, supplemented by the Manipur contingent, it was considered ample for all purposes.