The Nagas

Hill Peoples of Northeast India

Project Introduction The Naga Database

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

caption: Konoma refuses to submit so further action taken against villages that aid it
medium: reports
person: Savi/ Mr.MacGregor/ Lt.Barrett/ Lt.
location: Khonoma (Konoma) Pulomi (Paplongmai)
person: Maitland/ Capt. P.J.
date: 1880
person: India Office Library, London
refnum: IOR L/MIL/17/18/24
text: Meanwhile, the Konoma Nagas showed no indications of yielding, although somewhat pinched for food, and not altogether on the best of terms among themselves. It was known that some of them were scattered among the Katcha Naga villages, where they had placed their wives and families. They were also endeavouring to obtain an asylum in Manipur territory.
text: It is said that about this time a number of Konoma Nagas went into the Kuki country. " The Kuki Rajah appeared delighted to see them; asked them to a big feed, and at the same time took care that they should leave all their guns and spears outside.
text: (51) Whilst his guests were feeding, the Rajah had the weapons carried away and refused to give them up again. The loss to the Nagas was twelve guns and a quantity of spears. They returned to the Barel range very much crestfallen." ( Correspondent of Civil and Military Gazette.) Whether rendered desperate by hunger, or emboldened by the comparative inactivity of the troops, a good many Nagas now began to lurk about our camps, the neighbourhood of which was thereby rendered very unsafe. On the 22nd January two shots were fired into the Kohima station, and the next morning a sepoy of the 42nd Assam Light Infantry was killed by three Nagas in the adjacent jungle, and his rifle carried off. After this parties were sent out at night to lie in wait for the prowling savages, but without success.
text: Reliable information was received by General Nation that many Nagas, straitened for supplies in their stronghold of Chaka, had gone to Paplongmai, ( Marked Kenoma on the maps. Of course a totally different place from Konoma. The route from Paplongmai to Konoma as reported by Lieutenant Macgregor will be found in Appendix C.) a large community of Katcha Nagas, nineteen miles ( by road) south west of Konoma. Here they were drawing supplies from the Katcha Naga country. The General accordingly determined to occupy Paplongmai, and Lieutenant Macgregor, Deputy Assistant Quarter Master General, who had visited that place in former years, was despatched at the head of one hundred and fifty rifles, 43rd and 44th Native Infantry, to surprise and destroy the village. At the same time a detachment of one hundred Cachar police and thirty three or thirty four rifles, 34th Native Infantry, who had originally marched with Colonel Johnstone from Manipur to the relief of Kohima, started on their return to Cachar, in charge of Mr. Savi, District Superintendent of Police. They were to go first to Samaguting and then strike off through the Katcha Naga country, where it was hoped their appearence would prevent the Katcha Nagas from assisting the Angamis of Konoma with supplies, and also result in the collection of coolies for the field force. This detachment left Kohima on the 26th.
text: On the 28th January a party of the 42nd Assam Light Infantry, aided by Frontier Police and friendly Nagas from Kohima, were sent by desire of the chief political officer to attack Pachama, a neighbouring village, which had refused to " come in, " or furnish its quota of rice and labour. The detachment succeeded in surprising the village by a night attack. Fifteen Nagas were killed, and a large quantity of cattle captured.
text: Lieutenant Macgregor, with his hundred and fifty rifles, started for Paplongmai on the night of the 26th January. But no sooner had daylight revealed his march than the Konoma Nagas in Chaka descended from their heights, followed him up, and smartly attacked the rear guard. In the skirmish that ensued four sepoys were wounded, but the march of the detachment was not arrested. The village was entered without opposition, and the people appearing to be well disposed, Lieutenant Macgregor bivouacked outside in the immediate vicinity. During the night, however, Konoma Nagas occupied the place, and next morning he was obliged to attack and capture it; which was effected with the loss of one sepoy killed. On the 29th February, and three following days, some desultory skirmishing took place, in which a sepoy of the 44th Sylhet Light Infantry was mortally wounded. In the meantime all the coolies with the detachment deserted, and Lieutenant Macgregor found himself deprived of the power of movement, and in a somewhat precarious position. He therefore sent in to Kohima asking for reinforcements, supplies and coolies. The General at once sent them in charge of Lieutenant Barrett, 43rd Assam Light Infantry, who carried orders for Lieutenant Macgregor to remain at Paplongmai and operate against other villages in the vicinity, in order to cut off the enemy from their supplies. It so happened, however, that before Lieutenant Barrett and his convoy could reach him, Lieutenant Macgregor had succeeded in obtaining coolies on the spot and returned to Kohima, which he regained in safety on the afternoon of the 4th February. The actual results of the expedition, as reported by Lieutenant Macgregor, were the destruction of half the village of Paplongmai, the seizure of about a hundred maunds of grain and some live stock, the deportation of the headmen and ninety of the inhabitants of the village to Kohima, and the clearing out from Paplongmai of the Konoma families who had taken refuge there. But the desertion of the coolies caused the operation on the (52) whole to be a failure, and General Nation remarks that instead of punishing Paplongmai as severely as was intended, Lieutenant Macgregor's necessities had compelled the adoption of a somewhat conciliatory attitude.