The Nagas

Hill Peoples of Northeast India

Project Introduction The Naga Database

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

caption: transport and supplies
caption: coolies
medium: reports
person: Nation/ Brig. Gen.
person: Maitland/ Capt. P.J.
date: 1880
person: India Office Library, London
refnum: IOR L/MIL/17/18/24
text: Ponies.- Among the ponies, 149 were purchased, and 78 hired.
text: Coolies.- The coolies were 105 Khasias, about 200 Assamese, and 100 Kookies.
text: Lieutenant Wingate's estimate of the number of cattle and coolies differs considerably from the figures given in the table at the end of this appendix. The former, however, extends to a more recent date than the actual close of operations, while the latter are taken from field force returns, and appear to represent the amount of transport actually at work at any one period of the expedition.
text: As far as Piphima the transport worked well, and supplies of all sorts were got into that place much faster than they could be removed; for the Naga coolies, of which Colonel Johnstone promised there should be a " full supply to all posts in front" ( Brigadier-General Nation's No.7, " Transport," dated 5th January 1880), were hardly ever forthcoming, and at one time the Brigadier-General was obliged to remove the coolies from the fifth stage and use them between Piphima and Kohima in order to feed his troops.
text: In a letter addressed to the Secretary to the Chief Commissioner of Assam, dated 5th January 1880, the Brigadier-General says: " Captain Williamson and Lieutenant Maxwell left this on the 1st instant with a flying column to attack Chesejuma (Cheswejuma ?) and to visit other villages. Before they left, Naga coolies were procurable, but not in great numbers. Since they left not a Naga coolie has come in, although summoned daily by Mr. Cawley. The transport service below Piphima is working very well, and supplies are accumulating there at the rate of some 80 maunds a day; but for five days past none have come forward thence for want of coolies, and the matter is causing me constant anxiety.
text: 3. If Naga labour were plentiful ( as guaranteed by Colonel Johnstone, who has not been with my camp since the 18th ultimo, to carry out his arrangements, and regarding whose return there is no certainty, as he is sick at Manipur), the work required of the Nagas must be considered. In addition to bringing up 'russud' ( the daily consumption of which at Kohima, Konoma, and Sachima is upwards of 50 maunds), materials have to be collected for building the new station, ( At Kohima: the old one was practically destroyed during the investment, and the site was besides very defective as before noted.) for hutting the troops, and for houses for the European officers; and the road from Nichi Guard to Kohima has to be put in repair. The Nagas have also to carry on their own cultivation.
text: 4. The situation is now most serious. We are dependent on Naga labour to get over supplies from Piphima, and the supply of this has utterly failed for the last five days. It appears to me that this supply must always be more or less precarious, and that to depend on it entirely is to run too heavy a risk.
text: 5. Six months' supplies must be collected at all the posts before the rains set in, and to effect this I see no alternative but to import labour in the shape of a coolie corps." (Brigadier-General Nation's No. 6, " Field Operations,- Transport," 5th January 1880.)
text: The proposals for the organisation of a coolie corps made by the Commander-in-Chief are given below. In forwarding them for the sanction of Government, His Excellency remarked that " previous experience in these hills shews the necessity for a sufficient and properly organised coolie corps, independent of the Commissariat Department." ( No.187 C., dated Office of Quarter Master General in India, Calcutta, 12th January 1880.)
text: The corps was to consist of-
text: 1 European Commandant, as Transport Staff Officer, on a Staff salary of Rs. 300 per mensem in addition to Staff Corps pay of rank, and half the Staff allowance of his permanent appointment.
text: 2 Native officers as Assistant Transport Officers, and native staff and establishment as under-
text: 1 Subadar, to receive working pay at annas 8 per diem.
text: 1 Jemadar, " " " 6 "
text: 10 Native Non-Commissioned Officers or sepoys, to receive
text: working pay at annas 2 per diem.
text: 2 Munshis at Rs. 40 per mensem, consolidated.
text: 12 Sirdars.
text: 600 Coolies.
text: The conditions under which coolies were to be enlisted were-
text: (a) Pay-
text: Coolies, Rs. 8 per mensem.
text: Sirdars, Rs.10 per mensem.
text: In the Lushai cooly corps the scale was, coolies Rs. 8, mates Rs. 10, sirdars Rs. 12; but the latter is more than would be drawn by the sepoys. It was therefore proposed to have only one rank of petty officer, with the pay of mate, and title of sirdar.
text: (b) One month's pay to be given in advance on enlistment.
text: (4)(c) Engagement to be for three months certain; and Government to have the option of retaining the men afterwards, month by month, as long as necessary. ( It was afterwards decided that the period of enlistment should be for one year.)
text: (d) To be allowed to make family remittances
text: after completion of two month's service. (This was tried in the Duffla Expedition, but the remittances are said to have been an "utter failure.")
text: (e) To receive rations on the Khyber scale from date of embarkation to that of disembarkation on return. The Khyber scale is-
text: ( Firewood, so often a difficulty in Afghanistan, is generally plentiful in the Naga Hills.)
text: Compensation was to be given when rations were not issued.
text: (f) A free passage home when discharged or invalided.
text: (g) In case of death, while in the corps, the deceased's family to receive a gratuity of three months' pay.
text: (h) Recruits for the coolie corps to be medically inspected at place of enlistment. Only men over 20 and under 40 years of age to be taken, and they must be in every respect fit for laborious duty. Medical examination on no account to be a matter of form, but the examining officer to be held responsible for the physical fitness of the coolies passed by him. His Excellency here suggested that every man should be made to run 400 yards and then examined, as it is recorded this was a most searching test in enlisting men for the Duffla coolie corps.
text: (i) Clothing and equipment on the Duffla scale, free: the scale is under-
text: One blanket (country).
text: One blanket jacket.
text: One pair shoes (native). ( In the Duffla
text: Expedition native shoes were provided at place of enlistment.)
text: One pair leg bandages (cloth).
text: One havresack.
text: One dhao or kookrie (to be returned into store).
text: One badge (metal).
text: To these afterwards added-
text: One pair of socks.
text: One waterproof sheet.
text: His Excellency drew attention to the following paragraph in Colonel Baigrie's report on the Duffla Field Force:-
text: " The English made dhaos were good, those made in Assam were wretched affairs, which broke immediately."
text: " The kookrie is the best weapon for hutting; those made in Nepal were good; those received in Calcutta were inferior." ( The Ordnance Department, Calcutta, keeps dhaos and kookries in store. The Inspector General of Ordnance wrote to the Quarter Master General, 14th January 1880: " the kookries in store were obtained from Goorkha regiments, and the dhaos are all of Indian manufacture, and were obtained partly from contractors, and partly purchased by Deputy Commissioner in Assam for the special use of this department.")
text: The above propositions received the assent of the Government of India in the Military Department on the 22nd January 1880 ( No. 102/B).
text: In view of the strain then existing on the Punjab and North-West Provinces to supply recruits and labour for the Afghan War, the Commander-in-Chief suggested that the Bengal Government should be asked to enlist the coolies, and this was approved by the Government of India.
text: General Nation particularly desired that coolies might be recruited only among the "Dhangurs of Chota Nagpore, Manbhoom, and Sonthal Pergunnahs," and he thought they would probably be procurable in the coolie depots of Calcutta.