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: medical notes
caption: water supplies
medium: reports
person: DeRenzy/ Dr.O'Brien/ Dr.
person: Maitland/ Capt. P.J.
date: 1880
person: India Office Library, London
refnum: IOR L/MIL/17/18/24
text: Water.- A plentiful supply of pure water is of the first importance. Dr. O'Brien, 44th Sylhet Light Infantry, remarks that this is not always easy to obtain. In his interesting annual report he expresses his surprise at the marked difference which exists in this, as in others respects, between the Angami country and the adjacent Kasia hills, in which Shillong is situated. The rainfall of each is about the same, but in the former, the hills are so abrupt that the water runs off almost directly. All Naga villages are built on high ground, and are often dependent for water on one or two small springs, perhaps situated at some distance down the slope. As camps are generally formed near villages, they necessarily share the disadvantage of a somewhat scanty water-supply. The springs themselves are apt to become filled with decaying vegetable matter, which should be carefully cleared out, and it may be sometimes necessary to boil the water before drinking. ( Annual Report of 44th Regiment Native Infantry, by Surgeon J.O. O'Brien, M.D., in medical charge.)
text: Previous to the expedition, Deputy Surgeon-General De Renzy pointed out that an immense amount of sickness is everywhere due to the use of impure water, and from his knowledge of the country he recommended that all troops sent into the hills should receive a daily ration of tea, which not only assuages thirst, but is also valuable as a stimulant and restorative. Drinking rain- water, says Dr. De Renzy, should be strictly forbidden. ( No. 746, dated 25th October 1879, to the Secretary to the Surgeon- General, Calcutta.)