The Nagas

Hill Peoples of Northeast India

Project Introduction The Naga Database

printed - Tour Diary of the Deputy Commissioner, Naga Hills 1870 (John Butler) volume one

caption: Kohima clan chiefs pay their respects; Butler tells them they are subjects of the British Government and will be protected from the Maniporis; news that Manipoori sepoys are demanding revenue from neighbouring villages - likely to be part of the force accompanying the Political Agent; request for money extorted by sepoys to be returned; to Chidimah who offer to pay revenue; dislike of Kohima taking their goods; Manipori advance party arrive; warned that they are in British territory, told not to interfere with Nagas; villages ask to become British subjects not Manipoori; boundary
medium: tours
person: Brown/ Dr
ethnicgroup: Tengeemah
location: Sopoomah Kohima Kugmemah Pessamah Chidimah Zuloo R. Keegmemah Chakranobomah Sakhabomah Inimah Phesama (Phesamah)
date: 11.2.1870
person: Butler/ John
date: 5.1.1870-30.3.1870
note: inaccurate spelling in the original text
text: llth February, Friday. I was delighted this morning in finding my message of last night had the desired effect and this morning not only did the chiefs of the various clans (seven in all) come in and pay their respects presenting me with presents of spears, fowls, rice and etc., but expressed themselves ready and willing to obey any orders I might given them and I gradually learnt that the real cause of their original resolve not to aid or have anything to say to me was on account of their imagining that they were going to be made over to the Manipoor Raj which they seem to have had a vague ideas was a hostile and rival power quite equal if not superior to the British and they appeared to be highly delighted when I told them that so long as they behaved themselves they need have no fear of Manipoor as they were subjects of the British Government although I could see some of them appeared to be very doubtful whether I really had the power to prevent Manipoor from interfering with them and one old fellow shrewdly observed "The Sahib has brought very few sepoys (I had only 20 constables and 20 Kookies) the Manipoories are coming with very many for we hear that over a thousand have reached Sopoomah who knows what may happen?
text: In the afternoon I received a deputation of Nagas from Kugmemah and Pessamah who complained that 180 Sepoys from Manipoor had arrived at the former village and were demanding both revenue (or rather blackmail) and 'russud' for which they refused to pay and that they were threatening to burn down and utterly destroy their village if they did not at once comply with their demands and further that news had reached them that another large force over a thousand strong was coming up in rear- from all of which I gather the political agent has sent forward a most unnecessarily large advance guard who are probably endeavouring to fill their pockets on their own account and that the main body forming his own escort must be an extraordinarily large one more like an army of occupation in fact than a personal guard and I have therefore addressed [vide page 97] that officer requesting him to be good enough to cause the immediate restitution of my money extorted by the Manipoories and also that he will order payment to be made for all 'russud' supplied by any villages within any jurisdiction and further suggesting the advisability of very considerably reducing his force which if it was anything like as large as had been reported to me was most unnecessary and only likely to hamper our movements. In the evening I walked through the village and noted down the position of several villages not shown in any of the maps and whose very existence I was until now entirely ignorant of, after which I walked over to Chidimah - a village containing about 100 houses and situated on the left bank of the Zuloo, about 3 miles to the east of Kohimah to which village it is joined by a capital bridle path.
text: [7] The villages of Chidimah were very anxious to be taken under our protection and said they would be very glad to pay revenue to the Government but most strongly objected to have to meet the extortionate demands of the Koheemas who it appears are in the habit of helping themselves to the goods of any and all of the smaller villages in their neighbourhood without the least compunction.
text: On returning to camp I found a Manipooree Subadar and some 20 sepoys awaiting my arrival they informed me they were a portion of the advance guard of the force accompanying Dr. Brown and that they were at present halted at Keegmemah awaiting that officer's arrival. On my telling them that serious complaints had been made against them they denied having done anything wrong and as I had already addressed the Political Agent on the subject I considered it best to await his arrival when the matters could be enquired into but in the meantime thought it best to warn them that they were now in British territory and must be careful not to commit any offence, ordering them specially not to interfere with any of the Nagas but that should they be in want of either supplies or coolies they had only to apply to me and I would procure them whatever they might require.
text: Shortly after their departure the Perimiahs of Chakranobomah, Sakhabomah, Inimah and Phesamah arrived in camp and presenting me with a spear addressed me in turn all very much to the same purport which was that they had heard I was about to lay down a boundary between the Naga Hills and Manipoor and had therefore come to beg that I would include them with the rest of the Tengeemahs for they were my subjects and were all willing and anxious to pay me revenue but that I was to understand that they were not and never would be the subjects of Maharajah - I replied that I was very pleased to hear they appreciated the benefits of living under British Government and were so anxious to become our loyal subjects, that at present I was ignorant of the situation of their villages and therefore unable to tell them whether they were British subjects or not but that I hoped to meet the Political Agent of Manipoor within the next few days and that we should then proceed personally to the frontier and then point out exactly where the boundary really lay.