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: counting villages; head-taking; request for protection against Maniporis and large Naga villages
medium: tours
location: Reedeemah Jackhamah Veeswemah Rigmimah Seejamah
date: 17.2.1870
person: Butler/ John
date: 5.1.1870-30.3.1870
note: inaccurate spelling in the original text
text: [9] 17th February, Thursday. Having heard no news of the movements of the Survey Party that was to have accompanied us we decided upon marching on to Reedeemah, en route we passed through the villages of Jackhamah and Veeswemah. These villages are nearly equidistant being I should say from 3 to 4 miles apart so that I consider the distance between Rigmimah and Reedeemah must be between 11 and 12 miles. We came along a very fair path the whole way and one that could be made with but little difficult or expense into a capital road. Whilst passing through the villages I took the opportunity to count the houses and found them contain the following:-
_____Reedeemah_..____..._____..._____...____199____" Just before entering Jackhamah we came upon the ghastly spectacle of a human head, evidently but lately cut off, transfixed on the point of a bamboo about 8 feet high and placed on the edge of the road. On enquiry I was informed it belonged to an unfortunate Naga from Seejamah a village about 2 days journey from this and it seems that a party of the Seejamahs having killed a Jackhamah man last year the latter had now taken their revenge. I had the head removed and ordered it to be buried.
text: In the evening the Penmahs of Keedeemahs and other neighbouring villages including some men from the right bank of the Seejo came into visit me and presenting me with spears and rice prayed I would take them under protection, saying they were quite willing to give me any revenue that they could possibly afford and obey all my orders but I must on my part protect them from the Moneepoories and the other large Naga villages against whom they were unable to contend. The fact is it appears the Moneepoories come into the country with a great floorish of trumpets, take all they can lay their hands on and return home with their booty and as soon as they have left a party of Nagas from some large village (Kohimah for instance) knowing how the village has been crippled by their more powerful neighbour immediately swoop down and deprive them of what little they have left.