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: waiting for survey party; description of Maon Nagas; various dialects; warning of poisoned water; feuds
medium: tours
person: Brown/ DrGordonBigge
ethnicgroup: MaonTengeemah
location: Sopoomah Zoolo R. Seejo R. Diyung R. (Doyang R.) Keedemah Rekromah
date: 18.2.18701842
person: Butler/ John
date: 5.1.1870-30.3.1870
note: inaccurate spelling in the original text
text: 18th February, Friday. Having decided upon waiting here for a day or two in hopes that the Survey Party (now four days late) might join us I proceeded together with Dr. Brown to pay a visit to the village of Sopoomah between 3 and 4 miles to the South-West of our present camp. From this village we saw the sources of the Zoolo and Seejo which are in fact the sources of the Doyang the latter being its chief feeder and taking its rise from among the Maon villages situated on the watershed of the Burrail range about 5 miles to the south of the former stream, is I believe identical with the Mow (or Maon) River referred to in the reports submitted by Messrs. Gordon and Bigge in 1842. Dr. Brown however informs me (as in fact I was told a few days ago by Thongal Major) that both the streams pass by the name of Maon among the Moneepoories on account of their taking their rise among the Maon villages. These Maon Nagas (as the Moneepoories call them) are as regards general appearance, dress, manners, habits and customs almost indistinguishable from the Tengeemahs (or Angamees). They however speak a different dialect which I may explain is nothing to be surprised at as the men of Sumoogootung speak a different dialect from those of Kohimah who again differ in speech from the Nagas of Jareephemah on the north and Keedeemah on the south and also from the Nagas of Seswejmah and Sadoomah to the east and from Kenomah and Beremah to the west.
text: In the afternoon one of the Keedeemah chiefs gave me the very pleasant news that he had just learnt that the Rekromah Nagas with whom they were at feud had formed the intention of poisoning the springs near our camp not because they were hostile to us but in order that they might be enabled to draw down our vengeance upon the men of Keedeemah on whom they wish to fix the blame however as about two hours afterwards the same Chief returned and after a long story detailing the many evil deeds that he stated had been committed by the Rekromah finished up by hoping I was going to destroy their village I am now rather inclined to think the poisoning story was simply a dodge, however there is no saying and any how its as well to take care that he has no opportunity of verifying his own story so I have taken the precaution to have a sentry placed over the spring orders issued to the men to take care not to drink from any other.