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: description of Beremah; population reduced by smallpox; lack of faith in native doctors; dance; Nagas' similarity to North American Indians
medium: tours
location: Beremah
date: 8.3.1870
person: Butler/ John
date: 5.1.1870-30.3.1870
note: inaccurate spelling in the original text
text: 8th March, Tuesday. Halted to give ourselves a rest after the severe climbing we have lately had. Beremah was a large powerful and wealthy village in former days but has dwindled down from one cause or another and now contains only a hundred houses. It suffered terribly this past year from smallpox and I counted over 40 houses tumbling into ruins all emptied by that fearful scourge which they tell me carried off over 100 souls and I can well believe it and am only sorry. I am helpless to aid them for nothing can be done until we can obtain the services of a European medical officer, in the native doctor they have no faith whatever and will have none of his medicines and I am scarcely surprised at it for even my Kookee scouts living always in the station shun the Hospital and declare that the doctor baboos medicine is of no use and only makes them worse.
text: In the afternoon the Nagas got up a danced for our special edification and really some of the figures were very pretty specially those in which the young unmarried girls took a part and we were much struck with the particularly fine well proportioned stout and athletic figures of the Dekas' or young warriors. The whole scene recalled to mind the wild stories of the North American Indians to whom our Nagas certainly bear a strong resemblance for I can vouch that the description I have read of the one is very like the reality I have seen of the other.