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: opposition from Nagas at Bereemah
medium: tours
location: Bereemah
date: 25.3.1870
person: Butler/ John
date: 5.1.1870-30.3.1870
note: inaccurate spelling in the original text
text: 25th March, Friday. Marched into Bereemah distance about 8 miles and road comparatively fair the whole way.
text: To show and prove what fickle and uncertain beings these savages are I am sorry to have to record that these very Bereemah Nagas who only a few days ago gave me so cordial and hearty a welcome, actually had the audacity today to turn out with shields and spears to oppose my entrance into their village but fortunately though the spirit was strong the flesh was weak, for no sooner did [15] they see me advancing to the attack than a sudden panic seemed to seize them and they fled through the village and disappeared in the jungle leaving me in quiet possession of the village where after taking up my position in one of the centre houses commanding the village on both sides, I sent out my dobashas telling them to inform the Nagas that I had come among them as a friend and wished to remain so with no intention of doing them any harm but that if they wanted to make an enemy of me and were at all anxious to try their strength with mine, I would not disappoint them and only hoped they would make haste and come out and either make friends or fight it out, whichever they pleased. This message had the desired effect for directly they were quite sure I was ready to fight they were equally ready to make friends and had they fancied I was at all anxious to avoid an encounter they would have been eager to rush on to the attack. In about two hours the Nagas all came in again looking very much ashamed of themselves and the chiefs expressed their sorrow at what had occurred and begged I would think no more about it as it was all the fault of the young Dikas who they had been unable to restrain and assuring me of their hearty good will for the future, said they would go off and build huts for me which they immediately proceeded to do not withstanding heavy hail and rain which continued on and off for the rest of the afternoon. As soon as the huts were built and we had got under shelter again I summoned the chiefs before me and explained to them what a very dangerous game they had been playing and warned them never to attempt to play tricks again. They again expressed their sorrow for what had passed and promised most faithfully for the future to obey all orders I may give adding that they will even pay me revenue if I order them to do so.