The Nagas

Hill Peoples of Northeast India

Project Introduction The Naga Database

printed - tour diary of the Deputy Commissioner of the Naga Hills for the year 1870-1872 (John Butler) volume two

caption: Manipuri report of scarcity of rice found to be a lie; decision to go to see Rajah of Manipur; news of murder of Kuki scout - musket stolen; regret at not having hanged previous murderers of Kuki scouts
medium: tours
person: Thomson/ Col.James/ MrHicholeZuhe
ethnicgroup: SopoomahKeruphemahKuki
date: 16.1.1873
person: Butler/ John
date: 22.11.1870-17.2.1873
note: inaccurate spelling in the original text
text: 16th January. Halted in order to allow of Austin carrying on his survey of the Sopoomah group.
text: The Manipuri report regarding there being a scarcity of rice in this village has turned out to be the lie I always suspected it was and I was rather amused this morning by the Sopoomah men voluntarily bringing in several maunds of rice for which they refused to accept any payment, although I repeatedly asked them to take it all over to the Major before whom I wished to pay them for every sum that I might require, and the only reply I could get out of them was, "we have brought the rice for you, not for the Manipuries." However as I particularly wished to avoid even the appearance of interfering in any way whatever with any of the villages now clearly declared to belong to Manipur, I persisted in declining to accept the rice except through the Manipuries and finally succeeded after some difficulty in inducing the Nagas to take the rice over to the "Major", but even then nothing would induce them to accept payment for it.
text: By the way, I find that the "Major" is very anxious that the Rajah and I should meet and as both Colonel Thomson and I are of the opinion that a personal interview with the Rajah himself might tend to smooth matters, I propose taking a short run into Manipur as soon as ever we have got over the boundary business up as far as Tellizo, should circumstances permit of my doing so.
text: I am sorry to say about 2 p.m. some Nagas of Keruphemah came into camp and reported that one of the two Kuki Scouts whom I had posted at their village in order to carry the dak, had been murdered close to their village about 4 days ago and as far as I can make out at present, this murder (like the former one in which 2 Scouts were murdered close to the Diphupani below Samaguting) was perpetrated solely in order to obtain possession of the unfortunate man's musket, which alone was carried away, the dak, his clothes, etc. not having been touched, nor was his body mutilated as it certainly would have been had the act any political meaning. However I have dispatched an express messenger to Mr. James and have requested him to proceed at once to hold a local and very careful enquiry into the matter.
text: I cannot help here recording that I always considered it was a great mistake not to have hung those two murderers on whom I passed sentence of death some two years ago. Their guilt was notorious to all and our action in sending them to the Nowgong Jail where it is well known they are not even put to any work, but are better fed and better housed than ever they were before in their own homes, gave great dissatisfaction to the Kukies and was misunderstood by the Nagas, and so strongly convinced am I of the mistake that was made in showing any mercy to the treacherous wretches guilty of having committed so cold blooded a murder in that instance I would even now strongly recommend that Hichole and Zuhe (the two prisoners under sentence) be sent back to Samaguting and hung upon the very spot on which they committed the murder. No nation or tribe in the world feels more strongly than the Naga that "blood" can only be washed out by "blood", and when this is not done, their only idea is that the friends of the victory dare not demand the forfeit due.