The Nagas

Hill Peoples of Northeast India

Project Introduction The Naga Database

published - extracts on Nagas from 'Assam Administration Report'

caption: Nagas
caption: Chapter VII. Frontier Relations and Feudatory States
caption: general description of Naga groups; contact with the plains; trade
medium: reports
date: 1882
date: 1883
text: 216. The tribes known to the Assamese as Nagas or Nogas stretch uninterruptedly from the Patkoi, along the southern frontier of the Lakhimpur and Sibsagar districts, to the valley of the Dhansiri and Kacha Nagas, Rengmas, Semas, and Lhotas, mention had already been made. Our relations with the remaining tribes are conducted through the Deputy-Commissioners of Dibrugarh and Sibsagar. From the Tirap river eastward to the Patkoi the Nagas are completely in subjection to the Singphos, and are apparently a very quiet race. West of this point begins a succession of groups of villages, known to the Assamese by the names of the passes or Duars through which their inhabitants resort to the plains, as the Namsangias, Borduarias, Paniduarias, Mithonias, Banpheras, Jobokas, Bhitarnamsangias, Jaktungias, Tablungias, Assiringias, Hathigorias, and those who come down through the Geleki and Dhopdar Duars. The outer tribes of this region are in constant communication with the plains, and in the times of the Assam Rajas used to make annual offerings of elephants' tusks and other such articles. They do a considerable trade in cotton and other hill produce, and carry back large quantities of salt and rice. The inner tribes, known to the Assamese as Abors, or wild men, are kept from access to the plains by these outer Bori (subject, civilised) Nagas, who thus keep the carrying trade in their own hands. Besides trade, these outer Nagas come down in considerable numbers for labour in tea plantations and on roads during the cold weather. Unlike the Angamis, Semas, and Lhotas, who are intensely democratic in their social economy, many of the Eastern Nagas appear to acknowledge the authority of Rajas and minor chiefs among themselves.