The Nagas

Hill Peoples of Northeast India

Project Introduction The Naga Database

published - extracts on Nagas from 'Assam Administration Report'

caption: Naga Hills
caption: Relations with Tributary State and Frontier Affairs.
caption: agricultural production: contrasting rice cultivation on terraces and jhums
medium: reports
person: McCabe/ Mr
ethnicgroup: AngamiLhota
date: 1882
date: 1883
text: 36. The difficulty of procuring surplus rice in Angami villages and the facility of obtaining it in the Lhota country are remarkable when the apparent comfort and wealth of an Angami village are contrasted with the squalor and filth of a Lhota village. But Mr. McCabe has shown that the terraced cultivation of the Angamis, trim and prosperous as it looks, is not so productive as the jhum cultivation of the Lhotas and others. Terraces are expensive and consume a great deal of labour, and are only resorted to when the land is too rare and the population too thick for jhuming. A few experiments (not sufficient in number to establish an average) point to a production of seven and a half maunds of paddy per acre. Mr. McCabe calculates that a family of four persons will eat 45 maunds of paddy in a year, to procure which they must cultivate 6 acres. The rotation in jhums varies, it is said, from 4 to 10 years, according to locality and pressure of numbers: so that if a jhum is deserted for 10 years and cultivated for 3, each house must have twenty-five and a half acres of land to support it - and a village of 300 houses requires an area of nearly 12 square miles. This shows how impossible it is to carry on jhum cultivation unless the population is extremely thin.