The Nagas

Hill Peoples of Northeast India

Project Introduction The Naga Database

published - extracts on Nagas from 'Assam Administration Report'

caption: the Manipur revolt
caption: Manipur
caption: Relations with Tributary States and Foreign Affairs
caption: murders committed on the high road
medium: reports
person: Maxwell/ Maj. H. St. P.Kerr/ Capt.
location: Makhel Maram Imphal (Manipur) Kohima
date: 1891
date: 1892
text: "7. As said before, the Manipur-Cachar road was quite safe for travellers throughout the year. The Military posted guards at Kalanaga and Kaopum; and at the halting stages Laimatak, Irang, Nongba, Barak, Makru, and Nongjaibong, four Manipuri sipahis without arms were located to give confidence to the mail runners and travellers.
text: The stages on the 65 miles between Manipur and Tammu were similarly guarded, and the road was traversed in safety during the year.
text: The same security to life was not, however, obtained on the Manipur-Kohima road. Military guards were posted at all the halting stages. In August two Manipuri mail runners were murdered while carrying the dak between Kairong and Maitapham, and in November a transport driver was attacked by some Nagas near Makhel village, and severely wounded. Again in January 1892 two fakirs were killed in a hut close to the Makhel outpost. In July and August three women of Makhel village were murdered at a salt-well just below the village, and in several of the neighbouring villages one or two persons were killed without any clue to the perpetrators of the murders.
text: Early in December, with 75 men of the 42nd Gurkha Rifles under Captain Kerr, I marched for Maram, and entered the village without opposition. The headmen were called upon to explain why they did not take action to bring the murderers of the mail runners to justice. They pleaded that, although the crime had been committed on their land, they had failed to obtain any clue, and that when the Manipur disaster occurred, five of the fugitives from Manipur had sought shelter in the village, and they had escorted them safely to Mao and made them over to the British force there. This last fact, which I found was correct, in a measure confirmed the argument of the Maram people that they were averse in incur the wrath of the British Government, and I came to the conclusion that the village was innocent of the murder of the mail runners.
text: Leaving a small force at Maram, I then moved camp to Makhel, but here was also unsuccessful in obtaining a clue to the persons concerned in the outrage on the transport driver. When the villagers were told that they must be held responsible for a crime committed within the limits of the village lands, they pleaded the hardship of this rule, and said that, though they naturally used their utmost endeavours to find a clue to the murder of the three female villagers, they had been unsuccessful. Seeing there was no probability of a successful issue to the present enquiry, I withdrew the troops from Maram and Makhel, and engaged three Nagas to continue the enquiry in secret, but up to date without result. The fact is that without a police force it is not feasible to run to earth the culprits in such cases.
text: The history of the fakirs is as follows. The two men marched up from Nigriting in company with the Chief Engineer of Assam, and in a village near Piphima they visited a Naga suffering from small-pox. The patient recovered, and the fakirs received the credit of his cure. On arrival at Kohima the holy men were invited to the village, where small-pox had declared itself, and were paid some Rs. 200 for their services. They then marched on towards Manipur; but small-pox alarmingly increased in Kohima, and it is considered probable that the imposters were followed up by the disappointed Kohima people, and killed while asleep in a hut at the side of the road near Makhel guard, and their money taken from them. This, of course, is only a surmise, and suspicion also rested on some transport drivers at Makhel, but nothing came of the enquiry in the case.