The Nagas

Hill Peoples of Northeast India

Project Introduction The Naga Database

published - extracts on Nagas from 'Assam Administration Report'

caption: Manipur
caption: Relations with Tributary States and Frontier Affairs
caption: behaviour of the hill tribes
medium: reports
person: Murray/ Capt.Pettigrew/ Rev.Maxwell/ Col.
ethnicgroup: TangkhulAngami
location: Khongnem Sikhume (Tungam) Kairong Mao Hungdung (Hundung) Liye Kharasom Ukhrul Somra Shoraphungbi
date: 1896
date: 1897
text: With the exception of two murders committed near the Khongnem guard on the Kohima-Manipur cart road, the hill tribes in Manipur territory behaved well throughout the year. Early in September. a naik of the 44th Gurkhas was murdered close to the Khongnem guard, and his rifle and kukri were carried off. In spite of very thorough enquiries made by Colonel Maxwell on the spot, no clue has been obtained to this outrage. Three months afterwards a Bengali muharrir was found in a dying state at almost the same spot. He succumbed a few hours afterwards to his injuries, which were all dao cuts on the head. In connection with the latter crime, a Naga has been arrested and is awaiting trial. Two Naga youths of Tungam village, in which the accused formerly lived, say that they came across two Nagas, one of whom was hacking the deceased with a dao, and the other standing near. The former, whom they recognised, has been arrested. The second Naga, who was unknown to them, has not been traced. Since these two murders, all travellers between Kairong and Mao thana have been escorted by patrols of State police, a guard being placed at Makhan, and the existing guards at Mao thana and Kairong having been increased for this purpose. The adjacent villages have also been fined at the rate of one rupee per revenue-paying house per mensem since the last occurence. It is hoped that the infliction of this monthly penalty may lead ultimately to the arrest of the offenders. Two other murders took place amongst the Nagas themselves. A Tangkhul Naga of Hundung ran amuck and killed his wife and child, and then went to another village, where he killed a child and severely wounded the headman and another Naga. He was badly wounded himself, but lived for some months. He eventually succumbed to weakness, the result of his injuries, and died in Manipur. The second case occurred just before the close of the year. A party of Nagas from Liye, an Angami village to the north-east of Manipur, went to collect a debt from a Tangkhul Naga of Kharasom, a neighbouring village. Being unable to obtain the money, they took away, as security, a girl of Kharasom, and on their return journey they were fired at by a Kharasom man, and one of their number killed. The guilty man has run away, and has not yet been caught, but since the close of the year a fine of Rs. 200 has been inflicted on Kharasom, which will be made over to the relatives of the deceased. This award should lessen the chances of retaliation hereafter by the injured village.
text: Both in the Angami country and in the Tangkhul hills large numbers of Nagas worked for the Public Works Department in repairing the cart road and in carrying lime. The Tangkhuls of Ukhrul, although by no means unsuspicious of the arrival of the Reverend Mr Pettigrew, of the American Baptist Mission, in their midst, are somewhat less averse to his working among them than they were originally, and the youths of the village attend the school recently established there. The officiating Political Agent was much struck with the peaceful attitude of the villages in the northern Tangkhul country. Five years ago the majority of these villages were at constant war between themselves, and head-taking was of frequent occurence. Now, they appear to be on good terms, a sure sign of which is that it is very rarely that one sees a man armed in his fields. On the whole, the hill tribes in Manipur are contented and well behaved, and the occurences above instances are but isolated outbursts of savagery among a wild people rapidly becoming amenable to discipline. Rs. 4,477 were realized in fines from the hill villages, as against Rs. 2,120 in the past year. The increase is due mainly to a sum of Rs. 4,377 realised as fines in connection with the two murders on the Kohima road. The only instance of misbehaviour of tribes beyond the borders was a raid made by Somra on the Manipuri village of Shoraphungbi in the north-east of Manipur. Thirty Nagas of Somra attacked Shoraphungbi in November, killing four persons and taking away the heads of two of the slain. In February, the Officiating Political Agent proceeded to Somra with an escort of 150 rifles of the 44th Gurkha Rifles and 50 of the State police under Captain Murray, and succeeded in recovering the heads taken and arresting several of the raiders, and destroying the village of some 200 houses. This expedition has formed the subject of a separate report, which has been forwarded by the Chief Commissioner to the Government of India.