The Nagas

Hill Peoples of Northeast India

Project Introduction The Naga Database

book - 'Naga Path', by Ursula Graham Bower, published John Murray 1950

caption: Chapter five. Change of Course
caption: 1918 Kuki rebellion and Zemi dislike of Kukis
medium: books
ethnicgroup: KukiZemiKacha
person: Graham Bower/ Ursula
text: In 1918 the Kukis rebelled. Though their revolt was primarily against the British Government, they took the chance, while the hills were out of control, of paying off old scores against the neighbouring Nagas. When, therefore, some ten years later the Kacha Nagas - the Kabui, Zemi and Lyengmi - grew restive in their turn, their grudges against the Kukis were many and deep. They planned, and were only just prevented from carrying out, a general massacre of Kukis; and when the Government intervened, their hostility was extended to it as being on the side of the enemy. There had thus been a reversal of roles. In 1918 the Nagas assisted the troops against the rebel Kukis. They had taken heads, too, (45) on their own account. There were at least five Zemi who wore headhunter's ornaments, the victim's tresses in the ears and the shield tufted with human hair, on a Kuki score. In 1931 the Kukis, now apparently loyal, were, not without zest, aiding the British power against the Kacha Nagas. But, in 1940, while the Kuki movement appeared to be quite dead (in actual fact it was not), that of the Kacha Nagas still smouldered. The Kabui were quiescent, as were the Lyeng, but the Zemi were, with reason, regarded as disaffected. Only a few years earlier officers had toured their territory with armed escorts, and search there still continued for wanted men.