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: Kacha Naga movement; Jadonang and Gaidiliu
medium: books
person: JadonangGaidiliu
location: Kambiron
date: 1929
person: Graham Bower/ Ursula
text: The Kacha Naga movement was odd and interesting. It began at Kambiron.
text: For generations there had been a prophecy that one day a Naga king would arise, drive out the British, and rule over " all who eat from the wooden platter " - that is, all Naga tribes. In 1929 a seer of Kambiron, a man named Jadonang, proclaimed himself the promised Messiah. He conceived and founded a new religion - a blend of Hinduism and Christianity, grafted on to a Naga Animist stock - but, though the authorities heard early of his activities, he was not breaking the law. They let him be.
text: About that date or soon after four Manipuri traders disappeared on a trip to Silchar. Inquiry found no trace of them. A year passed; and some bucks from Kambiron went to a feast in neighbouring Kekru.
text: In the course of the feast there was a drunken quarrel. A Kambiron buck, in a frenzy of rage, shook his full-dress cloth at a Kekru rival, and shouted out : " Be quiet, you ! - or I'll do to you as I did to the Manipuris !"
text: The onlookers saw that his cloth was tufted with human hair.
text: When the Political Agent and the S.D.O. arrived at Kambiron, the buck, sobered and frightened, had burned his cloth. But they dug up from the village outskirts other evidence, (46) which, if not by that time directly identifiable with the Manipuris, was eloquent of foul play; and they recovered from the village cloths, pots and other relics which were more certainly theirs. They found enough, in fact, to hang Jadonang for murder by human sacrifice, and to jail for several years the bucks who had done the butchery for him. But, when all was done, when they had wrecked his temples and shot his sacred python, there still remained his disciple and priestess - a sixteen-year-old Kabui girl called Gaidiliu.
text: Now what the two officials did not know fully then was that Jadonang and Gaidiliu had been worshipped as Gods for the last two years. They had amassed an enormous amount of tribute; and they had secured the allegiance of all the Kacha Nagas by proclaiming the Naga Kingdom and threatening to cast out all who refused to pay and conform. Their programme was an attractive one, the very blue-print of a Naga heaven - the millenium was at hand, the faithful were to spend everything in one stupendous feast, massacre the Kukis and live in plenty ever after on their Gods' miraculous bounty; and cash and converts came rolling in. So, too, did every crook and gangster in the three tribes, and the girl who faced the Political Agent that day was not only the figurehead of as pretty a mob as ever graced Chicago, but was herself the hub of a money-spinning God-racket. The Agent sent her home, as too young to jail. She made an immediate dash for the north, her gang and the faithful, and a few days later the whole Kacha Naga country was alight.
text: There then ensued something almost comparable to the hunt for Prince Charlie.