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 eight. Exile.
caption: history of Namkia's family
medium: books
person: Namkia
location: Gareolowa Impoi Asalu
person: Graham Bower/ Ursula
text: His family were of Kabui origin. Migrating northward to Hangrum heaven knows how many generations ago, they had passed on to the Asalu-Impoi group at an early stage in that community's history. Even then, it appears, the family had character. They founded, and were hereditary headmen of, the village of Gareolowa, third of the group's settlements; and while there they worked as liaison officers to the Kachari Kings, who granted them Gareolowa's land in perpetuity.
text: But they, and the Asalu group as a whole, had fallen on hard times. No longer able - since the administration, not understanding the system, had reallocated the land - to follow their custom of cycle-migration round three or four village sites over a period of many years, they were left stranded on Asalu's worn-out and eroded soil, which should long ago have been left to lie fallow while the community moved elsewhere. All Gareolowa's land and the village site itself was in the hands of the Kukis. The grave-monument of Namkia's grandfather, dead only a few years back, had been pulled down by the Christian Kukis, who found it a convenient stone-quarry, as they did Gareolowa's complex and unique stone fortifications. But Namkia was not to be done. He asked permission to colonize Impoi, another site belonging to the group, where a little rested land remained. He was at first refused, but persistence won him sanction; and he had, in 1940, been settled there some three years. Already, the colonists said, they found the site healthier than Asalu, lower down. Namkia was the second headman. Although the obvious candidate, he had refused the senior post. It was not according to custom. He did not " belong " to Impoi; he was not of a founding family. To give him a foothold in the place at all in Zemi law his brother-in-law, who was "of" Impoi, made over to him a couple of house-sites. But, though the senior headman was of the proper descent, (66) there was no question who was the leading man; it was Namkia.