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 twenty. The Land and the People
caption: the economic disaster in North Cachar; over-population and over-cultivation
medium: books
person: Graham Bower/ Ursula
text: The blight which had fallen on Asalu, reducing it from a powerful group to a scatter of poor hamlets, was an advanced stage of the North Cachar Barail's general economic trouble. This was of such importance that it is worth considering in detail. It was a tragedy for which no single person was to blame; a series of circumstances had built it up.
text: Its cause lay in the soil. The Zemi is an agriculturalist; he turns to trade and outside work only when crops fail. From (149) boyhood on he goes to the cultivation - clearing, weeding, harvesting, when, as a buck, a rich man hires his 'kienga'; then as a married man working in his own little family patch. His feasts are set by seasons and harvests, his religious ceremonies and days of rest and abstention are designed to secure good crops. Anything affecting the fields will necessarily be felt throughout the social structure.