صور الصفحة
النشر الإلكتروني

just been erected, when a lad belonging to the Shans came running in breathless and said he had seen two Nagas with spears and shields. I immediately took a couple of Shans and went out in the direction, but only met a couple of sepoys and coolies cutting wood. Returning and recalling all stragglers, I found the chief of Umpoa with grain, which greatly relieved the spirits of the party, as there was a good chance before that of their going without their usual allowance. I gave him some presents, and he returned to his village. About an hour afterwards, it being evening, the men were all cooking in the bed of the river, when two Nagas sneaked up through the jungle from the opposite bank and threw two spears at the right flank men, one of which lodged in the thigh of the dhobee and the other grazed the skin of a sepoy; the Nagas instantly fled, and several shots were fired in the direction they had gone, which was all that could be done, as evening was too far advanced to pursue them. Our Tukquogenam guide, who had promised to show us the road to Sumoogoding, said that it was the people of the village of Pepamee and Cheremee that had attacked us, but I very much suspect that Ikkaree was at the bottom of it, and fearing for his own village he had ordered these two small villages to annoy our return; but it is very difficult to speak with any degree of certainty, as the Angamees are all in clans, and each village is its own master as long as its doings do not affect the great chiefs. As far as I can learn in regard to the two great chiefs, Impaisjee, who is the greatest, is wishing for peace, but his more adventurous countryman, Ikkaree, is unwilling to give up his predatory habits and his attacks on the Cacharees, who yield him much plunder in cloths, conch shells, &c. besides what he forces them to give to release any of their relatives who may have been captured in an inroad, and also to ransom any skulls of their relatives;-for leaving the latter in the hands of the enemy is considered amongst the Nagas a very dishonorable thing.

March 10th. The chief of Ompoa came down, and said the Nagas that had attacked us were of the villages of Papamee and Cheremee, but I suspect the people of Cheremee, the village we had left behind, were the parties concerned. The night was extremely stormy, it rained heavily and thundered and lightened, but our leafed roofs luckily did not leak. We heard the Nagas around us the whole night trying to sneak up, but a shot drove them off in a great hurry. They are very much frightened at the report of fire-arms; they follow their enemy with great perseverance till they wound or kill one or two, when they run away. We left this early, and followed the course of the river for about eight or nine miles, and then ascended the high ridge on the

[ocr errors]

summit of which Sumoogoding is situated. The stream was joined by another river called Omporo, which increased its width towards the end of the journey. Some Nagas were observed to follow, but on several men detaching themselves to go after them, they fled in all directions. The chief of Ompoa accompanied us, as also Bahoota, as far as the Sumorginding ridge, where they left us. The weather was very threatening, and as we ascended the ridge the clouds lowered and rolled through the opposite high range we had left, and we expected to have been deluged before we reached the top; however it cleared off and we ascended, but met a fierce looking foe in the shape of the villagers of Sumoogoding drawn up in battle array to resist our ingress into their village. We found many who could speak the Cacharee language; these were informed of our only wishing for rice and a convenient locality for our camp, and on this they showed us the road across the range, and from it, a most extended view is laid open of a vast plain to the north, (which greatly pleased our inhabitants of the plains, who were sick of mountain life) and on the south, of the whole Angamee valley and mountains; we then descended to a small nullah under the north side of this range called Narrow, and encamped on its bank. We got enough grain for the party to allow of half a seer for each person, the chief however did not seem much inclined to give us the quantity we required to take us to the end of our journey, viz. three days. Next day he brought only one maund, and said he could give no more, on which I sent the Mohurir Ram Doss with ten men and a Naick up to the village with the men who brought down the grain, one of whom however I took the precaution to retain, as the Cacharee interpreters had not made their appearance, according to promise, and in case we should require to force grain out of them and have a dispute, and thus obtain no guide. The party returned and said they could not get any more grain, and that the Nagas who had followed had come into the village, and were only prevented from attacking us by the villagers, who were afraid of our burning their village. Taking twenty-five men under the Jemadar, and the Kookee coolies, and leaving the same number under the Subadar, who had been ill since our leaving Semker, to protect the baggage, I proceeded up to the village, which I found empty, but saw parties of Nagas scattered about on the neighbouring hills, and the villagers in a small stockade on the crown of a hill beyond the village. Finding plenty of grain, I set the Kookees to work to clean it whilst I attempted to get the villagers down from their citadel, but to no effect. After some grain had been beaten out we observed some Nagas attempting to sneak through the jungle up to us, but as I was unwilling to injure

any of them, as they traffic peaceably with the Dhegun Cacharees, I made the Kookees take each a bundle of Dhan and a threshing board and left the village, and beat our grain out in camp.

March 12th. We left camp and followed the narrow nullah for about an hour, and then went across the plain in a north-westerly direction to the Dhunsiree or Támákæ river, fifteen miles from the first range of mountains on which Sumoogoding is situated. We reached it after crossing a good sized stream, which I imagine to be the Ungrow river that flows beneath Ungong. At 2 P. M. we went up several reaches of the Dhunsiree and encamped, as the Naga we had brought with us persisted in denying any knowledge whatever of any road leading further than the Dhema, or Dhimsire, as it is called by the Sumoogoding and Dhejna people. Dhema literally signifies a river in the Cacharee language. Parties were sent out from this in all directions to search for traces of a path, and one of them that returned late brought in some men left by Tooleeram to show us the route in case we should return that way. The Rajah had returned from Semker viâ Kareabonglo down the Dhunsiree. His fires had given rise to the report of the troops coming from Dhejna. It was most fortunate he had left these men, as had the Naga not been aware of the road, as he pretended he was not, we should have found very great difficulty in forcing our way through the forest to Dhejna.

March 14th. Left encampment at 7 A. M. and went through the forest. At 7° 45', passed through a reedy country; at 8° 30′ came to a small river, crossing which we went over some undulating ground, and at 11 a. M. met Toolaram Senaputtee, who was going to look after us with grain. At 12° 30′ reached Dhejna, where we encamped, having come a distance of about sixteen miles.

March 15th. Left Dhejna 8° 45' and went over undulating ground till 11° 20′, when we came to Mohong Dhejna on the banks of the Joomoonah river, in Zillah Nowgong, where I halted to allow the Subadar to come up in a doolee, as he was very ill.

I here heard that Doorgaram with his men had followed me, and had arrived at Dhejna, having experienced the same difficulties from want of supplies that I had. I made arrangements to have the Shan detachment left at this post.


Toolaram Rajah kindly offered to cut a road to Sumoogoding, passable in the rains, which offer I gladly accepted, and have been informed that it is nearly accomplished. The levy under Doorgaram returned from Dhejna to the Goomegogoo Thanna to await further orders, and the Sebundee detachment was ordered to Gowahatty,

as there

the Naga territories of Assam.

was no further use for them.


From the difficulty of understanding the Angamees, and from my requiring interpretations through the Cacharee-Hindoostanee, Cachar-Hill, Naga, and Angamee, dialects I found it no easy matter to get information regarding the Angamee customs; besides, the impatience of the wild Angamee to remain any time in one place or attitude is a great obstacle to obtaining such information. The Angamees, or as they are termed by the Assamese the Cachar Nagas, are a very different race from the Nagas of the Cachar hills; they are a much finer and independent set, and have for some time exacted tribute from their pusillanimous neighbours of the lower hills, and collect from Mahye to Gumegoogoo, obliging the Semker Cacharees even to give them salt, &c. to preserve peace.

[ocr errors]

The young men in particular are fine, sleek, tall, well made youths,


many are very good looking; they pride themselves much upon their cunning. The formation of their joints struck me as being singular, they are not bony or angular, but smooth and round, particularly those of the knees and elbows. They are continually at war with each other. Their dress is that peculiar to most other eastern highlanders, but of a more tasteful make than most others. It is a blue kilt, prettily ornamented with cowrie shells, and either a coarse grey or blue coloured cloth thrown over their shoulders, which in war time is tied up in such a manner as to allow of a bamboo being inserted to carry the person away, should he be wounded. Their defensive weapon is a shield, of an oblong shape, made of bamboo mat work, with a board behind to prevent any weapon from piercing it; their offensive weapon is a spear of seven or eight feet long, which they throw or retain in their hand in attacking. Their villages are generally good sized ones, built on the high hills below the great range, which appear most difficult of access, and are usually in two parallel lines, with the gable end of the houses towards the front, in a diagonal position to the street. Their houses are commodious, being one large roof raised from the ground, with mat walls inside; the interior is divided into two apartments—a cooking apartment and a hall, in which all assemble. In this last every thing they possess is kept, and equally serves for a sleeping apartment, sitting room, or store room, large baskets of grain being generally the furniture of one side. There are always two large fires, round which are benches of planks forming a square seat for all the gentlemen and ladies of the family; one fire is set apart expressly for the youths and children, who are not allowed to mix with the sage old people. In front of their houses are either round or square stone pigsties, on which, of a morning and evening, the villagers sit sipping with a wooden ladle from a gourd bowl a kind of spirit

[ocr errors]

made from rice flour and Bajara seed. Their main street is a receptacle for all the filth and dirt in the place, and is most offensive. In front of the houses of the greater folks are strung up the bones of the animals with which they have feasted the villagers, whether tigers, elephants, cows, hogs, dogs, or monkeys, or ought else, for it signifies little what comes to their net. They have very fine large straight backed cows and buffaloes; they have also goats, hogs, and fowls, but no ducks or geese. On each side of their villages are stockades and a ditch, which is filled with Pangees, or pointed bamboos, and on the sloping sides of the ridge the earth is cut away and a wall built up; these fortified villages would make a formidable resistance to any force without fire-arms, but they are generally overlooked by neighbouring heights, which disclose the whole interior economy of the place. They cultivate rice in the valleys between mountains, and several other kinds of grain (names unknown) also a very fine flavoured kind of purple vetch. I was informed that cotton did not grow in the higher mountains, and that they got what is procured from the lower hill Nagas. The peach tree grows in a most luxurious state round the different villages, I also saw an apple tree off which we got great abundance of fine large wild apples, which were greedily devoured by the whole party. The Angamees get all their iron instruments from the Munipore Nagas; they are great wanderers, and make incursions into Munipore itself, and carry away children, who are sold up in the Hills. I met several who had been seized in that manner, and who had adopted the wild Naga customs, and were unwilling to return; Semker is a great mart for this kind of trade. The Angamees have no idea of ploughing or agriculture, or of preparing the ground, and sowing crops, in the way civilized nations do. The poorer classes make their cloths from the pith of a nettle which is procurable in great abundance, and which makes a very fine fibred hemp. The bay leaf is a native of the higher mountains, as also a small species of wild orange. The country between the Sumoogoding ridge and Dhejna is remarkably fine, particularly so on the banks of the Dhunsiree, which much resembles the species of forest scenery found in America, and remains uncultivated only from the fear that is entertained by all the ryots, &c. of these wild Angamees. The Dhunsiree, I should think, would be navigable for canoes at parts of the year up to the point I crossed it.

« السابقةمتابعة »