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Full text of "History of Upper Assam, Upper Burmah and north-eastern frontier"



CORNELL 

UNIVERSITY 

LIBRARY 




Cornell University Library 
DS 485.A87S52 





The original of tiiis book is in 
tine Cornell University Library. 

There are no known copyright restrictions in 
the United States on the use of the text. 



http://www.archive.org/details/cu31924023234531 



HISTORY OF 
UPPER ASSAM, UPPER BURMAH 

AND 

NORTH-EASTERN FRONTIER 



MACRIILLAN AND CO., Limited 

LONDON . BOMBAY . CALCU'l"rA 
MELliOUKNE 

THE MACMILLAN COMPANY 

NEW YORIC . BOSTON . CHICAGO 
DALLAS . SAN FRANXISCO. 

THE MACMILLAN CO. OF CANADA, Ltd. 

TORONTO 



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HISTORY OF UPPER 

ASSAM, UPPER BURMAH 

AND NORTH-EASTERN 

FRONTIER 



1!Y 

L. W. SHAKESPEAR 

[Colonel J 2nd Goorkhas) 



MACIVflLLAN AND CO., LIMITED 
ST. MARTIN'S STREET, LONDON 

1914 



COPYRIGHT 



TO THE ASSAM MILITARY POLICE FORCE 

With which I had the honour of serving several 
happy interesting years — the Wardens of our long 
stretch of North-Eastern Marches ; who, since we' 
were brought into touch with this far-off corner 
of our Indian possessions have borne the heat, 
burden, and stress of every expedition (officially 
recognised or otherwise) with a cheerful willingness 
and zeal which has won the approbation of all who 
have worked with them, but whose labours too 
frequently pass unnoticed; — I dedicate this humble 
work. 

'* Floreaiit custodes termiiiorum Imperii nostri." 

L. W. Shakkspear 

(Colonel, 2nd Goorkhas). 

Uehua Doon, 1913-13. 



PREFACE 



As I have found no book dealing completely and 
succinctly with Assam, its border land now so much 
in the public eye, and the many wild and interesting 
peoples dwelling along that border, which obliges 
the student to search through many books before 
arriving . at the points of interest desired (if even 
then they are obtained), I have endeavoured to 
collect materials from all — to me — possible sources, 
and weaving them into narrative form, to produce 
something useful and readable at least for those who 
care about that little-known but very interesting 
corner of India. The success of my article which 
the Army Review printed in October, 1912, on this 
subject, has led me to attempt something more 
complete in detail ; and with all its shortcomings I 
trust it may be appreciated by those interested in 
the past and future of this fertile and lovely land. 
If any criticisms may seem too trenchant, I trust 
the hope that there are those who will in the future 
benefit by statements of facts may be recognised 
as a sufficient excuse for having ventured into such, 
possibly to some, undesirable spheres. In this con- 
nection a remark of Commander Bellairs, R.N., in 
his interesting article on " Secrecy and Discussion," 
which ran to the effect that, if there is no criticism, 
which naturally goes with discussion, the teachings 
of history are apt to be perverted — may still further 
strengthen my excuse. Without certain of the books 



X PREFACE 

mentioned in the Bibliography this could not have 
been attempted, and I desire to record my high 
appreciation of, and indebtedness to, the particular 
labours of their authors ; and my gratitude to the 
Librarian of the Imperial Library, Calcutta, for his 
personal assistance so courteously given. My thanks 
are also due to certain friends who have helped with 
photographs, namely, those of the Abors, Mishmis, 
and some of the photos dealing with Maram monoliths 
and Nagas where I was unable to go personally ; the 
rest of the photos and sketches are my own. 

I may add that this book has been vised by Army 
Headquarters, whose suggested alterations, omissions, 
have been duly attended to. 

L. W. Shakespear 
(Colonel, and Goorkhas). 



CONTENTS 



rAc;E 



I 



CHAPTER I 

Assam — interest for archaeologists — vanished cities — extent of the 
Brahmaputra Valley comprising Assam proper — route of 
ancient Indian adventurers to the further East — ancient 
inhabitants . .... 

CHAPTER II 
History of the Kachari race— the Kocch race— Mahoraedan 



CHAPTER III 

The Ahom race — war with Kacharis — consolidation of their power 

— war with Moghuls — the capital of Garhgaon ... 28 

CHAPTER IV 

Mir Jumla's great invasion — capture of Garhgaon — retreat of 
Moghuls — death of Mir Jumla — Firoz Khan's invasion repulsed 
— Auranzeb's last effort against Assam — power of Vishnubite 
sect — Rudra Sing's reign— end of Jaintia War — Durbar at 
Salagarh and release of royal captives— first recorded visit 
of three Englishmen to Assam — Burmese invade Manipur, 
whom Ahoms assist — prosperity in Assam — beginning of 
Moainaria revolt 40 

CHAPTER V 

Massacre of Moamaria at Garhgaon — Manipur sends troops to 
assist Ahoms against the rebels — land desolated by constant 
fighting — Gaurinath applies for English aid in suppressing 
rebellion— Mr. Rausch — despatch of Captain Welsh's expedi- 
tion — advance to Rangpur — Welsh's successes — return to 
Bengal — renewed rebellion in Assam 51 

Hi 



xii CONTENTS 



CHAPTER VI 



English aid refused by Sir J. Shore — Burmaiis respond to Ahoin 
king — army crosses the Patkoi — reinstates Chandrakant 
and retires — Ahoras again appeal for Burmese aid — another 
army comes and o\erruns the whole country — unhappy state 
of people — necessity for English interference — Burmese war 
breaks out — British force ascends Brahmaputra to Rangpur — 
new administrative arrangement of English in Assam — Mr. 
Scott made Commissioner of Gauhati — Colonel White and 
detachment attacked at Sadiya — introduction of tea — industrial , 
matters — first railway enterprise — steamer communications — 
Assam-Bengal railway .... . . . 6l 

CHAPTER VH 

Religion — notable remains — Dimapur — ruins beyond Sadiya — re- 
markable monoliths in the Naga Hills ... . 71 



CHAPTER vni 
The border tribes — Bhootan--the war of 1864 gi 

CHAPTER IX 
Akas — country Daphlas — e.xpeditions — Abors — early expeditions . 103 

CHAPTER X 

.Abors continued — Williamson's massacre — expedition igii-12 — 

remarks and criticisms . . .... .120 

CHAPTER XI 

'Mishmis — country — French missionaries murdered — Eden's exploit 

— Cooper's visit to Mishmiland — Hkamtis and Singphos . . 141 

CHAPTER XII 

Burmah borderland— Shans — history and various kingdoms- 
characteristics — religion ic? 

CHAPTER XI 11 

Kachins — country — subdivisions — weapons — warfare — cognate 

tribes — the Bhamo border and Shweh valley . . • 171 



CONTENTS xiii 

CHAPTER XIV 

I'ACiE 

The Naga tribes — country —characteristics — customs — origin — 

history . . . . . . 195 

CHAPTER XV 
Regrettable incidents — treachery — methods of fighting . . . 22S 

CHAPTER XVI 

The North-Eastern Frontier generally and its Military Police 

forces . . . . . . . 237 

Appendix ... .... ... 253 

Index . . . . . 257 



\ \ 



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS 



Boats on the Chindwyn River, Monywa . . . Frontispiece 

Brahmaputra and River Steamer at Gauhati 

Ancient Temples in Upper Assam ... . . 

Last remaining Gateway to the Old Kachari Fort at Dimapiir 

"Umanand"or Peacock Island opposite Gauhati 

The Dibong where it leaves the Hills . 

A Trans Dikkoo Naga in War Paint and one from Tabhlung 

The Barail Range, Angami Country, Naga Hills. 

Closer View of Individual Stone, Dimapur . 

The Big Tank and Resthouse at Dimapur Excavated Hundreds of 

Years ago by the Kacharis 
Closer View of Individual Stones, Dimapur 
The Remarkable Carved Stones as discovered in the Old Kachari 

Fort at Dimapur 
The Carved Stones in Dimapur Fort restored 

present . . . . 

Ancient and Remarkable Temple Carved from 

Maibong 

Carved Stones dug up at Maibong 

" Murta," or Idol, found at Maibong 

Inscribed Stones dug up at Maibong . . . . 

The Remarkable "Stonehenge" at Togwema, Naga Hills 

The Hunting Stones at Maram 

A Solitary Monolith ... ... 

Method of Dragging these Stones on Sledges to their Final Restin 

Place . . 

Avenue of Monoliths near Maram 

Group of Abors .... . . . 

Janakmukh Post, Dihang River, and distant Abor Hills . 
Clearing Forest for Camp Ground in the Abor Country . 
A More Civilised Form of Suspension Bridge made by the Troops 

in the Abor Country 



and set up, as at 



a Huae Boulder at 



74 

n 

78 

80 

81 
84 

86 
88 
89 
93 
95 

97 

99 

108 

no 

112 

"7 



xvi LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS 



J'At.E 



Nati\e Cane Bridge of the Abor and Mishmi Countries . 123 
Mishing Stockade — Leaf and Bamboo Shelters for our Men — Abor 

Country .... . . ' 129 

Typical Abors with Wooden Helmets . 134 

Convoy Crossing a Stream in the Abor Country 137 

A Mishmi Village and Warrior . 143 

A Singpho of the Eastern Patkoi 149 

Two Headmen in Masungjami, Western Patkoi . 151 
The Morang at Nokching, Western Patkoi, with Huge Car\ed 

Serpent on Front Supporting Timber 35 feet high . . -153 
The Great Morang or Guard House in Masungjami Village, 

Western Patkoi . 155 

Scenery in the Patkoi Range near Hukong Valley, about 4,000 ft. el. 1 58 

The Irrawadi at Myitkhyina . . 160 

A Shan Man . . 162 

Shan Traders 165 

Ancient " Vallum" and Gateway in Mogoung District 167 

Group of Shans and Palaungs . . i6g 

Kachin Girl . . 173 

Kachin Men (Mogoung) . 175 

Cane Bridge in the Kachin Country 179 

A Palaung Girl ... 185 

Angami Nagas in Gala Attire . . 196 

Angami Nagas ... 198 

Kaccha Nagas Dancing . .... 200 

Aoh Naga Girl showing Coiffure and Shell Necklace 201 

Sema Nagas in War Paint . . . . 203 

Aoh Naga Graves 204 

Burial Tree outside Tabhlung Village, Western Patkoi, a Corpse 

fastened to Trunk a little way up, wrapped round with Leaves, 

Skulls at Base of Tree . . . . 207 

Aoh Naga Chiefs House ... . 209 

Trans Dikkoo Naga and his " Heads " . 211 

Corner in Berema Village, Kaccha Naga 212 

A Tankhul Naga from Manipur . . ... 214 
Kekrima, Angami Naga Village showing the Curious Horned 

Ornamentation to Houses of Wealthy Men . . . . 216 

Angami Naga Grave — Man's ... . , 218 
Angami Naga Grave— Woman's. Her Baskets, Weaving Sticks, 

and Domestic Utensils . . .220 

Kohima Village— Angami Naga— goo Houses . 221 

Carved Front to a Wealthy Naga's House . . . 223 

Stockaded Entrance to Mongsin Village, Trans Dikkoo 225 

Sema Chiefs House. Carved Tree Trunks denote Wealth . 226 

" Jekia," a Sema Naga Chief . . . 231 



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS 



xvii 



Sema Warrior Wearing their Curious Tail Ornament 
Usual Form of Our Stockades on N.E. Frontier 



I'AGE 
246 



MAPS AND PLATES 

Types of Weapons, etc., used by Kachins and Shans. 
' (Coloured) . . ... . . 

Types of Weapons and Utensils Used by Singphos, 

Daphlas, and Nagas. (Coloured) 
Map showing Boundaries of Ancient Kingdoms 
Map of Bhootan and War, 1864 
Map showing Entire N.E. Border and its Tribes 



180 
197 



At end 

of 
Volume 



BIBLIOGRAPHY 



K. S. Macdonald's " Kamrup and Gauhati in Assam," 1902. 

C. C. Lewis's "Tribes of Burma," igio. 

Hamilton and Syme's " Account of Burman Empire and Kingdom of 
Assam," 1839. 

Gaits' " History of Assam," 1906. 

W. W. Hunter's " The Indian Empire," 1886. " Sketch of the Singphos 
and Inland Trade of the Irrawadi and their Connection with N.E. 
Assam." 1847. 

J. T. Moore's "Twenty Years in Assam," 1901. 

T. Kinney's "Old Times in Assam," 1896. 

S. O. Bishop's "Sketches in Assam," 1885. 

T. T. Cooper's " The Mishmi Hills," 1873. 

Bastian's " Volkersstamme am Brahmaputra." 

"The Upper Burma Gazetteer," Volume I, Part i. 

Prince H. d'Orlean's "Tonkin to India," 1898. 

T. T. Cooper's "Travels of a Pioneer of Commerce," 1871. 

"Frontier and Overseas Expeditions from India," 1907. 

General Sir J_ Johnston's " My Experiences in Manipur and the Naga 
Hills," 1896. 

Ferishta's " History of the Moghul Empire." 

Colonel J. Johnston's " Captain Welsh's Expedition to Assam, 1792-94," 
1912. 

Mackenzie's " History of Assam and the N.E. Tribes," 1883. 

Hosie's "Journey in 1883 through Ssu-chuan and Yunnan." 

Bryan Hodgson's " Kocch, Bodo, and Dimal Tribes," 1847. 

The Reverend Endel's "History of the Kacharis." 

Major Hannay's " Pamphlet in the J. A. S. Bengal on the Ruins East 
of Sadiya," 1848. 

Errol Gray's " Diary of a Journey to the Bor Hkamti Country," 1893. 

B. G. Carey's " Chin Hills Gazetteer," 1896. 



HISTORY OF 
UPPER ASSAM, UPPER BURMAH 

AND 

NORTH-EASTERN FRONTIER 

CHAPTER I 

In spite of the interest Assam has furnished to 
ethnologists in the past, due to the numerous and 
curious peoples living in and round it, as well as from 
the more recent military expeditions and the awak- 
ening of China with her ambition to monopolise the 
country lying to the north and east of its practically 
unknown borders ; there is hardly any part of India 
which is less known to the general public. It has 
indeed probably only been heard of by the public as 
a tea-producing district, and one which has, since 
Lord Curzon's famous " Partition," become con- 
nected with the sedition of Eastern Bengal which lies 
immediately south of Assam proper. It is not 
thought of as ever having possessed a stirring history 
or an old civilisation ; though this latter is attested by 
the numerous ancient forts, temples, and certain old 
high roads such as the Kamali AUi running 350 miles 



2 HISTORY OF UPPER ASSAM chap. 

from Cooch Behar to Narainpur, still in use in parts, 
which are to be found scattered up and down the 
length and breadth of the land. These probably only 
reveal a small portion of what may still remain for the 
archaeologist when the jungle and forest which still 
cover so great a portion of Assam may be removed, as 
settlers and their cultivation gradually extend. That 
it was a densely populated country in the far-off past 
is shown by the extensive ruins of Kamatapur near 
epoch Behar in the west, stated by Buchanan Hamilton 
to be upwards of nineteen miles round and flourishing 
up to the end of the fifteenth century, when it fell a 
prey to the Moghuls — by the extensive ruins of old 
fortifications in the neighbourhood of Baliapara not 
far from the foot of the Aka Hills — ^by the famous 
temples of Kamakhya near Gauhati, and those at 
Charaideo, near which latter are also the remains of 
the old capital of Garhgaon. In the extreme eastern 
corner of Assam, viz., in the angle formed by the 
rivers Dibong and Dikrang within fifteen miles of our 
present frontier post of Sadiya and no great distance 
from the point whence General Bower's recent Abor 
expedition made its start, lie the extensive ruins of 
Bishmaknagar (Kundina) and a large fort of hewn 
stone together with four or five excavated tanks. 

This showing that what is now almost a " terra 
incognita " to us, covered with more or less impene- 
trable jungle, was once the centre of a thriving 
community. 

Mr. Kinney, who knew the Dibrughar district well, 
alludes to the former high state of cultivation and 
energy of a people now sunk in apathy and opium 
eating, as evinced by ruins of magnificent buildings 



I HISTORY OF UPPER ASSAM 3 

and raised roadways found all over the country. The 
fine old Tengrai Raj Alii connecting Rangpur with 
Namrup for instance, is frequently met with in the 
heart of the forest, and parts of it in the more open 
spaces are in use still. Mr. T. T. Cooper also writing 
in 1873 of eastern Assam again testifies to the energy 
and civilisation formerly characteristic of this people 
and forming a striking contrast to the lethargic exist- 
ence of the present-day scanty population. He says : 
" The contemplation of these ruins surrounded by 
almost impenetrable jungle which has overgrown the 
once fertile and well cultivated fields of a people that 
has almost passed away, is calculated to strike one with 
an intense desire to learn more of the history of those 
terrible events which robbed a fertile land of a vast and 
industrious population, converting it into a wilderness 
of swamps and forests." 

Again the extensive region of the dense Nambhor 
Forest lying between Lumding Junction (on the Assam 
and Bengal Railway) and Golaghat and bordered by 
the Mikir and Naga Hills is known to cover ground at 
one time owned by the strong Kachari clans in a high 
state of civilisation with their capital at Dimapur on 
the Dhansiri river almost in the centre of the forest. 
When the engineers, Messrs. Thornhill, Buckle, and 
Venters in 1896-97 were arranging the earthwork of 
the Assam and Bengal Railway north from Lumding, 
they came on causeways, canals, and sites of buildings, 
notably in the vicinity of Rangapahar and Dimapur 
now covered with jungle ; which jungle, however, 
forest experts speak of as being of no greater age than 
200 years. As we shall see later on, history shows us 
the Kacharis were overwhelmed by the Ahoms and 

B 2 



4 HISTORY OF UPPER ASSAM chap. 

had their capital sacked in the middle of the sixteenth 
century, which was then deserted together with the 
entire region, and this was never re-occupied by either 
nation. 

Just these few facts go to prove that Assam, spoken 
of in old Moghul writings as " a land of mystery and 
witchcraft," does possess an interest which will 
repay those who care to peruse the illuminating works 
on this country by Messrs. Blochmann, Gait, Prinsep, 
and others. When these are read and one realises to 
what an extent civilisation had reached, the large 
armies that operated up and down the Brahmaputra 
valley, the depth of its religions, the engineering and 
architectural work left behind, one is inclined to 
wonder what has become of it all and of the peoples ; 
and what caused the decay of power which permitted 
its once thriving valleys to be now choked and buried 
in densest forests } For the people now met with in 
Assam are a peaceful, almost effeminate race, in no 
great numbers, addicted in a large measure to opium 
eating, and not disposed to diligent labour ; whence 
the necessity for importing the great numbers of coolies 
from India required to work on the tea gardens. 

It is generally assumed that climatic conditions 
tended very largely to bring about this state of decay, 
at all events where the people were concerned ; for the 
climate is a distinctly enervating one, and each race 
that has settled there has, in course of time, lost "its 
vigour and been supplanted by hardier folk, who in 
their turn have, in spite of material progress as to 
civilisation, succumbed to the love of ease and luxury 
born of an enervating climate in a highly fertile land. 

As to vanished cities, forts and other landmarks of 



HISTORY OF UPPER ASSAM 



5 



the past, their disappearance is attributable to the soft 
alluvial soils of the valleys, which permit the easy 
task for rivers of cutting for themselves fresh channels, 
and so frequently destroying and carrying away the 
towns and buildings which history tells us did exist 
along their banks. Examples of this are to be found 
in comparing a map of 1790 with one of about i860 
when the Brahmaputra's course below Gauhati will be 
seen to have shifted close on fifty miles within this 




Brahmaputra and River Steamer at Gauhati. 



period ; while some twenty miles from the right bank 
of the same river between Nalbari and Hajo are to be 
seen the arches of an ancient bridge once spanning an 
old course of the river, and known as the " Sil Sako." 
It stands now in the centre of a lake surrounded by 
miles of forest, and had several of its arches destroyed 
by the great earthquake of 1897. In the far eastern 
corner of the province beyond and not far from Sadiya 
are signsthat the Brahmaputra and Lohit rivers flowed 



6 HISTORY OF UPPER ASSAM chap. 

in the far-off past much closer to the foot of the Abor 
and Mishmi hiUs, and Hannay states his opinion that 
it was the gradual changing of the river's course further 
and further south which led to the abandonment of 
the cities of Kundina (Bishmaknagar) and Prithimi- 
nagar. Added to this force of Nature come those of 
earthquakes by which Assam has suffered seriously, 
and the marvellously rapid growth of vegetation ; 
which when unchecked in a few years spreads, chokes 
up valleys, and obliterates, as in the case of the Dhansiri 
and Kopili valleys, all traces of former towns and build- 
ings. Although this volume is intended to deal chiefly 
with tribes dwelling along the whole of our north- 
eastern borderland it will not be without interest to 
trace the history of the country from the most ancient 
times as revealed by rock-cut inscriptions and legends, 
the first contact of the Moghuls with the Ahoms then 
the ruling race here, and finally the appearance of 
the English on the scene. 

The particular part of Assam this history deals with, 
viz., upper Assam from Goalpara to Sadiya, comprises 
the whole valley of the Brahmaputra with a length of 
nearly 450 miles and a varying breadth of sixty to 
eighty miles, covering an area of over 30,000 square 
miles. To the north and east high mountains shut it 
off from Thibet and Bhutan, on the west it joins Bengal, 
while south and east another mountainous region — 
that of the Patkoi and Barail ranges — separates it from 
Burma and south-western China. It is thus almost 
completely surrounded by mountains which are in- 
habited by more or less savage tribes. The early his- 
tory of Assam being purely legendary it is practically 
impossible to lift the veil lying over it, though here 



i HISTORY OF UPPER ASSAM 7 

and there a little light comes in from ancient inscrip- 
tions in India, such, for instance, as that on the famous 
Allahabad pillar erected in Chandragupta's time, 316- 
292 B.C., whereon we learn that Kamarupa (as Assam 
was called in early days) was known of then as a State 
lying away east of Nepal to which King Chandra- 
gupta's fame had penetrated ; and it had then, prob- 
ably under its Hindoo Khettri Kings (the very earliest 
rulers in Assam), attained to a degree of civilisation 
almost equal to that of the Hindu dynasties in India 
of those days. 

A copper-plate inscription records an invasion by 
Vikramaditya, King of Ujjain, about 57 B.C., and as 
he was a Buddhist it is probable he fostered that 
religion in the land where, as we shall see, it never 
took a serious hold. Major Hannay of the old Assam 
Light Infantry, who made considerable research into the 
ancient history of Assam, is of opinion that Kamarupa 
was one of the earliest conquests of the Hindu Khettri 
Kings about 400 B.C., and was the seat of that primitive 
form of Hinduism which existed previous to Bud- 
dhism, and which again was followed in the middle of 
the fifteenth century by Brahminical Hinduism intro- 
duced by certain Brahmins from the city of Gaur, in 
Bengal. 

Another inscription shows a Gupta King, by name 
Samudra, at the end of the fourth century a.d. exact- 
ing tribute from Kamarupa, and from the following 
century this country came under the Gupta dynasty, 
lasting up to the first half of the ninth century. A 
Rajput, called Itari, rising to power, started the Pal 
dynasty, taking the name of Dharm Pal. Twelve 
kings of this dynasty are said to have reigned between 



8 HISTORY OF UPPER ASSAM chap. 

830 and 1 140 A.D., and these in their turn gave way to 
that of the Senas, who however, being of Bengal, 
ruled only the western part of Kamarupa. 

That Assam and the Hukong Valley to the Irrawadi 
river and beyond, formed as it were a natural highway 
for old-time Indian kings with a desire for conquests 
far afield is known, and Forlong, in his researches, states 
an Indian King named Samudra (not the one pre- 
viously mentioned) was ruling in upper Burma about 
105 A.D., and that they were Hindus from that locality 
who led the Shans far down the Mekhong river into 
Siam ; while earlier still Chinese chronicles state an 
Indian prince from Cambod in north-west India was 
reigning in Cambodia, giving the name of his original 
homeland to his new territory. These chronicles also 
say adventurers from India founded kingdoms in Java 
and Malaya as far back as 166 A.D., and also that mer- 
chants from Alexandria or some other Roman port 
visited China a little later, travelling via Chiampa, the 
old name for Siam. All these Indians with their 
armies must have got there via Assam and the low 
passes of the Patkoi Range into the Hukong Valley and 
so further east. The difficult mountainous regions 
stretching from the Patkoi away down south to Arrakan 
precluded the possibility of passing masses of men 
through them, while long sea voyages were unknown 
to the Indian peoples of those days. Though certain 
historians are of opinion that Hindus from the ancient 
sea coast kingdom of Kalinga (Madras side) did make 
voyages to Java and that the Hindu ruined cities and 
temples found there are their handiwork. 

Other copper plate inscriptions found in Assam 
show various lands having been made over to Brahmin 



I HISTORY OF UPPER ASSAM 9 

priests by certain rulers of the Pal dynasty between 
990 and 1 142 A.D., whose names are thus arrived at ; 
otherwise the first authentic information we have of 
Kamarupa, viz., the country lying between the Kara- 
toya river (flowing past Julpigori into the Brahma- 
putra near Goalundo) and Sadiya, is by the hand of 
the great Chinese traveller, Huien Tsiang, who came 













1 mi^ 

|,;J;t.! ^ 



t.h, ^ 



'Mm- -^i'i^m ^'#&?W 



'^'^mm'^'m^^&m 




Ancient Temples in Upper Assam. 

to this country in 630 a.d., visiting Gauhati and other 
places of sanctity. 

Of the three strong tribes who long held dominion 
in different parts of upper Assam, the earliest to 
arrive in the country is surmised to have been the 
Kacharis, whose original habitat is believed to have 
been along the foot of the Darjiling hills and the 
Morang tract, which was known to the Nepalese as 
the " Kaccha country." These then travelled east 
and crossed the Brahmaputra, settling in what is now 
the Nowgong district between Jorhat and Gauhati. 



10 HISTORY OF UPPER ASSAM chap. 

Spreading from there, they populated the Dhansiri and 
KopiH valleys and all eastern Assam, eventually cross- 
ing the southern hills and occupying the present district 
of Cachar, to which they gave the name of their ancient 
home, after they had ousted the Tippera people. 

The Chutiyas, an offshoot of the Kachari tribe, 
alone used a written character, but made no use of 
it in recording events. 

The second tribe to rise into prominence were the 
Kocches, allies to the Kacharis, whose home lay just 
east of the Karatoya river where the little State of 
Cooch Behar is now. Their kingdom when consoli- 
dated comprised the whole of Kamarupa, which then 
lay chiefly on the north bank of the Brahmaputra, 
with Gauhati and the country towards Goalpara on 
the south bank. 

As these two tribes had kept no records, our in- 
formation regarding them up to the arrival on the 
scene of the Ahoms, comes from Mahomedan historians 
who recorded the different Moghul invasions, and 
from local legends, here and there substantiated by 
rock-cut and copper plate inscriptions which have 
come to light at Tezpur, Gauhati and elsewhere. 

The third and the most important tribe are the 
Ahoms, because they possessed a literature of a sort and 
certainly kept written historical records — " buranjis " 
as they are called, meaning " stores of instruction for 
the ignorant," whereby we have a definite history of 
events in upper Assam since their arrival there about 
1 220 A.D. They were non-Buddhist Shans of the 
great Tai race who inhabited the old kingdom of 
Pong (the Mogoung of the present day) which 
stretched from the upper Chindwyn to the upper 



I HISTORY OF UPPER ASSAM ii 

Irrawadi rivers ; and these people held sway in the 
Brahmaputra valley until the troubles with the Bur- 
mese in 1825 led to the appearance on the scene of 
the last dominant Power — the English. Besides these 
three large tribes, other smaller ones ruled in outlying 
portions of the country, as, for instance, the Chutiyas, 
owning the country between the Subansiri and Disang 
rivers, and the Morans who dwelt opposite the Chutiyas 
on the south bank of the Brahmaputra, east of the 
present Sibsagor. Both are of the same stock as the 
Kacharis, but the former is of very ancient origin, 
the Deori Chutiyas claiming proudly to belong to the 
descendants of the Hindu Khettri line, which Hannay 
says seems to be corroborated by the fact that the 
Chutiya language, now only known to the Deoris or 
temple priests, contains a large proportion of Sanscrit 
and Hindu words plus a certain amount of Burmese 
from the Shan conquerors, whose " buranjis " state 
the Chutiyas were the only possessors of a written 
language they met with at the time of their advent 
into Assam. Whether the Chutiyas were the original 
builders of the cities of Bishmaknagar (Kundina) and 
Prithiminagar beyond Sadiya, and now covered by 
forests, is not known, but Hannay is of opinion that 
they were occupied in the time of the Khettri Kings 
over 2,000 years ago. 



CHAPTER II 

We will now turn to a historical review of the three 
great tribes, beginning with the Kacharis, who, as 
we have seen before, trekked in past ages from the 
" Khaccha country," which lay roughly between the 
Brahmaputra and the Kusi rivers along the foot of 
the Himalayas into the country beyond the Brahma- 
putra, settling first in what is now the Nowgong 
district, and after long ages extending their dominions 
up the great valley to about where Sadiya now stands, 
and southwards up the Kopili valley and later still up 
the Dhansiri and Doyang valleys to where they emerge 
from the hills. Bryan Hodgson (1847) is one of the 
authorities for this statement as to the original home 
of the Kacharis and Kocches, both being at least 
linguistically allied ; though Endle, in an excellent 
work on the Kacharis, places their ancestral home in 
Thibet and China, and concludes that they migrated 
in two streams into the rich Brahmaputra valley — 
one stream entering western Assam through the 
valleys of the Tista, Dharla, and Sankosh rivers, and 
founding the kingdom of Kamarupa ; while the other 
stream found its way down the Subansiri, Dihong, 
and Dibang valleys into eastern Assam. He classes 
the Chutiyas, who long held sway round about 



CH. II HISTORY OF UPPER ASSAM 13 

Sadiya, as being a clan of the great Kachari 
nation left behind as the tide of migration rolled 
west and south. Both he and Hodgson hold that in 
very early days they were the dominant races in 
Assam ; but the latter goes further and states they 
are the aborigines of Assam; in fact he classes them 
with the Tamulian aboriginal inhabitants of India 
such as Gonds, Bhils, etc., and does so through their 
peculiar physical capability of being able to live 
healthily in forest and swampy localities where no 
other human beings can exist. He therefore con- 
cludes that this capability could only have been 
evolved after a lapse of a very great space of time, 
which he computes at thirty centuries, so we may as 
well assume that the Kacharis and Kocches are of the 
aboriginal races in India. They appear to have been 
a peaceful and flourishing race, given to agriculture, 
and seem to have lived in amity with the rising 
Kocch nation on the far side of the Brahmaputra, 
with the exception of trouble in 1562, when they were 
defeated by the Kocch king Nar Narain ; while they 
also traded with Dacca and Bengal viS Goalpara. It 
was evidently from Bengal that they got their ideas 
of building with bricks, for in those far-off days 
neither of the other nations built permanent towns 
or forts, their defences being entirely of the nature of 
earthworks, and their buildings of wood and bamboo. 
A few ancient temples only in upper Assam were 
then built of masonry, whereas the remains at Dimapur, 
for instance, which flourished centuries before the 
Ahoms arrived, show us the Kacharis knew all about 
the art of brick making and permanent buildings ; 
while the style in which they worked points to having 



14 HISTORY OF UPPER ASSAM chap. 

been copied from Bengal, the nearest civilised country 
to them. To anyone nowadays travelling by rail 
from Haflong to near Golaghat, or from Golaghat by 
road to Nichuguard at the foot of the Naga hills, it 
is difficult to realise that this densely forested region 
covers the sites of many old cities and vast areas of 
cultivation, the names of w^hich, such as Maiham, 
Jamaguri, Dijoa, alone remain in old Ahom accounts. 
Of the three valleys mentioned before, the Kopili is 
the only one which has not lapsed into such complete 
desolation ; for the reason that the Kacharis were 
able to hold on to this tract much longer, almost up 
to the beginning of the nineteenth century ; whereas 
the other two, viz., the Dhansiri and Doyang valleys, 
ceased to belong to them some 300 years earlier. By 
the time the Ahoms were making themselves felt as 
a power in the region round Sadiya and Namrup, 
the Kachari people held the country up to the Dikkoo 
river flowing past Sibsagor, and here they came into 
contact with the Ahoms about the beginning of the 
fourteenth century. Constant friction occurring, and 
the Ahoms being strengthened by a fresh influx 
of emigrants from the east, the Kacharis gradually 
withdrew until in the end of the fifteenth century 
they took up arms with intent to recover lost lands 
so successfully, that in 1490 they badly defeated the 
Ahoms at Dampuk on the Dikkoo river, which they 
once more made their boundary. Thirty years later 
commenced the long series of wars in which the 
Ahoms, having reduced their other enemies, the 
Chutiyas and Morans, and also to a certain extent 
the Kooches, had time to turn with all their strength 
against the Kachari peoples ; for in the early part of 



II 



HISTORY OF UPPER ASSAM 



15 



the sixteenth century they were pressed back until 
they lost all ■ territory east of Golaghat, the Ahoms 
building a strong earthwork fort at Marangi, a little 
south of Jorhat, by which to hold what they had 
taken. Before a year was over a Kachari effort against 
Marangi led to the Ahoms ascending the Dhansiri 
and Doyang valleys in two strong armies where, after 
successful actions at Bardua and Maiham, the Ahoms 




Last remaining Gateway to the Old Kachari Fort at Dimapur. 

retired. The sites of these places are no longer 
known. Five years later, the Kacharis, still smarting 
under these defeats, attacked the Ahoms in the neigh- 
bourhood of Golaghat, and this time the latter took 
a large force victoriously up the Dhansiri as far as 
the Kachari capital of Dimapur, where, after a stiff 
action, in which the Kachari king was killed and his 
head sent to Charaideo, the Ahoms dictated terms and, 
setting up one Detsing as king, they retired out of the 
country. Five years later, however, Detsing quarrelled 
with the Ahom king Sukmungung, who, with a large 



i6 HISTORY OF UPPER ASSAM chap. 

army, advanced first up both sides of the Doyang, 
where the Kacharis made but sUght resistance, and 
then moved into and up the Dhansiri to the capital. 

Here the Kacharis after a desperate defence v^^ere 
completely defeated and the city sacked. The Ahoms 
now took over this entire tract of country, but as they 
never occupied it and the former Kachari occupants 
had either been killed or had retired to found the 
new capital at Maibong in what is now the North 
Cachar hills, the Dhansiri and Doyang valleys soon 
relapsed into jungle, which in later times became 
known as the Nambhor forest. Ahom " buranjis " 
record that in 1637 the route for communication 
between Ahoms and Kacharis was via Koliabar, Now- 
gong, and the Kopili valley ; as the Dhansiri valley 
route was impossible and the country depopulated, 
Maibong, now a small station on the Assam-Bengal 
Railway, lies a few miles north of the civil station of 
Haflong, and by the end of the sixteenth century had 
become a town of considerable size and strength ac- 
cording to old accounts, and from what remains for us 
to judge by, namely traces of what were strong walls, 
gateways, temples, etc. One curious rock-cut temple 
has a record cut into the stone showing the sacred 
edifice to have been made about 1721 in the reign of 
Chandra Narain. In the beginning of the seventeenth 
century the Kacharis were still in possession of the north 
of Nowgong district, where it borders the Brahmaputra 
valley, and to the south of the same along the Jamuna 
and Kopili valleys where stood the once flourishing 
towns of Raha, Doboka, Demera ; and they had also 
long since been the dominant power in the Cachar 
plains (Surma valley), where they had driven back 



n HISTORY OF UPPER ASSAM 17 

the original occupants, the Tippera people. They 
now tried their strength against the adjoining strong 
hill tribe, the Jaintias, whose Raja was defeated and his 
capital, Khaspur, taken. A few years later, namely 
in 1606, trouble again occurred with the Ahoms and 
the two forces met at Dharmtika, where the Ahom 
king, Pratap Sing, was successful, but later received 
a signal defeat at Raha near Nowgong ; after which 
he withdrew his forces owing to fears of an approach- 
ing Mahomedan invasion. A more or less peaceful 
period then set in for the Kacharis lasting some ninety 
years, when in 1696 Rudra Sing, one of the greatest 
of the Ahom monarchs, made war upon the Kachari 
king, Tamradhoj, who had proclaimed his independ- 
ence, and sent an army of 37,000 up the Dhansiri 
to Dijoa, and another of 34,000 via Raha and the 
Kopili valley. The objective of each was Maibong, 
the capital, and both forces had to make their own 
roads through the forest as they advanced. The 
former force having defeated the Kacharis at Dijoa 
(now Mohan Dijoa on the north-eastern edge of the 
Mikir hills), reached Maibong first, and in a pitched 
battle crushed Tamradhoj 's forces and captured the 
city, demolishing its walls and defences. The Raha 
army having had enormous difficulties to contend with 
in cutting its way through dense forests arrived late, 
but was used to continue the war into Cachar, having 
Khaspur city as its objective. Much sickness in his 
army, and finding great difficulty in the matter of food 
supplies, caused Rudra Sing to give up the attempt 
and withdraw his troops. The Jaintias never having 
got over their defeat by the Kacharis, began trouble 
in 1705, and after a series of small actions their Raja 

c 



i8 HISTORY OF UPPER ASSAM chap. 

managed by treachery to seize the person of Tam- 
radhoj, who appealed for aid to his old enemy the 
Ahom Rudra Sing. This was replied to by the sending 
of two Ahom columns through the Jaintia country in 
1707, one of which got through the hills, defeated 
the Jaintia forces, and occupied the city of Jaintiapur 
on the south side of those hills. Both the Raja of 
Jaintia and his prisoner Tamradhoj were taken, sent 
to Bishnath, near Tespur, on the Brahmaputra, and both 
Kachari and Jaintia countries came under Ahom rule. 
The Jaintia people, girding under the Ahom yoke, 
rose two years later, and at first had some successes 
against the small Ahom forces left in the hills, until 
the garrison at Demera, in the upper Kopili valley, 
managing to co-operate with the troops left to hold 
Jaintiapur, the Ahoms overcame all resistance and 
finally ended the campaign in a drastic manner with 
a great massacre at, and the destruction of the city 
of Jaintiapur. A little later Rudra Sing released his 
two royal captives at a big durbar held at Salagarh, 
opposite to Bishnath, and allowed them to return to 
their own States, which, however, remained feudatory 
to the Ahoms. Exhausted by this last war, the Kacharis 
enjoyed a period of peace for nearly a hundred years, 
until, in 1803, the great Moamaria rebellion in upper 
Assam having started against Ahom rule, the Kacharis 
were induced to side with the rebels, hoping thus to 
regain their old independence. A desultory war 
dragged on for two years, until the Kacharis were 
severely beaten in a pitched battle at Doboka, on the 
Jamuna river, and retired to Maibong and Cachar till 
1 8 17, when irruptions of the Manipuris under their 
Raja Manjit practically placed the following year the 



11 HISTORY OF UPPER ASSAM 19 

whole of Cachar and its hill district under Manipuri 
domination. But only for a short time, for these in 
their turn were in 1819-20 ousted by the Burmese, 
who, conquering the State of Manipur, soon had 
Cachar in their hands, which they held till their 
aggressions generally at Rangoon, as well as in Assam, 
caused the English to declare war upon them, and 
their ejection from Assam speedily followed. The 
first visit to Khaspur, in Cachar, of any Englishman 
at all events any one of note, is that recorded in 1763 
by Mr. Verelst from Bengal, who later became 
Governor-General ; while the first recorded hostility 
between the British and the people of this locality, 
namely the vicinity of Cachar, was that which took 
place between a detachment of the Honourable East 
India Company's troops from Dacca and the Jaintia 
Raja's forces at a place twenty-one miles north-north- 
east of Sylhet. The Kacharis, as a nation, have 
now dwindled into the agricultural communities dwell- 
ing in Cachar and scattered about upper Assam ; 
while Maibong and the North Cachar hills, so long 
their home and capital, have relapsed into ruins and 
jungle, except in the lower reaches of the Jetinga 
valley, which are now covered with flourishing tea 
gardens. 

The legendary history of Kamarupa, as Assam was 
called by the ancients, perpetuated in the name Kamrup 
a district on the north bank of the Brahmaputra, would 
show the Hindu Khettri conquerors having dominated 
it and having in their turn given way to the Pal 
dynasty, and we are brought to the first authentic 
information to hand of this country by the Chinese 
traveller, Huien Tsiang, in 603 a.d. This has been 

c 2 



20 HISTORY OF UPPER ASSAM chap. 

touched on before, so we begin the history of the 
great Kocch tribe at the rise of one Shankaldip, a 
Kocch chief, as we have the statements of a Hindu 
historian and the poet Firdusi, which give a better 
semblance of facts than do the legendary ideas of Bisoo, 
whom local tradition asserts to be the founder of this 
dynasty. Shankaldip rose to power in the middle of 
the fifth century, and when Huien Tsiang visited 
Assam the kingdom of Kamarupa apparently extended 
from the Karatoya river, near Julpigori, as far as Sadiya 
along the north bank of the Brahmaputra, where, it 
seems, the Kocch people lived amicably with the 
Chutiyas, who even then may have been deteriorating 
from having been once a powerful community. Bryan 
Hodgson, in his work on the Kocch and Bodo people, 
states that these were the most numerous and powerful 
aborigines in north and north-western Bengal, and the 
only ones who, after the Aryan ascendancy had been 
established, were able to retain political power or 
possession in the plains. A translation of the Yogini 
Tantra shows these people to be spoken of as Mleccha 
or aborigines. One Hajo, he states, founded the great 
Kocch kingdom in the latter part of the fifteenth cen- 
tury, and his successors reigned for almost 200 years. 
Hajo, having no sons, married his daughter to a Mecch 
(Bodo) chief, thus uniting the aborigines and forming 
the Kocch dynasty, which was eventually able to with- 
stand invasion by the Moslems, Bhootanese, and the 
Ahoms ; the latter holding sway then in upper Assam, 
while the Kocch held lower and middle Assam. Later 
Kocch rulers, however, cast off the Bodo alliance and 
began to look with greater favour on the creeds and 
customs of the Aryans than on their older religion of 



II HISTORY OF UPPER ASSAM 21 

nature, namely, the worship of stars and terrene 
elements. They eventually took to Hinduism, calling 
their country Behar, and declaring themselves to be 
Rajbansis. This change only affected the higher and 
wealthier grades of society, the masses, strange to say, 
mostly adopting Mahomedanism. What may have 
been the condition of the Kocch in the palmy days 
of Hinduism cannot now be ascertained, but it is 
certain that after the Moslem had succeeded the Hindu 
suzerainty, this people became so important that a 
Mahomedan historian, Abdul Fazul, could allude to 
Bengal as being " bounded on the north by the Kocch 
kingdom," which, he adds, " includes Kamarupa." 
In 1773 this Kocch Raj was absorbed by the Great 
Company. Bryan Hodgson says, in speaking of their 
character, that they display no military or adventurous 
genius, but are better suited to the homely, tranquil 
affairs of agriculture. It is chiefly from old Moghul 
records of bygone invasions that any knowledge is 
arrived at of the Kocch people, plus lists of names of 
kings recorded on copper plates up to the beginning 
of the thirteenth century ; and the earliest of these 
invasions was that of Mahmoud Bakhtiyar, who, 
desiring to conquer Thibet and deeming an easier 
route there to lie through the Bhootan hills, led an 
army in 1198 through the western end of Kamarupa 
unopposed. When he had penetrated into the hills 
some sixteen marches, difficulties of supplies set in ; 
he met the Thibetans in force, was beaten back, and 
had to conduct a disastrous retreat with the Kocch 
people now in arms harassing his flanks and cutting 
off suppUes. Mahmoud eventually, with a small 
following, reached Dinajpore, the rest of his army 



22 HISTORY OF UPPER ASSAM chap. 

having perished. In 1253 Gyasuddin, a Moghul 
governor of Bengal, is said to have entered and tra- 
versed Kamarupa almost to Sadiya, but was eventu- 
ally beaten back and had to retreat to Gaur. Twenty- 
five years later a Moghul noble, Tugril Khan, entered 
the Kocch country, but was almost immediately killed 
in battle, and his force dispersed ; while in 1337, 
another Moghul invasion took place in the reign of 
Mahomed Shah Tughlak, which did not advance far 
into the country before it too suffered a series of 
defeats, and was almost entirely annihilated. The 
Moghul historian Ferishta's account of this invasion 
of China which, passing through Cooch Behar, 
attempted the passage of the Bhootan hills, runs as 
follows : " Having heard of the great wealth of China, 
Mahomed Tughlak conceived the idea of subduing 
that empire ; but in order to accomplish his design 
it was necessary to first conquer the country of 
Hemachal (Nepal) and Thibet lying between the 
borders of China and India. Accordingly in 1337 he 
ordered a force of 100,000 men to subdue this moun- 
tain region under his sister's son, Khoosroo Mulk, and 
to establish garrisons as far as the border of China. 
When this was effected he proposed to advance in 
person with his whole army to invade that empire. 
Nobles and state councillors in vain assured him that 
the troops of India never yet could, and never would, 
advance a step within the limits of China, and that 
the whole scheme was visionary. The king insisted 
on making the experiment, and the army was put in 
motion. Having entered the mountains, small forts 
were built on the road to secure communications, and 
proceeding in this manner the troops reached the 



II HISTORY OF UPPER ASSAM 23 

Chinese border, where a numerous army appeared to 
oppose them. The numbers of the Indians were at 
this time greatly diminished, and being much inferior 
to the enemy they were struck with dismay, which was 
only increased when they realised their distance from 
home, the rugged nature of the country they had 
passed, the approach of the rainy season, and the 
scarcity of provisions which was now badly felt. With 
these feelings they commenced their retreat to the foot 
of the range of hills, where the mountaineers, rushing 
down upon them, plundered their baggage, and the 
Chinese army also followed them closely. In this 
distressing situation the Indian troops remained seven 
days, suffering greatly from famine. At length the 
rain began to fall in torrents and the cavalry were up 
to the bellies of their horses in water. The rains 
obliged the Chinese to move their camp to a greater 
distance, and gave Khoosroo Mulk some hopes of 
effecting his retreat ; but he found the low country 
completely inundated, and the mountains covered with 
impervious woods. The misfortunes of the army 
seemed to be at a crisis ; no passage remained to them 
for retreat but that by which they had entered the 
hills, and which was now occupied by the mountain- 
eers. So that in the short space of fifteen days the 
Indian army fell a prey to famine, and became the 
victims of the king's ambition. Scarcely a man re- 
turned to relate the particulars excepting some of those 
left behind in the garrisons below, and the few of those 
troops who evaded the enemy did not escape the more 
fatal vengeance of the king, who ordered them to be 
put to death on their return to Delhi." Mahomed 
later sent another army to avenge the loss of the first : 



24 HISTORY OF UPPER ASSAM chap. 

but its officers on arrival at the Kocch confines flatly 
refused to cross the border into a " land of witchcraft 
and magic." This all goes to prove that the Kocch 
people were a powerful nation and well versed in the 
arts of war of those times ; but beyond these bare 
military records of the Moghuls we can get at no 
detailed information of these people till the reign of 
Nar Narain, who flourished from 1515 on. This king, 
who reigned fifty years, an exceptionally long time for 
an Asiatic ruler, built what is now Cooch Behar in 
substitution for the old city of Kamatapur, which had 
been destroyed by the later Moghul invasions ; and 
in 1546 began the long series of wars against the 
rising power of the Ahoms in the extreme east of 
upper Assam. Minor struggles had occurred between 
the two peoples from 1332, but with Ahom power 
now established, matters took a far more serious turn. 
With the aid of his famous general, Silarai, the Ahoms 
were worsted on the Dikrai river and at Koliabar (in 
Nowgong district) ; and the following year Silarai 
captured Narainpur on the north bank of the Brahma- 
putra, and Nar Narain completed the great raised 
roadway of 350 miles, called the Kamali AUi, connect- 
ing this town, where a fort was being built, with Cooch 
Behar, many parts of which are still in existence and 
use. Major Hannay is of opinion, however, that a 
road had existed ages before Nar Narain's reign, 
which connected the old cities east of Sadiya with the 
more flourishing western districts of upper Assam, 
and by which pilgrims were able to visit the sacred 
shrines of " Tamasari Mai " and " Bora Bhoori " 
near Sadiya. In 1562 Nar Narain again attacked the 
Ahoms with such success that he captured their capital 



II 



HISTORY OF UPPER ASSAM 



25 

Garhgaon, in the neighbourhood of the present Sib- 
sagor, and retired to his own province with an immense 
amount of loot. Six years later the western part of 
the Kocch kingdom was invaded by the Moghuls 
under Suleiman Kararani, and Nar Narain's forces 
sustained several crushing defeats. Gauhati, then a 
large, flourishing city on both banks of the Brahma- 




-^-^-^■---^ 



"Umanand" or Peacock Island opposite Gauhati. 

putra, was taken and looted, while a notorious Brahmin 
renegade, one of Suleiman's suite, namely Kala 
Pahar, was allowed to work his iconoclastic tend- 
encies on the ancient Kamakhya and other famous 
temples, which he more or less demolished. Some 
years later these were rebuilt by Nar Narain. In 
1578 this king, deeming it well to be on good terms 
with the Moghul power, sent an embassy with presents 
as far as Agra, where it was well received by the 



26 HISTORY OF UPPER ASSAM chap. 

Emperor Akhbar. Nar Narain's reign saw the rise 
of a new form of Hindu religion preached by a re- 
former, Sankar Deb, whose tenets were based on a 
purified Vishnuism, which it was hoped might sup- 
plant the Tantric form of Hinduism, for ages the 
prevailing religion among the Kocch people. The 
subject of religion will be dealt with later. In the 
next reign, which brings us up to the end of the six- 
teenth century, we see the Kocch dominions comprise 
the country from the Karatoya to the Sankosh rivers 
and the districts now known as Kamrup and Mangaldai 
on the north bank, together with Goalpara and Mymen- 
sing on the south bank of the Brahmaputra ; and that 
their ruler must have been powerful is shown in the 
" Akhbarnamah " of that time, when King Lakshmi 
Narain declares himself to be a vassal of the Moghul 
Emperor, and wherein it is stated the Kocch king's 
forces numbered 40,000 horse, 200,000 foot soldiers, 
700 elephants, and 1,000 ships. In the legends connect- 
ing one Bisoo as the originator of the Kocch kings it 
is said that he, at the height of his prosperity, caused 
a census to be taken and found that he had over 
5,000,000 men fit to bear arms. This, though, of 
course, unreliable, together with the authentic in- 
formation of the " Akhbarnamah," gives a good idea 
of the populous state of this country — only a part of 
Assam ; more especially when one compares it with 
the census of 190 1, which showed that the entire popu- 
lation of the Assam valley was only a little over two 
and a half millions. In 161 2, as the result of a quarrel 
between the Kocch king and the Nawab of Dacca, 
the latter crossed the Karatoya with a force of 6,000 
horse, 11,000 foot, and a fleet of 500 ships on the 



II HISTORY OF UPPER ASSAM 27 

Brahmaputra filled with soldiers, and laid siege to 
Dhubri, which would seem to have been an important 
and well-defended place in those days, for it held out 
against this force for a month. Shortly after this, the 
Kocch king dying, opposition in his country ceased, 
and the Mahomedans annexed in the name of the 
emperor Jehangir the country up to the Bar Naddi, 
which flows through the present Mangaldai district, 
with the exception of the country between the Kara- 
toya and Sankosh rivers, to which the Kocch kings 
were now restricted, until by the middle of the eigh- 
teenth century this too had come under Mahomedan 
rule. It eventually passed into British possession in 
1765 on Bengal falling into English hands, and the 
present small State of Cooch Behar represents all that 
is left of the once powerful Kocch kingdom. 



CHAPTER III 

We now come to the last of the three great powers 
in upper Assam, who being a more or less literate 
people, have given us through their well connected 
historical records, or " buranjis " written in the Pali 
character, the clearest knowledge of doings in that 
country, whether touching on the Kocches, Kacharis 
or Moghuls, during their 600 years of power. As 
mentioned before, the Ahoms, whose " h " softened 
to " s," has given us the name " Assam," were non- 
Buddhist Shans, by religion pagans and demon wor- 
shippers, who, trekking west from their own country, 
of which Mogoung, in upper Burma, was the capital, 
in the early part of the thirteenth century reached the 
eastern extremity of the Brahmaputra valley and 
formed settlements in the Namrup locality on the 
Dihing river. Their immediate neighbours were then 
the Chutiya tribe, who ruled the country east of the 
Subansiri river, and the Moran tribe, between the 
Dikkoo and Dihing rivers. With the latter they soon 
came into conflict, and by 1236 the Ahoms had estab- 
lished themselves at and around Abhaypur, while 
twenty years later saw them in occupation of the 
country near Charaideo, which they made their 

capital ; and which, in spite of its removal later on to 

28 



CH. in HISTORY OF UPPER ASSAM 



29 



Garhgaon, for several hundred years was a place of 
importance and sanctity to the Ahom kings, many of 
whom were buried there, while the heads of 
conquered chiefs and notables were invariably in- 
terred on Charaideo hill. A similar custom obtained 
amongst the Manipuris and the Tangkul Nagas who 
both, up to modern times, buried their enemies' heads 
in special localities. By the end of the thirteenth 
century they had been much strengthened by a fresh 




The Dibong where it leaves the Hills. 

trek of emigrants from across the Patkoi range and 
had come into conflict with the Kachari people, whose 
north-eastern border was the Dikkoo river. Fifty 
years later saw the commencement of the long con- 
tinued series of struggles between the Ahoms and 
Kocches . In 1 3 80 they crushed the Chutiya power across 
the Brahmaputra, and a few years later changed the 
capital from Charaideo to Charguja, near the Dihing 
river, which brought about hostilities with the Tipam 
tribe, whose lands they now occupied. The first 



30 HISTORY OF UPPER ASSAM chap. 

Ahom record of Mahomedan eflForts in the direction 
of upper Assam is in 1401, which shows how far west 
the Ahoms were then dweUing, when the Moghul 
forces, coming up by river, reached KoUabar nearly 
opposite Tezpur, where they met the Ahom forces, 
and being defeated there on land and water, were 
pursued to far below Goalpara. The end of this 
century saw the defeat of the Kacharis on the Dikkoo 
at Dampuk, and the early part of the sixteenth century 
the subjugation of the Chutiya tribe and the annexa- 
tion of their country, after severe fighting near Sadiya 
and at Kaitara hill, said to be in the vicinity of the 
mouth of the Dibong river. By now the Ahoms had 
consolidated their power in what is now Lakhimpur 
on the north, and as far west as Golaghat on the south 
bank of the Brahmaputra. In 1526 the Ahoms drove 
back the Kacharis who objected to the building of the 
strong fort at Marangi (Moriani ?) almost on their 
borderland, and ascending the Dhansiri river they 
fought two successful engagements at Bardua and 
Maiham (unidentified) when the Kacharis gave in. 
The following year saw the Ahoms defeating another 
Mahomedan invasion near Duimunisila, where a fort 
was built and garrisoned. In this fight is the first 
record of weapons other than what were then generally 
used, namely, bows and arrows, spears, axes, etc., 
when forty Moghul cannon were captured. Five 
years later found the Ahoms not only successfully 
beating the Kacharis in the Dhansiri valley and 
dictating terms at their capital of Dimapur, but also 
repelling another Moghul invasion below Koliabar, 
which led to their placing a large garrison as low 
down as Singiri, a little north of Gauhati on the north 



Ill HISTORY OF UPPER ASSAM 31 

bank and close to the Kocch border. This period appears 
to have been one of Uttle peace and rest for the Ahoms 
who next year, 1532, had again to withstand an in- 
vasion by Turbak Khan, a Moghul noble, who with 
a large fleet sailed up the Brahmaputra to Singiri, 
where he defeated the Ahom army which retired to 
Salagarh on the south bank. Turbak again success- 
fully attacked Salagarh and moved further east ; 
when luck turning, favoured his enemy. The Ahom 
king sending large reinforcements by land and river 
was at last successful ; and in a heavy battle again at 
Duimunisila Turbak's forces were defeated, he him- 
self killed, and his head, as was customary, sent for 
burial on Charaideo hill. The beaten and disorganised 
forces were pursued by the victorious Ahoms through 
Kocch territory to the Karatoya river. At the Dui- 
munisila fight the recorded Mahomedan losses were 
over 2,500 men, twenty-two ships, and many big 
guns ; so that with the losses in the pursuit the 
Moghul casualty list must have been a long one ; 
while the booty that fell to the pursuers is stated to 
have been twenty-eight elephants, a great number of 
guns and matchlocks, with a quantity of gold and 
silver ornaments and utensils. It is now that we find 
the Ahoms taking to fire-arms and , utilising the 
numbers captured from the Moghuls in preference 
to bows and spears. It is supposed that they were 
taught their use and the rough manufacture of powder 
by their Mahomedan prisoners, and certainly by the 
time of Mir Jumla's famous invasion of a century 
later, or about 1662, they were proficient in the art 
of forging iron for cannon, of making excellent 
powder, and of intelligently using the same ; which 



32 



HISTORY OF UPPER ASSAM chap. 



is vouched for by the old time French traveller, 
Tavernier. It is in 1536 that the Ahom " buranjis " 
first mention trouble with any of the wild hill tribes 




A Trans Dikkoo Naga in War Paint and one from 
Tabhlung. 

who inhabit the mountains which hem in upper 
Assam, and we now find the Khamjang, Namsang, 
and Tabhlung Nagas raiding into the plains and 
standing up to the trained Ahoms in fights, in one of 



Ill HISTORY OF UPPER ASSAM 33 

which the two latter tribes not only inflicted severe 
loss but captured several guns before they finally sub- 
mitted. This argues a higher form of bravery and 
fighting to what we are accustomed to find in these 
wild tribes, and also that their village communities 
must have been far more powerful than those of the 
present day ; for these three tribes are well known, 
the head villages of Namsang and Tabhlung lying 
only a few miles east and south of our present military 
police outpost of Tamlu in the Naga hills, where the 
Dikkoo river makes its exit from the mountains. A 
year later the Ahoms are found defeating the Kacharis 
in the Doyang and Dhansiri valleys, and sacking their 
ancient capital of Dimapur. The destruction of this 
and their heavy losses took all heart "out of the Kachari 
people, who, as we have seen before, evacuated the 
Dhansiri valley and formed a new capital at Maibong 
in what is now called the North Cachar hills. For 
what reason the Ahoms never occupied this part of 
Kachari territory is not known, but as it was quite 
depopulated by war it soon relapsed into a jungle too 
heavy perhaps for the conquerors to cope with ; and 
so it developed into the dense Nambhor forest, gradu- 
ally covering and blotting out all evidences of Kachari 
towns, roads, etc., which had been their pride and 
home for hundreds of years. This reign, namely that 
of Sukmungnung lasting forty-two years, was long and 
eventful. It was notable for successful military opera- 
tions which ended in the subjugation of the Chutiyas 
and Kacharis, while three Moghul invasions were 
repulsed. The social condition of the people was 
also considerably attended to, and artisans from 
Bengal imported to teach arts and -crafts, while fire- 



34 HISTORY OF UPPER ASSAM chap. 

arms were also introduced. This latter fact is all the 
more remarkable and interesting seeing that, 120 years 
before, artillery and hand guns had not emerged from 
their very elementary condition in Europe, and indeed 
were only beginning to be generally used in war about 
the middle of the fifteenth century. The official 
capital was in this reign moved to Garhgaon not far 
from Sibsagor, and about 1552 the big tank there was 
excavated by the Ahom king, Sukhlemning, who also 
was the first to strike coins, and who also built the 
raised roadway called the Naga AUi, running from 
the Baralli to the Naga hills. The year 1546, as we 
have seen before, found the Ahoms at war with Nar 
Narain, the most powerful monarch in this part of 
India, and the Kocch arms at first very successful ; 
but later, the Ahoms getting the upper hand, the 
war subsided owing to the exhaustion of both forces. 
Before the sixteenth century was out the Ahoms had to 
deal with an invasion by the Kocch king, Nar Narain, 
who successfully captured the strong Ahom positions 
at Boka, Salagarh, and Handia, chiefly by means of 
a strong fleet on the river. The occupation of their 
capital Garhgaon by Nar Narain, caused the Ahoms 
to cede Narainpur on the north bank to the Kocches, 
who closed the war and hurried back to repel a Moghul 
invasion in which, being unsuccessful, Nar Narain re- 
leased all the Ahom hostages, hoping thereby to gain 
their friendship and alliance. This, however, did not 
come off, as the Ahoms were too busy in dealing not only 
with the Chutiya people, who were once more in revolt, 
but also with the Nara Raja of Mayankwan, beyond 
the Patkoi range. The seventeenth century opened 
for this nation in further trouble with the Kacharis, 



Ill HISTORY OF UPPER ASSAM 35 

and severe actions took place at Dharmtika and Raha, 
involving heavy losses on both sides ; at the latter 
place the Ahoms being severely beaten. A few years 
later, namely in 161 5, the Moghul governor of Bengal 
despatched Aba Bakr with a force of 10,000 troops 
and 400 ships against the Ahom king. These arrived 
in due time at Hajo, a few miles from the river on its 
north bank and opposite Gauhati without opposition ; 
and making Hajo their base they advanced to meet 
their enemies on the Bharali river. After a stiff 
encounter Aba Bakr was victorious ; but failing to 
reap the full advantage of his success by pursuing 
vigorously, the Ahom king was able to send up large 
reinforcements. The battle was renewed, Aba Bakr 
killed, and his force driven back on Hajo. Here the 
Ahoms were joined by various petty Rajas and their 
following, all anxious to be rid of the Mahomedan 
invaders. These managed to capture the Moghul 
position at Pandoo,near Gauhati, while the main Ahom 
army was hemming in the Moghuls at Hajo. After 
six weeks a battle was brought on by the Ahoms, 
ending in the complete discomfiture of the invaders 
and their dispersal with heavy loss ; the latter includ- 
ing many horses, cannon, and cattle, which fell into 
the victors hands. Twenty years later the Maho- 
medans were again at Hajo with the friendly con- 
nivance of the Kocches, and as their presence caused 
continual friction in this part of the country, the 
Ahom king, Pratap Sing, was induced to declare war 
on them ; when, after defeating them at Niubihan 
he invested Hajo. In other parts of the district, 
namely, at Pandoo and Srighat, Ahom troops were 
not so successful ; but more men and ships arriving, 

D 2 



36 HISTORY OF UPPER ASSAM chap. 

the Moghuls were driven from Pandoo and almost 
annihilated at Sualkuchi, on the north bank, a little 
below Pandoo, 300 ships and many cannon and match- 
locks being captured. Curiously enough, the Ahom 
records of this fight make the first mention of any 
European being in Assam, when amongst their pri- 
soners they found a Feringhi, but of what nationality 
is not known. Ralph Fitche, a merchant in Queen 
Elizabeth's time, had visited Kamatapur, the Kocch 
capital, but no European had gone further east. 
Having cleared the Moghuls off the river, the Ahoms 
concentrated for the assault of Hajo, which fell after 
a desperate defence, when an immense amount of 
loot, munitions of war, etc., were secured. Pratap 
Sing, pursuing his advantage, continued his advance 
down river, seizing all Mahomedan posts as far as 
Goalpara. This continuance of success for the Ahoms 
was not of long duration, for almost immediately the 
Nawab of Dacca despatched a force of 12,000 men to 
recover the territory thus lost to Bengal, and it was 
not long before he captured a strong fort at Jogighopa, 
near the mouth of the Marias river, from which he 
secured the submission of the Goalpara country oppo- 
site. The Ahoms, beaten at Jogighopa, drew off to 
the foot of the Bhootan hills and awaited reinforce- 
ments. These arrived duly, and with 40,000 men 
they attacked the Moghuls in their camp at Bishenpur. 
In the heavy battle that ensued Pratap Sing's troops 
were beaten with the loss of over 4,000 men and several 
generals. A later defeat in a naval action on the 
Brahmaputra at Srighat, followed by the capture of 
Pandoo and Gauhati, placed the whole of Kamarupa 
for the time being at the Moghul disposal, whose 



Ill HISTORY OF UPPER ASSAM 37 

commander made his headquarters at Gauhati and 
began to consolidate his rule. The Kocches having 
joined the Moghuls in this war, it was not long before 
the Ahoms retaliated by attacking their troops on 
the Bharali river, whom they pursued almost to 
Gauhati. Here, as the resources of both belligerents 
were almost down to nil after a war extending to 
almost three years, peace was made ; and the Bar 
Naddi, running into the Brahmaputra opposite Gauhati, 
became the eastern boundary of Mahomedan posses- 
sions. This brings one to the end of King Pratap 
Sing's reign, as he died in 1641, after thirty-eight 
eventful years, during which two great wars had been 
conducted against the Kacharis and the Moghuls, 
although not always with uniform success to the 
Ahoms. Great attention had been paid to internal 
organisation, markets were established and trade 
fostered. Buildings of masonry and of a permanent 
nature were erected, notably at Abhaypur, Mathu- 
rapur, and Garhgaon, the latter being fortified and 
having a palace built in its centre, the ruins of which 
are still visible. The Ahom capital Garhgaon is 
described in the " buranjis " of that time as being 
" of great size with the palace in the centre, the city 
was surrounded by a well-raised solid embankment 
serving instead of customary fortifications, and on the 
top of which ran a roadway. In this embankment 
were four masonry gates each three kos (a kos is one 
and a quarter miles) from the palace, which again was 
defended by a deep ditch and stockade work of great 
strength. The palace was of masonry, and the 
audience hall therein is said to be 120 cubits by 36 
cubits." Of the state of the country in this part of 



38 HISTORY OF UPPER ASSAM chap. 

Assam at this period it is described as being " on the 
north bank {i.e., what is now north Lakhimpur) 
more under cultivation than about Garhgaon, but 
generally on the south bank as far down as Koliabar 
were extensive fields and fine rice crops." Wild 
elephants are said to have been exceedingly numer- 
ous, 1 60 being caught in one drive in 1654. King 
Pratap Sing also constructed many roads and tanks, 
threw up the great Dopgarh embankment as a pro- 
tection against Naga inroads, and developed backward 
tracts. He built the forts at Samdhara, Safrai, and Sila, 
while several stone bridges are believed to date from 
his reign. This king, having been the first to be 
converted to Hinduism, which occurred about 161 3, 
later many nobles following his example. Brahmin 
influence soon became powerful and many Hindus 
from India were given high official posts. The 
Ahom language was, however, still predominant. 
Although no longer the official capital, Charaideo 
maintained its sacred interest. Ahom kings wor- 
shipped, buried the heads of the eminent persons 
killed in battle on the hill overlooking Charaideo, and 
were mostly buried there themselves. These tombs 
were covered with large mounds, and the royal funeral 
customs prescribed that the queen, certain guards, 
slaves, and an elephant or a horse, should be buried 
with deceased royalty. Some of these mounds have 
been opened and from the spaces inside, bones and 
ornaments found, it is conjectured the above customs 
were really observed. The next fifteen years saw the 
Ahoms worried by incursions of the Daphlas and 
Mirris on the north bank of the Brahmaputra, 
which were put down drastically and many of the 



Ill HISTORY OF UPPER ASSAM 39 

villages burnt ; while on the south bank the Lakma 
Nagas in the hills south-east of Sibsagor, between the 
Dilli and Dikkoo rivers, appeared to have been suffici- 
ently strong to carry on a series of raids into the 
plains and to seriously harass the Ahom troops sent 
into the hills against them. 

These particular Nagas were visited in February, 
1900, by the Deputy Commissioner with a punitive 
party, and were found to be anything but a war-like 
people. In 1658, owing to confusion arising in Bengal 
consequent on the Emperor Shah Jehan's illness, the 
Kocch people rose and made a supreme effort to throw 
off the Moghul yoke under which for years they had 
lain. The Ahoms were induced to join in this, and 
while the Kocches overpowered the Moghuls in Goal- 
para and southern Kamarupa, their allies proceeded 
against and captured Hajo and Gauhati. Dissensions, 
however, arising between the two allies, the Ahoms 
attacked and drove the Kocches across the Sankosh 
river, which joins the Brahmaputra at Dubhri, after 
which they became masters of entire Assam. A 
mastery which they only enjoyed four years, for 1662 
saw the Moghul armies again in motion under Mir 
Jumla, then Governor of Bengal, to recover the lost 
territory. As this is the most famous of all Moghul 
invasions it is deserving of more attention and in 
greater detail. 



CHAPTER IV 

Mir Jumla, who was Moghul Governor of Bengal, 
moved to Dacca where, with the Nawab, he organised 
a force of 12,000 horse, 30,000 foot, and a large fleet 
of boats ; and proceeding early in 1662 along the north 
bank of the river, arrived at Dhubri, which the Ahom 
troops vacated in favour of the strong fort of Jogighopa 
at the mouth of the Manas river. The Moghul 
strength was too much for the Ahom garrison of 
12,000, who, after a short siege, cut their way out and 
retired on Srighat and Pandoo on either side of the 
Brahmaputra close to Gauhati, which were fortified. 

On this Mir Jumla divided his army, sending one 
wing over to the south bank while he with the other 
proceeded along the north bank. His fleet of three 
hundred boats, many of which were very large, styled 
" Gharabs," so called from their swiftness, sombre 
appearance of sail and hull, and from the Arabic 
word " ghorab," a raven' and mounting fourteen 
cannon and sixty to seventy soldiers, which records 
state to have been in charge of European officers, 
presumably Portuguese, proceeded up river between 
the two wings, the whole presenting the most formid- 
able array of force that had yet entered Assam. On 
nearing the defile of the Brahmaputra below Gauhati 



CH. IV HISTORY OF UPPER ASSAM 41 

Mir Jumla manoeuvred the Ahoms out of Pandoo and 
Srighat and occupied Gauhati after the storming of 
one small fort at Beltola. As the Ahoms had now 
retired to Samdhara above Tezpur at the mouth of 
the Bharali river, and to Simlagarh almost opposite 
on the south bank, the Moghuls rested aw^hile at 
Gauhati and reconnoitred. This resulted in Mir 
Jumla bringing over the northern wing to the south 
bank, the crossing being effected at Tezpur ; and with 
his whole army and fleet moved against Simlagarh, 
a large earthwork fort mounting many cannon. The 
strength of the place precluded the possibility of a 
direct assault, so it was regularly besieged. But after 
a short siege Mir Jumla's patience gave out on finding 
his cannon produced no eff^ect on the thick earth walls 
— an experience which had its counterpart in Lord 
Lake's and Lord Combermere's famous sieges of 
Bhurtpore, — and he ordered the place to be stormed. 
Had the Ahom troops been well led the Moghuls 
could have been easily repulsed ; as it was the assault, 
involving considerable losses, succeeded. The dis- 
comfited Ahoms vacated Samdhara, not without, how- 
ever, putting up a good fight at Koliabar on land and 
river, where, losing nearly 200 ships and many men 
and guns, a general retirement on Garhgaon the 
capital, took place, pursued by the Moghul horse. 
As it seemed to the Ahom king impossible to stop the 
victorious advance of Mir Jumla, he vacated the 
capital and retired first to Charaideo and thence to 
Namrup on the Dilli river, the most easterly point 
of the Ahom dominions. On the 17th of March, 1662, 
Mir Jumla's army occupied Garhgaon, securing, 
owing to the hasty retreat of the Ahoms, considerable 



42 HISTORY OF UPPER ASSAM chap. 

booty, namely, three lakhs of rupees in gold and 
silver, 170 storehouses full of rice, and eighty-two 
elephants. Here the army rested and again recon- 
noitred ; but the rains setting in early brought the 
commencement of trouble to the invaders. Garhgaon 
proving unhealthy, Mir Jumla moved his army to 
Mathurapur, near Charaideo, which stood on slightly 
higher land, and there, after establishing certain posts 
to overawe the surrounding country, the invaders 
awaited the return of seasonable weather. But not 
in peace ; for the Ahom king, realising the discomfort 
and straits of his enemy, rallied his forces and directed 
attacks against the Moghul posts with success ; for 
these one after another were overwhelmed, obliging 
Mir Jumla to concentrate all his force in and around 
Mathurapur, where dysentery and fever soon began to 
thin his ranks. Several Ahom attacks were with 
great difficulty repulsed ; and news now reached Mir 
Jumla to the effect that the Kocch people, hearing of his 
trouble, had seized the opportunity of rising en masse 
behind him and had overthrown all Moghul garrisons 
which had been stationed on the north bank in Kama- 
rupa. After the rains had cleared off, certain Moghul 
reinforcements managed to reach him by river with 
the serious news of a famine in Bengal, and that after 
this no further supplies of any sort were possible from 
that country. Mir Jumla was now ailing with fever, 
and seeing any further stay in the country or success- 
ful hostilities against the Ahoms to be impossible, 
he concluded peace and began a retreat, which as it 
went on was conducted in the greatest misery. It 
had been Mir Jumla's intention to deal with the 
rebellious Kocches on his way back, but his own 



IV HISTORY OF UPPER ASSAM 43 

serious illness and discontent among his troops ren- 
dered any attempts of this sort out of the question ; 
and the shattered Moghul forces which had opened 
the invasion so brilliantly reached the confines of 
Bengal in March, 1663, Mir Jumla dying just before 
Dacca was reached. The Indian campaigns in those 
far oflF days seem always to have been conducted on 
stupendous lines ; and the present day mind can 
scarcely conjure up the spectacle of these great battles 
in the neighbourhood of Gauhati and Tezpur, with 
many thousands engaged and the river covered 
with several hundreds of warships as well joining in ! 
How Mir Jumla marched and manoeuvred his forty 
odd thousand troops by land is not stated, but con- 
sidering there must have been thousands of camp 
followers as well, the whole operations are indeed 
wonderful, particularly so when compared with the 
great difficulties we have always experienced in 
moving a few hundred troops about Assam in all the 
little border operations that have occurred since we 
came on the scene there. Moghul writers at that 
time speak of the river traffic and commerce on the 
Brahmaputra as being very heavy, while the Ahom 
war boats were numerous and all mounted cannon ; 
which shows the condition of prosperity and strength 
to which that nation had attained in the middle of 
the seventeenth century. It would appear, how- 
ever, that according to Mir Jumla's treaty of peace, 
Moghul garrisons were left in Gauhati until the pay- 
ment of the war indemnity had been settled in full 
by the Ahoms, whose new king refused the demands 
made by Firoz Khan to settle up completely. This 
refusal started the war again in 1667, and an Ahom 



44 HISTORY OF UPPER ASSAM chap. 

army marched down both banks of the Brahmaputra 
on Gauhati where, after one reverse on the Bar Naddi, 
they succeeded in besieging both the Gauhati and 
Pandoo garrisons, which gave in after a two months' 
siege and much fighting. Many cannon fell into 
Ahom hands. The remaining Moghul troops, retir- 
ing on the Manas river, they were eventually sur- 
rounded and cut up entirely, Firoz Khan being 
captured with most of his officers. At Silghat and 
Dikom, near Dibrugarh, are still to be seen two old 
Moghul cannon taken in this campaign, with dates 
and inscriptions on them. Aurangzeb, then emperor 
at Delhi, naturally did not allow these successes of 
the Ahom king, Chakradhoj, to pass unnoticed ; for 
the year following he ordered one of his generals, 
Raja Ram Singh, to fit out a force of 18,000 horse 
and 30,000 foot to punish the Ahoms for the defeat 
of his last army. These advanced from Bengal in 
the open season of 1668, and en route were joined by 
15,000 Kocch allies. Much fighting occurred in the 
vicinity of Tezpur where at first the Ahoms were 
beaten, but rallying a little got the upper hand and 
forced the Moghul troops back on Hajo. In this 
neighbourhood as well as on the Sessa river, success 
varied between each side, until at the end of the 
year both armies, wearied with their efforts, began 
to negociate, and hostilities being suspended. Ram 
Singh vacated Assam, having generally had the worst 
of it. The year 1673 s^^" the Daphla tribes in revolt, 
which was put down with some difficulty, and not 
before one force of Ahoms was surrounded and 
destroyed. 

Chakradhoj 's reign, which ended late in 1673, was 



IV HISTORY OF UPPER ASSAM 45 

chiefly remarkable for the eviction of all Moghuls 
from Kamarupa (or Central Assam), and the strong 
fortifications erected by him at Gauhati on both sides 
of the Brahmaputra. He also established several 
foundries capable of turning out numbers of cannon 
for his force. The next ten years w^ere not those of 
progress for the Ahoms, for the nation w^as distracted 
by many internecine v^rars between members of the 
nobility which impoverished the country. Seven 
kings in this short period were set up and either 
died or were murdered, and all was chaos until at 
last a strong ruler, Gadardhar Sing, arose, who, how- 
ever, only reigned nine years, in which time he was 
successful in ridding his kingdom entirely of the 
Moghuls and stipulating in the final treaty that the 
Manas river should become the boundary between 
the two countries. This left the Kocch country 
entirely under Moghul suzerainty. He also put down 
with drastic severity a number of Naga and Mirri 
raids, built the picturesque temple on Peacock Island 
opposite Gauhati, and made the two highways, the 
nhodar and Aka AUis, the former of which is still 
in use between Jorhat and Charaideo, and still 
further here and there. Religion in his reign did 
not make for peace, for the Vishnubite sect were 
getting too much power into their hands, which he 
found necessary to reduce by continuous persecu- 
tion. The system of land measurements as used by 
the Moghuls was also introduced by him. Rudra 
Sing, who succeeded Gadardhar and reigned eighteen 
years, is generally regarded as the greatest of all 
the Ahom kings, and rightly so, when we consider 
what he accomplished ; namely, improvements in 



46 HISTORY OF UPPER ASSAM chap. 

communications through his country and the con- 
struction of numerous masonry bridges, the erection 
of brick buildings at Rangpur and Charaideo with 
the aid of Kocch artisans, the conquering of the 
Kacharis and Jaintias for good and all, the reception 
of the submission of all hill tribes, the establishment 
of extensive trade with Thibet, the importation of 
artificers from Bengal, and the establishment of 
intercourse with other nations to whom envoys were 
sent. He also started the system of schools for 
Brahmins, as in later life he became an orthodox 
Hindu. 

His trouble with the Kacharis began early in 1696, 
and at the close of that year he equipped two armies 
to settle the dispute. The strongest of 37,000 men 
was sent against the Kachari capital, Maibong (in 
the now North Cachar hills) via the Dhansiri valley, 
to Mohun Dijoa ; the other army of 34,000 moved 
via Raha in the Nowgong district up the Kopili 
valley. The first force, after an action at Dijoa, 
reached Maibong, and, defeating the Kacharis out- 
side, captured the town and destroyed its walls and 
defences. The second force, arriving late owing to 
great difficulties in cutting its way through the dense 
forest on the upper Kopili, was ordered to press on 
through the hills to seize Khaspur, the next city of 
importance to the Kacharis and which after this 
became the capital, in the plains of Silchar. But 
shortage of food and sickness breaking out in the 
army, obliged Rudra Sing to content himself with 
what he had so far achieved, and the Ahoms retired. 
Nine years later the Kacharis got into difficulties 
with their neighbours, the Jaintias, who occupy all 



IV HISTORY OF UPPER ASSAM 47 

the hill country in the centre of which lies the 
present station of Shillong ; and after several small 
engagements the Jaintia Raja succeeded, through trea- 
chery, in capturing Tamradhoj the Kachari king, 
whose ministers appealed to Rudra Sing for assistance 
against their enemies. The Ahom king, responding, 
sent two forces against the Jaintias, one of which, 
passing through the hills, occupied the capital, Jaintia- 
pur ; the other column, having more opposition to 
overcome, did not get as far. Tamradhoj was re- 
leased, the Jaintia Raja taken prisoner, and Rudra 
Sing now formally annexed the Jaintia and Kachari 
countries to his own, leaving garrisons behind to 
enforce his rule. As Tamradhoj objected to this 
annexation he was kept a prisoner in the Ahom 
camp, and, with the Jaintia king, was sent back to 
Bishnath, a little above Tezpur. The Jaintia people, 
aided in a small way by the Kacharis, made supreme 
efforts to shake off Ahom rule during 1708, and at first 
with some success, until the Ahom troops, stationed at 
Demera in the upper Kopili valley, managed to co- 
operate with those holding Jaintiapur on the south side 
of the hills; and, with the loss of nearly 3,000 men 
and twelve high officials, overcame resistance ; finally 
restoring order after a great massacre at, and the total 
destruction of Jaintiapur, where an immense amount 
of loot was taken. There are Ahom records of their 
losses in this war, showing the extent of their military 
resources, from which we find that of the killed alone, 
900 came from upper Assam, over 1,000 from Gau- 
hati, and several hundreds from Sonapur and the 
Dekeri country. This rebellion now crushed out, 
Rudra Sing withdrew to Salagarh on the Brahma- 



48 HISTORY OF UPPER ASSAM chap 

putra opposite Bishnath, and while here held a 
grand Durbar, to which Tamradhoj was first called. 
He was conducted across the river in the royal barge, 
and on landing mounted an elephant with gold trap- 
pings. Rudra Sing, surrounded by his nobles and 
generals, received him in a magnificent " shamiana " 
supported by gold and silver poles, whilst masses of 
troops stationed around must have given an added 
note of power to that of the magnificence of the 
actual Durbar. Tamradhoj, dismounting, proceeded 
to the royal presence on foot where, introduced by one 
of the chief nobles who recited the circumstances 
leading up to this occasion, the captured king 
prostrated himself, and was immediately offered a seat 
by Rudra Sing, who then received his complete 
submission ; and shortly afterwards escorted by Ahom 
troops as far as Demera where the escort was changed 
for one from his own people, he reached Khaspur. 

Rudra Sing then received Ram Sing, the Jaintia 
king, in somewhat similar style, but, as his nobles 
hesitated as to complete submission the proceedings 
were not marked by the friendliness shown at the 
first Durbar ; and before the nobles could be brought 
to reason Ram Sing died of dysentery. Rudra Sing 
dying in August, 1714, he was succeeded by his 
son Sib Sing, whose reign, though long (some thirty 
years), was uneventful, being disturbed only once by 
the Daphlas. Under this king Hinduism became the 
religion of the country ; but his queen, Phuleswari, 
being under the strong influence of the Sakta Hindu 
sect, she set her face against the Vishnubite section 
(the so-called Moamaria) and ordered some of their 
Gosains to be smeared at a Sakta shrine with the 



IV HISTORY OF UPPER ASSAM 



49 



blood of sacrificial victims. The insult was never 
forgotten, and led to far-reaching and disastrous 
results later on. From this reign, vs^ith its strong 
religious tendencies, is to be traced the beginning 
of the decay of the Ahom strength ; for the Brahmins 
forbidding the free eating of meats and strong drinks, 
their physique began to deteriorate, which has gone 
on steadily ever since. Sib Sing is said to have com- 
pleted surveys of all Ahom territory, and during his 
reign is a record of the first visit of three English- 
men to upper Assam, whose names are given as 
Godwin, Lister, and Mill. The purpose of their 
visit, which was in 1730, is not stated. The next 
period of interest, namely 1765, is the Burmese in- 
vasion of Manipur, and the call by that Raja on the 
Ahom king, Rajeswari Sing, for aid. This was 
responded to by the sending of a force to Manipur 
from Charaideo through the hills ; but it was obliged 
to turn back after it had got a little way in owing to 
the difficulties of that part of the country. A second 
force had, however, been assembled at Raha, and 
this, proceeding through the Kachari country, reached 
Manipur where the Raja was reinstated. Beyond 
these bare facts there are no records as to the route 
taken by the Ahoms, or of any collision between them 
and the Burmese. The Ahom people had by now, 
under several good kings, become very prosperous, 
and had enjoyed considerable internal order ; but 
there were not wanting signs of approaching decay 
in the evaporation of old warlike instincts, while 
continual religious sectarian disputes almost blotted 
out anything like patriotic ideas. 

In the next reign (Lukshmi Sing's) continuous in- 



50 HISTORY OF UPPER ASSAM ch. iv 

suits heaped by certain Ahom nobles on the Moamaria 
Gosain, or Mahanta, caused the disaffection of that 
sect towards the throne to become more pronounced, 
while the cruel persecution of this large and powerful 
sect drove them finally, in 1769, to open rebellion 
headed by the Moamaria Gosain, whose son Bangan 
collected their first formed body of fighting men, 
and entered the district of Namrup in the extreme 
east of Assam. Their first engagement with Lukshmi 
Sing's troops was not successful, but later in the 
year another leader, Ragha, led an insurgent body 
down the north bank of the Brahmaputra and suc- 
ceeded in defeating the royalist forces several times, 
eventually capturing the Ahom king and some of his 
nobles, these latter being instantly put to death. 

The Moamaria Gosain now caused the son of the 
Moran chief, Ramakant, to be raised to the throne ; 
but this regime only lasted a short while, as the 
royalist nobles, making a last effort to restore the 
old administration, managed to capture Ragha, and 
later Ramakant, who, with their families, were put 
to death. Lukshmi Sing was released, reinstated, 
and with this success followed a most rigorous per- 
secution of the Moamaria. The Gosain and numbers 
of his followers were captured ; and as the Ahoms 
had always been notorious for their cruel and revolt- 
ing forms of punishment, these people were killed 
with indescribable tortures, ending with impalement. 



CHAPTER V 

The change of sovereign on the death of Lukshmi 
Sing in December, 1780, did nothing to ameliorate 
the situation, for Gaurinath Sing was also a bitter 
enemy of the sect, and two years after his accession 
a terrible massacre of Moamaria at Garhgaon led to 
another prolonged revolt ; and with such success for 
the sect, that in 1791 Gaurinath 's troops having been 
frequently beaten, and the Moamaria having set up 
one of their own on the throne at Rangpur, Gaurinath 
applied for assistance to the Jaintia and Kachari 
Rajas, who declined help. Manipur being applied 
to did send a force of 500 horse and 4,000 foot across 
the Naga hills to Nowgong, whence they moved 
against Rangpur ; but, being badly worsted, retired 
to their own country. Manipur chronicles relating 
this action show that many of their soldiers were 
severely flogged and many deported for cowardice. 
Kamarupa and upper Assam were now in a most 
miserable plight ; all these years of fighting had 
desolated the land for both belligerents ; villages 
were burnt, crops destroyed, and now a famine 
started. At this juncture Gaurinath bethought him 
of the English who had held the districts of Goal- 
para and Cooch Behar since 1765, when the whole 

5' E 2 



52 HISTORY OF UPPER ASSAM chap. 

of the Moghul possessions in Bengal passed into 
their hands. A Mr. Douglas administered Cooch 
Behar, and Goalpara and Jogighopa forts were both 
held by the English troops, Lieutenants Crump and 
Lennon with a company of Sepoys each, being at the 
latter places, all of which were under the jurisdiction 
of the Commissioner of the English province of 
Rangpur. At Goalpara the only civilian European 
was a Mr. Rausch, a Hanoverian merchant dealing 




The Barail Range, Angami Country, Naga Hills. 

in the salt trade, who knew the state of affairs, 
and also that in the lawless state of the country gangs 
of mercenaries were coming over from Bengal, taking 
sides with either Ahoms or Moamaria, or were acting 
on their own and terrorising the western end of Kama- 
rupa. His representations backing up Gaurinath's 
appeal to Mr. Lumsden, Commissioner of Rangpur, 
reached Lord Cornwallis, the Governor- General, who, 
seeing the urgency of putting a period to this state 
of anarchy along the English border, ordered a small 



V HISTORY OF UPPER ASSAM 53 

force into upper Assam to restore order and to re- 
instate the Ahom king on his throne. To this end, 
in September, 1792, Captain Welsh, with Lieutenants 
WiUiams, Macgregor as Force- Adjutant, and Wood 
as Surveyor, with six companies of Native Infantry, 
namely, three of his own battalion, the i6th Native 
Infantry, at Barrakpore, and the others from the 
19th and 24th Native Infantry at Berhampore, with 
a British officer to each company, were despatched 
by boat to Assam and reached Goalpara early in 
December. A little further up the river Welsh was 
joined by the fugitive Ahom king with a small follow- 
ing, and he landed some eight miles west of Gauhati 
which was entered unopposed. From here a message 
was sent to Krishna Narain of Darrang on the north 
bank, whose Bengali mercenaries were the chief cause 
of disturbance in the west of Kamarupa ; and as he 
declined to come in Welsh crossed the Brahmaputra 
with 280 sepoys and attacked him in his position on 
a fortified hill, whence he finally dislodged the large 
gang with a loss to him of six killed, and captured 
forty cannon. In this action despatches say Lieutenant 
Macgregor greatly distinguished himself. A few days 
later Lieutenant Williams, with three companies, 
was sent into Mangaldai, where he succeeded in com- 
pletely dispersing the enemy. On Welsh's return 
to Gauhati, having settled that trouble, which, indeed, 
on leaving Calcutta, was all that had been intended 
for the gravity of the Moamaria rising had not then 
been understood, Gaurinath begged him to assist in 
eastern Assam where the rebellion was at its worst ; 
and as Welsh now received a letter from Lord 
Cornwallis telling him to act as seemed best until 



54 HISTORY OF UPPER ASSAM chap. 

more specific instructions could be given and cordi- 
ally approving his conduct of affairs, Welsh remained 
in Gauhati until definite information as to the Moa- 
maria could give him a line of action to follow. His 
presence was also requisite to back up Gaurinath's 
position and authority, he being about the weakest 
and most craven of all Ahom monarchs. The state 
of affairs was duly communicated to Calcutta, which 
took a long time in those days, and Krishna Narnain 
having at last tendered his submission he took oath 
of allegiance and was formally installed as Raja of 
Darrang ; and Welsh having received a reinforcement 
of six more companies from the i6th and 24th Native 
Infantry, began his move into the eastern districts 
in October, 1793. His progress was slow, pre- 
sumably to establish friendly relations with the 
people and to suppress the river banditti, his pro- 
ceedings receiving Lord Cornwallis's approval. It was 
well into February, 1794, before he neared Jorhat, 
which had just been surrounded by the Moamaria 
forces. On the nth of February, Lieutenant Mac- 
gregor with a small detachment arrived near Jorhat 
and sent forward a Soubedar with twenty men to 
reconnoitre, he following with Lieutenant Wood and 
fourteen Sepoys. They found the rebels attacking 
Jorhat from the far side, and were moving to support 
the Ahom garrison, when they were suddenly attacked 
by 2,000 rebels. The little party remained firm in 
spite of the odds against them, discipline and steady 
firing saved the situation, and the enemy drew off, 
leaving eighty dead behind. Macgregor's loss was 
only six sepoys. Welsh now hurried up from Koliabar 
and had his advance guard of two companies under 



V HISTORY OF UPPER ASSAM 55 

Lieutenant Irvine heavily attacked twelve miles from 
Rangpur. Beating off his assailants, the force pushed 
on, but w^as obliged to take up a defensive position 
at the brick bridge over the Namdang river for a time. 
Again driving off the Moamaria, Welsh occupied the 
city of Rangpur after an action costing him two 
killed and thirty-five wounded. This instance of a 
small force attacking a large city some twenty miles in 
extent furnishes a good example of the self-confidence 
of and the risks willingly undertaken by the early 
British forces and their officers in India. It is also 
interesting to note that practically the last stand of 
the Burmese in 1825 was made at this same Nam- 
dang bridge near Rangpur, when Lieutenant Brooke 
(who became Raja of Sarawak) won the battle by 
his spirited charge with the irregular cavalry attached 
to the Rangpur Levy (later the 42nd Assam Light 
Infantry and now the 2nd/ 8th Goorkha Rifles). 
An immense amount of loot in cattle, grain, and 
treasure was secured in this city, which was sold, 
and the money realised given in prize money to the 
troops — the only action of Welsh's which was dis- 
approved of by Lord Cornwallis, although it was 
done with Gaurinath's full consent. 

Welsh found Rangpur city to be most extensive, 
upwards of twenty miles round, set in miles and 
miles of country showing a high state of cultivation. 
While here they saw a body of Manipur cavalry 
which had just come to Gaurinath's aid in ignorance 
of Welsh's successful operations. Which route they 
travelled by is not stated, but it shows that ,there 
was a comparatively easy one through the hills be- 
tween the two countries. Gaurinath had joined the 



56 HISTORY OF UPPER ASSAM chap. 

force by river on the 21st of March, and at a Durbar 
held by Welsh, the latter asked whether his services 
could now be dispensed with as the Ahom king's 
power had been restored and his enemies dispersed. 
The emphatic answer was that he could not be spared ; 
and as the Moamaria were reported to be still in 
some force at Bagmara not far off, Welsh detailed 
three companies to move against them. 

But a new Governor- General had recently suc- 
ceeded Lord Cornwallis, namely, Sir John Shore, 
who at once showed himself as a " peace at any 
price " man by putting an end to Welsh's useful 
presence in Assam, and ordering a cessation of all 
military operations and a return to India. Orders 
to this effect were received as the detachment was 
about to start for Bagmara, so an opportunity for 
further successful action was missed. 

In Welsh's report to Government in February, 
1794, in which he explains the condition the country 
is in, what he has effected and still hopes to effect, 
appears a series of replies to questions by the Secre- 
tary to Government ; and to one where the subject 
of withdrawing from the country is queried, Welsh's 
answer is most emphatic. He says : "If we leave 
the country now the contest for influence, power, 
and independence would revive amongst the first 
officers of State, dependent rajas, and chiefs of dis- 
tricts and towns. The same confusion, devastation, 
and massacre would ensue. Assam would experience 
a state of desolation greater in proportion to the 
temporary restraints which British influence has now 
imposed on the inhumanity of the monarch, on the 
ambition and resentment of the chiefs, and on the 



V HISTORY OF UPPER ASSAM 57 

vengeance of the people. Obnoxious ministers and 
favourites would immediately be restored to their 
offices. Every individual who had been observed 
to cultivate British friendship would flee the country, 
in well grounded apprehension of destruction by the 
ministers or their connections. Commerce would 
again be suppressed by the confusion that would 
prevail in the country ; and the monarch, whose 
person is too sacred for assassination, would pro- 
bably be compelled to abandon his kingdom." 

In another part of his letter he states : "It appears 
to me that the British Government should continue 
its mediating and controlling influence, as the only 
means of preserving order and tranquillity." His 
urgent representations and the appeal of Gaurinath 
for the retention of Welsh and his troops whose 
work he cordially appreciated, were of no avail ; and 
an order reached Welsh to return to Bengal by the 
ist of July. The Assam monarch might well appraise 
the work of this oflicer and those with him, for Welsh 
and his little force had succeeded admirably. By 
his tact, judgment, and firmness, he had brought 
about a restoration of order and the punishment of 
all marauding gangs ; further, he had attained the 
confidence of all and had put down corrupt oflicials. 
His troops had, in fact, achieved wonders in the face 
of overwhelming odds and obstacles. 

During the operations round Rangpur, Lieutenant 
Creswell, left in command at Gauhati, had been 
obliged to cross the Brahmaputra with two com- 
panies, the 27th and one of the i6th Native Infantry, in 
order to break up a large gang who were terrorising 
the Darrang district. A severe but successful fight 



58 HISTORY OF UPPER ASSAM chap. 

ensued near Culihi, wherein our losses were heavy, 
namely, twenty-one killed and wounded, including 
Lieutenant Creswell, who succumbed next day to his 
wound. But this action broke up the gangs of 
banditti and cleared Kamrup and Darrang of their 
presence. In May, 1774, Welsh and his force com- 
menced their retirement out of the country ; and 
at the start seized one opportunity of inflicting severe 
punishment on the Moamaria who threatened him 
in force, 4,000 strong, at the Darika river. Welsh 
crossed the neighbouring Dikkoo river and attacked 
the hostile position vigorously, dispersing them with 
heavy loss. On the 30th of May he reached Gauhati, 
where he was overwhelmed with petitions to remain 
and continue in his good work. His account of this 
old capital is interesting to those who know it in 
these days, when little or nothing is to be seen of 
its former grandeur. A little over a century ago he 
found it a populous and large city on both banks of 
the Brahmaputra with extensive commerce. A ram- 
part ran along the river front on both banks, mount- 
ing 113 cannon, while in the centre was a sort of 
citadel — a large, oblong enclosure with brick walls 
and surrounded by wet ditches. The city entrances 
were through fine masonry gateways, while the forti- 
fications of Pandoo, four miles off, guarded the 
river approach from the west. 

One hundred years later Mr. Macdonald says, 
in his book on Kamrup : "Of the former glories 
of Gauhati, whether under Hindoo, Ahom, or Bur- 
mese rule, the only relics which remain are the 
mounds and extensive lines of brick fortifications 
which lie scattered along the Brahmaputra. Gate- 



V HISTORY OF UPPER ASSAM 59 

ways existing at the end of the eighteenth century 
have now entirely vanished. A large proportion of 
the soil in the surrounding cultivated fields is com- 
posed of brick dust, mortar, and broken pottery ; 
while carved stones and beautifully finished slabs, 
the remains of once noble temples, are often found 
beneath the surface. The numerous large tanks 
attesting the command of unlimited labour possessed 
by ancient rulers, are now choked up with weeds 
and jungle." Looking down on this sea of decay is 
the beautiful wooded Nilachal hill, crowned with 
its group of famous temples, very ancient and much 
revered still, the home of the old Tantric form of 
the Hindoo religion, for centuries undisturbed and 
dominant throughout Assam in olden days. In fact, 
from the prodigious ruins of public works through- 
out this country and the magnificent raised roads, 
which we have seen were constructed in different 
reigns, it is probable that this remote part of India 
in ancient times enjoyed a superior form of govern- 
ment to any it has since experienced, until taken 
over by the English. Welsh and his force eventually 
reached Bengal territory on the 3rd of July, but 
they left behind them in the Ahom mind a realisa- 
tion of what discipline and training means to troops, 
for Gaurinath had secured the services of two of 
Welsh's native officers, who, under heavy bribes, 
elected to serve the Ahoms. Taking the pick of all 
his best soldiery, Gaurinath dressed and equipped 
them with flint-locks ; and with the aid of these 
two officers trained them and maintained a standing 
army, with which for some time he was able to hold 
his own against the Moamaria. But all that Welsh 



6o HISTORY OF UPPER ASSAM ch. v 

had prophesied to Government was soon reaHsed on 
vacation of Assam by the British. The Moamaria 
when they once became aware of the fact that Welsh 
had left for good, captured Rangpur, Gaurinath 
fleeing to Jorhat ; confusion and chaos set in, sig- 
nalised by the most brutal treatment of rebels when 
caught, and also of those who had been befriended 
by Welsh. The country was devastated by war and 
vindictive retaliatory measures by either party, until 
the death, in December, 1794, of Gaurinath — the 
most incompetent and disreputable of all the Ahom 
monarchs. 

He was succeeded by Kamaleshwar, whose reign 
of fifteen years was troubled by a rebellion in Kama- 
rupa fostered by the Kocch ruler, who with the Raja 
of Bijni moved troops into the district. With these 
were bands of Punjabis and Mahomedans, and every 
effort was made to seize this portion of the country. 
Kamaleshwar 's more disciplined forces, however, put 
down the rising and expelled the invaders. Mr. 
Rausch (who was mentioned before) while trading on 
the north bank was killed by a band of these Maho- 
medans. As at this time the Daphlas showed signs 
of joining the rebellion, Ahom troops were sent 
into their hills, and the disaffection of this tribe was 
dealt with in so drastic and ruthless a manner that 
further trouble from them was rendered impossible. 
In 1799 another serious rising of the Moamaria was 
quickly quelled with much bloodshed, and in 1803 
a short war with the Kachari king took place, which 
ended in favour of the Ahoms in one battle at Doboka 
on the Jamuna river. 



CHAPTER VI 

The next king came to the throne in 1810, and 
finding himself unable to cope with the rebellious 
Moamaria as well as with the continuous strife 
amongst his chief nobles he proposed to follow the 
Kocch Raja's recent example and become tributary 
to the British, but the nobles and people objected 
to such a procedure. The king (Chandrakant) had 
in fact written to the Governor- General on the sub- 
ject, who, however, declined to interfere. The dis- 
tracted Ahom monarch now turned to Burma for 
aid, and a force of 6,000 men was despatched from 
that country in 181 6, gathering strength as it jour- 
neyed across the Hukong country through being 
joined by the chiefs of Manipur, Mayangkwan, and 
Hukong. They reached Namrup and were attacked 
at Ghiladari by an Ahom force under a noble who 
was in rebellion against the throne. The Burmese, 
victorious, advanced through eastern Assam, pillag- 
ing and laying waste the unhappy country till they 
reached Jorhat. Here they reinstated Chandrakant 
and his Prime Minister who had been fugitives ; 
and with the payment of a large war indemnity the 
Burmese retired over the Patkoi in 1817. Two 
years of ceaseless petty rebellions and strife followed 



62 HISTORY OF UPPER ASSAM chap. 

amongst the nobles, some of whom eventually de- 
posed Chandrakant and set up Purandhar Sing 
on the throne. Information of this was sent to 
Burma, a fresh force was sent out from that country, 
and this time when it reached Assam it had come to 
stay. A successful engagement against Purandhar 
Sing's forces led to the Burmese reinstating Chand- 
rakant on the throne, but only as a puppet king, 
for the entire country soon passed into the actual 
rule of the invaders, whose commanders scoured 
the districts, hunting down with merciless severity 
the adherents of Purandhar who, however, escaped 
into British territory. The Burmese applied for his 
extradition, and this was refused. The following 
year found Chandrakant quarrelling with the Burmese 
authorities, whose troops, owing to difficulty in 
supplies, were quartered all over the country, except 
in the Sadiya district, which they appeared to have 
left alone to the Hkamtis and Singphos who had 
occupied it undisturbed for some years past. Chand- 
rakant deeming this a favourable opportunity for 
throwing off the yoke of the invaders, got together 
a force and succeeded in regaining Gauhati. The 
next two years saw continuous fighting in which 
sometimes the Burmese and sometimes the Ahoms 
were successful. Finally the Burmese sent their 
famous general Maha Bandula — the commander who 
in 1825 opposed the British with such vigour at the 
battle of Donabyu in lower Burma — across with re- 
inforcements, and the Ahoms were utterly defeated 
in a pitched battle at Mahgarh, losing 1,500 men. 
Chandrakant fled to Bengal and Bandula sent in- 
solent messages to the English officials saying he 



VI HISTORY OF UPPER ASSAM 63 

would carry the war into their territory if the fugitive 
was not given up. On this, additional British troops were 
sent to Goalpara, Jogighopa, and other frontier out- 
posts ; and all pointed to the coming end of a most 
intolerable state of affairs in upper Assam. 

The Burmese had by now ravaged the land from 
end to end, a great massacre of the inhabitants of 
Gauhati took place, life and property were never 
safe, and the various savage hill tribes utilised the 
state of confusion existing to harry the plains. 

On the 5th of March, 1825, the first Burma war 
broke out, and Maha Bandula was recalled to his 
country to organise forces in lower Burma for repel- 
ling the British advance. Orders from Calcutta 
detailed a force of 3,000 sepoys with guns and an 
armed flotilla to assemble at Goalpara under com- 
mand of Colonel Richards, for the task of turning 
the Burmese out of the Brahmaputra valley ; and 
these on the 28th of March occupied Gauhati, the 
enemy offering little or no resistance. Here in late 
April Richards was joined by Mr. David Scott, who 
had marched across the Jaintia hills from Cachar 
with three companies of the 27th Native Infantry. 
Desultory fighting took place in the vicinity of 
Koliabar, to which place Richards advanced, and 
which ended in his favour. Paucity of supplies 
here however, constrained the British to return to 
Gauhati for the rainy season ; and this over, a fresh 
forward move was made, and the enemy were 
manoeuvred out of Jorhat after several skirmishes. 
At the end of January, 1826, Richards fought a 
serious engagement at the Namdang river and pushed 
on to the capital, Rangpur, which was now held in 



64 HISTORY OF UPPER ASSAM chap. 

strength by the Burmese. The defences of the 
city were well arranged, formidable, and mounted 
many guns. The 57th and 46th Native Infantry 
attacked with some light field guns, and the right 
wing of the former corps, leading the attack, being 
heavily fired on, a number of sepoys fell and a tem- 
porary check occurred, until Colonel Richards, with 
Captain Martin, bringing up the whole of the re- 
mainder of the column, the main stockades were 
escaladed and two masonry temples occupied by 
the enemy with cannon were captured with con- 
siderable loss in wounded to the British troops, 
amongst whom were Colonel Richards and Lieu- 
tenant Brooke. This action dispirited the Burmese, 
whose forces breaking up, a large number were 
pursued and driven into the hills, while many threw 
down their arms and settled quietly in Assam. 
In June this year, the Burmese who had retreated 
across the Patkoi range, finding the Singphos ready 
to join them, returned and made a last effort against 
Sadiya, but were worsted in an encounter at Bisa 
by Captain Neufville with a wing of the 57th Native 
Infantry, whose success was the means of libera- 
ting some 6,000 Assamese captives. Between the 
Burmese and Singphos, in the past five years it is 
stated that upwards of 30,000 Assamese had been, 
enslaved and taken out of the country. 

The Brahmaputra and the Surma valleys (Cachar) 
had now been entirely cleared of the Burmese forces, 
who were also ejected from Manipur by Raja Gam- 
bhir Sing, and the unfortunate country now came 
permanently under British rule, depopulated, starving, 
and in the greatest misery. A writer on this country 



VI HISTORY OF UPPER ASSAM 65 

in 1873, Mr. T. T. Cooper, remarks that " of all 
countries bordering on India which have come into 
British possession, there is none whose history is so 
mournful as Assam, none wherein the mistaken 
policy of the Indian Government in the last century 
is recorded in more painful evidences. Had we 
maintained a protectorate when Welsh restored order, 
the country might have been saved." 

With the expulsion of the Burmese the English 
began to take up the difficult task of administering 
the country, rendered all the more difficult as the 
Burmese had removed old landmarks, and the people 
were by now a mass of confficting parties. Mr. 
David Scott was at once appointed Agent to the 
Governor- General of all the country up to the 
Sadiya and Matak districts, near the present Dibru- 
ghar, in the extreme east, with Colonel Cooper and 
Captains Neufville and White to assist him. A 
corps raised originally for service, in Cuttack was 
transferred now to Assam to strengthen the hands 
of these officers. It became the Assam Light Infantry, 
and was quartered first at Rangpur, and later at 
Gauhati. The Chief of Matak (Moran) having shown 
considerable ability, was left in charge of his own 
district on his agreeing to pay tribute and to provide 
a certain number of troops on occasion arising, and 
this continued till 1842. Sadiya, which had been 
overrun by the Hkamtis gradually since 1794, was 
left to the jurisdiction of a man known as the Sadiya 
Khowa Gohain, who agreed to furnish a force of 
armed and drilled soldiers as a protection for the 
border. In 1833, owing to immense extent of country 
now in EngUsh hands which was not easy to administer. 



66 HISTORY OF UPPER ASSAM chap. 

it was decided to make over the portion from the 
Dhansiri to the Dibru river to Purandhar Sing, 
who was consequently reinstated ; while Mr. David 
Scott, as first Commissioner of Assam, administered 
the entire country from the Dhansiri river to the 
confines of Bengal. The Assam Light Infantry 
and certain Sebundy Corps (local levies) were dis- 
tributed at prominent centres throughout the land, 
a strong detachment being at Jorhat, Purandhar's 
capital, and another at Sadiya under Colonel White, 
the Political Agent to the Hkamtis and Singphos. 
In 1835 disputes arose between the Khowa Gohain 
and the chief of Matak over land, which caused 
friction ; and this together with the stoppage of slave 
trading and a fear of being taxed, produced a state 
of discontent which burst into rebellion in January, 
1839. Colonel White, placing too much confidence 
on the illusive permanence of Hkamti allegiance, 
was unprepared, and even had no guard over his 
own house though warned of trouble, which came 
on the night of the 28th of January. At 2 a.m. four 
large bodies of Hkamtis, with a few Singphos, 
suddenly attacked Sadiya at different points, firing 
the houses and resolutely attacking the main stockade. 
In a moment all was confusion and uproar, the 
enemy using swords and spears to great effect. 
Colonel White was killed while leaving his house 
to join tl^e troops, pierced by nine spear wounds, 
and eighty odd men, women and children were 
cut up before the officers got their men together 
in groups, when discipline at last prevailed, the 
stockade was retaken and the enemy pursued out of 
the place. Next day several villages in the district 



VI HISTORY OF UPPER ASSAM 67 

were attacked and destroyed by the Hkamtis, more 
troops were hurried up from Jorhat, and the country 
was now entirely taken over by the Government. 
The Hkamti element was largely deported far down 
country, where eventually they settled and became 
good agriculturists. By 1840 English residences, 
church, etc., were springing up in Gauhati, which 
had become the headquarter station of the new Assam 
Government. The entire country, having now come 
under British rule, it only remains to touch upon 
a few industrial points of interest before moving on 
to an account of the border tribes and expeditions. 
The great industry for which Assam is noted is that 
of tea, which about 1823 was first discovered as an 
indigenous plant in the surrounding hills by a Mr. 
R. Bruce, at that time British agent to the Ahom 
king, Chandrakant. But the matter was not taken 
up until ten years later, when Mr. Bruce's brother 
started the first tea plantation near the mouth of the 
Kundil river, above Sadiya. In 1839 the Assam Tea 
Company was formed, and began opening gardens 
at Jaipur, Dibrughar, and on the Tingri river. 
Thence onward the tea industry flourished through- 
out the country. In spite of the great raised road- 
ways, which history shows us had been constructed 
in different parts of the country, its communications 
generally were exceedingly bad, which state, in 
spite of our having made two so-called Trunk Roads 
both north and south of the Brahmaputra in 1854, 
may be said to exist still. In 1847 the first steamer 
service succeeded the laborious and slow boat journey, 
but for many years they only plied as far as Gauhati. 
It was between 1838 and 1840 that a decision was 

F 2 



68 HISTORY OF UPPER ASSAM chap. 

arrived at to locate the chief mihtary station in 
upper Assam at Dibrughar, the necessity for having 
a garrison nearer to the Hkamtis and Singphos 
having been shown by disturbances during the past 
few years. Captain Vetch, afterwards General 
Hamilton Vetch, the British officer controlling the 
Matak (Moran) country in which Dibrughar lies, 
selected the site ; and lines, fort, jail, and other build- 
ing rapidly followed. The church, built by the late 
General Reid (R.E.) is a memorial to Colonel White, 
who, we have seen before, was killed at Sadiya. It 
was not, however, until about 1880 that a regular 
steamer service plied up and down the Brahmaputra, 
and that this far eastern station was thus connected 
up with Bengal. Towards the end of the " thirties " 
coal was found, first on the Safrai river where it 
emerges from the hills, a little east of Sibsagor ; 
and a Commission was formed to discover if it was 
workable, and to what extent, in these hills. More 
being found in the Tipam hills, and the Commission 
reporting favourably, Mr. Landers, Special Assist- 
ant to the Commissioner, in 1842 opened and 
worked the first mine on the Namsangia range in 
the Dikkoo valley, after which other mines beyond 
Dibrughar were opened, and the industry has since 
progressed with enormous strides. This, together 
with the tea industry in the Dibrughar district and 
the difficulty of transporting both commodities to 
the river steamers, led in 1878 to the first idea of 
railway construction, which was favoured by Sir 
Stewart Bayley. The following year a company was 
formed, but owing to difficulties in raising money 
for the project, no advance was made till 1881 when. 



VI HISTORY OF UPPER ASSAM 69 

after a committee had thoroughly reported on the 
Makum coal fields and oil wells, showing the high 
value of the same, money was raised in London to 
the amount of ^(^600,000, and the work put in hand 
on New Year's day, 1882. On the ist of May 
following the first engine was plying over the section 
near Dibrughar, and by the end of the year twenty 
miles were open to traffic. During this time work 
was also progressing from Makum at the other 
end of the line, as material could be floated up to 
that point along the Dihing river ; and on Christmas 
Day, 1883, the rails were joined and through com- 
munication with Dibrughar was established. Rail- 
head was then named Margherita, in honour of the 
Queen of Italy, due to the fact that the Chevalier 
R. Paganini, an Italian, was chief engineer of that 
rail section. A year or two later a branch line 
was opened from Talup to Saikwa Ghat, opposite 
Sadiya, our furthest frontier post. An interesting 
feature of these coal-fields, particularly that of Ledo 
six miles from Margherita, is the number of isolated 
hills of pure coal standing above the ground surface, 
which obviates the labour of deep mining. Follow- 
ing on this successful railway enterprise came two 
light lines at Jorhat and Tezpur, and these again 
were followed by the Assam Bengal Railway which 
now connects the port of Chittagong with Dibrughar, 
a length of some 600 miles, with a branch line from 
Lumding Junction to Gauhati of 150 miles. The 
first surveys of this great undertaking began about 
1894, and work started two years later at different 
points along the route. Immense difficulties were 
experienced by the engineers in carrying the line 



70 HISTORY OF UPPER ASSAM ch. vi 

through the North Cachar hills and the great Nambhor 
forest, which sections cost fabulous sums of money 
and are monuments of engineering skill. In 1899 
ballast trains were running over portions of the 
line, which was not open throughout for traffic till 
1902 owing to delays caused by the immense diffi- 
culties to be overcome in the hills section. With 
the start of this line came the hope to link up Burma 
with upper Assam by carrying a line from Dibrughar 
through the Hukong valley to Mogoung on the 
Upper Burma Railway system, and a survey party 
with escort crossed the Patkoi in 1896, while another 
party surveyed an alternative route to Burma, which 
was to take off at Lumding and follow a line via 
Berrima, in the Kaccha Naga hills, to the Mayank- 
hong valley, and so to Manipur. Both projects, 
however, were temporarily shelved ; the Manipur 
one because of the expense, as the tunnelling and 
difficulties in crossing the stupendous gorges of the 
upper Barak river would have been prohibitive in 
cost. Now that deeper interest has been stirred in 
North Eastern Frontier matters, these two projects 
are once again coming to the front, and the Hukong 
valley route is generally stated to be the most 
practicable from commercial and engineering points 
of view. 



CHAPTER VII 

RELIGIONS OF THE EARLY ASSAMESE AND 
NOTABLE REMAINS 

The subject of religion is a somewhat difficult one 
to trace correctly. From old legends it would appear 
the earliest religion of the aborigines, namely the 
Kacharis, with whom are allied the Kocch, Chutiya 
and Moran (Matak) peoples, was animism and a 
worship of demons, etc. When Hinduism was intro- 
duced is uncertain, but it undoubtedly was in vogue 
about 830 A.D., in the reign of one Hajara. Hannay 
is of opinion that Kamarupa was one of the earliest 
conquests of the Indian Khettri kings about 400 B.C., 
and was then the seat of that primitive form of 
Hinduism, or perhaps Buddhism, which existed 
previous to the introduction of Brahminical Hinduism 
about the middle of the fifteenth century, brought 
in by certain Brahmins from the city of Gaur in 
Bengal. This took a great hold on the country, even 
the Tai (Ahom) conquerors coming over to it in the 
early part of the seventeenth century. That Bud- 
dhism was introduced is certain, but it is equally 
certain it took no very lasting hold on the people 
and it was only of comparatively short duration. 



72 



HISTORY OF UPPER ASSAM chap. 



Many of the old Hindu temples have been built on 
and with the remains of what once were Buddhist 
shrines. At Hajo, once an important centre of 




Closer View of Individual Stone, Dimapur. 

Moghul rule, and opposite Gauhati, six or seven 
miles from the river, on a wooded hill 300 feet 
high, stands a remarkable and celebrated temple con- 
taining a large image of Buddha six feet high and 



VII HISTORY OF UPPER ASSAM 73 

cut from a solid block of black stone. The figure 
is in what is known as the " contemplative attitude," 
and is annually visited still by thousands of both 
Hindus and Buddhists from all parts of India. This 
temple is endowed with lands, dancing girls, and 
beneficed priests ; as are also the celebrated Kamakhya 
temples, which are said to have taken the place of 
ancient Buddhist shrines. 

Thibetans and Bhootanese believe that Buddha 
died in Kamarupa, while the learned Hungarian 
traveller, Csomo de Koros claims that the Saint died 
in Gauhati " under a pair of Sal trees." The great 
Chinese traveller Huien Tsiang, had also the same 
idea ; but he records in the early part of the seventh 
century that, though the people adored the Devas, 
there seemed to be little faith in the Saint himself, 
and that no places in which Buddhist priests could 
assemble appeared to exist. Such disciples as there 
are, he says, are certainly of a pure faith, but pray 
more or less secretly. Buddha lived in the sixth 
century B.C., and on his death, which some assert 
occurred at Kusinagra in upper Bengal, and others 
in Assam at Gauhati, the first Buddhist synod was 
held at Rajagriha in Bengal, the second being held 
a hundred years later, or about the early part of 
400 B.C., in Wesali Long — the Buddhist name for 
Assam ; which goes to prove that this religion must 
in those far off days have had a certain amount of hold 
on the country reaching as far as the Sadiya district, 
where Major Hannay states are to be found ruins of 
temples of undoubted Buddhist origin. The religion 
deteriorated in the succeeding centuries until it 
reached the condition in which Huien Tsiang found it. 



74 HISTORY OF UPPER ASSAM chap. 

In the centuries preceding his travels in this part 
of Asia waves of Buddhism had passed further east 
from India, and by way of Thibet, Assam, and the 
Arrakan coast, had spread itself far afield. But it 
is not till as late as 1016 a.d. that we find the gentle 
teaching of Buddha introduced throughout Burma 
as the State religion by Anarawthaza, the great con- 
queror and religious reformer. It developed in course 
of time into the puritan school (Hinayana) or Southern 





















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The Big Tank and Resthouse at Dimapur Excavated Hundreds of 
Years ago by the Kacharis. . 

Buddhism, spreading to Siam and Ceylon ; as 
opposed to the Northern Buddhism (Mahayana) or 
debased ritualistic school embraced by China, Mon- 
goHa, Corea, Thibet, and Nepal. 

Hinduism, known in Assam for centuries along- 
side of Buddhism, began extending itself more 
thoroughly throughout the land about the ninth 
century, but gradually assumed a debased style due 
to the Trantric form of Hinduism, also known as 
Sakta Hinduism, which in its main idea is the worship 



VII HISTORY OF UPPER ASSAM 75 

of the female principle, typifying creative power. 
The worship was accompanied by human sacrifices 
and orgies beyond description in honour of Kamakhya, 
goddess of desire, and an incarnation of the dread 
goddess Kali. Hamilton, writing of this country in 
1839, says: "Assam is likened in old times to a sort 
of Paphian land, the seat of promiscuous pleasures, 
loose manners, and mystery, due to the rise of the 
Tantric form of Hinduism which the Brahmins in- 
culcated in these wild parts and which enabled them 
through the worship of Kamakhya to share in sensual 
gratifications from which otherwise they would have 
been excluded." The ancient temples on the Nilachal 
hill, near Gauhati, formed the centre of this worship, 
but many others exist as far afield as the Tamasari 
Mai and the Bhora Bhoori temples at the foot of the 
Mishmi hills not far east of Sadiya. At all these 
shrines human beings were offered up as sacrifices. 
Colonel Dalton has given an account of these sacri- 
fices, which obtained almost up to the British occu- 
pation of Assam, by certain Deori Chutiya priests 
of the Tamasari Mai. These described how the 
victim was detained some time at the temple, being 
fed until deemed sufficiently fat to please the flesh- 
eating Goddess. On the appointed day he was led 
forth in magnificent clothes to be shown to the 
crowds assembled for the hideous ceremony. He 
was then led by a private path trodden only by the 
priests to a deep pit at the back of the temple. Here 
his gay raiment was stripped off and he was decapi- 
tated, the body falling into the pit, the head being 
added to the heap of ghastly skulls piled in front of 
the shrine. 



76 HISTORY OF UPPER ASSAM chap. 

In the early part of 1500 A,D. a Hindu reformer 
arose, named Shankar Deb, a Kayasth of Nowgong, 
who preached a purer Hinduism based on prayer 
rather than on sacrifices ; but being much persecuted 
by the Brahmins of Gauhati he went into the Kocch 
country, where his ideas and new faith obtained a 
better hearing. In course of time, this reUgion 
gaining a strong footing in Kamarupa, spread further, 
until in the seventeenth century we see Gadardhar 
Sing persecuting its adherents, as they had by then 
become a formidable power in the land. A hundred 
years later Sakta Hinduism was firmly established 
as the State religion, and soon came into conflict 
with the Vishnubite followers of Shankar Deb, lead- 
ing up to the sect of the Moamaria, and a series of 
religious rebellions which plunged the country into 
the deepest misery, and from which it was only 
relieved by the advent of British rule. The Moa- 
maria were a sect of the purer Vishnubite faith, 
differing only from what Shankar Deb inculcated 
in that they paid more distinction to caste matters, 
and were not so averse to sacrifices and idol worship. 
The Assamese of the present day are Hindus, but 
they are lax in religious rites, and their ceremonies 
are often very different from those practised in India. 

Notable Remains. 

Of all the ruins in Assam that have excited the 
interest of archaeological savants, the old fort at 
Dimapur in the Nambhor forest stands pre-eminently 
first ; not so much from the fort itself as from the 
remarkable carved stone monoliths which stand within 



VII HISTORY OF UPPER ASSAM 77 

its area. Dimapur, as we have seen, was up to the 
middle of the sixteenth century the capital of the Kachari 
people ; and evidences of sites, causeways, etc., cut 




Closer View of Individual Stones, Dimapur. 

through by the Assam and Bengal Railway, show it 
to have been of very considerable extent, the present 
old fort having been a sort of citadel. It is a square ; 
each face six to seven hundred yards long had 
originally a gateway, except the one overlooking the 



78 



HISTORY OF UPPER ASSAM chap. 



Dhansiri river. Of these, only one on the east face 
now remains in a fair state of preservation. The 
brick walls are all thrown down but easily traceable, 
as are also several tanks inside. It was first noticed 
by Lieutenant Biggs, who in 1841 made a tour from 
Nowgong to the Naga hills and opened a salt depot 
at Dimapur, which was then on the border of British 
territory ; but it remained hidden in its dense 
covering of forest growth till about 1892, when a 




The Remarkable Carved Stones as discovered in the Old Kachari 
Fort at Dimapur. 



small portion inside was cleared. This revealed the 
remarkable collection of monoliths standing inside, 
or rather some still erect, others thrown down and 
cracked by earthquakes. What these represent, and 
by what people carved and set up, has baffled many 
a savant. Ferguson says that they are unique of 
their kind in Asia, and were obviously there long 
before the fort, set up by a race long forgotten, but 
still venerated in the mystery surrounding them, by 



VII HISTORY OF UPPER ASSAM 79 

the Kacharis. They stand, enormous blocks of sand- 
stone in four rows six yards apart, sixteen in each 
row, those at the ends being ten to twelve feet, the 
centre four being fifteen to seventeen feet high. The 
two rows to the east are shaped not unlike gigantic 
" lingam " stones, the two western ones taking the 
shape of a V, and are said to be evidences of Phallic 
worship. The tops of the latter have deep slots 
cut into them, pointing to their having possibly 
supported a roof ; but whether the roof of a temple 
or of a covered way to a temple long since crumbled 
away, it is impossible to say. All the stones are 
elaborately carved with representations of birds, 
animals, spear heads, and this must have been done 
after the stones were set up, as the nearest places 
from which the stone could have been quarried are 
some ten miles oif in the gorge near Nichuguard, 
and the carving would have been badly damaged in 
transit. In Lord Curzon's time, whose interest for 
ancient remains is well known, these fallen and 
cracked monoliths have been set up in their places, 
the broken pieces secured with iron bands, and the 
surrounding ground completely cleared and fenced 
in for their preservation. Further clearing inside the 
fort has revealed a smaller set of similar stones 
less elaborately carved, and one solitary giant stone 
some twenty feet high. In the vicinity of Dimapur 
are two enormous and deep tanks, one being over 
300 yards on each face, with high banks, on one of 
which, up to 1 90 1, stood the old rest-house looking 
over the fine sheet of water away to the Naga hills. 
It is said that ten other tanks are known of in this 
locality, all dating from the early Kachari days. At 



8o 



HISTORY OF UPPER ASSAM chap. 



Jamaguri, thirty odd miles north-east of Dimapur, 
near the Doyang river, are the remains of another 
ancient city with similar monoliths, but this has not 
been properly explored yet ; while at Deopani, in 
the neighbourhood of Borpathar, stands a single 
gigantic monolith carved as are those at Dimapur 
which was discovered by a civil engineer when con- 




The Carved Stones in Dimapur Fort restored and set up, 

AS AT present. 

structing the cart road from Golaghat to Dimapur 
after the Manipur rising of 1891, and while searching 
in the forest for stone for bridging purposes. At 
Maibong, a small station on the Assam and Bengal 
Railway, are to be seen distinct traces of massive brick 
walls which surrounded the second Kachari capital, 
and which are now covered with forest and jungle. 
Carved stones, stone images, portions of stones with 



VII HISTORY OF UPPER ASSAM 8i 

inscriptions cut into them, fragments of pillars, 
excavated tanks, etc., are frequently found by coolies 
and herdsmen and brought to those interested in 
such things, and many of the best have found their 
way into museums. The most complete of these 
remains as yet discovered here lies a mile from the 
station down the Mahur river, and is a gigantic 
boulder eighteen to twenty feet high and over ninety 
feet round at the base, the upper half of which 




Ancient and Remarkable Temple Carved from a Huge Boulder 
AT Maibong. 

is carved into the shape of a temple with doors, 
projecting eaves, some rough ornamentation, and an 
inscription carved on the west side, gives a date, 
namely, 1683 Hindu era, representing 1721 of 
ours. The temple is apparently solid and is not 
used ; nor, as the writer was told, does it appear 
to have any sanctity left, for it is never visited by 
" fakirs " and such like who annually make their 
" tirith," or pilgrimages, to ancient shrines in Assam. 
Maibong lies in a charmingly wooded valley watered 

G 



82 HISTORY OF UPPER ASSAM chap. 

by the Mahur river, which in its lower reaches holds 
good fishing, and is overlooked by the Mahadeo 
mountain rising to some 5000 feet. 

The ruins of Garhgaon have been mentioned in 
the history, so we pass on to the far eastern corner 
of Assam on the borderland of the Mishmis and 
Abors, to where stand the remains of the once large 
and flourishing cities of Kundina and Prithiminagar, 
and certain famous temples. And here, as the writer 
has never had the opportunity of reaching this 
locality himself. Major Hannay's account of these 
in his article to the Journal of the Asiatic Society 
Bengal, 1848, will serve us the better, as he fancies 
no one else has taken the trouble to explore those 
regions J though many of our frontier expeditions 
of late years have passed them closely by. Kundina 
(Kundilpur), which Hannay and party visited, is 
a hill fort at the foot of the mountains between the 
Dikrang and Dibong rivers, some sixteen miles north 
of Sadiya. The path led six miles across the plain 
and thence up the bed of the Dikrang. On reaching 
the hill the only track found was that beaten down 
by wild elephants, and frequently paths had to be 
cut for several hours ; after which they reached a 
fine piece of table-land covered with splendid timber 
trees. Here they came upon the first traces of a 
bygone people in a high earth rampart facing the 
plains. A little further on was found the remains 
of a strong parapet, the lower portion of which was 
of solid hewn granite blocks topped by a wall of 
well-made bricks about five feet high, apparently 
loop-holed for spears and arrows. There were signs 
of gateways and many cross walls, but all had 



VII HISTORY OF UPPER ASSAM 83 

crumbled into the heaps of bricks which littered 
the locality. From what they saw, these defences 
surrounded an immense area, while in the Dikrang 
valley were seen numerous debris of earthen vessels 
totally different in shape from those used by the 
Assamese, and which they found closely resembled 
the earthenware of Gangetic India. 

Hannay records that all the remains are of great 
age and originally w;ere substantially built of good 
stone and bricks. Cement was unknown then, and 
certain rectangular turns in the walls pointed to a 
knowledge of flank defence. 

The party spent a week on the Dikrang river 
exploring the site of another ancient city spoken of 
as Prithiminagar, where they found an eighteen- 
foot high earth rampart with ditch circling round 
for several miles north and north-west. Inside this 
rampart, now supporting enormous forest trees, they 
found several very large tanks, one measuring 280 by 
ninety yards, with ruined bathing ghats of hewn 
sandstone. A brick gateway was found, and a raised 
road leading to the river, where large stone slabs 
lying about suggested the remains of a bridge. This 
must have enclosed the site of a very large town. 
Both these places, he conjectures, were built by one 
people, the masonry and bricks being of one pattern, 
But who were these people } And when and where- 
from did the wild Abors and Mishmis come who 
now hold these hills ? Popular tradition, Hannay 
says, as well as local evidences, go to show that the 
Brahmaputra in the far-off past ran much closer to 
the mountains than it does now, which would have 
brought the river close to these ancient cities. The 

G 2 



84 



HISTORY OF UPPER ASSAM chap. 



little river Kundil gave its name to one of the towns, 
namely Kundilpur, also known as Kundina and as 
Bishmaknagar, from the name of its legendary founder ; 
and where the stream joins the Brahmaputra, namely 




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Carved Stones dug up at Maibong. 

at Kundilmukh, was located for many years a British 
military outpost. 

Another visit of exploration was paid by Hannay 
to the famous shrine of Tamasari Mai or the Copper 
Temple, and to that of Bhora Bhoori in the same 
locality, namely in the Sadiya district. Of the former, 
he writes that this sacred spot, eight miles north- 
east of Chunpura (Sonpura), which lies ten miles 
east of Kundilmukh, now covered with dense forest, 



VII HISTORY OF UPPER ASSAM 85 

stands on a little stream, the Dalpani. In ancient 
times this shrine and the once populous lands around 
were undoubtedly connected with the western end of 
Assam by the stupendous raised roadway from Kama- 
tapur (Cooch Behar) through Narainpur to the extreme 
east of Assam, and also presumably to the cities just 
alluded to, long stretches of which are still in use. 
Several generations have now passed away since the 
votaries of these temples were numerous enough to 
keep the roads leading to them open. The Tamasari 
Mai was dedicated to Kamakhya and the Yoni ; but 
Shiva and the Lingam were also worshipped with 
all barbarous rites, including human sacrifices, which 
latter obtained it is known in the early part of the 
nineteenth century. In 1850 Hannay knew of certain 
families living near Sadiya who for generations past 
had been specially set aside to provide the doubtful 
honour of becoming victims to the dread Goddess. 
He gives a detailed description of the size and shape 
of this temple, speaks of the well-hewn blocks of 
granite of which it is built, and from the fact that 
in one part he finds a thin layer of mortar between 
the bricks composing the upper part, he assumes the 
ancient shrine to . have been rebuilt about the time 
of the Brahminical revival, namely, about the middle 
of the fifteenth century. The doorway appears to 
have been elaborately carved, and in front stood an 
elephant carved out of a huge block of porphyritic 
granite of a hardness which must have required 
well-tempered tools to work with. Tradition says 
the tusks, no longer existent, were of silver. The 
whole is surrounded by a brick terrace which is 
ornamented with tiles let in, having stamped upon 



86 HISTORY OF UPPER ASSAM chap. 

them in high relief, figures of Hindu Avatars. Very 
Uttle remained then of the copper roofing. The 
Bhora Bhoori temple Hannay and party also found 
their way to, which lies ten miles from Sadiya, the last 
four miles being up the bed of the Dikrang river 




" MuRTA," OR Idol, found at Maibong. 

till a small stream, the Deopani, was reached. Here 
they came on what is generally stated to be the 
most ancient as well as the most sacred spot in 
Assam. Orthodox Hindus consider it a shrine to 
Mahadeo, but Hannay is certain of its Buddhist 
origin. There is a large hexagonal altar in a well- 



VII HISTORY OF UPPER ASSAM 87 

flagged courtyard surrounded by a rampart of hewn 
sandstone blocks, the inner side of which is faced 
with bricks. In front of this ahar is a stone terrace 
on which offerings were placed, and about sixty 
paces from the altar is the second rampart and deep 
ditch outside. There were no signs of gateways, 
but a raised roadway led out from the west face of 
the altar. There are also traces of this altar having 
had a roof over it once, but this has long since vanished. 
Both sacred spots are in an absolutely ruinous state 
and overgrown with jungle round and upon them. 
This growth of course gradually displaces stones, 
and the general dilapidation is probably increased 
by the numerous wild elephants tearing down the 
shrubs from the highest points reachable, and rubbing 
themselves against the walls. 

In the vicinity of Sibsagor, at Garhgaon, and 
Rangpur, are still to be seen remains of old Ahom 
forts, the palace, several large tanks, and some fine 
Hindu temples. Charaideo, the first capital of note, 
and for long a place of sanctity for Ahom kings, has 
little or nothing left visible of its former glory beyond 
a temple, a tank, and the mounds covering the burial 
places of certain kings. In the centre of the Dihing 
Company's tea plantation stands a large ancient 
temple with a splendid avenue of Nahor trees of 
great age leading up to it ; this was discovered when 
the ground for plantation was being cleared of its 
dense forests. In this neighbourhood, when out 
shooting in the jungles, one frequently comes across 
evidence of the skes of towns and villages, artificial 
irrigation channels, tanks, and groves of fine old 
mango and jack fruit trees, marking where once 



88 



HISTORY OF UPPER ASSAM chap. 



gardens had stood. This in the heart of the forest — 
unmistakable signs of a former thriving population 
in what was till recent years perhaps one of the 
wildest districts of eastern Assam. 

While on this subject a reference may well be made 
here to the worship of stones by the Khasias and 
certain of the Naga tribes. These are set up to 




Inscribed Stones dug up at Maibong. 

commemorate deaths, raids, hunting successes, and 
village incidents of importance. Some are set up, 
as amongst certain hill tribes in Manipur, in the 
name of a deity, but are not objects actually con- 
nected with religious ideas. The tribe whose mono- 
liths reach an enormous size and are arranged in 
avenues on the way up to their villages is that of 
Maram, a Naga community occupying the hill country 
about the upper Barak waters and eastern slopes 
of the Barail range, not far from the Naga hills 



VII HISTORY OF UPPER ASSAM 89 

boundary. These people have erected immense stones 
for centuries past, arranging them in symmetrical 
rows, avenues, circles, and singly. Two huge mono- 
liths in the village of Maram are venerated as the 
deity presiding over hunting matters. The labour 
of dragging these huge and heavy stones up hill 
sides is very great, the stones being levered on to 
a stout timber sledge and then dragged by bands 




The Remarkable^" Stonehenge" at Togwema, Naga Hills. 

of men using ropes of stout creepers till the spot for 
erection is reached, when it is again levered off the 
sledge into a hole and then lifted up until com- 
pletely erect, the process sometimes covering days 
and weeks. The most remarkable of these " Stone- 
henges " is to be seen at the village of Togwema 
(or Uilong), a few miles west of Maram, and which 
has only been up to date visited by three English- 
men, including the writer. Here on a spur just 
outside the village, now of no great size, stands 



90 HISTORY OF UPPER ASSAM ch. vii 

thirty-two monoliths arranged in a large oval, from 
which again start lines of fourteen monoliths, the 
height of all varying between eight feet and thirteen 
and a half feet, and the breadth between two feet and 
nine and a half feet. The thickness of each is 
generally about two feet. In the oval of stones it 
is customary for the young men of the place to hold 
their dances and wrestling bouts, which occur on 
the annual festival of the dead. These stones, the 
writer was told, were very many centuries old, and 
were put up when Togwema village was a large and 
powerful one, which has since many generations 
gradually declined in strength and importance. The 
erection of this " Stonehenge " would be quite im- 
possible in the present day. From popular traditions 
and from actual practices in the present day with 
stones of lesser size, it is possible to obtain some 
idea of the expenditure in energy, and the resources 
of the people of the past required for such stupendous 
undertakings. 



CHAPTER VIII 



BHOOTAN 



Having now dealt with the history of Assam and 
the reasons leading to its coming into our hands, 
we can now deal with the different interesting border 
tribes and their countries, commencing from the 
west, namely, with the Bhootanese, a Thibeto-Burman 
race dwelling east of Darjiling and north of the Cooch 
Behar border. 

The Bhootan hills, as they are alluded to, and 
which border Assam to the north-west, are about 
220 miles long by ninety or so in breadth, and they 
separate Thibet from the Brahmaputra valley. Very 
little is known of this country, which was first visited 
in 1774 and 1783 by Bogle and Captain Turner 
respectively, who, on commercial trips to Thibet, 
made their routes through Bhootan. The next to 
penetrate these hills was Captain Pemberton in 1838, 
who describes the people as "in disposition excellent, 
they possess an equanimity of temper almost border- 
ing on apathy and are indolent to an extreme degree. 
They are also illiterate, immoral, and victims of 
the most unqualified superstition." In describing 
the officials, he says : " the highest officers of state 



92 HISTORY OF UPPER ASSAM chap. 

in Bhootan are shameless beggars and liars of the 
first magnitude, whose most solemn pledged words 
are violated without the slightest hesitation. They 
play bully and sycophant with equal readiness, exhi- 
biting in their conduct a rare compound of official 
pride and presumption, together with the low cunning 
of needy mediocrity." Mr. Claude White, however, 
expresses himself on them in more favourable terms 
since his visit to their country in 1905. 

The people are professed Buddhists, though still 
propitiating evil spirits ; polyandry is the prevailing 
domestic custom and the habits of all classes are 
filthy to a degree. The men are strongly built, 
with athletic figures, of dark complexions, and un- 
pleasantly heavy and cunning faces. 

With a people possessing these unamiable charac- 
teristics we had but little to do until well into the 
middle of last century, when we came into unpleasant 
contact with them, due to their continual acts of 
aggression along the borders of the Dooars or large 
tracts of low hills and terai land lying between the 
Himalayas and the Assam plains. In 1792, when 
Welsh's expedition entered Assam, it was found the 
Bhootanese were exercising authority as far into the 
plains as Kamali AUi, though for how long this had 
been going on is not known ; presumably the weak 
government of Gaurinath's reign had favoured the 
extension of Bhootanese land grabbing. However, 
this condition could not be put up with when the 
British began to administer Assam in 1832, and 
Mr. David Scott ordered them back into the Dooars. 
These, the Assam Dooars, ten years later were appro- 
priated by the Government in punishment for various 



VIII 



HISTORY OF UPPER ASSAM 



93 



acts of aggression and plunder. As these Dooars 
had formerly belonged rightly to the Assamese kings, 
and, owing to the arbitrary severity of the Bhootan 
rulers had almost been depopulated, this act of the 



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The Hunting Stones at Mara.m. 



British Commissioners cannot be viewed as a harsh 
proceeding. These tracts now came under our rule 
and formed part of the present districts of Kamrup 
and Darrang ; but one of the eastern Dooars, that 
of Railing, for some time was subject to a curious 
dual control, the reason of which was not apparent. 



94 HISTORY OF UPPER ASSAM chap. 

namely, that for eight months in the year the inhabi- 
tants belonged to the Tongsa Penlo subject to the 
Dharm and Deb Rajas of Bhootan, and during the 
remaining four months (June 15 to October 15) 
the people reverted to British jurisdiction. In 1842 
this anomalous condition ceased to exist. Of the 
two rulers just mentioned it may be said the Dharm 
Raja is the spiritual, while the Deb Raja is the 
temporal head of Bhootan. 

By 1845 the most easterly of the Dooars had been 
brought under our rule, and now Government decided 
that a sum of money, 10,000 rupees, should be paid 
annually to the two Rajas as some compensation for 
the loss of revenue entailed by them on our taking 
over the land. 

In 1852 a misunderstanding arose between the 
British and Thibetan Governments concerning the 
Raja of Gelong in the hills overlooking the most 
easterly of the Assam Dooars. This Raja, having 
been set in authority over other petty chiefs by the 
Thibetan Government, took advantage of this little 
show of power to declare himself independent. Troops 
from Lhassa were sent against him, and after some 
stubborn fighting the Gelong Raja was driven across 
our border, and his extradition demanded in most 
peremptory terms. This was followed up by an 
army being pushed down towards the plains, and 
at one time a Thibetan invasion of Assam appeared 
imminent. However, a small British force of 400 
sepoys and two guns being hurried up to the Darrang 
border, further Thibetan intentions were checked 
without actual hostility. A treaty was then signed 
by the Thibetans by which they agreed to our terms. 



VIII 



HISTORY OF UPPER ASSAM 



95 



and the hostile force returned to Lhassa. Though 
these measures gave peace to the Assam Dooars, 
those abutting on the province of Bengal were still 
frequently subjected to plunder and outrages. In 
spite of remonstrances from Government, which only 




A Solitary Monolith. 

elicited insolent replies, things went on in this un- 
satisfactory way until i860 when, as a punishment, 
the estate of Fallacotta was annexed by the British, 
and a native mission was sent to explain the situation 
and intentions of Government to the Deb and Dharm 
Rajas of Bhootan. This producing no effect, Mr. 



96 HISTORY OF UPPER ASSAM chap. 

Eden (Secretary to the Bengal Government) was sent 
in 1863 to Ponaka, their capital, to make a final effort 
towards better relations between the two Governments. 
Eden, however, on arrival at Ponaka was received 
with contumely by the Bhootan court and practically 
held a prisoner ; until only by signing a treaty under 
protest, which was perfectly unworkable, would the 
Durbar guarantee him and his party a safe conduct 
out of their country. The patience of the British 
Government being now exhausted, war became un- 
avoidable. The Bhootanese forces were said to 
number 10,000 men armed with matchlocks, bows 
and arrows, and short heavy swords. Their match- 
locks, though clumsy, were effective at 400 yards ; 
while a case occurred at Dewangiri of one of our 
men being shot at 800 yards by one of these weapons. 
But the bow is their favourite arm with which they 
constantly practise and are very expert. They were 
this time found to act well on the defence and were 
good at field works. That they are not devoid of 
courage is shown by what occurred at Dewangiri 
in 1865, when they defeated aild put to rout a 
British force of 800 sepoys and ten British officers ; 
and again near the same place the defence of a stockade 
by 150 Bhootanese, who fought it out to the bitter 
end, excited admiration. 

A picturesque feature in their country are the old 
mediaeval forts built to control the trade route from 
Thibet and to guard against invasion on that side. 
These are well described by Mr. C. White in the report 
of his visit in 1905, and it would be interesting to 
know how this people got to know of the pattern of 
such defensive structures unUke what are found in 



VIII HISTORY OF UPPER ASSAM 97 

the parts of India adjacent to their country, and far 
more resembling some old-time European castle. 

Active measures having now been decided on against 
Bhootan, a force in four columns was assembled to 
enter the country and exact reparation for insults 
to our envoy, property raided, captives carried off, 
and general aggressiveness of the past few years. 

The Dewangiri column was the principal one, 
and consisted of the 43rd Assam L.I. (now 7th 




Method of Dragging these Stones on Sledges to 
THEIR Final Resting Place. 

Goorkha Rifles) one and a half companies Sappers, 
one squadron 5th B.C., and two mountain guns, 
with a wing of the 12th B.I. and Assam local Artillery 
in reserve at Gauhati. 

The Sidli column of one squadron of 5th B.C. 
and two squadrons 14th B.C., a wing of the 44th 
Assam Light Infantry (now the 8th Goorkha Rifles), 
one and a half companies Sappers, and three moun- 
tain guns, was to operate in the hills between the 
Sankosh and Manas rivers 



98 HISTORY OF UPPER ASSAM chap. 

The Buxa column a wing of the nth B.I., one 
squadron 14th B.C., and three mountain guns was 
to operate west of the Sankosh river beyond the 
northern border of Cooch Behar. 

The Baling column based on Jalpaigori consisted 
of a wing of the nth B.I., two squadrons 5th B.C., 
one company Sappers, with two mountain guns 
and two mortars was to move on Baling fort between 
the Jaldaka and Tista rivers. 

The 80th Foot was held in readiness at Barjiling. 

In the end of November all was in readiness and 
the Baling column opened proceedings by moving 
first. On the 5th of Becember, 1864, the force 
reached Baling, which was attacked and shelled 
next day. A breach being effected, the place was 
assaulted, the enemy evacuating it before our troops 
got in. The defence for a time was well conducted, 
for our losses were three British officers and seven 
men killed, seven officers and fifty-seven men wounded ; 
while though our fire on the fort had been heavy 
for eight hours, only four dead were found in it. 
Four days later the fort of Bumsong was taken, and 
the troops moving further east reached Chumarchi 
fort, which was captured on the 2nd of January, 1865, 
with a loss to us of two killed and fifteen wounded. 

While this was going on the Buxa column had 
occupied Buxa without opposition, and left a garrison 
to hold it, while the rest scoured the country. 

The Sidli and Bewangiri columns working in 
concert via Bhijni and Kurramkotta, or Kumrikotta, 
captured Bewangiri on the 12th of Becember with 
the loss of only one man. 

A garrison of six companies 43 rd Assam Light 



VIII HISTORY OF UPPER ASSAM 99 

Infantry and two guns was left here, while the rest 
of the force moved west to establish a post at Bishen- 
sing. Early in February, it being thought operations 
were at an end, the columns, excepting these garri- 
sons, were withdrawn to the plains. The Bhootanese 
however, were not done with, for in early February, 
1865, they re-assembled and began attacking the 
garrisons left behind. At Dewangiri they succeeded 
one morning early in entering the camp quietly, and 




Avenue of Monoliths near Maram. 

suddenly cutting the tent ropes, all was soon in con- 
fusion, and hand-to-hand conflicts followed when the 
enemy were at length beaten off, having inflicted a 
loss to the garrison of one British officer and four 
men killed, one British oflacer and thirty-one men 
wounded. For three days the garrison were sur- 
rounded and its water supply cut off. On the 
4th of February they were compelled to retreat, 
which was commenced the following day under 
disastrous circumstances. The way was lost, the 

H 2 



too HISTORY OF UPPER ASSAM chap. 

Bhootanese, 1,500 strong, followed closely, a panic 
set in, many wounded were left behind, and the two 
guns fell into the enemy's hands. The force, com- 
pletely disorganised, at last reached the plains. Deter- 
mined attacks were also made on the Chumarchi, 
Balla, and Buxa stockades, and were not beaten off 
without considerable losses to us. At Buxa the 
garrison was obliged to retire with two officers and 
thirteen men wounded. 

Immediate steps were taken to send up reinforce- 
ments, and the 55th and the 8oth Foot, 19th, 29th, 
and 31st Punjabi Infantry with two batteries of 
Artillery were ordered up to Assam under command 
of General Tombs. Two columns were formed : 
the right to concentrate at Gauhati and to advance 
on Dewangiri, the left from Jalpaigori to move into 
the western hills on Buxa and Baling. After a series 
of minor skirmishes Dewangiri was captured after a 
stiff fight, with a loss to us of four officers and thirty- 
five men wounded ; the fort and defences were then 
demolished. The left column encountered severe 
opposition at Balla, losing three killed and one officer 
and nineteen men wounded in the capture of a strong 
Bhootanese stockade, wh'.ch the enemy held to the 
last in hand-to-hand conflict with detachments of 
the i8th and 19th P.I. The operations were brought 
to a close in early April, 1865, ^^'^ with DaHng and 
Buxa garrisoned in strength the force returned to 
Assam. The Bhootan Durbar, however, did not 
yet come to terms, nor had they given up the captured 
guns ; it was therefore found desirable to again 
enter their hills and advance to the capital Ponaka. 
To this end a force of two wings of British infantry 



VIII HISTORY OF UPPER ASSAM loi 

and six battalions of Native Infantry were put in 
motion, and after one action at Salika on the 6th of 
February, 1866, the Bhootanese finally submitted. 
The guns were given up and a treaty signed by the 
Deb and Dharm Rajas agreeing to all our terms, which 
included the final annexation of the Bengal Dooars 
and the cessation of all revenue hitherto received 
by Bhootan for the Assam Dooars. The end of 
this war saw the Bhootan Durbar finally deprived 
for good and all of the Dooars and lands they had 
held below the hills, and the allowances hitherto 
paid to the Durbar on account of the Assam Dooars 
and Fallacotta were, of course, stopped. I^ater, how- 
ever. Government reconsidered the matter of allow- 
ances on its being known that the Bhootan aristo- 
cracy drew all their revenue from these plains' lands. 
It was rightly surmised that entire deprivation of 
such revenues would only produce a discontented, 
turbulent set of neighbours along our border ; so 
in spite of all provocation the British Government 
arranged that a sum of Rs. 25,000, in which the 
Assam Dooars' allowance was merged, should be 
paid annually, and the boundary line from the Manas 
river on the west to the Deosham river on the east 
was definitely laid down, and a military post estab- 
lished in the hills at Buxa ; after which our frontier 
relations with these people became extremely simple. 
With regard to direct trade between Assam and 
Thibet which formerly existed, Hamilton states that 
Lhassa used to send an annual caravan of silver 
and rock salt to a place called " Chouna," two 
months' march from the capital, where for long a 
mart had been established close to the border of 



I02 HISTORY OF UPPER ASSAM ch. viii 

both countries, and that four miles from Chouna 
on the Assam side a similar mart existed at " Gegun- 
shar," to which place rice, silk, iron, and lac were 
brought for exchange. These two places, however, 
are not shown on any maps, and in the early part of 
last century the trade appears to have ceased, to 
be revived again by a Lieutenant Rutherford in 
1833 at Udalguri, in Darrang district, which still 
continues and is visited annually by crowds of inter- 
esting peoples from Bhootan, Thibet, and even China. 
Another trade route between Thibet, Bhootan, and 
Assam, passes through Tawang to Udalguri, and 
is in constant use. 



CHAPTER IX 



AKAS 



The tribe next to the Bhootanese, who in the 
old days of a strong ruler in Assam appear to have 
been kept in good order, probably by drastic 
measures, are the Akas — a small tribe allied to 
the Nagas on the south side of the Brahmaputra, 
and who had a reputation for violence. When the 
English first came into contact with them was in 
1829, when the depredations of the Tagi Raja 
necessitated action being taken against him. He 
was captured and got four years in the Gauhati jail, 
which it was thought would teach him better ways. 
But on release he at once turned to the old game, 
eluding re-capture ; and in 1835 he and a strong 
following treacherously obtained entrance to the Balia- 
para stockade, held by a small garrison of Assam 
Light Infantry (now the 6th Goorkha Rifles), and 
managed to cut up twenty-four people. Instead 
of a punitive expedition a blockade of the tribe was 
started, lasting some seven years, during which time 
the Tagi Raja and his following maintained a guer- 
rilla warfare, evading capture until he vanished quietly 
from the scene. In 1875 trouble again broke out 



104 HISTORY OF UPPER ASSAM chap. 

over boundary demarcations, and a small expedition 
was sent into the hills, but with no success. On 
this followed another blockade, which brought the 
tribe to its senses a few years later. In 1883, when 
the Calcutta Exhibition was coming off, a native 
official was sent to the Aka chief to ask him to 
supply articles for the exhibition, and also for a 
man and a woman to be sent down to be modelled 
there. The chief took offence at the request and 
detained the official. This act was immediately 
followed by a serious raid on Baliapara, when two 
forest officials were captured amongst many others ; 
and a British force consisting of 700 rifles of the 
43rd Assam Light Infantry and 12th B.I., with two 
guns of the Kohat mountain battery and 450 trans- 
port coolies under command of General Sale Hill, 
entered the Aka country in December, 1883. The 
advance was rapid and was opposed at the Bharali 
river, where the tribesmen attacked the camp at night, 
causing us one killed and seven wounded. A few 
days later the principal village Mehdi, strongly 
stockaded, was attacked and assaulted. The guns 
taking the heart out of the Akas, they did not wait 
for the bayonet, but broke and fled. Two days 
later they sent in their captives, and in January, 1884, 
the force was withdrawn on the Akas entering into 
an agreement with Government to report their arrival 
at any markets in the plains, where they would fairly 
barter their goods, and not thieve or commit crimes 
in our territory, or join any parties who may here- 
after become enemies of the British, to appear in the 
plains without weapons, to recover debts from our 
ryots through our civil court, and to forfeit the 



IX HISTORY OF UPPER ASSAM 105 

pensions to their chiefs should these terms not be 
abided by. 

Daphlas and Mirris. 
The next tribes immediately to the east of the 
Akas are the Daphlas and Mirris, the latter of whom 
have never given us trouble and stand in some sort 
of servile relation to their powerful neighbours the 
Abors ; while the former tribe, with whom we first 
came in contact in 1835 has given in earlier days 
a good deal of annoyance. Their country which, 
like the rest of the border is hilly and densely forest 
clad, is much more accessible than that of the neigh- 
bouring tribes ; while one tribal sub-division, the 
Apa Tanangs, own a magnificent elevated plateau 
laid out in highly cultivated terraces, which was 
once visited by the late Mr. Macabe, who also found 
their country full of articles of Chinese manufacture ; 
though what communication there may be between 
the Daphlas and Thibet or China we do not know. 
The Daphlas and Apa Tanangs are thought to number 
some 25,000, and when we arrived in Assam they 
had a formidable reputation which, however, did 
not survive a close acquaintance. This reputation 
had come down from early days when the Ahoms 
from 1646 on, had to send several expeditions into 
their hills, when it not unfrequently happened the 
Daphlas were successful until a very large force 
crushed out all opposition. In 1673 Ahom " bur- 
anjis " record an Ahom force being sent to exact 
reparation for raids made into the plains, and which 
came utterly to grief, being surrounded by the Daphlas 
and almost annihilated. 



io6 HISTORY OF UPPER ASSAM chap. 

In 1758 the Ahoms, in order to check their raiding 
propensities, found it necessary actually to erect 
forts along the foot of the hills and institute a long 
blockade of the tribe ; which goes to show that the 
tribe possessed brave and warlike propensities in 
the past, though these exist no longer. Mahomed 
Kasim, a Moghul historian of the seventh century, 
speaks of this tribe as being " entirely independent 
of the Ahom king, and whenever they find an oppor- 
tunity plunder all the lands in the vicinity of their 
mountains." 

It seems that the Daphlas, under the Ahom rule, 
had the right to levy what was called " Posa " directly 
from the ryots, in some cases this being paid in cash, 
in others in kind. This " Posa " has been some- 
times alluded to as blackmail, which is inaccurate, 
it being rather of the nature of a well-ascertained 
revenue payment on account of which a correspond- 
ing remission was made in the State demand upon 
the persons satisfying it ; it was a distinct feature 
in the Ahom revenue system, was not exacted from 
every tribe, and was at first not interfered with by 
the British officials, who avoided making any very 
radical changes. In time efforts were made to induce 
the tribe to resign this right, which was not complied 
with, and for many years constituted a difficulty. In 
1835 a serious raid constrained offensive action on 
our part, when Captain Mathie, in charge of the 
Darrang district, led a small military force into the 
hills where, after a little desultory fighting, certain 
captives were released, and a series of outposts 
established along the border. After this, certain 
sections of the Daphla tribe submitted and agreed 



IX HISTORY OF UPPER ASSAM 107 

to resign their right to collect " Posa," which for 
many years was entirely stopped ; till it was found 
the Daphlas we were concerned with, being subordinate 
to a stronger community in the higher ranges, these 
latter were oppressing the former, who now had no 
money to pay them -with as formerly had been 
customary. The Government then in 1862 directed 
the " Posa " to be changed to a monetary payment 
of Rs. 4,000 annually on their chiefs agreeing not 
to aid the enemies of the British Raj, to arrest 
offenders, and to arrange that one chief should live 
near the British official to be the medium of com- 
munication vdth the Daphlas. All went well until 
1 87 1, when the tribe again gave trouble, which started 
in a curious way. A severe epidemic of whooping- 
cough occurred amongst the Daphlas living on and 
in our border which spread to the hill villages. These 
latter demanded compensation from the men on the 
low hills and plains, amongst whom the malady 
started. As this was refused the hill Daphlas raided 
a village on the border, killing a number and carrying 
off thirty-five persons. A British force was at once 
ordered to assemble, but interminable delays took 
place owing to disagreements between the civil and 
military authorities ; and eventually a column of 
600 rifles of the 44th A.L.I, (now the 8th G.R.) 
were advanced to the border under Major Cory. 
The villages concerned were but five marches beyond 
our border, and the country is, as before stated, 
the most easily accessible of all the north-east tribes. 
Unfortunately, the sound forward designs of Cory 
were over-ridden by the less advanced policy of 
the civil authorities ; and, as is so often the case 



io8 HISTORY OF UPPER ASSAM chap. 

in divided counsels, the result ensued that nothing 
was done beyond a long and futile blockade. In 
early 1874, therefore, Colonel Stafford with a column 
of 1,000 rifles, three mountain guns, and 1,500 
coolies entered the hills. The Daphlas made no 
resistance, but paid up fines and returned the captives. 
Little or nothing was done by this large force in 
exploration or survey, and it returned to Assam 




Group of Abors. 



amidst a clamour from Government over wasted 
money. But it was projected on a ridiculously large 
scale by the civil authorities, by whom also it was 
controlled and accounted a political success, though 
subsequent events have shown that no such serious 
measures had really ever been needed. In 1896 
the Apa Tanang section began raiding on a small 
scale, which was soon stopped by Captain Roe with 
a small force of the Dibrughar Military Police 



IX HISTORY OF UPPER ASSAM 109 

Battalion making a promenade through their hills, 
and which was sufficient to make them pay up their 
fines at once. This has proved the last of the trouble 
with this tribe, any further offences having been 
simply of a nature to be settled by police. 



The Abors. 

We now come to the two tribes round whom at 
present the chief interest centres, namely, the Abors 
and Mishmis. The former occupies the mountain- 
ous region between the Dihang (Tsan Po) and the 
Dibong rivers, and next to the Naga tribes on the 
south side of the Brahmaputra valley are the most 
formidable and physically superior to their neigh- 
bours. The Mirris, dwelling between the Daphlas 
and Abors, are allied to the latter, and are so alike 
that it seems evident they both came from the same 
original home — ^wherever that was ; the Mirris, migra- 
ting first and having been longer influenced by 
association with the plains folk, have lost their 
savagery and hardihood, which the later arrivals, 
the Abors, have retained. Intercourse between the 
two tribes is intimate, which does not seem to exist 
between the others, who live entirely independent 
of each other. That all own some sort of subordina- 
tion to the more remote races living further into the 
Himalayas to the north of them seems certain, but 
who these are and where their different boundaries 
lie we have no definite knowledge ; nor is any know- 
ledge forthcoming as to when they settled in these 
hills, which history shows had once a strong, thriving, 
and almost civilised race dwelling in large cities 



no 



HISTORY OF UPPER ASSAM chap. 



along the outer ranges of hills now inhabited by wild 
Abors and Mishmis. The Ahom " buranjis " are 
silent as to any trouble having occurred with these 
two races. The Abors are said not to fear the 
Thibetans, and trade much with them, their markets 
being more accessible than ours. Captain Neufville 
in 1825 first makes mention of the Mirris as living 
in the plains and low hills from the Sisi district of 
Lakhimpur almost to the Dihang river, where they 




■^miMi-- 



Janakmukh Post, Dihang River, and distant Abor Hills. 

merge into the Abors, while the Bor Abors occupy 
the inner and loftier ranges of hills which from the 
plains up are covered with dense forest. As various 
expeditions have merely penetrated the outer fringe 
of hills, what lies beyond is utterly unknown to us, 
though much information was expected on this point 
from the recent expedition of 1911-12, and from 
exploration work going on the following winter. It 
is stated the Abors can turn out some 10,000 to 
15,000 fighting-men, and the feeble conduct of troops 



IX HISTORY OF UPPER ASSAM iii 

and officials in the past has encouraged them to 
think the most of their powers. 

The Abors are divided into four clans, Menyong, 
Panghi, Padam, and Shimong, the two former dwelling 
between the Yamne and Dihang rivers and west of 
the latter river ; the Padam east of the Yamne ; 
and the Shimong to the north up the left bank of the 
Dihang. The character of the country is most 
difficult— entirely mountainous and forest-clad, with 
the rivers running for miles through rocky gorges, 
and unnavigable above Pasighat. Communications 
are only by means of the roughest tracks from village 
to village, and the rainfall in this region is exceed- 
ingly heavy, the only open months for work being 
October to the end of March. Their weapons are 
a long, straight " dao," which comes from Thibet, 
spears, and bows and arrows, the latter being pre- 
pared for war with a dab of poisoned paste made 
sometimes of pig's blood and aconite or the juice 
of the croton plant, which is put on just behind the 
arrow head. In most cases, however, from being 
made up for some time the poison loses its deadly 
efficacy, though it still makes a festering wound. 
A few old Tower muskets and muzzle-loading guns 
are also found in most villages. 

Unlike Singphos and Nagas, they do not stockade 
their villages, but build these defences at a distance 
to command all approaches, behind which they have 
frequently stood very stoutly. Like all these savage 
tribes they rely mostly on night attacks, ambuscades, 
booby traps, and stone shoots, etc., on which they 
will expend great labour. The religion of this tribe 
is purely animistic. It was in 1826 that the Abors 



112 HISTORY OF UPPER ASSAM chap. 

were first visited by Englishmen, Messrs. Bedford 
and Wilcox, in a friendly way, who went to Membu, 
which they reported on as being the most important 




Clearing Forest for Camp Ground in the Abor Country. 



IX HISTORY OF UPPER ASSAM 113 

of the tribal settlements and nunibering 300 odd 
houses. Some years after this an early Political 
Agent with a strong vein of optimism describes the 
Abors as being the most powerful and best disposed 
of all the hill tribes — ^which description was not long 
after shown to be wholly incorrect as regards their 
disposition. 

Trouble first occurred with the tribe in 1848 
over what they considered their inalienable rights 
over the Mirris, as well as to all fish and gold found 
in the streams issuing from their hills. The Assam 
Government had already begun to acquire con- 
siderable revenue from the gold dust of these rivers, 
which industry had long been carried on by Hindu 
gold washers who gave conciliatory offerings of the 
dust to the Abors. The Abors, finding these offer- 
ings decreasing as the Hindu washers realised their 
new position, the tribe raided into the plains and 
carried off a number of these gold washers. This 
necessitated Major Vetch, on duty at Sadiya, taking 
a force across the border. At first there was no 
opposition and the captives were given up, on which 
Vetch began to retire, and had his camp seriously 
attacked that night. The Abors were beaten off, 
but the troops re-crossed the border unwilling to 
risk anything further. 

In the succeeding years a number of outrages 
occurred, culminating in 1858 in a serious attack 
on a village but six miles from Dibrughar. Kebang 
village headed this raid, and an expedition at once 
set out under Major Lowther, with no rifles and 
two howitzers, to punish this village, which lies 
some twenty to thirty miles above Pasighat on the 

I 



114 HISTORY OF UPPER ASSAM chap. 

border. With this force went the Deputy Commis- 
sioner, whose presence and authority tied Lowther's 
hands, and various disagreements occurred. The 
Deputy Commissioner placed too much reliance on 
information with which he furnished the commander 
of the column, and which was faulty. A point four 
miles from Kebang village was reached, where a 
stockade was met with from which fire was opened 
and a bugler killed. The approach being difficult, 
the force withdrew to renew the attack next day ; 
but that night the Abors sturdily attacked the camp, 
the troops got demoralised and retired out of the 
hills. In doing so they were hustled the whole of 
the way, and lost four killed and twenty-two wounded. 
As all the neighbouring villages had now joined 
Kebang, the discomfited expedition made ignomi- 
nious haste for Dibrughar. For this failure both 
Commander and Deputy Commissioner were severely 
blamed by the authorities. 

The repulse of this force naturally encouraged 
the tribe to greater aggression, and in the following 
year, 1859, another force under Major Hannay, with 
300 rifles of the 42nd A.L.I. , sixty gunners with 
two howitzers and two mortars, were sent across the 
border to go for Kebang. This force advanced as 
the previous one had done to Pasighat, and thence 
attacked two stockaded positions at Runkang and 
Manku, where the Abors were driven out with a loss 
to us of one killed and forty-four wounded. The 
savages stuck well to their defences, and this together 
with the difficult nature of the country and the great 
number of coolies and elephants with the column, 
took the heart out of Hannay and his men. After 



IX HISTORY OF UPPER ASSAM 115 

a halt of a few days it was thought advisable to clear 
out of the hills ; so without any attempt to reach 
Kebang, the real objective, they retreated to the 
plains with results to their efforts as unsatisfactory 
as Lowther's had been. 

Another determined raid in 1862 on another village 
near Dibrughar, and on the south side of the river, 
obliged a recourse to punitive measures again, and 
Colonel Garston led a force of similar strength to 
Hannay's against Runkang village. However, they only 
got as far as Lallichapri when the civil official arrang- 
ing a meeting and parley, a treaty was patched up 
with the tribe, who agreed to respect the border on 
consideration of a " quid pro quo." As the arrange- 
ment of " Posa " had never existed between the 
Ahoms and Abors, Government agreed to a similar 
custom as existed between it and the Daphlas ; and 
the Abors became the recipients of " Posa," con- 
sisting of iron hoes, salt, rum, opium, and tobacco ; 
later this was turned into a monetary stipend of 
Rs. 3,400 annually. Small wonder that the Abors 
after all these futile efforts at punishment on our 
part and their recent substantial gain should have 
had an exaggerated notion of their own powers. 
Their outrages in various petty ways still continued, 
and still they received their " Posa " ! 

In 1 88 1 they crossed into the Mishmi country 
and practically controlled one of the trade routes into 
the interior, which necessitated a strong outpost of 
300 rifles being located at Nizamghat, which over- 
awed them for a time. 

This unsatisfactory state of affairs and our apathy 
towards the offenders continued up to 1893, when 

I 2 



ii6 HISTORY OF UPPER ASSAM chap. 

one of our Mirri villages was raided by Pashi and 
Menyong Abors, and captives were carried off. The 
usual negociations for their restitution were made 
with the usual empty results ; so, as the behaviour 
of the Abors, their insolence and disregard of Garston's 
treaty, was affecting the other tribes, notably the 
Mishmis, a fifth expedition was organised against 
them of 400 Military Police from Dibrughar, 100 
rifles of the 44th Goorkha Rifles (now 8th G.R.) 
and 1,500 coolies for transport. This well-equipped 
force started across the border in January, 1894, 
under command of Captain Maxwell. 

The Political Officer with the column directed 
the political side of the expedition and also controlled 
in a large measure its general management, which, 
as was only to be expected, produced disagreement 
and some friction. Bomjur, Dambuk, and Silluk were 
the first objectives, and the first village was taken 
at dawn on January the 14th without opposition. 
Dambuk was found strongly stockaded as usual a 
mile or so in front of the actual village. The dense 
forest prevented the possibility of any turning move- 
ment, and as the first efforts of the advance guard to 
rush the stockade failed, and the seven-pou^ider guns 
made no effect, a general assault was ordered. The 
Abors fought well, standing to their defences, keeping 
up showers of arrows and stones while the attackers 
were hacking at the chevaux de frise of " panjis " 
or bamboo stakes, which prevented their reaching the 
stockade. At last the Abors gave way and the defences 
were carried ; too late though in the evening to make 
any further advance on the village, which next 
morning was found deserted. A move was now 



IX HISTORY OF UPPER ASSAM 117 




A More Civilised Form of Suspension Bridge made by the 
Troops in the Abor Country. 



ii8 HISTORY OF UPPER ASSAM chap. 

made against the villages of Mimasipu and Silluk, 
both were destroyed, opposition only being met with 
at the latter place. The Political Officer now learnt 
that Damroh, a large village stated to be four long 
marches further into the hills, had also taken their 
share in the fighting, so an advance against it was 
decided on. Transport and supply difficulties now 
arose, and a halt was called until twenty days' rations 
could be collected at Bordak, to which place the force 
had advanced just below the junction of the Yamne 
and Dihang valleys. This was now made the base, 
while sick were returned to Bomjur, the starting- 
point of the expedition. The Political Officer, relying 
on local information, said it was quite unnecessary 
to leave a strong guard at Bordak, to which Maxwell 
disagreed, but as the management was in the hands 
of the former, he gave in to the extent of a small 
guard composed of weakly men under a native officer, 
himself not fit. After nearly a month's delay the 
rations were collected and the force advanced, leaving 
seventeen rifles and forty-four coolies at Bordak ; 
rations were to be sent on by Abor coolies. Dukku, 
two marches on, was reached without mishap, and 
next day only six miles were made owing to the 
difficult nature of the country, and a reconnoitring 
party up the Yamne gorge was fired upon. The 
next march only two miles were covered, and further 
difficulties were experienced owing to the Abor coolies 
deserting. The column was now in straits ; they 
had been far longer on the road than had been 
anticipated, and no supplies had reached them 
from the base. An attempt was made to reach 
Damroh with a flying column, now only some four 



IX HISTORY OF UPPER ASSAM 119 

miles off, and which was to destroy the place 
and return the same day. This, however, failed, 
the march being greatly delayed by having to turn 
the enemy out of a great stone " shoot " arranged 
far up on the hill side. So this column returned 
at two o'clock in the day without having reached 
its objective. The whole force had now to turn 
back, no rations having come out from Bordak, 
and en route the Abors opposed the retreat at Silli 
and Dukku. 

Bordak was duly reached, only to be found com- 
pletely gutted, dead bodies strewing the camp and 
the stores mostly destroyed. It transpired from the 
one man alone who escaped the massacre that the 
enemy had come into the camp in the guise of carriers 
who were expected, and that while loads were being 
distributed to them they suddenly set upon the small 
guard, cutting down all right and left. This now 
decided the Political Officer to leave the country, 
but Maxwell persuaded him to stay long enough to 
punish Padu and Membu villages, which must have 
been concerned in the destruction of the Bordak 
camp. Both villages were burnt with but little oppo- 
sition, and the force withdrew to Sadiya by the end 
of March. 

The objects of this expedition can only be said 
to have been half accomplished and at a very con- 
siderable loss to us, namely, forty-nine killed and 
forty-five wounded. Of course the " Posa " or annual 
monetary stipend has been stopped since this, and 
with one exception, that of an insignificant raid in 
1903, this tribe has given no further trouble until 
March, 191 1. 



CHAPTER X 

Mr. Noel Williamson, who had been Political 
Officer at Sadiya since 1904, had got on terms of 
friendliness with both the Abors and Mishmis, and 
had made one or two trips into the country of the 
latter with intent to reach Rima, but had not succeeded. 
He was a man of extraordinary tact and geniality, 
and from having been long in the Lushai and Naga 
countries, and also at Sadiya, he had acquired con- 
siderable insight into the characteristics of these 
various savage peoples. Their friendship he had 
gained while yet maintaining a strong hand, and he 
was looked upon as one of the best of our border 
officers. In 1909 he and Mr. Lumsden had made 
a trip into the Abor hills to Kebang, and had been 
invited to pay another visit. This was done a year 
later when Williamson and Dr. Gregorson went into 
the hills, hoping in the friendly attitude of the tribes- 
men to be able to push up the Dihang river into the 
unknown hinterland and discover the supposed falls 
in that river which a former native explorer, Kinthup, 
reported in 1882 as existing. This Kinthup travelled 
down the Tsan Po from Thibet, and was taken captive 
twice for periods of several months, but eventually 
reached a point north of the Abor country which he 



CH. X HISTORY OF UPPER ASSAM 121 

surmised must have been only thirty-five miles from 
the plains of Assam. He saw the falls near a place 
called Gyala Sindong, but was constrained to return 
to Thibet. In March, 191 1, both Williamson and 
Gregorson and their party came to grief, being 
treacherously cut down by Kebang Abors of the 
Menyong clan just after their arrival at a village, 
Komsing, only two or three managing to escape. 

To punish the Abors and also to explore and survey 
this country, for, owing to China's movements in 
Thibet and along the south-eastern borders of that 
country, a real interest was at last being awakened in 
this long stretch of unknown borderland, a large force 
under the command of Major-General Bowers, C.B., 
consisting of the ist Battn. 2nd Goorkhas, ist Battn. 
8th Goorkha Rifles, 32nd Sikh Pioneers, a company 
of Sappers and Miners, a Signal Company and the 
Lakhimpur Military Police Battalion, with usual staff 
and two seven-pounder guns and the Maxim detach- 
ment of the Assam Valley Light Horse, concentrated 
at Kobo, forty-five miles above Dibrughar on the 
Brahmaputra, where the base was established in 
October, 191 1. With this force also went 3,000 Naga 
transport carriers. During the summer the Military 
Police Battalion had made a forward move at once 
on hearing of the massacre, had rescued the sur- 
vivors, and made a capital reconnaissance vik Ledum 
and Mishing, when they were recalled by Govern- 
ment ; otherwise it is probable they would have been 
able to eflPect seasonable and immediate punishment 
of Kebang. They were, however, allowed to build 
and hold a strong stockaded post at Balek throughout 
the rains, thus holding the tribe in check. The 



122 HISTORY OF UPPER ASSAM chap. 

rainy season was exceptionally severe and long, and 
it was not till near the end of October that the forward 
move could be made in two columns, the main one 
moving up the Dihang valley to Pasighat and Kebang, 
while a smaller column of 500 rifles marched to 
Ledum and Mishing to protect the left of the main 
column, as the attitude of the neighbouring tribe of 
Galongs, who are more allied to the Mirris than to 
the Abors, was uncertain. 

The official objects of this expedition were to 
punish the Kebang and Komsing villages concerned 
in the massacre, to reduce all clans to submission 
throughout the country so as to facilitate survey and 
exploration work, and to visit all the principal villages. 
The Dihang was to be explored as far as the falls, 
and information obtained enabling a suitable boundary 
to be adopted with Thibet and China. The Ledum 
column having no tracks to follow, which was not the 
case with the main column, had to practically cut 
every mile of their advance through the densest 
jungle, and while the reconnoitring party was pushing 
up to Mishing the first contact with the Abors was 
made, the 2nd Goorkha scouts surprising and killing 
a picquet. Mishing was later occupied, and till the 
end of November nothing but small reconnaissances 
were feasible owing to stringent orders from head- 
quarters which forbade any night to be spent out 
of camp. This for a long time obviated any chance 
of active offence or wide reconnaissance work, and 
lost more than one chance of bringing the enemy 
to book ; and the column had to content itself with 
rapid marches out and back in all directions, in which 
on two or three occasions they were able to surprise 



HISTORY OF UPPER ASSAM 123 




Native Cane Bridge of the Abor and Mishmi Countries. 



124 HISTORY OF UPPER ASSAM chap. 

the enemy's ambuscading parties. At the end of 
November these orders as to sleeping in the Mishing 
Post were relaxed, and two small columns were 
despatched against Korang village in the Galong 
country. In November a strong reconnoitring party 
from Mishing, along the Dihang and Kebang path, 
not being allowed to combine with the main force, 
the opportunity of well punishing the Abors at 
Kekyar Monying, where nearly a fortnight was spent, 
was lost. Parties were also now able to scour the 
country almost as far as Rotang, where it was antici- 
pated a junction would be made with the main column. 
This latter force had in the meantime concentrated 
at Pasighat on the 26th of October, and stockades 
were built here and at Janakmukh on the line of 
communication. On the 6th of November the force 
reached the Sirpo river with no opposition, due 
probably to the activity of the Ledum column, ahead 
of, and on the left flank of, the main column. On 
the 7th of November a reconnaissance came into 
contact with the enemy, who were punished severely 
with a casualty list to us of an officer severely wounded 
in the thigh by a poisoned arrow, two riflemen killed, 
and one wounded. Road-making by the pioneers and 
sappers was going on slowly, contending, as these 
had to, with ceaseless difficulties of gorge, jungle, 
and hill side ; and the troops were more or less 
held back until the efforts of the road-makers per- 
mitted a short advance. On the 19th of November 
Rotang village was reached, in front of which a large 
stockade on the Igar stream was found and attacked 
by the 8th G.R. in front and flank, who were received 
by a fall of stones from " shoots " above, and a fire 



X HISTORY OF UPPER ASSAM 125 

of guns and arrows. A flanking party, after a severe 
climb, succeeded in capturing the stockade with a 
few casualties in several wounded by the stone 
" shoots " and one by a gunshot. Ten days were 
spent at Rotang roadmaking, collecting supplies and 
reconnoitring. As the main column was now abreast 
of the Ledum one, this was broken up, and after 
locating two companies of Military Police to hold 
Mishing, it was ordered to march across the hills 
and join headquarters at Rotang, which was done 
after three days' severe marching in heavy rain. 
The large stockade at Kekyar Monying was now found 
barring a continuation of the advance up the Dihang, 
and a force of one company 2nd Gs. and three com- 
panies 8th G.R. with the Maxim detachment of the 
Assam Valley Light Horse were sent across the 
Dihang on the 3rd of December, the sappers manag- 
ing with great labour to get a hawser over to the 
other bank, and by 11 p.m. the little force was across. 
It was, however, charged by Abors in the dark as 
it crawled through the forest, when two riflemen 
of the 2nd Gs. were cut down and killed by a party 
of Abors who got close in. Next morning, this 
force having got into position and the left flank 
attack being also, nearly ready, the whole advanced, 
and the great stockade was easily captured, thirty 
Abors being killed, with no loss to us. Five days 
more were spent here, and on the 9th of December, 
Kebang, the main objective for punishment, was 
reached, sixty-two miles from the border which the 
force had left on the 22nd of October. It was found 
deserted, a condition about which there had never 
been much doubt ; and after its destruction a wing 



126 HISTORY OF UPPER ASSAM chap. 

of the 8th G.R. pushed on to Yemsing, cutting its 
way through the jungle instead of going by the main 
path, with the result that they surprised and inflicted 
loss on the enemy. The first phase of the expedition 
was now over, but although Kebang had been reached 
and destroyed it was found the Menyong Abors had 
only vanished into their forests and showed no signs 
of submission, as was evidenced by many cases of 
convoys being fired on and telegraph wire cut. More 
activity being now displayed in scouring the country 
round Yemsing and Kebang, large amounts of grain 
and cattle were captured and a few small hostile parties 
dispersed; while, in the early days of 191 2, the Abors 
came in seeking peace when they realised most of their 
villages were occupied and food supplies carried off, 
in addition to losing possibly 200 men. Punitive 
operations now being considered at an end, those 
who had chiefly participated in Mr. Noel Williamson's 
massacre having been given up, tried and sentenced, 
and looted rifles returned, attention was directed to 
survey and exploration. 

When the force crossed the border it was not known 
what the attitude of the various other clans would 
be. Rumour said the Panghi and Padam clans 
would join with the Menyongs, but these, having had 
no hand in the massacre, though hostile, were not so 
openly ; merely sitting on the fence for a time, as 
it were, until they realised the desirability of pro- 
fessing unswerving friendship to us. 

At the end of December then, two exploration 
and survey columns left headquarters, one to move 
through the Panghi and Padam Abor country under 
Colonel Macintyre with 100 rifles 2nd Goorkhas 



X HISTORY OF UPPER ASSAM 127 

and carriers for supplies, and which, after visiting 
all the principal villages as far as Damroh a large 
one of 800 houses, completed a very successful tour 
by early March. 

The other one, under a civil official, with 100 rifles 
8th G.R. and carriers for twenty-four days' supplies, 
went up the Dihang to survey the course of that 
river, but can hardly be said to have met with con- 
spicuous success. On one occasion, at Shimong, it 
was touch and go whether another regrettable inci- 
dent, even possibly a massacre, might not have 
taken place, which was" fortunately averted by the 
timely arrival of a party of troops, this occasion 
having arisen through our mistaken and over-friendly 
attitude to a people of doubtful intentions. Rain 
and mist interfered with survey work, and the Naga 
coolies were greatly exhausted with marching. How- 
ever, this party did make a dash and got some 
distance beyond Shimong, which was found to be, 
with its sister village of Karko, a sort of barrier between 
Thibet and Assam ; these two strong villages on 
either side of the Diharjg, allowing no Thibetans to 
pass south and no Abors or Assamese to pass up. 
From here a broadish, well-defined trade path led 
towards Thibet, trodden by hundreds of laden yak 
bringing commodities to Shimong, whose inhabi- 
tants distributed the same throughout the northern 
Abor clans. Another yak road was also noticed 
leading up the Siyom river below Karko. A certain 
amount of work was done by this party, who fairly 
well established the identity of the Tsan Po with the 
Dihang, and consequently with the Brahmaputra. 
In la e March, 1912, the Abor force, originally con- 



128 HISTORY OF UPPER ASSAM chap. 

sisting of eighty British officers and 3,000 fighting- 
men broke up and returned to India. The casuahy 
fists showed twenty-one British officers sent to 
•hospital sick, of whom one died, while 850 of other 
ranks were treated for sickness or wounds. Shortly 
after their return a medal was granted to this force. 
The veil of interest and mystery surrounding the course 
of the Tsan Po and its falls it was hoped would have 
been cleared up with exploration and surveys, and 
reports were eagerly looked forward to not only by 
us, but by geographers of all nations. Hopes, how- 
ever, in these matters, entertained more heartily by 
none than by the Survey of India, were fated to be 
deferred ; and this particular locality still remains 
about the least known of any in India or, indeed, 
in Asia. 

Thus ended the sixth expedition against the Abors, 
and we may now glance briefly at what each accom- 
plished, or rather what most of them did not. We 
have seen how, between 1848 and 1893, five expedi- 
tions crossed the border. The first two failed utterly 
owing to the irresolution of their leaders ; the third 
was ineffectual owing to divided counsels produc- 
ing some friction between the two authorities with 
the force ; the fourth only effected a treaty never 
respected by the tribesmen ; while the fifth also 
suffered in its arrangements and energy due as 
before to divided counsels which, when permitted 
to exist, can never make for a harmonious and 
successful issue to expeditionary work. With the 
sixth, the expedition we have just dealt with, Govern- 
ment has expressed its satisfaction, and as nothing 
was said about the expense stated by Sir F. Wilson 



X HISTORY OF UPPER ASSAM 129 

to have been ^124,300 (including the small Mishmi 
mission), we can presume it was thought rightly 
spent. But it has been found still necessary to 
complete the work expected of it by large survey 
parties and strong escorts entering those hills again 
in the winter of 19 12-13. These, however, through 
various delays in the making of preliminary arrange- 
ments always in these wild border countries no very 




MiSHiNG Stockade — Leafand Bamboo Shelters for our Men — 
Abor Country. 

easy matter, were allowed to start only very late in 
an unexpectedly good and dry season, whereby they 
could not accomplish all that was desired, and the 
work will probably be seen continued through the 
winter, 19 13-14. It is generally said that dual control 
exists no longer, and that commanders conduct their 
own operations and see to their own political busi- 
ness. In a sense it is true, but in another sense 
it is not, and commanders now find themselves 

K 



I30 HISTORY OF UPPER ASSAM chap. 

controlled throughout by telegraph by those who 
have never been near the scene of operations or 
have any notion of the people to be dealt with. It 
can hardly be said in favour of this system that it 
engenders the confidence of a commander in himself 
or calls forth his best efforts. In spite of all labour 
expended on a good mule road and stockades built 
to be garrisoned by Military Police, which was the 
original intention, with a view to dominating the 
country instead of merely going in and coming out 
of the hills, final orders on breaking up of the force 
showed to the regret of all ranks that this intention 
had been abandoned. It had been hoped that the 
post at Rotang would have been instrumental in 
putting a stop to slave trading and other cruel 
practices of these savage tribes, and the final decision 
was the more disappointing because the Abors (particu- 
larly the Panghi section) having learnt during our 
stay to appreciate some of the blessings of civilisa- 
tion, were anxious for a trading post and the benefits 
of a hospital. Whether this policy is likely to pro- 
duce good effects only the future can show. Past 
history; here does not offer much hope of permanent 
friendly relations and good behaviour unless we 
recast our methods in dealing with these frontier 
tribes. 

Of all hill expeditions of modern times, at least 
on the eastern side of India, General Penn Symond's 
action in putting down the disorders in the Chin 
hills in 1889-90, can well be held up as an example 
of successful operations of that nature, when he 
overran the country with small columns, giving 
neither himself, his troops, nor the enemy, any rest 



X HISTORY OF UPPER ASSAM 131 

until all opposition ceased. Even with him an effort 
at dual control threatened to cause trouble, which 
did occur once only in the south of those hills. As 
to resolution and the lack of it, Lieutenant Eden's 
famous exploit (which is dealt with in the Mishmi 
account) in 1854 shows us what the former quality 
can effect ; while a different tale would have been 
told of Manipur in March, 1891, had that quality 
prevailed and the Military head been supreme. 

It will be said that the foregoing remarks on the 
expeditions show only a carping criticism, without 
offering suggestions for improved future methods. 
But with the example of history before us what more 
is needed ? It is known that in 1899 Mr. Needham, 
the knowledgeable man on the spot, declared a force 
of some sixty rifles to be ample for the purpose of 
entering these hills to exact punishment from a weak 
tribe; his advice went unheeded, with the result of 
money wasted and nothing done, the force sent in 
being too big and unwieldy. In this connection it 
is an open secret that this particular expedition fell 
under Lord Curzon's scathing condemnation, in which 
he is said to have pointed out that had the original 
suggested smaller force gone up, all results would 
have been achieved at a cost of a few thousand rupees 
instead of lakhs. This would point to an absence of 
accurate knowledge as to the capability of the tribe 
to be dealt with on the part of the controlling powers. 
It would appear to have been better in 191 1 if, in 
dealing with these little-known tribes and their 
countries, the advice of the few, who, from their 
official position, were most intimately acquainted with 
them and with what is requisite in the nature of 

K 2 



132 HISTORY OF UPPER ASSAM chap. 

expeditionary work, had prevailed. Of course it is 
always easy to criticise and to find fault ; but it 
certainly does seem as if expeditions in the past, 
under faulty arrangements and this dual control, had 
failed ; while present day ones, though showing greater 
improvements in method, may be said to err on the 
side of being unwieldy in size and over-elaborate in 
arrangements, while far distant control of matters is 
still also considered necessary. 

In the case of this last expedition, 1911-12, the 
tribes, in spite of their inflated idea of power, never 
attempted to put up any fight against a large, slow- 
moving force, knowing how futile their efforts would 
have been ; which points to the correctness of the 
statements of those who knew and those who were 
with the force, namely, that one battalion of Military 
Police with a backing of, say, two companies of 
Goorkha regulars, could have rapidly done all punitive 
work early, while roadmaking went on behind. As 
soon then as opposition was over, probably in a fort- 
night to three weeks, these Military Police and 
Goorkhas would then have sufficed for escorts to the 
survey parties which might then have ranged the 
country. 

These considerations surely point to the necessity 
of the authorities with whom the final responsibility 
as to what action in each case is to be taken must rest, 
being supplied with the best and most reliable in- 
formation, not only from the Civil authority, but also 
from thoroughly qualified Military officers well 
acquainted with all local conditions. Can it be said 
that the recent withdrawal of the General Officer 
Commanding and staff from the former Assam 



X HISTORY OF UPPER ASSAM 133 

Brigade and the transfer of their duties to the already 
overburdened General Officer Commanding at Luck- 
now, a week's hard travelling from any scenes of these 
border operations, has tended towards efficiency in 
this respect ? 

In contrary distinction to this somewhat retro- 
grade action on the part of the Military, the Civil 
authorities, fully recognising the growing importance 
of this borderland, have recently formed a Political 
Agency with headquarters at Sadiya. The Assis- 
tant Political Officer there, formerly subordinate to 
the Deputy-Commissioner at Dibrughar, having been 
replaced by a Political Officer working directly under 
the orders of the Chief Commissioner of Assam. 
This officer has now under him three English assis- 
tants, each of whom is in charge of a particular tribe, 
and the duties of these officers are to extend British 
influence without stirring up hostility by needless 
interference with tribal customs. The particular 
officer chosen for this new duty shows that the so 
often misinterpreted term " selection " has been most 
satisfactorily applied in this case ; Mr. Dundas 
having done sixteen uniformly successful years among 
tribes on this border. It is therefore not unreasonable 
to suppose that this new action will be productive of 
the best results. 

As before stated, the work of exploring and sur- 
veying the Dihang valley and northern Abor country 
having been but slightly touched upon in the winter 
of 1911-12, this has again been carried on by strong 
parties of Military Police and Royal Engineers through- 
out that of 1912-13 ; the work having been started 
again in the neighbourhood of Kebang above which 



134 HISTORY OF UPPER ASSAM chap. 

one party worked west and north up the Siyom river, 
while another continued far up the Dihang, hoping 
to reach Pemakoi peak and possible even the great 
falls of the Tsan Po. Both parties were expected to 




TvriCAL Aboks with Wooden Helmets. 

meet eventually near Pankang and Janbo before the 
close of the working season, when a considerable 
amount of ground would have been covered and 
mapped, and probably some definite idea of a frontier 
decided upon. Recent reports on the work of the 
various parties out surveying and exploring in these 



X HISTORY OF UPPER ASSAM 135 

difficult mountainous regions show that much has 
been done to open up the country. From early 
December, 19 12, the Abor surveys carried out most 
valuable Mrork under the able political direction and 
management of Mr. Dundas, extending their opera- 
tions until late in the rainy season, 191 3, and not 
returning to civilisation till mid August, 1913, after 
enduring discomfort and hardships which can only 
be realised by those who have lived in that corner 
of India. By them accurate survey was carried out 
as far north as latitude 29° 30', and as far west as 
longitude 94° 30', while the officers were able to 
cross the main Himalayan range by the Doshung-la, 
and to carry plane tabling beyond the above northerly 
limit, whereby they were able to establish the identity 
of the Tsan Po with the Dihang river beyond all 
doubt. 

It was found that the Tsan Po breaks through the 
main range a little north-east of a lofty mountain, 
" Namchia Barwa," about latitude 29° 7' and longi- 
tude 95° 3', and 25,741 feet high, by a stupendous 
gorge which has probably never been traversed by 
any human being. No possible track exists through 
the gorge on either bank. The river, after passing 
through this, bends towards the south. The state- 
ment of the explorer Kinthup, who came far down 
the Tsan Po in 1882, till close to the Abor hills 
regarding the existence of falls on this great river 
has not yet been verified ; but his evidence has been 
corroborated in so many particulars by the Abor 
surveys that there seems little reason to doubt his 
veracity as to their existing. The operations have 
now completed our geographical knowledge of these 



136 HISTORY OF UPPER ASSAM chap. 

frontier regions east of longitude 95°, and with the 
return of Captain Bailey, whose intention is to reach 
Assam through eastern Bhutan, the gap left between 
longitude 95° and Bhutan will be filled in. 

That he and his companion, Captain Morshead, 
have carried out their intention we now know, for in 
November, 191 3, they emerged once more into Assam 
near Dewangiri, having been as far up the Tsan Po as 
they possibly could, and no doubt put up with very 
great hardships in penetrating one of the last of the 
few " secret places of the earth." Their reports, 
when published, should be full of interest. At present 
all that has been made public of their Tsan Po expe- 
riences is that they found no falls at all, only a series 
of long stretches of rapids. It .seems not unlikely 
that they were not able to get as far up as the locality 
where the native explorer Kinthup saw them in 1882, 
where a certain Chinese Captain stated he saw them 
on his way to Pomed, or where a Thibetan Lama gave 
evidence to Colonel Waddell of them, in proximity to 
a large and ancient monastery situated just below these 
falls. The latter officer had met many Thibetans 
when in that country who had seen the falls and even 
recognised a rough sketch of them drawn by his friend 
the Lama. They also stated the locality to be one for 
pilgrimages to be made to, in order to propitiate a 
" King Devil " resident in the rush of the waters. So 
that it is yet possible the mystery surrounding this 
particular locality remains still to be solved. 

It was found during the winter 19 12-13 that the 
Abors now thoroughly realising that we can and 
mean to go into their hills, and having received 
certain lessons in the previous winter, had taken these 



X HISTORY OF UPPER ASSAM 137 

to heart ; for no serious molestation to parties was 
offered, or hindrance to work. Of course they have 
often tried the old game of " bluff," which, how- 
ever, invariably subsided at the last moment. 

An experience of one of these parties may be 
mentioned as showing what patience, tact, and firm- 
ness is required in dealing with these folk. A party 
under Captain P. consisted of forty-six Military 
Police Sepoys and Surveyors, and when far into the 




Convoy Crossing a Stream in the Abor Country. 

hills reached a point where the Abors seemed dis- 
posed to dispute any further advance. The tribes- 
men, to prevent us crossing the river, had cut away 
the long swinging cane bridge just before our party 
arrived ; and when these started to build rafts with 
which to cross over, the Abors began firing at them 
with bows and arrows from the forest and from 
across the river. No damage was done, and our 
Sepoys took no notice of this hostility. At last, 
just before the rafts were ready, the Abors sent an 



138 HISTORY OF UPPER ASSAM chap. 

emissary who enquired why no notice was taken of 
their arrows, and when were we going to fight ? 
The interpreter explained that fighting was not our 
intention, that we were quietly touring through the 
hills, and that early next morning we should cross 
the river to their village, whereupon the Abors 
quietly withdrew. Next morning the crossing was 
effected and the Abors came forward to make friends, 
confessing their foolishness in attempting hostility, 
or to stop us ; for which they now found them- 
selves punished in that all their " jhooms " (culti- 
vation) lay on the far side of the river, the bridge 
across which they had cut away, while our people 
had used all the canes and cut all trees suitable for 
anchoring the strands of a fresh bridge in order to 
make their rafts. So the Abors were confronted 
by the tedious and difficult task of making a fresh 
cane bridge to cross by higher up. This sort of 
" bluff " was often met with and treated calmly, 
as in this instance. 

An immense amount of country has now been 
surveyed up to and beyond the main watershed of 
the Himalayas in their locality, and great interest 
centres round the party under Captain Bailey, who 
alone are now left in the country, and who are working 
their way up the Tsan Po river. 

That there are large falls on this great river 
received confirmation in a curious way. As stated 
before, it was hoped the expedition of 1911-12 might 
have been able to penetrate up to the Pomed border 
and possibly to locate the falls. Had they done so, 
it is now known they probably would have met 
the Chinese, when boundary matters might have 



X HISTORY OF UPPER ASSAM 139 

had a satisfactory start. For amongst the Chinese 
troops recently expelled from Thibet, who were 
allowed passage to their own land through India, 
was an officer of the Celestial forces who had been 
with them in Pomed, who while they were there 
heard of the movement of General Bowers' expedi- 
tion and expected they might meet each other, and 
who also substantiated the existence of the Tsan 
Po falls as he and his troops camped in their vicinity. 
Before leaving the Abors it would not be out of 
place to touch on questions that were asked in 
Parliament querying Mr. Williamson's presence in 
their hills, and expressions of disapproval rriade as 
to the need of sending a punitive expedition at all, 
seeing he was murdered in a locality where, the 
questioners state, he had no right to be. People 
arguing on those lines have no idea of the gross slur 
it would have been on us to have allowed such a 
massacre to pass unnoticed,' simply from the out- 
look of economy and expense — ^which is really what 
their objections mean ; nor do they realise what is 
required of a frontier official and his life. He has 
to be in touch with all tribes in his sphere of juris- 
diction, to acquaint himself with all that is going on 
on either side of the border, and to influence, if 
possible, the wild folk in a right direction. For 
obvious reasons Government lays down rules as to 
the crossing of borders, and in 1872-73 a regulation 
was drawn up prescribing a limit of direct admini- 
stration which is known as the " Inner Line," 
namely, a boundary maintained at the discretion 
of the Lieutenant-Governor, which British subjects 
of certain classes are not allowed to cross without 



I40 HISTORY OF UPPER ASSAM ch. x 

a pass. This " Inner Line " shown on maps is not 
the British frontier — it is merely a Une fixed by 
Government to guide the civil officers as to the 
extent of their jurisdiction. No frontier officer could 
adequately fulfil his duties if he sat year in year out 
in his headquarter station, so to speak, merely listen- 
ing to most likely unreliable reports brought in by 
so-called " friendlies " ! Would McCabe, Davis, 
Needham in Assam, and others in Burma have won 
such credit as border officials if they had not, when 
opportunity offered, accepted the responsibility for 
exceeding their routine instructions in order to get 
more in touch with wild people, whose customs and 
countries stimulated their keenest interest, and thereby 
gave Government a considerable amount of informa- 
tion obtainable in no other way ? 



CHAPTER XI 

THE MISHMIS 

The Mishmis are the close neighbours of the 
Abors, but are in no way kin to them, language and 
customs being entirely dijfferent. The Dibong river 
their western boundary, this tribe stretches north 
and east of Hkamti L6ng, where Mr. Ney Elias, a 
great authority on Burma border tribes, finds the 
Mishmis closely allied to the Khunongs, showing 
that the tribe now dealt with covers a very large 
area, though how far north they reach is not known ; 
but their country is generally said to be bounded on 
the north and east by the Thibetan provinces of Pomed 
and Zayul the fertile Lama valley, the capital of 
which is Rima. 

The Mishmis who merge into the interest surround- 
ing their Abor neighbours do so by reason of a friendly 
mission sent into their country simultaneously with 
General Bowers' military expedition ; this was done 
in order to prevent the possibility of any of them 
joining in with the Abors, for survey work, and also 
because of Chinese activity to the north and east of 
their hills, and amongst whom that nation had, it 
was reported, sent emissaries to claim their sub- 



142 HISTORY OF UPPER ASSAM chap. 

mission. This tribe is divided into four sections 
and are, on the whole, a weak race, the Meju and 
ChuUkatta sections being, if the term can be applied, 
perhaps the most warlike. Like that of the Abors, 
their country is extremely mountainous, covered with 
dense forests and vegetation, particularly in the 
outer and lower ranges, and is very difficult of access. 
Their original habitat is supposed to have been the 
highlands of north-east Thibet, whence, with the 
Chins, they moved south, remaining in their present 
locality while the other people moved further and 
spread out. Their general strength is unknown, but 
they are keen traders, greatly appreciating access to 
the markets in the plains, and are like almost all 
these tribes, worshippers of demons and evil spirits. 
The majority of the Mishmis acknowledge their 
dependence on us, though the Mejus consider them- 
selves allies of Thibet, which feeling dates back to 
1836, when the latter certainly assisted them against 
the Digarus. 

This terra incognita has stimulated several explorers 
to penetrate their hills without much success, the 
first to do so being Lieutenant Burlton in 1825, who 
went up the Brahmaputra some distance above the 
Dihing river, and reported that " the people were 
very averse to receiving strangers." Two years later 
Lieutenant Wilcox succeeded in entering the Meju 
country, but the hostile attitude of one of the chiefs 
obliged him to return. In 1836 Dr. Griffiths went 
a little distance in, but was absolutely prevented 
from going further by the Mejus and certain Singphos, 
the latter, he states, seeming to have considerable 
influence over the Mishmis. He was followed in 



XI 



HISTORY OF UPPER ASSAM 



H3 




A MisHMi Village and Warrior. 



144 HISTORY OF UPPER ASSAM chap. 

1845 by Lieutenant Rowlatt, who got as far in as 
the Du river, where he met Thibetans who turned 
him back at Tuppang village. In 1851 a French 
missionary M. Krick, made his way through the 
hills under the guidance of a Hkamti chief, and, 
avoiding the land of the hostile chief, Jingsha, 
reached Walong. Here he was well received and 
had a good view of the Lama valley, but^ was not 
allowed to enter it. Three years later with a col- 
league M. Bourri, he again essayed to pass through 
the hills, and actually camped in the vicinity of Rima, 
when they were followed by another hostile chief, 
Kaisha, who, for motives of plunder, murdered 
both Frenchmen. On news of this outrage reaching 
India Lord Dalhousie, feeling something should be 
done in retribution, permitted Lieutenant Eden to 
undertake the work. Eden with a small party of 
twenty rifles of the Assam Light Infantry and forty 
Hkamti volunteers with a few carriers, moved into 
the hills from Sadiya in February, 1855, and made 
one of, if not the most, successful of minor expedi- 
tions in all our punitive outings in Assam ; for, after 
eight days' forced marching, swinging over dangerous 
torrents on bridges of single canes, experiencing 
bitter cold, and showing wonderful endurance of 
great hardships inseparable from rapidity of move- 
ment, in the grey dawn of a misty morning he 
reached and surprised Kaisha's village on the Du 
river with the aid of a friendly chief Lumling, who 
joined in just in time. After a sharp struggle, in 
which two of Kaisha's sons and many followers were 
killed in open fight, his people were dispersed. The 
greater part of the stolen property was recovered, 



XI HISTORY OF UPPER ASSAM 145 

as well as M. Krick's Singpho servant ; and the 
victorious little party returned to Sadiya with the 
chief Kaisha, who was duly hanged in Dibrughar, 
but not before he had managed to kill two warders. 
Such an exploit did not fail to astonish and over- 
awe the surrounding tribes. The completeness of 
Eden's success was, however, somewhat marred by 
Government's refusal to assist the chief Lumling, 
who shortly afterwards was set upon by a relative 
of Kaisha's who, with the aid of the Chulikatta 
section, completely exterminated the chief's family 
and people. Lumhng was a Meju, and this action 
of the Government has led to a lasting and bitter 
feeling by that tribal section towards the British. 
Twelve years later, Mr. T. T. Cooper, when in their 
hills, found this feeling existing. Cooper was a 
political official in China, was deputed in 1870 to open 
a tea trade route from India to China, and found 
his way into south-west China, hoping to reach Assam 
via Bhatang and Rima. He, however, only got as 
far as the former place when he was arrested by 
Thibetan Lamas, and had to return after great hard- 
hips, to Shanghai. In the following year he came 
to India to make the attempt from the Assam side, 
and at a meeting of the Chamber of Commerce in 
Calcutta several routes were discussed, chiefly those 
from Bhamo to Talifu ; and from Bhamo through the 
Hukong valley to Dibrughar, and so to Calcutta. 
On this latter, proposals already had gone up for 
the Hukong valley to be properly surveyed. Cooper, 
however, favoured and explained the Mishmi route, 
which view the Chamber accepted, giving him Rs. 6,000 
towards expenses of the journey. Any route lying 



146 HISTORY OF UPPER ASSAM chap. 

through Thibet was known to be impracticable, as 
the Lamas monopolised the tea trade and had their 
own settled routes further west through Sikkim and 
Bhootan, and from the east (China) through Ta- 
chien-loo, and forbade private enterprise. Cooper 
journeyed up the Brahmaputra, reached the sacred 
shrine at Brahmakund, and with the help of a young 
Hkamti chief, got as far as the Larkong mountain, 
which forms a defined boundary between Assam and 
Thibetan ground. He got no further, however, being 
stopped by two Thibetan officials and constrained 
to give up the attempt and return. 

Cooper makes some interesting remarks on our 
border methods, and compares them with those 
adopted by the Chinese, condemns the blockade 
system to punish tribes as being calculated to produce 
lasting feelings of antagonism, and speaks of the 
wisdom of relieving the whole of northern Assam 
from invasion and violence by Government's system 
of " Posa " (which has been described before), which 
yearly expenditure of a few hundred pounds has 
produced useful and good effects. He favourably 
compares China's methods of dealing with her border 
tribes, with ours, stating that country centuries back 
began subjugating and making friends with them, 
distributing " Posa," and thus creating a capital 
system of frontier guards, as it were, along her distant 
boundaries. The chief of every tribe has also a 
nominal rank conferred upon him, and an annual 
stipend, while he is given an official dress which he 
is obliged to wear in the presence of Chinese 
functionaries. 

In 1885, Mr. Needham, Political Agent at Sadiya, 



XI HISTORY OF UPPER ASSAM 147 

reported that he had got through the hills and reached 
the district of Zayul. He was, however, not allowed 
near Rima when he got into its neighbourhood on 
his return. 

The Mishmis have only once given a little trouble 
since 1855, namely, when the Bebejiya section mur- 
dered four people near Sadiya and carried off three 
persons and three guns. For this it was thought 
necessary to send a large force into the hills, and 
1,200 troops with two mountain guns moved out 
from Sadiya on the ist of December, 1899, returning 
on the 8th of February, 1900, having encountered 
no opposition (which, indeed, was never expected 
from the Bebejiyas). A small party only reached 
Hunli in the central valley which was deserted, and 
beyond a small amount of survey work and a large 
expenditure of money, namely, two and a half lakhs, 
it may well be said nothing was accomplished. On 
this occasion, it might be suggested, Lieutenant 
Eden's exploit could have been copied and would 
have sufficed. 

In 1895 Prince H. d'Orl^ans made his adventurous 
journey from Tonkin across south-west China, eventu- 
ally reaching Assam via Rima and Sadiya. No other 
European has been allowed through that town or 
country until Captain Bailey, late trade agent at 
Gyantze in Thibet, when in China in 191 1 success- 
fully managed his return to India by a long hazardous 
march via Bhatang to Rima and Sadiya. From his 
pen we may obtain some very interesting information 
as well as from the results of the exploring and road- 
making parties at work in this country throughout 
the winter of 1912-13. These latter were employed 

L 3 



148 HISTORY OF UPPER ASSAM chap. 

making a mule road up the Lohit valley to Walong, 
a place on the, at present, undefined frontier a little 
south-west of Rima, as well as exploring the valleys 
of the Dibang and Dri rivers further north in the 
Mishmi hills. And we now know from their reports, 
on completion of operations in these hills in late 
May, 191 3, that the basin of the Dibang river has been 
completely surveyed and found to be shut in by a 
lofty mountain range which none of the rivers of 
Thibet break through. The making of bridle paths 
up the Lohit and Dibang valleys proved most labori- 
ous work, but was successfully carried out for many 
marches in each case. 



The Hkamtis 

With these people and their neighbours, the 
Singphos, we reach the connecting link between the 
Assam and Burma border peoples. They are of the 
same race as the Ahoms with this difference, that 
they are Buddhists, and only arrived in the Sadiya 
district in the end of the eighteenth century, where, 
first settling on the Tengapani river, they crossed 
the Brahmaputra, ousted the Assamese governor of 
Sadiya and took that corner of Assam, where the 
British in 1825 ^^^ them alone on consideration of 
their agreeing to keep up a small force for the pre- 
servation of order. In 1825 they assisted us against 
the Singphos, and in 1835, on the death of the old 
Hkamti chief, his son, openly disobeying our orders, 
was deported, and a British Political Agent was sent 
to Sadiya to administer the country. 

Four years later, as we have previously seen, the 



XI 



HISTORY OF UPPER ASSAM 



149 



Hkamtis rose and attacked Sadiya, killing Colonel 

White and many others. Since this they have never 

given further trouble. Their country, Bor Hkamti, 

as the Assamese call, it, 

and Hkamti Long by the 

Burmese, is very little 

known, though it has been 

visited a few times by 

Wilcox in 1828, by Wood- 

thorpe and Macgregor in 

1884, by Errol Gray in 

1892, and in 1895 Prince 

H. d'Orleans passed 

through the northern 

corner of it ; all of whom, 

with the exception of the 

latter, entered from the 

Assam side. Their 

country, somewhat less 

mountainous than those 

further west, possesses 

many broad, fertile, and 

well cultivated valleys ; 

while they themselves are 

an intelligent and even 

literary folk, and far more 

civilised even than the 

Assamese, rrince rl. a singpho of the eastern patkoi. 
d'Orleans remarks on their 

appearance, which strongly resembles that of the 
Laos towards French Indo-China, while the dress 
of their women is similar. Both sexes are great 
smokers, using a long pipe, often three feet long, 




I50 HISTORY OF UPPER ASSAM chap. 

with metal bowl, silver mouthpiece, and bamboo 
stem. The Hkamtis are entirely an agricultural folk 
— rice, opium, and linseed being largely cultivated 
in the valleys. Their village? are always strongly 
stockaded, the houses inside rather crowded, and the 
numbers of temples and pagodas showing up among 
the surrounding forests, give a very picturesque note 
to the attractive and wild scenery. Some of their 
temples are of great size, one described by Mr. Errol 
Gray stands in a forest covered island in the Nam 
Kiu river, and is in regular Burmese style, ninety- 
five feet high and 125 feet in circumference at the 
base ; four flights of stone steps lead up to the plinth 
on which it stands, each flight guarded by gigantic 
figures of fabulous beings. At each face of the 
compass on the plinth are four marble images of 
Buddha of excellent workmanship. Hkamti Long 
is connected with the outer world by two chief 
routes, the western one leading down the Nam Kiu to 
Assam, the south-eastern one 120 miles to Tamanthe 
on the Chindwyn river. The rainfall in these hills 
is very heavy and during the cold weather thick 
mists hang about, obstructing all views, often till 
mid-day. 

Their neighbours, the Singphos, inhabit both sides 
of the Patkoi range, their old home having been in 
the Hukong valley on the south and east of that 
range. Here they are independent, and have been 
but rarely visited by Europeans. Roughly, their 
country is bounded by that of the Hkamtis in the 
north, the Naga hills and Sadiya district on the west, 
the independent tribes of Upper Burma on the east, 
and Burma proper to the south. The Patkoi range 



XI 



HISTORY OF UPPER ASSAM 



151 



rises to about 6^000 feet and is easy of passage, the 
passes being low and easy and the total distance 
across the range is only some seventy miles. The 
upper Chindwyn waters the Hukong valley, which 
is really a broad, fertile plain fifty miles in length 
by a varying breadth of fifteen to forty miles. Dense 




Two Headmen in Masungjami, Western Patkoi. 



forests cover the surrounding hills. The Singphos 
are identical with the Kachin (Chingpaw) of Burma, 
and are described as a fine athletic race, singularly 
honest, and not lacking in intelligence. They were 



152 HISTORY OF UPPER ASSAM chap. 

addicted to raiding for slaves, of which they took a 
number from Assam, but it is averred never treated 
them badly. Every village looks after its own interests, 
only a few groups of villages are known to combine 
under one chief. It is believed they can turn out 
close on 10,000 fighting-men who are armed with 
spears, daos, and some matchlocks, for which a fair 
powder is made in the Hukong valley. At the time 
of the Burmese War this tribe had been worrying 
the Hkamtis of Sadiya, who appealed to us for assist- 
ance. The Singphos, fearing they might be expelled 
from lands they valued in the Brahmaputra valley, 
came to treat with the British authorities. As this 
tribe deals largely in slaves, a procedure not tolerated 
by our Government, difficulties arose, and the Singphos 
suddenly joined in with the Burmese force advancing 
to reconquer Assam in May, 1825. These had reached 
the Noa Dihing and were met by Captain Neufville 
with 300 Sepoys and two gunboats, when in an action 
twenty-five miles from the mouth of the Dihing 
river he routed the Burmese with some loss, and 
followed them to Bisa on the west side of the Patkoi. 
At Dapha, a strong stockaded position held by some 
300 Burmese and a few cavalry, was captured on the 
way ; and near Bisa Neufville came on a large force 
of Burmese and Singphos drawn up in the open in 
line, with a force of cavalry on the right. At the 
time Neufville had but 200 Sepoys and some Hkamti 
auxiliaries, but forming these into line, he attacked 
without hesitation. A few volleys created confusion 
amongst the cavalry, and a bayonet charge of his line 
ended the fight, the enemy broke and were pursued 
some miles. Neufville then held the Patkoi passes, 



XI 



HISTORY OF UPPER ASSAM 



153 



while his Hkamti and Moamaria aUies scoured the 
country and put a stop to all Singpho opposition for 
a time. Ten years later the Dapha Gam, one of the 
four prominent Singpho chiefs, crossed the Patkoi 




The Morang at Nokching, Western Patkoi, 

WITH Huge Carved Serpent on P'ront Supporting 

Timber 35 feet high. 

from the Hukong country and attacked the Gam of 
Bisa under our protection. To repel this invader, 
Captain Charlton was ordered out from Sadiya with 
300 Sepoys, who had a stiff fight with the Dapha 
Gam's force on the way, and finally retook the Bisa 



154 HISTORY OF UPPER ASSAM chap. 

stockades by assault, with losses on both sides. 
After this, for the better protection of this part of the 
country military posts were established at Bisa, 
Koogoo, and Ningroo. But for some years the 
Singphos were in a disturbed and discontented state 
due to their being deprived of their slaves ; and in 
1843 they broke out again. The Hukong men again 
came over, and both the Koogoo and Ningroo posts 
were sturdily attacked ; but as there were British officers 
at these posts the enemy were beaten off. At Bisa, 
which was only held by a native officer's detachment, 
they succeeded in inflicting such loss that the native 
officer surrendered, upon which most of his men 
were killed at once and the remainder sold as slaves. 
A large force coming up from Assam the situation 
improved, and ended with severe punishment being 
inflicted on several turbulent villages, since when no 
further trouble has occurred in this part of the hills, 
and a few years later these posts were given up. The 
Singphos, however, not appreciating British rule, 
have largely returned to the Hukong country, where 
slavery still flourishes. In 1892 Mr. Needham 
visited this valley and found the people well dis- 
posed towards him ; and in 1896, owing to the idea 
of linking Assam with upper Burma by railway, a 
survey party with a strong escort of the Lakhimpur 
Military Police Battalion from Dibrughar under 
Captain Roe crossed the Patkoi, went down the Hukong 
valley, and at Mayankwan joined hands with a similar 
survey party from Burma. No trouble was experi- 
enced here during this work. How far to the south 
of the Patkoi the Singphos extend is not known, but 
it is believed they largely form the inhabitants of 



XI 



HISTORY OF UPPER ASSAM 



155 



the extensive tract of country lying between the 
upper Chindwyn and the Naga hills district, which 
is so-called " unadministered territory " — unmapped 
and unexplored. Two or three punitive expeditions 




The Great Morang or Guard House in Masungjami 
Village, Western Patkoi. 

from the Naga hills have penetrated into this area 
a little way, and generally found opposition ; and, 
in 1 910, it was found necessary to send a small column 
from Kohima and one from Tamanthe, an outpost 
on the Chindwyn, against a strong village of Mak- 
warri, a little north of the Saramethi peak. The two 



156 HISTORY OF UPPER ASSAM ch. xi 

columns joined hands, punished Makwarri, and did 
a little survey work, but were not in the country 
long enough to effect much. The Burma Military 
Police found their way out of these hills by a more 
northern route, coming out on the Chindwyn at 
Heinsun. 



CHAPTER XII 

BURMA BORDER TRIBES 

With the last tribe we leave the portion of the 
north-eastern frontier administered by the Assam 
Government, and enter on the border lands con- 
trolled by that of Burma. In 1900, when the Upper 
Burma Gazetteer was published, the north and north- 
east boundaries had not been finally demarcated, and 
although since then several boundary commissions 
have been out, the entire line of frontier cannot be said 
to have been completely defined. 

The results of surveying and exploration work done 
in 1911-12 and 19 12-13 may complete the line, and 
will have revealed much of interest in the unknown 
country far beyond Myitkhyina towards Thibet, and 
also more to the north-east towards China. The length 
of this northern Burma border is roughly 540 miles 
from the Singpho hills on the west along the Chinese 
border of the Province of Yunnan to the north- 
east, and the Chinese Shan States and French Indo- 
China to the east. Within these limits, and admini- 
stered as semi-independent States, are the Northern 
Shan States, the Momeik (Mdngmit) State and 
Hkamti L6ng State, which latter, with the Kachin 



158 HISTORY OF UPPER ASSAM chap. 

hills north of the confluence of the Mali-Kha and 
Nmai-kha rivers, are only indirectly under our admini- 
stration. In the Upper Chindwyn district are the two 
small States of Thaungthut and Sinkaling Hkamti. 
Peculiar interest is given to these eastern borders by 
the fact that we are in this direction brought into 
direct touch with the Chinese, Siamese, and French. 
On the southern side of the Chinese boundary, the 




Scenery in the Patkoi Range near Hukong Valley, 

ABOUT 4,000 feet el. 

Shan and Kachin hills are largely unadministered and 
unknown. 

Upper Burma is arranged in natural divisions by its 
important rivers the Irrawadi, Chindwyn, and Salween, 
the first and last rising far beyond our confines in the 
unexplored tracts where India, Thibet, and China 
meet ; while the Chindwyn rises nearer in, namely, 
in the hills south-west of Thama, whence as the Tanai, 
it flows through and drains the Hukong valley, and 
from whence on it is known as the Chindwyn. These 



XII HISTORY OF UPPER ASSAM 159 

rivers flow southward, and of those in the Kachin 
hills north of the confluence but little is known ; none 
of these seem navigable, and, except in the rains, all 
are fordable. This part of the province is encircled 
by walls of mountains densely forest-clad, and peopled 
by tribes of whom but little is known to us ; a few 
intrepid travellers, such as Cooper, Woodthorpe, 
Prince H. d' Orleans, and Errol Gray only having 
ventured far afield into them. 

Of the two streams, the Mali-kha to the west and 
the Nmai-kha to the east, which unite some 150 miles 
above Myitkhyina to form the great Irrawadi, the 
former is navigable for country boats to a consider- 
able distance, namely, up to Sawan, while the latter, 
owing to rapids is quite impracticable for any sort 
of boat. The course of the Nmai-kha is unknown 
at present. A little north of these regions the country 
was traversed by Prince H. d'Orl^ans and party in 
1895 from Tonking to Sadiya. They were five 
months marching and struggling through this tangled 
mass of mountains, forests, and wild strange tribes, 
the country quite impracticable for baggage animals 
between the Salween and Irrawadi, until they got 
distant views of the snowy ranges beyond the Brahma- 
putra. Their delight at emerging from endless gloomy 
gorges into the more open Hkamti Long country lead- 
ing down into the Assam valley can be well under- 
stood. The course of the Salween is stated to be 
unequalled for wild and magnificent scenery, which, 
flowing through stupendous gorges where it comes 
into British territory, is likened to that of a deep 
ditch with banks 3,000 to 6,000 feet high. The passes 
in these regions are all of considerable altitude, many 



i6o 



HISTORY OF UPPER ASSAM chap. 



being of 12,000 feet and over, while the Kachin hills, 
which merge northward into the high mountains just 
mentioned, present a mass of smaller ranges between 
the upper Chindwyn and upper Irrawadi running 
north and south and rising up to 6,000 feet or so, 
with no flat ground an5rwhere from the well-watered 
plain about Myithkyina, till the Hkamti Long country 
is reached, which is practically the upper valley of the 




The Irrawadi at Myitkhyina. 



Mali-kha. Beyond this, again, Mr. Errol Gray, who 
visited this locality in 1891, describes the view over 
this terra incognita as that of " a succession of ranges 
of forest-clad mountains spreading out like the fingers 
of the open hand to the south, converging to the 
north until massed in the high snows of the Thibetan 
ranges which stretch southwards and, covered with 
deep snow, limit the view to the east." This latter 
high range being the watershed between the Nmai- 



XII HISTORY OF UPPER ASSAM i6i 

kha and Sal ween rivers. East of these Kachin hills 
and north to north-east of Bhamo is a rugged mass 
of hills ranging from i,ooo to 10,000 feet, and which 
reach their highest point apparently north-east of the 
Military Police outpost of Sadon. The North Shan 
States which run up to our official border, lie east 
of Bhamo across the broad Shweli valley, and are 
mostly of the nature of elevated undulating plateaux 
at a general height of 2,000 to 3,000 feet, seamed 
here and there by mountain ranges starting from 
Thibet and running southwards, which split up and 
run into one another, sinking gradually down to the 
Irrawadi and Salween valleys to the west and east 
respectively. Loi Ling, the highest mountain mass 
in this area, attains 8,840 feet ; while several other 
peaks are between 6,000 and 7,000 feet high. Across 
the Salween the country is much less open, and con- 
sists of confused masses of intricate hills. In all this 
area the rainy season may be said to commence late 
in April, and to continue off and on till August, usually 
the wettest month ; the annual rainfall varying between 
sixty inches in the more open country to one hundred 
in the higher ranges. Such then is the character of 
our north-east frontier as carried on beyond the limit 
of Assam until French Indo-China territory is reached 
on the Mekhong river. Of all the tribes dwelling 
along these borders, the most numerous, powerful, 
and interesting are, taking them as met with going 
from Assam eastwards, the Kachins (Chingpaw) and 
Shans (Tai). But in considering these we will begin 
with the latter as they, from the ethnological point 
of view, arrived in upper Burma first. 

The Shan, or Tai race of Indo-Siamese origin at 

M 



1 62 



HISTORY OF UPPER ASSAM chap. 



present is the most widespread and numerous in the 
Indo-Chinese Peninsula, being found from Assam to 
Bankok and well into the Chinese Provinces of Yunnan 
and Kwangsi. The cradle of this, as with all the races 
in the Indo-Chinese Peninsula, is the region of the 
head waters of the Irrawadi and other great rivers 
in the mountainous region of north-eastern Thibet, 




A Shan Man. 

whence successive waves of emigration have popu- 
lated the country far to the south. A French savant, 
M. Terrien, places this race cradle in the Kiunlung 
mountains north of Ssu-chuan, and is of opinion the 
Shan migration began towards Siam about the end 
of the fifth or beginning of the sixth century a.d., 
and that their earliest settlements lay in the Shweli 



XII HISTORY OF UPPER ASSAM 163 

valley east of Bhamo. It is generally believed the 
Tai peoples migrated first in the far-off past, and, 
taking a westerly trend, occupied Siam and the country 
to the south of it. Certain it is that they foUovsred 
up this migration by one later, when they trekked 
west across the Mekhong and Salween, gradually 
occupying upper Burma until an outlying portion of 
this wave of advance reached Hkamti Long, which 
was then inhabited only by a weak Kachin tribe, the 
first party of one of the great Kachin migrations 
which had begun to move south from north-eastern 
Thibet. The Tai race gradually consolidated a strong 
kingdom between the upper Irrawadi and upper 
Chindwyn, known in early times as that of Pong, 
the capital of which still remains in the present town 
of Mogoung. But in the long period of time, before 
the Pong kingdom could make itself felt, the Kachins 
were increasing in numbers in Hkamti L6ng, and in 
course of time expanded across the Patkoi range and 
down the Hukong valley, driving the Tai (Shan) 
peoples before them, and so isolating the early Shan 
colony in Kkamti Long, which explains the presence 
of this interesting and somewhat cultivated section so far 
from its brethren and now surrounded by other peoples. 
The increasing power of the Shans of Pong, however, 
arrested the advance of the Kachins and thrust them 
back, not in the direction whence they had come, 
but in the direction of the Mali-kha river. 

Siam is said to have become a kingdom in the very 
early part of the fourteenth century, and previous to 
this no authentic history of this people exists, nothing 
but fabulous tales and legends ; though here and there 
ancient Chinese chronicles refer to the growing 

M 2 



i64 HISTORY OF UPPER ASSAM chap. 

strength of this people. That they had settled forms 
of government is shown by the Pong kingdom which 
existed long previous to the fourteenth century, and 
is proved by Captain Pemberton's discovery in 1835 
at Manipur of an old Shan chronicle which, on trans- 
lation, was found to contain interesting records of 
Shan doings at Mogoung. It was from this kingdom 
that, in the beginning of the thirteenth century, Chuk- 
apha, the Tai ruler, invaded Assam, subduing various 
tribes and establishing the Ahom dynasty, which we 
have seen in the history of that province was for six 
centuries almost the dominant power in that part of 
India. According to Burman chronicles, the earliest 
invasion of Wesali Long, as they called Assam, was 
in the middle of the twelfth century, when a Tai 
king, Samlungpha, marched an army of 900,000 across 
the Patkoi, received the submission unopposed of the 
Assam ministers, and returned. This, however, is 
most improbable, although the Burmese national era, 
and with it more or less regular records began about 
638 A.D., as the Ahoms themselves make no mention 
of any earlier western trek than that which occurred 
in the thirteenth century. But long before either the 
P6ng or Siamese kingdoms made themselves known, 
the Shans had made an earlier State for themselves 
in southern China, namely, that of Nanchao (or 
Talifu) which, according to Chinese chronicles un- 
ravelled by Mr. Parker, was very powerful and quite 
independent until the Mongol invasion of Kublai 
Khan in 1253 a.d. This Nanchao kingdom appears 
to have been most extensive touching Maghada 
(Bengal) on the west, Thibet on the north, and Cam- 
bodia on the south, which latter State the chronicles 



XII 



HISTORY OF UPPER ASSAM 



165 



allude to as " the Female Prince State," as a queen 
of that country married an Indian adventurer who 
came from Cambod in western India, and gave the 
name of his original home to his new country. 

From Parker's translation we learn that the Shans 
in Nanchao were powerful and well organised, and 
although Chinese history maintains they formed part 
of their empire, yet it is certain that they were an 




Shan Traders. 



independent community with ministers of state, record 
officers, officers of commerce, and an army with its 
usual departments. This all ceased to exist when 
they were no longer a conquering power, which began 
to come about in the middle of the eleventh century ; 
and when the Chinese forces, after many efforts, 
succeeded in splitting the Nanchao kingdom in two 
taking the northern part, of which Talifu was the 
most important city. The southern part, left to itself, 
spread and acquired supremacy over Siam and Burma ; 



i66 HISTORY OF UPPER ASSAM chap. 

until in our own times, with the exception of their 
Siamese brethren, the Shans deteriorated and came 
successively under Chinese, then Burmese, and finally 
English rule. 

The first definite capital the Shans possessed in 
upper Burma is said by Mr. Ney Elias to have been 
Cheila, now the modern Selan, on the Shweli valley 
to the north-west of the present North Shan States. 
Selan is now a village of no great size, but has signs 
of a bygone importance. It stands on the highest 
part of an irregular shaped plateau 200 to 300 feet 
above the Shweli, and this plateau is completely 
surrounded by an entrenched ditch, in many places 
forty to fifty feet deep. There is no doubt a wall 
once existed, but this has long since completely 
mouldered away. A few miles off across the 
Shweli is Pang Hkan, also another old city with 
remains of an earth parapet and ditch enclosing a 
large area. Burmese history is silent with regard to 
this particular Shan power, but Tai chronicles indicate 
that it was probably in fair prosperity about the ninth 
century ; while Mr. S. W. Cocks, in his work on 
Burma, goes so far as to state the Shan rule was prac- 
tically supreme in Burma with the exception of 
Arrakan, by the beginning of the fourteenth century. 
By the middle of the fifteenth century the Burmese, 
however, had established their authority over the 
Shans, which condition having lasted one hundred 
years, was upset by the Shans of Mogoung, who 
revolted so successfully that they conquered the Burmese 
and practically reigned at Ava some thirty odd years. 

Mogoung bears even now every evidence of having 
once been a large and thriving centre in which can 



XII 



HISTORY OF UPPER ASSAM 



167 



be seen long stretches of paved streets, while the entire 
surrounding country for scores of miles bears traces 
of well-used roads and ruins of substantial bridges. 
But wars with the Burmese in the seventeenth and 
eighteenth centuries, and finally its sack by the Kachins, 
in 1883, brought about its ruin ; which, but for the 
advent of the British, would have been permanent. 

As in Assam, so in upper Burma, devastating wars 
had led in the past to the entire depopulation of once 




Ancient "Vallum" and Gateway in Mogoung District. 

thriving tracts of country, and the luxuriant forest 
growths have covered and obliterated almost all traces 
of towns and forts. Here and there in the depth of 
almost primeval forest one may come upon a " vallum " 
on which stand trees of fifteen feet girth and more ; 
this may often enclose a space from one half to two 
miles square, round the outside of which can be 
traced the moat, often fifteen feet or more across and 
ten feet deep, but now filled with vegetation and cane 
break instead of water. The mouldering ramparts are 



i68 HISTORY OF UPPER ASSAM chap. 

sometimes found to be ten to twenty feet high, and 
must have engaged the labour of a host through 
several years to build up. Here and there a tumulus 
may be found covered by pipal trees and the earth 
of white ants. 

The Shans have now become largely assimilated to 
the Burmese, their dress and even language is going ; 
while their written character, being less and less used, 
will soon disappear, except perhaps in the Hkamti 
Long country. Shans are found for more than one 
hundred miles north of Mogoung, as also in the 
Hukong and Tanai valleys, the latter being the name 
of the chief source of the Chindwyn river. They are 
now great traders, though usually on a small scale 
as they lack capital ; but of late years, with the open- 
ing of roads and railways and the general safety of 
the same, the volume of traffic which consists in the 
main of pickled and dried tea, bullocks, ponies, hides 
and horn, sugar, potatoes, and lac, has greatly in- 
creased. Shans almost always surround their villages 
with bamboo or fruit and flowering trees, giving 
them an appearance of comfort and beauty. They 
bury their dead in groves near the village or out in 
the jungle. The Chinese Shans dress almost in- 
variably in indigo blue clothes, while British Shans 
adopt white, and their women incline to copy the 
Burmese, using, to quote a certain writer, " a panel 
variation in adornment of the identical seductive 
garment doubtless invented by some Burmese co- 
quette." The chief distinction seems to lie in the 
different ways in which Chinese or British Shan 
women wear their turbans. Chinese Shans seemed 
to have preserved their language far more than the 



XII 



HISTORY OF UPPER ASSAM 



169 




lyo HISTORY OF UPPER ASSAM ch. xii 

rest of their clans, their chiefs only speaking Chinese. 
These people as a race are in appearance much the 
same as Burmese or Siamese, but are generally fairer. 
They are muscular and well formed and dress in short 
trousers (bounbees) and a jacket. With the well-to- 
do men the trousers are voluminous and the fork so 
low down as to look more like a skirt. A great broad- 
brimmed, close-woven grass hat is much worn by the 
British Shans, while his Chinese confrere uses a blue 
turban. Their chief national weapon is a long, 
slightly curved, sharp-pointed sword. Shan women 
are fair, but lack in face and dress the good looks 
and coquetry of their Burmese sisters. They are a 
quiet, mild, good-humoured race, and temperate in 
their habits as regards the use of alcohol and opium. 
Their religion is now everywhere Buddhist, though 
in ancient times, when the Nanchao kingdom flourished, 
they were mostly worshippers of spirits, dragons, and 
the dead. At one time it is certain the worship of 
Shiva obtained a hold over the more western Shans, 
and according to old legends. Buddhism in a debased 
form was gradually established after 500 A.D., until, 
by the middle of the sixteenth century it had gained 
ground in a purer form amongst all those who were 
in closer contact with Burma. But even now there 
is a strong animistic tendency among the Shans in 
British territory. With them still each day has its 
presiding Nat or spirit, who requires a particular 
diet on certain days, different as the moon waxes or 
wanes. With the Shans also monks attend death- 
beds purely with the idea of keeping away demons, 
and not with the view of religious help to the depart- 
ing person. 



CHAPTER XIII 

THE KACHINS 

This strong and widely scattered tribe, called in 
Burma " Chingpaw," and in Assam known as 
" Singphos " (the meaning of each being simply 
" men ") were almost the first of the frontier people 
the British came in contact with in upper Burma 
after the annexation in 1885.. Colonel Hannay of 
the Assam Light Infantry, who was an acknowledged 
authority on these people, says, " Their territories are 
bounded on the east and south-east by Yunnan, the 
western part of which they have now overrun, on the 
west by Assam, south by the 24th degree N. longitude 
roughly, while of their northern limits which come 
in contact with the Khunnongs to whom they are 
allied we know little or nothing." 

Their northern regions are inaccessible and explora- 
tions almost impossible. Generally, then; they may 
be said to inhabit the country lying north-north-west, 
and north-east of upper Burma, and during the last 
seventy years have been spreading further south into 
the North Shan States and to Bhamo and Katha — 
a procedure which our advent into upper Burma 
put a_ period to. 



172 HISTORY OF UPPER ASSAM chap. 

The Kachins are broken up into small communities, 
each under its own chief ; which arrangement, as it 
gave no central authority to be dealt with, produced 
for the British no end of trouble for some years, 
each little clan raiding or submitting as it felt disposed. 
They are essentially a hill-dwelling people, though 
their cultivation is often low down in the plains, and 
they divide themselves into two great political divisions, 
namely, the Kamsa Kachins who have rulers, and the 
Kumlao Kachins who have none, and but rarely 
even assemble village councils. There is also a sort 
of national division of Kachins into " Khakus," or 
Northerners, living between the Mali-kha and Nmai- 
kha rivers above the Confluence, and the " Ching- 
paw," or southerners, who migrated furthest from the 
ancestral home in the mountains of north-east Thibet. 

We have seen how the first migration of these 
people led them in a small community into what is 
now the Hkamti country ; whence, on receiving a fresh 
influx of immigrants, they expanded across the Patkoi, 
pushing back the Shans in those regions until the 
latter, gaining strength in the Pong kingdom, were 
in their turn able to thrust the Kachins back but in 
the direction of the Mali-kha river, where they were 
forced to live until the dissolution of the Shan king- 
dom towards the end of the thirteenth century, when 
the Kachins again set themselves in motion, migrating 
south and south-east. During all this period another 
migratory wave of what are now spoken of as Thibeto- 
Burmans was gradually advancing down the Nmai- 
kha valley further east, and these eventually met the 
western stream in the neighbourhood of Myitkhyina 
and Mogoung, where they became powerful, ousting 



XIII HISTORY OF UPPER ASSAM 173 

the Shans, and overaweing them and the Burmans 
to such an extent that it was the usual habit of the 
latter in the riverine tracts to sleep in their boats 
on the rivers, that they might have some chance of 
escape from the sudden raids the Kachins constantly 



Kachin Girl 



indulged in. It is not necessary to dive into the 
bewildering mass of tribelets into which this race is 
split up ; a look into the Gazetteer of Upper Burma 
will satisfy those who need deeper detail on the 
subject ; so it will suffice for this history to deal with 



174 HISTORY OF UPPER ASSAM chap. 

the five parent tribes only, and two or three others 
of the more important " Cognate tribes," as they are 
called ; and who, though descending it is thought 
from the same common ancestors, have evolved certain 
widely different manners, habits, and even languages, 
from those of the true Kachins. 

These parent tribes are : — 

(i) The Marips, who dwell west of the Mali-kha 
river near the Hukong valley round the Jade mine 
area, and to the west of the Indawgyi lake. They 
are a powerful tribe, and one that has always been 
the most friendly disposed towards British authority. 
Of these there are fifteen sub-tribes. 

(2) The Lahtaungs, who apparently first dwelt in 
the area enclosed by the Mali-kha and Nmai-kha 
rivers, but some distance above the Confluence. 
They have now, however, spread southwards till they 
reach the upper defile of the Irrawadi river, and 
extend into parts of the North Shan hills. This 
tribe is split up into eighteen sub-divisions, of which 
only one the Sana Lahtaungs, were openly hostile 
to British rule, giving cause for various columns to 
move against them up to 1896. They dwell now 
mostly west of the Irrawadi and north of Mogoung ; 
and it was this sub-division that made the well-known 
and successful raid on Myitkhyina in December, 1892, 
when they burnt the court-house and civil officers' 
residences, and generally caused a stampede of all 
who were then in Myitkhyina, together with some of 
the Mogoung Levy in garrison there. 

(3) The Lepais are said to be the largest and most 
powerful of the Kachin tribes and are found in the 
country north and north-east of Mogoung, around 



XIII 



HISTORY OF UPPER ASSAM 



175 



Myitkhyina and away into the Pang Hkan hills south- 
east of Bhamo. Some are also found scattered in 
the North Shan hills. They are divided up into 
seventeen sub-divisions, of whom only two are worth 
noticing here, namely, the Thama section, whose 



H^^H 




^^S^^B^^ 


-""^ ^"--..-- y 


^^^^^^^^BH^'^. 




I^^Sf^"-':^ 


'*-^^UBm 


fl^^MB^Hfi 


B 




^■Bj^^H 


BK 




^HHCifl 


^^wyy^ ^^itrj ■ •aZ^KtM'dt ■ ^^ 



Kachin Men (Mogoung). 

hostility in 1889 necessitated a punitive force being 
sent against them, when 329 of their houses were 
burnt, 124,000 lbs. of paddy destroyed, and many 
killed before they submitted two years later ; and the 
Kaori section who, occupying the hills east and south- 
east of Bhamo dominate the main route for traffic 



176 HISTORY OF UPPER ASSAM chap. 

with China, and are rather notorious robbers. Of 
the other Lepai section, the most troublesome have 
been the Szi about Mogoung, the Hpankan south- 
east of Bhamo, and the Lakhum east of Bhamo along 
the right bank of the Shweli river, against whom in 
1886 to 1892 various punitive expeditions had to be 
sent before their final submission. Of all the Kachin 
peoples these Lepais have shown the most hostility 
in the early years after the annexation. 

(4) The N'khums, who dwell in the region south 
of Hkamti Long and west of the Mali-kha river with 
a few scattered villages along the frontier and in the 
North Shan States. 

(5) The Marans who are found all along the border 
in scattered communities in the country about the 
Amber mines and west of the Mali-kha. Both these 
latter tribes appear to have given little or no trouble 
in the past, and have no particular interest. Of the 
so-called "Cognate tribes," who, though of the same 
stock as Kachins, are yet different in habits and speech, 
the most noticeable are the Marus, Lashis, Yawyins or 
Lihsaws, and Khunongs. 

The first-named are found chiefly on the border- 
land between Burma and China, east of Loi Nju, 
near the Confluence, and up the Nmai-kha river. 
They are also met with in North Hsen Wi district 
in the Shan hills, and even down in the Katha district. 
They have no sub -tribes, but every village has its 
own chief, and these are not always at peace with 
each other. They are also great slave traders. Lieu- 
tenant Pottinger, R.A., who has travelled a good deal 
amongst these people, says those living along the 
border-land are an undersized folk of poor physique, 



XIII HISTORY OF UPPER ASSAM 177 

though with more pleasing faces than are usually 
possessed by Kachins. The further north one goes 
the finer does the tribe become, until the Nanwu 
Marus are reached — ^fine sturdy men with powerful 
limbs and generally splendid physique. 

The Lashis appear to be confined to the Chinese 
border north, north-east, and east of Bhamo, and appear 
to be allied to the Marus. During 1891-93 they came 
into collision with the British troops. 

The Yawyins, or Lihsaws, are not true Chingpaw 
(Kachin), as shown by their language, which is entirely 
different. They are found chiefly in the vicinity of 
Sadon and scattered throughout the higher ranges of 
the North Shan States. Usually a bigger set of people 
than the Kachins, they are interesting as being closely 
allied to the Muhsos, or Lahus, as the Shans call them, 
amongst whom Prince Henri d'Orleans travelled, and 
who are said formerly to have been powerful even to 
possessing a kingdom in the neighbourhood of east 
Thibet, where the great rivers rise which eventually 
descend into Yunnan and Burma, vide Colborne 
Baber's and Cooper's writings on the subject, who 
about 1875 and 1877 got through from Yunnan to 
Ta-chien-loo on the eastern Thibet border, and 
through Ssii-chuan to Bathang, respectively. The 
Khunongs are found east of Hkamti L6ng (or Bor 
Hkamti) and appear to touch even the Salween river. 
An old Shan chronicle mentions them as being one 
of the important races which assisted in forming the 
Pong kingdom (Mogoung) ; and Mr. Ney Elias, one 
of the great authorities on these little-known peoples, 
finds a very close kinship between them and the 
Mishmis of Assam. General Woodthorpe states their 



1 78 HISTORY OF UPPER ASSAM chap. 

language resembles that of the Singphos (Chingpaw), 
and alludes to them as a small-statured folk, fair 
and pleasant of face, timid of disposition, and con- 
sequently much oppressed by the Singphos on the 
south and Hkamti Shans on the west, to whom they 
pay tribute. 

They trade with the Chinese, Burmans, and also 
with the Lamas of Thibet ; and their most valuable 
possessions are the silver mines of Nogmung east of 
the Nam Tisang, which were visited by the late 
General Macgregor, who describes their rude methods 
of extracting and melting the ore in iron vessels over 
red-hot charcoal, a draught being kept up by blow- 
pipes on opposite sides, and the melted silver run 
off in iron pipes. The Khunongs never live in large 
villages, their houses are usually scattered over the 
hills in pairs, more often singly. The tribe is said 
to pay tribute to the Hkamtis, and to do a considerable 
amount of house building and agriculture for them, 
and to be also subject to their more northern neigh- 
bours the Khenungs, of whom very little is known, 
and who again come under China. The Khunongs 
do a considerable trade in gold and beeswax, and it 
is said the former is plentiful in their hills. From 
native sources of information it is reported that 
extensive silver mines exist east of the Nmai-kha 
river. 

Further south in the Kachin country, namely, 
between the Hukong valley and Mogoung lie the Amber 
and Jade mine districts which produce quantities of 
these valuable commodities. The amber is found on 
a small range in the south-west corner of the Hukong 
valley near and to the south of Mayankwan village. 



XIII 



HISTORY OF UPPER ASSAM 



179 



The actual mines are pits often nearly fifty fathoms 
deep sunk in the hard blue clay in which the resin 
is found in small flat blocks up to one foot long by 
six inches thick. This trade is chiefly with China, 
as is also that of jade which is found in the country 
about Kamaing, north-west of Mogoung, and to a 
certain extent in the Katha district further south. It 
is found in certain valleys in the form of large boulders, 
though here and there it is dug out of hill sides at 




Cane Bridge in the Kachin Country. 

a considerable elevation. These boulders are split 
by heating, and the jade stone in the centre then 
chipped out very carefully. This industry partakes 
of the nature of a pure gamble, for it is impossible 
to tell with any accuracy how much or in what quality 
jade exists in any boulder. All these tribes differ 
in appearance, habits, and dialects, and all writers 
say those whose habitat lies further north are the 
finer specimens of humanity. Although amongst them 

N 2 



i8o HISTORY OF UPPER ASSAM chap. 

are to be found various shades of complexion and 
shapes of face, yet there can be no doubt as to the 
origin of the Kachins, which was Tartar, and their 
original home the region south of the Great Gobi 
desert, whence migration started southwards. Their 
religion in general is that of spirit worship and the 
propitiation of malevolent demons ; while their marriage 
ceremonies usually partake of the nature of abduction, 
which, among the wealthier households is merely 
nominal in form, but is actually carried out among 
the common folk. Their morals, from our point of 
view may be considered somewhat lax, which is the 
case with all their neighbours right away to Assam, 
as young people are allowed to consort together as 
they please before marriage. If they do not care for 
each other they separate, and each is free to experi- 
ment with someone else. Should they so care, they 
marry : and Kachins claim that this arrangement 
does away with the chances of lapses in chastity and 
consequent trouble thereby after marriage. Should 
a child inopportunely arrive as a result of these 
intimacies, the man almost invariably marries the 
girl or has to pay a heavy fine to her parents. 

Kachins bury their dead with a certain amount 
of ceremony in timber coffins, offerings of pig and 
libations of rice beer being made to the spirits. 
The Marus are the only Kachin people who burn 
their dead and bury the ashes. 

The weapons of all Kachins and Shans are fairly 
similar, namely, cross-bows, spears and dahs, while 
amongst those in touch with Burma and China 
muzzle-loading guns are also found, and even Win- 
chester carbines obtained from Yunnan. Old Tower 




SHAN AND KACHIN WEAPONS, ETC. 



XIII HISTORY OF UPPER ASSAM i8i 

flintlocks of 1800 are often met with, and a few of 
the more powerful chiefs used to own jingals and 
swivel guns ; but these are a rarity nowadays. They 
make their own coarse powder and use iron bullets 
and slugs. The dahs used by all Kachins and Hkamti 
Shans north of the Confluence are made by the small 
Tareng tribe, who are distinct from the Kachins, 
whose habitat is north of Hkamti L6ng, and who 
are called by Mr. Errol Gray " the blacksmiths of 
the Khakus " (North Kachins). The metal is very 
durable, and the dahs are made in four varieties, of 
which the so-called " streaked " variety is used only 
by the upper classes. The Kachin dah, their national 
weapon, is about eighteen inches long, and differs 
from that of the Shans or Burmans in its curious 
wooden half sheath in which lies the weapon, one 
and a half inches wide at the hilt, increasing to two 
and a half inches at the truncated tip. The back 
is slightly curved, and the whole weapon wonderfully 
well balanced. It is used only for cutting, unlike 
the Shan weapon which is sharp-pointed for thrusting. 
Up to the arrival of the British on the scene, the 
Kachins were inveterate slave traders, which national 
custom was kept up by constant raids. Their ideas 
of war, like those of the Shans and other tribes, are 
chiefly those of sudden raids, and with few exceptions 
during our troubles with them after the annexation 
of upper Burma, they have acted on the defensive, 
planning their stockades and earthworks with rapidity 
and skill. The ground in front and flanks of these 
they 'stud with " panjis " (bamboo spikes hardened 
in fire) varying from a few inches to four feet long. 
Being hidden in long grass these are difficult to see. 



1 82 HISTORY OF UPPER ASSAM chap. 

and men running on to them get severe and often 
fatal wounds. Pitfalls three feet deep " panjied " at 
the bottom and neatly covered over are also frequently 
used. Favourite spots for the defence of their villages, 
which generally straggle among the hills with primeval 
forest all around, are usually found in thick jungle, 
ravines with steep approaches, or river gorges, where 
the Kachins will block and spike the approaches at 
suitable spots and have their guns trained on this 
ground from above or from the opposite side of the 
gorge, to open on the enemy when brought to a halt 
by the obstruction. As a result of many difficulties 
and losses when at first British troops were con- 
fronted by these Kachin tactics, the following plan 
was invariably adopted : an advance guard of six men 
leads, two flanking parties follow at some distance, 
for in these wooded regions troops are absolutely 
confined to the one path or track, and with the latter 
is a mountain gun. As soon as the advance guard 
comes on to the stockade or obstruction, word is 
passed back and this party disappears into the 
jungle at the side. The flanking parties work at 
once round each side of the defences, while the gun 
is pushed forward to a convenient spot and used 
against the works, and the main body then advances. 
When Kachins attack they do so at night, preferably 
just before moonrise. They are not head-hunters 
like their western brethren, the Nagas of Assam, but 
cut off the head of an enemy in proof that the Kachin 
brave has killed his man ; they then throw the head 
away as having no further value. 

In character these people are said by all who have 
come in contact with them to be vindictive and 



XIII HISTORY OF UPPER ASSAM 183 

treacherous ; but no doubt there are good points 
in them which careful fostering may bring out. For 
instance, they have been tried in certain MiUtary 
Pohce BattaUons, and those who have had command 
of them speak well of their soldierly qualities and the 
readiness with which they come under our notions 
of discipline, etc. In 1898 they came under fire for 
the first time and acquitted themselves in a praise- 
worthy manner. 

Myitkhyina, the important and most northerly of 
our frontier stations in the Kachin country, is on the 
Irrawadi some 1,400 miles from its mouth, and in 
fairly close contact with the Chinese borderland which 
is guarded by the strong outposts east of the river 
of Sima, Sadon, Seneku, Htagaw, and to which 
Hpimaw has recently been added ; all of which are 
in helio communication with Myitkhyina. It lies in 
a broad, well-watered plain, and is now a model 
cantonment well laid out, with good roads, comfort- 
able bungalows, and well-built lines for a strong 
Military Police Battalion of Goorkhas, who furnish 
the outposts and keep watch and ward over the wild 
tract of little-known country which has frequently 
been a source of trouble either of raids, smuggling, 
or demarcation difficulties. Myitkhyina in its early 
days suffered some vicissitudes, and at one time was 
so badly raided by Kachins (1893) that an undignified 
stampede of all in the place occurred, who fell back 
on Bhamo. It is now connected with the outer world 
by railway to Mandalay and Rangoon. 



i84 HISTORY OF UPPER ASSAM chap. 

Palaungs, Was, and Panthays. 

A description of the border people of upper Burma 
would be incomplete without some reference to these 
tribes, who are separate races dwelling in and along 
our north-east boundaries. The Palaungs have a 
State of their own, called by the Shans " Tawng- 
peng," and being a quiet, peaceful folk, have not come 
much into notice. They usually inhabit the higher 
hills in both British and Chinese Shan country, and 
are - great cultivators of tea. Ethnological savants 
differ considerably as to their original stock, one 
connecting them with Mon or Taking, another 
with Cambodian origin. From their own legends 
they would appear to have been in Tawngpeng long 
before the downfall of the ancient Shan kingdom of 
Nanchao about the middle of the ninth century. 
They are an uncouth-looknig but industrious race, 
are keen Buddhists, but also keep up a belief in spirits, 
whom they worship in trees, hills, and rocks. The 
Chinese pagoda on Loi Hpra, for instance, is wor- 
shipped by them, as also a very large old tea tree at 
Loi Seng which was planted i6o years ago. The men 
have now almost entirely adopted the Shan attire, 
while their women still keep up their own tribal 
distinction in their dresses which are bright in colour, 
consisting of a little dark blue jacket, a coloured 
skirt and blue trousers ; and on the head a large 
hood brought to a point behind the head and reaching 
down over the shoulders, the ends of which have 
white borders with ornamental bits of scarlet, blue, 
and black velvet worked in. The skirts having 
panels of various colours let in, the whole attire 



XIII 



HISTORY OF UPPER ASSAM 



185 



forms a pleasingly gay effect when seen on gala and 
festive occasions. Although both Palaungs and the 
Wa disclaim all connection with each other, their 
languages have shown conclusively that they must 
have had some common origin. The second tribe, 
namely, the Wa, state they are a race quite apart 




A Palaung Girl. 

from the Palaungs and others, and are divided by us 
into wild and tame Was — the former living in a com- 
pact block of country beyond our north-eastern 
frontier running for one hundred miles or so along 
the Salween and between that river and the Mekhong, 
the boundary of French influence, the latter dwelling 
inside our border line. They are a savage and 



i86 HISTORY OF UPPER ASSAM chap. 

treacherous race, and till visited by a British party 
in 1893, had always enjoyed the reputation of being 
cannibals, which is not the case. They are, how- 
ever, notorious head-hunters, not with the view of 
success amongst the fair sex (as with the Nagas), 
nor do they seem to regard heads as warlike tokens, 
but rather in the light of protection against evil 
spirits — ^without a skull his crops would fail or cattle 
die. The heads are set up on posts under the avenue 
of trees by which the villages are approached, and 
sometimes can be counted by hundreds on either 
side of these avenues. It is said they have a tariff 
for heads, those more dangerous to obtain, such 
as a Chinaman's, being valued at Rs. 50, but the 
general rate is from Rs. 3 to Rs. 10. Their villages, 
unlike those of the Kachins, are built on bare open 
hill sides visible for miles, the only trees in the 
immediate vicinity being those of the stately, sombre 
avenues of approach. When heads are brought home 
after a raid a great drinking bout with singing and 
dancing takes place, while the war drum, a huge 
tree trunk hollowed out, leaving only a narrow strip 
for the sound to emerge from, is frantically beaten. 
These drums, like those of the northern Nagas, in 
Assam, give out a deep, vibrating sound which travels 
a great distance, and are only beaten at times of 
crisis or of importance in the community. In time 
of tribal warfare a Wa village, and these are often of 
remarkable size, may be said to be almost impregnable. 
They stand high on hill slopes and are surrounded 
by an earth rampart six to eight feet high, which is 
overgrown with a dense covering of thorn bushes 
and cactus, while outside this again is a very deep 



XIII HISTORY OF UPPER ASSAM 187 

ditch also concealed by shrubs and grass. The only 
entrance is through a long sunken road often covered 
to form a sort of tunnel which is made to wind, so 
as to obviate the possibility of an enemy firing up 
it. In time of danger these approaches are sown 
with bamboo spikes (panjies), the whole forming a 
defence most difficult to get through. The Was 
grow a considerable amount of opium, which at great 
profit to themselves is taken by Shans and Chinese. 
They are also heavy drinkers of a strong spirit made 
from rice, and are good agriculturists. Their dress 
is conspicuous in both sexes by its scantiness and 
unattractiveness. In hot weather neither wears any- 
thing except on occasions of ceremony, the men then 
simply wearing a strip of cotton cloth passed between 
the legs and tied round the waist so that the small 
tassled ends hang down in front. The women's only 
garment is a short petticoat falling down from the 
hips for a few inches only, made of coarse cotton. 
But as the women are fair, shapely, and decidedly 
pretty, perhaps scantiness of attire is the less to be 
regretted. As for religion, theirs is mostly that of 
spirit worship, though a few profess to be Buddhists. 
They bury their dead in the village in front of the 
deceased's house with all his personal ornaments. 
One writer on these people states that in spite of 
their head-hunting propensities which arise from a 
mistaken agricultural theory, the fear of evil spirits, 
and not from ferocity, they are a brave, independent, 
energetic, and industrious lot ; while other tribes 
affirm that the Was are not bad neighbours. 

North of the Was, and between them and China 
proper, come the Lolos and Muhsos or Lahus, tribes 



i88 HISTORY OF UPPER ASSAM chap. 

of whom but little is known, and only a few scattered 
communities of the latter dwell in the Northern Shan 
States, namely, in Hsen Wi and Hsipaw. The Muhsos 
are said to be a warlike tribe, and it is known the 
Chinese of Yunnan have frequently been in conflict 
with them, and were only subdued as late as 1887, 
when a Chinese General found it necessary to use 
Krupp guns against them. They are very expert 
cross-bowmen, and their arrows are often poisoned. 
Prince Henri d' Orleans travelled through their country 
in 1895, and speaks of them as having been at one 
time Buddhists, though now they have mostly reverted 
to their old spirit worship. He also states they have 
a written character not unlike Chinese, and assumes 
the Lolos and Muhsos to be practically the same 
tribe. 

The Lolos occupy country in south Ssii-chuan, 
near the Ssii-chuan and Yunnan border, and are de- 
scribed as a tall, energetic race. They mix a great 
deal with the Chinese, and have a written character 
resembling that called Indo-Pali, having its origin in 
picture-writing. They burn their dead, and have a 
curious form of religion based on a belief in a future 
state of retribution. In a few cases only have Lolos 
adopted Buddhism. Mr. Hosie, who in 1883 jour- 
neyed from Chengtu, the capital of Ssii-chuan to 
Yiinnanfu, passed through their country, and records 
the number of Chinese garrisons in mud forts in 
the valleys to control this people, while the hill 
country is left severely alone by them. In fact, the 
Lolos, who appeared a warlike, truculent race and 
are continually raiding, were distinctly held in dread 
by the Chinese. From the strongly stockaded Chinese 



XIII HISTORY OF UPPER ASSAM 189 

outposts and guard-houses, everything pointed to 
being in a dangerous locaUty, and parties of Celestial 
soldiery armed with old muskets, swords, and halberts, 
escorted him through the Lolo country for days. 
In his travels through this country and southern 
Yunnan, Prince Henri d'Orleans speaks of the seasons 
wet or dry being far less marked than in the country 
further south and nearer Burma. The climate of the 
upper Mekhong appears very dry, even in the summer 
there is a very small rainfall only. This changes 
again further north, where in the neighbourhood of 
Attentze and Ouisifu, two rainy seasons occur, namely, 
July to September and again in February, the latter 
being the heavier. The Salween valley, being covered 
with dense vegetation, is far damper than that of the 
Mekhong, and in the upper Irrawadi basin he says 
the two seasons are well marked, and the summer 
rains are abundant. Here in winter they noticed a 
remarkable and continuous absence of wind, a con- 
dition obtaining nowhere else in their long journey 
from Tonkin to Assam. Except on the peaks of 
Likiang, Dokerla, and Pemachou, there appeared to 
be no perennial snow in this part of western Yunnan, 
but the party found the ranges dividing the Mekhong, 
Salween, and Irrawadi, and the Mekhong from the 
Yiang-tse-kiang, to be deep in snow from December 
to May, and no crossings are feasible then. He also 
states that in winter it is impossible to cross from the 
Mekhong to the Salween further north than Lao or 
Fey-long-kiao, which lie a little west of Talifu. 

This tally of Upper Burman border tribes would be in- 
complete without reference to the Panthays, whose chief 
settlement on our side of the frontier is at Pan Long in 



iQO HISTORY OF UPPER ASSAM chap. 

the North Shan State of Son-mu. Their proper 
habitat is, however, south of Tahfu and also in Momein 
(Tengyueh), and they are known to us as being traders 
and muleteers on the different trade routes between 
southern China and Burma. They are Mahomedans, 
and are descendants of Mahomedan military emi- 
grants who settled in far-off times and married Chinese 
wives. Mahomedanism reached China through the 
more eastern conquests of Tamerlane, when numbers 
of his soldiery remained behind in the Chinese pror 
vinces of Kansu and Yunnan. The Panthays are a 
fine and not unwarlike race, as their conflicts with 
the Chinese in the last seventy years go to show ; 
who only crushed out the rebellion by a series of 
ruthless massacres of the Panthays, which chroniclers 
state cost seven millions of lives between Chinese 
weapons and the plague, which disease broke out in 
the decimated region, spread in 1893 to Hong Kong, 
and three years later to Bombay. 

All this part of our borderland, where Shans, 
Panthays, and Palaungs are met with, has attracted 
all who have made acquaintance with it — its hills 
and valleys, woods and plains, picturesque peoples, 
affording constant change to the mind and delight 
to the eye. The writer in 1901 travelled across 
from the Naga hills and reached the Irrawadi at 
Katha, and the scenes and interests impressed them- 
selves on him greatly so that possibly a part of his 
wanderings about the Bhamo border may interest 
others. At Katha he was once more in reach of 
civilised methods of travelling, and on a comfortable 
steamer journeying up river, passing Shwegu, noted 
justly (from what he saw) for the good looks of its 



XIII HISTORY OF UPPER ASSAM 191 

ladies, and Thunyaw Island, where large fairs are 
held, and immense numbers of delicately shaped 
white pagodas stand out amongst the general greenery. 
The lower Defile, seven and a half miles long, was 
entered at daybreak, and here the hills rise straight 
from the river's edge, which in one place narrows 
from 700 to 250 yards across. The entrance to the 
Defile, with a little golden pagoda built some way 
up a tremendous precipice, is particularly striking. 
At Bhamo, which, it is interesting to know, held in 
the latter part of the eighteenth century an English 
factory, of which the brick ruins in old Bhamo, near 
the Taping river, are still pointed out, he found he 
was in time to join in with Captain L. of the Military 
Police Battalion, who was going out seventy miles 
east on to the Chinese border to locate a new out- 
post. His company of Sikhs had gone ahead a few 
days, so we followed, riding thirteen miles to Mansi 
at the foot of the hills, and thence seventeen miles 
up hill, along a vile road through dense forest to 
Warraboon at the top of the range. The rains were 
just over, and traders were beginning to trek down 
to Bhamo from China and the Shan States, and the 
road every now and then would be blocked by droves 
of Shan cattle or Panthay mules with their loads of 
merchandise carried on peculiar-shaped pack saddles 
which are not fastened on to the animals as ours would 
be, but keep position by balance. The loads are 
very easily and quickly lifted on and off, and no sore 
backs were noticed. The leading animals in these 
droves had most musical bells attached to their head- 
gear, which echoed through the forest and along the 
hill sides in a most attractive manner. Down below 



192 HISTORY OF UPPER ASSAM chap. 

in Bhamo it was still hot and stuffy, but Warraboon 
at 4,400 feet was distinctly and pleasantly cold, and 
the evening view over the Irrawadi from an open 
spur near a Kachin rest-house in which we spent 
the night was exceedingly fine. The next day the 
road followed the top of the range for some miles 
till the small bamboo rest-house at Namkai was 
reached, in which we rested and tiffined. The hill 
sides about here at this season were covered with a 
creeper, whose masses of close white 'blossoms gave 
the appearance of a heavy fall of snow. Far off, 
and below, a glimpse was obtained of the Shweli 
valley backed by the distant blue mountains of the 
Shan States and China. That evening Pungkan was 
reached, and we found a small two-roomed grass 
and bamboo " basha " had been run up for us by the 
Sikhs who had arrived and had hutted themselves 
in rows of similar shelters on an open stretch of grass 
land a little south of the village and close to the 
border, which here is the Namwan stream. The 
next two days were spent in selecting an advanta- 
geous site for the new outpost, in pegging out the 
traces for its earthwork defences, and in fishing the 
neighbouring stream, but with indifferent success. 
The weather was now glorious and the views delight- 
ful, especially about evening, while at that time the 
chimes from the different Shan monasteries added 
to one's pleasure. The first evening there will not 
be easily forgotten. We were lounging and smoking 
by our small hut, near by the Sepoys preparing their 
evening meals, and to our front long stretches of turf 
land sloping gently down to the Shweli river six miles 
off and rolling through richly cultivated country. 



XIII HISTORY OF UPPER ASSAM 193 

beyond the mountains of south-west China, with the 
last glow of sunset lingering on them. To our left 
and one and a half miles away, a long wooded spur 
dipping into the main valley, and at its lower end 
a picturesque Chinese fort (Loieng), Pungkan village 
lying about mid- way between it and our hut. We 
were talking of the extreme' beauty of the view, the 
shadows lengthen, the sunlight fades on the scene, 
when suddenly a burst of most glorious bell music 
rises from the Pungkan monastery and floats across 
to us ; we sit up and listen intently, the chimes rise 
and fall, swelling, mysterious, touching music ; two 
far-off^ monasteries take it up faintly, and before we 
realised it, the glorious sounds had ceased, a heavy 
silence succeeded, and both of us agreed it was most 
beautiful but all too short. Our third day in these 
parts was spent in a visit to the great fair at Namkwam, 
ten miles across the main valley. An early start was 
made, and also an unsuccessful stalk after geese on 
the river, but the birds were too wary. This fair 
was on a very large scale on the outskirts of a moderate 
sized town, where many years ago we had had an 
outpost. Lines and lines of booths were crowded 
with thousands of wild, strange types of humanity 
— Burmese, Chinese, Shans, Kachins, and Yawyins, 
their women with scanty coloured skirts, heavy cane 
gartering and marvellous hair arrangements ; and 
Palaungs, whose ladies encircle their sturdy waists 
with endless coils of cane, wear silk trouserines, and 
carry a heavy knife sticking in their girdle. All sorts 
of curios and weapons could be picked up here, as 
well as good silk and the pretty home-made cloths 
beloved and distinctive of the different tribes. But 



194 HISTORY OF UPPER ASSAM ch. xiii 

even here many stalls displayed tawdry Birmingham 
and Manchester goods and cheap American cigarettes 
in thousands ! Mixed up with these were quite 
inviting confectioners, whose refreshment stalls 
were always crowded ; while here and there one 
stumbled across the same old game — the three- 
card trick, or thimbles and peas — always presided 
over by an acute-looking old Chinaman who in every 
case seemed to be doing a roaring trade. Not far 
off was the cattle fair with large numbers of excellent 
little Shan ponies, mules, and cows picketed in long 
lines for sale. Towards noon the Tsawba (chief), 
hearing of our presence, sent word hoping we would 
rest and spend the heat of the day in his house, which 
we gladly did — eating our tiffin in what I suppose 
might have been called his audience hall, a fine, large, 
airy timber structure, raised off the ground on piles, 
with a large number of spears, dahs, and old muskets 
ranged round the walls. The illustrious host, to- 
gether with his notables, sat quietly round watching us 
eat with evident interest ; but conversation lan- 
guished, for our only interpreter knew very little 
Hindustani. Before leaving we persuaded our host 
to let us see and photo him in all his silken finery, 
and a very attractive group he and his two senior 
officials made. With this a most delightful border 
outing came to an end, and Bhamo was reached 
again three days later. 



CHAPTER XIV 

THE NAGA TRIBES 

The successful attack in February, 1913, of the 
Trans-Dikku Nagas on a column of Military Police 
has turned a certain amount of attention to the tribes 
of Nagas who, though not actually living on the 
North Eastern Frontier, are sufficiently near to it 
and have a sufficiently interesting history to warrant 
their being included in this volume. The name by 
which they are now usually known, namely, Naga, 
has nothing whatever to do with snakes as some 
think, but is a corruption of the word " nanga " — 
naked. Of all the people in north-east Assam these 
are the most powerful, and have given us more persis- 
tent trouble since 1832 than any others. They 
inhabit the hill country south of the Brahmaputra 
valley from the Singphos to the North Cachar hills, 
and are divided into four big tribal sections — Angami, 
Sema, Aoh, Lhota — and two smaller ones — Rengma 
and Kaccha Nagas. Of these, the first-named have 
proved the most turbulent and warlike. Their origin 
is rather doubtful, some savants ascribing a Mon- 
golian origin, namely, that they are an offshoot of the 
very earliest migration from the neighbourhood of 
the Kiunlung range as carried out first by the Chins, 

"55 O 2 



196 



HISTORY OF UPPER ASSAM chap. 



who located themselves far to the south in the^ hills 
between the Lushais and the Irrawadi valley. Others 




Angami Nagas in Gala Attire. 



in the past have thought that they can trace their 
origin to the Dyaks of Borneo, who in some far-off 
age, it is surmised, may have trekked north through 




A. Cross bow used by Singphos Daphlas and Nagns on the Packoi Range. 

B. Spears used by the same with hair ornamentation. Tbe circles denote owners rank. 

C. D. Different kinds of "daos'' used by the Patkoi tribes. D is double edged. 

E. A bamboo drinking cup adorned uith real "poker work." 

F. The plain shafted spear used for throwing. 

G. Carved wooden pipe used on the Western Patkoi -the bowl represents a human head, and a row of 

monkeys stand along the stem. 



XIV HISTORY OF UPPER ASSAM 197 

the Straits, Tenasserim, southern Burma, and Arakan, 
until they were brought to a standstill by either the 
vast walls of the Himalayas or by the southward 
trend of Mongolian peoples. They recognise a slight 
resemblance in matters of counting, names for 
domestic implements, in a way village architecture, 
and their head-hunting propensities, to those of the 
Dyaks ; while their love for marine shells (which 
they part with but rarely) may seem to point to a 
bygone home near the sea ; though now they are a 
far inland residing community. The late Colonel 
J. Johnston, formerly Political Agent at Manipur, 
alludes to this idea of a far southern original home 
for the Nagas ; while the traditions of the Maram 
tribe of Nagas on the east of the Barail range go to 
show that their original home was somewhere far 
to the south of where they are now. It is perhaps 
worthy of notice that the tribe of Kukis (Lushais) 
with similar characteristics are still moving north ; 
while across in Burma the great Kachin tribes have 
been steadily pressing south even to our day. But 
this old theory has practically exploded, and it is now 
definitely decided that this people belong to a Thibeto- 
Burman stock. The Nagas, particularly the Angamis, 
are an athletic and by no means a bad-looking race, 
and are in religion spirit worshippers. They are, 
for savages, a moral race, the same customs in marriage 
obtaining with them as with the Kachins already 
dealt with. Their weapons are spears seven feet long 
and over, and short assegais which are thrown with 
great skill for twenty-five yards and more, a heavy 
battle-axe, or " dao," and at one time they possessed 
a considerable number of old muzzle-loading guns, 



198 



HISTORY OF UPPER ASSAM chap. 



which have now been gradually taken from them. 
Their villages are built high on the hills, strongly 
defended with stockades, stout walls and " panjied " 




Angami Nagas. 



ditches. The approaches to most of these are along 
narrow winding sunken paths, not unlike those of the 
Was in Burma. All Nagas are head-hunters, their 
women being the chief incentive to this pursuit, as 



XIV HISTORY OF UPPER ASSAM 199 

girls will not look on men with favour who have not 
taken heads or been in raids. Since our taking over 
the Naga hills this, of course, has ceased ; but even 
of late years it has occurred that women have in- 
duced men desiring their favours to go across the 
border and take a head. Any are considered of 
value — ^man's, woman's, or child's — ^and it is curious 
to note that where some of the tribes adorn their 
shields and house fronts with rough emblems of heads 
taken, sometimes one will see a head represented 
upside down — this having been taken in pure murder. 
Thus do they make some slight distinction between 
a fairly taken head and one unfairly taken. Angami 
girls have their heads shaved clean until they marry, 
when they grow their hair ; so that the interesting 
bride by her bristly pate is at once divined, with 
whom, as one writer puts it, " the orange blossoms 
of virginity are never seen by her husband." Kaccha 
Nagas, who are closely allied to the Angamis and 
dwell just south of them, who dress similarly, and 
whose villages are small and houses different from their 
neighbours, display a tribal dress distinction only, 
through their women, the edges of whose short, bright 
petticoats are embroidered with the tribal pattern. 
Their girls do not shave the head, but grow the hair 
fairly long and cut it into a deep fringe over the 
forehead, with rather pleasing -effect. The Kaccha 
Nagas are a cheery and musical folk, the former 
quality being shown in their dances to which they 
are devoted and in which they are graceful performers. 
These dances are of a quick " heel and toe " move- 
ment, either in pairs or quartets of both sexes, and 
are not unlike our Highland dances. Their singing 



200 HISTORY OF UPPER ASSAM chap. 

is curious — no words, and of the nature of an anti- 
phonal chant, which is very effective. 

Angami dances partake more of the nature of wild 
leaping, and they are unmusical save for a rather sad, 
long-drawn-out chant. The eastern Angamis of the 
Kopamedza range have a most curious form of singing. 
A little party of young men and girls will form two 
separate circles, girls in one, men in the other, with 
a leader in the centre of each. The singing is " bouche 




Kaccha Nagas Dancing. 



fermee," and one has to be close to hear well. Both 
circles accord with each other in the air, which is 
most soft and pleasing. Oddly enough, with all their 
warlike tendencies, the Angamis are great traders, 
continually being seen in distant parts of the Assam 
valley, while they have been known to go even as far 
as Calcutta and Rangoon. 

The Aoh Nagas are found from the Doyang river 
almost to the great bend of the Dikkoo river as it 



XIV 



HISTORY OF UPPER ASSAM 



201 



emerges from the hills into the plains, and they 
occupy the three ranges of hills lying between the 
latter river and the Assam valley. Neither this tribe 
nor their neighbours, the Semas, have given us very 
great trouble in the past, though it has been found 
necessary to punish for minor raids now and then, 
and to finally take over the countries of both tribes. 
Aohs are divided into two big clans — the " Chungli " 
and the " Mongsin." These are difficult to recog- 




AoH Naga Giri; showing Coiffure and Shell Necklace. 



nise ordinarily, as the dress is the same in both ; each 
favour certain localities, and their women denote the 
tribal distinction in the tattooed ornamentation of their 
legs from ankle to knee — one having a diamond 
pattern (Chungli), the other plain circles round the 
calf (Mongsin), both being finished off with arrow 
heads at the knees. The coiffure of an Aoh woman 
is most . elaborate, the hair being coiled into a large 
ornate " bun " behind, which is added to with false 



202 HISTORY OF UPPER ASSAM chap. 

plaits twisted in with coils of white cotton wool and 
with brass hair pins ; the whole being supported on 
either side by enormous heavy brass earrings which 
are passed through the helix of the ear and kept in 
place by a string over the top of the head. Amongst 
the Aohs, for the preservation of order on the border, 
the Naga Hill Military Police Battalion have a strong 
outpost at Mogokchang (ninety-five miles north of 
Kohima) of a hundred rifles in an earthwork fort, 
and another of fifty rifles stockaded at Tamlu, forty- 
five miles further north-east. Both posts have good 
rifle ranges and drill grounds, and are rationed from 
Moriani and Nazira respectively, which lie in the 
plains, and with which they are connected by good 
bridle paths. 

The Rengma and Lhota Nagas are uninteresting 
people with dirty persons and villages. The latter 
are chiefly noted for the very excellent domestic 
servants they make. 

In the extreme north of the Naga hills are the 
Lengta Nagas, a feeble tribe allied to the strong, 
fighting clans of the Trans-Dikkoo country, but who 
are terrible opium eaters and incapable of any heavy 
work. They, or rather their menkind, used to go 
naked, but of late years they have adopted a small 
blue loin cloth. 

The Sema Nagas are the next largest tribe to the 
Aohs and Angamis, but are not quite so warlike as the 
latter. They are divided into two large clans, namely, 
the " Yepatomi," or those dwelling in the low hills 
about the Doyang valley, and the " Zjhumomi " 
Semas, who occupy the higher ranges in the neigh- 
bourhood of the Tita and Tizoo rivers. These latter 



XIV 



HISTORY OF UPPER ASSAM 



203 



are a fine sturdy race, and have chiefs among them 
with real power to rule. Semas are, however, notori- 
ous thieves and drunkards. How far east they extend 
beyond the Tita river is at present unknown. The 
customs of many of these tribes are interesting and 
peculiar. As stated before, all marry when adults, 
and all girls and young men can consort openly 
together till marriage. Village arrangements and 







i 

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Sema Nagas in War Paint. 

architecture are different in each tribe, the Angamis 
having the larger more permanently built houses, the 
Rengmas and Lhotas building smaller and meaner- 
looking dwellings, the Aohs and Lengtas again living 
in large villages, the individual houses being lightly 
built of bamboo and standing high off the ground 
on piles. Angamis, Kacchas, Lhotas, and Rengmas 
bury in their villages, Aohs smoke dry the late 



204 



HISTORY OF UPPER ASSAM chap. 



lamented and then lay him on a high sort of trestle 
thatched over, on which they hang his ornaments 
and cloths and stand his weapons in front. The 




AoH Naga Graves. 



trestles with the dead are placed on either side of 
the big shady avenues by which the villages are 
approached. In the rains, when dry wood is scarce 



XIV HISTORY OF UPPER ASSAM 205 

and smoking a corpse long and tedious work, they 
are often placed on their trestles with the process 
only half completed ; and the passage of these avenues 
is then not a matter of pleasure for those of delicate 
nostrils. In the north of the district at Tamlu and 
over amongst the Trans-Dikkoo people, their dead 
are placed in rough-hewn log coffins, or are carefully 
wrapped round with leaves, which are then lodged 
up in big trees near the villages, the head in some 
clans being wrenched off and laid at the base of the 
tree. As wind and weather work upon the trees and 
coffins these are often dislodged, and the scene is 
then more gruesome than curious. In dress Angamis 
and Aohs are the most picturesque in their war paint 
with short black sort of kilt or a sporran, both adorned 
with cowrie shells, ivory or brass armlets, cane head- 
dress mounting the tail feathers of the toucan, coloured 
cane leggings, huge white seashells worn at the back 
of the neck, and their daos and spears with fringes 
of gaily dyed hair. Aoh women wear a long blue 
shawl covering them entirely, while the Angami wears 
a short brightly striped petticoat and small coloured 
shawl with brass bangles and large necklaces of 
shells, coloured beads, and rough cut cornelians. 
Semas and Rengmas are the least attractive in attire, 
which is exceedingly scanty. In the north round 
Tamlu and at Lakma a little further east the people 
go nude ; the men only in the former, both sexes 
in the latter, and it certainly made us feel at first 
somewhat awkward when the 1900 expedition entered 
Lakma to be confronted by the villagers about their 
business in what Trilby called the " all together," 
and see men and girls chaffing each other with nothing 



2o6 HISTORY OF UPPER ASSAM chap. 

but necklace and armlets on. East of the Angamis 
come other clans who discard clothes, namely, the 
Sohemi folk and the Tankhul Nagas, whose ring- 
wearing habit has aroused much curiosity ; though 
these latter are only actually nude in the heat. But 
as these people come under Manipur, they are outside 
the scope of this book. 

As regards cultivation, two methods are observed 
by these tribes — the Angamis mostly cultivate on 
terraced hill sides, all other tribes by the system 
called " jhooming," namely, clearing strips of hill 
side of jungle which is burnt on the ground, the ash 
making a good manure. Several crops are grown on 
it annually, and the soil is very soon impoverished. 
The community then clear fresh hill sides, the former 
land being allowed to recuperate for some ten years 
by means of the jungle which soon covers it again. 
To a stranger suddenly arriving in the Angami 
country nothing strikes him with greater surprise and 
admiration than the beautiful terraced cultivation 
which meets the eye everywhere, on gentle hill slopes, 
sides and bottoms of valleys, in fact, wherever the land 
can be utilised in this way. In preparation, upkeep, 
and irrigation, the very greatest care is taken, far in ex- 
cess of anything seen in the north-west Himalayas. The 
appearance of the countryside for miles south of 
Kohima, for instance, is such as to suggest the handi- 
work and labour of a far higher order of people than 
these wild Nagas. These terraced fields are often 
bordered with dwarf alder bushes, are carefully irri- 
gated by an elaborate system of channels bringing 
water down from mountain streams, and luxuriant 
crops of rice are grown on them. To pass through 



XIV HISTORY OF UPPER ASSAM 207 

the valley where stand the two powerful villages of 
Khonoma and Mozema during late October when the 
crops are ripe is indeed a delight for the eye — a 



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mmmm 



Burial Tree outside Tabhlung Village, Western Patkoi, 
A Corpse fastened to Trunk a little way up, wrapped 
ROUND WITH Leaves, Skulls at Base of Tree. 

veritable golden valley. The further south and east 
one goes beyond this tribe the less attention is paid 
to this form of cultivation, though it is still found 
in the hills away east of Bhamo ; but in upper Burma 



2o8 HISTORY OF UPPER ASSAM chap. 

the " jhooming " system, or " tawnya," as the Bur- 
mese call it, is far more in vogue. Amongst all these 
Naga tribes social customs demand that the young 
unmarried men sleep in a house set apart for them ; 
while in some tribes, such as the Aohs, the unmarried 
girls also sleep together in a small house apart from 
their families. Where the young men reside is known 
as the " dekha chang," and in it are hung spoils of 
the chase, of war, and weapons. Amongst the Aohs, 
Semas, Langtas, and Trans-Dikkoo Nagas are seen 
" Morangs," not unlike those found in Borneo among 
the Dyak villages, namely, large substantial timber 
and thatched houses of peculiar shape, one of which 
stands close to the entrance of the " khel," or parish 
one might call it, into which all Naga villages are 
divided up. Alongside of these " Morangs," which 
are of the nature of guard-houses, stands the war 
drum hollowed out of a huge tree trunk, and beaten 
in times of peril to the community to call the men 
back from the distant fields, or on occasions of festivity 
and ceremonial. The sound emitted is deep, vibra- 
ting, and travels far. All young men have to put in 
a certain period of duty at the " Morang," which 
forms a rude sort of military system, and when ended 
the man cuts a slab of a certain tree and sets it up 
in front of the guard house, in token that his tour 
of duty is over. Amongst these tribes heads taken 
and other trophies of war are hung in their " Morangs," 
and some of the enormous timbers supporting the 
roofs will be found elaborately carved with repre- 
sentations of elephants, lizards, toucan heads (the 
greater hornbill), and nude human figures. All these 
tribes are head-hunters, but such trophies are seldom 



XIV HISTORY OF UPPER ASSAM 



209 




AoH Naga Chief's House. 



210 HISTORY OF UPPER ASSAM chap. 

seen on our side of the border nowadays ; though 
just across the Dikkoo river (the border) this pastime 
is indulged in as vigorously as ever. The writer 
recalls having seen, when at Yasim village on a punitive 
expedition in 1900, the two headmen's house fronts 
adorned, one with thirty-seven, the other with forty- 
two, human skulls attached to a sort of trellis work, 
each skull being embelhshed with a goat's horn fixed 
on each side. These people are usually very friendly 
disposed, courteous in their independent way, and 
willing to assist Europeans. It is only in the nearer 
proximity to our headquarter stations and civilisa- 
tion that these pleasant qualities are found somewhat 
lacking. Much intercourse with Europeans seems to 
breed bad manners, impertinence, and refusal of aid ; 
and it must be said that the pampering of them 
frequently by English officials, and the absence of 
adequate punishment for insolence, has only fostered 
these undesirable feelings. Most Naga villages — 
certainly amongst the Angamis — have wealthy funds 
from which they pay with ease the paltry fines regarded 
as ample punishment by some of our officials, and 
which the people do not regard as anything approach- 
ing to what they know should be meted out to them 
on occasions. So wealthy are some of these funds 
that when carriers were being raised amongst the 
tribes for transport work in the Abor expedition of 
191 1, a certain village was known to have given men 
of less rich villages Rs. 100 a man to those who would 
go as substitutes for their own unwilling men. The 
first time the Nagas are noticed in history is through 
the Ahom " buranjis," and show that as far back as 
1530 the Nagas of Namsang and Tabhlung on the 



XIV 



HISTORY OF UPPER ASSAM 



211 



Dikkoo river, within twelve miles of our present 
Military Police outpost at Tamlu, were sufficiently 
powerful to defeat an Ahom force and capture 
several guns. Mention is again made in 1648 of 
considerable trouble with the Nagas of Lakma, a big 
village lying soine fifteen miles into the hills east of 
Charaideo, which in 1900 was visited by the Deputy 
Commissioner and an escort who found them any- 
thing but a warlike folk. The end of that century 




Trans Dikkoo Naga and his "Heads." 

saw more Naga raids put down drastically, and 
an embankment called the Naga AUi raised as a 
protection against their incursions. It seems that 
they, in common with all the different tribes, seized 
the opportunity of harrying the Assam plains during 
the chaotic conditions arising in Gaurinath's reign 
in the early part of the nineteenth centjiry. But it 
is not till 1832 that Englishmen came into contact 
with them, when Captains Jenkins and Pemberton, 

p 2 



213 



HISTORY OF UPPER ASSAM chap. 



on duty with the Manipuri durbar, crossed with a 
large escort into the Assam valley from that State, 
coming out at Nagura, and had to fight the whole 




\\\' 












.'■•/'.-a-V 







^i*' /. z:^';^ 









Corner in Berema Village, Kaccha Naga. 

way. This passage through their country irritated 
the Nagas to such an extent that British troops were 
sent to Mohun Dijoa, on the eastern border of our 
Nowgong district, to protect that part of the border 



XIV HISTORY OF UPPER ASSAM 2x3 

which then ran along the foot of the hills. To 
obviate any trouble accruing to ourselves from these 
tribes it was proposed that the Manipur State should 
control all the Naga hills as far as the Doyang river 
and down to the North Cachar hills ; and in 1835 
the forest land between the Dhansiri and Doyang 
rivers was declared the boundary between Assam and 
Manipur. In the same year trouble arose through 
our villages in North Cachar being subjected to Naga 
raids and exactions, and as neither Manipur nor 
Tularam, who ruled in the North Cachar hills did 
anything to stop the outrages, and as it was found 
that Manipuri occupation of the hills only exaspe- 
rated the tribes, Government found itself obliged to 
take some action. An English official, Mr. Grange, 
Assistant at Nowgong, was in 1838 empowered to 
raise a small Cachar levy — the starting-point of the 
present well-known Naga Hills Military Police Battalion 
— to preserve order and to defend the border. In the 
following year continued trouble led to the first 
British expedition into the Angami country, but 
owing to insufficiency of troops and transport. Grange 
only got as far as Berema and retired out of the hills, 
visiting Samaguting a large village on the outer 
range east of Dimapur, where he strongly advocated 
the establishment of a permanent military post in- 
stead of the unhealthy one at Mohun Dijoa. 

It was now determined to re-align another definite 
boundary between Assam and Manipur, and the 
watershed of the great Barail range was settled on, 
our side of the same being controlled from Nowgong. 
In 1840, to receive the Angami's submission and to 
meet and define this boundary with the Manipuri 



214 



HISTORY OF UPPER ASSAM chap. 



officials, Grange again entered the hills, at Sama- 
guting and reached Paplongmai, where he found the 
Manipuris had turned back without waiting for him, 
so he followed them on for two marches. At Tog- 
wema, finding the Nagas avowedly hostile to Manipur, 

and they deeming Grange 
to be an ally of their 
enemies, he was attacked 
by a combination of 
villages, of which he 
managed to burn five 
before leaving the hills. 
The effect of this outing 
apparently stopped raid- 
ing for a time, and a 
Lieutenant Biggs was 
sent into the Angami 
hills in 1 84 1 to prospect 
for a suitable route to 
Manipur and to make 
friends with villages. He 
met with no opposition, 
concluded friendly agree- 
ments, and opened a salt 
depot at their request at 
Dimapur. Satisfactory 
arrangements over the 
boundary not having 
been yet arrived at, in 1842 Biggs marched through 
to Manipur, and in conference with Captain Gordon, 
then Political Agent at Manipur, the actual boundary 
was laid down in detail almost as it is to this day. 
But proposals for a British post at Paplongmai 




A Tankhul Naga from 
Manipur. 



XIV HISTORY OF UPPER ASSAM 215 

and a road to Samaguting were negatived. In 
1844 an Assistant from Nowgong entered the hills 
to collect the tribute agreed upon by them with 
Biggs. The chiefs, however, defied him, and 
practically chased him out of the country, falling 
at the same time on one of our outposts, which 
they completely destroyed. This led to Captain 
Eld's expedition in 1844, which exacted considerable 
retribution and burnt some villages, for which Eld 
in the end was censured, as it was believed a village 
was burnt which should have been spared. After 
this the need of occupying the hills with a military 
post was again discussed, but a middle course was 
thought best ; and in the following year Captain 
Butler led a force through part of the country, mapping 
it, and conciliating the chiefs who paid him their tribute 
in ivory, cloth, and spears. But the moment he 
was out of the hills the old raiding parties started 
again. Butler led another expedition to the Angamis, 
and the same farce of agreements and oaths was gone 
through ; but he succeeded in starting a market at 
Samaguting, and in making a road there from Dima- 
pur, which had now become quite a trading centre. 
Butler had left behind him a police official named 
Bogchand at Samaguting with authority over the hill 
people. This official, while proceeding to settle dis- 
putes at Mozema, was attacked at Piphima where, 
disdaining precautions, his escort was dispersed and 
he himself was killed. To avenge this, Captain 
Vincent headed a force armed with powers to destroy 
villages and granaries of any who were hostile ; it 
having been pointed out to Government that our 
punishments were too mild, and the Nagas thought 



2l6 



HISTORY OF UPPER ASSAM chap. 



far more of the Manipuris than of us. Vincent 
entered the hills in December, 1849, but was not 
successful, due to the Commandant falling ill ; two 
villages were burnt, but the troops had to retreat, 
and the Nagas celebrated the occasion by serious 
raids on the plains. Signs of hostile stirring were 
manifest amongst other sections than the Angamis. 




Kekrima, Angami Naga Village showing the Curious Horned 
Ornamentation to Houses of Wealthy Men. 

Manipur was fermenting the disturbances by intrigue, 
and strong repressive measures were eminently re- 
quired. In 1850 Vincent therefore led a stronger 
force over the border, and succeeded in penetrating 
to the two chief offending villages of Khonoma and 
Mozema, which were attacked and burnt. He then 
established himself in a strong stockade commanding 
this part of the tribal country, from which he made 



XIV HISTORY OF UPPER ASSAM 217 

tours and punished several other sections during the 
summer. Next winter another column under 
Captain Blake with two guns was sent up to assist 
Vincent, when a Naga fort was captured near Kho- 
noma, and the two officers with a strong force visited 
Kohima and part of the eastern Angami country, 
being opposed at Kekrima village, where the Angamis 
fought well in the open, and Vincent only won after 
what the official reports styled " a bloody battle." 

Many arguments now took place over two lines 
of policy, namely, retaining military hold of the 
hills, or abandoning them entirely ; the latter course, 
from economical considerations, being finally adopted, 
all troops were withdrawn entirely from the hills 
and their immediate vicinity, the Nowgong border 
being protected by a line of outposts from Golaghat, 
namely, Borpathar, Mohun Dijoa, Asaloo, Gunjong, 
and the tribes were left to riot at their own sweet 
will. It is amusing and interesting to note the 
immediate and natural results of this policy. Reports 
of those days show the jubilant Nagas when once 
they realised they were left alone, celebrated the 
new conditions by making twenty-two serious raids 
that year into British territory, i.e., down into the 
main Assam valley where the tea industry was pro- 
gressing. This alone showed the impracticability of 
non-interference ; yet in spite of the urgent protests 
of the frontier officials, and requests to be allowed 
to make reprisals, the game went on until 1862, when 
the Commissioner represented to Government the 
intolerable state of affairs. It was four more years 
before this simple matter was definitely taken up, 
and Government then directed a strong outpost to 



2l8 



HISTORY OF UPPER ASSAM chap. 



be located at Samaguting, on the outer fringe of the 
hills, where Lieutenant Gregory was sent as Deputy 
Commissioner, armed with powers of punishment. 
This produced a good effect for a time, and about 










-v^ 



%^-^^ 






■SPK^a*'- 



Angami Naga Gkave — Man's 



1874, as all seemed quiet, survey operations were 
extended into the hills with disturbing effect. Two 
parties entered, the northern one under Captain 
Badgeley and Lieutenant Holcombe with a strong 



XIV HISTORY OF UPPER ASSAM 219 

escort from Sibsagor ; the southern one under Captain 
Butler from Samaguting into the Lhota Naga country. 
Both parties were attacked, the northern one in 1874 
coming utterly to grief at Ninu, three marches into 
the hills, when the Nagas attacked the camp treacher- 
ously and made a huge bag (as is related elsewhere), 
namely, Holcombe and eighty men killed, Badgeley 
and fifty wounded ; while later, in 1875, Butler's 
party walked into an ambuscade at Pangti village, 
he losing his life and his men being dispersed. A 
punitive column under Colonel Nuthall with some 
of the 44th Sylhet Light Infantry and of the 42nd 
Native Infantry were sent into the hills, stayed a 
short while, met no opposition, and, having exacted 
an incomplete amount of retribution, returned to the 
plains. 

Gregory at Samaguting meanwhile had had to 
punish neighbouring villages at different times, and 
both he and Butler in the early days of the new out- 
posts were able to make several satisfactory visits to 
large villages in the hills. But after the disasters 
to the survey parties, the Chief Commissioner urged 
a forward policy most strongly, and the establishment 
of a post well into the hills from which to dominate 
these turbulent people, as the present state of affairs, 
he said, was most discreditable to our rule. Before 
any decision could be arrived at by Government, 
the large village of Mozema started raiding, and a 
force of 230 sepoys under Captain Brydon, with 
Mr. Carnegie as Political Officer, advanced from 
Samaguting, and in December, 1877, attacked and 
burnt Mozema. The defenders dispersing and joined 
by the villages of Jotsoma and Khonoma, harried 



220 



HISTORY OF UPPER ASSAM chap. 



Samaguting and the line . of communication ; and 
a hundred sepoys of the 43rd Assam Light Infantry 
were sent up to reinforce Brydon. The end of these 
operations can only be described as ridiculous, for 
the Political Officer Mr. Williamson, who succeeded 
Mr. Carnegie, on the latter being killed accidentally 
by one of our sentries, let off Khonoma and Jotsoma 
scot free, while he merely imposed on Mozema . a 








jSjY- •■ ■ Jl«r* 












Angami Naga Grave — Woman's. Her Baskets, Weaving Sticks, 
AND Domestic Utensils. 

fine of Rs. 50 and made them give up four of their 
guns, and what they had looted from three constables 
and a mail bag. These absurdly lenient terms having 
been complied with, the force returned to Samaguting. 
The Chief Commissioner's forward policy was now 
approved of, and Kohima being decided on as a 
suitable situation to control the Angamis from, and 
Wokha for the same purpose in the Lhota Naga 



XIV 



HISTORY OF UPPER ASSAM 



221 



country further north, in 1878 troops were sent up, 
and stockaded posts built at both places, Mr. Damant 
being detailed as Deputy Commissioner of the Naga 
hills. For a year all went well, till in May, 1879, 
Damant found that the large village of Khonoma 
was collecting arms and ammunition, and before long 
this section showed decided hostility. The fact being 
the people now realised the existence of this garrison 
(200 rifles) effectively stopped their head hunting 




KoHiMA Village — Angami Nac;a— goo Houses. 

and raiding pursuits, entailed payment of tribute, 
the supply of men as transport carriers ; and all this 
they resented. In spite of evidences of unrest, such 
as an abortive attack on the post at Piphima, Damant 
did not believe it was likely to be serious, and before 
starting out for a tour in the north he visited Khonoma 
(twelve miles off) to find out the temper of the people. 
In October, 1879, ^i*^ ^^ escort of twenty-five 
Regulars and sixty-five Military Police, he passed 
through Jotsoma and reached the foot of the hill 



222 HISTORY OF UPPER ASSAM chap. 

on which stands Khonoma. Leaving his baggage at 
a little stream below, he ascended the narrow path 
with only one or two sepoys, the rest of the escort 
coming on leisurely. On arrival at the village gate 
he found it closed, and his demands for admittance 
were answered by a volley which killed Damant and 
the Sepoys with him, and the next moment the escort 
was attacked, beaten back down the narrow path, 
and almost annihilated at the stream where the 
baggage was looted. Fifty-seven in all were killed and 
wounded, and the remainder got back to Kohima 
as best they could. This station, in which were 
Mr. Cawley of the Police, with Mrs. Cawley and 
Mrs. Damant and i8o rifles, was at once besieged, 
and a few days later received a small reinforcement 
of twenty-two rifles under Mr. Hinde from Wokha, 
and were only relieved a fortnight later by Colonel 
Johnstone, Political Agent at Imphal, with 2,000 
Manipuri soldiers and forty sepoys of the 34th N.I. 
The Kohima garrison had an uncommonly unpleasant 
experience, being surrounded by some six to seven 
thousand Naga warriors, who spared no effort to 
fire the thatched buildings and attacked the stockade 
repeatedly by rolling heavy timbers forward along 
the ground behind which they sheltered and fired. 
General Nation was now directed to assemble a 
force of 1,135 "^^^ with two mountain guns at 
Golaghat, and in early November these moved forward 
and entered the hills, not without considerable oppo- 
sition at the villages of Sephema and Sachima. 
From the latter place as a base four miles from the 
objective, Nation attacked Khonoma on the 22nd 
November, 1879. ^^ ^^^ ^Y nature very strong. 



XIV 



HISTORY OF UPPER ASSAM 



223 



and had been rendered far more so by the Nagas 
with infinite labour and skill ; and standing as it does 
on a steep spur jutting out into the valley, it formed 
a difficult nut to crack, the surrounding hills being 
too far off and too difficult to permit of good turning 




Carved Front to a Wealthy Naga's House. 

movements. The assault lasted all day and slowly 
the troops forced their way up through the lower 
village defences until the upper ones were reached, 
but not till nightfall. Many hand-to-hand conflicts 
occurred, and many were killed and wounded, and 
it was decided to stay the night on the ground won 



224 HISTORY OF UPPER ASSAM chap. 

and assault the upper works at dawn. This was 
done, but the works were found deserted, the Nagas 
having withdrawn in the night to the Chakka Fort 
far up in the Barail range overlooking the village. 
Our losses in this affair were two British officers 
and the Subahdar Major of the 44th S.L.I, killed, 
two British and two Native officers wounded, and 
forty-four sepoys killed and wounded. Khonoma 
was strongly garrisoned, and the rest of the force 
visited and punished various other villages ; while 
for months the Khonoma men held the Chakka 
position and carried on a guerilla war, even raiding 
as far as the Baladhan tea garden, eighty-eight miles 
off in Cachar. The supplies also of the Khonoma 
and Paplongmai posts were frequently interrupted 
and looted, so a strict blockade of the Chakka Forts 
being made and reinforcements reaching both posts, 
the Nagas finally gave in and submitted on the 28th of 
March, 1880. It is also conceivable that the drastic 
punishment meted out by Colonel Johnstone on 
Phesema village who attacked his convoys during 
the winter may have somewhat taken the ' heart out 
of the Angamis, who were in the end well punished 
by fines in cash and grain, unpaid labour, the sur- 
render of firearms, and demolition of defences ; 
while Khonoma in addition had all its cultivated lands 
confiscated, and its inhabitants dispersed among 
other clans. 

Since then this powerful tribe have remained quiet, 
though in 1 891, at the time of the Manipur rebellion, 
it was found that the rebel durbar of that State was 
intriguing with Khonoma, so a Sikh regiment (the 
36th) was brought to Golaghat, whose presence near 



XIV 



HISTORY OF UPPER ASSAM 



225 



their hills was instrumental in keeping the Khonoma 
people quiet. It may here be remarked that after 
a few years Government permitted the resumption 
of their old village site by this section of the Angamis. 
This marked the end of serious trouble and hostility 
in the Naga hills, but it was found desirable during 
succeeding years to extend our rule northwards to 
the Aoh and Lengta Naga country to still further put 




Stockaded Entrance to Mongsin Village, Trans Dikkoo. 

an end to petty raids in the plains, and in 1890 
the Naga hills revenue paying district extended from 
the Henema outpost in the south close to the North 
Cachar hills to the Tamlu post in the north at the 
corner where the Dikkoo river turns to emerge into 
the plains, a length of some 250 miles. This latter 
river has up to now been our border line here, which 
further south becomes the line of the Tizoo and 



226 



HISTORY OF UPPER ASSAM chap. 



Lanier rivers, east of which the country is " unad- 
ministered," the wild tribes being left to themselves 
as long as they do not worry our side of the border. 
This, however, they have done now and again, 
notably in 1888, when the big village of Mongsemdi 
was badly raided by the men of the Trans-Dikkoo 



^^ a' ',4 



^>S^ 

















av-^t-^.- 



Sema Chief's House. Carved Tree Trunks denote Wealth. 

villages of Litam and Noksen, which called forth a 
punitive expedition and both villages were burnt 
with some opposition. It has frequently occurred 
that the Trans-Dikkoo villages more adjacent to our 
border have begged to be taken over by us, when 
the condition of " alarums and excursions " to which 
they are subjected by their savage neighbours would 



XIV HISTORY OF UPPER ASSAM 227 

be ended. This further extension of the border up 
to the present has naturally not found favour in the 
eyes of Government. As showing the condition 
of preparedness against attack in which these people 
constantly dwell, the writer was across the border 
at Bor Tabhlung in 1899 with a Civil Officer and a 
small escort to inquire into some land dispute, when 
the women of the village were seen going out in the 
morning to work in their fields armed like their men 
with heavy " daos." This, in order to be able to 
protect themselves against surprise attack by another 
village which had started raiding. A state of in- 
security for the people, which must become intoler- 
able at times, although they have ever been accustomed 
to it. 

All the outposts are now connected with the head- 
quarter station at Kohima by good, well-graded bridle 
paths which are now extended in several directions 
into the Sema hills with comfortable rest-houses at 
all stages. A broad metalled cart road also connects 
Dimapur on the railway with Kohima, forty-seven 
miles, continuing on through the hills eighty-eight 
miles further to Manipur. 



Q 2 



CHAPTER XV 

REGRETTABLE INCIDENTS, TREACHERY, 
METHODS OF FIGHTING, ETC. 

It may not be generally known that the various 
disasters and regrettable incidents that have from 
time to time occurred in the past on this north- 
eastern border have all been due to neglect of proper 
precautions, half-hearted measures, and unprepared- 
ness. Prominent examples of this are to be found 
in White's disaster at Sadiya in 1839, Lowther's in 
1858, Holcombe's at Ninu in 1874, Butler's at Pangti 
the following year, Damant's at Khonoma in 1879, 
Manipur in 1891, and others. Of these it may be 
as well to give in detail the story of Holcombe's 
affair, while the incident in Shimong village towards 
the end of the recent Abor expedition, although 
no blood was shed, proved the Abors' intention, 
and goes to show what the treachery of these tribes 
is like and which, ever to be guarded against, was 
in both these cases neglected. Holcombe and 
Badgeley, with a strong military escort and train of 
coolies, had gone some three marches into the hills 
(east of Sibsagor) for survey work, and had camped 
in the vicinity of Ninu village. The next morning 
eariy a large party of Nagas, apparently friendly, 



CH. XV HISTORY OF UPPER ASSAM 229 

entered the camp and approached Holcombe, who 
was strolling about. The sepoys were all cooking 
their food, only one sentry was posted over the front 
of the camp, and Captain Badgeley was still dressing 
in his tent. Through an interpreter Holcombe chatted 
with the head man of the party, one of whom asked 
to be shown a rifle. The nearest one happened to 
be that in the sentry's hand, which Holcombe took 
and showed. This was the signal, for the next 
moment the savages threw off their blankets, under 
which each had his " dao," Holcombe and the sentry 
were cut down dead at once, and the enemy rushed 
through the camp, cutting down sepoys before they 
could get to their weapons, and everyone within 
reach. Badgeley was cut at and wounded as he 
left his tent, but succeeded in collecting a few sepoys 
and making a stand while rifles were got out. The 
stand, however, was of short duration, and a retreat 
had to be made fortunately well conducted, or none 
would have returned at all. The affair was over in 
a very short time and the camp and its vicinity 
swarming with the exultant enemy, who had accounted 
for Holcombe and eighty men killed, Badgeley and 
fifty wounded, and were now busy making their bag 
of heads. Badgeley with his small party effected a 
retirement out of the hills with such of the wounded 
as they could take. 

When the Abor expedition, 1911-12, was drawing 
to its close and an exploration and survey outing 
was in progress, a party of some one hundred rifles 
and six British officers reached the neighbourhood 
of Shimong and camped below, sending word up 
to the village of their presence and calling on the 



230 HISTORY OF UPPER ASSAM chap. 

Gam (head man) to come in. This was met by 
a refusal either to come in or to allow the party 
to pass up further. Next morning the Civil Officer 
in charge with all the British officers and ten rifles 
only, started ahead, leaving the remaining rifles 
to come on with the Naga carriers. They entered 
the village, and in the large sort of open market- 
place in the centre found a gathering of some three 
to four hundred armed Abors who at once drew 
their " daos." The Civil officer, waving a hand- 
kerchief, called to them that we had no hostile 
intention, whereupon they put up their weapons, 
broke up, and began to mingle with our people, the 
sepoys, who had moved forward on seeing the hostile 
attitude, having been ordered back behind the British 
officers. Through the interpreter our officers talked 
with the Gam, the while his warriors began pushing 
in between our people ostensibly to examine their 
clothes, equipment, etc., till the little party were all 
separated, some being so handled by Abors as to 
have buttons and shoulder straps pulled off^, while 
one sepoy had his rifle snatched away, which, how- 
ever, he regained next moment. When the Gam in 
reply to an officer's remark that they were now going 
on, said, " No, you are not," and following it up by 
adding, " and you are not going back either," things 
were realised to be exceedingly serious. Fortunately, 
all kept their heads, and the parley continued, the 
while every member of the party was firmly held 
— in many cases with their arms behind their backs 
— by three or four Abors. Presently the head of the 
column, a Native officer with some twenty-five rifles 
appeared at the far end of the village, and the officers 



XV 



HISTORY OF UPPER ASSAM 



231 



asking to be allowed to sit in the shade of a big tree 
in the open space, the tribesmen released them, 
and the party moved to the tree, the ten rifles im- 
mediately taking post in front of the Abor gathering 
at the same moment as the Native officer's party 
swung into the market-place, who, grasping the 
situation, at once moved his men to the other side of 
the hostile crowd. These, now between two fires 
had they attempted any rush, began to laugh and 
treat the episode as one of humour and joke, which 
it most certainly was not. 
Had the Abors only made 
up their minds at once all 
would have been over with 
the entire party, for not 
one could have done any- 
thing in self-defence. As 
it was, they delayed just 
too long and their oppor- 
tunity passed. The little 
force returned to its camp 
below that night, and next 
morning, well closed up and 
with bayonets fixed, they passed through Shimong 
village, which now held only about one hundred Abors, 
and pursued their route up the Dihang. Not long after 
a post of fifty rifles was established here from Kebang 
as one of the supply depots to Bentinck's party 
exploring up the Dihang. Another account says the 
force did not pass through this village again, but 
proceeded on by another route. This very danger- 
ous episode came about by approaching a village of 
hostile intentions in a happy-go-lucky way more 




'Jekia," a Sema Naga Chiei'. 



232 HISTORY OF UPPER ASSAM chap. 

worthy of schoolboys than men, and also was due 
in a measure to the strict adherence to orders not 
to fire unless in self-defence, and generally, in fact, 
to subordinate all dignity of procedure to the present- 
day absurd sentiment of " making friends " or " back- 
patting," and this in a hostile country ! 

Butler and Damant both came to grief, in the Lhota 
and Angami country respectively, by approaching 
villages of doubtful temper with no ordinary military 
precautions. It is generally said that none of these 
tribes ever fight in the open or have any heart for 
aught- save night surprises and village defences, or 
wherever treachery points the way to success. This 
is certainly generally true, but it must not be for- 
gotten that instances have occurred of fighting 
in the open. Captain Charlton's operations in 1845 
against the Singpho's included an open daylight fight 
near Bisa ; while in 1851, near Kekrima village in 
the eastern Angami country, Captains Vincent and 
Blake were resolutely attacked on a rolling open 
plateau below and about a mile from the village 
defences, the Angamis making a great effort against 
Blake's two guns and only drawing off with great 
loss, while ours was by no means inconsiderable. 

The late General Macgregor, who had extensive 
experiences amongst these various tribes, used to 
speak well of their bravery on occasions, particularly 
of the Angami Nagas, and cited several instances 
when he had seen- them come out into the open 
under our fire and carry off their wounded. 

In February, 1900, the Deputy Commissioner of 
the Naga Hills and the Commandant with one hundred 
rifles of the Kohima Military Police BattaHon, were 



XV 



HISTORY OF UPPER ASSAM 



233 



en route to the Sibsagor Hinterland to exact punish- 
ment for a series of petty raids, and while crossing 
a strip of " unadministered country " were seriously 
attacked by the inhabitants of a large and hitherto 
unvisited village of Yachumi. Here the tribesmen 



* / 








^ 


4ij 




m^ 


m^ 


^^1 A 


Wm- 






jKbtf 












Sema Warrior Wearing theIr Curious Tail Ornament. 

attacked the column on the side of a hill a little 
distance from their village about noon, coming on 
in a large mob of armed men after they had executed 
a war dance, which was seen through glasses by the 
Deputy Commissioner and the Commandant. Only 



234 HISTORY OF UPPER ASSAM chap. 

as a last resource and to keep them from getting 
near enough to create a panic among the cooHes, 
did fire open ; and it was then seen that these people 
had no idea whatever of firearms, the first rounds 
going over did not attract their attention ; the next 
hit two men, and struck up the ground in front of 
the mob, who at once stopped to look at the wounded, 
while others began digging in the ground with spear 
butts to see what was being thrown at them with 
so much noise. It did not stop the rush, however, 
which came nearer, until nineteen or twenty were 
down close in front of the advance guard. This 
checked them, and as our flankers on the slopes 
above called down that the Nagas were gathering in 
strength in the forest above to attack the flank of 
the long, winding column, the Commandant, taking 
a section of twenty-five rifles, climbed the hill and 
cleared the gathering away. The enemy retreated 
into their village and stoutly opposed our entrance, 
losing many more in so doing. They used spears 
and daos and a heavy cross-bow with short poisoned 
arrows which carried over 150 yards. This village, 
a large one of 500 houses or more, was then burnt 
and the little column proceeded on its way north by 
another route, as too much hostility was anticipated 
from other large villages seen in the neighbourhood. 
This people attacked in the open, and did not give 
way until some forty-five of them were killed, while 
on our side three men were badly wounded by spears 
and several more by " panjis." 

The attack of Trans-Dikkoo Nagas of the Chin- 
long and Chinkoi villages, just across the Dikkoo 
river from Tamlu, on a Military Police column of 



XV HISTORY OF UPPER ASSAM 235 

some 200 rifles in February, 1913, who were en route 
to punish the tribe for raiding for heads on our side 
of the border, took place in the day time and on 
fairly open hills and spurs. Being absolutely surprised, 
although warning had been given that these people 
did mean to fight which was generally disbelieved, 
the column lost several sepoys and many transport 
coolies both shot and cut down ; and at one time, 
as panic set in amongst the coolies, things looked 
for a bit extremely awkward. Of the losses to the 
Nagas little or nothing was known, but they drew 
off towards evening. A stronger force was shortly 
afterwards sent up which, having a practically free 
hand, went through those hills and exacted' possibly 
the most complete amount of reparation of any 
previous expedition since the " 'fifties," and did it 
in a remarkably short time. The operations of this 
column have now led to the placing of a military 
post in the Tantok hills to preserve order, the border 
line having been advanced eastwards some distance. 

From these and other instances of fighting in the 
open it is apparent that the original tactics of these 
tribes have been modified to suit the situation of 
contending with an enemy generally better armed 
and, in these days, with modern rifles, when attacks 
en masse can only have a disastrous ending to those 
making them. Surely then, they can with greater 
justice be called astute rather than altogether cowardly. 
Their tactics are the best that can be devised to suit 
their numbers, weapons, and country, so we can 
hardly blame these savages for not more often meeting 
us out in the open. For instance, in the Chin hills, 
whose people and country are not very dissimilar 



236 HISTORY OF UPPER ASSAM ch. xv 

to those we have discussed, Mr. Carey, in his account 
of the subjugation of this tribe, describes how when 
he first met them they fought in the open, but soon 
found they and their flintlocks were no match for 
our sepoys and rifles. They then changed their 
tactics and fought from covered-in trenches as at 
Tartan in 1889. The foUowing year it was found 
that they had again changed their methods in hope 
of withstanding our troops, and the lines of guerilla 
warfare were followed — harrying convoys, cutting up 
small parties, planning ambuscades, firing into camps 
at night, and so forth. 



CHAPTER XVI 

THE NORTH-EASTERN FRONTIER GENERALLY 
AND ITS MILITARY POLICE FORCES 

Having traced the history of this long stretch of 
borderland from old times, the reasons which brought 
the English up to it, and the tribes dwelling along 
the same, we can turn to the present outlook of affairs 
and see what future possibilities may hold for us. 
We have seen that the last big expedition against 
the Abors had a greater importance and interest 
owing to what is spoken of as the awakening of China 
and the modernising of her forces. The new con- 
dition began to call for notice by the European nations 
brought into touch with her about 1908, the matter 
concerning us at first over Chinese action in Thibet 
— a country whose unknown south-eastern districts 
are in touch somewhere with the Abor and Mishmi 
tribe. Our having given over Thibet practically to 
Chinese rule after the Thibet expedition of 1904-05 
resulted a few years later in the latter's troops over- 
running the country, garrisons being established at 
Phari and in the Chumbi valley, contiguous to the 
Sikkim border, which is directly under British control. 
The Chumbi valley had been held by our troops 
until Thibet had paid the war indemnity, when they 



238 HISTORY OF UPPER ASSAM chap. 

were withdrawn to India. Chinese rule in Thibet 
during 191 1 became weakened by risings of the 
people of the country, and more troops were sent 
in there from Ssii-chuan to restore order but failed, 
largely owing to considerable difficulties due to the 
opposition of tribesmen in south-eastern Thibet, 
where in several actions the Chinese were barely able 
to hold their own, and such reinforcements as could 
be spared were sent down the Tsan-Po from Thibet ; 
such action more or less coinciding with the opening 
of the Abor expedition of 1911-12. About the same 
time reports came to hand that the Chinese who 
had occupied Rima east of the Mishmi hills were 
sending emissaries amongst that tribe to secure their 
submission. Various aggressive acts of the Chinese 
at points along the Burma border then occurred, 
notably west of the Salween-Irrawadi divide in 1910- 
II, when a Military Police Force was sent to the 
Hpimaw group of villages for their protection. Our 
frontier outpost line was then extended to Htawgaw, 
some sixty miles from Myitkhyina and east of the 
Nmai-kha on the Ngawchang river. Later Chinese 
activity in this direction tending to disturb the equa- 
nimity of the tribes led to a Military Police outpost 
being located at Hpimaw itself in 191 3, and the 
frontier road extended up to it. A few miles east 
of Hpimaw two easy passes cross the range over- 
looking the Salween river and form a small trade 
route into the Tengyueh Province of China, The 
new Hpimaw post stands at an elevation of 8,500 
feet and will be held by one hundred rifles under 
two British officers. It lies sixteen marches from 
Myitkhyina among the tribes of Lashis and Yawyins, 



XVI HISTORY OF UPPER ASSAM 239 

of whom the latter only are held in considerable 
estimation by our officers, who are disposed to have 
them tried as fighting material formed into a sort 
of frontier militia. It is known the Chinese utilise 
numbers of Yawyins in their Yiinnanese forces. 

In fact it would seem that China had been 
desirous of extending her rule right up to our borders, 
and that this was possibly a fixed principle of her 
statesmen in the past. It may so happen that under 
a new and stable government and a rapidly modern- 
ising China this idea will come to the front again. 
Hence much interest has been shifted from the north- 
west to the north-east borders of India, and efforts 
are being made to lift the veil hitherto covering this 
vast tract of country, as we have seen, by various 
exploring and survey parties. The success of their 
efforts from Assam has been mentioned, and simi- 
larly those from Myitkhyina in Upper Burma have 
increased our knowledge of the unknown lands between 
the Mali-kha and Nmai-kha rivers and the important 
watersheds between the Irrawadi and Salween rivers, 
while the parties which entered the little-known 
region of Hkamti L&ng have effected much in explora- 
tion and survey. Thus on the Burma borderland 
we now see the results of the survey operations, 
1911-12-13, in an accurate survey of the Salween- 
Irrawadi watershed up to latitude 28° 20', which 
nearly joins up with the work of M. Bacot and Captain 
Bailey in 191 1 at the sources of the Irrawadi. In 
fact, there is now only a gap of some 10", so that for 
all practical purposes this watershed can be fixed 
on the map as far north as latitude 28° 45', where lie 
the northernmost sources of that river. The course 



240 HISTORY OP UPPER ASSAM chap. 

of the N'mai-kha, the most easterly and hitherto 
unknown tributary of the Irrawadi, has also been 
traced and mapped throughout, and its main tribu- 
taries, the Taron and Nam Tamai, have been sur- 
veyed up to latitudes 28° 20' and 28° 15' respectively. 
Our knowledge of the great Irrawadi basin is thus 
practically complete. 

The efforts of Captains Pritchard and Waterfield 
were most successful along the Nam Tamar river 
(or Adungwang as it is called in its upper reaches) 
up to the village of Lama-nay, which was found to 
be the furthest inhabited spot ; while their journey 
up the Taron, the easterly tributary of the N'mai-kha, 
extended as far as latitude 28" 20', where they were 
then within only a few days' march of the Mekhong- 
Rima route which was traversed by Captain Bailey 
in 191 1. The lamented death of Captain Pritchard, 
who was drowned in the Taron river in the late spring 
of 191 3, put a stop to the further efforts of this party, 
and lost to us an intrepid explorer and one whose 
work in the recent past has been invaluable. Behind 
these parties road-making has been pushed on as far 
as possible towards the border land, a good bridle 
path having been completed and telegraph communi- 
cation established between the garrison of Myitkh- 
yina and the outposts of Htawgaw and Hpimaw. 
Other remotely possible contingencies connected with 
Thibet and the more distant parts of this borderland 
no doubt exist, but their very remoteness renders 
it undesirable to allude to them at present. 

Large schemes for defence have hitherto only con- 
cerned the other side of India, defence against internal 
trouble alone being arranged for in Assam. This 



XVI HISTORY OF UPPER ASSAM 241 

country has no main roads bridged or metalled 
throughout, while the chief means of transport are 
the Brahmaputra steamers and the Assam-Bengal 
Railway, the latter being of but limited capacity. 
In view of the unexpected always occurring, and 
trouble coming from without, to be most likely 
accompanied by trouble from within, a grave situation 
might arise in regard to" these rich provinces of Assam 
and Upper Burma. 

The interest into which this borderland has sprung 
may, it is hoped, favourably affect the matter of 
communications in both provinces, as the present 
condition of most roads would prove a very con- 
siderable difficulty in moving large bodies of troops 
in the event of prolonged and extensive military 
operations in either Assam or Upper Burma. * 

Many people argue that there is no danger to this 
side of India owing to its difficulties in the way of 
mountains, forests, and rivers ; but they are probably 
unaware of the fact that China carried out only a little 
over one hundred years ago what has been spoken 
of as " the most remarkable military achievement 
known," namely, when she moved an army of 70,000 
men over 3,000 miles of most difficult mountainous 
country at great altitudes through Thibet into Nepal, 
defeating the Goorkhas at Tengri Maidan and crush- 
ing them at their capital. What they effected then 
in setting all these impediments at naught, it is not. 
unreasonable to suppose could be done again. 

The Burmese also, as we have seen, invaded and 
took Assam early in the last century, the forests and 
difficulties of the Patkoi mountains proving not insur- 
mountable to them. Huge stones set up and carved 



242 HISTORY OF UPPER ASSAM chap. 

with the peacock — the royal bird of Burma — denoting 
the halting-place of some general and his troops, 
have been found in the heart of the Naga hills, 
showing that they did not all move by the more easy 
passes of the northern Patkoi. Against the estabHsh- 
ment of military posts among these tribes it is 
frequently argued that it means taking over the whole 
area and thereby adding to the burden of administra- 
tion ; but this need not be the case. It was not so 
in the Singpho country, where such posts were held 
for a few years and withdrawn when the tribe was 
settled and recognised our power. We have not been 
into their country since, nor have they given us 
further trouble. The establishment of military posts 
was found to be the only way of impressing the Nagas 
with ideas of law and order ; in this case, however, 
it was found desirable to take over and administer 
the country, but it does not follow in all cases that 
this would necessarily be carried out. 

These posts among savage tribes are the only 
means of really controlling them, and must prove 
cheapest in the end, when we see the great expense 
occurring and recurring of punitive expeditions enter- 
ing only the outer fringe of the hills and coming out 
again, often without exacting what the tribes recognise 
as punishment, and which system they are too prone 
to look on as a sign of weakness. 

The Military Police Force. 

The early years after the annexation of Upper Burma 

being times of much trouble and the employment of 

large numbers of regular troops, brought about the 

establishment of Military Police Battalions, to augment 



XVI HISTORY OF UPPER ASSAM 243 

the Civil Police and also to assist the Regular troops. 
These latter ceased to be on a field force footing 
about April, 1888, and were reduced ; and at the same 
time the Military Police Force stood at a strength 
of 13,300, which a year or so later was increased to 
18,000 men. 

They are a force entirely under the Civil Govern- 
ment,, dressed, drilled, and trained as regulars, but 
for political reasons in the matter of arms they are 
kept, as one might say, a pace behind, i.e., where 
the latter are armed with the latest patterns of rifles, 
the Military Police Battalions have Martinis. To 
work this large machine officers are lent from the 
army to the Civil Government as Commandants and 
Assistant Commandants for a term of two to five years 
to train and discipline these battalions, while numbers 
of Native officers and men are transferred from the 
Indian Army to assist in the same purpose. The 
particular corps which keep watch and ward over the 
Upper Burma borderland are the Chindwyn Military 
Police Battalion with headquarters at Monywa, and 
detachments far up that river almost to the Hukong 
valley ; the Myitkhyina Military Police Battalion with 
headquarters at that station on the Irrawadi river in 
the extreme north of Burma, with strong detachments 
at Sadon and Sima facing that part of the China 
border, and which has lately located outposts some 
distance up the Nmai-kha river ; the Bhamo Military 
Police Battalion with outposts far up the Taping and 
Shweli rivers ; the Northern Shan States Military 
Police Battalion with headquarters at Lashio and 
outposts stretching along the northern border from 
the Shweli to the Salween rivers. These outposts 

R 2 



244 HISTORY OF UPPER ASSAM chap. 

of each battalion are more or less closely linked with 
each other, while the Chindwyn Military Police 
Battalion with its western outpost at Tammoo links 
up the chain with the outposts of the Manipur State, 
and these again further north with the Military 
Police Battalion of the Naga hills in Assam. So that 
for purposes of resisting tribal aggression the chain 
is fairly complete. Further east and south our out- 
posts of the southern Shan States Military Police 
Battalion, which locality does not however come 
within the scope of this work, face those of the French 
at no great distance in the Trans- Sal ween country 
and Mekhong valley. 

These Military Police Battalions have had changes 
in organisation since their starting-point in 1886. 
For instance, for many years there were two Chindwyn 
Battalions — the upper at Kendat, the lower at Monjrwa ; 
while the old Mogoung Levy, which did such good 
hard service under Captain (now General) O'Donnell 
in the early days of constant raid and trouble, ceased 
to exist as Military Police on the establishment of 
the Myitkhyina Military Police Battalion, when 
Mogoung, at one time the headquarters, dwindled 
down to an outpost. Peaceful conditions all up the 
Chindwyn similarly did not require two strong corps, 
and now one is sufficient for duty in that locality. 
These frontier Military Police Battalions mostly enlist 
men from Northern India, but have also two or 
three companies of Goorkhas recruited from eastern 
Nepal, while the Myitkhyina Military Police Battalion 
is entirely composed of this latter class, and the 
Bhamo Military Police Battalion has two companies 
of Kachins who are spoken of very favourably as 



XVI HISTORY OF UPPER ASSAM 245 

soldiers. In Burma most of the Military Police 
Battalions have two or three companies of Mounted 
Infantry belonging to them, and these owing to the large 
number of cavalry officers who take service in this 
force are very carefully attended to and trained. In 
1890 a number of old Madras regiments were dis- 
banded, and in their place arose the first three Burma 
Regiments formed from Military Police Battalions, 
of which one was the old Mogoung Levy, and at the 
same time the strength of the force was reduced to 
12,000 men, which again in later years it has been 
found necessary to increase. 

In Assam a Military Police Force has been organised 
since about 1830, first as an armed Civil Force known 
as the Cachar Levy, and then as a Frontier Police 
Force. This force, as Assam was opened up and came 
entirely under our rule, was distributed in posts 
along the foot of the hills from Cooch Behar to Sadiya, 
thence, crossing the Brahmaputra, the posts ran along 
the foot of the Naga hills up the Dhansiri valley, 
through the North Cachar hills into Silchar, where 
they linked up again with the posts guarding the 
Lushai border. Up to 1880, although their duties 
were practically entirely military they were styled 
constables and were officered by Civil Police officials 
and inspectors. There were in those days as a reserve 
to the Frontier Police four Regular regiments stationed 
in Assam, the headquarters of two of them being at 
Shillong, of another at Dibrughar, and of a fourth 
at Silchar. These again had detachments about the 
country, the principal ones being at Ga,uhati, Tezpur, 
Golaghat, Jaipur, Sadiya in Upper Assam ; and at 
Monierkhal, Alinagar, and Chargola in Silchar (Cachar). 



246 



HISTORY OF UPPER ASSAM chap. 



Some of these were right on the border, and on the 
re-organisation of Assam's internal defence in 1880-81 
the Frontier Police were increased and given entire 
charge of the border posts, the Regulars being reduced 
to three regiments, namely, the old 42nd, 43rd and 
44th Assam Light Infantry. Two years later, for 
the improvement of the Frontier Police in their 
military duties, discipline, etc., it was found desirable 
to break the old force up and reconstitute it into 




Usual Form of Our Stockades on N. E. Frontier. 

battalions of Military Police and to borrow officers 
of the Regular Army as commandants to train them 
for a period of five years, while uniform, equipment, 
etc., were attended to, and the old " Brown Besses " 
discarded for Sniders. The force was thus organised 
into three full strength battalions, namely, the Lak- 
himpur Military Police Battalion with headquarters 
at Dibrughar ; the Naga Hills Military Police Batta- 
lion with headquarters at Kohima ; the Lushai 



XVI HISTORY OF UPPER ASSAM 247 

Military Police Battalion with headquarters at Aijal ; 
and two battalions of lesser strength in the Garo 
hills at Tura, and in Cachar at Silchar. These 
battalions, at first of mixed enlistments, now take 
as many Goorkhas and Jaruas (the fighting class of 
Assam) as they can, the latter being good soldiers, 
excelling in woodcraft, rafting, building, etc. ; and 
are, like the Goorkhas, not bothered with over much 
religion or caste prejudice. For many years the Lushai 
Military Police Battalion was the only corps in Assam 
which had more than one British officer — the com- 
mandant ; this being due to a mutiny which occurred 
at Aijal about 1891 when, to bring the men into order 
again, two other British officers were sent as Assistant 
Commandants, and the retention of one of these was 
" managed," to obviate fear of another mutiny. The 
transfer to this battalion of Lungleh in the south 
Lushai country with its Military Police companies 
who hitherto had belonged to Bengal, also necessi- 
tated an additional British officer being added to the 
now increased battalion strength. It can thus be 
seen that Commandants of the other corps had 
their work cut out for them in order to keep their 
units up to a respectable condition of efficiency. 
And so much good work did these Commandants 
alone put in (with the aid of first-class Native officers, 
of course) that for very many years now the Assam 
Military Police Battalions have been perfectly fitted 
to stand alongside of their Regular brethren, and 
when employed on frontier " shows " with them 
have invariably earned hearty praise for their atten- 
tion to duty, hard work, and discipline. People are 
only too prone to belittle this force generally, and 



248 HISTORY OF UPPER ASSAM chap. 

to speak of them rather contemptuously as " Police," 
whereas they are only that in name, to distinguish 
the armed and disciplined forces of the Civil Govern- 
ment from those of the Regular army. Their duties 
are of an arduous nature and are purely military. 
That C.O.'s of regiments formerly looked askance at 
one of their officers going to or returning from Military 
Police employ is not due to the corps or the service, 
but simply to the bad name induced by numbers 
of British officers taking service with Military Police 
Battalions for the sole purposes of relieving the strain 
on their pockets and of having a slack time as they 
imagined, and as, of course, in their isolated positions 
they could have. Of course " hard bargains " of this 
sort did not improve during their few years in Military 
Police employ (if they were kept as long) and were 
a serious crux to their C.O.'s on return to their regi- 
ments and a proper energetic forni of life. This 
undesirable state of aff^airs has now more or less 
ceased to exist. Commandants and Assistant Com- 
mandants who have been added to all battalions 
in the last eight years are carefully selected. 
Where in the neighbourhood of Regulars, in Assam 
at least. Military Police units are allowed to join 
in military work such as camps of exercise, etc., and 
Brigadiers are invited to inspect Military Police head- 
quarters and outposts whenever they find themselves 
in their vicinity, which was invariably done, and it 
is to be hoped is kept up still. This particular method 
of attaining to and keeping up a reasonable degree 
of military efficiency does not hold in the Burma 
Military Police force, where pride in being " Irregu- 
lars " and a dislike to approaching anything like 



XVI HISTORY OF UPPER ASSAM 249 

military rule, has led to a very distinct gulf being 
fixed between the two forces, and neither mix in any 
way even at assaults-at-arms. The Assam Military 
Police Battalions are also " Irregulars," but do not 
avoid methods of efficiency by which Commandants 
and Assistant Commandants know that they and 
their men may now and then come under the eye 
of the Military Head, although they are for the time 
being in Civil employ. It seems a pity that so little 
notice is ever taken of the good work which numbers 
of Army officers put in with the Military Police 
Forces, which Forces would gain considerably in 
efficiency if the British officers were as regularly 
reported on as they are in their regiments, and if at 
the end of their tour of service it was ordered that 
notes should be entered in their regimental confi- 
dential reports as to good work done or the reverse. 
The knowledge of this might stimulate honest workers 
and deter the class alluded to as " hard bargains " 
from either going into Military Police employ to the 
detriment of the same, or from staying in it any 
time. The writer has recently heard a useful sugges- 
tion regarding increased efficiency, of this force, 
namely, whether it would not be advisable to institute 
a post of Inspecting Officer for the entire mass of 
Military Police Battalions, whose duties would be 
constant touring amongst the units, seeing their 
work, efficiency, and reporting at once on what was 
good, bad, or indifferent ; with a view to the last 
two items being remedied at once. This particular 
officer to be independent of local Governments, and 
to deal direct with the Government of India. As 
things stand at present, regimental C.O.'s are usually 



250 HISTORY OF UPPER ASSAM chap, 

unaware of any good work done by their officers when 
attached to MiHtary PoUce units. The only thing 
they are made unpleasantly aware of is when an 
officer is glaringly unsatisfactory and is ordered back 
to his regiment — which is too rarely done. Military 
Police Battalions are essentially the eye and not the 
hand of the executive, which work falls to Regular 
troops on serious matter arising. But in the past, 
as of late years, punitive columns entirely of Military 
Police have been utilised and have done hard and good 
work which sometimes has included a small action, 
which (they not being Regulars) is never announced in 
the public papers, so they go without the benefits which 
accrue from advertisement. Military Police Battalions 
are accustomed to life and work on these borders, they 
can start out at a moment's notice at the wish or order 
of the Deputy Commissioner of the District only in 
time of need, coolies are impressed at once, rations 
weighed out, ammunition issued, the hospital assistant 
gets his medical pannier out, and off they go. Should 
a brush with a tribe occur and a casualty or two 
happen it is taken in the ordinary course of events 
and not made the subject of worry or advertisement, 
as is invariably the case where Regular troops are used. 
Hence it is obvious that to bring this very useful 
mobile force under the hard red-tapism of military 
regime would in no way prove to its benefit, which 
apparently is what is feared would occur in Burma 
if the two forces had anything to do with each other, 
except, of course, on actual service. 

An interesting comparison can here be made touching 
the matter of expense of these Regular and Mihtary 
PoUce expeditions. In 1889-90 an expedition (Regu- 



XVI HISTORY OF UPPER ASSAM 251 

lars) of 1,200 troops went into the Mishmi country, 
to which allusion has been made earlier in these 
pages. The troops were out about four months, but 
only 120 penetrated into the main valley, and the 
results of the operations were disappointing ; there 
was no active opposition at all, and the expedition 
cost two and a half lakhs. At the same time a small 
punitive outing was in progress in the hills on the 
south side of the Brahmaputra towards the Patkoi 
range, with which the late Mr. Noel Williamson 
went. Its strength was three British officers, two 
Native officers, one hundred rifles (Military Police) 
with 170 coolies. This little force was absent from 
headquarters two months, three weeks of which were 
spent beyond the border in most difficult and un- 
mapped country, and where opposition was actually 
met with on one occasion. Its work was completed 
and the extra cost involved in this punitive outing was 
Rs. 1,766 only — truly a remarkable contrast in cost- 
liness. That Military Police life then is good for 
officers, or should be, goes without saying. They 
are paid liberally and draw travelling allowances when 
on duty out of their stations, while they learn what 
it is to be independent, what initiative and responsi- 
bility really mean, how to deal with men, and to what 
extent hard work can be laid upon them. Life in 
regiments does not teach young officers this, at least 
but rarely, and mostly only when they are nearing 
the top of the regimental tree. 



APPENDIX 

Routes. 

The chief routes towards the actual north-eastern . 
frontier from Assam are those leading up the Dihang 
and Dibong rivers into Thibet now being explored, 
and that up the Lohit from Sadiya to Walong, some 
thirty odd miles from Rima, and along which latter 
it is thought eventually to have a cart road. 

Further through the Hkamti Long country, or 
rather into it, the only known routes towards China 
are those used in 1885 by Colonels Woodthorpe and 
Macgregor from Sadiya via the Nonyong Lake and a 
low pass of 3,960 feet in the Patkoi range up the Loglai 
valley past Turong Ku, who, crossing the upper 
Dihing, reached Hkamti through Kumki and the 
Chaukan Pass ; while Macgregor on another occasion 
explored a route across the Patkoi into the Hukong 
valley, and then turning north via Ntupntsa reached 
Hkamti, This is recorded as particularly difficult. 

The best line of communication between Hkamti 
Long and China is said by the inhabitants to run east 
to the Mali-kha river, thence down the right bank 
to a place spoken of as Marai Salar, whence the valley 
is crossed, and the path continues over ranges to the 
Nmai-kha and so into Yunnan. 

In 1892 Mr. Errol Gray, also starting from Sadiya, 
explored an easier route up the Dihing valley to 
Kumki over the Chaukan Pass and up to the Phangma 
river to the Nam Kiu valley and Hkamti, a route 



254 APPENDIX 

said to be the chief one used by the people trading 
between Hkamti and Assam. These people are 
generally on the move between November and March, 
the rest of the year the passes are impossible either 
owing to heavy rainy seasons or by being blocked 
by snow. 

Another route from Assam to Hkamti Long as yet 
untravelled by Europeans, and described only by the 
people, lies up the Lohit for ten days where the 
Ghalang river joins in, thence seven days up this, 
passing many Meju Mishmi villages to the Nam-kiu 
valley, crossing en route a very high and difficult range. 
■ This route is spoken of as being only open during 
October and November. A route from Hkamti Long 
is spoken of (also only by the people) as connecting 
with Thibet and running along the watershed of the 
Nam-kiu and Brahmaputra (Lohit branch) across the 
Mishmi hills. Beyond this is said to be a Thibetan 
fort armed with cannon which guards the pass. 

Hkamti LAng is connected with Burma by routes 
to the Hukong valley and Mayangkwan, and further 
north and east by a route leading to Sachyi on the 
Mali-kha, and thence down the Irrawadi to Myit- 
khyina. But these are only known about from native 
sources of information ; it is known, though, that 
a quantity of rubber is brought down along them. 

From Myitkhyina the best known routes into China 
are those via Sadon and Sima to Tengyueh, and 
which are regularly used by traders, the second via 
Sima being the easiest and most resorted to. 

From Bhamo run several trade routes, the chief of 
which are those to Tengyueh via Momauk, via Sing- 
lamkaba, via Lwejebum, which are good bridle paths 
up to the border, and thence on become rough 
country tracks. A cart road is made up the Taping 
river from Bhamo, which eventually will be continued 
up to the Chinese border at Nampaung. 

From Lashio in the North Shan hills, which forms 



APPENDIX 255 

the headquarters of the frontier posts on the extreme 
north-east of our borderland, a good bridle path runs 
120 odd miles to the further outpost on the Chinese 
border at Hsawn Peng, while from Lashio east a good 
track connects with the Kunlon ferry on the Salween 
river. This latter is also a trade route, but a very 
difficult one between this part of Burma and Yunnan 
Fu. It was at one time intended to continue the rail- 
way line from Lashio on to the Kunlon ferry, and 
possibly even further, thus to tap the trade from 
Southern China, but monetary considerations pre- 
vailed as well as physical difficulties against this 
scheme reaching fulfilment. The line was stopped 
at Lashio, and it was left for the French across the 
Mekhong to carry their railway inland from Tonquin 
to Yunnan Fu. 

The chief means of lateral communication between 
Upper Assam and Upper Burma are : — 

(i) From the Assam-Bengal Railway (Manipur Road 
Station) via Kohima and the Naga hills to Imphal 
in Manipur. A good, well-graded, metalled and 
bridged cart road, forty-eight miles to Kohima (the 
headquarters of the Naga hills district), and thence 
on eighty-eight miles to Imphal, the capital of the 
Manipur State. Good rest-houses at every stage, of 
which there are twelve. From Imphal on sixty-four 
miles of good bridle path and Tammoo, the Burma 
Military Police outpost in the Kale Kabaw valley, 
is reached, and thirty-six miles further the Chindwyn 
river at Sittaung, on which Flotilla steamers ply. 

(2) Further south another route connects Silchar 
on the Assam-Bengal Railway with Imphal (Manipur) 
by an excellent bridle path well graded and bridged, 
and with small rest-houses at each of the nine stages. 

(3) To the north is the Hukong valley route from 
Dibrugarh to Ledo, thence over the N'bon pass on 
the Patkoi range into the Hukong valley to Mayang- 
kwan and thence through the Amber and Jade Mine 



256 APPENDIX 

country to Mogoung on the Upper Burma Railway 
system. This has been surveyed and explored by 
parties from Assam and from Burma, who met at 
Mayangkwan, and the results of their visit proved 
the feasibility of the proposed railway to connect 
Upper Assam with Upper Burma over a length of 
284 miles. 

(4) An alternative route to Manipur, but which 
could only be traversed by small parties of troops, 
is that from Shillong to Juwai and Haflong, a Civil 
station in the North Cachar hills, and from there 
via Gueilon to the Henema outpost in the south of 
the Naga hills. This was in the past a good bridle 
path throughout, but has been almost abandoned east 
of Gueilon for very many years. A new alignment 
is, however, now being cut east from Haflong, and 
the disused section to Henema will probably be 
re-opened out. From Henema to Manipur is five 
long marches along roughish village tracks and through 
a mountainous, difficult country. 




After drawing by L.W. Shakespear.Col., 2".'' Goorkhas. 




After drawing by L.W. ShaKespear, Col., 2"° GoorKhas . 



INDEX 



INDEX 



At!A Bakr attacks Ahoms, 35 

Abdul Fazul's account of Bengal, 21 

Abhaypur, 37, 38 

Abors, 109-140; habitat, 109; charac- 
teristics, 109; country little known, 
1 10 ; estimated strength, 1 10 ; sub- 
divisions of. III ; weapons, ill ; 
religion, III ; first visited by 
British, 112; first troubles with, 
112 ; outrs^es on British territory, 
113 -19; Vetch's expedition 
against, 113; Lowther's expedition, 
1 13-14; Hannay's expedition, 
1 14-15; Maxwell's expedition, 
1 16-19; treaty with, grant of 
Posa, IIS; close trade route in 
Meshmi country, 115; raid Mirri 
village, 1 16 ; murder Williamson 
and Dr. Gregorson, 2, 121 ; Bowers' 
expedition against, 121 ; objects of 
Bowers' expedition against, 122 ; 
details of Bowers' expedition, 121- 
28 ; summary of results of expedi- 
tions against, 128 ; result of ex- 
• peditions on, 136; causes of failure 
of expeditions against, discussed, 
131-33 ; survey of country, 129 ; 
results of survey, 135 , 

Ahoms, rise of, 10, 11; history, 28 et 
seq. ; value of Buranjis, religion of, 
place of origin, 28 ; adopt fire- 
arms, 31 ; value of their fleet, 
34 ; introduction of Hinduism, 
38, 71 ; position in 1401, 30 ; 
internecine wars, 45 ; condition in 
reign of Rajeswari, 49 ; strength 
begins to decay from Sib Sing's 
reign, 49 ; proposal to become 
tributary to British, 61 ; royal 
funerals, 38 ; dynasty, establish- 
ment of, 164 ; conflicts with 
Kacharis, 14 et seq., 29, 30 ; final 
Assam 25 



defeat of Kacharis and Chuti)'as, 

33 ; defeat Morans, 14 ; found 
Charaideo, 28 ; capital moved to 
Charguja, 29 ; defeat Chutiyas, 14 ; 
subdue Chutiyas, 29, 30 ; Chutiya 
revolt, 34 ; capital moved to 
Garhgaon, 34; conquer Tipam, 
29 ; wars with Kocches, 29 et seq., 

34 et seq. ; join Kocches in rebel- 
lion against Mahomedans, turn on 
Koches and become masters of all 
Assam, 39 ; struggles with 
Mahoinedans, 30 et seq. , 34 «< seq. ; 
defeat and capture Firoz Khan, 
defeat Moghuls under Raja 
Ram Singh, 44 ; drive out 
Moghuls, 45 ; first combats with 
Naga tribes, 32 ; wars with Naga 
tribes, 38 ; punish Nagas and 
Mirris, 45; war with Nara Raja 
of Mayankwan, 34 ; force sent to 
assist Manipur against Burmese, 
48 ; call in Burmese to assist 
against Moamarias, 61 ; struggles 
with Burmese, 62 ; defeated by 
Daphlas, 105 ; build forts to re- 
strain Daphlas, 106 

Aka Alii made by Gadardhar Sing, 45 

Akas, expedition against, 103, 104 

Aka Hills, 2 

Akhbar, receives deputation from Nar 
Narain, 26 

Akhbarnamah, 26 

Alexandria, merchants from, visit 
Siani, 8 

Allahabad pillar, inscription on, 7 

Amber mines, 178 

Angamis, allied to Kaccha IS'agas, 199 ; 
dances, singing, trading, 200 ; 
houses, 203 ; burials, 203 ; dress, 
205 ; cultivation, 206 ; village 
funds, 210; expeditions against, 
211-25 ; fight in open, 232 

Animism, the earliest religion, 71 

S 2 



26o 



INDEX 



Aoh Nagas, luibiUit, 200 ; subdivi- 
sions of, tattooing of women, 
coiffure of women, 201 ; architec- 
ture, 203 ; brought under British 
rule, 225 

Apa Tarangs, subdivision of Daphlas, 
105 ; raids by, 108 

Assam, general ignorance regarding, I ; 
early sources of information regard- 
ing, 9, 10 ; earliest inhabitants, 9, 
13 ; formerly flourishing and 
populous, 2 et seq. ; natural 
highway to further India, 8 ; 
legendary history of, 19 ; earliest 
conquest of Indian Khettri kings, 
71 ; nded by Gupta dynasty, 7; 
by the Pal, 7; by the Senas, 8 ; 
divided between Kacharis, Koc- 
ches, and Ahoms, 9, 10 ; first 
Mahomedan invasion of, 30 ; inva- 
sion of Mahmoud Bakhtiyar, 21 ; 
first English intervention in, 52 ; 
Welsh's expedition, 53 et seq. ; 
Condition of, after Welsh's force 
retired, 60 ; pillaged by Burmese 
as far as Jorhat, 61 ; invaded by 
Burmese, appearance of English, 
II, 63 ; Shan invasion, 164 ; con- 
dition on occupation by British, 
64 ; arrangements for admin- 
istration by British, 66, 67 ; 
Thibetan invasion of, averted, 94 ; 
chief military station moved to 
Dibrughar, 68 ; boundary between 
— and Manipur fixed, 213, 
214 

Assam, commercial history of, 67 ct seq. ; 
tea industry, first plantation, 67 ; 
coal found, 68 ; oil found, 69 ; 
first railways, 68, 69 ; conmiunica- 
lions in, 67 ; trade with Thibet, 
loi ; climate of, effect on inhabit- 
ants, 4 ; different religions in 
vogue, 6, 7 ; early religion of, 71 ; 
introduction of Minduism, 71 ; 
called Wesali Long by Buddhists, 

73 
Assam Bengal Railway, 3 ; construction 

of, 69 et seq. 
Assam brigade, folly of abolishing, 

132-3 

Assamese, characteristics of, 4 

Assam Light Infantry, origin of, 65 ; 
how disposed, 66 

Assam, upper, boundaries and ex- 
tent, 6 

Aurangzebe, sends Raja Ram Singh to 
attack Ahoms, 44 



1; 



IJABKR, CoLBORNE, travels from 

Vtinnan to Thibet, 177 
Bacot, M., survey work, 239 
Badgeley, leads survey party into Naga 

hills, attacked and routed, 219, 

228, 229 
Bagmara, held by Moamarias, 56 
Bailey, Capt., his proposed route, 136 ; 

successful journey from China to 

Assam, 147 ; survey work in 191 1, 
. 239 
Baladhun tea estate, raided by 

Khonoma men, 224 
Baliapara, ancient ruins, 2 ; massacre 

of, 103 ; raid on, 104 
Balla, British capture, 100 
Barail range, 6 ; chosen as boundary 

between Manipur and Assam, 213 
Baralli, 34 

Bathang visited by Cooper, 177 
Bebejiya, section of Mishm is, 147 
Bedford, first to visit Abors, 112 
Beltola, stormed by Mir Jumla, 41 
Bengal, Bhootanese aggression on, 94 
Bentinck explores Dihang, 231 
Berema visited by Grange, 213 
Bhamo, ancient English factory at, 191 
Bhatang, visited by Capt. Bailey, 147 
Bhoora, Bhoori ( Bora IShoori) 24, 75 ; 

Buddhist origin of, 86 ; temple 

described by Hannay, 86 
Bhootan, Peniberton's description of, 

91 ; Mr. Claude White's account 

of, 92 ; Eden's mission to, British 

attack, 96 et seq. ; 2nd phase, 100 ; 

boundary fixed, loi 
Bhootanese, influence in Assam, 92 ; 

aggressions on Bengal, 94 
Biggs, Lieut., visits Dimapur, 78 ; visits 

Manipur, settles boundary, 214 
Bijni, Raja of, assists rebels against 

Ahoms, 60 
Bisa, captured by Neufville, 152; out- 
post placed at, 154; captured by 

Hkamtis, 154 
Bishenpur, battle, 36 
Bishmaknagar, extensive ruins, 2 ; 

cause of abandonment, 6 ; original 

builders of, 11 ; vide Kimdina, 84 
Bishnath, 18 
Bisoo, reputed founder of Kocch 

dynasty, 20 
Blake, Capt., joins Vincent, 217, 232 
Blochmann, 4 
Blockades, of Akas, 103, 104 ; Daphlas, 

108 



INDEX 



261 



Bodo or Mecch, 20 

Bogchand, atlack on, 215 

Boka, 34 

Bomjour taken, 116 

Bon Abors habitat, 1 10 

Bordak, advanced depot Maxwell's 

force, 118; massacre at, 119 
Bor Hkamti, Assamese name for 

Hkamti country, 149 
Bourri, M., companion of Krick, death 

of, 144 
Bower,. General, 2 ; command Abor 

expedition, 12 et sey. ; force 

returns to India, 128 ; casualty list 

of, 128; cost of expedition, 129 
Brahminical Hinduism, introduction 

of, 7 
Brahmins, grants of land to, 8 
Brahmaputra, variation of course, 5 ; 

existence of falls on, discussed, 136; 

..'38 

British finally occupy Assam, 64 ; 
difficulty of early administration, 
65 ; arrangements for administra- 
tion, 65, 66 ; war with Bhortan, 
96 et seq. ; dealings wiih Akas, 
103, 104 ; expeditions against 
Daphlas, 106, 107, 108 ; first 
contact with Nagas, 211 

Brooke, Lieut, (of Sarawak), 55 

Bruce, Mr. R. , finds indigenous tea, 
opens first tea plantation, 67 

Brydon, Capt. , burns Mozema, 219 

Buchanan, Hamilton, 2 

Buckle, engineer, Assam Bengal rail- 
way, 3 

Buddha, said to have died at Gauhati, 
72 

Buddhism, probable introduction into 
Assam, 7 ; proofs of introduction 
into Assam, 71 et seq. First 
and second Synods, 73 

Buranjis, 10 ; first mention of Hill 
tribes, 32 ; first mention of Nagas 
in, 210 

Burlton, Lieut., explores Mishmi coun- 
try, 142 

Burma, penetration of, by Hindus, 8 ; 
northern border of, 157 ; Chinese 
encroach on, 237 

Burmese invasion of Assam, 11, 241 ; 
enter Assam at Chandra, Kant's 
invitation, 61 ; first expedition 
into Assam, 61 ; second expedition, 
62 ; ravage Assam, driven back by 

- British, 63 ; defeated by British at 
Namdang and Jorhat, 63 ; final 
defeat, 64; defeated by Capl. 
Neufville, 152 ; invade Manipur 



and Cachar, defeated by Engli.sh, 

19 ; invade Manipur, 49 
Butler, Capt., expeditions into Naga 

Hills, 215 ; leads survey party, 

attacked and killed by Nagas, 219; 

disaster, 228, 232 
Buxa, column in Bhootan War, 9 



Cachar, origin of name, 10 : occupied 
by JManipuris, Burmese, English, 
19 : finally cleared of Burmese, 64 

Cachar levy, raising of, 213 

Calcutta exhibition, etfect on Alias, 
104 

Cambodia, founded by Indian, 8 ; 
marches on Nanchao, 164; origin 
of, 165 

Cannon, first record of use, 30 

Carey, Mr., account of Chins' tactics, 
236 

Carnegy, Mr., appointed Political 
Officer, 219; accidentally killed, 
220 

Cawley, Mr. and Mrs., besieged in 
Kohima, 222 

Chakka Fort held by Nagas, 224 

Chandradhoj, Ahom king, conflicts 
with Moghul, 44 ; 45 

Cliandrakant, Ahom king, calls in 
Burmese, 61 ; deposed, rein- 
stated, flight, 62 

Chaiaideo, ancient temples, 2 ; Kachari, 
king's head sent to, 15 ; Ahom 
king flies to, from Mir Jumla, 41 ; 
present condition of, 81 ; burial 
place, 38 ; 29 

Charjuga, Ahom capital, 29 

Charlton, Capt., defeats Dapha Gam, 
recaptures Bisa, 153, operations, 
232 

Cheila, reputed first Shan capital, 166 

Chianipa, vide Siam. 

China, possible home of Kacharis, 12 

Chindwyn, source of, 158 

Chinese activity north of Mishmi Hills, 
141 ; on the North-Eastern 
frontier, 238 : acl:ion in Thibet, 
237 ; system of managing border 
tribes, 146; occupation of Lolos 
country, 188 ; war with Nepal, 
241 ; wars with Panthays, 190 

Chinese chronicles, 8 ; refer to Shans, 
163; account of Nanchao, 164; 
split Nanchao kingdom 165 

Chingpaw, division of Kachins, 172 



262 



INDEX 



Chinkui, attack Military Police, 234 

Chinlong, attack Military Police, 234 

Chins, methods of fighting, 235, 236 

Chouna, trade mart, loi 

Chukapha, invades Assam, 164 

Chulikatta, section of Mishmis, 142 

Chumarchi, taken by British, 98 

Chumbi, Chinese occupy, 237 

Chunpura, 84 

Chiitiyas, history of, 1 1 ; Endle's theory 
regarding, 12; defeated by Aht>ms, 
14 ; crushed by Ahoms, 33 ; habi- 
tat, 28 ; revolt against Ahoms, 
34 ; subdued by Ahoms, 30 ; 
religion of, 71 

Coal, finding of, 68 

Cocks, Mr. S. W., views on Shan his- 
tory, 166 

" Cognate Tribes," 174, 176 

Communications, in Assam and Burma, 
insufficiency of, 251 ; improvement 
of, near Myitkhyina, 240 

Cooch Behar, 2, 10 

Cooper, Colonel, appointed assistant to 
Governor-General's Agent, 65 

Cooper, Mr. T. T. , remarks regarding 
former condition of Assam, 3 ; 
remarks on policy of Government, 
65 ; his explorations between 
China and Assam, 145, 146 ; 
travels from Yunnan to Thibet, 177 

Copper plates, 7, 8, 21 ; as sources 
of history, 10 

Cornwallis, Lord, decides to intervene 
in Assam, 52 ; give Welsh a free 
hand, 53 ; disapproves of Rangpur 
prize money, 55 

Cory, Major, commands column against 
Daphlas, 107 

Cresswell, Lieut., successful action at 
Culihi, death, 58 

Crump, Lieut., 52 

Csomo de Karos, opinion regarding 
Buddha's death place, 73 

Culihi, battle of, 58 

Cultivation, among Nagas, 206 

Curzon, Lord, "Partition," i 



n 



DALHousiii, Lord, sanctions expedi- 
tion against Mishmis, 144 
DaUng, column in, Bhootan war, taken, 

Dalpani stream, 85 

Dalton, Colonel, account of human 
.sacrifices, 75 



Dances, of Kaccha Nagas, 199; of 

Angamis, 200 
Damant, Mr., appoinled Dy. Commis- 
sioner Naga hills, 221 ; death of, 

222 ; disaster, 228, 232 
Damant, Mrs., besieged in Kohima, 

222 
Dambuk, attack on, 116 
Dampuk river, 14 
Damroh, advance on, decided, 118; 

retreat from, 119 
Damroh, visited by Colonel Macintyre, 

127 
Dapha, stockade captured by Capt. 

Neufville, 152 ; Gam attacks Bisa 

Gam, 153 
Daphlas, 38, 105-iog ; attack Sib 

Sing, 48 ; visited by Macabe, 

105 ; suppressed by Kamaleshwar, 

60 ; defeat Ahoms, 105 ; their 

claim to " Posa," 106, 107; 

British expedition against, 106, 

107 ; raids by, 107 
Darika river, battle of, 58 
Darrang, cleared of banditti, 58; 

district Dooars added to, 93 
Deb Raja, 94 

Defences, of Wa village, 186 
Dekha Chang, or young men's house, 

208 
Demara, ancient Kachari town, l6-iS 
Deopani, monolith at, 80 
Deori Chutiya, priests perform human 

sacrifices, 75 
Deoshani river, loi 
Detsing, made king by Ahoms, 15 
Dewangiri, Bhootanese defeat British 

at, 96, 99 ; column in Bhootan 

war, 97 ei sei/. , captured, 98, 100 
Dhansiri river, 3, 6 
Dhansiri valley, 14 ; relapses into 

jungle, 15 
Dharla, valley followed by Kacharis, 12 
Dharm Pal, alias Itari, founder of Pal 

Dynasty, 7 
Dharm Raja, 94 
Dharmtika, Ahoms defeat Kacharis at, 

17 ; battle of, 35 
Dhodar Alii made by Gadardhar Sing, 

45 

Dhubri, captured from Kocch by 
Moghuls, 26, 27 

Dibang valley followed by Kacharis, 
12 ; exploration of, 148 

Dibong river, 2, 82 

Dibrughar, district formerly well cul- 
tivated, 2 ; made chief military 
station, 68 

Digarus, opposed to Mejus, 142 



INDEX 



263 



Uihang river, explored by KinLhup, 
120 ; exploration of, 133 ; identity 
with Tsanpro, 127, 135 ; passage 
of by column of Bowers' force, 125 

Dihing river, 28, 29 

Dihing Company, ancient remains on 
estate, 87 

Dihong valley followed by Kacharis, 
12 

Dijoa, Ahoms defeat Kacharis at, 17 

Dilli river, 39, 41 

Uikkoo river, 14, 28, 39 ; crossed by 
Welsh, 58 ; boundary of Naga 
hills, 225 

Uikrang river, 2, 82 

Himapur, ancient Kachari capital, 3 ; 
occupied by Ahoms, 1 5 ; sacked by 
Ahoms, finally abandoned, 16 ; 
ruins described, 76 ; becomes a 
trading centre, 25 

Disasters, causes of, 228 

Doboka, ancient Kachari town, 16 ; 
Ahoms defeat Kacharis at, 18, 60 

Donabyu, 62 

Dooars, annexed by British, 93 ; British 
pay compensation for annexation 
of, 94, lOI 

Dopgarh embankment, 38 

d'Orleans, Prince H., reaches Sadiya 
from Tonkin, 147; visits Hkamtis, 
149; country explored by, 154; 
travels among Muhsos, 177 ; re- 
garding climate of country tra- 
versed, 189 

Douglas, Mr., 52 

Doyang valley, 14 ; relapses into 
jungle, IS 

Dri, exploration of, 148 

Dress, Angami, Aoh, Sema, Rengma, 
Nagas, 205 ; absence of among 
northern Nagas, 205 

Drums among Was, 186 

Du, river reached by Rowlatt, 144 

Dual control, results of, 129 et se<j. 

Duimunisila, Ahoms defeat Mahome- 
dans at, 30, 31 

Dukku, reached by Maxwell's column, 
118 

Dumsong, taken by British, 98 

Dundas, first political agent, at Sadiyas, 
133 ; good work done by, 13s 



Earthquake, 1897, s 
Eden, Lieut., his successful expedition 
against Kaisha, 144, 145 



Eld, Capt. , expedition against Nagas, 
215 

Elephants, wild, 38 

Elias, Mr. Ney, his opinion regarding 
first Shan capital, i56 ; finds kin- 
ship between Khunongs and 
Mishmis, 141, 177 

Endle, theories as to Kacharis, 12, 13 

English, arrival of, 1 1 

European, first mention of, by Ahoms, 
36 ; first visit of, to Upper Assam, 
49 



F 



Fai.lacot'ja, annexed by British, 95 

Ferguson's report on Dimapur, 78 

Firdusi, his account of Kocch, 20 

Firearms, introduction of, 34 

Firoz Khan, demands payment from 
Ahoms of war indemnity, 43 ; is de- 
feated by Ahoms and captured, 44 

P'itche, Ralph, visits Kamaiapur, 36 

Forlong, his researches, 8 

French Indo-China, 157 

Funeral customs oi Ahom kings, 38 ; 
customs of Kachins, 180 ; of Was, 
186 ; of Lolos, 188 ; of Angamis, 
Kaccha, Lhota, Rengma, Aoh 
Nagas, 203 ; among Trans-Dikkoo 
tribes, 205 



G 



Gadardhar Sing, king of Ahoms, 
45 ; persecutes followers of Shankar 
Deb, 76 

Gait's, Mr., history of Assam, 4 

Galongs, attitude of, uncertain, 122 ; 
column enters country, 124 

Gambhir Singh, Raja, drives Burmese 
out of Manipur, 64 

Garhgaon, made Ahom capital, 34 ; 
captured by Nar Narain, 24 ; 
occupied by Kocches,34; aband- 
oned by Ahoms to Mir Jumla, 41 ; 
description, 37 ; ruins of old 
capital, 2, 86 

Garston, connnands expedition against 
Abors, lis 

Gauhati, 2 ; visited by Huien Tsiang, 
9 ; reputed site of Buddha's 
death, 73 ; looted by Moghuls, 
25 ; recaptured by Ahoms, 39 ; 
occupied by Mir Jumla, 41 ; 
occupied by Welsh, 53 ; Welsh's ac- 
count af, s8 ; Macdonald's account 
of, 58 ; regained by Chandrakanl, 
62 ; occupied l)y British under 



264 



INDEX 



Richards, 63 ; made British 
headquarter station, 67 

Gaur, Brahmins from, introduce their 
religion into Assam, 71 

Gaurinath Sing, Ahom king, persecutes 
Moamarias, who rebel, calls on 
Kacharis and Jaintias and Mani- 
puris for help, calls in English, 
50 ; joins Welsh's force, asks his 
assistance in Upper Assam, 53 ; 
asks further help from Welsh, 
56; appeals against order recalling 
W^elsh, 57 ; forms army on Eng- 
lish pattern, 59 ; flees to Jorhat, 
death, 60 ; Naga raids during 
reign of, 211 

Gegun-shar trade mart, 102 

Gelong Raja, quarrel with Thibet, 94 

Ghiladari, Burmese defeat Ahoms at, 
61 

Goalpara, Kocches drive out Moghuls, 
39 ; reinforced against Burmese, 
63 ; held by English, 52 

Gobi desert, original home of Kachins, 
180 

Godwin, visits Upper Assam, 48 

Gold, Abors claim to, 112 

Gordon, Capt., settles Manipur boun- 
dary, 214 

Grange, Mr., raises Cachar levy, 213 ; 
expeditions against Nagas, 213- 
214 

Gray, Errol, visits Hkamtis, 149 ; 
description of Tareng, 180 ; de- 
scription of country north of 
Hkamti Long, 160 

Gregory, Lieut., appointed first Deputy 
Commissioner of Naga hills, 218 ; 
punishes certain villages, 219 

Gregorson accompanies Williamson 
into Abor hills, 120 ; murder of, 
121 

Griffiths, Dr., stopped by Mejus, 142 

Gupta dynasty rules Assam, 7 

Gurkhas, Eighth, 55 ; 2nd form part of 
General Bowers' column, I2t 

Gyala Sindong, falls at, 121 

Gyasuddin, advances to Sadiya,- 22 



H 

Hajara, 71 

Hajo, founds Kocch kingdom, marries 
his daughter to a Mecch chief, 
20 

Hajo, 5, 44 ; battles of, 35, 36 ; cap- 
tured by Ahoms, 39 ; Buddhist 
remains at, 72 

Hamilton, his report on Assam, 75 ; 



account of trade between Thibet 
and Assam, loi 

Handia, 34 

Hannay, Major, his opinion regarding 
Hindu conquest of Kamarupa, 7 ; 
opinion of Chutiya language, 
regarding, Bishmaknagar and 
Prithiminagar, II ; opinion of 
Kamali Alii, 24 ; opinion regard- 
ing introduction of Hinduism, 71 ; 
opinion regarding Buddhist re- 
mains at Sadiya, 73 ; ■ description 
of Kundina and Prithiminagar, 
82 ; account of Tama.sari Mai 
and Bhora Bhoori, 84 et seq. ; 
ineffectual attempt on Kebang, 114; 
account of Kachins, 171 

Head hunting among Was, 186 ; among 
Nagas, 199 ; among Trans-Dikko 
tribes, 210 

Heinsun, visited by Burma Military 
Police, 156 

Hemachal or Nepal, 22 

Hill, General Sale, commands column 
against Akas, 104 

Hill tribes, first mentioned in Buranjis, 

32 

Hinde, Mr., reinforces Kohima, 222 

Hindu conquest of Kamarupa, 7 ; 
conquests, in Burma and further 
India, 8 

Hinduism, introduction of, 71 ; adopted 
by Kocch, 21 ; introduced among 
Ahoms, 38 ; adopted generally by 
Ahoms in Sib Sing's reign, 48 ; 
Brahminical, introduced by mis- 
sionaries from Gaur, 71 ; spread 
of, 74 

Hkamtis, occupation of Sadiya by, 
65 ; rebel against British, 66, 67, 
148-50 ; religion of, 148 : occupy 
Sadiya, 148 ; murder Colonel 
White, 149 ; characteristics, 149 ; 
description of villages, 150 ; trade 
routes, 150; Hkamtis, allies of 
British, 152-3 

Hkamti Long, Burmese name for 
Hkamti country, 149, 157 ; occu- 
pied by Shans, reoccupied by 
Kachins, 163 ; explorations in, 
239 

Hpimaw, occupied by Military Police, 
238 ; road opened to, 240 

Hodgson, Bryan, theories as to Kach- 
aris, 12, 13 ; his work on Kocch 
and Bodo people, 20 

Holcombe, Lieut., accompanies Capt. 
Badgeley, murdered, 218, 219, 
228, 229 



INDEX 



265 



Hosie, Mr., travels of, 1 88 

Hsen Wi, inhabited by Marus, 176 

Htawgaw, outposts extended to, 238 ; 
road to made, 240 

lluien Tsiang, 19, 20 ; his account of 
Assam, 9 ; report on state of 
Buddhism in Assam, 73 

Hukong valley, natural highway to 
further India, 8 ; proposed railway 
to Burma down, 70, 154 ; Burmese 
pass into Assam via, chiefs join 
Burmese, 61 ; amber in, 178, 179 

Human sacrifices, 75 ; performed at 
Tamasari, 85 

Ilunli reached by column, 147 



I 



Igar stream stockade on, attacked by 
8th G. R., 124 

Inner line explained, 139 

Irrawadi, river, 158; sources of sur- 
veyed, 239 ; 240 

Irvine, Lieut., 55 

Itari, see Dharm Pal, 7 



J 



Jade mines 178 ; 179 

Jaintias defeated by Kacharis, 17 ; 
rise against Kacharis and are sub- 
dued by Ahoms, 18 ; dealings 
with Rudra Sing, 47, 48 

Jaintiapur, captured by Ahoms, inhabi- 
tants massacred, 18 ; destruction 
by Ahoms under Rudra Sing, 47 

Jamaguri, ruins at, 80 

Janakhraukh, construction of stockade 
at, 124 

Java, Hindu kingdoms in, 8 

Jenkins, traverses Naga hills from 
Manipur, 211 

Jelinga valley, 19 

Jhooming, 206 

Jogighopa, Ahoms defeated at, 36 : 
captured by Mir Jumla, 40 ; held 
by English, 52 ; reinforced 
against Burmese, 63 

Johnstone, Colonel, relieves Kohima, 
222 ; destroys Phesema, 224 

Jorhat, 15 ; surrounded by Moamarias, 
relieved by Macgregor, 54 ; 
reached by first Burmese expe- 
dition, 61 ; occupied by British, 

63 
Jorhat, railway, 69 



Jotsoma, joins Mozema in attacking 
Samuguting, 219; pardoned, 220 



K 



Kaccha Nagas, country or Morang 
tract, 9 ; defined, 12 ; description 
of 199 

Kacharis, formerly highly civilised, 3 ; 
earliest immigrants into Assam, 9 ; 
original habitat of, 9 ; route follow- 
ed by, 9, 10 ; present habitat, 10 ; 
theories as to origin of, 12, 13 ; 
history of, 12. etseq. ; aborigines 
of Assam, friendship with Kocch, 

13 

Kacharis, connection with Bengal, 
Great Builders, 13 ; position of at 
beginning of 17th century, :6 ; 
conflicts with Ahoms, 14 «/ se</. ; 
attack Jaintias, 17 ; attacked by 
Jaintias, ask help of Ahoms, 18 ; 
join Moamarias against Ahoms 
and are defeated at Doboka, i8 ; 
subdued by Manipuris, 18, 19 ; 
by Burmese 19 ; struggles with 
Ahoms, 30 ; finally defeated by 
Ahoms, 33 ; dealings with Rudra 
Sing, 46, 47, 48 ; war with 
Kamaleshwar, 60 ; present con- 
dition of, 19 ; connection with 
Dimapur, 79. 

Kachins, 171-83; same as Chingpaw 
and Singpho, iji : Hannay's 
account of, 172 ; habitat, 172 ; 
internal structure, migrations of, 
172; raids of, 173; five "parent 
tribes," 174-76 ; " Cognate 
tribes," 176-78; of Tartar origin, 
180; religicm, customs, morals, 
weapons, 180, 181 ; slave deal- 
ing of, 181 ; methods of warfare, 
ibl, 182 ; tried as military 
police, 183 ; raid Myitkhyina, 
183 ; struggles with Shans, 163. 

Kaisha murders Krick and Bourri, 
144 ; village burnt, Kaisha hanged, 

145 
Kaitara Hill, 30 
Kala Pahar captures Gauhati, 25 
Kali, worship of, 75 
Kalinga, connection with Java, 8 
Kalling, dual control of by British and 

Bhootan 93 
Kamaing, jade found near, 179 
Kamakhya, temples of, 2 ; destroyed 

by Moghuls, 25 ; Buddhist origin 

of, 72 ; worship of, 75 ; Tamasari 

temple dedicated to, 85 



266 



INDEX 



Kamaleshwar, Ahoni king, suppresses 
Moamarias, punishes Daphlas, 60 

Kaniali Alii, ancient highway, I ; built 
by Nar Narain, 24 

Kamrup, cleared of banditti, 58; Dooars 
added to, 93 

Kamarupa, ancient name of Assam, 7 ; 
definition of, 9 ; first authentic 
information of, 9 ; Koches drive 
Moghuls out of southern, 39 

Kamatapur, ancient ruins, 2 ; visited 
by Fitcbe, 36 ; connected with 
Chtinpura by ancient road, 85 

Kamsa, division of Kachins, 172 

Kansu, Mahomedans in, 190 

Karatoya river, 9, 26 

Karkoi, iniportant trade centre, 127 

Kebang, Abor village leads raid in 
1858, 113; repulses Lowther, 114; 
repulses Hannay, 114; objective 
of Bowers' main column, 122 ; 
reached by Bowers, 125 

Kekyar Monying, time wasted at, 124 ; 
capture of stockade at, 125 

Kekrima, Vincent meets with resistance 
at, 217, 232 

Khakus, division of Kachins, 172 

Khamjang Nagas, 32, 33 

Khasias, worship of stones by, 88 

Khaspur, occupied by Kacharis, 17 ; 
visited by Mr. Verelst, 19 

Khenungs, 17S 

Khettri Kings, first rulers of Assam, 7, 
19 ; occupied Bishmaknagar and 
Prithiminagar, 11 ; conquer Assam, 

71 
Khonoma, burnt by Vincent, 216 ; joins 

Mozema in attacking Samuguting. 

219 ; pardoned, 220 ; head's rising 

kills Damant, 221 ; attacks 

Kohima, 222 ; captured by General 

Nation, 222-224 ; punishment of, 

224 ; Manipur intrigues with, 224 
Khoosroo Mulk defeated by Chinese, 

22 
Khowa Gohain given charge of Sadiya, 

65 ; dispute with Chief of Matak, 

66 
Khunongs, Kachin cognate tribe, 176; 

particulars regarding, 177 ; related 

to Mishniis, 141 
Kinney, Mr., knowledge of Dibrughar, 

2 
Kinthup, explorer, 120 ; verification of 

his work, 135, 136 
Kiunlung, reputed cradle of Shan race, 

162 
Kocches, rise of, 10 ; history of, 20 

et seij. ; kingdom founded by Hajo, 



20 ; dominions in Kar Xarain's 
time, 26; religion of, 26, 71 ; adopt 
Hinduism and Mahomedanisni, 
21 ; invaded by Suleiman Kara- 
rani, 25 ; forces in Lakshmi 
Narain'stime,26; finallyannexed by 
Moghuls, 26, 27; Kocches si niggles 
with Ahoms, 34 el seq. ; rebellion 
against Mahomedans, 39 ; king 
assists rebels against Ahoms. 60 ; 
Raj, absorbed by the E. India 
Company, 21 

Kohima, visited by Vincent, 217; first 
stockade built at, 220 ; siege of, 
222 

Koliabar, Ahoms defeat Mahomedans 
at, 30 ; Ahoms defeated by Moghuls 
at, 41 

Koogoo, outpost placed at, 154 

Kopili, valley of, 6, 14 

Korang, attacked, 124 

Krick, M., explores Mishmi country as 
far as Walong, murdered near 
Rima, 144 

Krishna Narain, defeated by Captain 
Welsh, 53 ; submits, is made Raja 
of Darrang, 54 

Kublai Khan, invasion of, 164 

Kumlao, division of Kachins, 172 

Kundilpur, vide Kundina, alias Bish- 
maknagar, 2 ; account of, 82 

Kusinagra, reputed site of Buddha's 
death, 73 



L 



Lahtaunt.s, Kachin tribe, 174 
Lahus, see Muhsos 

Lakma Nagas, 39 ; trouble Ahoms, 211 
Lakhimpur Military Police hold 

stockade at Balek, 121 ; form part 

of General Bowers' colimm, 121 
Lakshmi Narain, Kooch king, 26 
Lama valley seen by Krick, 144 
Land measurements, Moghul system 

introduced by Gadardhar Sing, 45 
Landers, Mr., opens first coal mine, 68 
Laos, resemblance to Hkamtis, 149 
Lashis, Kachin cognate tribe, 176 ; 

habitat, 177 
Ledo, coal-field, 69 
Ledum, objective of second column 

Bowers' force, 122; column rejoins 

main body, 125 
Lengta Nagas, 202 ; architecture, 203 ; 

brought under British rule, 225 
Lennon, Lieut., 52 
Lepais, Kachin tribe, 174 



INDEX 



267 



Lhota Nagas, 202 ; house of, 203 

Lihsaws, see Yawyins, 176 

Lingam worshipped at Tamasari Mai, 

Lister visits Upper Assam, 49 

Litam, raid Mongsemdi, burnt, 226 

Lohit valley, mule road up, 148 

Lo Hpra, pagoda worshipped by 
Palaungs, 184 

Loi Ling mountain, 161 

Loi Nju, 176 

Loi Seng, tea tree at, worshipped by 
Palaung, 184 

Lolos, 187 ; Prince d'Orleans' opinions 
regarding, 187 ; habitat and char- 
acteristics of, 188, 189 

Lowther, Major, expedition against 
Kebang, 113; repulse of, 114, 228 

Lukshmi Sing, Ahom king, his reign, 
captured by Moamarias, released, 
renews persecution of Mokmarias, 50 

Lumding Junction, 3 

Lumling helps Eden, 144 ; sad fate of, 

145 
Lumsden, accompanies Williamson to 
Kebang, 120 



U 



Macabe, Mr., visits Apatanangs, 105 
Macgregor, Force-Adjutant to Welsh's 

force, distinguishes himself, 53 
Macgregor, General, opinion of Naga 

bravery, 232 ; visits Nogmung, 

178 
Macintyre, Colonel, visits Damroh, 127 
Maghada (Bengal) marches on Nanchao 

kingdom, 164 
Maha Bandula, defeats Ahoms at 

Mahgarh, 62 
Mahadeo Mountain, 82 
Mahmoud Bakhtiyar invades Assam, 

21 
Mahomed Hasem's account of Daphlas, 

106 
Mahomed Shah Tughlak attempts to 

invade China, 22, 23 
Mahomedan historians of early Assam, 

10; records, 21; invasion, first 

record, 30 ; conflicts with Ahoms, 

30 ei seij. ; assist rebels against 

Ahoms, 60 
Mahomedanism adopted by Kocch, 

21 ; origin of, in China, 190 
Maibong, second capital of Kachriris, 

15 ; demolished by Ahoms, 17 ; 

ruins at, 80 



Makum coal and oil, 6g 
Makwarri, expedition against, 155, 156 
Malaya, Hindu Kingdoms, in, 8 
Mali-kha, one source of Irrawadi, 159 ; 

explorations near, 239 
Manas river, 36, 97, loi 
Manipur, chronicle of Shans found in, 
164 ; proposed railway route to 
Burma, 70 ; ferments Naga risings, 
216; occupied by Burmese, 19; 
intrigues with Khonoma, 24 ; 
invaded by Burmese, calls on 
Ahoms for help which is given, 
49 ; cavalry detachment at Rang- 
pur, 55 ; joms Burma in entering 
Assam, 61 ; cleared of Burmese, 
64 ; given control over Nagas, 
ecmtrol withdrawn, 213 ; boundary 
with Assam fixed, 213, 214 ; troops 
relieve Kohima, 222 ; disaster at, 
228, ill effects of dual control at, 
131 
Manipuris, 29 ; occupy Gachar, 19 
Manku, A bor stockade at, 114 
Maram monoliths, 88 
Marams Kachin tribe, 176 
Marangi, Ahom earthwork, 15 
Margherita, foundation of, 69 
Marips, Kachin tribe, 174 
Marriage customs, of Kachins, 180; 

among Nagas, 203 
Marus, Kachin Cognate tribe, 176 
Matak, vide Moran, Chief quarrels with 
Khow'a Gohain, 66 ; Chief of, made 
tributary, 65 
Mather, Captain, leads force against 

Daphlas, 106 
Mathurapur, 37 ; Mir Jumla collects 

force at, 41 
Maxwell, Captain, commands fifth 

Abor expedition, 116 
Mayangkwan, Chiefs join Burmese in 
expedition to Assam, 61 : Assam 
and Burma survey parties meet at, 
154 ; amber found near, 178 
Mehdi, Aka stockade occupied, 104 
Meju, section of Mishmis, 142 
Mekhong, climate of upper, 189 
Membu, first Abor village visited by 
British, 112 ; burnt by Maxwell, 
119 _ 
Menyong, Abor clan habitat, iii ; 

still unsubdued ; 126 
Mikir Hills, 3 

Military Police, constitution of Burma ; 
243 ei seq. ; of Assam, 245 et seq. ; 
value of, 247 et seq. ; suggestions 
for improving, 249 ; value of train- 
ing to officers, idj&etseq. ; economy 



268 



INDEX 



of using instead of Regulars, 250, 

251 
Alill visits Upper Assam 49 
Mimasipu, destroyed by British, 118. 
Mir Jutnla, 31 ; invasion of Assam, 

39~43 ; death, difficulties of his 

expedition, 43 
Mirris, 38 ; punished by Ahoms, 45, 

105-09, subject to Abors, 109 ; 

mentioned by Neufville, 1 10 ; 

village raided by Pashi and 

Menyong Abors; 115 
Mishmi Hills, 6 ; invaded by Abors, 115 
Wishing, objective of 2nd column 

Bower's force, 122 ; garrisoned 

by two companies Military Police, 

125 
Mishmis, 109, 141-48 ; closely allied 
to Khunongs habitat, 141 ; sub- 
division of, 142 ; related to 
Khunongs, 177 ; explorers of the 
country, 142 ; murder four pprsons, 
subsequent expedition, 147 ; ap- 
proached by Chinese Emissaries, 

237 

Mleccha, 20 

Moamarian Rebellion, 18 ; cause of, 
50; progress of 51-61 ; Welsh's 
operations against, 51 «/ seij. 

Moamarias, difference between, and 
Shankar Deb's followers, 76 ; or 
Vishnubites, 48 ; allies of British, 

153 
Moghuls seize Assam, 2 ; expeditions 

into Assam, 39-43, 44 ; driven out 

by Ahoms, 45 
Mogokchang, Military Police outpost, 

described, 202 
Mogoung, capital of Ahoms, 28; capital 

of Pong, 163 ; signs of former great- 
ness, 166; sacked by Kachins, 167 ; 

proposed railway junction with 

Assam at, 70 
Mohun Dijoa, occupied by British, 212 
Monieik State, 157 
Mongmit, see Momeik 
Mongsemdi, raided b)' Trans-Dikkoo 

villages, 226 
Moran, 28 ; defeated by Chutiyas, 14 ; 

Religion, 71 
Morang tract, earliest habitat of 

Kacharis, 9 
" Morangs " among Nagas, 20S 
Morshead, Captain, 136 
Mozema, burnt by Vincent, 216; raids 
and is burnt,',2i9; lenient terms 

granted, 220 
Muhsos, allied to Yawyins, 177, 187, 

188 



Myithkyina, 159, 160 ; raided by 
Kachins, 174 ; station described, 
183 ; extension of frontier near, 
238 ; communications improved 
near, 240 



Naga Ai.li, construction of, 34, 2ii 
NagaHills, 3; first Deputy Commissioner 

surveys of, commenced, 219 ; 

appointed, 218 ; extent of, 225 ; 

communications in, 227 
Naga Hills Military Police, raising of 

213 ; attacked at Yachumi, 233, 

234 

Naga tribes, 195-227 ; attack Ahoms, 
38 ; punished drastically by Ahoms, 
45 ; origin of name, 195 ; habitat, 
195; main divisions of, 195 ; origin 
of, discussed, 195-197 : general des- 
cription of, 197 ; villages, 198 ; head 
hunting, 198-99 ; methods of fight, 
ing, 232-236; worship of stones by- 
88 ; first contact with British, 211 ; 
vacillating policy of Government 
regarding, 217 ; forward policy 
regarding — sanctioned, 220 

Nalbari, 5 

Nambhor Forest, formerly inhabited by 
Kachari clans ; not more than 200 
years old, 3 ; origin of, 15 

Namchea Barwa mountain, 135 

Namdang Bridge, held by Welsh's force, 
held by Burmese, 55 ; British 
victory at, (^t^ 

Nam Kiu river, trade route from Hkamtis 
to Assam, 150 

Namkwam fair, 193 

Namrup, 3 ; Ahom king flies to, from 
Mir Jumla, 41 

Namsang Nagas, 32, 33 ; defeat Ahoms, 
210 

Namsanga range coal mine, 68 

Nam Tamai, tributary of Nmai-kha, 240 

Nanchao, Shan kingdom, account ol, 
164, 165 

Nanwu Marus, 177 

Nara Raja, 34 

Narainpur, 2 

Nar Narain, builder of Cooch Behar, 
attacks and defeats Ahoms, 24 ; 
defeated by Moghuls, 25 ; defeats 
Ahoms, 34 

Nat worship by Shans, 170 

Nation, General, commands force, 
attacks Khonoma, 222; subsequent 
operations, 223, 224 



INDEX 



269 



Nawab of Dacca, attacks Dlmljii and 
defeats Kocch, 26, 27 ; attacks 
Ahoms and occupies territory up to 
Bar Naddi, 37 

Needham, Mr., 131 ; reaches Zayul, 
147 ; visits Hukong Valley, 154 

Nepal defeated by China, 241 

Neufville, Capt., defeats Burmese at 
Bisa, 64, 152; appointed Assistant 
to Governor-General's Agent, 65 ; 
mentions Mirris and Abors, 1 10 

Nizam Ghat, outpost established at, 115 

N'khums, Kachin tribe, 176 

Nilachal hill, 75 

Ningroo, outpost placed at, 154 

Ninu, disaster at, 219, 228 

Niubihan, battle of, 35 

Nmai-kha, one source of Irrawadi, 
banks inhabited by Marus, 158, 
176 ; silver found to east of, 178 ; 
explorations near, 238, 240 

Noa Dihing, battle of, 152 

Nogmung silver mines, 178 

Noksen raid Mongsemdi, burnt, 226 

North Eastern Frontier, increased in- 
terest in, 237 et seq. 

Nuthall, Colonel, leads expedition into 
Naga Hilh, 219 



O 



On. found, 69 

Opium eating, cause of present apathy 

of Assamese, 2 
Outposts, value of, 242 



P., Captain, experience with Abors, 

Padam, Abor clan, habitat, III ; atti- 
tude of, 126 

Padu burnt by Maxwell, 119 

Paganini, Chevalier R., Chief Engin., 
69 

Pal Dynasty, 7, 19 ; kings grant lands 
to Brahmins, 8 

Palaungs, description of, 1S4 ; dress of 
women, 193 

Pandoo, battle of, 35 ; capture of, 36 ; 
occupied by Mir Jumla, 41 ; forti- 
fications of, 58 

Panghi, Abor clan, habitat. III ; atti- 
tude of, 126 

Pang Hkan, ancient Shan city, 166 



Pankang, expected rendezvous of 
survey parties, 134 

Pangti, disaster at, 219, 228 

Pan Long, Panthay chief settlement, 
189, 190 

Panthays, 189-190 

Paplongmai, visited by Mr. Grange, 274 

Parker, Mr., translator of Chinese 
Chronicles, 164 

Pasighat, first objective of Bower's main 
column, 122 ; main column con- 
centrates at, 124 

Patkoi Range, 6, 29; described, 150; 
passes in the natural highway to 
further India, 8 ; crossed by return- 
ing Burmese, 61 ; passes held by 
Neufville, 152 ; crossed by Sam- 
lungpha, 164 

Peacock Island, - temple built by 
Gadardhar Sing, 45 

Pemakoi peak, not visited, 134 

Pemberton discovers Shan chronicle in 
Manipur, 164 ; traverses Naga 
Hills from Manipur, 211 

Phari, Chinese occupy, 237 

Phesema destroyed by Colonel John- 
stone, 224 

Phuleswari, Queen of Sib Sing, supports 
Sakta sect against Visnubites, 48 

Plague, origin and spread of, I go 

Poison, used by Abors, ill 

Political agent stationed at Sadiya, 133 

Pomed, Thibetan Province, 141 

Ponaka, capital of Bhootan, 96, 100 

Pong, 10 ; kingdom of, founded, 163 ; 
chronicle of, found in Manipur, 
164 

Posa, system, Mr. Cooper^s views on 
the, 146; granted to Abors, 115 ; 
stopped, 119 

Pottinger, Lieut., description of Marus, 
176 

Pratap Sing, Ahom king, 17 ; declares 
war on Mahomedans, 35 ; chases 
Mahomedans as far as Goalpara, 
36 ; death of, review of reign, 37 

Prinsep, 4 

Pritchard, Capt., work of, death of, 
240 

Prithiminagar, cause of abandonment, 
6 ; original builders of, 11; Han- 
nay's description of, 82 

Pungkan, author's journey to, 190-92 

Punjabis assist rebels against Ahoms, 
60 

Purandhar Sing, rebel king of Assam, 
files to British territory from 
Burmese, 62 ; entrusted with 
administration by British, 66 



270 



INDEX 



R 



Raha, j4, ancient Kacliari town, 16; 
Kacharis defeat Alioms at, 17 

Railway, first, 68, 69 ; proposed to 
Burma, 70 ; possible route via 
Hukong valley, 154 

Rajagriha, site of firstr-iuclclhistsynod,73 

Rajeswari, Ahom king assists Mani- 
pur, 49 

Ram Singh's expedition against the 
Ahoms, 44 ; dealings with Rudra 
Sing, 47, 48 

Rangpur, 3 ; captured by Welsh's force, 
55 ; Durbar at, 56 ; British cap- 
ture from Burmese, 63, 64 ; Ahom 
remains at, 87 

Rangpur Levy, 55 

Rausch, Hanoverian merchant at Goal- 
para, counsels English intervention 
in Assam, 52 ; his death, 60 

Reid, General, builds church at 
Dibrughar, 68 

Religion, early forms of in vogue in 
Assam, 7 ; religions, 71 «/ seg. ; 
of Abors, III ; of Lolos, 188 ; of 
Kocches, 26, 71 ; of Was, 187 ; of 
Muhsos, 188 

Rcngma Nagas, 202 ; houses of, 203 

Richards, Colonel, commands British 
force in Assam, occupies Jorhat, 
defeats Burmese at Namdang 
river, 63 ; final victory, 64 

Rima, capital of Zayul, 141 ; visited by 
Prince H. d'Orleans, by Capt. 
Bailey, 147 

Rivers, variation of covu'se, 5 

Roads, ancient, i, 2, 3 

Rock, cut inscriptions, 6 ; sources of 
early history, 10 

Roe, Capt., commands column against 
Daphlas, 109 ; explores Hukong 
Valley, 154 

Rotang reached by Bower's column, 124 

Rovvlatt, Lieut., explores Mishnii coun- 
try, stopped by Thibetans, 144 

Riidra Sing, Ahom king, attacks 
Kacharis, 17-8 ; his reign, 45-8 : 
progressive administration, 46 ; 
wars with Kacharis, 46, 47 ; with 
Jaintias, 47, 48 

Ruins, of former cities, 2, 3 ; in Upper 
Burma, 167 

Runkang, Abor stockade, 114 



Sabansiri, valley followed by Kach- 
aris, 12 



.Sadiya fronlier ]iost, starting point 
Abor expedition, 2, 5 ; attacked 
by Burmese, 64 ; entrusted to 
Khowa Gohain, 65 ; made head- 
quarters of Political Agent, 133 

Sadon, military police outpost, 161 

Safrai, river, 38 ; coal found on, 68 

Saikwa Ghat, railway opened to, 69 

Sakta, see Tantric 

Salagarh, Mahomedans defeat Ahoms 
at, 31 1 34; Rudra Sing holds 
Durbar at, 18, 47, 48 

Salika, action at, loi 

Salween, river, 158 ; course described, 
159; climate of, 189; Khunongs 
on, 177 

Samaguting, occupation recommended 
by Grange, 213 ; road to, con- 
structed, market opened, 215 ; out- 
post formed at, 218 

Samdhara, 38 ; abandoned by Ahoms 
to Mir Jumla, 41 

Samlingpha, reputed invasion of Assam, 
164 

Samudra of Gupta Dynasty, exacts 
tribute, 7 

Samudra, ruled in Burma, 8 

Sankosh river, 26 ; valley followed by 
Kacharis, 12 

Sappers and Miners, form part of 
General Bowers' column, 121 

Saramethi peak, 155 

Scolt, Mr. David, marches across 
Jaintia hills to join Richards, 63 ; 
appointed first Agent to Governor- 
General, 65 ; appointed first Com- 
missioner of Assam, 66 

Sebundy Corps, 66 

Selan, see Cheila 

Sema Nagas, subdivisions of, habital, 
character of, 202-3 

Sena Dynasty, 8 

Sessa river, 44 

Shah Jehan, 39 

Shakaldip, first chief of Kocch, 20 

Shankar Deb, Hindu reformer, 76 ; 
preaches to the Kocch, 26 

Shans, led by Hindus into Siani, 8 ; 
description of, 51, 161-70 ; 
habitat, 162 ; cradle of, 162 ; 
migrations of, 162-6 ; kingdom 
between Upper Irrawadi and 
Upper Chindwyn, 163 ; struggles 
with Kachins, 163 ; found kingdom 
of Siam, 163; ancient chronicle 
discovered by Peniberton, 164 ; 
invade Assam, 164 ; found 
Nanchao kingdom, 164 ; struggles 
with Chinese, 165 ; ancient cities. 



INDEX 



271 



166, 167 ; dress of, i68 ; charac- 
teristics, villages, 168 ; iip[)earance, 
weapons, religion, 170 

Shan chronicle, mentions Khunongs, 
177 

Shan States, 157 ; northern description 
of country, 161 

Shimong Abor clan, habitat, ill 

Shiniong, disaster at, just avoided, 127, 
228, 229 et seq. ; outpost placed at, 
231 

Shiva, worshipped at Tamasari Mai, 

Shore, Sir John, orders Welsh to 
return from Assam, 56 ; disastrous 
results of this order, 60, 64 
Shwegu, beauty of women of, 190 
Shweli, earliest Shan settlements in 

valley of, 162 
Siam, approached through Assam, 8 ; 
Shan migrations into, 162 ; first 
kingdom of, 163 
Sibsagor, excavation of tank, 34 
Sib Sing, Ahom king, his reign, 48 
Sidli, column in Bhortan War, 97 ei seq. 
Sikh, pioneers, 32nd, form part of 

General Bowers' column, 121 
Sila, 38 

Silarai, Kocch general, 24 
Silluk, destroyed by, 118 
Sil Sako, ancient bridge, S 
Simla-garh, stormed by Mir Jumla, 41 
Singing of Angamis, 200 
Singiri, occupied by Ahoms, 30 
Singphos, 150-6; habitat, 150; iden- 
tical with Kachins, 151 ; strength 
of, 152 ; slavery among, 152 ; join 
Burmese, defeated by Neufville at 
Bisa, 152 ; attack Bisa, defeated 
by Charlton, 153 ; reoccupy Bisa, 
severely punished, retire to Hukong 
valley, 154 ; assist Burmese, 64 ; 
aid Ilkamtis, 66 ; fight in open, 
232 ; value of outposts among, 242 
Sinkaling Hkamtis, State, 158 
Sirpo river, reached by Bowers' column, 

Sisi, district inhabited by Mirris, 1 10 
Siyom river, visited by survey party, 

134 
Slavery, prevalent in Hukong valley, 

154 ; among Singphos, 152 ; among 

ICachins, 180 ; stoppage of, result, 

66 
Sohemi tribe discard clothes, 206 
Son-mu, 190 
Srighat, battle of, 35, 36 ; occupied by 

Mir Jumla, 41 
Ssu-chuan, visited by Cooper, 177 



Staffoid, Colonel, commands column 

against Daphlas, 107 
Steamers, first ply on Brahmaputra, 67 
Stockades, different uses by Abors, 

Singphos and Nagas, in 
Stones, worship of, by Khasis and 

Nagas, 88 ; memorials of Burmese 

triumphs, 241 
Sualkuchi, Moghuls annihilated at, 36 
Sukmungnung, Ahom king, 15 ; record 

of his reign, 33 
Sukhlemning, Ahom king, introduces 

coins, makes Naga Alii, excavates 

tank at Sibsagor, 34 
Suleiman Kararani, attacks Kocch, 25 
Symond's, General Penn, operations 

against Chins, 130 



Tabhlung Nagas, 32, 33 ; defeat 

Ahoms, 210 
Ta-chien-loo, Baber's travels, 177 
Tagi Raja, career of, 103 
Tai, vide Ahoms, and Shans 
Talifu, taken by Chinese, 165 / 

Talup, railway opened, 69 
Tamanthe, outpost on Chindw)'n, 150 
Tamasari Mai, 24, 75 ; Hannay's des- 
cription of, human sacrifices at, 75 
Tamerlane, 190 

Tamlu, military police outpost, 33, 202 
Tamradhoj, Kachari king, 17 ; dealings 

with Rudra Sing, 47, 48 
Tanai or Chindwyn, 158 
Tangkhul Nagas, 29 ; ring-wearing 

habit, 206 
Tantok, outpost placed at, 235 
Tantric form of Hinduism, 74 ; the 

Stale religion in Kamarupa, 76 
Tareng tribe, 180 
Taron, tributary of Nmai-kha, 240 ; 

Captain Pritchard drowned in, 240 
Tartan, fortifications of, Chins, 236 
Tartar, origin of Kachins, 180 
Tavernier, 32 

Tawang, trade route to Bhootan, 102 
Tawngpeng, Shan name for Palaung, 

184 
Tengapani, Ilkamtis settle on, 14S 
Tengrai Raj Alii, ancient road, 3 
Tengri Maidan, Goorkhas, defeated at, 

by Chinese, 241 
Tengyueh, trade route to, 238 
Terrien, M., his views on Shan 

history, 162 
Tezpur railway, 69 
Thibet, expedition, of 1904-05, result 

of, 237 ; marches on Nanchao, 



272 



INDEX 



164 ; pussible huuie of Kachaiis, 
12 ; trade with Assam, loi 
Thibetans, threaten to invade Assam, 

94 
Thama, source of Chindwyn near, 158 
Thaungthut state, 158 
Thornhill, engineer Assam Bengal 

Railway, 3 
Tipam hills, coal found in, 68 
Tipam tribe, conquered by Ahoms, 29 
Tippera people ousted by Kacharis, 10 
Tista river, followed by Kacharis, 12 
Togwema, monoliths at, 89 ; Grange 

attacked at, 214 
Trans- Dikkoo Nagas, position of, raids 

by, ask to be administered, 226 ; 

operations against, 234, 235 
Tsan Po, river, explored by Kinthup, 

1 20; identity with Dihang estal)- 

lished, 127, 135, course of, 135 
Tugril Khan, killed by Kocch, 22 
'J'ularam, unable to control Nagas, 213 
Tuppang, Lieut. Rowlatt stopped at, 144 
Turbak Khan, wars with Ahoms, 31 

U 

Udai.guri, trade mart, 102 
Ujjain, kingdom of Vikramaditya, 7 



V 



Vegetation, rapid growth of, 6 

^'enters, engineer A%sam Bengal Rail- 
way, 3 

Verelst, visits Khaspur, 19 

Vetch, Capt. , selects site for Di- 
brughar cantonment, 68 

Vetch, Major, commands first expedition 
against Abors, 113 

Vikramaditya, copper plate inscription 
of, 7 

\'incent, Capt., leads expeditions into 
Naga hills, 216, 217, 232 

Vishnubites, persecuted by Gadardhar 
Sing, 45 ; persecuted by Phules- 
wari, wife of Sib Sing, 48 ; fol- 
lowers of Shankar Deb, 76 

W 

Wa tribe, description of, 185-7 
Waddell, Colonel, his report regarding 

falls on Brahmaputra, 136 
Walong, mule road to, 148 
Waterfield, Capt., surveys of, 240 
Welsh, Capt., appointed to command 
in Assam , S3 ; first successes near 
Gauhati, 53 ; advances in Upper 



.\ssani, 54 ; occupies Rangpur, 
distributes prize money, Cornwallis 
disapproves, 55 ; holds Durbar at 
Rangpur, ordered to retire, his 
report of February 1794, 56 ; com- 
mences retirement, S^; reaches 
Bengal, 59 ; appreciation of his 
work, 57 
Wosali f^ong, Buddhist name for Assam, 

73 
White, Mr. Claude, account of Bhootan, 

92 
White, Capt., appointed assistant to 

Governor General's Agent, 65 ; 

killed by Hkamtis, 66, 149 ; 

memorial church to, built at 

Dibrughar, 68 ; disaster at Sadiya, 

228 
Wilcox, Lieut., first to visit Abors, 112 ; 

enters Meju country, 142 ; visits 

Ilkamtis, 149 
Williams, Lieut., appointed to Assam 

expeditionary force, 53 ; defeats 

enemy at Mangaldai, 53 
Williamson, Mr., grants lenient terms 

to Mozema, 220 
Williamson, Mr. Noel, his career, 120 ; 

murder of, 121 ; punishment of 

murderers, 126 ; reasons for visit- 
ing Kebang di.scussed, 139 
Wokha, first stockade built at, 220 ; 

garrison of, reinforces Kohima, 222 
Wood, Lieut., surveyor to Welsh's 

force, S3, S4 
Woodthorpe, visits Ilkamtis, 149 ; 

opinion on Khunong language, 17S 



Vachumi, attacks Naga Hills Military 
Police, burnt, 233-34 

Yamne river, 118 

Vawyins, Kachin cognate tribe, 176 ; 
particulars regarding, 177 ; value 
as fighting men, 239 ; Chinese, 
desire to extend their rule, 239 

Yemsing, occupied by 8th Gurkhas, 126 

Yoni, Tamasari temple dedicated to, 

Yunnan, province of, IS7 ; Baber'sand 
Cooper's travels, 177; Mahomedans 
in, 190 



Z 



Zayul, Thibetan province, 141 
reached by Needham, 147 



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