Skip to main content

Full text of "History_Of_the_Frontier_Areas_Bordering_On_Assam_1883_1941"

See other formats







HYDERABAD-500 033 


Call No. ^ Accession No. 



This book should be returned on or before the date 
last marked below. 




These notes, which have been compiled in my spare 
time as Governor of Assam, from 1937 to 1942 are an 
attempt to bring that invaluable work of reference, Sir 
Alexander Mackenzie's "History of the Relations of the 
Government with the Hill Tribes of the North-East Frontier 
of Bengal" up to date so far as it touches on the frontier 
districts of Assam, i.e., taking them from south, by east, 
round to the north, 

The Lushai Hills ; 

Manipur State ; 

The Naga Hills ; 

Sadiya Frontier Tract ; 

Balipara Frontier Tract. 

Mackenzie's work was published by the Home Department 
Press, Calcutta in 1884 and his history of these areas stops 
short at that year or in some instances earlier. 

The information contained in these notes has been 
almost entirely compiled from official sources except for 
occasional references to books such as Sir Henry Cotton's 
"Indian and Home Memories", Sir James Johnstone's 
"My Experiences in Manipur and the Naga Hills" or 
Mrs. Grimwood's "My three years in Manipur". 

For the notes on Manipur, I am indebted for much 
good advice and information to Mr. J. C. Higgins, C.I.E., 
i.c.s., lately retired, who served for nearly 20 years in that 
State and to his successor Mr. C. Gimson, i.c.s., who has 
served for more than 10 years in the State. 

For those on the Naga Hills, I have had the assistance 
as regards facts, policy and nomenclature first of Mr. J. P. 
Mills, C.I.E., i.c.s., Governor's Secretary throughout my 
term of office, who served for many years in that district 
and who, besides being an able administrator, has made 
himself an authority on Naga custom and folklore : and 
secondly, of Mr. C. R. Pawsey, M.C., i.c.s., the present 
Deputy Commissioner of the Naga Hills, of which area he 
has had JO years' experience. So far as the history of the 
Lushai Hills is concerned, Major A. G. McCall, i.c.s., 
Superintendent of the Lushai Hills from 1932 to 1942, has 
checked the manuscript, supplied information from his own 
records and experience, and given most useful advice on 
the subject of the spelling of names. 


For the Sadiya Frontier Tract, Mr. R. W. God- 
frey, I.P., the present Political Officer, has checked my 
manuscript and given me useful criticism, while Captain 
G. S. Lightfoot, i. P., Political Officer, Balipara Frontier 
Tract, has performed a similar service so far as his district 
is concerned. 

2. When Mackenzie's book was published the Naga 
Hills district (in a very embryo form) had only been 
formed a few years : the Lushai Hills district (at first 
organised in the form of two districts, North and South) 
was not to be constituted till 6 years later : while the two 
Frontier Tracts were not to come into existence until 1912, 
after the Abor Expedition. I have, however, for conve- 
nience, arranged these notes under the headings of their 
present-day districts. 

3. As regards form, I have followed Mackenzie's 
example in introducing copious quotations from official 
documents. This has resulted in a certain amount of 
repetition, especially in the history of the Naga Hills, since 
so many important letters are of the "self-contained" 
variety and furnish a synopsis of past history as the back- 
ground for present proposals, but perhaps this method 
gives a clearer picture of what was in the minds of those 
who were grappling with particular problems at the time 
than something more abbreviated. These notes too are 
meant mainly for reference and more for use of members of 
the Administration than the general public. 




I Introductory . . . . . . . . . . . . l 

II The Expedition of 1888-1889 17 

III The Chin-Lushai Expedition of 1889-1890 .. .. .. 813 

IV The North Lushai Hills District 1326 

V The South Lushai Hills District 26-37 

VI The Amalgamation of the North & South Lushai Hills Districts 3744 

VII The Lushai Hills District . . . . . . . . . . 4447 

VIII The Constitution Act of 1935 .. .. .. .. 47 

IX List of Officers 4850 

7. Introductory. Mackenzie's references to the Lushai Hills stop 
at the year 1883, when disturbing reports had been received by the 
Deputy Commissioner. Cachar, as to the intentions of the Lushais to 
raid under Khalgom (by modern appellation Kalkhama Sailo son of 
Suakpuilala)* and troops had been hurried up to strengthen the frontier. 

At this time we did not attempt to administer the Lushai Hills, 
but the Deputy Commissioner, Cachar, whose district bordered the 
Lushai Hills on the north and west, was charged with political rela- 
tions with the Lushai Chiefs, and had a Political Assistant (at that 
time Rai Bahadur Hari Charan Sarma) to aid him in these duties. 
Not many years, however, were to elapse before the inevitable happen- 
ed and these unsatisfactory political relations were done away with 
and -the Lushais were brought fully under British administration. The 
history of the Lushai Hills for all except a comparatively small portion 
of the period with which these notes deal, therefore, ceases to be what 
Mackenzie's work was, a " History of the relations of the Government 
with the Hill Tribes of the North-East Frontier of Bengal " but the 
histories of an Assam and a Bengal District and then that of an Assam 
one only, albeit a non-regulation one. 

//. The Evptdition of 1888-1889. The anticipation of serious trouble 
referred to in Mackenzie's concluding lines were not immediately ful- 
filled, but raids of varying degrees of seriousness continued in succeed- 
ing years, necessitating eventually the Expedition of 1888-89. On 
February 3rd, 1888 Lieutenant J. F. Stewart of the 1st Leinster Regi- 
ment, when in charge of a survey party, was attacked at a place only 
18 miles from Rangamati, near the Saichul Range by men described 
at the time as " Shendus " (an Arracan appellation which does not 
really apply to any particular tribe), led by a chief named Housata 
[Haosata] and killed together with two British soldiers and one sepoy. 
Mr. Stewart apparently had not the smallest idea that any danger 
threatened and took no precautions whatsoever for the safety of himself 
or his party. A little later, on the 15th February, a raid was perpe- 
trated on the village of Roazo Prenkhyn Mro in the Chema Valley, in 
which 6 persons were killed, 2 wounded, and 23 prisoners taken. This 
also was attributed to Shendus. 

The Commissioner of the Chittagong Division, Mr. D. R. Lyall, 
in a letter, dated the 4th March 1888f, urged in the strongest terms 
that an expedition should be sent in the ensuing cold weather to exact 
punishment from the " Shendus " or Pois in a thorough and unmis- 
takable way, in retribution for the loag series of outrages which they 
had committed over so many years. After recounting these outrages 
and pointing out our entire inaction ever since the expedition of 
1872-73 he observed as follows : 

"11 I think that a strong case for active reprisals has 

been made out. 

Spelling of names in Lushai is a matter of considerable difficulty. In 
Mackenzie's book, for instance, many of the names are quite beyond identification, 
even by well informed Lushais. I have therefore, wherever possible, added after a 
name when it first occurs, the modern spelling in square brackets. 

1, Military Report Chin-Lushai Country, 1893. Pages 36-37, 41-42. 

2. Military Report Assam 1908. 

fBengal Secretariat, Pol., A, June 1P91, No*. 1-139. File L/20., 1889. 


12. From the earliest days of our connection with these hUU, the 
officers best able to give an opinion have said that until the Shendoos 
were dealt with there would be no cessation of raiding. 

The* operations of 1872*73 caused a lull, but when once they began 
again in 1882 with the attack on Laiseva [Lalchhouva] which/ was. 
clearly a feeler in ordetf to see whether any notice would be taken, they 
have followed up with a raid almost every year, culminating in the 
attack on Lieutenant Stewart and his guard at a place only ]# miles as 
the crow flies from Rangamati. 

13. The feeling of insecurity caused by these raids is reacting most 
injuriously on our revenues. The Hill Tracts revenue consists chiefly 
of tolls on hill produce, and these have gone down from Rs.89,109 in 
Rs. 1,882-83 to Rs.83,222 last year, and the amount collected will be 
even less this year. In fact Mr. Home does not expect it to exceed 
Rs. 50,000. 

Even in a financial point of view, an expedition ought, therefore, 
to go through the Shendoo country next year, but I urge the necessity 
on far higher grounds. 

We are bound to protect the men living within our declared 
boundary, and not to avenge them would be a breach of faith. 
Lieutenant Stewart, too, was surveying ten miles from the boundary 
when attacked, and if these men be allowed to carry off from within 
our territory the heads of three white men with impunity, next year 
will doubtless be marked by even more savage raids. Mr. Murray 
says that every white man is held to be a Chief, and the recent raid 
is therefore the most successful they have ever made. 

14. The report already submitted shows on what slight grounds a 
raid is committed. In the present case a quarrel between a savage and 
his wife on the banks of the Koladyne has caused the death of Lieute- 
nant Stewart, two soldiers, and a sepoy within our territory, some 12 
or 15 days' march distant, not to mention the affair in the Chaima 
Valley. Similarly, the death of a Chief may at any time cause a head- 
hunting expedition to come off ; even the " chaff " of the village girls 
may send a body of young men off on the warpath for heads* 

15. We are quite powerless in preventing such raids,, and would 1 
be equally so if we had ten times our present force. In the kind of 
jungle which covers the hills a band of savages can always dip by 
unobserved, and the effect of our police guards is almost entirely moral. 
Their existence in fact serves to continue the remembrance of more 
severe lessons, such as the expedition of 1872-73,. and they should also 
be able to cut off the retreat of raiders if we had a system of telegraphy 
but the main safeguard against the recurrence of raids must always be 
the fear of punishment, A certain show of force is necessary to main- 
tain this fear, but it would be most expensive and useless to- maintain 
always on the frontier a force capable of punishing the most powerful 
tribes. The Shendoos think they are beyond our power to punish, and 
the more thoroughly we show them the baselessness, of tneir belief, the 
more free shall we be from raids in the future. 


It /is for this reason .that I advise three columns exploring ttheir 
country from every side. I fee] sure that not done the -hills 
on the side of Burraah will become a refuge for the daooits and bad 
characters of Buvmah, and a continual thorn in our side.'* 

In 'their letter No. 2 5 76- P., dated the 3rd August 1888, the Govern- 
ment of Bengal fully endorsed Mr Lyall's proposals, remarking that 
" it is plain that, as a matter of general policy, it will be impossible 
to avoid the adoption of punitive measures sooner or later, and 
Mr. Edgar has shown conclusive reasons against postponing it". 

The reference to Mr. (later Sir John) Edgar who was then Chief 
Sectctary of Bengal, concerns a long * note which that officer had 
recorded on "Shendoo Raids on the Ghittagong Hill Tracts" on 17th 
July 1688 This note gives a history and appreciation of the situation 
together with proposals for the future. The gist of it appears from the 
following extracts : 

"The country is almost unexplored, and very little is known of it, 
except that it is a tract of most intricate hill ranges and impenetrable 
cane-brakes lying between Manipur and Cachar on the north, and the 
Arrakan 'Hill Tracts on the south, and between the Chindwin river on 
the east, and the Chittagong Hill Tracts and Hill Tipperah on the 
west. On the edges of this tract on all sides the hills are low, cover- 
ed with dense forest and trackless jungle, the only paths being for the 
most part the beds of torrents. Further in the hil's are much higher 
and more open, so that there would be less difficulty in exploring them. 
The villages of the inhabitants of the tract are, as a rule, situated on 
the higher hills The people form a mingling of clans, speaking so 
far as I know, dialects of the same language, who are known to us 

by various names Kookis, Lushais, Pois, Shendus, Chins, etc 

Almost every village has its own Chief, who generally, however, owes 
some sort of allegiance to the most powerful Chief of the group of vil- 
lages to which he belongs, whom I may, for convenience sake, call the 
head of his clan. From time to time the Chief of some subordinate 
village gets power and throws off his allegiance to his former head, 
and founds a new clan for himself, which gets known sometimes by 
hid name, sometimes by the name of the hill on which the Chief's vil- 
lage is situated, and sometimes by a variation of ttye original clan 
'name. The people of these Chiefs change about from time to time, 
leaving a declining or feeble chief to settle under some one more able 
and energetic. Nothing does more to establish a Chief and bring him 
followers and influence than success in raids upon weaker Chiefs, upon 
the villages of Manipur, Hill Tipperah, and J4pper Burma, or upon 
our villages and outposts and tea-gardens. The last are the most 
attractive of all, for there are more plunder and heads to be got there, 
with much, less risk than elsewhere, especially now that our troops pro- 
tect the villages of Upper Burma. In addition to the constant changes 
in die relative position of individual chiefs, a general movement would 
seem to take place from time to time amongst these people, apparently 
as if swarms were thrown off from the more crowded villages in the 

* Awam Secretariat, Political and Judicial, A., Foreign Progs., August 1890, 
Nos. 1-46. 


committed by -men from a direction hitherto >not taken ante considera- 
tion. (It was ascertained a -year later that it had been carried out* by 
the sons of the Lushai Qhief Vuta, who inhabited country round 
about the places now known as Tachhip and Phulpui. There was, 
therefore, -every reason to view with some apprehension this new source 
of raiders, their country being -50 or 60 miles distant, as the crow flies, 
from the Rani's village.) In forwarding the information regarding this 
outrage in his letter No. 2734*, dated the 17th December 1888* and 
urging the necessity of punitive measures, the Lieutenant-Governor 
gave his views as to the general policy which should be adopted for 
the future in the following terms. 

"4 The policy which has been followed since 1872 owed 

its acceptance to the fact that the Lushai .Hills formed 
a real frontier, h?ving beyond them the territories of Upper 
Burma, and that the occupation of these hills would have brought us 
into immediate proximity to the tribes then imperfectly controlled by 
the Burmese Government. There were manifest objections to this, but 
since Upper Burma has been incorporated with our own territories, the 
political conditions affecting this tract of country have been changed. 
It is. now surrounded on all sides by our settled districts, or by petty 
States under our immediate control. We cannot permit the continu- 
ance in our midst of groups of head-taking savages without responsible 
Chiefs, without organisation, and not amenable to .political control, 
who yet from their geographical position are enable to commit out- 
rages with practical impunity upon our territory on all sides of them ; 
while we are put to great and constantly increasing, expense to main- 
tain lines of defence which prove ineffectual to protect our peaceful 

5. The alternative policy which commends itself to the 
Lieutenant-Governor is to undertake the permanent pacifica- 
tion of the whole tract by means of roads run through 
it, and the substitution, for the present line of comparatively 
weak guards, of a central dominant post with an adequate 
military reserve, and such outposts as might be found necessary. 
The whole tract should be eventually brought under the control of a 
single officer stationed at die central post above mentioned. It is 
needless to point out that a similai policy has proved successful in 
many parts of India, as for instance, in the Garo, the Naga and the 
Gossyah Hills " 

As regards immediate action, he did not, owing to the lateness of 
the season, advocate sending two expeditions into the Lushai country 
but advised that one only should be sent to the east to punish Houseata 
and his associates. 

The Expedition of 1889. The Government of India agreed 
that this fresh and atrocious outrage made it "necessary that active 
measures should be immediately undertaken" (their letter No.2424-* 
dated the 19th December 1888), and stated their view of the purpose 
of the operations as follows. "4. The object of the expedition 

* Bengal File No.L/20 of 1889. 


is easentiaHy to prevent raiding. The primary objective of the force 
wilif be Saydpiiiafr village, and' it will', as proposed by the Government 
of Bengal, proceed' as far eastwards as may be possible with a view 
to operations against HowsataVandJahuta's villages, if time and the 
season permit. Communications^ will' be maintained by means of a 
roai to be made from Demagiri as the force advances, and* the Officer 
in Com maud will be instructed 1 to select, if such can be found* a domi- 
nantr central^ position suitable for the location of a sufficient force, and 
capable of being held throughout the coming rains and hot weather. 
A line of telegraph will also be immediately constructed between 
GHittagong^ and Rangamatti to Demagiri 1 '.- 

Demagiri was made the base and our troops commenced to pene- 
trate into the country in January 1889. The operations were under 
the command of Colonel F. V. W. Tregcar of the 9th Bengal Infantry 
with Mr. Lyall, the Commissioner, as Civil Political Officer and 
Messrs; G. A. S. Bedford and G. S. Murray as Assistant Political 
Officers. Captain J. Shakespear was employed as Intelligence Offi- 
cer. About 1,150 men were engaged, including 200' men of the 2nd 
Madras Pioneers, 250 men of the 2nd Bengal Infantry, 400 men of 
the 2/2nd Gurkha Rifles, and the 250 men of the 9th Bengal- Infantry, 
who were already in- the country ; together with two mountain guns. 

The course of tUe operations is described in Mr. Lyall's Irtter, 
No. 492-H.T., dated the 5th May 1889*. The 17th February 1889' 
saw matters sufficiently organised for a party consijting of 100 men 
with Me. Murray and Captain Shakespear to visit Sayipuia's village, 
who was now convinced that we meant business and gave his whole 
support to our demands. Murray then went on to Vandula's 
where he was well receivedy and heard news of Howsata's 
death. The advance on- Howsata's village was commenced 
on the 14th. March, starting from the fort which had been 
established at Lungleh, (Lungleh was described as "a hill 3,500 feet 
high in the neighbourhood of the village at present [1889] inhabited 
by Saipuya".) Jahuta's village was reached on the 19th March and 
Howsata's on the 20th. Howsata's grave was examined and under- 
neath his body was found Lieutenant Stewart's gun, proving, as Mr. 
Lyall's report says, "that he had punished the right men." The 
vtijage was destroyed, and so was Jahuta's. 

On the 3rd April' a durbar of Chiefs was held. It was attended 
by the 3 great Howiang [Haulawng] Chiefs, Saipuyia, Lai Thacig* 
bunga [Lalfthangyunga], Lalunga, Vandula's son Sangliena [Sangtiana] 
and; Lakuma. These represented the whole of the southern Howiongs 
and* they gave undertakings of loyalty. As Mr. Lyall observed in his 
report, this- was excellent as far as it went, but tile Shendoos, owing to 
the lateness of the season, could not, except for the burning of the des- 
erted villages of Howsata andjahuta, be fully dealt with. Be that as it 
may, by the Id* April substantial punishment had been exacted, Fort 
Longlch had been established, a road constructed, and it was possible 
to withdraw, leaving a garrison of one British Officer and 212 men 
of the Frontier Police in occupation of Lungleh. 

* Bengal File No.L/20 of 1889. 


///. The Chin-Lushai Expedition of 1899-90. The Lieutenant- 
Governor reviewed these results and considered what should be done 
in the ensuing season's operations in Chief Secretary Sir John Edgar's 
letter No.l9-PD*, dated the 3rd June 1889. His conclusion was "that 
the first object of the operations to be undertaken next year must be 
to reduce the Shendoos to submission, to recover the remainder of the 
arms, and the heads taken when Lieutenant Stewart was killed, and 
a'so to release captives taken in 1883 from the village of the Lushai 

Chief Lalsiva This, however, should only be a subsidiary object. 

The main scheme of operation next season should be devoted to the 
release of the captives carried away in the raids on the village of 
Pakuma Rani and those in the Ghengri Valley, and to the infliction of 
such punishment on the perpetrators of these atrocious outrages as may 
suffice to prevent the commission of similar raids in the future". 

The reference to the Ghengri Valley concerned the following 
incident. On the 8th January 1889 a party of about 600 men led by 
Len^punga (or Lianphunga) and his brother Zarok [Zahrawka], sons 
of Sukpilal [Suakpuilala] had descended on the valley which lay on the 
Chittagong Frontier and within 2 marches of Rangamati, burnt 24 
villages, killed 101 persons and carried off 91 captives. Two con- 
temporary letters give interesting details regarding thr habits of the 
raiders, Writing on February 26th, 1890, Mr. L. R. Forbes, Deputy 
Commissioner, Ghittagong Hill Tracts, says : 

"I beg to state that according to the lists furnished the number 
carried off amounts to 91, viz., 76 in captivity and 15 ransomed or 
escaped. In addition to these there are those that were sacrificed on 
reaching the Chiefs' village and those said to have committed suicide. 
Besides these the Manager (Chakma and Mong Rajah's circles) states 
there may be more but owing to migration to Hill Tipperah he has 
not been able to get information. Lengphunga (Lianphunga) I see 
has given up 61 captives, if to these are added the 15 escaped and 
transferred there remains a very large number for sacrifice and 

Writing on July 13th, 1889 to the Secretary to the Chief Commis- 
sioner, the Deputy Commissioner, Gachar, Mr. J. D. Anderson says : 

"2 Lengpunga's own account of the Chengri Valley raid 

appears to be as follows : While Zarok ruled a separate village, he 
laid claim to the land of the Ghengri Valley people, and informed them 
that, inasmuch as they were not tributary either to the British Govern- 
ment, or to the Maharajah of Tipperah, he intended to assert his rights 
to their lands as an elephant-hunting ground. Shortly after this, some 
of th'e Ghengri Valley Kukis hovered about Zarok's jhum cultivation 
and scared his women and children. Zarok took counsel with his 
brother, Lengpunga, who (he candidly admits) advised him that it was 
his bounden duty to subjugate the Kukis, and for that purpose lent him 
some of his young men. Lengpunga admits that eight souls, seven 
women and a boy were released two months, ago, being ransomed by a 

Bengal File No. L/20 of 1889. 


"jemadar from Chittagong". He says this person paid down Rs.185 
in cash, and promised to pay Rs.515 subsequently ; the latter sum to 
be treated as a loan from Lengpunga to him at a rate of] per cent, per 
mensem. He (Lengpunga) has received no money subsequently and 
says that, if more money be not forthcoming in two months' time, he will 
raid again. At least such is the report of my informant, who seems to 
have been much impressed by the Chief's truculent demeanour. Our 
messengers were allowed free access to the captives who gave them a 
full account of how they were captured and carried off. They as .veil 
as their captors are suffering considerably from scarcity of food they 
more than the Lushais, however, inasmuch as they are not accustomed 
to Lushai messes of jungle leaves, etc. In other respects they appear 
to be treated fairly well. They give a deplorable account of the 
journey to Lengpunga's village after they were taken captives. The 
babies of nursing women (who could not carry other loads than their 
children) were taken from them, and butchered before their eyes. 
When they got to Lengpunga's pungi, seven of them were sacrificed in 
the presence of the rest, and then (repeating the action) 'we put our 
hands to our eyes lest we should see any more'. So their words are 
reported to me. 

3. Lengpunga sturdily refused to let any captives go. The Deputy 
Commissioner of Cachar was 'his father', and so forth, but the Chengri 
Valley affair had cost him Rs.3,300, and if that sum were not paid, he 
was not going to let his victims go. These, according to his own 
account, are 55 in number, but the Kukis themselves say that they 
know of 70 still surviving, and think there may be more in confinement 
of whom they know nothing." 

Sir Steuart Bayley advised as follows regarding the conduct of the 

" While, as before urged, steps should be taken at the 

outset to reduce the Shcndoos to submission, our main advance should 
not be towards their villages but should be directed northward along 
the hills overhanging the Dallesari [known now-a-days as the Dhales- 
wari or Tlang], until some commanding point could be occupied from 
which the villages implicated in the Chengri Valley outrage could be 
effectually visited and punished. When the people inhabiting the 
villages on both sides of the DaDesari, and as far as the Sunai, have 
been reduced to complete submission, an advance should be made to 
the east, and the villages belonging to the sons of Bhuta fVuta] should 
be dealt with in the same thorough-going manner as has proved so 
effectual this year in the case of the Kamhows and other tribes of the 

Burmese frontier No attempt should be made without more 

complete knowledge of the country than we have at present, to lay out 
the permanent road which will eventually have to be made between 
some point in the Ghittagong Hill Tracts and some point on the 
frontier of Burma ; and the Lieutenant-Governor, as at present 
advised, is very doubtful whether the direction of such a road would 
coincide with the line of advance which must be adopted by us next 
season ; but it is probably that hereafter the first portion of the road 
from Lungleh towards the villages of Lengpunga and Zarock could be 


extended to Cachar, and so form means of communication between 
that district and the Chittagong Hill Tracts, which would m any case 
be a necessary portion of the scheme for the permanent pacification of 
the Lushai tribes advocated in my letter above quoted." 

The Government of India decided on the llth September 1889* 
that operations should take place. The general plan was that a 
Ghittagong Column should move via Lungleh to Haka, meeting a Burma 
Column coming from Gangaw via Yokwa, a column from the former 
force to go north to punish the raiders on the Chengri Valley and 
Pakuma Rani. This was the expedition known as the Ghtn-Lushai 
Expedition of 1889-90. It was on a bigger scale than that of 1888-89 
and Bengal, Burma and Assam all took part. The "Scheme* of Opera- 
tions" drawn up by the Quarter Master General which was approved by 
the Government of India stated the object of the expedition thus "The 
object of the expedition will be, firstly, to punitively visit certain tribes 
that have raided and committed depredations in British territory, and 
have declined to make amends or to come to terms ; secondly to sub- 
jugate tribes as yet neutral, but now, by force of circumstances 
brought within the sphere of British dominion ; thirdly, to explore and 
open out as much as can be done in the time, the, as yet only partly 
known, country between Burma and Chattagong ; and, lastly, if the 
necessity arises, to establish semi-permanent posts in the regions 
visited so as to ensure complete pacification and recognition of British 

The Chittagong Column, based on Demagiri was again under 
the command of Colonel Tregear and the 3,400 men engaged 
included the 3rd Bengal Infantry, 2 /2nd Gurkha Rifles, the 28th 
Bombay Infantry (Pioneers), and detachments of the 2 /4th Gurkha 
Rifles, the 9th Bengal Infantry, the Bengal Sappers and Miners and 
the Chittagong Frontier Police. Captain J. Shakespear was again 
attached as Field Intelligence Officer. From this force a column 
about 800 strong, referred to as the "Northern Column* in the corres- 
pondence of the period, under Colonel G. J. Skinaer of the 3rd Bengal 
Infantry, accompanied by Mr. C. S. Murray as Political Officer, was 
detached to the north-west principally in order to punish the raiders on 
the Chengri Valley and on Pakuma Rani's village. 

Simultaneously with these movements in the south, a force com- 
posed of 400 men of the Surma Valley Battalion of Military Police 
under their Commandant, Mr. W. W. Daly, a police officer, was 
organised from Cachar with orders to recover the captives taken in, 
and punish Liengpunga for, the raid on the Chengri Valley ; to punish 
Vutais' [Vuttaia] sons for the raid on Pakuma Rani's villages ; and to 
establish a permanent post in the vicinity of Liengpunga's village. 
The organisation of this force was undertaken in close consultation 
between Bengal and Assam, and Mr. Daly's instructions were agreed 
upon at a conference* held at the Lieutenant-Governor's residence at 

* Bengal Scctt,, Pol., A, June 1891, Nos.1-27. 
FileL/43of 1889. 

* Assam Secretariat, Political and Judicial, A, Military Proceedings, August 1890, 


Belvedere in Calcutta on 15th January 1890 at which the Lieutenant- 
Governor of Bengal, the Commander-in-Chief, the Chief Commissioner 
of Assam and Sir John Edgar, Chief Secretary of Bengal were present. 
They were as follows : 

"(1) Establish a stockaded godown, with sufficient guard, at 
Chaogiii or any other place Daly considers preferable in the direction 
of Lengpunga's village. 

(2) Collect all the information he can, and prospect for 'he road 
towards Lcngpunga. 

(3) As soon as he can, open up communications with the 
Northern Column, and, when communications are opened, place him- 
self 'under the Officer Commanding the Column. 

(4) Meanwhile, when everything is made perfectly secure, Daly 
is not precluded from advancing against Lengpunga, with the special 
object of punishing Lengpunga as completely and severely as his means 
permit, unless Lengpunga surrenders himself unconditionally, and gives 
up all captives. 

(5) There is no objection to Daly's receiving friendly overtures 
from other villages which did not take part in the recent raids". 

Mr. Daly was accompanied by 3 British Officers, Messrs. J. R 
Carnac, and L. St. J. Brodrick of the Assam Police, and Mr. S. N. 
Walker of the Bengal Police, with Dr. Partridge and subsequently 
Surgeon Coleman of the 43rd Gurkha Rifles, as Medical Officers.. 
Mr. Daly left his base camp at Jhalnacherra in Cachar on the 18th 
January 1890, reached Changsil on the 24th January and joined hands 
with Colonel Skinner's column on the llth February at Aijal. On the 
30th January, 58 of Lengpunga's captives were brought in to Changsil, 
to be followed by 5 more on "the next day, while the last remaining 
captive, a young girl of about 8 years old, was brought in a good deal 
later on 9th February- "Thus'-' (to quote the Chief Commissioner's 
letter No.2876J.,* dated the 19th July 1890, to the Government of 
India) "the recovery of the Chengri Valley captives, one of the most 
important objects of the expedition, was completely and expeditiously 
attained without bloodshed." On February 4th, Mr. Daly reached 
the Aijal range and built a stockade on a site which he describes as 
"a good one for a permanent post", and which eventually became the 
site of the headquarters of the Lushai Hills District. On the 8th he 
advanced on Lengpunga's village some 16 miles south of Aijal, not far 
distant from the present-day village of Tachhip. Here he had an 
interview with the Chief but did not place him under arrest Three 
days later Colonel Skinner's Northern Column arrived, and Mr. Daly 
thenceforth came under his orders. Lengpunga then fled and it was 
some time before he came again in contact with our officers. The 
failure to apprehend Lengpunga led to a good deal of correspondence. 
Daly'sf explanation was that the man had come into his camp only 
after persuasion by the Political Jamadar, Shib Gharan, and on a 

Assam Secretariat, Political and Judicial, A, Military Proceedings, October 
1890, Nos.4-10. 

f Assam Secretariat, Political and Judicial, A, Military Proceedings, August 1890, 


solemn promise that he would not be detained. Daly, therefore, was 
unwilling to break faith with him by seizing him. He got him to 
promise, however, on condition his ife was spared, to give himself up 
when Colonel Skinner's Column arrived. But the man, alarmed at 
learning of the approach of the Column, would not come in. Daly 
then made arrangements to try and capture him. But Colonel 
Skinner's Column arrived earlier than expected, and Lengpunga took 
to flight. The Chief Commissioner, however, and the Government of 
Bengal were both sufficiently satisfied that Daly acted rightly. 

There was no opposition worthy of the name throughout these 
operations which were completed in March 1890, and, apart from the 
rescue of the Chengri Valley captives, the main work achieved was to 
establish posts and organise communications. The Assam Column 
established posts at Aijal (on the range on which Lengpunga 's village 
lay) and Changsil, while in the south, Fort Tregear, east of Lungleh on 
the Darjow [Darzo] Range, was established and Fort Lungleh was 

In reviewing the results of the expedition, the Adjutant-General 
in his report No.4179-A.,* dated the 16th July 1890, said 

"3. [The objects of the expedition] have been attained by the 
expedition in a most complete manner, and his Excellency cannot too 
highly bring to the notice of the Government of India the excellent 
' conduct of all concerned, in having so cheerfully borne the hardships 
and overcome the difficulties which had to be encountered difficulties 
which were considerably enhanced by the physical conditions of the 
country and the severe sickness which attacked the force, and which 
crippled the Burma columns to almost a dangerous extent. 

4. In such adverse circumstances, the results which have attended 
the operations of the expedition must be regarded as eminently satis- 
factory ; for not only has communication between Bengal and Burma 
been established, and the tribes which had previously given annoyance 
fittingly dealt with, but all the principal tribes inhabiting the country 
have been brought under subjugation, a large number of captives 
who had been in the hands of these tribes restored to their own 
homes, and military posts at certain places for the preservation of 
order, and as evidence of British supremacy, established". 

The Lieu tenant-Governor of Bengal in his letter No.39-P.R.T.,f 
dated the 19th August 1890, agreed with this view so far as the punish- 
ment of Howsata, Paona and Jahuta was concerned, and said that 
there was not much "left to be done in the way of publishment in 
connexion with the tribes under Liengpunga and the sons of Vutai who 
'were responsible for the raids on the Pakuma Rani's village and on the 
Chengri Valley". He was still of opinion, however, that a further 
expedition in the ensuing cold weather was required against the tribes 
occupying the loop of the Koladyne, to whom had been traced res- 
ponsibility for the raid on the Chima Valley (of the 15th February 
1888). This, as it turned out, did not become necessary as the 5, vil- 
lage concerned themselves surrendered. 

*!Benii"sccretariat, Political, A, Jane 1891, Nos.1-34, File 1L/50 of 1890. 
tBengal File No. 1L-50 of 1890. 


A reference to the future administration of these hills is made in 
paragraph 3 of the same letter in the following terms. 

"3. The suggestion, however, for separating the Bengal portion of 
this territory entirely from the Chittagong Hill Tracts, and transferring 
to it the frontier police of the latter district (which would thereafter be 
manned only by civil police) , and for placing the new district under a 
separate political agency controlled by the Commissioner of Chittagong, 
is one which commends itself to the Lieutenant-Governor. It has 
already been carried out to some extent, and when certain financial 
and legal details have been worked out, the Lieutenant-Governor will 
address the Government of India with a view to give full effect to the 

On the administrative side these operations led to the creation of 
the 2 districts of the North Lushai Hills and South Lushai Hills, with 
headquarters at Aijal and Lungleh respectively. The North Lushai 
Hills became part of the Chief Commissionership of Assam, while the 
southern district was attached to Bengal. 

IV. The North Lushai Hills District. -The future of this area was 
the subject of discussion before the conclusion of the Chin-Lushai 
operations, and in February 1890* the Chief Commissioner of Assam, 
Mr. J. W. Quinton, caused inquiries to be made from Mr. Daly, who 
was then in Aijal, as to details of the garrison necessary and so on, as 
he had reason to believe that "a proposal w'll be made to him to take 
over in some form or other, the administration of the North Lushai 
country". The final proposals for the control of the Northern portion 
of the Lushai Hills are contained in Mr. Quinton's letterf No.l830-P., 
dated the 15th May 1890. One important point, that of the method 
of exercising control, is dealt with as follows. 

" Mr. Quinton was, satisfied that the mere occupation 

by a police force of certain points in the tract referred to would not in 
itself be sufficient to bring under our influence the chiefs with whom 
we have been so lately in collision, and that, if this object was to be 
adequately attained, it was essential that an officer, possessing both 
experience and judgment, should be at the same time appointed to 
feel his way among the people, and gradually accustom them to our 
control. It is quite impossible to employ the Deputy Commissioner 
of Cachar for this propose. It is true that our intercourse with the 
Lushais has hitherto been conducted under the control of that officer, 
but such intercourse has l>een only very slight, and our dealings with 
the Lushais have been few and infrequent. This state of things has, 
however, been completely altered by the late expedition, and the 
Deputy Commissioner could not, consistently with the due perform- 
ance of his other duties, spare the time required for the closer control 
and more constant communication, from which alone the extension of 
our influence over the tribes concerned can be looked for. Accord- 
ingly, the Chief Commissioner has deputed a separate officer, and has 

Assam Secretariat, Military, B, Progs. August 1890, Nos. 106.114. 
tAstam Secretariat, Political and Judicial, A, Foreign Progi. August 1890, 
Not. 47-77. 


selected for this purpose Captain H. R. Browne, Officiating Assistant 
Commissioner of the First Grade, and subject to the confirmation of the 
Government of India, has appointed him Political Officer in the 
Northern Lushai country ". 

The Chief Commissioner's proposals were accepted by the Govern- 
ment of India in their letter No. 1391*. dated the 3rd July 1890 of 
Which the following is an extract: 

the measures you recommend contemplate 

(1) The employment of 300 men of the Frontier Police to hold 

thr tract of country, which will henceforth be under your 

(2) The appointment of a Political Officer to conduct our rela- 

tions with the tribes. The officer selected for this duty 
is Captain H. R. Browne, and it is proposed to grant him 
a salary of Rs. 1,000 a month, leaving his vacancy in the 
Assam Commission unfilled for the present. 

(3) The appointment of an Assistant Commandant of the Surma 

Valley Police Battalion. A young military officer will 
be selected for this post, and receive a staff allowance of 
Rs. 200 a month in addition to the military pay of his 

(4) The appointment of an European medical officer with the 

pay attached to a first-class civil station. 

(5) The organisation of a coolie corps of 100 men, who will 

receive Rs. 10 a month with free rations, and the main- 
tenance of a small reserve of boat carriage between 
Jhalnacherra and Ghangsil. 

4. It is observed from the second paragraph of your letter under 
reply, that you concur in the opinion of His Honour the Lieutenant- 
Govcrnor of Bengal that it would be premature at present to fix any 
geographical boundary between Bengal and Assam. The control of 
the villages of the descendants of Lalul will, however, come under 
your jurisdiction. I am to say that the Government of India agree to 
this arrangement as a temporary measure, until fuller information of 
the country in question shall have been obtained. As regards the 
boundary -between Assam and Burma, I am to forward a copy of a tele- 
gram 41 from the Chief Commissioner of Burma, 
*No.S67, e*ated the and to state that the Government of India con- 
7th June 1890. cun in the rie^ ag therein set forth. The Tas- 

hons will according^ remain under the control of the authorities in 
Burmah for the present". 

*Amm Secretariat, Political and Judicial, A, Foreign Ptogs. August 1890, 
NOS. 47-77, 


Curiously enough, it was not until the 6th September 1895 that 
the de facto position as regards the administration of the North Lushai 
Hills districts, which had persisted since 1890 apparently without 
formal legal sanction, was regularised by a proclamation, No. 1698-E., 
made by the Governor-General in Council. 

Captain Browne, who had lately been Personal Assistant to the 
Chief Commissioner, arrived at Aijal in May 1890 in the appointment 
of Political Officer. His instructions were contained in the Chief 
Commissioner's letter No. 1468-P.,* dated the 22nd April 1890, and ran 
as follows: 

"I am directed by the Chief Commissioner to communicate, for 
your information and guidance, the following instructions 

1. Your headquarters will be at Fort Aijal but you should keep 
moving about among the chiefs with the object of establishing politi- 
cal influence and control over them, and inducing them to submit 
themselves gradually to our rule. As far as your means will allow, 
you should further endeavour to put down open raidings to protect 
our friends, and to punish those who injure them. You will otherwise 
not be strict to mark what is amiss or attempt to introduce a criminal 
administration, which, under existing circumstances, you are not in a 
position to enforce. You will leave the inhabitants, as far as possible, 
to settle their own affairs among themselves. For the present, you 
should consider as coming within the scope of your influence the tribes 
inhabiting the tract lying between the Gachar Frontier on the north, 
Hill Tipperah on the west, the Manipur river on the east, and on the 
south an imaginary line drawn east and west through the Darlung 
Peak. It is desirable that you should, if possible, open communications 
with the officers who will represent the Bengal and Burma Govern- 
ments at Fort Lungleh, Fort Tregear, Haka and Fort White. You 
should also take every opportunity of procuring information regarding 
the numerical strength of the several tribes with whom you may come 
into" contact from time to time, and regarding such matters as their 
tribal customs and organisation, particulars of which may be of 
considerable use hereafter. 

2. After your arrival at Fort Aijal, you will take up and enquire 
fully into the question of the complicity of Lengpunga in the Ghengri 
Valley raid, and submit a full report on the subject to the Chief 
Commissioner, containing any recommendations you consider fitting 
as to Lengpunga's punishment. 

3. If, as the Chief Commissioner understands from Mr. Daly to 
be the case, some of the Chiefs arc willing or anxious to pay revenue 
or tribute, you will receive it in money or kind as tendered, subject 
to the orders of the Chief Commissioner, and you will endeavour to 
induce others to follow their example ; but no attempt should be 
made at present to exact revenue or tribute from tribes unwilling to 
pay it. You should report fully in due course what you find the 
position to be in regard to the willingness or otherwise of the tribes to 
pay revenue or tribute ; and, pending the final orders of the Chief 

*Aani Secretariat, Foreign A, Proceedings, June 1891, Nos. 5-9. 


Commissioner, you should be careful not to accept, in return for the 
payment of revenue or tribute, any obligations of a nature which 
might render their futurr fulfilment a matter of difficulty. 

4. You should re-open the bazar at Changsil if, as the Chief 
Commissioner understands to be the case, the Lushais are anxious for 
its re-establishment, and, so far as is practicable during the rainy 
season, you should examine the country between Changsil and our 
frontier, with a view to advise upon the alignment of the road which 
must ultimately be made to connect Cachar with Lushai-land. 

5. You will exercise the powers of a Deputy Commissioner over 
the police quartered within the tract described in paragraph 1 as 
coming within the scope of your influence. 

6. You will correspond directly with the Secretary to the Chief 
Commissioner, to whom you will submit weekly d : aries. Any import- 
ant matters, or any matters which may appear to you to require 
orders, should be reported separately for the consideration of the 
Chief Commissioner". 

A subsequent letter of the same date informed him that the Politi- 
cal establishment hitherto attached to the office of the Deputy 
Commissioner, Cachar, would be transferred to his office. 

The Western Lushai Chiefs were restive and were determined 
neither to pay revenue nor to supply labour, and objected to the 
punishment of Lengpunga, which, as Captain Browne announced in a 
Durbar of Chiefs held on 14th June 1890, was to be deposition for 4 
years. (This Durbar was held on the mound on which Aijal Jail now 
stands.) Their dissatisfaction culminated on 9th September 1890 in 
the ambushing of Captain Browne on his way down from Aijal to 
Changsil, at a point only 2 miles from Changsil. Apparently he had 
taken no special precautions against attack, being accompanied by a 
small party of only 4 police sepoys. Three of his men were killed and 
Captain Browne himself succumbed to loss of blood from three severe 
wounds in the arm fifteen minutes after reaching the Changsil 
stockade. An attack was made on the same day on another party 
consisting of sepoys and coolies between Aijal and Sairang and 11 of 
them killed. This outbreak was evidently quite unexpected by the 
local officers and it is possible that the immediate cause of its sudden 
occurrence may be found in the opinion expressed by Sir Frederick 
Roberts, then Commander-in-Chief in India, that the assaults on 
Changsil and Fort Aijal were the result of a "great drink on the part 
of the tribes and to the fact, stated in one of the late Captain 
Browne's diaries, that the neighbouring Lushais had been consider- 
ably excited at the prospect of some revenue being demanded from 
them". Aijal and Ch?ngsil were immediately besieged by the 
Lushais, the former being commanded by Surgeon H. B. Melville, 
I.M.S., and the latter by Lieutenant H.W.G. Cole [Later Sir Harry Cole] 

(1) Assam Secretariat, Political and Judicial, A, Foreign Frogs. October 1890, 

(2) Assam Secretariat, Foreign, A, August 1891, Nos.30-38. 

(3) Assam Secretariat, Foreign, A, May 1892, Nos.3-110. 


Commandant of the Surma Valley Military Police Battalion, 
who had with him 170 Military Police. A Relief Force of 200 men 
of the Surma Valley Military Police was sent up from Silchar at once 
with Lieutenant A. G. Tytler, Assistant Commandant, in command 
and accompanied also by Lieutenant R. R. Swinton of the 44th 
Bengal Infantrv, Mr. A. W. Shuttleworth, Assistant Superintendent 
of Police, and Dr. Whitchurch, I.M s. Swinton was unfortunately 
killed on the 26th September in a fight which took place as the force 
was making their way up the Dhaleswari river towards Changsil. On 
the 28th Changsil was relieved. In referring to the defence of Chang- 
sil on this occasion, Mr. Quinton, Chief Commissioner of Assam, 
observed that "Lieutenant Cole on this sudden emergency exhibited 
great coolness and sound judgment to which it is probably mainly 
owing that the garrison was not surprised and cut off". On the 2nd 
October Cole and Tytler started to the relief of Aijal accompanied 
by a force under the command of Lieutenant Watson of the 40th Ben- 
gal Infantry. The) reached that place on the 4ih October and brought 
Dr. Melville's arduous labours to an end. Dr. Melville was deservedly 
commended by the Chief Commissioner for the way in which he 
defended the place in the following terms (Chief Commissioner's 
letter No.4346-P.,* dated 20th October 1890) "The Chief Commis- 
sioner would bring to the special notice of the Government of India 
the excellent services rendered by that young medical officer in circums- 
tances so novel and foreign to the sphere of his proper duties." He 
had been invested since the 9th September and his small garrison of 
110 native officers and men and 43 others had suffered great hardships 
from wet and cold, constant duty, shortage of food and want of warm 
clothing. It was stated in Melville's diary that 5 out of every 6 men 
had no warm clothing at all. 

Meanwhile, Mr. R. B. McCabe, i.c.s., had been transferred from 
the post of Deputy Commissioner, Lakhimpur, to be Political Officer 
in succession to Captain Browne. He lost no time in setting out and 
with Captain Williamson of the Commissariat, he arrived at Changsil 
on 5th October where he found Mr. A. W. Shuttleworth in command. 

The operations undertaken to subdue the country Were rapid and 
successful. By the end of the year all offending villages had been 
destroyed ; the Lushais had suffered some 50 casualties ; fines in guns 
had been realised and great losses in property had been inflicted. The 
opposition encountered was in fact not very serious and our casualties 
were nil. In the last days of November and first days of December, 
Lenfchunga [Liankunga], Lalrhima [Laihrima], Sailenpui [Sailianpuia], 
Thangula [Thanghula], Lienpunga, and Khalkam had all surrendered. 
It was Lenkhunga's men who were responsible for the death of both 
Captain Browne and Mr. Swinton, but Lalrhima was also implicated 
and it was he who eventually surrendered much of Captain Browne's 
personal property. The action which resulted in the taking of 

Aam Secretariat, Foreign, A, May 1892, N.3-110. 


Khalkam's village was well-planned and was carried out by a com 
bined movement of forces from the direction of both Aijal and Ghang- 
sil. Khalkam fled but 5 days later gave himself up to McCabe's 
"inexpressible delight", as he put it in his letter of the 23rd Novem- 
ber 1890*. 

McCabe's appreciation of these events is contained in his letter 
No. 13 dated the 19th January 1891*, of which the following is a 
quotation : 

"As far as I have been able to ascertain, the Western Lushais 
under die headship of Sukpilal, formed decidedly the most powerful 
combination of villages in these hills. After his death, about 1880-81, 
the chieftainship devolved on Khalkam, who has, from that date, 
virtually assumed control of this section of the Lushais, and has been 
more than able to hold his own against aggressive action on the part 
of the tribes east of the Sonai. I have noted with astonishment the 
blind submission rendered to these Lushai Rajas by their dependents, 
combining a feeling of almost filial affection with one of fear, and consi- 
dered that this is a factor that cannot be ignored in any future 
arrangements that may be made for the administration of these hills. 
It may, therefore, be safely argued that in punishing the chiefs we 
punish the prime movers and instigators of the late raid, and at the 
same time impress on the Lushais generally that they will have to seek 
a different source from which to derive their initiative in any of their 
future undertakings. 

As long as Sukpilal was alive, we had only one unit to deal with, 
now we have his many descendants, who may be classified as follows 
in order of merit as regards the extent of their influence : 

1. Khalkam [Kalkhama]. 

2. Lengpunga [Lianphunga]. 

3. Sailenpui [Sailianpuia]. 

4. Thanruma. 

5. Lenkhunga. 

6. Rankupa [Hrangkhupa]. 

7. Lalrhima. 

8. Thangula[Thanghula]. 

9. Lalsavuta. 

10. Thalien. 

11. Lalluia [Lalluaia]. 

12. Minthang [Hmingthanga]. 

13. Lenkhai [Uankhama]. 

14. Thompong [Thawmpawnga]. 

15. Tolera. 

Anon Secretarial, Foreign, A, May 1892, Nbt.S-110. 


Of these, Lenkhunga, Rankupa, Lalrhima, Lalsavuta and Lalluia 
are mere boys, while Tolcra, Minthang, Thompong, Thalien and 
Lenkhai are dependents of Sukpilal's family, so that we have only to 
deal with Khalkam, Lenkhunga [Sic: this should be Lengpunga], 
Sailenpui, Thanruma, and Thangula as responsible agents. Thanruma 
is still at large, and his village is completely dispersed, and I do not 
anticipate that he will give us any trouble in the future. 

As regards Sailenpui, I have no evidence against him sufficient to 
warrant his deportation, and from his previous history I am inclined 
to think that he is well disposed towards the British Government. 
The reports of the Depu-y Commissioner of Cachar from 1880 up to 
date speak most favourably of him, and described him as influential, 
popular, and endowed with an aptitude for ruling. I had no occasion 
to attack his village, as he made a voluntary surrender, and he has 
given me great assistance with coolie labour, and proved that he could 
command, even under adverse circumstances, immediate and implicit 
obedience to his orders. 

In the interest of the future effective administration of these hills, 
it is necessary to utilize existing powers, and, pending your sanction, 
I have, as a temporary measure, and without making any conditions 
or promises whatsoever, released Sailenpui, and told him that I will 
hold him responsible for the actions of the villages under his 

This may appear at first sight a mild condoning of the late Lushai 
rising, but I think that, looking forward to the Government of the 
country with a minimised expense, the measure will meet with the 
approval of the Government of India. I have had an opportunity of 
seeing Sailenpui daily, of noting his personal influence, and have read 
carefully all his previous history. On these facts I have based my 
present plans, and consider that unless some responsible chief be 
released, I shall have to deal with scattered units, and for some years 
to come Government will find no one on whom responsibility can be 

Khalkam was the leading spirit in the recent rising, and I consider 
that his deportation will have a good effect on the Lushai chiefs 
generally. Lengpunga has a bad record and the punishment inflicted 
on him last year does not seem to have proved an effective deterrent. 
He openly disregarded the orders of Government, rebuilt his villages, 
and threatened Lenkhai mantri, who had made himself popular with 
the Political Officer. During the present outbreak he has undoubtedly 
been one of our most subtle, though not prominent, opponents, and 
his presence in these hills would always prove a source of danger to 
us. Thangula Raja is Khalkam's step-brother and his right-hand 
man in the attacks on Aijal and Ghangsil. After careful deliberation, 
I have come to the conclusion that the deportation of Khalkam, 
Lengpunga, and Thangula will prove of salutary effect, and facilitate 
the administration of the Lushai Tribes.'* 


The Chief Commissioner fully endorsed Mr. McCabe's advice in 
his letter No. 753- P.,* dated the 7th March, 1891, to the Govern- 
ment of India in the following words. 

The Chief Commissioner accepts fully 

Mr. McCabe's finding as to the guilt of the three chiefs whom he 
proposes to punish, viz., Khalkam, Lengpunga, and Thangula, and 
concurs in the course which the Political Officer has adopted, of 
leaving Sailenpui and the other chief descendants of Sukpilal (except 
Thanruma j at large, and working through the former for the control 
and pacification of the country. 

2. Khalkam, Lengpunga and Thangula have been deported, and 
are now awaiting the final orders of the Government of India, in the 
Tezpur Jail, in accordance with warrants of commitment under Regu- 
lation III of 1818 forwarded by you, and Thanruma, who lived close 
to Aijal and whose conduct was marked by special treachery towards 
Capital Browne, has fled. If arrested, he should be dealt with in the 
same way as the others. The Political Officer recommends that the 
three chiefs now in custody should be deported for a term limited to a 
defined number of years, and adds that he "thinks it advisable that the 
future good behaviour of the villages under the Rajas' control be 
made a condition on which the term of banishment should be based, 
as it is decidedly unwise to kill hope and let loose a number of out- 
laws in the district." Mr. Quinton considers that the security of the 
British dominions, whether from foreign hostility or internal commo- 
tion, calls for the confinement of these men as State prisoners. They 
have all three taken prominent parts in the late rising. 

3. Lengpunga was only three years ago the leader in a raid upon 
British subjects, which necessitated the despatch of a military expe- 
dition to inflict punishment on the guilty parties and give security to 
British districts, and all three were present at the Darbar at Fort Aijal 
on the 14th of June, and swore friendship with Captain Browne, pro- 
mising to obey his orders and three months afterwards secretly rose in 
rebellion, killed Captain Browne and peaceful traders and coolies, and 
endeavoured to cut off our garrisons at Fort Aijal and Changsil. They 
are men of turbulent character and of great influence amongst their 
countrymen, and their past career shows that such influence is not 
likely to be used for any good purpose. Khalkam, by their own 
admissions, was the head of the confederacy, and Thaneula was his 
step-brother and right-hand man. The Chief Commissioner doubts 
whether Regulation III of 1818 authorises a sentence of imprisonment 
for a definite term on any person confined under its provisions, but he 
has no doubt that a long term must elapse before these three chiefs 
can safely be allowed to return to Lushai-land, and have the opportu- 
nity of exciting to violence against their peaceful neighbours the 
restles^ tribes whom we are now endeavouring to bring under control. 
Mr. Quinton would suggest that the place of their deportation be 
changed from this Province, where they are in dangerous proximity to 

iiat Foreign, A, May 1892, No*.3-110 T 


their own country, to the Andaman Islands, or some other place in 
British India where they may be under no temptation to escape from 
custody, and may gradually acquire habits of peacefumess and 

The Government of India concurred and Khalkam, Lengpunga and 
Thangula were accordingly ordered to be detained for ten years under 
Regulation III of 1818. The two former Chiefs hanged themselves hi 
Hazaribagh Jail in the following September, an incident which caused 
little or no interest among their late subjects. The result of 
Mr. McCabe's expedition is described in the Report for the year 
1891-92 as "The complete pacification of the North Lushai villages, 
west of the Sonai river." 

These operations against the western Chiefs were followed by the 
erection of a stockade at Sonai Bazar and a "promenade" in the 
Eastern Lushai country, t.*., on the east of the Sonai river. The pur- 
pose of this was not punitive, but rather exploratory so as to make the 
acquaintance of the Chiefs and to locate the sites of the different 
villages ; and also to inform the tribes that they were now under the 
control of the British Government and that they would have to pay 
revenue. This "promenade" lasted from the 24th January up to the 
5th March 1891 and McCabe took with him a force of 400 men of the 
43rd Gurkha Light Infantry under Colonel Evans, (the same officer, 
no doubt, who presided over the Military Court of Inquiry set up in 
Manipur after the disastrous events of March 1891) and 20 Military 
Police. McCabe expressed himself, at any rate then, as entirely satis- 
fied with the results, though he was careful to observe that it was 
"too early to prognosticate what absolute effect this promenade on the 
Eastern Lushais would have or whether house-tax would be paid 
without demur after next harvest." Be that as it may, he could show 
that he had increased our topographical knowledge of the hills ; he had 
obtained local information about the country and the people ; he had 
entered into relations with the Chiefs, who had agreed to pay house-tax 
and supply rice and labour ; and he had shown that a force could 
march from village to village and rely upon obtaining Lushai 
coolies and supplies, the latter an important point. 

In 1892 occurred the Eastern Lushai rising, the suppression which 
necessitated an expedition on a considerable scale. Mr. McCabe was 
Political Officer of the North Lushai Hills at the time and his Report 
written some 6 weeks after the expedition had completed its work, 
and dated the 23rd July 1892*, contains some valuable historical 
information. He points out that from 1872 to 1892 the Eastern 
Lushais gave no trouble. He says that the rising appears to have been 
mainly due to the determination of one of the Chiefs, Lalbura, not to 
submit to the payment of house-tax or the supply of coolies and rice. 
The tax was easily realised from nearly all the other villages which 
McCabe visited, but there were one or two important ones, notably, 
besides Lalbura's, those of Poiboi | Pawibawia] , and Bungteva [Buang- 
theuva] which showed signs of recalcitrance. Matters came to a head 

* Assam Secretariat, Foreign, A, December 1892, NOB. 14-141 1 


in February 1892, when McCabe ordered Lalbura to 
coolies. Lalbura refused and McCabe decided to visit the 
Towards the end of February he started for Lalbura and at his first 
stage on the journey he found Lalbura's men engaged in burning his 
camp at the Sonai. He reached Lalbura on the 29th February. 
Mr. McCabe had an unpleasant experience here. Some 300 Lushais were 
seen advancing towards the village. Mr. McCabe ordered Lieutenant 
Tytler to fire a volley which held up the enemy temporarily. But 
before satisfactory dispositions could be taken up to guard against 
attacks from every quarter the Lushais started to fire the houses. 
Mr. McCabc's party, however, managed to get much of their baggage 
out, and this was placed in a heap in the open centre of the village. 
The coolies were told to lie down and take shelter from the bullets 
behind this. So great was the heat that the brass plates of the sepoys, 
who lay near the west face of the stockade, became twisted into 
fantastic shapes. Severe fighting followed, but McCabe established 
himself in the village without real difficulty, though Poiboi, Bungteya 
and Langkham [Liankhama] joined in and aided Lalbura in the 
repeated attacks which were delivered on McCabe's position between 
1st March and 16th April. During this period, on the 4th of April, 
a party of Lushais from Maite, Poiboi and Lalbura raided Boruncherra 
Tea Estate in the Hailakandi Subdivision of Cachar district, their 
object being to divert attention from the Eastern Lushai people, an 
object of course which was not fulfilled. In this raid 45 persons were 
killed and 13 carried off into captivity. 

It was clear that operations on a big scale would have to be under- 
taken and a request was made for Military aid. Three hundred men 
of the 18th Bengal Infantry under Lieutenant-Colonel R. H. F. Rennick, 
were sent up to Aijal, and they arrived there on the 19th March, releas- 
ing the Military Police for operations in the field. McCabe's plan was 
to keep Aijal strongly protected, to fortify Lalbura as a main base and 
to make a road from Aijal to the Sonai, so as to maintain his communi- 
cations with Aijal. This road which was 14 miles in length over diffi- 
cult country was completed by Mr. Sweet on the 3rd April and 
McCabe was ready to start on the 10th April. Captai Loch, Com- 
mandant of the Military Police, was in command of the column, which 
consisted of 225 men of the Surma Valley Military Police, under 
Lieutenant Tytler, Roddy and Johnson, and 75 men of the 18th 
Bengal Infantry under Lieutenant Edwards. The remainder of the 
18th Regiment under the command of Lieutenant-Colonel Rennick 
garrisoned the fort at Aijal throughout the operations and gave great 
assistance in supplying food and reinforcements from the base. On the 
14th April Poiboi was captured. The attack had . been 
planned for the previous day, but as many coolies of the transport 
deparunent were suffering from moon-blindness the advance was so 
delayed that camp had to be made on the banks of the Tuirini, and 
the attack postponed. The village was then stormed at dawn after a 
steep climb of over 2,000 feet. At this time Poiboi's village consisted 
of 722 houses. On the 7th May, Bungteya was cap- 
tured. Before the end of May Lalbura was a fugitive and all resistance 
was at an end. The destruction of Maite at rfcc * n d f May was the 


last important event in these operations. On the 8th June the Expe- 
dition returned to Aijal. They had had a very strenuous time, fight- 
ing and marching under very harsh conditions in inclement weather, 
but they were completely successful in subduing the resistance of the 
eastern Lushais and casualties were small, 16 killed and 30 wounded. 
Fortunately the Western Lushais behaved well throughout this period, 
having evidently learned their lesson in 1890. 

It is interesting to note than in forwarding McCabe's Report to 
the Government of India in his letter No. *4873-P., dated the 23rd 
October 1892, the Chief Commissioner already had in mind the possi- 
bility of the inclusion of the South Lushai Hills in the Assam 
administration. He was awaiting then McCabe's report on that 
proposal. Probably the incidents of the Expedition had emphasised 
the inconvenience of having the Southern Lushais under a different 
administration from the North. In sympathy with the Eastern Lushai 
rising, for instance, the Howlongs in South Lushai also took up arms, 
and were dealt with by Captain Shakespear from the South together 
with a column from Burma. But these forces failed owing to lack of 
provisions to join hands with McCabe at Bungteya as arranged and 
McCabe seems to consider that this detracted from the results of his cam- 
paign to some extent. 

In 18*4-95 it came to light that the Chief of Falam within Burma 
was demanding and receiving tribute from Chiefs within the Lushai 
Hills, and the Political Officer, North Lushai Hills, issued notices to 
the effect that Lushai Chiefs were not to meet such demands in the 
future. Among the Chiefs who had paid to Falam were Kairuma 
Sailo as well as others e^en nearer Aijal. 

In 1895-96 the Western Lushais gave no trouble, and the condi- 
tions had improved so much that the Chief Thangula who had been 
deported in 1891 was allowed to return in July 1895, long before the 
ten years period, for which he was detained, fchad expired. 

In the Eastern Lushai Country Lalbura submitted, and the How- 
longs gave no trouble. But it became necessary to undertake an ex- 
pedition against Kairuma, the determination of whom, and the other 
descendants of Vuta, in the east of the district to maintain their inde- 
pendence had been sufficiently evident when Shakespear, 
Political Officer, South Lushai Hills, and the Political Officer, North, 
had met at Kairuma's in January 1895. Loch with Lieutenants 
Wilson of the 44th Gurkha Rifles and Clay of the 43rd Gurkha Rifles, 
and 300 North Lushai Military Police, co-operated with the South 
Lushai administration under Shakespear and that of the Chin 
Hills under Mr. Tuck, and the operations were successfully carried out 
in Decembei 1895. There was no resistance!. 

*Aam Secretariat, For. A, December 1892, No.. 14-141. 
tl. Awm Secretariat, For. A, November ' 1896, No. 13-30. 


In reporting the results of the expedition to the Government of 
India, the Chief Commissioner of Assam observed as follows in his 
letter No.32 Wor.-P.,t dated the I5th June 1896. 

"2. The Chief Commissioner considers that the expedition has 
fully accomplished the object for which it was organised, 0&, the 
complete subjugation of what is known as the Kairuma group of vil- 
lages. The fact that there was no active opposition to our forces is, in 
Sir William Ward's opinion, due partly to the previous disarmament of 
the Tashons by the Falam Column, partly to the excellent arrange- 
ments by the Political Officer Mr. Porteous, for the conduct of the ex- 
pedition, and partly to the cordial co-operation of the three columns 
from Fort Aijal, from Falam, and from Lungleh. Major Shakespear's 
brilliant capture of Jakopa and Jaduna had also a marked effect in 
bringing the Kairuma group to terms. 

4. In addition to the submission of Kairuma, which has been 
brought about by this expedition the Government of India will 
observe from paragraphs 20 and 21 of the report [i.e., that the 
Mr. Porteous, Political Officer, North Lushai Hills] that the 
Eastern Lushai Chief (Lalbura), wno gave so much trouble in 
Mr. McCabe's expedition of 1892 against the Eastern Lushais, has 
also tendered his submission. This Chief had been a fugitive ever 
since the operations of 1892. 

7. Sir William Ward considers that much credit is due to the 
Political Officer, North Lushai Hills, for the results which have been 
attained, and to Major Shakespear and the officers of the Burma 
Column for the cordial manner in which they co-operated with 
Mr. Porteous. The Political Officer, in paragraph 26 of his report, 
brings to the Chief Commissioner's special notice the services of Cap- 
tain Loch who commanded the whole police force. Captain Loch's 
connection with the North Lushai Hills Military Police Battalion will 
shortly cease, and the Chief Commissioner has much pleasure in bring- 
ing to the notice of the Government of India the excellent work this 
officer has done not only in this expedition and in that against the East- 
ern Lushais in 1892, but also throughout the period of his tenure of the 
appointment of Commandant of the North Lushai Hills Military 
Police Battalion, during which he has organised that battalion on its 
present footing, and has also succeeded, in spite of many difficulties, 
in his efforts to improve the position of the men and to make them a 
thoroughly efficient and, at the same time, a thoroughly contented 

f2. Bengal Secretariat, Political, A, November 1896, Nos. 16-17. 


In the closing paragraphs of his report No. 85* on these perations 
dated the tfth May 1896, from Fort Aijal, Mr. Porteous reviewed the 
position as it then appeared. His conclusions were these. 

"25* With the close of the operations against Kairuma it may, I 
think, be safely prophesied that the long series of Lushai expeditions 
has now ended, and that no further operations on the scale, which it 
was thought necessary to adopt against the descendants of Vuta, 
can ever again be necessary. There is not in the Lushai Hills any 
unexplored "Hinter-land" such as still exists in the Naga Hills to 
give possible future trouble, and although the system of Chiefs, all 
closely related, who are so implicitly obeyed and so complacently 
looked up to by their subjects, as is the case among the Lushais 
must for long demand a display of force unnecessary amongst a less 
intelligent and more disunited race, a substantial reduction in the 
force required to garrison these hills should certainly in a few years' 
time be possible. 

The immediate results of the expedition have been to break 
completely the power and pre tige of Kairuma, and to dispel effec- 
tually the idea that any Lushai Chief, by reason of his supposed 
inaccessibility from Aijal, can safely ignore the orders of the Political 
Officer. The facility with which columns from Falam and Lungleh 
can co-operate with a force from the North Lushai Hills has also been 
demonstrated, and any lingering idea that the assistance of the Tashon 
Chiefs from Falam may be counted upon by a refractory Lushai Chief 
has been dissipated. 

26. It remains for me to acknowledge the effective assistances 
received from Major Shakespear on the one hand, and from Mr Tuck 
and Captain Whiffin on the other, with their respective columns. To 
the previous disarmament of the Tashons in particular, t chiefly attri- 
bute the entire collapse of Kali uma's threatened resistance. 

With the Aijal Column, I am pleased to record that the officers, 
one and all, worked zealously and cheerfully. I wish however, to bring 
specially to the notice of the Chief Commissioner the services of 
Captain Loch as the officer in chief executive command of the whole 
force. To his untiring personal efforts and excellent organization of the 
transport and supply services, it is mainly due that in the incessant 
movements of detachments and convoys there was no hitch of any sort 
from" beginning to end of the operations, while the discipline and 
marching of the sepoys was all that could be desired, and showed the 
high state of the efficiency to which Captain Loch has brought his 
battalion. Mr. Anley made an excellent transport officer, and did 
good service afterwards in dealing with three of the Chiefs to whose 
villages I sent him. I desire to draw special attention to his 

Bengal Secretariat, Political, November 1896, Nog. 16-17. 


In reporting on the history of the year 1896-97, Mr. Porteous was 
able to observe, "I leave the district with practically all the Chiefs re- 
conciled to Government, and with, I believe, not the least likelihood 

of any fuhire disturbance of the peace Lai bur a received me 

in his village in March like any other Chief, while Kairuma met me 
outside his village, no sepoys, however, being present." 

The same Report makes reference to the labours of 
Messrs. Savidge and Lorrain, the pioneer Missionaries who had been 
in these hills sircc the spring of 1893 and had been wonderfully suc- 
cessful in introducing education. In the Report for the following year, 
1897-98, the last for the North Lushai Hills as a separate administrative 
unit, it is stated as proof of the peacefulness of the district, that while 
on tour no officer had had more than 4 rifles for an escort. 

V. The South Lushai Hills District. As early as 12th January 1890, 
the Commissioner of the Ghittagong Division, Mr. D. R. Lyall, I.G.S., 
sent up proposals* for the administration of these Hills to the Bengal 
Government on the assumption that it was "the intention of the 
Government of India to completely dominate the country between this 
and Burmah". A note which he prepared on the subject recommends 
that "for the present the system of Government through Chiefs should 
be fully recognised". He drew up (paragraph 5 of his note) a set 
of orders which he considered should be issued to the Chiefs. These 
were as follows : 

"1. All raids absolutely prohibited. Any chief raiding, to have 
his village destroyed by the paramount power, and the offending 
chief to be liable to death. 

I put in this last clause advisedly. At present human life, except 
that or a chief, is of the very smallest value, and one of the most 
necessary lessons is to teach these men that it has a value. This can 
best be done by taking the only life that at present has any value. 
In the long run this will be found the kindest way, and, as the chiefs 
value their own lives, it will also be found the most effectual, but it 
must be no idle threat, and the first raiding Chief must be executed 
in the most public way possible. 

II. Absolute security of person and property and free access into 
every village must be insisted on from the first. By this I mean 
security oxpersous and property as between village and village and 
between the people of the country and ourselves. The chiefs must 
be made to understand that a single frontier policeman, dak-runner, 
or a telegraph official must be as safe as the European Superintendent. 

Free access into every village must also be insisted on. 


The present is the time to insist on these terms under severe 
penalties. If life is taken, it should be life for life, and if access is 
refused or a traveller robbed, severe fines should be imposed. 

Assam Secretariat, For., A, July 1896, Not. 7-41. 

Anam Secretariat, Political and Judicial, A, Foreign Progi., August 1890, 
Noi. 47-77. 


III. Each village and chief should be made responsible for the 
maintaining, improving, and, if so ordered, the making o/ such roads 
round his village as the Superintendent may order him to maintain. 
The labour should be paid for at a low rate, thus enabling the men 
to pay their tax, as proposed hereafter. It is absolutely necessary, in 
order to control the people, that there should be a route fit for mules 
and coolies to every village 

The Superintendent should have power of fining any chief not 
keeping up his roads, and of compelling him and his people to do the 
work by force. 

IV. Each chief should be made responsible for the collection and 
payment of the tax of his village. This should be in the form of 

>ll-tax, both as being most easily imposed and as affording informa- 
tion regarding the number of his followers. It has been founl best 
in the Naga Hills to insist on payment of taxation from the first. 
The payment should at first be not much more than the amount each 
village can earn by road-making, and the Superintendent should 
distribute the roads, so far as possible, in proportion to the size of 
the villages 

V. There should be a meeting of the chiefs each year at the central 
post, and attendance at this should as far as possible be compulsory, 
as evidence of their acknowledgment of sovereignty, and absence should 
be punished by fine. 

I lay stress on this so long as the Government is merely personal, 
and at this meeting the Superintendent should decide all disputes 
between chiefs and villages, the chiefs being instructed that the 
Superintendent is to be' the final arbitrator of all disputes which they 
fail to settle amicably among themselves, and that they are not to be 
decided by force. Chiefs will, of course, have it open to them to bring 
forward grievances at any time, and so far as possible the Superinten- 
dent should decide them promptly ; but there are some regarding 
which he would wish to consult the other chiefs, and all such disputes 
should be decided at this meeting. In the first days of the Hill 
1 racts as a district, Captain Lewin, who knew the people better than 
any British officer has done since, recommended a similar gathering 
for his district in the following words (paragraph 23 of his No. 532, 
dated 1st July 1872: 

"I recommend that once a vear there be held at Rangamati a 
mela or gathering at which every Chief, Roaja, Dewan, or other 
headman, be ordered to attend to meet the Commissioner of the 
Division and pay their respects. The chiefs should on this occasion 
publicly lay before the Commissioner such part of their revenue 
payment as may be due at that time to Government. On this 
occasion also all appointments of headmen might be publicly made 
or confirmed. By this meeting the headmen would be once a year 
at least brought into direct personal communication with the head of 
the district, whereas at present there exist hundreds of them whom I 
have never seen. This would also be a valuable opportunity for 


ascertaining the popular feeling upon any subject, as well at for obtain- 
ing information as to what goes on in remote parts of the district". 

If such a mela was advisable in the Hill Tracts, it is absolutely 
necessary in the new country " 

7. In all other matters he advised that the present administration 
by chiefs be absolutely left as it is, and that we should not interfere 
with the village administration of criminal, civil, ard social matters, 
but confine the administration, at least for the present, to preserving 
the public peace, leaving internal matters to the Chiefs. 

Mr. Lyall's proposal visualised the whole of the present Lushai 
Hills District being placed under Bengal, but this was subsequently 
modified to a horizontal division of the country between Bengal 
and Assam. 

Discussions as to the future administration of the country went 
on during the year 1890-91, and a reference to the Northern boundary 
of the South Lushai Hills is found in paragraph 6 of the Bengal 
Government's letter No. 1619-P*., dated the 19th April 1890 where 
it is stated that it might be safely assumed that it would be to the 
south of the country "occupied by the descendants of Lullal". This 
boundary was accepted by the Government of India in their letter 
No. 1396-E*., dated the 3rd July 1890. 

Definite proposals were next submitted to the Government of India 
in Bengal letter No.449-P.D.,f dated the 6th November 1890 as follows. 

"With reference to my predecessor's letter No. 1628 -P., of the 
19th April last, I am directed to submit, for the consideration and 
orders of the Government of India, the following proposals made by 
the Commissioner of Chittagong for the administration of the Lushai 
country under this Government. 

2. Mr. Lyall proposes 

(1) That the Lushai country under the control of the Bengal 
Government should not b amalgamated with the Chittagong Hill 
Tracts, but that it should be constituted a separate charge under a 
Special officer. 

(2) That a post of Superintendent or Political Officer for the 
Lushai country, on a salary of Rs. 800 to Rs. 1,000 a month, should be 

, , That the appointment of Superintendent should be con- 
red pn Mr. C. S. Murray, Assistant Political Officer, Lushai Ex- 
peditionary Force. 

(4) That the Chittagong Hill Tracts Frontier Police should be 
transferred to the Lushai country, and that the Civil Police of the 
district, which would now man the Hill Tracts, should be increased. 

Bengal Secretariat, Political, A, April i891, NOB. 1-38, File No. L-10, 
tfiengal Secretariat, Pol., A, April 1891, Nos. l-8, File No. L/10, 

ferred pi 


(5) That Mr. R. F. H. Pughe, District Superintendent of Police, 
now in charge of the Frontier Force in Fort Lungleh, ahould be 
appointed commandant of the force in the new district. 

3. The Lieu tenant- Governor is of opinion that for the reasons 
mentioned in paragraph 5 of Mr. LyalPs letter of the 12th January 
last, the Lushai tracts should not be amalgamated with the Hill 
Tracts, but should be dealt with politically under a special officer. He 
would suggest, therefore, the appointment of a Superintendent of these 
tracts on a salary of Rs. 700 to Rs. 1,000 with a fixed travelling allow- 
ance of Rs. 150 a month, and if the Government of India sanctions 
the appointment, would appoint Mr. Murray to the post in considera- 
tion of the good work done by him during the last two expe- 

11. I am to add (hat the Lieutenant-Governor begs permission 
during the present cold season, and until the above arrangements come 
into force, to retain the services of Captain Shakespear as Assistant 
Political Officer as at present, as the work to be done during this 
period, according to Mr. LyalPs programme, will require two 
officers ". 

The Government of India in their letter No. 2641-E.,* dated t he 
24th December 1890 agreed that the Lushai country should be formed 
into a separate charge and that the Ghittagong Hill Tracts Frontier 
Police should be transferred to the Lushai country, leaving other points 
for further consideration. 

Proposals for the future administration of the district in their final 
form were, after consultation with the Lieutenant-Governor of Bengal 
Sir Charles Elliott, submitted by the Commissioner of Ghittagong 
Mr. D. R. Lyall, in his letter No 133-H.T.,t dated the 28th February 
3891. The main features of the proposals were as follows. The 
principal officers were to be a Superintendent in general control, a 
Commandant of Police with 4 Assistants, a European Medical Officer, 
and a native District Engineer. The Headquarters were for the 
present to be Fort Tregear, though Lungleh was regarded as -the most 
convenient location, at any rate for police headquarters. Taxation was 
to be imposed, and the rates were based on rates proposed by 
Mr. McCabe in the light of his experience of the Naga Hills, i.e., at 
Re. 1 house-tax, 10 seers of rice per house at the rate of Rs. 2 per 
maund , and 6 days free labour a year : labour above 6 days to be 
paid for. 

The duties of the Superintendent arc enumerated in a set of rules 
attached to Mr. Lyall's letter of which the three most important run 
as follows. 

"1. The Superintendent will be over all departments, and will 
correspond with the Commissioner of Chittagong. 

Bengal Secretariat, Pol., A, April 1891, NOB. 1-38, Fife No. L/10. 
t Bengal Secretariat, Pol., A, April 1891, Not. 1-13, File No. L/27. 


II. His duties are to settle all disputes between chief and chief 
village anfi village, and tribe and tribe, and to prevent all raiding and 
public breaches of the peace. He will not interfere in the administra- 
tion of each village by its own chief unless in very exceptional cases 
when called on to interfere by either the chief or the villagers, and 
then only on strong grounds being shown, and he will report all such 
cases to the Commissioner. 

III. The Superintendent will not interfere with the ordinary 
internal administration of the police, but he is the head of the police, 
as of all other departments, and all correspondence from the office of 
the Commandant will pass through him. He has power to issue 
orders on the Commandant in all matters, and his orders must be 
carried out." 

Mr. Lyall also had something to say about the need for opening 
up communication with Burma from Chittagong, a subject that has 
become of increasing interest in more recent years. He wrote as 

"7. This subject has not been touched this year, though it is, in 
my opinion, the most important point in connection with the new 
country. Mandalay is only some 250 miles as the crow flies from 
Chittagong, and Chittagong will be within 20 to 22 hours journey from 
Calcutta when the railway is made. [It was completed in 1896.] If, 
then, a feasible line for a cart road or a railway can be discovered from 
Chittagong to Mandalay, the land route to Upper Burma will enable 
the surplus population of Bengal, who refuse to cross the sea, to spread 
into Upper Burma, benefiting both pro/inces. The trade of Upper 
Burma will also gain much by the possibility of easy communication 
between Calcutta and Mandalay 

The difficulties are great but not, I think, insurmountable, while 
the gain would be enormous." 

These proposals were forwarded to the Government of India with 
Bengal's letter No. 1049-P.,* dated the 16th March 1891. Discussing 
boundaries, it was stated that it had been agreed that, 
as between Bengal and Assam, "the boundary on the north should 
follow on the whole the tribal division between the descendants of 
Lalul and their southern neighbours." The Lieutenant-Governor 
agreed as to their being one head of the district in control of all depart- 
ments and had already sanctioned the rules Quoted 
above. As to location, His Honour had decided to post botn the 
Superintendent and the Commandant of the Police at Lungleh, in 
order to shorten the route taken by supplies. The rate of tax proposed 
was approved: the Lieutenant-Governor's comment being that the 
payment* of rice rather than cash should be encouraged. 

The Government of India sanctioned these proposals in their 
letter No. 1104-E.,t dated the 27th May 1801 and subsequently inti- 
mated the sanction of the Secretary of State in their letter No. 2408-E. $ 

Bengal Secretariat, Pol., A, April 1891, NOB. 1-13. 

f Bengal Secretariat, Pol., A, December 1891, Nog. 65-96, File No. L/27. 

'Bengal Secretariat, Pol., A, January 1892, No*. 63-64, File No. L/28, 


dated the 12th December 1891. In forwarding their views to the 
Secretary of State, the Government of India in their Financial 
Despatch No. 191, dated the 14th July 1891 stated their view that 
"It is probable that ultimately it may be found possible and desirable 
to consolidate under one administration the whole or the greater part 
of the territory in the occupation of the various tribes now separately 
controlled from Bengal, Burma and Assam." 

Meanwhile, in anticipation of the Government of India's and the 
Secretary of State's sanction, the new district had been constituted as 
from April 1st 1891 with Mr. Murray as the first Superintendent. 
Between the time when the operations of 1889-90 terminated and this 
date, there was evidently, judging from the Commissioner's letter 
*No. 231-H.T., dated the 22nd February 1H91, which purports to be 
"a report on the work done in the Southern Lushai Hills since the 
departure of General Tregear and the bulk of his force in May 1890", 
no attempt at setting up a system of administration. Officers were 
engaged on separate operations in different directions, in improving 
communications and in difficult transport work ; the latter especially 
being a major problem which bulks largely in all the correspondence. 
Apparently Mr. G. S. Murray of the Police was posted in these Hills 
as Assistant Political Office* , possibly under the Deputy Commissioner 
of the Ghittagong Hill Tracts, while Captain J. Shakespear was also 
serving in the area, with a similar status. The Frontier Police were 
partly with Murray at Lungleh and partly in the Hills Tracts under 
Mr. Ryland and the Deputy Commissioner. 

But Mr Murray was not to hold the position for long. Though in 
the previous November they had recommended that he should be the 
Superintendent ot the new district, Government had, after the unfortu- 
nate incident ai Jacapa's [ZakapaJ to advise that he should be returned 
to the Police. The matter is dealt with in Bengal's letter No. X.f 
dated the 27th March 189 I to the Government of India, which ran as 

"The Lieutenant-Gove. nor desires me to apply to the Government 
of India for the services of Captain J. Shakespear, District Staff Officer 
of the 1st Leinster Regiment, to fill the appointment of Superintendent, 
South Lushai Hills District. 

His Honour has had before him the full account of Mr. Murray's 
proceedings which ended on the 10th of February in the outbreak in 
Jacopa's village and in the death of two sepoys and .1 naik of the Fron- 
tier Police, two army signallers, and a private servant of one of the 
officers, and is constrained to say that they show such want of political 
sagacity, of judgment and of foresight as to lead to the conclusion that, 
however successful he has been in subordinate posts, Mr. Murray is not 
fit to hold the important and almost independent position of Superin- 
tendent of the South Lushai District. In spite of the distinguished 
service which Mr. Murray had previously rendered when under the 
guidance of such officers as Mr. Lyall and Colonel Tregear, 

Bengal Secretariat, Pol., A, April 1891, File No. L/27, Not. 1-13. 
tBengal Secretariat, A, April 1891, NOB. 1-38, Fife No. L/10. 


Sir Charles Elliott is convinced that it is for the public interest that that 
officer should return to his ordinary duties in the Bengal Civil Police. 
Captain Shakespear has, in his capacity as Assistant Political Officer ia 
these Hill Tracts, earned much distinction and evinced the possession 
of qualities which lead to a confident belief that he will do well in the 
position in which the Lieutenant-Governor proposes to place him". 

The Government of India and the Secretary of State agreed to 
Captain Shakespear's being thus employed and he took over charge 
from Mr. Murray on the 16th April 1891 . He was to remain in the 
Lushai Hills for some 14 years, first in the Southern area and then as 
Superintendent of the combined Lushai Hills district. 

The first task that Shakespear had to carry out was the punishment 
of Jakopa who had defeated Murray a few months before. He was 
completely successful, Jakopa fled, and the Mollienpui tribe were finally 

His first report as Superintendent is for the year 1890-91 and is 
dated the 14th July 1891, but, since it refers to a period when, as he 
explains, he was not in charge of the district, but merely Assistant 
Political Officer, it is not a very informative document. He reported 
the country as having been quiet. It was garrisoned by 200 of the 
2 /2nd Gurkhas based on Tregear and 170 Frontier Police based on 

His second* report for 1891*92 which contains much valuable 
material, is embodied in a report written by the Commissioner, 
Mr. W. B. Oldham, himself, who explains that this method had to be 
adopted "as Captain Shakespear was necessarily ignorant of much that 
was done for and in his charge". A durbar of chiefs was held on 1st 
to 4th January 1892 at a spot about 2 miles from Lungleh, and it was at- 
tended by representatives from every tribe. Shakespear addressed them 
on the subject of the permanency of our occupation and the punish- 
ment they would suffer if they carried on feuds with each other. They 
were made to swear friendship or at least peace with each other, and 
Mr. Oldham points out that, of those who thus swore amity, the only 
one concerned in the subsequent troubles was the petty chief Morpunga 
[JHmawngphunga] (of the Howlong clan). Five clans were represent- 
ed, Howlong, Thangloa, Mollienpui, Lakher or Longshen, and Poi. 

As regards revenue, Shakespear claimed that the principle of pay- 
ing tribute in rice had been generally accepted. The question of 
enforced labour is discussed in paragraph 10 of the report. Shakespear 
considered that the labour should be paid, and suggested 4 annas a 
day. The Commissioner considered it should be 8 annas (para- 
graph 11). 

Shakespear succeeded in ejecting a meeting on 30th January 1892 
with Mr. McCabe, tbc Superintendent of the North Lushai Hills 
at Katnuna's village; and they aeftled between them the 
details of the boundary .line between the- two districts. It appears that 
Captain Shakespear then went towards the south to the village of 

Bengal Secretariat, Pobiical, November 1898, Not. 30-34. No. 32. 

TH LUttf At 'HILLS S3 

Dokola:[Dokulha],a Poi Chief, brother of Haosata, for or. 20th 'of 
February 1892 he recorded a statement by Chief Dokola when <the 
latter was being charged with .murder, which reads as follows : 

"Tfaongliena's men shot my brother Vantura. If I did not kill 
sonic men my brother's spirit would have no slaves in the 'JHcad men's 
village" [sic. probably should be "Dead Men's village (Mithi Khua)], 
therefore I went to shoot two men of Thongliena's village. \V& ' met 
some men of Boite Thilkara's village and mistook them fttf Thong- 
li&ia's men and So shot at them". The capture of this Chief fipkola 
was effected on the 18th February 1892 by Mr. R. Sneyd Hutchwson 
inHhe^foIlawmg circumstances. On February 17th he and his party, 
consisting of a Subadar and 36 men, had camped late at night' attei an 
anhtous march through thick bamboo jungle along the Kolodyne, for- 
ding and refording the river and often missing their path. 

At 3 A.M. a start was made and Mr. Hutchinson's account reads as 
follows : 

"We reached old jhums in about an hour and then struck down a 
path into some of this year's jhums Two houses were heavily laden 
with dfuw but nobody was about. We then went through high tree 
jungle up to the top of a hill. While ascending I heard a cock crow- 
ing so knew we were near our goal and advanced with great caution. 
On topping the summit I saw the village with light of fires in the houses 
lying below me ; we moved rapidly down the side but were observed 
just nearing the north village and a yell was given. I charged into 
the village with some 1 5 men who were near me ; men with guns came 
tumbling out of the houses and I heard shots fired. I had ordered my 
men . not to firft but to follow me in a rush on the Chief's house* the 
situation of which I knew. Unfortunately a man with a gun took 
deliberate point- blank aim at me and I fired at him with my pistol, he 
lurched forward dropping the gun but was seized and carried off by 
some other men near 'him, the gun remaining with me. The delay of 
a minute or so just stopped me from getting Dokola who made away 
ai I entered the house in company with some other men." 

Mr. Hutchinson did not know that it was the Chief Dokola he 
saw disappearing, but learned this later. His force was too small to 
risk>en|aging the enemy in thick jungle so he remained in the village. 
It wa* tore thai on searching, Mr. Hutchinson found a knife, 
and a 'prismatic compass belonging to Lieuten nt Stewart, also a 
town leather' -shoe and some empty revolver cartridge cases. 
Kffe <Hchftinen used the captives he had made as a bargaining count- 
er for the pt&ktGttetif unconditionally of Dokola and after much 
procrastination Dokola came in on the evening of the 18th of February. 

Laibuca's rising, of February 1892 in the Northern -district had 
ilft-efiect in. the Southern district. News of the attack on McGabe on 
2nd MatcJi reached Shakespeart on the 5th and he at once prepared to 
start for the North, with 3 British Officers and 150 rifles of the Fron- 
tier Police. Shakespear undertook this operation without being asked 
anc though the Commissioner decided later his action had been 
precipitate, yet betb the Assam Administration and Mr. McCabe 
welcomed -his advance to the North as a diversion which ! might pre- 
vent the Southern Hbwlongs from joining the tribes 'who were fighting 


MeCabe. Though Shakespear was able to get abj, further than 
Vaasanga's village, he succeeded in keeping a number of chiefs fully 
employed. The opposition he encountered was considerable and he 
jhad eventually to decide that his force was too small to quell the 
rebellion', completely and to return to Lungleh towards the end of 
March, leaving a force under Mr. Daly to garrison Vansanga's 

village. Reinforcements were sent both troops and police from Dacca, 
but the situation continued dangerous for some time, Vansanga was 
constantly attacked, Lungleh itself and Demagiri were threatened, 
lelegrapf} wires were cut, communications interfered with, while 
Sthakespear had great difficulty in preventing the friendly chiefs from 
joining the rebels, but all opposition came to an end with the arrival 
of a column from Burma. This Burma, or Nwengal column, as it 
was called, was originally destined to assist McCabe by demonstrat- 
ing in the neighbourhood of the disturbed area. They had, however, 
for 'some f eason been recalled to Fort White so as tc be there on 10th 
April. But on receipt of the Lieutenant-Governor's request for help 
it at once started out again and. after a most arduous march in un- 
known country at a very trying season, effected a junction with Shakes- 
pear at Daokoma's village on 3rd May. They were about 350 strong. 
The combined forces effected as much punishment as they could bet- 
ween 4th and 9th May, which, owing to want of provisions occasioned 
by difficulties of transport, was all the time they could spare, about 
1,500 houses being burnt. The column then continued to Lungleh and 
Ghittagong and so back to Rangoon. 

, Climatic conditions in. the country were bad and sickness among 
the men employed was very great. In paragraph 18* of the Com- 
missioner's letter, he says that out of 409 ranks of the 3rd Bengal 
Infantry, 267 including 1 British Officer, were sent away invalided, 
and of them many died: of 74 men of the Dacca Special Police 
Reserve all but 6 were invalided and some died: of 480 Military 
Police qver 100 were invalided including 2 British Officers. 

Fort Tregear was destroyed by fire on 5th January 1892 and 
Mr. Apothecary Antonio was burned to death. ' 

In commenting on the results of these operations, the Lieute- 
nant-Governor of Bengal, in his letter No.601-P.D.| dated the 3rd 
October 1892, described .them as far from decisive and gave his 
opinion that it would be necessary to organise a combined military 
expedition from North to South and from Burma as well "in order 
to thoroughly subdue these warlike and enterprising savages". 

It was thus that at the urgent request of the Bengal Government 
the Government of India sanctioned reluctantly, in the Viceroy's 

- telegram No. 38-G.,J dated the 7th November 1892, further opera- 
tions in the cold- weather o 1892-93, and agreed to furnish a 
force of '400 Gurkhas and 2 guns. These operations were undertaken 

* Bengal Secretariat, Pol., A, November 1892, NOB. 30-34. 

t Bengal .Secretariat, Pol., A, April 1*893, Nos.27-197. File L/28 of 1892, 

i Bengal Secretariat, Political, A, April 1893, Not. 27*197. , 


between December 1892 and February 1893, and resulted in the *ut> 
mission of all the villages concerned. They were carried out in 
Consultation with Mr. A. W. Davis, Political Officer of the North 
Lushai Hills, who co-operated in occupying the village of Lalrhima, 
Five hundred and fifty troops were employed and about 400 
Military Police. There was no organised opposition, thr fines 
imposed were easily collected and about 500 guns were surrendered. 
The expedition and its results were summarised as follows in the 
Bengal Government's report No 1 P.T.,* dated the 31st July 1893. 

" in order to protect friendly villages, our convoys and 

communications, and to impress on the native tribes once for all a 
sense of British supremacy, a punitive expedition, consisting of 400 
Gurkhas, two Mounted [sic] Batteiy guns and 150 rifles of the XVIth 
Bengal Infantry under command of Major Pulley, was despatched to 
Chittagong in December last. This force, acting in concert *itha 
force from Fort Aijal, completely effected its object, and without 
meeting any resistance established the authority of Government 
throughout the whole tract of country wheie it had been resisted and 
returned to India in February. Captain Shakespear summarises the 
result of the expedition in the following words : " The general condi- 
tion of the country now, and the success we have attained in the payt 
ment of revenue and fines, seem to point to the fact that the Lushais 
have abandoned all idea of combined resistance, although it is quite 
possible that isolated outbreaks, such as that at Jacopa's, may, under 
similar circumstances foccur for several years to come, but the force of 
the police on the spot, if maintained at its present strength, should be 
sufficient for the suppression of such disturbances ". An outpost has 
been established at Lalrhima in the heart of the Lushai country on the 
boundary line between the North and South Lushai territory, and the 
small force stationed there, together with the disarmament of hostile 
Chiefs will, it is believed render it almost impossible for any serious 
trouble to again arise." 

In the following year, i.e., 1893-94, Shakespear reported the 
capture of an important person and a bitter enemy of the British in 
the shape of Ropuilieni, mother of Lalthuama, widow of Vandula, 
an old enemy o< the British, and daughter of Vonolel, the chiet against 
whom the Cachar Column was directed in 1871-72. She was evidently 
a focus of discontent and her capture led to the surrender of her son 
and another man, Loncheyva, who was wanted for murder. The 
woman and her son were dealt with under Regulation III and confined 
in Chittagong Jail, where Ropuilieni died of old age in January 1896; 
Another capture which had a good effect in pacifying the country was 
thatofVanchangaorVansanga, made personally by Mr. C. W. C. 
Plowden of the Military Police. Vansanga had been troublesome in 
1892 and as long as he was at large he kept up the spirit of hostility 
among the Lushais. In his report for this year, 1893-94, Captain 
Shakespear reviews the three years in which he had been in charge, of 
the District since April 1891. At that time only 20 villages in ,tte 
whole District had ever been visited by our Officers ; the subject of 

'Bengal Secretariat, Political, A, August 1893, No. 4-6, File L/49, pf 1893. 


tribute had not been broached ; the buildings at Lungleh' were mere 
hovels ; between Demagiri and Lungleh there were no Rest Houses ; 
the MUitary Police were disorganised and badly equipped ; the whole 
clerical staff of the District only numbered two men ; and the utmost 
confusion prevailed everywhere. He was able to claim tha* in three 
(years this contusion had been cleared up and that the machintrymf 
&e District was in working order. 

In August 1893, the Government of India sanctioned the per- 
manent transfer to the civil authorities of 2 150-lb mountain guns 
(7 pounder) which were retained at Lungleh. 

On September 6th 1895 by their Proclamation No. 1697-E., the 
Government of India declared the South Lushai Hills to be included 
in the Lower Provinces of Bengal, a position which they had in fact 
if not in law, occupied since 1891. 

In December 1895 operations were commenced against the villages 
of Kairuma and Jaduna, in consultation with Porteous, the Political 
Officer and Loch, the Commandant of the Military Police, of the North 
Lushai Hills. Shakespear started on the 17th December 1895, reached 
Jaduna's village on the 24th December and he and the forces 
from Aijal and Burma, the latter under Mr. Tuck, met at Katruma's 
on the 25th. There was no resistance, the necessary punishment was 
imposed without any trouble and Jaduna himself was captured on the 
4th January 1896. Jacopa who had for long evaded capture was also 
run to earth on the 1st January 1896 in this expedition, Shakespear's 
last in the south. 

The report for 1895-96* being Shakespear's last, as he was under 
orders to leave the District for the North Lushai Hills, he took the 
opportunity to set down his view as to future policy. He expressed 
the firm conviction that throughout the District all ideas of resistance 
had been definitely abandoned and it had been generally accepted that 
.tribute must be paid and coolies must be supplied whether for trans- 
port or for building. The " rough coercive measures " of the past 
could now safely be changed for more gentle ones, though he still held 
that any chief who disobeyed orders would have to be severely dealt 
with. He mentions as a certain y that with peaceful conditions the 
villages would gradually break up into small hamlets, a tendency which 
would render it more difficult to recover tribute and to collect labour 
as it would make it harder for the Chiefs to enforce their orders. As 
a remedy for this, his view was that certain Chiefs should be appointed 
as Heads of Circles, being paid at certain moderate rates per month. 
* They would be responsible for tribute and labour for all hamlets in 
their Circle and for the disposal of all complaints. In this * system 
Shakespear saw a way out of many difficulties which lay ahead. 

In forwarding this report to the Government of Bengal with his 
letter No. 239-L.,t dated the 20th March 1896, Mr. W. B. Oldhara, 
the Commissioner of the Ghittagong Division who had worked with 
jShakespear for several years, wrote as follows. 

Report on the Administration of the South Lushai Hill a for 1895-96. iq 
Bengal Secretariat, Political, A, May 1896, NOB. 17-21, 
tBigftl, Political, A, May U96,:Nof, 17-21, 


" Thefallaccomplisbmentofallhehasstrivcnforisa fitting 

crown to Major Shakespear's work and efforts in the South Lushai 
Hills during the five years for which he has administered them. This 
last report of his will have to be carefully studied by his .successor, as 
it either lays down, or refers to, the lines in all matters of chief impor- 
tance on which the administration should proceed and progress, and 
desirable developments should be sought for. Major Shakespear is 
making -over his charge not only wholly pacified, but thoroughly 
examined and accurately known and ready for the gradual application 
of the internal territorial system, which alone can be a permanent basis 
for its future administration." 

The Lieutenant-Governor* added his encomium when forwarding 
the report to the Government of India in these terms. 

" 7. Sir Alexander Mackenzie entirely concurs in the high praise 
which is bestowed by Mr. Oldham on Major Shakespear's administra- 
tion of these hills, and is glad also to recognise the value of his final 
report, which deals thoroughly and clearly with all matters of impor- 
tance. It must be added that to Mr. Oldham's advice and count-el 
much of Major Shakespear's success is due. It is a serious loss to 
Government that both these officers should be simultaneously trans- 
ferred from a division where they have laboured in co-operation for 
several years, during which time the country has not only been pacified, 
but British rule has been firmly established and the lines of future 
administration finally laid down. In effecting these results, the work 
of Major Shakespear's Assistants, Messrs. Sneyd Hutchinson, William- 
son and Drake-Brockman, deserves also to be acknowledged." 

In writing to him on the 16thf January 1896, on Us going on 
leave, the Chief Secretary of Bengal, Mr. (afterwards Sir Henry and 
Chief Commissioner of Assam) H. J. S. Cotton, said, " You will have 
the satisfaction of leaving a thoroughly quiet country to your successor, 
and will know that however trying your work has been during the past 
five years, it has not been in vain. ' 

Mr R. H. Sneyd Hutchinson of the Indian Police succeeded 
Major Shakcspear, and was the last Superintendent of the South 
Lushai Hills. Very little of importance occurred in 1896-97 except 
that two important wanted men submitted voluntarily, Kaplehya 
[Kaphteia] ion of Jaduna [Zaduna], and Kairuma, who gave himself 
up to Porteous of the North Lushai Hills. 

VI. The amalgamation of the North and South Lushai Hills into the 
Lushai HUls District. This had long been the subject of discussion. 
On 29th January 1892, a conference was held at Calcutta, subsequent- 
ly known as the " Chin Lushai Conference," at the instance of the 
Governor General, " to discuss civil and military affairs connected 

'Bengal, Political, A, May 1896, Not. 17-21. 

, Political, A, January 1196, Net. 129-121. 


with the control of the Lushai and Chin Hills" (letter No. 248-B.,* 
dated the 2 1st January 1892 from Government of India, Military 
Department) at which the following officers were present 
Sir Charles Elliott, Lieutenant-Governor of Bengal ; 
Lieutenant-General Sir J G. Dormer, Commander-in-Chief, 

Madras ; 

Sir Alexander Mackensie, Chief Commissioner of Burma ; 
Mr. W. E. Ward Chief Commissioner of Assam ; 
Sir Mortimer Durand, Foreign Secretary, Government of 

India ; 
Major-General E. H. H. Collen, Secretary to the Government 

of India, Military Department ; 
Major-General Sir James Browne, Quartermaster-General ; 

The following is an extract from a Resolution which the Govern- 
ment of India recorded on the proceedings of this Conference on the 
25th July 1892 (No.l383-E.)t- 

"Resolution In January last a Conference met at Calcutta to 
examine certain questions relating to the country of the Lushai and 
Chin tribes. The Governor-General in Council has now considered 
the report of the Conference, and is in a position to pass orders upon 
the main points involved. 

2. The territory referred to is at present under three distinct civil 
administrations and three distinct military commands. The northern 
Lushais are urder the Chief Commissioner of Assam and the General 
Officer Commanding the Assam district, the southern Lushais are under 
the Bengal Government and the General Officer Commanding the 
Presidency district, and the Chins are under the Chief Commissioner 
of Burma and the General Officer Commanding in that province. It 
has been recognised for some time past, both by the Government of 
Ind'a and by Her Majesty's Secretary of State, that this tripartite 
division of authority is open to objections, and the main question laid 
before the Conference was what remedies would be practicable. 

3. The final recommendations of the Conference are stated in 
these words : 

"The majority of the Conference are of opinion that it is very 
desirable that the whole tract of country known as the Chin-Lushai 
Hills should be brought under one administrative head as soon as this 
can be done. They also consider it advisable that the new adminis- 
tration should be subordinate to the Chief Commissioner of Assam 

The Conference is agreed that North and South Lu hai, with such 
portions of the Aracan Hill Tracts as may hereafter be determined, 
should be placed under Assam at once on condition that 

(lj complete transport and commissariat equipment for supplies 
from Chittagong to South Lushai, and from Cachar to 
North Lushai are provided ; 

Bengal Secretariat, Political, A, April 1892, Noi. 55-60, Hie L/tt. 
tBeogal Secretariat, Political, A, October 1692; Nos.87-95, 


(2) Funds are granted for roads and telegraphs from Aijal to 

4. The conclusions at which the Governor-General in Council has 
arrived in respect of the proposals of the Conference are as follows :~~ 

' 4 (1) The whole of the Lushai country should be under the Chief 
Commissioner of Assam, and the transfer of the Southern Lushais from 
Bengal to Assam should be made as early as possible 

(4) The Northern Arakan Hill Tracts should be transferred from 
Burma to Assam.'* 

Some four years, however, were to pass before the Government of 
India again reviewed the situation greatly improved in both North 
and South Lushai as well as in the Chin Hills in their letter No. 15 64- 
E.B., dated the 8th September 1896*. They stated that everything 
seemed to point to the arrival of a period when very substantial reduc- 
tions in expenditure and establishment might safclv be undertaken, 
and suggested the holding of a conference of Superintendents of the 3 
tracts. This took place between 14th and 18th December 1896 at 
Lungleh and was attended by 

Mr. A. Porteous, I.G.S., Political Officer, 

Northern Lushai Hills ; 

Mr. R. Sicyil Hutch inson, Bengal Police, Superintendent, /] 
South Lushai Hills ; 

Mr. H. N. Tuck, Burma Commission, Political Officer, 
Chin Hills ; 

Captain G. H. Loch, I.S.G., Commandant, 

North Lushai Military Police. 

They discussed and made recommendations on a large number of 
important subjects. As regards the amalgamation of the North and 
South Hills Districts, they were all agreed that on both political and 
financial grounds th" transfer of the South Lushai Hills to Assam was 
eminently desirable, and that it might effect an annual saving of 
2 lakhs of rupees. 

Incidentally, it should be observed that the Government of Bengal 
dec'*ded in February 1897 to abandon Fort Tregear, a course which 
the Chin-Lushai Conference also advised. 

The project took final form when, in his letter No.l49-P.,f dated 

the 17th July 1897, ihe Chief Commissioner submitted io the Govern- 

" ment of India his proposals for the future administration of the Lushai 

Hills. (The transfer of the South Lushai Hills to Assam was then 

Bengal Secretariat, Political, A, February 1897, Nos. 10-73. 
tAuam Secretariat, Foreign, A, August 1897, Not.26-42. 


intended to take place on the 1st October 1897, but this date was to be 
put back by 6 months). The salient points of this letter are given in 
the extracts below. 

"...2. The first step to be taken must be the formal transfer of the 
South Lushai Hills from the Government of Bengal to the Admuustra*- 
tion of Assam with effect from 1st October next. The whole of the 
Lushai Hills will then constitute one area, which will be placed- under 
the immediate control of the Political. Office* of the North Lushai 
Hills, to whom, as subsequently explained in this letter, it is proposed 
to give the designation of Superintendent of the- Lushai Hills, I am to 
enclose herewith a draft notification of transfer for the approval of the 
Government of India t . . . . 

* * * * * 

5. The station of Demagiri is not situated within the present area 
of the South Lushai Hills, ft is topographically within the area of the 
GMttagong Hill Tracts. But, under Sir Charles Elliott's oitfets, 
passed in 1892, it was declared that, for administrative purposes-, 
Detnagiri should be considered to be part and parcel of the South 
Lushai Hills, and the Chief Commissioner considers it absolutely essen* 
tial for the future administration of this tract under Assam, that Sh* 
Charles Elliott's arrangement should be continued after the transfer of 
the South Lushai Hills has been carried out 

6. Mr. Cotton accepts Sir William Ward's views as to the present 

legal position of the Lushai Hills but he does not concur in the 

opinion therein expressed, that only the adjective law should be barred 
in the Lushai Hills, and that thg substantive law in force in other parts 

of British India should be allowed to remain in operation there Sir 

Alexander Mackenzie observed that in his opinion it was desirable to 
have as small a number of enactments as possible in force in the Lushai 
Hills, that very few of the Acts enumerated in list (i) annexed to my 
letter of the 26th June 1896, were really necessary, and that the rules 
framed for the administration of the Hills, supplemented by the Execu- 
tive action of the Officer in-charge, should generally suffice. The 
Lieutenant-Governor commended this question for the reconsideration 
of the Chief Commissioner, and Mr. Cotton, who had already given 
the matter his careful attention, has had no hesitation in entirely 
accepting Sir Alexander Mackenzie's views It has always been main- 
tained in Bengal that the less substantive law there is in force among 
the Frontier tribes the better. This principle has been steadily main- 
tained in the Chittagong Hill Tracts to the great advantage of the Hill 
people, and Major Shakespear who has had long experience of the 
Bengal system and was consulted by the Chief Commissioner on the 
question now under discussion, has expressed his approval of it. In 
these circumstances, I am to recommend for 'the sanction of the 
Government of India* *hait tbt whota of the substantive a* well as the 
adjective law which is told to be in fotoe in the Lushai Hills! twpri* 
viger* with the exception . > of thev Indraft Penal. Code, may .bt barred 
under the provisions of, section 2 of Regulation ?IL of 1880> in that 

9. With reference to the rules for the administration of the country 
which it is proposed to issue under section 6 of Act XIV of 1874, 1 
am directed to say that Mr. Cotton has<carefeHy considered the rules 


drafted by Mr. Porteous which were accepted by Sir William Ward. 
These draft rules were based on those in force in the Naga Hills, but 
Mr. Cotton ascertained from the late Mr. McQabe that they are 
practically unworkable in those hills ; and, although he is not prepared 
without further consideration to recommend their modification where 
they are already in force, he could not agree to their application to the 
Lushai Hills. They are far too elaborate for the purpose aimed at 
and involved an amount of interference with the Chiefs which the 
Chief Commissioner is convinced it would be most inexpedient to 
exercise. On this subject, Mr. Cotton's attention has been drawn by 
Major Shakespear to the following remarks recorded by Mr. Davis on 
the occasion of his making over charge of the North Lushai Hills to 
Mr. Portcous in 1894 : 

"I always held the Chiefs of villages responsible for the behaviour 
of their people, and upheld their authority to the best of 
my ability. I have repeatedly told them that this policy 
will be consistently followed, and that, as long as they be- 
have themselves as they should, their orders will not be 
interfered with, even though the orders may appear to us 
at times a little high-handed, and not quite in accord with 
abstract ideas of justice. In this connection, it is well to 
remember that no Chief can very greatly misuse his power 
or oppress his people. Were he to do so, his village, and 
with it his own importance, would quickly diminish, as the 
people would migrate to other villages. In upholding the 
authority of chiefs, I have, as a rule, declined to take up 
appeals against their orders in petty cases, as it only dimi- 
nishes a man's authority to be brought into Aijal to answer 
some petty charge prefei red against him by a discontented 
villager. Besides, any course of action which tends to dis- 
courage litigation amongst a people like the Lushais is 
worth persisting in or they would soon become like the 
Kukis, in the Naga Hills, who, having been, by neglect 
on our part, practically emancipated from the control of 
their hereditary chiefs, are the most litigious tribe in that 

The Chief Commissioner entirely agrees with these observations, 
and he is aware that they were fully endorsed by the late Mr. McCabe, 
and are approved by Major Shakespear. Holding these views, Mr. 
Cotton placed himself in communication with Mr. McCabe, and he is 
indebted to the invaluable experience of that lamented officer for the 
sketch of the draft rules which forms the last Appendix to the letter. 
It will be seen that they have not been drafted with any attempt at 
technical precision, and that they aim at simplicity and elasticity, 
while at the same time giving effect, as far as possible, to the procedure, 
which, either with or without formal sanction, has already established 
itself in the Lushai Hills. The rules have been sent to Major Shakes- 
pear, who reports that they arc well suited to the tract for which they 
are designed and the Chief Commissioner trusts that they may receive 
the sanction of the Government of India, 


10. I am to add that the Chief Commissioner has purposely used 
the term Superintendent throughout these rules as the designation of 
the officer in charge of the Lushai Hills. The expression Political 
Officer is not very appropriate, as his duties are widely different from 
those of Political Officers employed under the Foreign Department. 
The term Deputy Commissioner is also not suitable, as it fails to mark 
the distinction, which should be clear and decisive, between his status 
and that, for instance, of the Deputy Commissioner of Cachar. The 
only suitable name appears to be Superintendent, which Mr. Cotton 
believes is the designation applied to the officer in charge of the similar- 
ly situated Shan States. It is proposed, therefore, unless the Govern- 
ment of India should see any objection, to give to the officer in charge 
of the amalgamated area from the 1st October next the style and de- 
signation of Superintendent of the Lushai Hills, but to make no change 
in his status or allowances as a member of the Assam Commission." 

The Government of Bengal on being consulted, agreed to the in- 
clusion of Demagiri in the Lushai Hills (their letter No. 278-P.D.,* 
dated the 4th September 1897) and in their letter No. 667-P.D., 
dated the 9th October 1897 submitted to the Government of India a 
notification defining 'the boundary between Chittagong Hill Tracts and 
the Lushai Hills. 

A Conference to discuss the numerous matters relative to the trans- 
fer took place on 12th August 1897 at Chittagong, among those present 
being Mr. H. J. S. Cotton, Chief Commissioner of Assam and Mr. 
Collier, Commissioner of Chittagong. 

The proposals put forward by the Chief Commissioner in his lette r 
of July 1897 were accepted by the Government of India in their letter 
No. 155-E.B.f dated the 27th January 1898, from which the following 
are extracts. 

" 2. The first step must, as you say, be the formal transfer of 

the South Lushai Hills from the Government of Bengal to the Admi- 
nistration of Assam. This will be effected by the issue of a Procla- 
mation under section 3 of the Government of India Act, 1854 (17 and 
18 Viet., 77). Neither the Lieutenant-Governor of Bengal nor the 
Governor-General in Council sees any objection to your proposal to 
include Demagiri and the adjoining villages in the Lushai Hills. A 
copy of the Proclamation which it is intended to issue is enclosed, to- 
gether with a draft Regulation to amend the Assam Frontier Tracts 
Regulation, 1880 (II of 1880), and revised drafts of six of the notifica- 
tions received with your letter under reply. 

* * * 

6. The rules embodied in the draft notification which formed Ap- 
pendix VIII to your letter are accepted in substance. 

* * * 

a The proposal that the officer in charge of the amalgamated area 
should be styled "Superintendent of the Lushai Hills" is approved and 

Bengal Secretariat, Pol., A, November 1897, Nos. 5-8. 
f Aiiam Secretariat, For., A, May 1898, Nos. 13-46. 



On 1st April 1898 a proclamation by the Government of India 
No. 591-E.B. * placed the South Lushai Hills under the administration 
of Assam. It ran as follows" 591-E.B. Whereas the territories 
known as the South Lushai Hills, were by a Proclamation No.l697-E., 
dated the 6th September 1895, issued under the Government of India 
Act, 1865 (28 and 29 Viet., Cap. 17) section 4, included within the 
lower Provinces of Bengal, and whereas the Tract known as Rutton 
Puiya's villages, including Demagiri, in the Hill Tracts of Chittagong 
is also included within the said Lower Provinces, and whereas it is ex- 
pedient that the said territories and tract should now be placed under 
the administration of the Chief Commissioner of Assam ; know all men, 
and it is hereby proclaimed, that the Governor-General in Council has 
been pleased, in exercise of the powers conferred by section 3 of the 
Government of India Act, 1854 (17 and 18 Viet., Cap. 77) and with 
the sanction and approbation of the Secretary of State for India, to 
take the said territories and tract under his immediate authority and 
management, and to place them under the administration of the Chief 
Commissioner of Assam, and further to direct that henceforth they 
shall be included within the Province of Assam." 

Another Proclamation of the same date by the Assam Government, 
No 977-P. ran as follows :-"977-P. With the previous sanction of the 
Governor-General in Council the Chief Commissioner hereby declares 
that the Lushai Hills shall be placed in charge of an officer who will 
be styled "Superintendent of the Lushai Hills" and appoints Major 
John Shakespear, c. i. E., D. s. o., to be the First Superintendent . 

A third proclamation, No. 978-P., by the Chief Commissioner of 
Assam, published the rules for the administration of the Lushai Hills, 
rules which with periodical modifications have remained in force till 
to-day One of the main principles of these rules is the internal control 
of villages by their own leaders, the Chiefs. This was one of the most 
important aspects of Major Shakespear's policy and, as he states in the 
report for 1897-98, the last year in which the North Lushai Hills re- 
mained separate from the South, his aim^as to interfere as little as 
possible between the Chiefs and their people and to do all he could to 
impress upon the Chiefs their responsibility for the maintenance of 
order in their villages. In a note which Shakespear recorded on 22nd 
March 1905, on leaving the district, he said, "I am sure that the sound 
policy is to do all we can to make the best of the form of Government 
we found existing. The people are quite ready to run to an officer 
whenever the chief's decision does not suit them, and as the decision 
in every case must be unpleasing to the loser, there is a great tendency 
to appeal to the nearest Sahib, but this does not mean that the Chief's 
rule u unpopular or that their decisions are always corrupt, and while 
admitting that in many cases the order passed may not be as just as 
we should like it to be, I am convinced that it is better to uphold the 
Kovernment of the chiefs and to govern through them, rather than to 
icy to govern without them. With this view, I have submitted pro- 
posals for educating the sons of the chiefe. I am strongly opposed to 

* Assam Secretariat, For., A, May 1898, Noi. 1&-46. 


the formation of many petty hamlets. Every chief has his boundaries 
now and I should not subdivide the land further. Where a chief has 
sons, he may if he likes give them hamlets within his boundaries, but 
his responsibility for the collection of house-tax and the carrying out 
of orders should not thereby be diminished." 

VII. The Lushai Hills District from 1898 onwards. \n important 
event of the year 1898-99 was the beginning of Shakespear's system 
of 'Land Settlement', the basis of which was to give to each Chief 
a certain area of country within which he and his people could move 
about as they liked. This scheme was successfully carried out and 
holds the field until the present day. It has been of the greatest 
benefit to the people themselves as well as to subsequent adminis- 

A detail which should be recorded at this point is that in 
1897-8, the last years of separate administration for the North and 
South, Shakespear discontinued in the North Lushai Hills the refund 
of ten per cent, for commission on account of revenue on the ground 
that it was never given in the Southern Hills and was quite an 
unnecessary concession. He says that the discontinuance had caused 
no grumbling. 

In 1901-2 an important event was the introduction of the new 
system of "Circle administration", a system which was adumbrated 
in the report for 1895-6, the last one which Shaktspear recorded 
before he left the South Lushai District on transfer to the North. 
The whole District was divided into Circle 1 , 12 in the Aijal Sub- 
division and 6 in the Lungleh Subdivision. An Intrepreter was 
appointed in each as a channel between the Subdivisional Officers 
and the Chiefs and their people. This system, of which Shakes- 
pear laid the foundation, has stood the test of 40 years experience 
and is still working well. Experience has shown, however, that it 
is necessary to maintain vigilance so that the Interpreters do not 
usurp the positions of the Chiefs. 

In this year 23 Chiefs had the privilege of being taken down 
10 Silchar by Colonel ShaRespear to meet the Viceroy, Curzon, who 
was then on his way up to Manipur. 

The Military Police were reduced in this year by 150 to a 
strength of 840 and were armed with Martini rifles. 

There is nothing worth noting in the following three years, 
except that 1905 saw the departure of Colonel Shakespear from these 
hills for Manipur. He had served for 5 years as Superintendent of 
the South Lushai Hills, for a year as Political Officer of the North 
Lushai Hills, and for 8 years as Superintendent of the Lushai Hills : 
and had left his mark on the administration of those areas. * 

In 1906-07 it is mentioned that there was a tendency for the Circle 
System, which had been reported ta t>e working well in the intervening 
years, to be abused by the Interpreters for their own advantage. There 
was some trouble in the far -south of the District where outrages were 
committed by the people of Zongling in what was then unadmi- 
nistered territory about 7 miles south of our southern border, but 
owing to the lateness of the season punitive operations had to be 
postponed until the next cold weather. 


These operations took place in December 1907, Major Cole 
taking with him a force of 100 Military Police under Lieutenant- 
Colonel Loch. The fine of Rs, 500 which it had been decided to 
impose was realised without difficulty in the shape of 20 guns at 
Rs. 25 each. Our officers then met the Burma Officers at Lakhi, 
oae day's march south of Zongling, and discussed with them pro- 
posals for the delimitation of the southern boundary of the Lushai 
Hills and for bringing under administration the tract between 
Northern Arakan and the Lushai Hills. The Burma Officers were 
Mr. W. L. Thorn, Deputy Commissioner of the Arakan Hill Tracts 
District, and Mr. W. Street, Superintendent of the Chin Hills. 

An interesting change was made in the Circle System by which 
Interpreters were made to reside at Aijal and only go to their 
Circles once in three months. 

In 1910 the Aijal-Sairang Cart Road was completed. 

The partial failure of crops in 1910-11 as an indirect result of 
the flowering of the bamboos, was followed by serious scarcity all 
over the district. The effect of this flowering was to cause a 
tremendous increase in the number of the rats, who destroyed all 
crops. Government had to distribute relief, and the total amount 
finally given out was Rs.5,85,000. Since it was useless to hand out 
money to the people when there was no rice within the district to 
buy, this relief was given in the form of orders for rice at a fixed 
price on shopkeepers at Sairang for Aijal and Demagiri for Lungleh, 
to which places rice was imported from outside the district. 

The Eastern Bengal and Assam Government decided to fix the 
boundary* of the district on the south of the Sherkor region and 
proposals to this end, as made by Colonel Loch and modified by 
Major Cole, the Superintendent of the Lushai Hills, were 
approved by Government in their letter No.432-P., 'dated the 21st 
June 1911. Keokratong on the Chittagong Hill Tracts border was 
taken as the western starting point and the line ran fairly straight 
east across the Koladyne past Kaisi to the Sulla and then north- 
east past Laiki and keeping north of Zongling. 

In 1914-15, the first of the war years, the Lushai Hills Military 
Police Battalion supplied 103 officers and men for the Array in 
October 1914. They also sent 101 officers and men to Manipur for 
eight months to relieve the regular unit there. Throughout the war 
the Battalion supplied to the Gurkha Brigade a total of 7 Indian 
Officers* 36 Non-Commisiioncd Officers and 1,024 men. Besides 
fighting troop* a Labour. Corps of 2,000 men was raised wMput any 
difficulty in 1917-18 and went to F*an$e t unfier . UeigftaagfcCblQfiel. 
Playfair. This Labour Corps earned a good name for itself when on 
sssrice and rpfucnedin Jwe 191,9 wfesUt was disbanded. 

In September 19**, the the* Superintendent, Mr. Heatett, and 
hit two Agricultural Inspoetefs together with a party of' Chiefs* paid 
a visit to Kohfana to acquire information on the methods of cute- 
va tmg terraced ttee, and at a consequence two Angamis war^employed 

Eaitern Bengal and Awam Secretariat, Political, A, January 1912, Nog. 7-13. 


at Aijal and one at Lunglch to teach the Lushais their methods. 
This process has gone on with varying success ever since but it has 
had to face many difficulties not least of which is the apathy of 
the Lushais themselves. 

In 1917-18 therfe was serious unrest in the unadministered are* 
lying to the south between the district border and' Arakan Hill Tracts, 
Which manifested itself in the shape of raids within our border and 
elsewhere. The Superintendent Mr. H. A. G. Golquhoun, i. c. ft, 
went there in January 1918 with an escort of 50 rifles and visited the 
villages of Zonglong, Chapi and Laikei. There was no opposition and 
he exacted punishment in the shape of fines. Conditions in the district 
were also affected by the disturbances which took place in that year in 
the Chin Hills and in Manipur. The Military Police Battalion was 
called upon to send parties of troops to the Manipur Boeder as well as 
to Falam to help the Chin Hills administration and also to guard the 
Lungleh-Haka Road. In addition to this, 150 men from the 3rd 
Assam Rifles were sent to Haka itself in December 1917. 

These disturbances in the south continued during 1918-19 and the 
Unadministered villages showed considerable hostility during this 
period. The Battalion had to supply 287 officers and men for service 
in Manipur in connection with the Kuki operations. Altogether it was 
at bad year with disturbed conditions in the south, bad agricultural 
conditions and a serious outbreak of the post-war influenza in Aijal 

By 1921-22 the disturbances in the direction of the Chin Hills had 
subsided and the inhabitants of the Lushai Hills ceased to be nervous. 
In that year orders were received about the future of the unadminister- 
ed territory in which the Lushai Hills, the Chin Hills, the Arakan 
Hill Tracts and the Chittagong Hill Tracts were interested and the 
boundaries were settled. 

In 1923-24 the Governor, Sir John Kerr, ' visited Aijal, and passed 
orders which led to the eventual extinction of the long outstanding 
agricultural loans which were given out in the scarcity between 1$10 
and 1912. In a note which he recorded on the 19th December 1923, 
Sir John observed that he had gone into the matter at some length 
with Mr. S. N. Mackenzie the Superintendent and Mr.- Tilbury, the 
Subdivisional Officer at Lungleh, and stated his conclusion thus 
"I am convinced that our best course is to cut our losses and to bring 
the business to an end as soon as possible." The bulk of the outstand- 
ing* being irrecoverable, the result was that in the following year they 
were practically wholly written off. 

In the cold weather of 1924-2$, Mr, N. E. Parry, i. a s., the 
Superintendent, made a long, tour in, the hitherto ^tnadministered 
area in the South of the district, where he met the Deputy Commis- 
sioner, Chin Hills. Mr. Parry's recommendations were, mainly in the 
j,__ _.. f t__. _ _._ _ 

tion as the rest of the district, proposals with which the Assam 
Government had no difficulty in agreeing. 


In 192&26 the bamboos were again reported to be flowering and 
the Superintendent, Mr. Parry instituted a rat-killing campaign 
which resulted in over half a .million of these animals being killed. 9 
This threat of renewed scarcity arising out of the flowering of bam- 
boos persisted in the following year, but fortunately did not materia- 
lise to the extent which it did in 1910-12. In fact, as the Commis- 
sioner noted at the time, the usual period is 30 years and, therefore, 
it ought not to have been expected so early as this. 

In 1931-32 the Zongling area, previously under loose political 
control, was . with the sanction of the Secretary of State, conveyed 
in Foreign and Political Department Government of India letter 
No. *F-185/X/28, dated the 17th January 1930, included in the 
districi, certain adjoining areas being at the same time included in the 
Chin Hills District of Burma. 

In 1935-36 was inaugurated the South Lushai Chiefs' Conference. 
The dea had originated with Pu Makthanga, the Lushai Chief of 
Aijal. Three such Conferences were held in the cold weather of that 
year and promised success. 

In 1936-37 there was recorded the first beginnings of the Lushai 
Cottage Industries, which wer started by the enterprise of Major A. G. 
McCallj i. c. s., and his wife. The first class of work which they 
developed was that of making Lushai rugs, an indigenous .industry 
which they greatly improved. The work has greatly enlarged since and 
there is a definite hope that it may become a permanent institution in 
this district. 

In 1937-38 a certain amount of anxiety was caused to the authori- 
ties by a "revivalist" outbreak which contained dangerous possibilities. 
The matter became so serious that the Superintendent had to go him- 
self with an armed escort to one village, Kelkang, and compel the 
people to give up their hysterical doings. Such hysteria is a thing to 
which Lushais are always prone and it has to be carefully watched. 

In this year Major McCall initiated an elaborate system of Wel- 
fare Committees in the villages with a view to serving two purposes 
(1) the dissemination of public health information by authoritative 
means and (2) the formation of a local Village consultative machinery 
capable of being adapted to any electoral needs which the future 
might bring, and with the intention also that such a system might 
strengthen the relationship between the Chiefs and their subjects. 

VIII The Constitution Act of 1935. Neither the Assam Government 
nor any other authorities who dealt with the matter had any difficulty 
in agreeing that the Lushai Hills should be excluded from the purview 
of the New Constitution, and they were accordingly classed as an 
'Excluded Area" in terms of the Government of India (Excluded 
and Partially Excluded Areas) Order 1936. 

* Assam Secretariat, Political, A, December 1931, NOB. 27-59. 



1890 Captain H. R. Browne, killed 6th September 1890. 

1890-1892 Mr. R. B. McCabe, I.G.S. 

1892-1894 Mr. A. W. Davis, I.G.S. 

1894-1897 Mr. A. Porteoui, i.e. 8. 

1897-1898 Major J. Shakespear, C.I.E., D.S.O. 


1891-1896 Captain (later Colonel) J. Shakeapear. , 

(Leinster Regiment). 
1896-1898 Mr. R. H. Sneyd Hutchinson, I.P. 


1898-1899 Major J. Shakespear. 
1899-1900 Captain H. W. G. Cole, I.A. 
1900-1903 Major J. Shakespear. 

1903-1904 Mr. L. O. Clarke, I.G.S. 
and Major J. Shakespear. 

1904-1905 Major J. Shakespear. 
1905-1906 Mr. J. G. Arbuthnott, i.c.O 

Major Loch. >For short periods. 

, Major H. W. G. Cole. J 

19*6-1911 Major H. W. G. Cole. 
1911*1912 Major W. Kennedy. 

1912-1913 Major Loch. 

Mr. F. C. Henniker, i.c.s. 

Mr. J. Hezlett, X.G.S. 

1913-1917 Mr. J. Hezlett, i.c.s. 

1917-1919 Mr. H. A. C. Colquhoun, I.G.S. 

1919-1921 Mr. W. L. Scott, i.c.s. 

1921-1922 Mr. S. N. Mackenzie, i.c.s. 

1922-1923 Mr. W. L. Scott, LOS. 

1923-1924 Mr. S. N. Mackenzie, i.c.s. 

1924-1928 Mr. N. . Parry, i.os. 

1928-1932 Mr. C. G. G. Helme, I.G.S. 

1932-1942 Major A. G. McCall, i.c.f. 

f"For short periods. 




1898-1899 Mr F. G. T. Halliday, Bengal Police. 

1899-1902 Mr. C. B. Drake-Brockman, Bengal Police. 

1902-1904 Mr. G. P. Whalley, I.P. 

1904-1906 Mr. A. R. Giles. 

1906-1907 Mr. G. W. T. leilman. 

1907-1909 Mr. G. N. Shadwell. 

1909-1910 Lieutenant J, H. G. Buller. 

1910-1912 Mr. R. W. Von Morde, Eastern Bengal and Assam 

Provincial Service. 

1912-1914 Mr. M. Bradshaw, I.P. 

1915-1918 Mr. J. Needham, I.P. 

1918-1919 Mr. H. G. Bartley, I.P. 

1919-1924 Mr. J. Needham, I.P. 

1924-1926 Mr. H. Fischer, Assistant Superintendent of Police. 

1927-1932 Mr. W. H. Tilbury, M.G., Extra Assistant Commis- 
sioner. Died on 15th December 1932. 

1933-1937 Mr. L. L. Peters, Extra Assistant Commissioner. 

1937-1938 Mr. G. P. Jarman, Extra Assistant Gommissionei . 

1938-1942 Mr. L. L, Peters, Extra Assistant Commissioner. 


1889-1890 Mr. W. W. Daly, Bengal Police. 

1890-1891 Lieutenant Cole. 

1891-1892 Captain G. H. Loch. 

1892-1893 Captain G. H. Loch. 


1894-95 ... ... ... Captain H. Loch. 

(In 1894-95 the North Lushai Battalion was separated from Silchar 


1895-98 ... ... ... Captain H. Loch. 


1892-95 ... ... .- Mr. C. W. C. Plowden, 

i. P. 
1895-96 ... ... ... Captain J. Shakespear 

(as well as Superinten- 

1896-98 Mr. R. H. S. Hut- 

chinson, I.P. 




1898-1914 Major G. H. Loch. 
1914 Captain H. C. Nicolay 

2nd Gurkhas. 
1914-15 Major Nicolay 

Captain F. K. Hensley 
the Guides. 
1915-16 Captain F. K. Hensley 

Captain J. S. Ring 
1916-17 Captain J. S. Ring 

Captain F. K. Hensley 
1917-18 Captain F. K. Hensley 

Captain H. Falkland 
1918-19 Captain H. Falkland 

1919-20 Captain H. Falkland 

Captain Davies. 
1920-21 Captain H. Falkand 

Catain W. A. Gardiner 
1921-22 Major W. L. Corry. 

1922-23 Major W. L. Corry, 


Captain C. D. Balding. 
1923-24 Captain Balding. 

1924-25 Major J. D. Scale. 

1925-26 Major J. D. Scale. 

1926-27 Captain H. T. Craig. 

1927-33 Major W. B. Shakespear. 

1933-38 Captain A, L. Fell. 



I. 1883 18'JO .. .. .. S3--54 

II. The Disaster of 1891 .. .. 54 73 

III. The Ruler and System of Administration 73 78 

IV. Relations with the Hill Tribes . . 7889 
V. Internal Affairs . . . . . . 89 91 

VI. External Relations. . . . . 9194 

VII. The Great War . . . . . . 94 95 

VIII. The Act of 1935 .. .. .. 9596 

IX. 'I he Tribute . .... 96 


I. 18831890. Mackenzie's chapter on Manipur (Chapter XVI 
of his book) brings us down to February 1883. At that time the 
Ruler was Maharaja Sir Chandra Kfrti Singh, K.C.S.I., who had been 
formally recognised in 1851 by the Government of India. Chandra 
Kirti had outstanding qualities as a Manipur Ruler, and his name still 
commands the greatest respect in Manipur. Although his methods of 
administration might not commend themselves at the present day, he 
was certainly more enlightened than most of his predecessors and he 
took a genuine interest in the welfare of his subjects. Always loyal to 
the British Government, he greatly improved communications in the 
State and encouraged trade with British India : and it was in his 
reign and with his approval that English education was started in the 
State He died in 1886 after a reign of 35 years, and was succeded by 
his son Sur Chandra Singh, whose inability to control his more turbu- 
lent brothers led to his abdication and was a contributing cause of the 
disaster of 1891. 

Between 1883 and 1890, there are one or two events which 
require notice. The first is the part played by Manipur in the 3rd 
Burmese war which broke out in November 1885. Colonel (later 
Major-General Sir) James Johnstone was then Political Agent. A 
few days before the commencement of hostilities he received orders to 
do what he could for the European employees of the Bombay Burma 
Corporation who were in the Chindwin Valley. Seven of these, while 
making their way down the Chindwin to the Irrawaddy, were met by 
the Thundawsiii or Secretary of the Queen of Burma, who had three, 
Messrs. Allen, Roberts and Moncure, murdered in cold blood, and four, 
Messrs. Hill, Rose, Bates and Ruckstuhl junior, handed over as pri- 
soners to the Woon ot Mingin. Meanwhile, three more of the Com- 
pany's men, Messrs. Morgan, Bretto and Ruckstuhl senior, were made 
prisoners by the Woon of Kendat. They were protected by the two 
Woons and not badly tieatrd. Johnstone then went himself on Decem- 
ber 19th with force of 50 men of his own escort of the 4th Bengal 
Native Infantry, and some 300 ot 400 Manipuris to try and rescue the 
prisoners, and bring them to a place of safety. Hr reached Kendat 
by tremendous exertions on X'mas Day, 1885, and was fortunate in 
finding the Bombay Bui ma Corporation men si ill alive. Besides rescu- 
ing them he took the op poit unity of formally annexing the country. 
But he found himself in a precarious position; his force was small 
and most unreliable, the country hostile, and he himself the only Bri- 
tish Officer, apart from the Bombay Burma employees. On January 
the 3rd, the country was up, the Woon, Mr. Ruckstuhl (Morgan and 
Bretto had escaped) and all native British subjects were imprisoned 
by the people of Kendat, while Johnstone in camp on the right bank 
of the Chindwin was in a dangerous position. He, however, decided 
to attack, and on the 4th he opened fire on the Burmese stockade on 
the opposite bank of the river. By evening all outworks had been 
captured except the great stockade. Next morning, 5th January, the 
latter had been evacuated and Johnstone immediately took possession 
of it, together with 16 guns, and rescued Ruckstuhl and the Woon and 
his family. That day a relief party from Mardalay consisting of Bri- 
tish and Indian troops under Major Campbell of the 23rd Madras 
Infantry arrived by steamer. But the troops and the steamers all went 


back again 3 days later and Johnstone and his Manipuris were left to 
make their way back to Manipur. He took with him the Woon of 
Kendat, and arrived at Tamu on the 14th January. Here he establi- 
shed the Woon and returned to Imphal. He soon however, had to 
return to the assistance of the Woon and was wounded seriously him- 
self by a gunshot hi the left temple in a fight with the Burmese at a 
place, called variously Pantha, Pawsa, or Pot-tha, on 1st February 

Colonel Johnstone's wounds necessitated his taking leave. The 
services he and the Manipur State forces had rendered in restoring 
order in the Kubo and Ghindwin Valleys while the occupation of 
Upper Burma was proceeding were considerable, and were appreciated 
by the British authorities. He was succeeded by Major Trotter, who, 
a short six weeks later, was ambushed near Tamu and died of the 
wounds he received. It was not till the autumn that order was res- 

Among internal affairs, there were rebellions against Sur Chandra 
in 1886 and 1887, which had to be put down with British aid. That 
of 1886 occurred within a few months of Sur Chandra's accession and 
was led by Bora Ghaoba Singh, a son of the Nar Singh who had been 
Regent in Chandri Kirti Singh's infancy and then Raja from 1844 to 
1851 before Chandra Kirti succeeded. Bora Chauba was defeated by 
Manipuri forces under Tangal General and fled to Cachar, whence he 
started again in October for a fresh attempt. He was pursued by a 
party of the Cachar Frontier Police under Lieutenant Harris of the 4th 
Bengal Infantry, was defeated near the capital, and then surren- 

In 1887 two attempts were made. The first was led by the 
Wangkhairakpa, who ranked next to the Senapati and was the princi- 
pal judicial officer of the State. This was quelled without difficulty 
and the Woon was shot. The second was led by Jogendra Singh, a 
Manipuri exile but not related to the ruling family. He also started 
from Cachar but was attacked by forces made up of Frontier Police 
and of the 44th Gurkha Light Infantry and killed with 14 of his fol- 
lowers on the 4th of October 1887. 

II. The Disaster of 1891. In 1890 the events occurred which led 
up to the disaster of March 24th 1891, when five British Officers, i.e., 

Mr. J. W. Quinton, c.s.i., i.c.s., Chief Commissioner of 


Lt.-Col. C. McD. Skene, D.S.O., 42nd Gurkha Rifles, 
Mr. F. St. C. Grimwood, I.G.S., the Political Agent, Manipur, 
Mr. W. H. Gossins, I.G.S., Assistant Secretary to the Chief Com- 
missioner, and 

Lt. W. H. Simpson, 43rd Gurkha Rifles, were put to death by the 
Manipuris, and Lieutenant L. W. Brackenbury of the 44th Gurkha 
Rifles, died of wounds received in action. 

Pages 240-270 of "My experiences in Manipur andlthe Naga Hills" by John- 
AM*m < Adnaabtrative Report foe 188S-8, pages 2-3, Part II-B. 


According to a note written on 16th July 1891 by Mr. W. . 
Ward, i G.S., (later Sir William Ward, K.C.S. i.) who succeeded 
Mr. Quinton as Chief Commissioner on the laser's death, the Raja Sur 
Chandra Singh, was never anything more than a puppet Raja and the 
real RuJer of Manipur since 1886 had been the Senapati Tikendrajit 
Singh, a man who nad always been hostile to the British influence. 
Tikendrajit was one of Sur Chandra's seven brothers, and the third 
son of the late Maharaja Chandra Kirti Singh. On the 2nd Septem- 
ber 1890 the Raja Sur Chandra appeared at the Residency at 2-30 
a.m., accompanied by Pakka Sana and two other brothers, and 
announced that the Palace had been attacked ; that he had fled ; and 
that the Senapati Tikendrajit and two of the other brothers were in 
possession of the Palace. The next day the Political Agent, Mr, Grim- 
wood informed the Chief Commissioner that the Raja had abdicated 
in favour of the Jubraj, by which title his next brother Kuia Chandra 
Singh was known, and was going to retire to Brindaban. The Political 
Agent took the view that this was a good thing and that the Senapati 
(i.e., Tikendrajit), who was popular with all classes, would help to 
make the rule of the Jubraj (i.*., Kula Chandra) strong and popular. 
The Chief Commissioner agreed that Kula Chandra, the Jubraj, should 
be acknowledged as Regent until the sanction of the Government of 
India was received. He had been recognised already as the heir to the 
throne, in conformity with the wishes of the late Maharaja (Chandra 
Kirti Singh) who, contrary to the ordinary Manipuri custom of primo- 
geniture, nad desired that his sons should succeed to the throne by 
turn The Government of India, however, on receiving the report 
of the Chief Commissioner, dated 31st December 1890, expressed 
considerable doubt as to whether the course recommended was advis- 
able, and observed that if they acquiesced in the proposed recognition 
of the Jubraj (Kula Chandra) the Senapati (Tikendrajit), a man who 
had more than once incurred the displeasure of the Government of 
India, would wield the real power in the State. The views of the 
Government of India and the Chief Commissioner were strongly 
divergent as to what policy it was most expedient to pursue, but after 
considerable correspondence followed by personal discussion the Gov- 
ernment of India issued their final orders in their letter No.360-E., 
dated 21st February 1891 which were to the following effect : 

(a) that the Senapati (Tikendrajit) should be removed from 

Manipur ; 

(b) that the Jubraj^'.*., Kula Chandra, should be recognised 

and that the *-Raja should not be restored ; 

(c) that the Chief Commissioner should visit Manipur and 

make known on the spot the decision of the Governor- 

The Chief Commissioner set out for Manipur from Golaghat with 
an escort of 400 men of the 42nd and 44th Gurkha Rifles, (now the 
l/6th Gurkha Rifles and l/8th Gurkha Rifles respectively), under the 
command of Col. Sicene of the 42nd on March 7th 1891. There were 
already, in Manipur 100 rifles of the 43rd Gurkhas (now the 2 /8th 
Gurkha Rifles). Lieut. P. R. Gurdon, as Assistant Political Officer 


to the Chief Commissioner's staff had previously been sent on ahead 
to Manipur to make arrangements and acquaint Mr. Grimwood with 
what was intended. Mr, Quinton's intention was to require the 
Regent (Kula Chandra), and the Darbar to meet him on arrival ; to 
announce the decision of the Governor-General ; to arrest the Senapati 
Tikendrajit and take him away into exile in India. These proposals 
were approved by the Government of India. 

The Chief Commissioner arrived at Manipur on the 22nd March 
1891. He had announced that a Darbar would be held at noon of 
that same day at the Residency. The Regent (Kula Chandra) arrived 
at the Darbar, with the Senapati (Tikendrajit) but there was consider- 
able delay, they were kept waiting outside the Residency gate, 
and eventually the Senapati went away. The Chief Commissioner 
said that he would not hold the Darbar unless the Senapati was 
present, nor would he see the Regent until the Senapati came and in 
the end the Regent also went away and no Darbar was held. Another 
Darbar was fixed for 9 A.M. on the 23rd but nobody came. Every 
effort was made to persuade the Regent to produce the Senapati but 
all proved useless. The Chief Commissioner then decided that he 
must use force and had a letter delivered to the Regent (Kula Chan- 
dra) stating that the Senapati (Tikendrajit) would be arrested if he 
were not surrendered. It was estimated at the time by the Political 
Agent that there were 5,000 to 6,000 Manipuri troops in the Palace 

Two small columns of troops consisting of 30 and 70 men under 
Lieutenant Brackcnbury of the 44th and Captain Butcher of the 42nd 
respectively, with Lieutenant Lugard of the 42nd in support with 50 
men, were ordered to enter the Fort and arrest the Senapati on the 
early morning of the 24th, These operations resulted in complete 
failure. The Senapati was not found in his house and the troops 
suffered severe losses, 3 Gurkha other ranks being killed, Lieutenants 
Brackenbury, who subsequently died, and Lugard and 14 other ranks 
being wounded. During the course of the day these detachments were 
withdrawn to the Residency and the Residency was subjected to severe 
fire both from muskets and two 7-pound er guns. It should be added 
that when our troops entered the palace subsequently they found there- 
in four 7-pounder guns, 1 mortar and six 3-pounders. [General 
Officer Commanding Assam's report, dated 30th April 1891 at page 5 
of E. I. (M) 1891, No.4.] The existence of these considerable 
armaments is to some extent accounted for by the fact that after the 
3rd Burma War, in recognition of the services rendered to our troops 
by the State, the Government of India presented the Maharaja with 
two 7-pounder guns and 180 rounds of ammunition, 200 Enfield rifles 
and 60,000 rounds of ammunition, and 6 Martinis and 1,000 rounds 
Martini ammunition for the Maharaja's brothers. 

The fire was so severe that the Chief Commissioner and Colonel 
Skene discussed the advisability of withdrawing from the Residency 
and taking up a position in the open. Before doing this, however, an 

Assam Administration Report for 1887-88, Part II-B, page 5. 


attempt was made at negotiation, and eventually a messenger came 
and said that the Senapati wished to meet the Chief Commissioner. 
The Chief Commissioner with the four officers referred to at the 
beginning of this chapter proceeded to the main gate in the Fort. 
They had no escort and were unarmed. After a long conversation 
they all went inside the gate and were seen no more. They were all 
murdered. Mr. Grimwood was speared by a Manipuri sepoy when 
the party was surrounded by an excited crowd and the other four were 
kept for 2 hours and then beheaded by the public executioner. 

Little authentic information is, naturally, available about these 
occurrences. It is improbable, however, that this act of treachery 
was premeditated, but when Grimwood had been killed it appears that 
the Ministers came to the conclusion that there was nothing to be 
gained by sparing the lives of the others. 

That night a party consisting of the remaining British military 
Officers, Mrs. Grimwood and Lieutenant Gurdon, together with 160 
men, evacuated the Residency, taking the wounded to the number of 
17 with them. They left some 270 men behind still holding the Resi- 
dency enclosure. The Residency, a wooden structure with a thatched 
roof, was set on fire soon alter they evacuated it. They went across 
country westwards towards the hills and eventually made, contact with 
a detachment qf the 43rd Gurkha Light Infantry under Captain 
Gowley, who were marching up to Manipur from Gachar in the oidi- 
nary course of relief. Their action in retreating from Manipur with- 
out attempting to rescue their superior officers or even to ascertain 
what had happened to them, and at the same time leaving so many of 
their men behind to their late, was the subject for a considerable time 
of great controversy and severe comment. It was investigated by a 
Court of Enquiry held under the orders of the Government of India, 
and the two senior officers, Major Boilcau of the 44th and Captain 
Butcher of the 42nd Gurkhas, were court-martialled and cashiered for 
gross neglect of duty in the lace of the enemy. In contrast to' the 
feeble conduct of these officers was that of Lieutenant C. J. W, Grant 
of the 12th Madras Infantry who was commanding at Tainu on the 
Burma- Manipur border, and ol the Gurkha Officer, Jemadar Birbal 
Nagarkati of the 43rd, who was in command of the detachment at 
Langthobal, 4 miles from Imphal. Displaying great gallantry and 
powers of leadership, the Jemadar cut his way through to Tamu with 
his little force of 33 men, covering 60 miles in 48 hours, and brought 
to Grant the news of the disaster. Grant at once asked for and obtain- 
ed orders to march on Imphal and did so with 50 men of the 12th 
Madras Infantry and 30 of Jemadar Birbal Nagarkati's gallant detach- 
ment* They were held up at Athokpam Lawai close to the village of 
Thobal, 15 miles from Imphal and surrounded by superior Manipuri 
forces They fought, however, a most gallant action for 10 days until 
ordeied to withdraw and join the Burma Column, which they did with 
a loss of 1 I. O. R. killed and 3 wounded. For this action 
Lieutenant Grant received the Victoria Cross and Jemadar Birbal 
Nagarkati, who was wounded subsequently at the attack on the stock- 
ade on 25th April, was decorated also. 


Two members of the telegraph Department, Mr. Melville* 
Superintendent of Telegraph and Mr. O'Brien, a signaller, also lost 
their lives in connection with this outbreak. They were on their way 
to Kohima on the 25th March when they were attacked at Mayang- 
khang by some Manipuri sepoys assisted by some neighbouring Nagas, 
and both killed. 

Columns of troops were at once sent into Manipur from Kohima, 
Silchar and Tamu under the command of Colonel R. H. F. Ren nick, 
Major-General H. Collett, C. B., and Brigadier General T. Graham, 
C. B., respectively, and the rebellion were soon quelled. The chief 
incident was the attack on the Manipuris' stockaded position by the 
Burma Column en April 25th, when about 130 Manipuris were killed 
and the British lost 2 killed and 13 wounded, among the latter being 
Lieutenant Grant and Jemadar Birbal Nagarkatti. The three 
columns met at Manipur on the 27th April. 

Retribution fell on the perpetrators of the outrage of March 24th- 
Kajao Singh, who speared Grimwood, was hanged on May 24th, and 
Niranjan Subadar, a renegade from the Indian Army, on June 8th. 
Tikendrajit, the Scnapati and Thangal General were hanged on the 
13th of August 1891 in public. The Regent or Jubraj Kula Chandra 
Singh together with his brother Angou Singh and a number of others 
were sentenced to transportation for life Of the men who murdered 
Messrs. Melville and O'Brien, one was hanged and" 8 sentenced to 
transportation for life. The area covered by the Manipuri citadel 
and Palaces, together with a large amount of surrounding land, cover- 
ing in all 1.83 square miles, was taken as a British Reserve and cleared 
of most of the buildings on it. The site of the old citadel and Palaces 
is now occupied by the Assam Rifles Lines, Officers' Bungalows, etc. 
The only things left standing were the brick wall round the Palace and 
Coronation enclosures, Gobindji's temple buildings, the Senapati's 
temple, the Durbar Hall where the prisoneis were taken before 
execution, and the timber entrance to the Coronation enclosure. It 
was at the foot of the steps leading up to this last building that the 
British Officers were beheaded . The masonry dragons which formerly 
stood in front of these steps were blown up. 

It may conveniently be mentioned here that in 1928 His Highness 
made a representation asking for the return of the site of the old Palace 
and neighbouring buildings. This was rejected 1 " by Sir Laurie Ham- 
mond. He renewed his request in 1932 j as part of his statement before 
the States Enquiry Committee which was set up in connection with 
Federation. The Local Government gave its opinion in 1934 (Sir 
Michael Keanc) that it was not desirable. The Government of India 
agreed in their letter No. F.I 98-1/34, dated the 13th August- 1934, 
that the proposal could not be discussed as long as the Assam Rifles 
remained there. This view was again endorsed in paragraph 6 of 
Assam letter No.93-G.S., dated the 22nd April 1937, to the Crown 
Representative in connection with the details of Federation. There 
the matter rests. New cantonments were built on the site for the 

Political, A, June 1929, Noa. 136-139. 
t Political, A, June 1932, Nos. 75-118. 


troops of the garrison and from 1901 were occupied by regular troops 
until, in March 1915 the 123rd Outram's Rifles handed over to the 
Darrang Battalion of the Assam Military Police, subsequently to be* 
come the 4th Battalion, Assam Rifles. 

The new Residency which replaced that burnt down by the rebels 
in 1891 was completed in 1897 and first occupied in January 1898. 

The way in which Mr. Quinton handled the situation on the 24th 
March was the subject of considerable controversy, both in England 
and in India, especially in respect of his action in inviting the Senapati 
(Tikendrajit) to the Durbar with the intention of arresting him. The 
views of the then Viceroy (Lord Lansdow e) were given in a 
telegram No.954-E., dated May llth, 1891, to the Secretary of State 
in the following terras : "...You may repudiate in strongest language 
idea that Government of India intended to sanction treachery 
towards Senapati, and we believe that Quinton was incapable of 
carrying out instructions in a treacherous manner. Imputation of 
treachery arises from misconception of Senapati's position and that of 
Manipur State. State is subordinate to Government of India, and 
Senapati must have known that his conduct in conspiring against 
Maharaja, who had been recognised by us, rendered him liable to 
punishment. There was no question of alluring him to Darbar under 
false sense of security. It is very doubtful whether he ever meant to 
attend Darbar. According to Gurdon, Grimwood did not believe 
that he ever left Palace to do so on morning of 22nd. If he did not, 
he apparently expected arrest. 

Until Gurdon's telegram of 7th May reached us, we had not 
received specific information that, if Senapati refused to submit quietly, 
Quinton intended to have him arrested at Darbar after announcement 
of our orders ; but we have no doubt Quinton considered open arrest 
in Darbar, in case of such refusal, would be most straightforward and 
safest procedure. Knowing Senapati's character, Quinton probably 
felt that only chance of depriving him of opportunity of fomenting 
disturbance was to effect his deportation as promptly as possible. 

As a matter of fact when Senapati failed to comply with Quinton's 
orders and letter of warning was sent to Regent, Senapati evaded 
arrest and prepared resistance which led to massacre. This result 
shows correctness of Quinton's provision. Had arrest taken place at 
Darbar as intended, Quinton would not have lost his life. 

Antecedents of Senapati should not be overlooked. Grimwood 
described him as a desperate man who would not be taken alive. In 
1881 he was banished and made an outcaste for brutally ill-treating 
some Manipur is, and in 1888 we advised Maharaja to remove him 
from State for similar offence. His cruelties were notorious." 

East India (Manipur) 1891, No. 4 (G 6410). Correspondence relating t" Mani- 
pur. Presented to both Houses of Parliament by command of Her Majesty, page 24. 



This point of view is reiterated in the Viceroy's telegram of 5th 
me, 1891 to the Secretary of State in which he completely exonerates 
r. Quinton of any discreditable intention or conduct. The telegram 
ran as follows : 

"Manipur We wish to draw special attention to the following 
points : 

First. It is the right and duty of the British Government to 
settle successions in Subordinate Native States. Every succession must 
be recognised by the British Government, and no succession is valid 
until recognition has been given. This principle is fully understood 
and invariably observed. 

Second. Manipur is a Subordinate Native State. We rendered 
it independent of Burma. We have recognised successions in Manipur, 
and have asserted suzerainty in many ways ; and Manipur ruling 
family have repeatedly acknowledged their position of dependence. 
For example, in 1874, Maharaja piesented Nazar to Viceroy and 
received Khilat. Again ex- Maharaja now in Calcutta was recognised 
as future successor by us during his father's lifetime at his father's 
request ; and, similarly, at f-Maharaja's request, we recognised as 
his successor present Jubraj. Ex- Maharaja, and even Regent and 
Senapati since revolt, have all admitted dependent position of State. 
See ?- Maharaja's letter, 14th November, paragraph 7. Regent's 
letter 25th March, last paragraph but one. Rassick Lull Kundu's 
letter, 4th April, end of paragraph 6. He now states that portion of 
letter referring to Senapati was dictated by Senapati himself. 

Third. It is our right and duty to uphold Native Chiefs recog- 
nised by us except in case of gross misrule, and to punish unlawful 
revolt against their authority We have accordingly more than once 
upheld Manipur Chiefs by force, and punished rebels against their 
authority See Aitchison's Treaties, Volume I, page 248, and recent 
case of Bara Chauba and Jogendra Singh, referred to in Maharaja's 
letter of 14th November. 

Fourth. The rising against Maharaja in September 1890 was 
unlawful revolt, and we should have been justified in putting it 
down by force and punishing rebels. But for Maharaja's abdication, 
which was some what- hastily accepted by Grimwood, without reference 
to us, we should probably have done so. Chief Commissioner offered 
Grimwood armed assistance from Kohima. Sec Quinion's telegrams 
to Cunningham, 22nd and 24th September 1890, and Grimwood's 
letter 25t.h September, paragraphs 10 to 14, and Cunningham's letter to 
Quinton of 24th January, paragraph 6. 

Fifth. When Maharaja wished to recall abdication we were 
disposed to restore him and re-assert his authority. Wr gave away on 
this point to objections earnestly pressed by Quinton, both in letters 

East India (Manipur) 1691. No. 5. Further correspondence relating to 
Manipur, Presented to the House of Lords by command of Her Majesty in continua- 
tion of Manipur No. 4.G 0548. pages 13-16. 


and in personal communication, with the Viceroy and Council. 
Grimwood also was opposed to Maharaja's restoration. See 
Quinton's letters to Cunningham, 9th and 19th February 1891, and 
Grimwood's letter 4th December, paragraph 26. 

Sixth. Nevertheless we could not permit a revolt against a Chief 
recognised by us to remain wholly successful and unpunished, and 
virtual authority in Manipur to pass into hands of Senapati, who, as 
lately described by Jonnstone in letter, is " a man of infamous 
character", and who was notoriously turbulent, and the real leader of 
the revolution of September 1890. See paragraphs 4, 11 and 19 of 
Grimwood's letter of 25th September, and paragraphs 5, 14, 17, 19 
and 27 of his letter of 4th December. Also, correspondence of 1881 
and 1888, as to Senapati's antecedents and occasions on which he 
incurred the displeasure of Government. 

Under these circumstances we decided that Senapati should be 
removed from the State, and Quinton while at Calcutta did not ques- 
tion propriety of this decision. 

Seventh. We did not indicate to Quinton method in which depor- 
tation was to be effected. We asked him what steps ho considered 
necessary for carrying out removal without affording Senapati the 
chance of making forcible resistance. No instructions other than those 
contained in Letter No. 360 of 21st February were given to Quinton on 
this point, either by letter or by word of mouth. 

Eighth. Quinton did not immediately consult Grimwood on sub- 
ject, doubtless for reasons given in demi-official letter to Cunningham 
of 22nd February. Following is extract from this letter : Begins. It 
is of importance that the decision of the Government of India, which 
I am going to Manipur to announce and enforce, should not be divulg- 
ed prematurely, and it is scarcely possible to guard against its leaking 
out if I use the telegraph at Manipur or even write : so many persons 
are interested in knowing what is about to happen. The Political 
Agent has no cypher code. Ends. No doubt Darbar would have 
tried hard to get message or letter from telegraph or Post Office, and 
might have succeeded. Some of the Agency establishment are suspect- 
ed of having been in the habit of supplying information to Darbar, 
and Quinton must have known this. These facts explain alleged 
studious concealment from Grimwood of Quinton's attentions, (sic). 

Ninth. Quinton's desire to consult Grimwood as far as circums- 
tances permitted is shown by Gurdon's special mission to Manipur a 
week in advance of Quinton. On that occasion Gurdon gave Grim- 
wood clear information of intended removal of Senapati, and consulted 
him as to the method of arrest. Grimwood could suggest no way for 
effecting arrest without affording Senapati opportunity of making forci- 
ble resistance. Gurdon's Italian telegram to Quinton reporting on 
situation was seen and approved by Grimwood. See Gurdon's tele- 
gram, 7th May, and his report forwarded with our Despatch of 26th 

Tenth. On Gurdon's return from Manipur, Quinton sent his 
Telegram of 18th March to Cunningham. - This telegram was the only 
reply received to inquiry mentioned in section 7 above, except 


demi-official letter of 22nd February mentioned in sections. In that 
letter Quinton expressed intention of consulting with General Collett 
before submitting his recommendations officially. 

Eleventh. We did not know, and we had no reason to infer from 
Quinton's telegram of 18th March, that Quinton contemplated sum- 
moning a formal Darbar or public assembly for the purpose of arrest- 
ing Senapati. The words " Regent and the Darbar " in that telegram 
mean Regent and Court or entourage. The word Darbar is habi- 
tually used in this sense. 

Twelfth The decision to arrest in Darbar or public assembly 
was apparently arrived at on 21st March in conference at Sengraai 
between Quinton, Skene, Gossins and Grimwood. Gurdon, who was 
in Quinton's confidence, informs us, in report cited in section 9 above, 
that after this conference Quinton told him that Senapati would be 
arrested at Darbar next day. Gurdon adds : Begins. This was the 
first mention I had heard of the plan. Ends. Until Gurdon's tele- 
gram of 7th May reached us, we did not know precisely what Quinton 
had intended. 

Thirteenth. Grimwood was opposed to removal of Senapati, and 
doubtless also to his arrest. 

Fourteenth. As to merits of Quinton's proposed action, there was 
certainly nothing unusual in announcing our orders in formal Darbar, 
including the order for removal of Senapati. Under ordinary circums- 
tances, this would have been the natural and proper course. No 
question as to exact time and method of arrest would have arisen, 
because ordinarily there would have been no thought of resistance, and 
any person to be deported would have considered himself at Quinton's 
disposal from the time that orders of Government were announced. 

Fifteenth. The anticipation of possible resistance to such orders is 
so rare that comparatively few instances of formal arrest in Darbar are 
on record ; but the following cases may be cited. Sandeman lately ar- 
rested in open Darbar the Naib of Kcj who had attended at his summons. 
In 1879 General Roberts made formal entry into Bala Hissar, and read 
out proclamation to assembled notables. After doing so, he informed 
principal Ministers, whom he suspected of using their influence against 
us, that it was necessary to detain them. In these cases idea of trea- 
chery never occurred to anyone concerned. 

Sixteenth. It cannot be too clearly understood that the proposed 
Darbar at Manipur was not a conference between equals, or anything 
of the nature of a hospitable reception. It was an assemblage sum- 
moned by the Representative of the Paramount Power to declare the 
orders of the British Government in a case of disputed succession,. upon 
which both ex- Maharaja and Regent had addressed us, and upon 
which in accordance with custom we were entitled to decide, and they 
were bound to accept our decision. Quinton, in telegram of 18th 
March says : " I propose requiring Regent and the Darbar to meet 
me," and Regent's letter, 25th March, first paragraph, shows Regent 
understood that he was required to attend with his brothers to hear 
what our decision was. There was nothing of the nature of allure- 
ment. The Senapati like the Regent was bound to attend and accept 


our order. The Regent was to be recognised as Maharaja, an<J the 
Scnapati was to be banished. In the meantime Quinton was right in 
treating both with ordinary politeness. 1 hough Senapati was to be 
banished, .the immediate cause of his banishment was political rather 
than crim 1 nal misconduct. 

Seventeenth. To say that Quinton was bound to give Senapats 
previous warning of the orders of Government, and of the fact that he 
would be forcibly arrested unless he submitted to them, is in effect 
to say that because Senapati was known to be a man of violent 
character and likely to give troablc, it was therefore Quinton's duty 
to how him special consideration and give him special opportunity 
of preparing for mischief. The necessity for forcible arrest could not 
arise unless Senapati refused to accept our orders. It could only there- 
fore be the result of his own misconduct and revolt against our para- 
mount authority, which authority he himself subsequently acknow- 
ledged in letter referred to above, Section 2. 

Eighteenth. We do not know Quinton's motive for arrest in 
Darbar. He probably desired to announce and carry out our orders 
in most formal and open manner. Statement that Darbar was 
delayed in order to give time for translation of Quinton's speech 
supports this view. Arrest of Senapati could apparently have been 
effected with less difficulty by summoning him to private interview ; 
but Quinton probably thought this would not have been as a suitable 
to the occasion. In any case there was nothing of the nature of trea- 
chery involved. 

Nineteenth. If Quinton had been willing to stoop to treachery there 
would have been no difficulty in the matter. He could certainly and 
easily have allayed Senapati's suspicions by friendly assurances and 
have seized him on occasion of friendly visit. 

Twentieth. Suspicion of treachery, which arises primarily from 
misapprehension of nature of proposed Darbar, may perhaps be 
secondarily due to special circumstances for which Quinton was not 
responsible ; for example, Grimwood and Simpson's shooting expedi- 
tion with Senapati after orders of Government had been communicat- 
ed to Grimwood. 

Twenty-fast. As to military questions involved we would rather 
not offer any opinion until the receipt of the proceedings of the Gourt 
of Inquiry held at Manipur, which were posted there on the 31st May 
and are due here on the 14th instant. We can only say that both in 
letters and in personal communication with Quinton, we instructed 
him to take care that he had a sufficient force. From the papers that 
have co*me before us, it is evident that Quinton and the responsible 
military authorities in Assam considered the escort ample to overcome 
any resistance that could reasonably be expected. 

Twenty- second. To sum up. It was our duty to settle disputed 
succession in Manipur. We accepted opinion of local authorities and 
decided in favour of acknowledging Jubraj instead of restoring 
Maharaja : but we stipulated that Senapati, who had led revolt against 
Maharaja, and was a man of turbulent and infamous character, must 


leave the State. We did not prescribe method of his deportation ; and 
we did not know Quinton intended to arrest him in Darbar ; but we 
considered that Darbar was suitable place for announcement of our 
orders, including order for banishment of Senapati, and we see no 
treachery whatever in Quintan's intention to arrest Senapati there and 
then ii he declined to submit to those orders, which, as subject of a 
subordinate Native State he was bound to obey. As to question of 
escort we desired Quinton to take sufficient force, and he took the full 
force which was considered necessary by him and the local military 

Paragraphs 12 to 17 of the Secretary of State's despatch No. 9, 
dated the 24th July, 1891 are important on the question of policy and 
run as follows : 

"12. Your Government would undoubtedly have been justified in 
restoring the Maharaja by force in September, when the revolution 
took place, and had he not fled precipitately this course would 
probably have been adopted ; nor, in my opinion, would either the 
delay that occurred or the fact that the local officers were content to 
accept the results of the revolution without comment have justified you 
in abstaining from considering the ex-Maharaja's application when it 
came before you, and vindicating the right of the Paramount Power lo 
decide the question of succession on its merits. Your interference was 
necessary, not only in the interests of the Manipur State, where the 
character of the Senapati and the traditions of the succession indicated 
the probability of this attempt, if allowed to go unpunished, being 
frequently repeated ; it was necessary also in the interests of the British 
Government, which has of late years been brought into much closer 
relations with the State and its subject tribes than was formerly the 
case, and cannot safely tolerate disorders therein ; but above all it was 
necessary in the interests of the other protected States of India, for 
every Chief would have felt the stability of his power was compromised 
had you passed over without notice an unprovoked and successful 
rebellion proceeding only from family quarrels. 

13. I am satisfied, therefore, that your Government were right in 
deciding to interfere. I am equally satisfied that no interference which 
left the successful head of the rebellion, a man notorious for his 
turbulent and violent character, in possession of the real power of the 
State would have been adequate, and that your decision to remove the 
Senapati from Manipur and intern him in India was sound and 

14. The question whether the ex-Maharaja should be restored, or 
whether the Jubraj should be acknowledged as Maharaja, was by no 
means so clear as that of the Senapati's removal. Your Government 
were at first inclined to restore him, and only yielded to the strong 
remonstrances which the Chief Commissioner urged against that 
course. I have very carefully considered the subject in the light of the 
objections urged by Mr. Quinton to the restoration of the expelled 
Maharaja, and am of opinion that your Government was justified in 
yielding to those objections. The obligations imposed on you by the 

East India (Manipur), No.5, pagei 22-23. 


declaration of the Government of India in 1851, though not limited to 
Maharaja Kirti Ghundur, were necessarily dependent on the 
Maharaja's capacity to govern, and on his willingness to abide by 
our advice. In this case, the Maharaja's abandonment of his throne 
and territory (for I am satisfied that his abdication was deliberate and 
complete), and his unreadiness to follow the advice of your Govem- 
metrt, absolved you from looking to any other considerations than 
those demanded by the interests of peace and good government, white 
the representations of the local authorities, as well as the Maharaja*! 
previous history, indicated that these interests would in all probability 
be better served by the acknowledgment as Maharaja of the hefr 
apparent, than by the forcible restoration of one who had shown 
himself incapable of properly exercising the authority conferred upon 
nun - 

15. The decision to accept the Jubraj as Maharaja, if Sur Chandra 
Singh Was not to be restored, followed as a matter of course. He had 
not taken part in the insurrection, he was the heir apparent, he was 
supposed to be capable, he had shown himself amenable to advice, and 
there was practically no other competitor. 

16. So far then as the policy of your Government is concerned, 1 
am glad that Her Majesty's Government have been able to afford it 
their full support. It was honourable, it asserted the rights of the 
Government of India, and it was calculated to give assurance to 
feudatory Chiefs. Nor do I doubt that you were right in leaving to the 
discretion of the Chief Commissioner the details of the method of 
enforcing your decision. 

17. One question remains, which I think may be better dealt with 
in considering the orders of your Government than in considering the 
action of your subordinates. I refer to Mr. Quinton's intention for 
causing the Senapati, should he not surrender, to be arrested in 
Darbar. I have considered this subject very carefully in the light of 
your telegram of llth May last, in which you explained that you had 
no specific information on this point until the receipt of Mr. Gordon's 
telegram of 7th May, and I am satisfied that in giving your sanction to 
the proposals formulated in Mr. Quinton's telegram of 18th March, 
you had no reason to contemplate, and in fact did not contemplate, 
this action. I fully concur with you that nothing like treachery can be 
imputed to Mr. Quinton in this matter, but care should be taken that 
persons summoned to attend Darbars, which are almost universally 
understood to be held for ceremonial purposes, should not be subjected 
therein to measures of personal restraint." 

It will be observed that Lord Cross, while he concurs with the 
Government of India in holding that "nothing like treachery can be 
imputed to Mr. Quinton in this matter", indicates by the injunction in 
his last sentence as to future procedure some feeling of misgiving 
regarding the line of action that was adopted at Manipur. 

In paragraph 2 of the same despatch, reference is made to a 
Committee of Enquiry which the Government of India had constituted 
at Manipur and the Secretary of State observes that until he had 
received those proceedings and the Government of India's orders 


thereon, he would not be in a position to comment on the later phases 
of the question (i.e., the action taken by the local authorities in giving 
effect to the Governor-General's instructions which culminated in the 
disaster of March 1891). A Military Court of Enquiry presided over 
by Colonel Evans, 43rd Gurkhas, sat during May 1891 to investigate 
the action of Military Officers between 21st and 25th March, and also 
of civil officers so far as was known to the witnesses : while Major 
Maxwell, the Chief Political Officer, undertook simultaneous investiga- 
tions into "the causes and circumstances of the outbreak including 

the action of our civil and military officers between the 21st and 25th 
March."* It is a serious misfoitune that in spite of search at Manipur, 
in the Shillong and the Government of India Secretariat, and at the 
India Office, no record of either the Assam Government's nor the 
Supreme Government's views nor the Secretary of State's final decisions 
on those inquiries have been traced. 

These events were the subject of discussion both in the House of 
Commons and the House of Lords. 

On June 16th, 1891, Sir William Harcourt, the Member for Der- 
by, moved for papers in a moderate speech. One of the points he 
made was that it was improper to arrest the Senapati in Darbar. The 
Secretary of State for India, Lord Cross, being in the Upper House, 
Sir John Gorst, the Under-Secretary, replied. He made an unfor- 
tunate speech, which was severely criticised by other members and 
in one particular repudiated by his official superior. His main effort 
was directed towards defending the procedure which was adopted, and 
in particular repudiating any suggestion of treachery on Mr. Quinton's 
part. But he made a great blunder in advancing the theory that Gov- 
ernment did not like to have able men in native States, and that 
that in fact was the real reason for getting rid of the Senapati, a po- 
licy of cutting off the tall poppy heads. 

Mr. George Nathaniel Curzon, then the Member for Southport, 
and latter to become the great Viceroy, expressed his complete dis- 
agreement with the Under-Secretary and warmly defended the arrest 
in Darbar of the Senapati, whom he described as a man of infamous 
character. Mr. Campbell-Banncrman defended Quinton and Grim- 
wood as against the Government of India, who, he made out, made 
him act against his better judgment. Sir Richard Temple, the Mem- 
ber for Evesham and ^-Governor of Bombay, said it was not justi- 
fiable to summon the Senapati to the Durbar without giving notice 
of the intention to arrest him, but he defended generally the action 
of the Government of India. 

The general trend of the debate was in the direction of exonera- 
ting Quinton but condemning the Government of India. Gbrst, the 
Under-Secretary, undoubtedly made a bad impression. 

In the House of Lords on the 22nd of June 1891 the debate 
was on a rather higher plane. The ex- Viceroy, Lord Ripon, criticis- 
ed the Government of India's action as an unsatisfactory compromise 

* Eatt India (Manipur) 1891, No.5 C.6S48. 
HanaardVol. GGCLIV, 1890-91, Pages 541-641 and 985-1053, 


between two courses. Either they could have restored the e*-Raja or 
they could have acknowledged de ftoto the new one. But they chose 
the third course of acknowledging the revolution but punishing its au- 
thors. He condemned the arrest in the Dafbar but acquitted Quin- 
ton of any underhand intention. He severely condemned Sir John 
Gorst's "rash and cynical declaration" as to the policy of the Gov- 
ernment of India and he ended by begging the Government not to 
annex Manipur. 

He was followed by Lord Gross, the Secretary of State. He de- 
clared himself, subject, of course, to the advice of the Government of 
India, which had not yet been received, as against annexation. He 
described his Under-Secretary's suggestion that a man was to be re- 
moved from a State simply because he was an able man or an 
independent man as "utterly repugnant to all common sense and to 
all our practice in India or elsewhere". As regards the arrest in 
Darbar, he explained this particular one as being in the nature of 
a Gourt where Government's decision was to be pronounced but 
could find no precedent for the summoning of a man to a Darbar in 
order to be arrested and he expres ed his disapproval of such a proce- 
dure. He defended, however, the action of the Indian Govern- 
ment and paid a high tribute to the Viceroy, Lord Lans- 
downe. Lord Kimberley and Lord Northbopk, the second another 
ex- Viceroy, both condemned what was done in connection with the 
Darbar as being wrong, Lord Kimberley describing it as savouring 
"a little too much of oriental finesse". Both of them were opposed 
to annexation. Lord Derby also advised against annexation and said 
that the Princes would mistrust us if we did so. 

It is interesting to observe that throughout the discussions in both 
Houses there was no mention, much less criticism, of the ignominious 
flight of our officers on the night of March 24th. Probably details 
had not yet reached England. 

The future position of Manipur had to be decided. The Chief 
Commissioner, Mr. Ward, was decidedly in favour, as were a great 
many other officers, of annexing the State. Reviewing the facts in 
detail in a note recorded on the 16th July 1891, he stated his view, 
and in the strongest terms, that there were no mitigating circumstances 
which might lead to hesitation in declaring the annexation of Mani- 
pur. Paragraph 35 of his note sums up his views as follows : 

"35. To sum up, then, the views expressed in this note : 

( 1) In view of the recent events at Manipur, I think that we 
are not only justified in annexing that State, but that it is impera- 
tive for . the maintenance of our prestige, and as a lesson and a warn- 
ing to other Native States in India, and without any regard what- 
ever to financial considerations, that we should do so. 

(2) I have little doubt that the whole of the hill population, 
being one-third of the total population of the State, and that nine- 
tenths of the whole population of the State, would welcome annexation. 
In the case of the hill tribes I think there are obvious reasons 
why they should do so. Under the circumstances, unless we wish 
to cast off the obligation, which we took upon ourselves thirty years 


ago, of protecting the people of the State against oppression, and 
against the necessary consequences of misrule and periodical revolu- 
tion, I consider it to be a moral duty imposed upon us to annex. 

(3) Lastly, I have no doubt, looking at the matter solely from 
a financial point of view, that there are np ground* whatever for 
thinking that annexation will result in financial loss to GpvemineoJ;. 

The view taken by the Supreme Government was otherwise, as 
the following quotation from pages 286 to 288 of Tapper's Indian 
Political Practice, Volume II, shows : 

286. Another illustration of the policy of maintaining Native 
rule is afforded by the Manipur case, of which the main facts have 
been stated in the first chapter. In discussing the question whether 
the Manipur State should be annexed, the Viceroy, Lord Lansdowne, 
wrote as follows : 

"The questions which have to answer are, I think, two 

(a) Have we a moral right to annex the State ? 

(b) If we have such a right, is it desirable, upon grounds of 

broad policy, to exercise it ? 

The answer to the first of these questions must, I think, be in the 
affirmative. At the same time it might, I think be contended with 
some show of reason that the Manipur rebellion was the work of one 
man, and not a deliberate attempt on the part of the State to shake 
off our yoke. Be this, however, as it may, we cannot allow ourselves 
to forget that the lawful Rukr of Manipur a Ruler whom we h^d 
recognised was forcibly deposed ; that the nominal Ruler by whom 
he was replaced, has been properly convicted of waging war 
against the Queen ; and that the virtual Ruler of the State from the 
time of the conspiracy of September 1890, up to the date of occupa- 
tion, of the State by a British force, was the turbulent and disloyal 
ruffian who, supported by the whole of the Manipur army, and 
a* far as we know, by the people of Manipur generally, has been, 
implicated in an open rebellion, the ultimate consequence of whieh 
was the murder, under circumstances of exceptional horror and 
treachery, of. a high official of the Government of India and the 
officers with him. The savage hounding down of the telegraph 
officials, who were in no way connected with the political or military 
proceedings, and the barbarous murder of Mr. Melville, the entire 
destruction of the telegraph line, and the Desecration of graves in 
remote localities, have incideataUy ^U>WA thatf orders ]$uqt haye 
been issued for the extirpation of ajj traces of British 

We are, therefore, justified in holding that the State, as a wi*ofa, 
has been guilty of rebellion, and that it has consequently, forfeited Us 
right to exist as a State. 

It remains then to consider whether we are to insist upon 
such forfeiture or not. In arriving at a decision, we have, I tfainjc to 
determine one point only. Are we, or are we not, satisfied that it is 
possible to inflict upon Manipur and the Manipuris a punishment 
sufficiently significant and exemplary without annexation ? If 


a punishment has been, or can be, inflicted without annexation, I 
thimk we should certainly not annex. I am on principle strongly 
opposed to needless annexations, and I would have a scrupulous 
regard for the independence of the Native States in subordinate 
alliance with us so long as they remain loyal, and do nothing to forfeit 
their right to our protection. The onus should, I think, always 
be upon those who advocate annexation, and it Hes with them to show 
that no other course will satisfy the claims of justice and public policy. 
We have then to consider what punishment has already been 
inflicted upon the Manipur State, and what punishment, supposing us 
to stop short of annexation, can, or ought, yet to be inflicted upon 
it, and we have to decide whether, when all has been done that can 
be done without actually annexing, it will be possible for any one to 
contend that the offence of the State has not been sufficiently purged. 
As regards, then, the punishment which has been already 
inflicted, we have to remember 

(1) that the rebellion was promptly suppressed by the display 

of overwhelming force ; that in the only engagements 
which took place, considerable loss of life was sustained 
by the Manipuris ; and that their capital has been 
occupied during the last few months by British troops ; 

(2) In the next place, we have to consider the fact that, of the 

persons most conspicuously concerned in the rebellion, the 
Senapati and the Tongal General will be put to death, 
the Regent and one of his brothers transported and their 
possessions forfeited, and that suitable punishment has 
been inflicted upon the other offenders. Upon the 
assumption that the Senapati was the person most res- 
ponsible for the rebellion, and for the murder of the 
prisoners, his execution, and that of the Tongal, must be 
regarded as of the first-rate importance in respect of the 
exemplary character of the punishment. 

As to the future, assuming that we are to stop short of annexa- 
tion, I hold strongly that we should deal with the State in such a 
manner as to make it clear that, just as some of the persons tried before 
the Manipur Court were properly held to have forfeited their lives, 
although we did not exact the death penalty, so the State, as a 
whole, has forfeited its right to exist as a State, although, as a 
matter of clemency, we may determine not to insist upon such 
forfeiture. I would, therefore, in the contingency which we are 
supposing, pass sentence of extinction upon the Manipur State in the 
mqoyt solemn manner. I would revoke all existing Sanpds, and I would 
re-grant to a new Ruler whom we shall select a carefully limited 
ajooujH of authority under conditions which would for ajU time 
reader it impossible for any Manipuri to contend, as Mr. Ghose tas 
contended, that the State is one enjoying sovereign rights, and 
therefore not owing any allegiance to Her Majesty. The new Samd 
should, on the contrary, place Manipur in a position of distinct 
subordination, and any privileges conceded should be made to conti- 
nue only during the good behaviour of the Ruler, and the pleasure 
of the Government of India". 


287. With regard to the selection of a Ruler, Lord Landsowne 
did not think it would be desirable to restore the deposed Maharaja ; 
and eventually the choice fell upon a minor collateral relative of the 
Maharaja a boy aged five, named Ghura Ghand, the great grandson of 
a former Manipur Chief. The Viceroy was of opinion that the new 
sanad should put an end to the succession of brother by brother a 
system w ich had been fraught with trouble to the State, and His 
Excellency was inclined to adopt a suggestion made by Sir Mortimer 
Durand that to the new Ruler should be given the title of Raja instead 
of Maharaja. 

The views thus expressed by His Excellency were carried into 
effect by a Proclamation, dated August 21, 1891, and a notification 
dated September 1891, both of which are here transcribed : 

Proclamation. "Whereas the State of Manipur has recently been 
in armed rebellion against the authority of Her Majesty the Queen, 
Empress of India ; and whereas, during such rebellion, Her 
Majesty's Representative and other officers were murdered at Imphal 
on the 24th of March last ; and whereas, by a Proclamation bearing 
the date the 19th April 1891 the authority of the Regent, Kula 
Chandra Singh, was declared to be at an end, and the administra- 
tion of the State was assumed by the General Officer Commanding 
Her Majesty's forces in Manipur territory ; 

It is hereby notified that the Manipur State has become liable 
to the penalty of annexation, and is now at the disposal of the Crown : 

It is further notified that Her Majesty the Queen, Empress of 
India, has been pleased to forego Her right to annex to Her Indian 
Dominions the territories of the Manipur State ; and has graciously 
assented to the re-establishment of Native rule under such conditions 
as the Governor-General in Council may consider desirable, and in 
the person of such ruler as the Governor-General in Council may 

Her Majesty has been moved to this act of clemency by the 
belief that the punishment inflicted upon the leaders of the revolt, 
together with the imposition upon the State of suitable conditions of 
re-grant, will afford an adequate vindication of Her authority. 

The Governor-General in Council will make known hereafter the 
name of the person selected to rule the State and the conditions under 
which he will be invested with power." 

Notification (M.1862-E., dattd the 18th Somber 1891). With 
reference to the notification in the Gazette of India, No.l700-E., 
dated the 21st August 1891, regarding the re-grant of the Manipur 
State it is hereby notified that the Governor-General hi Council 
has selected Ghura Chand, son of Chowbi Yaima, and great grandson 
of Raja Nar Singh of Manipur, to be the Raja of Manipur. 

The Sanad given to Chura Chand is published for general 



The Governor-General in Council has been pleated to select 
you, Chura Chand, son of Chowbi Yaima, to be Chief of the Manipur 
State ; and you are hereby granted the tide of Raja of Manipur, and 
a salute of eleven guns. 

The Chiefship of the Manipur State, and the title and salute 
will be hereditary in your family, and will descend in the direct line 
by primogeniture, provided that in each case the succession is approved 
by the Government of India. 

An annual tribute, the amount of which will be determined 
hereafter, will be paid by you and your successors to the British 
Government . 

Further you are informed that the permanence of the grant 
conveyed by this Sanad will depend upon the ready fulfilment by you 
and your successors of all orders given by the British Government with 
regard to the administration of your territories, the control of the hill 
tribes dependent upon Manipur, the composition of the armed forces 
of the State, and any other matters in which the British Government 
may be pleased to intervene. Be assured that so long as your House is 
loyal to the Crown and faithful to the conditions of this Sanad you 
and your successors will enjoy favour and protection of the British 

288. The cases of Mysore, Baroda, Manipur and, we may add, 
Kalat are all leading cases of great importance and therefore the 
subject of frequent reference and comment in these volumes in connec- 
tion with the several topics of political policy and law. The Baroda 
and Kalat cases are a like in this that in both the Chief was 
actually or virtually deposed (for the Khan of Kalat merited 
deposition, and it seems certain that he must have been deposed if he 
had not abdicated), while in both the relations of the State with the 
British Government were allowed to remain unchanged. In both of 
these cases intervention was necessitated solely by the personal miscon- 
duct of the Chief himself ; the Sardars and other people of the States 
were sinned against, not sinning against us ; they had suffered from 
the oppression or cruelty of the Chief ; and the Sardars of Baluchistan 
were urgent in their appeals to the British Government to set them 
free from the tyranny of their ruler. The case of Manipur differed 
essentially in this? that, as Lord Lansdowne said, we were justified in 
holding that the State as a whole had been guilty of rebellion and had 
forfeited its right to exist as a State. Advantage was then very na- 
turally taken of the opportunity to get rid of a bad law of succession 
which had led again and again to disorders in the past ; and, in re- 
granting the State, to remove all ambiguity as to the nature of its 
dependence on the Paramount Power* If by force of arms we conquer 
a State in open rebellion, it is obvious that the conquest must sweep 
away the former system of relations existing between the suzerain 
and the feudatory ; and the facts in the Manipur case were dearly 
those of the conquest of a rebel State. The future system of relations 
must in such a case depend entirely on the will and pleasure of the 
conqueror, But if what we have to do is not to put down a rebellion 


against our authority but to remove a tyrannical Chief or sanction 
his abdication, then, though his breach of engagement may set us free 
to make new conditions with his successor, it is probable ettough that 
the expediency of making new conditions may, if any such are desi- 
rable, be outweighed by the expediency of exhibiting political self- 

The Chief Commissioner received the final order of the 'Govern- 
ment of India* in their letter No.l878-E., dated the 21st September 
1891, which ran as follows : 

"In continuation of the correspondence ending with my telegram 
No. 48-N. E., dated the 12th September 1891, regarding the regrant of 
the Manipur State, I am directed to forward the enclosed copy of a 
notification by the Governor-General in Council, No.l862-. ' published 
in the Gazette of India on the 18th instant. 

2. The sanad conferring the Chiefship on Chura Qhand, son of 
Choubi Yaima, is herein enclosed, and should be made over to the 
newiuler on the occasion of his investiture. A copy of the sanad is 
enclosed for information and for record in your office. You will 
observe that it provides for the complete subordination of the Mani- 
pur State. As the new Raja will be a ruling Chief with a salute of 
11 guns he will be entitled to the style of Highness. 

3. The investiture of the new Raja should be carried \ Under 
your orders without delay. The ceremony should be as puoiic a* 
circumstances will allow. The sanad should be carefully translated 
into Manipuri and read aloud in Darbar at the investiture, and in 
the meantime all publicity may be given to the contents of the 
notification. On the occasion of the investiture you should if possible 
arrange that the chief persons in the State shall in some suitable 
manner publicly express their allegiance to the new Chief ; and you 
should make it quite clear that his right depends solely upon his 
selection by the Government of India, and that the Government of 
India will not allow that right to be called in question on any ground 

4. Your proposals regarding the levy of tribute will be awaited. 
At present the information before the Governor-Genera! in Council 
regarding the resources of Manipur is not sufficiently definite to enable 
His Excellency to pass orders on this point* 

5. The Governor-General in Council has further determine4 that 
a fine of which the payment may be spread over a term 'of years shall 
be exacted from the Manipur State as a penalty for its misconduct. 
Your opinion is invited regarding the amount of such fine. I am to 
suggest that a sum of 2} lakhs of rupees (British) may be taken as Hie 
aggregate contribution on this account. According to your note of 

* 1892. Attam Secretariat ft-oceedingi, Confidential, A, Noi. 9*17, Re-gwurt 
<*the ftfemipur State, 


July 16lh, 1891, this would represent the pecuniary loss to Govern- 
ment caused by the outbreak. The contribution might perhaps be 
taken in labour employed upon the construction of good military 

6. With regard to the administration of the State during the 
minority, Major Maxwell is hereby appointed Political Agent in 
Manipur and Superintendent of the State, with full powers. He 
should exercise those powers with due regard for the customs and 
traditions of the Manipuris, and should endeavour to interfere as little 
as possible with existing institutions, in so far as they may be compa- 

7. The education of the newly selected Chief is one of the objects 
to which the attention of the Political Agent should be directed. I 
am to say that he should remain as much as possible in Manipur, 
and that the aim should be to make him a practical ruler, contented 
with his position and surroundings, and willing to spend his life in 
the management of his State. A complete English eduction is a 
matter of secondary importance. 

8. I am to inform you in conclusion that, although the Govern- 
ment of India have not thought it desirable to annex the Manipur 
State, they have given careful attention to the arguments advanced in 
your note of the 16th July 1891." 

Thus was Chura Ghand Singh, at that time aged 6 years, placed 
on the throne. This boy was the great grandson of Nar Sing, who 
was Regent during the infancy of Chandra Kirti Singh, then seized 
the throne for himself and reigned until 1850 when he died. Chura 
Chand was born, according to a statement made in Major Shakespear's 
annual report for 1904-05 on the Uth April 1885. 

From 1891 Manipur entered on a new phase of its history 
characterised, as the terms of the sanad indicate, by close control by 
the British Government and, indeed, until power was made over to 
the young Raja and his Darbar in 1907, by direct administration by 
British Officers. The events of this period down to the present day 
may most conveniently perhaps be dealt with under different heads 
rather than in chronological order. 

III. The Ruler and the System of Administration. The investiture of 
the Minor Raja took place on 29th April 1892, the proceedings being 
conducted with due ceremony by Major H. St. P. Maxwell, the Politi- 
cal Agent and Superintendent of the State. A guard of honour was 
supplied by the 43rd Gurkha Rifles. In the course of his speech, 
Major Maxwell announced* the abolition of the "Lalup" system of 
forced labour, for which was substituted a house-tax in the valley of 
Rs. 2 per annum, and of slavery ; and the imposition of a land revenue 
assessment at Rs. 5 a pan or 2J acres, and of a house-tax of Rs. 3 per 
year in the hills. 

* Assam .Secretariat Foreign, A, February 1893, Noi. 56-62. 


As regards lalup, the Chief Commissioner in his letter No.415*M.,* 
dated the 7th October 1841 with which were forwarded the instructions 
of the Governxnei t of India contained in their letter No. 1878-E., 
dated the 21st September 1891 referred to at page 78 above, had 
intimated his wish to see the system abolished as soon as might be. 
The Political Agent was then (vide his reply dated the 31st October 
1891) not in favour of its abolition until roads had been further 
improved, but the Government of India in a letter No. 568-E., dated 
the 26th March 1892, expressed a desire "that lalup should be abolished 
as soon as circumstances permit of this reform*', and it was in comp- 
liance with these instructions that Major Maxwell made the announce- 
ment of April 29th, 1892. In his report on the investiture, he stated 
as follows : 

"4. As regards the lalup, it may be thought that the present is an 
inopportune time to abolish a system which so greatly assists in improv- 
ing the backward communications in the State ; but, in addition to 
the desire of the Government of India to abolish the lalup, I have been 
guided in my action by the numerous cases of distress caused by the 
system which have come to my knowledge. The late Durbar worked 
the lalup in the same slow and easy fashion of its other undertakings, 
the majority of the lalup coolies on duty idled away their time, and 
more often than not were fed by the State during the term of service. 
Under our Engineers a real hard day's work was exacted from each 
man, and he had to feed himself. When sickness entered a house, the 
lalup member had either to carry out his lalup or purchase a substitute ; 
in former days the payment for a substitute was a few annas, but 
under the more businesslike way in which the lalup was worked by us 
it rose to 6 and 7 rupees. In Manipur the internal trade of the valley 
is carried on by the women, who are remarkably industrious, and the 
lalup fell heavily upon their earnings ; when a husband was unable to 
perform his lalup through sickness, the substitute was purchased by the 
wife's industry, and again the idle husband was relieved, when prac- 
ticable, by the same means. Over and over again have the groans of 
the lalup coolies reached my ears, and in consequence of the lalup much 
disappointment has been expressed by the subjects of the State at our 
rule. It further possessed the drawback of affecting only the poorer 
classes of the community ; all Brahmans and other well-to-do persons 
escaped the duty. Daily labourers on small wages are obtainable in 
the valley, and I do not anticipate any difficulty in obtaining labour 
for our public works in Manipur. 

5. In the place of lalup I assessed the valley with a house tax of 
Rs. 2 per annum. This tax, I estimate, will produce a sum as 
Rs. 50,000 yearly, which will enable me to carry out the public works 
of the district in an efficient manner. The poorer classes will be able 
to work out the tax, and the rich and others will have the opportunity 
to share the expenditure incurred on communications. The home- 
steads of the people are not taxed, and in the majority of instances the 
compounds are large. Should afterwards it be found that the house 
tax is too small, it can be increased by bringing them under assess- 

* Attain SecretariatForeign, A, February 1895, Nos. 50-55. 


He made the announcement of its abolition in the following 

" ...The first measure which is most open to abuse is the lalup 
system. This is a system which calls upon a certain part of the popu- 
lation to labour free for the State for ten days in every forty. The 
burden of this duty falls upon the poor, and the rich and Well-to-do 
escape it altogether. When sickness enters a house, the lalup member 
has either to carry out his lalup or purchase a substitute^ and very 
often the family is impoverished owing to his cause. It is, of course, 
necessary for the welfare of the State that its communications should 
be kept in good order, and that its public works should be progressive, 
but it also is the essence of just Government that these works should 
not be kept up at the expense of the poor only, or of only a small por- 
tion of the community. It is fair that every one should bear his quota 
of this expenditure, and, in consultation with the leading Manipuri 
gentlemen in Manipur, I have come to the conclusion that the system 
of laiup must be abolished, and it will cease from this date. To pro- 
vide for the necessary expenditure on public works, as a substitute for 
lalup, a uniform tax of Rs. 2 an hour per annum throughout the valley 
will be levied. I hope this change will be willingly accepted by you 
all .*' 

As regards slavery he wrote as follows. 

" ...6. The question of slavery has attracted my attention ever 
..... , , A since the arrival of the British troops in Mani- 

' Jfists** 2J r- Eai i y in May 1801 r was * iven a Ust t 

Male children 288 showing the number of the Raja's slaves, and 

Female children 128 ever since the birth increase to this number 
J5fi!? ow i i: 11 has been reported to me. My sanction to 

OW wid infirm per- 10 marriages of these slaves has always been soli- 
cited, and the poor people seem to think they 
are as much my property as the fowls in my poultry yard. 

The chief duty of the Raja's slaves is to cultivate the royal lands, 
retaining for themselves just sufficient of the produce to sustain life, to 
work for the Raja at all times, and it has been the custom of tre 
master, on marriage, to settle on his wife's family several of his slaves. 
Favourite Ministers and others are also on occasions rewarded by a 
gift of a certain number of slaves. Only under very special circum- 
stances are the Raja's slaves released, and the great majority have been 
born into slavery. 

Ordinary individuals possess slaves by purchase ; when a person 
is fined in a court of justice, and is unable to pay, he is sold to any 
other person willing to pay the fine, and the slave is retained until he 
is able? to refund the purchase money. Parents, when pressed for 
funds, sell their children, and any children born of these slaves become 
the property of the master of the slave. A husband for the same rea- 
son will often sell his wife and children, and marrying another woman 
will commence life afresh. On repayment of the purchase money, 
this class of slaves can redeem their liberty, but, as a matter of fact, 
having to work for their master, no means are open, except a nugget 
fall from the skies, to accumulate money, and death only frees these 
poor people from serfdom. The Chief Commissioner will see I have 


ordered that all persons at present in slavery to private individuals 
shall cease to be slaves in five years from the 29th ultimo or at any 
previous date on repayment of the purchase money, deducting one-fifth 
for each year's service commencing from that date. 

This in a measure may be considered to acquiesce in the system 
of slavery, but I did not see any other practicable way out of the 
difficulty. A leading Manipuri gentleman whose advice I sought in 
the matter, gravely proposed that a forward service of 25 years should 
be fixed as the term when redemption from slavery might be claimed 
I myself have no means of judging the number of people at present 
in bondage, nor the total sum invested in this kind of property, but I 
have great hopes, however, by offering advances for working on the 
roads, etc., of enabling mai,y persons to repurchase their liberty." 

At the conclusion of his address Major Maxwell made an allusion 
to the succession in the following terms, 

"...the Government of India has decided that the succession to the 
Chiefship of Manipur will be hereditary in the family of Raja Chura 
Chand, and will descent in the direct line by primogeniture, and that 
each succession must be approved by the Governor General in Coun- 
cil. " 

The young Rajah was sent to the Mayo College, Ajmere, in 189$, 
with his half-brother Raj Kumar Digendra Singh, where he had the 
advantage of the particular care and tutelage of Golohel Loch, the 
Principal of the College. Later on he spent a certain period with the 
Imperial Gadet Corps at Dehra Pun. 

In 1901 the Chief Commissioner (Mr. H. J. S., afterwards Sir 
Henry, Cotton) decided that the Raja, who had attained the age of 
16 in April 1901, should leave the Mayo College in order to obtain 
training in Manipur under the Political Agent. He returned accord- 
ingly in September 1901 in time to receive the Viceroy, Lord Curzon, 
who paid a visit to Manipur in November and held a Durbar at which 
the young Rajah was present. A tutor, Captain J. R. Nuttall, 44th 
Gurkhas, was appointed in September 1902. 

A Maharaja of Manipur must have at least 5 wives. The first 
one is known as the Maharani, the rest being called 'Ranis. On the 
17th March 1905 the Rajah celebrated his first wedding to Ngangbam 
Dhanamanjuri Ibemacha of Imphal. He married a second wife, 
Chingakham Syama Sakhi, in March 1908 : and a third, Ngangbam 
Priya Sakhi, subsequently. The first Rani had a daughter Tampha 
Sana, in 1909 and 4 more later on : the second, 3 sons, the eldest 
being born on 24th July 1908 ; the third 1 son and 2 daughter*. By 
1913-14 His Highness had acquired 2 more wives, z>ig., Chongtham 
Chetanamanjuri and Haobom Lilabatf , the second of whom bore him 
one son. In 1925 he married a sixth Rani, Maisnam Subadani, who 
gave birth to a daughter in 1929 and a son later on. In 1925 Her 
Highness the Maharani adopted as her own the son of the third Rani 
under the name of Jai Singh. 

On the 15th May 1907, the administration of the State was made 
over to His Highness, assisted by a Durbar consisting of one member 
of the Indian Civil Service lent from Eastern Bengal and Assam and 6 


Manipuris. It then had a balance of Rs. 2f lakhs to its credit, while 
its normal revenue was about Rs. 4,20,000 with an expenditure of 
Rs. 4 lakhs. The young Raja was formally installed on the gadi by 
Sir Lancelot Hare, the Lieutenant-Governor of Eastern Bengal and 
Assam in Febiuary 1908. (It is interesting to note that the Lieutenant- 
Governor's party travelled from the railway at Dimapur to Imphal by 
motor car.) 

In 1908 the Raja's new palace, built at considerable cost, was 
completed and occupied. 

On the 4th December 1917 His Highness was made a G.B.E., in 
recognition of his services in connection with the war, and was pro- 
moted to the hereditary title of Maharaja. He was made a K. G.S.I, 
on January 1st, 1934. 

On 12th September 1941, after a 50 years' reign he announced his 
desire to abdicate, but before the formalities towards this end had 
been completed, he died on 6th November 1941 at Navadwipin 

He was succeeded by Maharajkumar Bodh Ghandra Singh, born 
to the second Rani on July 24th, 1908. He was educated from the age 
of 12 to 20 at the Rajkumar College, Rai pur, where he was joined 
later by his brother Pryabrata. 1 hey went to England for 6 months in 
1922 with Mr. V. A. S. Stow, the Principal of the College, and were 
there for 6 months under the guardianship of Colonel Sweet. The third 
son, Lokendra Singh, also went to Raipur in 1925-26 and then to the 
Mayo College, Ajiuere, when he obtained the Chief's College Higher 
Diploma in 1035-36. Pryabrata subsequently pursued his education at 
the Ewing Christian College, Allahabad, and Allahabad University, 
where he took his B. A. degree in 1934 The third Rani's son, Jai 
Singh, adopted by the Maharani, also went to Ajmere in 1935-36. The 
Jubraj, as the eldest son and heir is entitled, was married in 1929 
to Rajkumari Tharendra Kishori or Ram Priya Devi, third daughter 
of the Raja of Bodo Khemidi, in Ganjam District, Madras Presidency. 
This marriage was an unhappy one, and he divorced her in 1941. 
He was married, secondly, on 18th June 1941 to Iswari Debi, eldest 
daughter of Prince Ramaraja of Ramnagar cousin of His Majesty the 
King of Nepal, and granddaughter of His Highness the Maharaja of 

The system of administration in Manipur underwent changes from 
time to time, and the rules at present (1941) force were framed in 1919 
after the Kuki rebellion. They weie approved by the Government of 
India, in their letter No. 4326-1. A., dated the 1st October 1919, a 
letter in which they laid special stress on the needs of the Hills portion 
of the State. 

The main features of the rules are as follows : 

(a) The Maharaja will be responsible for the 
the State. He is assisted by a Darfa 
which is selected by the Governor of > 
a member of the Assam cadre of the I 
There are at least 3 Manipuri memti 


His Highness can veto any resolution of the Darbar, but 
copies of his orders have to be submitted to the Political 
Agent. The latter can refer any matter to the Governor. 

(A) As regards justice, the Darbar is the highest Original and 
Appellate Court both Civil and Criminal, and may, in its 
latter capacity, pass sentences up to and including death, 
subject to confirmation by His Highness in the case of 
imprisonment of 5 years and upwards, and by the 
Governor in the case of death. 

The Ruler has powers of pardon in criminal cases and revisionary 
powers in both civil and criminal cases, subject to the approval of 
the Political Agent. 

Gases where hillmen are concerned and cases arising in the British 

reserve are excluded from the Darbar 's civil and criminal jurisdiction. 

Below the Darbar are a series of Courts going downwards thus : 

(i) Cherap Court. This has criminal powers up to 2 years 
and Rs. 1,000 fine (like a 1st Class Magistrate in British 
India) and civil powers up to any amount, 
(tt) Sadar Panchayat sitting in Imphal Criminal powers to 

3 months and Rs.100 fine. Civil powers to Rs.SOO. 
(tit) Rural Panchayats. Criminal powers to Rs.50 fine and 
civil to Rs.50. Appeals lie in each case to the superior 

In 1940, the then Political Agent Mr. C. Gimson, i. c. s., said 
that the Rural Panchayats did their work reasonably well : that the 
Sadar Panchayat was the subject of frequent complaint: that the 
Cherap Court had a very bad reputation : and that the Darbar as a 
Court was generally respected. References to His Highness were often 
kept pending for years. 

The Police consist of a small body of Civil Police, 56 in number, 
and a force of 233 State Military Police. The latter are an expensive 
force costing Us. 30,000 a year. Many of them were recruited from the 
Manipur Double Company which served in the Great War of 1914-18 
and were then smart and well-disciplined, but the force is of little or 
no value now. 

(c) Separate rules govern the administration of the Hills, and they 
are detailed in the chapter dealing with the subject. 

(d) As regards finance, the State Budget has to be passed annually 
by the Governor of Assam as Agent of the Grown Representative. 

IV. Relations wtih the Hill Tribes. After the events of 1891, steps 
were at once taken to improve road communications with British India 
and by February 1896 the bridle path to Kohinia had been opened as 
a cart road, though as yet unmetalled. 

In 1892 a band of Kukis led by one Toki raided Swemi, as the 
Aagaznis call it or, to give it its correct Manipuri name, Chingjaroi, 
a vulagc in the north east corner of the State, aad massacred some 
286 persons, This was duly punished by the Political Agent. 


In February 1910 a punitive expedition was sent by the Govern- 
ment of Eastern Bengal and Assam against two villages of Kukis lying 
in unadministcred territory on the eastern boundary of the State, who 
had been guilty of raiding both in the Naga Hills District and in 

In the following year a similar expedition under the direction of 
Colonel J. Shakespear, the Political Agent, and commanded by Major 
B. J. Pagan, was sent to deal with some of the more southern tribes in 
the unadministered Somra Tract. This also was successful. 

Kuki Punitive Measures. The most serious incident in the history of 
Manipur and its relations with its Hill subjects was the Kuki rebellion 
Commencing in the closing days of 1917, it cost 26 lakhs of rupees to 
quell, and in the course of it many lives were lost. 

In Assam letter No.6310-P., dated the 27th June 1919, which 
submitted for the orders of the Governor-General the cases of the 
principal rebel Chiefs arrested in connection with the Kuki punitive 
measures, is to be found a self-contained account of the origin and the 
circumstances of the rebellion. In this letter it is observed that one 
general defect in the administration of Manipur was that the rules did 
not make adequate provision for the administration of the hills. It was 
impossible for a single officer to tour satisfactorily in the huge area 
under his control. Secondly, between the hillmen and the British 
Officers . there intervened a most unsatisfactory intermediary in the 
shape of the petty Manipur officers termed Lambus. These men 
were responsible in no small measure for the rebellion. Thirdly, 
changes in the rules made in 1916 resulted in the President of the 
Durbar being very much tied to Imphal and so prevented from making 
long tours in the hills. Lastly, the war and other local troubles made it 
more difficult than ever for the President to devote the proper 
amount of time to the hill tribes. 

There is no doubt that the administration had been seriously out 
of touch with their hill subjects, that the latter were not always well 
treated, and that there were genuine grivances and genuine abuses 
behind the immediate cause, 'i. c. 9 the question of recruitment for the 
Labour Corps, which turned discontent into open rebellion. Such was 
the position in the beginning of 1917 when recruiting commenced for 
labourers for employment in France. Difficulties manifested them- 
selves from the start. The Chiefs were against this recruitment, while 
the Lambus used it unscrupulously as an opportunity to make money 
for themselves. In spite of these difficulties, however, by May 1917 
the first Manipur Labour Corps (No. 22) consulting of 2,000 Nagas and 
Kukis from the Hills was completed and went away. A second Corps 
was asked for in June 1917 but the idea was soon dropped and the War 
Office only asked for drafts for the existing Corps. The Chiefs continu- 
ed to be as obstructive as before and when the Political Agent 
met them in September 1917 they flatly refused to have anything to do 
with it. In November 1917, recruiting was suspended owing to the 
opposition. In December 1917, the Thado Kukis who had responded 

Political, A., February, 1920 No*. 1-57, 


poorly to the calls for the Labour Corps sent to France early in the 
year, broke into open rebellion and raided into the Manipur Valley. 
They had been alarmed by rumours of further recruitment and coer- 
cion, and by pictures painted by the Manipuris on the hill staff of the 
difficulties ana dangers of the journey to Europe and of service in 
France, in the hope that, by preventing recruitment, they would 
themselves avoid being compelled to accompany the Corps. The un- 
rest was brought to a head by a low class Manipuri adventurer who 
toured the hills with stories of the wane of the power of the British 
and promises of immunity in battle and favours to come, if the royal 
house were overthrown and he himself installed as the ruler of the 

Columns of the 3rd Assam Rifles, stationed at Kohima in the Naga 
Hills, and of the 4th Assam Rifles, stationed at Imphal since 1915 
were immediately despatched against the rebels. The area affected was 
the greater part of the hills south of parallel 25 15' in the west and 
parallel 25 0' in the east, the Kukis of the Somra Tract, which was 
still unad ministered, joining the rebels. In the south west, the 
villages south of parallel 24 30', and west of parallel 93 30', 
which had sent men to France, remained loyal. The villages, however, 
mostly belonged to non-Thado tribes. 

Between December 1917 and May 1918 three columns, aided by 
ope ations directed from Burma, acted vigorously and continuously 
against the rebels with varying measures of success. 

Towards the end of May, further operations in the hills became 
impossible, owing to the climate and the state of the rivers, and the 
rebels were left in peace until the following cold weather. They were 
still far from being subdued. A large number of villages had been 
destroyed, but, owing to the nomadic habits of the tribe and the 
flimsy nature of their houses, the loss sustained was small. More seri- 
ous was the destruction of considerable quantities of grain and live- 
stock and the interference with cultivation. But owing to their 
methods of fighting, in ambushes and stockades, which they quickly 
abandoned, as soon as outflanked, the Kukis had sustained very few 
casualties, fewer, in fact, than they had inflicted. They were able to 
supplement their supplies from their Naga neighbours who, though 
friendly to the forces of law and order, were afraid to refuse the 
demands of the more ruthless Kukis, better armed than themselves 
and living in their midst. The majority of the rebels, therefore, were 
not averse from continuing to fight, while those who were inclined to 
yield feared reprisals from the rebels, on the one hand and on the other 
punishment from the authorities for having taken up arms. 

The early part of the rains was marked by a succession of raids 
by the rebels. In the hills, especially, the Kukis seized the opportunity 
to pay off old scores against Naga villages, the Kabuis and Tangkhuls 
being the chief sufferers. Upwards of 200 heads were taken by the 
raiders, and several villages destroyed. With the object of protecting 
the Tangkhuls and inducing waverers among the rebel chiefs to sur- 
render, a column was sent out from Imphal in July, into the north- 
eastern hills. One of the most prominent chiefs in these parts event- 
ually made his surrender, and in September two leading Chiefs in the 


iritis came in, but without thdr guns. Negotiations 
with all the leading chiefs, promising them their lives and 
a fair trial, if they surrendered, with their guns, and assuring it hem that 
no further recruitment of labourers for France would take 'place. 
But the greater number of the chiefs decided to continue in rebellion. 

Long before this, however, the local officers had realised the seri- 
ousness of the situation and by May 1918 thev had begun to envisage 
military operations. In July a conference was heW at Government 
House, Shillong, at which Lieutenant -General Sir Henry Keary, 
Commanding in Burma, and Lieutenant-Colonel C. . Macquoid, 
then A. A. and Q,. M. G., Meerut Division, were present, and 
it was decided that military operations would be necessary in 
thfc cold weather of 1918/19. The Government of India showed con- 
siderable anxiety to avoid having to undertake operations, a natural 
attitude at this stage of the Great War and in view of the wide- 
spread commitments of the Indian Army Accordingly, in Septem- 
ber, 1918, at their instance, lenient terms were offered to the rebel 
chiefs, but the negotiations only resulted in the surrender of a few 
minor chiefs, who would probably have surrendered in any case. The 
majority of the 1 Somra chiefs surrendered before the resumption of 
operations. In the western hills, all thought of surrender was 
rendered impossible by the outbreak of hos'ilities between the rebel 
Kukis and a friendly Kabul tribe. A Kabul village, to pay off an 
ancient grudge, raided a small Kuki hamlet and massacred the inhabi- 
tants. The overlord of the hamlet, one of the rebel leaders, collected 
his forces and destroyed 20 Kabul villages, taking 76 heads. The 
Kukis now dared not surrender and give up their guns, for fear of 
the Kabuis taking advantage of their defenceless condition, and the 
Assam 1 Government made it fully plain in a letter dated 8th November 
1919' that it was now impossible to avoid military operations. The 
Government of India -agreed and the operations were entrusted to 
Brigadier-General Macquoid, in immediate command -with head- 
quarters >at Imphal, under the direction of Lieutenant-General Sir 
Henry 1 Keary. 

It had been intended that the period of grace fixed for the sur- 
render of the rebel chiefs should expire at the end of October, arid the 
operations should commence on the 1st November. But a serious out- 
break of the post war influenza, in a very fatal form, caused serious 
delay in the Naga Hills and Burma, and to a less extent in Manipur, 
ivith the result that active operations were not under weigh until the 
middle of the month. The scheme of operations consisted in divid- 
ing: tl\e hostile territory into areas, each with one or more well-equip- 
ped bases and chains of outposts, from which small and mobile detach- 
ments could operate against the rebels and keep them on the rim. 
In the south-eastern hills, friendly Ohms, and in the south-west Lushai 
and friendly Kukis, were armed and employed as scouts and irregulars. 
The rebels, who by this time were beginning to feel the pinch of hunger 
were 'impressed by the ubiquity of the forces opposed to them, and the 
first *>f 'the leading -rebel chiefs surrendered in December. By the end 
*f 'January, two-more had surrendered, while another had been cap- 
tured, and yet another killed by the Chin irregulars; By the<jfirot 


week in March all the leading chiefs had given themselves up, and 
they were quickly followed by the lesser chiefs. The operations 
resulted in the complete suppression of the rebellion, and the 
surrender of about 1,000 guns, of which approximately two- 
thirds came from the Manipur State and the remainder from Tnaung- 
dut and Somra. The troops engaged in the operations consisted 
almost entirely of the Assam Rifles and Burma Military Police, with 
only a few details of regular troops, such as Sappers and Miners. The 
Manipur State Military Police also co-operated. Political control was 
completely resumed by the civil authorities on April 21st, 1919, and in 
that month Messrs. W. J. Reid, I.G.S., and W. G. M. Dundas, I.P>, 
were appointed as an Advisory Tribunal in connection with the cases 
of the principal Kukis in the rebellion. In forwarding their recom- 
mendations to the Government of India, Sir Nicholas Beatson-Bell 
expresses the opinion that there was "much to be said for the point 
of view of the Kuki Chiefs", and that it was "possible to hold that 
they were more sinned against than sinning". In replying in October 
1919 to these recommendations the Government of India decided that 
a policy of clemency was both called for and justified, and in accord- 
ance with that view none of the Chiefs concerned were confined in 
jail except three persons, not really Chiefs, who were very seriously to 
blame. These were Chingakhamba, the Manipuri referred to above 
who exerted great influence over the Kukis ; Enjakhup, a Kuki ex* 
sepoy of the Naga Hills Battalion, who was described as the brains of 
the movement ; and Ngulkhukhai, who was guilty of certain outrage- 
ous crimes. It was proposed accordingly that the 9 Chiefs 
should be confined to an area in the neighbourhood of Sadiya, 
the headquarters of the Political Officer, Sadiya Frontier Tract. 

Though, with few exceptions, it was the Thado Kukis alone in 
Manipur who were concerned in the rebellion, the trouble spread 
both into Burma and into unadministered areas, while the Naga Hills 
District where it borders on Manipur was seriously disturbed. The 
Deputy Commissioner, Naga Hills, had to take precautionary measures 
for a long period. These are described in the chapter dealing with 
that district. 

Colonel H. W. G. Cole was the Political Agent up to May 
1917. It is pretty clear that he did not realise how serious the 
matter was, or if he did, he gave no serious hint of trouble either to 
Government or to his successor. Mr. J. C. Higgins was President 
of the Durbar during Colonel Cole's time and succeeded him as 
Political Agent until Mr. W. A. Cosgrave took over on the 27th of 
December 1917, when Mr. Higgins went on special duty. 
Mr. Higgins was engaged almost continuously between 1917 and 1 1919 
in connection with operations against the Kukis. Sir Robert Hender- 
son, a retired tea planter, was appointed President of the Durbar in 

It is worth while observing that at the end of 1917 there were 
similar serious disturbances in the Chin Hills in Burma, but it was 
agreed on all sides that they had no connection with the Kuki troubles, 
and that if there had been no recruiting for &e Labour Corps there 
would have been no rebellion, 


When the rebellion was at an end, the future administration of 
the Hills was the subject of anxious consideration. In their letter 
No.4326-1. A., dated the 1st October 1919, in which the Government 
of India conveyed their approval to the new rules they laid special 
stress on the needs of the Hills and their own desire to see the Hills 
properly ruled. Their order ran as follows: 

" .....3. In order to give effect to your proposals for the 

future administration of the hill tribes you recommend the appoint- 
ment of three Subdivisional Officers, with the necessary establish- 
ment, who will reside in different parts of the hills and administer 
their charges subject to the control of the President of the Darbar and 
of the Political Agent, and you consider it desirable that in the initial 
years these officers should be British or Anglo-Indian officers, who 
should be Government servants and whose services should be lent to the 
Manipur State, just as the President of the Darbar is lent. As there 
are few suitable officers in the Assam Provincial Civil Service who 
could be appointed to there posts, you propose to recruit two or three 
more officers with a special view to their employment in Manipur. 
In regard to the emoluments to be given to the officers appointed to 
the subdivisions you consider that, as they will be members of the 
Provincial Civil Service, they should receive their pay on the new 
time-scale of pay of that service, together with a local allowance of 
Rs. 150 a month to compensate them for the solitude of their 
surroundings and the responsibility of their work. You, however, 
suggest that it should be open to you to lend to the Darbar, as an 
alternative, the services of junior officers of the Indian Civil Service 
or of the Police Service, who, when so appointed, would receive 
similar allowances, provided that the total pay and allowances should 
in no case exceed Ri. 800 a month. 

4. The good government of the Hill tracts is an object in which 
the Government of India are directly interested, and in conveying 
sanction to these proposals I am to say that the Government of India 
also approve the other measures which you consider desirable for the 

' proper administration of the Hills, f. *., the opening up of roads and 
bridle-paths ; the extension of education among the tribes ; and the 
bringing of medical relief within the reach of the people of the 

5. With reference to the cost in introducing these reforms you 
estimate that when the subdivisions have been established and are in 
working order, the recurring expenditure on the Hill tribes will be 
approximately Rs. 1,25,000 a year. The revenues derived by the 
Manipur State from these tribes is not sufficient to cover this charge 
and as the State finances are at present not in a position to make any 
contribution on this account, you are of opinion that special measures 
are necessary for financing the reforms. You accordingly 

()' That the annual tribute of R. 50,000, payable by the 
Darbar, may, with effect from the current financial year, 
be reduced to Rs. 5,000, in recognition of the loyalty of 


Hi* Highness the Maharaja and of the aid furnished by 
the State in raising a double company of Manipuri aoldieis 
and a corps of labourers to take part in the war, and 
(b) That Government should undertake to pay the whole cost 
of the up-keep of the Mao-Imphal road. 

As regards (a), I am to say that it is inadvisable that war send- 
ees should be made a ground for the reduction of the tribute paid 
by a State. The Government of India desire to make it clear that 
the reduction of tribute is not sanctioned in recognition of the service! 
rendered 'by the State during the war but because they wish to ee 
the hill tribes- properly ruled and are willing to help the State in, this 
aim. Moreover it was expressly provided at the time that the 
Manipur tribute was fixed that the amount would be liable to 
reconsideration later and the Government of India are of opinion, that 
the .administration of the hill tribes is an appropriate object to which 
the tribute payable by the Manipur State might be diverted. The 
Government of India, accordingly agree to the reduction of this 
tribute to Rs. 5,000 a year for a period of ten years, in the first 
instance, with effect from th? 1st April 1920, on condition that a sum 
of Rs. 45,000 is assigned annually from the general revenues of the 
Manipur State for expenditure on the Hill tribes. 

As regards (6), the Government of India accept your view that 
Government should in future pay the whole cost of the up-keep of 
the Mao-Imphal road on the condition that the Manipur State will 
devote the sum of Rs. 30,000 a year which it at present contributes 
towards the maintenance of this road to the improvement of commu- 
nications in the hills. 

You request that allowance may be made for this liability in the 
new provincial settlement to be made under the Reforms Scheme. 
I am to say that due consideration will be given to this point when 
your proposals regarding the new settlement are received. 

6. You state that even with these concessions the Manipur State 
will find it very difficult to pay its way and repay the loans taken from 
Government by the sanctioned instalments of Rs. 60,000 a year. 
You accordingly propose to limit the annual payments on this account 
to Rs. 30,000 a year which will have the effect of deferring to the 
year 1937-38 the complete liquidation of the loan of Rs. 2,75,000 
granted to th* State in 1937 to remedy the results of the floods of 1916- 
17. The Government of India are pleased to agree to the action 
you propose." 

The wording used in Rule I of the rules which werethus approv- 
ed is important : "The hill tribes are administered on Hfc High- 
ness* behalf by the President of the Darbar, assisted by one or 
more Subdiviiional Officers". It is laid down that the President 
or the Subdivision^ Officer shall try all cases (both .civil and 
criminal) in which members of the hill tribes are concerned. 
Sentences of death or transportation or imprisonment exceeding 7 
yean have to obtain the confirmation of the Governor. His Highness 
has a night to 'be consulted in all matters of importance concerning the 

TAfTB 85 

Hill Tlbeft ( (Rule 14 of .the Rules for the General Administration of 
tta&ate). ThCiDwrbai exercises no direct control ; but from time to 
time it W triad Mtoidaiia some indirect control- through its power 
over the Budget. 

This.* policy as regards the hill tribes was anticipated ten 
yean , (before when Colonel J. Shakespear in sending up a revised 
set of rules for ; the administration of the State in his letter No. 1 
of the 4th April 1909, was emphatic about the dangers of letting the 
Ruler have control of the Hills (thereby differing from Mr. A. W. 
Dayis, who had been acting for him). The outcome of the, discus- 
sions was that the Eastern Bengal and Assam Government in their 
letter No. 4780, dated the 9th September 1909, proposed that the rule 
on this point (Rule 18) should run as follows : 

"The HiU Tribes are administered by the Vice-President in accor- 
dance with rules approved by the Local Government. His Highness 
shall -be consulted in all matters of importance and the Political Agent, 
in consultation with the Vice-President, shall try to. give effect to His 
Highness 1 wiakes, so far as may be. If the Political Agent is unable to 
agree, tot His Highness' proposals, the matter shall, if His Highness so 
wishes, be reformed to the Local Government." This in fact differs 
little from the rule accepted in 1919. At an open Durbar held at 
the Palace on 16th October, 1919, by the Chief Commissioner, Sir 
Nicholas. Beatoon-Bell, the new proposals were proclaimed. For the 
better administration of the Hills the area was divided into 4 Sub- 
divisions, one with headquarters at Imphal and three outside, viz. 9 
for the southwest area, inhabited by Kukis, with headquarters at 
Ghurachandpur ; for the north-west area, inhabited by Kukis, Kabul 
Nagafrjand Kachha Nagas with headquarters at Tamenglong ; and for 
th e north-east area inhabited by Tangkhul Nagas and Kukis, with 
headquarters at UkhruL To assist the State to meet the expenses of 
the new arrangements, the Government of India remitted for a period 
of 10 years, later extended to 15, Rs.45,000 out of the annual tribute 
of JtaSftyOOO on condition that the amount was spent on the Hills, 
while : the ^Afisam Government excused the State permanently from the 
annual; contribution of Rs,3G,000 towards the upkeep of the Manipur- 
MaO'Coad oa> condition that the amount was spent on improving 
communications in the Hills. 

In a resolution dated the 16th September 1920, Sir Nicholas 
BeatsonrBejl reviewed the history of events from the outbreak of the 
rebellion* which he d -scribed ai "the most formidable with which 
Assam has. been faced .for at least a generation" down to his own tour 
throughout areas which has been in rebellion, which he 
unaccompanied by any escort in May 1920. In it 
cordial-terms his appreciation of the attitude of His 
out the rebellion and of the statesmanlike view \ ' * 
problems that had arisen. 

Eastern Bengal and Attam, Political, A, Deceml 


In April 1922 conditions were considered to be sufficiently favour- 
able to allow of the return to their homes of the Kuki Chiefs who, 
since the rebellion, had been interned in Sadiya, and this was effected 
without any ill results. The policy of clemency which was adopted 
after the rebellion was justified, as the Kukis have been conspicuously 
loyal since. They are now enlisted in the Assam Rifles and two have 
risen to "be Subadars, one in the 3rd and one in the 4th Assam Rifles - 

From 1st January 1930, a rearrangement of the administration of 
the Hill areas was tried. The Subdivisions constituted in 1919 
were abolished, the outlying Subdivisional headquarters being done 
away with, and the whole hill areas was placed immediately under 
the President with two Subdivisional Officers to assist him, one being 
in charge of the South and one of the North 

In the year 1930-31 occurred the unrest connected with the rise 
of Jadonang, a Kabul Naga, who started a new religion and induced 
the superstitious Kabuis to believe that he would overthrow the existing 
administration and enable them to take revenge on the hated Kukis. 
The Political Agent decided to make an armed demonstration in 
February 1931 and proceeded with a column of Assam Rifles to 
Kambiron where Jadonang had established a temple, and other 
villages. Jadonang's temple and idols were destroyed. Jadonang 
himself had meanwhile been arrested in Gachar. He was handed over 
to the Manipur authorities in March, put on his trial for the murder 
of four unarmed Manipuris, probably as sacrifice to his new gods, in 
1929 and hanged on the 29th August 1931. 

But in spite of these stern measures, the Jadonang cult continued 
under the leadership of a girl called Gaidiliu. She was arrested but 
escaped, and the period subsequent to her escape saw the movement 
assume serious proportions. It was a semi- religious, semi-martial 
movement, affecting both Kabui and Kacha Nagas, the belief being 
prevalent that the new cult would eventuate in a 'Naga Raj' over afi 
the tribes in the hills, and to the special disadvantage of the Kukis. 
Besides Gaidiliu, a number of other "Mai has" or " medicine-men" 
arose in one village or another, usurping the authority of the village 
elders and inducing the simple villagers to believe that to accept the 
new cult would bring them all sorts of benefits. The movement spread 
in 1931-32 beyond the borders of Manipur into the North Gachar Hills, 
the plains of Gachar and the Naga Hills District and gave great anxiety 
to the Government of Assam. There was continued unrest among the 
Kabuis and Kacha Nagas in the hills to the west of the valley in 1932- 
33 but the administration had the satisfaction of capturing Gaidiliu in 
October 1932 at Kenoma in the Naga Hills. She was given * a life 
sentence in the Political Agent's Court for abetment of murder. 

Assam Secretariat,, Political, A, October 1920.1 

Anam Secretariat Political, A, February 
1920, Nos.1-57. 
Annual Report for 1931-32, pages 2-5, Hills for Jadonang. 


The uprising under Jadunang would almost certainly have been 
brought trader control earlier, if the Subdivisional Officers had been 
left in their subdivision instead of being brought into Imphal, and 
there is good reason to hold that the removal of the Subdivisional 
Officers from the Hills was the main cause of these troubles, the 
Administration being once more out of touch with the Hill Tribes. 
Accordingly, the north-west or Taxnenglong Subdivision was reopened 
in October 1932, and from 1st May 1933 a new arrangement was 
made whereby the hills were divided into 3 subdivisions, Sadar, Ukhrul 
and Tamenglong, an arrangement whicn remains in force now. The 
President, Manipur State Darbar, is himself in charge of the Sadar 
Subdivision while at the same time being responsible for the adminis- 
tration of the whole Hill area. Since 1933 a Manipuri Assistant has 
been appointed with the powers of a First Glass Magistrate, and is 
supposed to relieve the President of all the ordinary work of the Sadr 

Unrest was again reported in the year 1933 and in July of that 
year the Kacha Naga village of Leng had to be burnt. One Jinong- 
puri had set up himself as a leader there and built a shrine where they 
offered the head of a Manipuri, whom they murdered. He and his 
associates were convicted and sentenced to long terms of imprison- 

The most modern pronouncement on the question of the adminis- 
tration of the Hill Tribes is to be found in letter No.93 written by the 
Governor's Secretary on the 22nd April 1937, a few weeks after the 
New Constitution was inaugurated, in response to a request from His 
Excellency the Grown Representative for an appreciation of the 
position of Manipur in the future, in special relation to Federation. 
The references to the Hill Tribes are as follows : 

"2. The most important sphere in which the Political Agent and 
President of the Manipur State Darbar exercise control is that over the 
hill tribes. For that control there are historical reasons. In this 
connection, a reference is invited to letter No.6484-P. of the 4th July 
1919 from the Chief Secretary to the Chief Commissioner of Assam to 
the Secretary to the Government of India, Foreign and Political 
Department, in which it was emphasised that from the installation of 
the present Maharaja the hill tribes were treated as on a footing 
distinct from that of His Highness 1 Manipuri subjects, being only 
"dependent on" the Manipur State. The phrase "dependent on" 
exactly describes the position which has existed from time immemorial 
and still exists to-day. The State of Manipur consists of a central 
valley some 700 square miles in area, surrounded by 8,000 square miles 
of hills. In the valley there live 300,000 Manipuris and a few hill- 
men, while the hills are inhabited by 160,000 hill-men and no Mani- 
puris. The contrast between the almost fanatically strict Hindus of 
the valley and the beaf-eating, dog-eating tribesmen of the hills cannot 
be too strongly emphasised. The boundaries of the State do not 
enclose a cultural unit, but are rather a mixture of the limit up to 
which the Manipuris of the valley were in the past able effectively to 
extract tribute from the hill-men whom they despise, for in the eyes of 
a Manipuri a hilltnan is on altogether a lower plane of human life, 

He eould towever -be made a source of profit, .and till *&** *n ' much 
tribute as possible was existed from the hitfe while not a -ropBC WM 
spent 'for their benefit. The method of deaJiag irkfe recalcitrant 
subjects in .the -hills was a simple, if barbarous, one bawed on 'the iact 
that all hill tribes 'were head hunkers. If any v&rige Jailed* to p*?*he 
taxes- demanded, other villages were armed* with guns by <tbeS<*tc 
allowed to -go in and Decapitate ae many of 4he tnhabctetnte <as 

S. Even after 1991 there wa no proper admt nistrdtidn of the Ml 
tribes and mo proper provision for them in the budget. The expendi- 
ture on them "was only one quarter of the amount they t>aid 'in tatfra. 
Neglect of Itieir intercits and lack of touch between tncm and the 
administration came to a head in the Kuki Rebellion of 1918, which 
cost the Government of India nearly twenty lakhs of rupees, and 'the 
hin tribes and the forces engaged a large number of lives. After tile 
rebellion had been quelled proposals for the future administration of 
the Manipur State, including the dependent hill' tribes, were submitted 
to the ' Government of India with Mr. Webster's letter referred to 
above. Under the Rules approved in the Government of India's 
letter No.4326-I.A., dated the 1st October 1919, the Political Agent 
and the President of the Manipur State Darbar were given the control 
over the hill tribes which they now exercise. The President adminis- 
ters the hill tribes on behalf of His Highness, who is consulted in all 
matters of importance. The Political Agent, in consultation with the 
President, gives effect to His Highness wishes so far as is consistent 
with the orders of the Governor. The duties of the Political Agent are 
not clearly defined, but in practice his powers are wide. 

4. His Excellency, after careful consideration, has reached -the 
conclusion that the present control should in no way be lessened. It is 
a fact, if a regrettable one, that neither His Highness nor his Darbar is 
interested in the good government of the hill tribes, while they .grudge 
the expenditure of money on them. Nor would the hill tribes, all 
warlike peoples, tolerate a reimposition of the old Manipuri method of 
control by periodical massacre. There is Httle doubt that any consi- 
derable relaxation of our control would inevitably lead to head-hunting 
and tribal warfare. Thus when one of the hill subdivisions in the 
State was abolished in 1970, war between Kukis and Nagas was 
preached within a few months and the hills were soon - in a turmoil. 
Murders were committed both in the State and in the adjoining 
British District of the Naga Hills, and even now some of the murderers 
are still at large and in fact it is only on the surface that there is peace. 
In this connection a reference is invited to the correspondence resting 
wkh letter No.D.-3754-P/32 of the 8th December 1932 .from 4he 
Deputy Secretary to the Government of India on the subject -of unrest 
among the Kabui Nagas and the case of the' woman Gakliliu, as 
Illustrative of the ease with which unrest can arise and the difficulty 
with which it can be allayed among these primitive peoples. His 
Excellency feels that only by maintaining a decent standard of adminis- 
tration can peace be preserved. Nor would a rising in the 'hills of 
^fanipur be confined to that locality. It -would undoubtedly , have 
most serious repertuesions in the State, in Assam, and probably, in 


Burma. History shows that the Manjpuri cannot and wijf not givp the 
hills an adnmUtr^tipii of the standard to wfcfcfc Owy arc l?oth < 

and now ajccus*0med a.d that U can, only b^ maiotauvwi by tfct 

now exercised. \ycareun.der a# obligation, to the W U&CT IP 

maintain 1$ the?* a decent adjninistcatfoi). Tfc$ cjD 

and rebeUkm among them might be disastrous 4pr ftf 

be mosjt dangerous for thoje portions of Bri^K Ifldia 

lie along Manipur/s boundaries." 

V. Internal Affairs. 1& May-July 1893 the Ma?ur . 

visited by a terrible epidemic of cholera which caused some 6,053 
deaths, including that of the wife of the Political Agent, Captain Cole. 

Ten- years later an even worse epidemic carried off 12,491' persons 
in the valley or 6*5 per cent, of the population and double the number 
that died at the last visitation. In a similar epidemic in May-August 
1924, 7,327 persons perished An outbreak in 1935 promised to be as 
bad as that of 1908, but the efforts of ^ medical sjUuJ and.tbe more 
enlightened attitude of the people enabled effe^uye pr,cveRtiy$ 
sures to be taken, and the number pf deaths was only 

In 1904* there were disturbances in Imphal known as "nupi Ian? 
or the women's war, arising out of an order issued by the then poli- 
tical Agent, Lieutenant-Colonel H. St. P. Maxwell, temporarily resus- 
citating "laUip" or forced labour for the purpose qf maltiqf the 
Manipuri inhabitants of Imphal rebuild as a puwstoc^e^t the Awwfcant- 
Political Agent's bungalow, which had been burnt down. Colonel 
Maxwell attributed the burning of this bungalow, which was only one 
of several such incidents, to incendiarism on the part of the Manipur 
inhabitants of the town, instigated by the "Raj-kumars" or descendants 
of the late ruling house, as a means of showing their dislike for the 
Ruler who had been imposed upon them in 1891. There was violent 
agitation, and demonstrations by the market women had to be dis- 
persed by force, but the whole thing was over within a week. In 
making his recommendations on the matter to the Government of 
India in his letter No.2-C., dated the 19th October 1904, the Chief 
Commissioner, Mr. J. B. Fuller, expressed a doubt as to whether It 
had been wise to allow the families of the former Regent and Senapati 
(Tikendrajit) to return, as they did with the sanction of the Govcrnr 
ment of India in 1900, to Manipur after the incidents of 1891. Be 
that as it might, the Chief Commissioner now advised the banishment 
of such of the six Rajkumars who had been arrested as ringleaders of 
the disturbances and who could not show good cause against banish- 
ment. The Government of India agreed to this measure, and all six 
were .banished, together with Arsem Gulab Singh, President of the 
Town Papchayat Court, who had been found guilty of serious ^ 
entailing a false charge against the Raja himself. 

Sta**, A, June 1940, No,454-507, Page. 60-62. 

* Amm Secretariat, Foreign, A, March 1905, Noa.UfS. 


' : In the letter referred to, Mr. Fuller had something to say on the 
subject of "lalup" which Colonel Maxwell said he had resuscitated for 
the purpose of punishing the disaffected element in Manipur. The 
Chief Gemmnsiorier explained that though, as reported to the Govern-' 
ment of India in telegram No.23-S., dated the 1st May 1892, 'The 
system of forced services known in Manipur as Lalup" had been 
abolished oil the occasion of the investiture of the minor Raja, this 
abolition did not extend to labour for annual repair of roads and 
embankments. He \vas not satisfied that it was desirable to continue 
the systenh and proposed to make further 'inquiries. 

. On the 22nd, November 1904, Lord Kitchener, the Commander- 
ih-Chief, visited Manipur on his way to Burma. Unlike Lord Curzon, 
who travelled via Cachar, he chose the Kphima-Mao route, and is said 
to* have had the satisfaction of completing the further journey from 
Manipur to Burma in one day less than the great Viceroy took in 

1911 saw one of those periodical visitations of scarcity consequent 
on the seeding of the wild bamboo which attracted hordes of rats which 
then turned their attention to the rice crop and destroyed it in the 
Villages of the South Western tract of the hills. Elsewhere, though 
there was scarcity it was by no means serious and relief measures were 
not necessary. 

In 1912 there was worse scarcity as the rats destroyed the millet 
on which the hillmen were relying to replace their lost rice crop. 

Early jn 1913 the public peace was seriously disturbed by a wide- 
spread agitation against the system of "pothang" or compulsory labour 
provided by villagers for the repairs of roads and schools and the 
transport of officials 1 baggage, every village in the valley combining in 
passive . resistance. The administration almost came to a stand- 
still, attempts at conciliation were in vain, and finally a detailed 
scheme for the abolition ofpothang and the substitution of grants for 
road and school repairs and for officials' travelling allowance were 
drawn up and sanctioned by the Chief Commissioner. The abolition 
ofpothani was proclaimed on June 9th, 1913 together with orders 
Regarding the imposition of new taxes to defray the extra cost conse- 
quent on the abolition ofpothang. These new taxes gave rise to fresh 
agitation which it took some time to allay. The Darbar then went 
into the various other ancient obligations and services of the people to 
the ruler and the State and put them on a regular, in many cases a 
cash, footing. The Vice-President's annual report for the year 1913- 

14 describes it as c 'a memorable one in that it saw the la$t of all 

the, old systems binding the people to personal service to the State.-' 

In October 1916 occurred disastrous floods. Practically the whole, 
of Imphal was submerged and great damage and distress was caused 
both in the Manipur Valley and in the settlements in the valleys of 
the Barak and Jiri rivers on the Cachar border. .Some 35,000 acres of 
rice was severely damaged. -The cost of repairing public Works was 
estimated at a lakh of rupees and Rs. 11 ,0QO was spent .in the relief of 


In May 1921 and February 1922 detachments of the Manipuri 
Military Police were sent to assist the Assam Government in maintain,* 
ing order on the Assam -Bengal Railway and in Sylhet and Silchar 
during the troubles consequent on the Civil Disobedience movement- 
a tribute to the efficiency and discipline which they then possessed, ,, * 

In 1921 there was great distress owing to the' high price of rice 
resulting on the poor harvest of the previous winter. Relief 'works 
were opened ana gratuitous relief distributed and the State had to 
spend Rs.20.000 on famine relief. 

In November 1926 the Gommander-in-Ghief, Sir William Birdwood, 
passed through the State on his way to Burma. 

In June 1929 the Valley was visited by severe floods similar to 
those of 1916, and great damage was done to the State works, includ- 
ing the new Hydro-Electric plant, necessitating the taking of a loan of 
Rs. 99,000 from Government for repairs. Owing, however, to the 
time of year at which they occurred, the damage to crops was not so 

The Viceroy, Lord Irwin, visited the State in January 1931, the 
first visit made by a Viceroy since that of Lord Gurzon, 30 yean 

In 1939 and 1940 there was a substantial amount of agitation 
arising partly out of economic conditions, partly out of grievances of 
other sorts. There was an unfortunate incident on December 12th, 
1939, when the President, Manipur State Darbar, and other British 
officers were besieged in the Telegraph Office in the British Reserve 
by hundreds of bazar women who had in the end to be forcibly moved 
aside by men of the Assam Rifles. The occasion for this was the eco- 
nomic grievance arising out of a rise in the price of rice due to exces- 
sive exports coupled with a genuine fear of a shortage of rice 'in 
Manipur, where a shortage means starvation, because it is impossible 
to import rice at a price which Manipuris can pay. The heavy exports 
in turn were the result of the numerous rice mills which have sprung 
up in Manipur. Though the export of rice was stopped and the mills 
ceased working, the agitation, which was fomented by Congress ele- 
ments in Assam, persisted for many months in 1940 and gave rise to 
some anxiety. 

VI. External relations. Boundaries, to which Mackenzie's book 
devotes considerable space, were the subject of discussion many times 
after 1883. 

Controversy centred chiefly round the Kabaw Valley in its bear- 
ing on the Burxna-Manipur frontier, the dispute regarding which was 
kept up till modern times, though it may now be regarded as 

Mackenzie deals with this matter at pages 175 and following of 
his book. The important dates arc as follows. In 1834 an agreement 
was reached with the then Government of Burma by which the boun- 
dary between Burma and Manipur was placed at the eastern foot of the 

4$ TOE KANtttTft SfAf 

xfcttftkttattis oti the west of the plain of the Ktibaw Valley, in other 
wtttfothfe valtey was ceded to Burma. Maniptir was grunted com- 
pWi&tiori ttt the rate of Rs.500 a month on account of the loft of terri- 
UMry; Thfc agreement received the sanction of the GWferttmWit of 

In 1882 a Boundary Commission was appointed to examine the 
Boundary or rather only a part of it, i.*., that part north of Kdngal 
saJMu Colonel Johnstone who incidentally was a staunch supporter 
0f Manipur's claims to the Kubo Valley was appointed on the Matnipur 
side, but Burma did not co-operate in the matter and the Commission 
diH to'wttrk 'without their assistance. The Government of India accept- 
ed the findings of the Commission and the Secretary of State approved 
of them in his Despatch No. 8 of 31st January 1883. 

In 1896 m Joint Boundary Commission on which Colonel Maxwell 
Mmfcipur and Captain MacNabb represented Burma explo- 

e po- 

red the boundary between the two countries south of Kongol thana up 
to th Thwin river. They defined as far as possible the boundaries 
laid down by the agreement of 1834, their conclusions were accepted 
by the Government of India in their letter No. 1262-E.B., dated the 
fifth juty $96, and the Chief Commissioner of Assam accepted the 
t>0iihd*ry in his letter No. 478*For.-S299-P. of the 5th August 

Ih 1924 thfc Ttomaraja raised the question again regardless bf the 
Ibng period which had elapsed since the boundary was last defined. 
His toalfffcbint Wa that the existing boundary did not follow that 
Wttfdi hdtf been agreed on in 1834. There folldwed a long cbfrespon- 
idfenfcfc txtftftfen Mahipur, Afeam and Burma. In a letter dated the 5th 
Jtirife I9i8 thb Governor in Council expressed the opinioh that the 
matter 6iight to be drbpj)ed. The Maharaja, however, persisted and, 
Ob its being again represented to them, the Government of India in a 
letter dated the 3rd October 1929 said they would be prepared to 
tee&nttder the matter. They referred it to Burma and said they would 
'be Jtfcpkrfcd to appoint a board of Arbitration. Burma expressed the 
Ifrbngest opposition to the fe-bpening of the case and incidentally 
{jointed out that if it was re-opened then they could not avoid in 
rdl'rnte k> r efuie to re-opfen also the claims of the Thaaagddt Sawbwa 
In thfc territory lying to the norm of Kangal thana. Assam agreed 
entirely with the view taken by Burma and informed India accbr- 
jdingly. His Highness, however, expressed a wish to visit the area in 
.peiron aiui there the matter rested. The Maharaja never in fact found 
it convenient to make the proposed visit. 

In 'Match 1936 this question, among others, formed the wrbject of 

< *<mfiUftndftm rigned by His Highness for Babniiswon to the States 

Enqtiftty "Ooxrimittee which was set up in connection with . Federation. 

The Committee, ^however, held that the matter was outside their terms 

of reference. . 

1. PolifiaU, A, December 1931, Nos. 80-11*. 
9. PcOitkml, A, June 1932, New. 75.118. 
8. Politic*!, A, September 1&S, Not. 1-18. 

fttE UANIttTft STrATlS 3 

The last time on which it was raised was in August 1932 When the 
Maharaja agaiti addressed the Local Government. In forwarding the 
representation to the Government of India in a letter dated the 6th 
April 1934 the Government of Assam strongly advised against action 
tore-tipen the matter being taken or even contemplated and His 
Excellency In Council expressed his hope that the Government of India 
would decline to consider the proposed retrocession of the Kabaw 
Valley. The matter was finally disposed of in the Government of 
India's letter No. F.453-P/34, dated the Uth April 1935, in which they 
said that "The agreement of 1834 could not be revised at this late 
stage and the Government of India are unable to agree to an enhance- 
ment ol the rate of compensation which had been fixed and enjoyed for 
a period of 100 years". 

The question of the Somra Tract was of interest to Manipur. 
The 'tract lay on her North-East frontier in the direction of Burma, 
in the hills north of the Kabaw Valley, between the Tizu and the 
Nambanga rivers, and covered some 800 square miles inhabited by 
Thado Kukis and Tangkhul Nagas. The latter were concentrated in 
the north west corner of the Tract. The Kukis, who were immi- 
grants ol the Manipur State lived in the eastern and southern part of 
the Tract. 

Both the Tangkhuls and the Kukis were in the habit of making 
occasional raids into the Naga Hills, the Manipur State, and Burma, 
and from time to time expeditions were sent to exact reparation 
In 1897, a force of 150 of the 44th Gurkha Rifles, with 50 Manipur 
State Military Police, destroyed Somra Khulen, the principal Tang- 
khul village arresting some raiders and recovering two heads taken 
from a Manipur hill village. In 1910, a joint force of the 17th 
Infantry, the Naga Hills Military Police and the Manipur State 
Military Police visited the Kuki villages in the north of the tract, 
imposing fines for raids and arresting the Chiefs of the villages con- 
cerned. In 1911, a force of the 17th Infantry and the Manipur 
State Military Police visited and destroyed the Tangkhul village of 
Somra Phuntret, and fined and disarmed a Kuki village in the south of 
the Tract. 

In a letter dated the 11th September 1915, Burma made the pro- 
posal that the Somra Tract should be brought under administration 
and included in Burma. In 1908 and again in 1911 and 1912 they 
had 'considered the matter but decided against such action, as the 
Tract was giving ro trouble and the Chief Komyang kept a good 
control over his Kukis. Komyang, however, was now dead and there 
wtn no hope of peace. This proposal seems to have had some rela- 
tion to 1 * letter from Assam, No. 1544P. dated the 3rd April 1914, 
which made certain proposals regarding this Tract. 

There were 'two parties of Kukis, one under the son of Komyang, 
Which numbered 22 villages and 496 houses and the other under Pasc, 
or Pachei which numbered 6 villages and 107 houses. The latter por- 
tion were Chassads. The Nagas were in 11 villages and numbered 
1,002 houses. There was agreement between Assam and Burma that 
the Somra Tract naturally belonged to Burma and not to Manipur. 
The only doubtful point was a small area, hatched on the map, and in 


subsequent proceedings known as the "cross hatched area", as regards 
which there was doubt as to whether it should properly go to Assam 
or to Manipur State. Be that as it may, the Tangkhul Nagas in the 
Somra Tract were anxious to be administered and to be saved from 
what was described as " wholesale slaughter" by the Kukis. In letter 
No. 3270-P., dated the 27th May 1916, the Assam Government recom- 
mended to the Government of India that the Somra Tract should be 
placed under Burma leaving the fate of the cross-hatched area for later 
consideration. More than a year later, the Government of India 
agreed to the proposal regarding the Somra Tract in their letter 
No. 359- E.B., dated the 23rd November 1917. 

3. The Cr&ss-haiched Area. As indicated above there was difference 
of opinion as to the correct affinities of this area. On the one side 
Mr. Higgins, the Politic? 1 Agent in Manipur, expressed the view that 
the villages in the cross-hatched area had paid taxes to Manipur State 
for many years and considered themselves subjects of that State, while 
on the other side the view was equally firmly held, though they were 
unable to adduce any very strong reasons for it, by the Commissioner, 
Surma Valley Division, Mr. W. J. Reid, and the Deputy Commis- 
sioner, Mr. H. C. Barnes, that the cross-hatched area ought to go to the 
Naga Hills. 

In December 1917, the then Commissioner, Mr. W. J. Reid, rather 
modified his views and suggested that the Tungkhul villages in the 
cross-hatched area might be given to Manipur in exchange for Jessemi, 
a Naga village, in Manipur territory. In the meanwhile Government 
were preoccupied with the widespread Kuki Rebellion of 1917-1919 
and when the matter was raised in 1919 and again in 1920 the Chief 
Commissioner, Mr. Beatson-Bell, declined to take it up. Finally how- 
ever in April 1922 the then Chief Secretary, Mr. A. W. Botham, 
suggested that the cross-hatched area should be recognised as belong- 
ing to Manipur. Sir William Marris agreed and Mr. Reid gave way. 
A request was made to the .overnment of India accordingly in our 
letter of the 26th April 1922 and they agreed. The northern boun- 
dary of the area was finally defined in 1923. So ended a trifling 
matter, affecting three small villages, which was noted on and re-noted 
on for a matter of seven years. 

VIT. The Great War of I9I4-I6V The first 2 years of the Great 
War, viz., 1914-15, 191 5-16 made little difference to the life of the 
State, except at the beginning of the War when the wildest rumours 
were current, soon however to be satisfactorily allayed. In 1916 His 
Hignness offered to raise a Double Company of men for service. This 
was accepted and they were sent under the command of Mr. F. B. 
Blackie, the Raja's Private Secretary, to be trained with the 3 /39th 
Garhwalis at Lansdowne. Some 215 men of the Manipur Contingent 
were ordered to go on active service in Mesopotamia during 1917-18. 
This led to considerable uneasiness and opposition which was however 
overcome by the Raja's personal exertions. He visited the unit at 
Lansdowne in February 1917. 

Political, A, May 1916, Nos. 15-37. 

Political, B. June 1919, Nos. 56 2-578. 

Political, A, June 1922, Nos. 3-6. 

Political, A, December 1923, Noe.l-17, which includes a uiefrl map. 



His Highness presented an aeroplane and two motor ambulances 
to the Imperial Government at a cost of Rs.22,500. 

One unfortunate outcome of the War, so far as Manipur was con- 
cerned, was the Kuki Rebellion of 1917-19. This is dealt with above 
under the heading "Relations with Hill Tribes". 

VIII. The Constitution Act of 1935. The Government of India Act, 
1935, brought fresh problems with it. The Central Government were 
anxious to bring all States still in relations with Local Governments 
into direct relation with the Government of India. But in the case of 
Manipur so many difficulties were found to stand in the way that it 
was decided that when the new Act came into force relations with the 
State should be conducted by the Governor of Assam in his personal 
capacity as Agent of the Crown Representative, and by letter No.F.544- 
P/36, dated the 1st April 1937, he wa? authorised under section 287 of 
the Act "to discharge such functions of the Crown in its relations with 
Manipur State as had hitherto been performed by the Governor in 
Council of Assam". This in fact has led to no practical change in 

Federation in terms of Part II of the Government of India Act, 
1935 and all the complicated questions connected with it, was the sub- 
ject of prolonged correspondence and discussions between 1936 and 
1939, and one of the principal subjects of controversy was, of course, 
the administration of the Hills. Though ihey cover some 7,000 square 
miles out of the State's total area of 8,000 square miles and contain a 
population of about 150,000 persons, it has never, and with reason, 
been adjudged safe to leave their administration* in the hands of the 
Ruler. To quote the words of Mr. A. C. Lothian of the Political 
Department who in 1936-37, was on special duty in connection with 
Federation "the Ruler's sole concern with Federation would appear to 
be whether by so doing he would lighten the political control exercised 
over him by the Assam Government and regain direct administrative 
control over the Hill Tribes". The Assam Governor's Secretary's 
letter No 93-G.S., dated the 22nd April 1937 gives an appreciation of 
the then position and an outline of what was considered necessary for 
the future. The views of the Governor as regards the administration 
of the Hills were that they could not possibly be handed over to the 
Ruler, and he cited a number of cogent reasons to that effect. This view 
was accepted by the Government of India in their letter No.F.359-Fed./ 
36, dated the 30th July 1937. Two years later the Ruler again raised 
the question of the Hills during the course of discussion on the details 
of Federation (Enclosure to D. O No.F.69-Fed./36, dated the 13th 
July 1939, from Political Department), but he agreed in a letter dated 
July 2Tst, 1939, to federate on terms which covered the exclusion of the 
Hills from his direct control. 

But the hopes that Federation would be established by 1938, i. *., 
a year after the inauguration of Provincial Autonomy were never ful- 
filled. Further discussion were brought to an abrupt end by the out- 
break of the Second World War in September 1939, during which, as a 
letter from the Government of India expressed it, "it was not expected 
that in view of War pre-occupation, His Majesty's Government will be 
able to give active attention to Federal problems". 


The new status assumed by Burma under the Act of 1935 raised 
the question of the relations of Manipur with tbat country, 119 longer 
part of India but a separate Dominion. 

In November 1936 orders were issued by the Government of Jnd* 
at to the channel of communication on matters affecting Indian Sftrte* 
and Burma and it was laid down that all correspondence on matters 
affecting Indian States and Burma should be conducted through &e 
headquarters of the Grown Representative, except that as long as the 
Governor acted as Agent of the Grown Representative, correspondence 
which was not of importance and did not affect policy should be con- 
ducted direct between him and Burma regarding Manipur, the Khasi 
Hills and Tribal Areas. 

IX. The Tribute. The circumstances under which the Tribute of 
Rs. 5 0,000 per annum was imposed and was later, with effect from 1st 
April 1920, reduced to Rs.5,000, at first for 10 years, a period later 
extended to 15, have been recounted above. The condition of the con- 
cession was that the difference between Rs. 5 0,000, and Rs.5,000 i.e., 
Rs.45,000 should be spent on improving conditions in the Hills. To this 
concession was added at the time a further concession! of Rs. 3 0,000 on 
account of contribution for the upkeep of the Manipur- Mao road. This 
concession was an absolute one and not for a term of years but the same 
condition that the money thus made available should be expended qn 
the Hills was attached to it. The period of the concession expired on 
the 21st March 1935 and the Government of India put forward the 
proposal that the concession should^be withdrawn. Though the Political 
Agent protested vigorously against the withdrawal of the concession, 
the Assam Government agreed that the payment might be gradually 
restored, the instalments being increased until they reached the full 
amount of Rs. 50,000 in 1939-40. There was some discussion as to the 
distribution of the instalments but the matter was finally adjusted and 
the full amount is being paid since 1939-40. Arrangements have been 
made to ensure the expenditure of a reasonable amount on the Hills. 

States A, June 1940 Nos.1-41 



I, 18811890 .. .. 99 125 

II. 1890 1900 . . . . 125- J30 

III. 1900 1913 .. .. 130149 

IV. The extension of the Control Area after 1913 149 162 

V. 1914 1923. Other events . . 162 167 

VI. Jadonang and Gaidiliu, 1931 1941 167175 

VII. Pangsha and other Expeditions, 19361939 175 178 

VIII. The Constitution Act of 1935 178 


I. Jfll--l90.--The history of the Naga Hills since 1882, where 
Mackenzie leaves off, is the same in kind as that of thr years preced- 
ing. The process of penetrating into the Hills, the early 
stages of which are described in Mackenzie's book, has been 
a gradual one, dictated originally, and mainly, by the necessity of 
protecting our settled districts, Nowgong and Sibsagar, from raiding 
Nagas, and generally agreed to at each step with great reluctance 
by the Supreme Government. Visits to troublesome villages led 
inevitably to the establishment of posts to control their doings. For 
our first permanent footing, Samoogudting *[Chimakudi] was chosen in 
1866-67. This village commands die Diphu gorge, the natural path 
to the plains from the Angami country, and was a more suitable place 
from which Nowgong could be protected against Western Angami 
raids especially from the powerful villages of Mozema, Khonoma and 
Jotsoma, than the old outpost of Asalu to the south-west. Thence 
we proceeded in 1878 to irove to Kohima in the centre of the Western 
Angami country in order to command both the Eastern Angami 
country and the Manipur frontier, and simultaneously to Wokha in 
order to dominate the Lhota country to the past of the Dikhu and 
to protect it from raids from the north and east. The final decision 
to make the Naga Hills a British district was taken in 1881. The 
steps thus taken had permitted the hope that, as Mackenzie(page 143) 
puts it, "on the whole the Angami Naga problem was at 
last in a fair way to final solution." The Angami in fact have not 
since given any serious trouble, but besides them and the other tribes 
enumerated in Chapters XII and XIII of Mackenzie's work there 
were numerous others who were to offer problems to be solved. 

* Nomenclature m the Naga Hills history presents great difficulties just as it does 
in that of the Lushai Hills. Both place-names and names ol tribes are exceedingly 
confusing throughout the older writings. To start with, of course, the general name 
of "Naga" is merely an Assamese appellation, meaning "naked", and, like the 
stereotyped tribal names now in common use, is not what the people call themselves. 
This was fully recognised by the early Biitish administrators. Thus Lieutenant 
G. F. F. Vincent, "Acting Junior Assistant Commissioner on Special Duty, Angamee 
Naga Hills", writing to his Principal Assistant Commissioner at Nowgong, Captain 
John Butler, on the 10th September 1850, describes how he was surprised to find "the 
people called by us 'Angamee Nagas' were totally ignorant of the signification of 
the trim and how he learnt that this was a term given by the Cacharees to all 
independent Nagas signifying in their language, "unconquered". This is repeated in 
1873 by that great authority Captain Butler, in the long extract regarding the Naga 
tribes quoted at page 84 of Mackenzie. Similarly the phrase "Hatiguria" was for 
long used as a synonym for "Ao" though it was certainly known as early as 1886 
that the* latter was more correct. Very frequently a tribe applies to itself merely the 
word meaning "man" in its own language with thr implication that members of 
that tribe are the only real men in the world. Thus the Lhotas call themselves 
"Kyou", the name "Lhota" being apparently that applied to them by the Assamese. 

By the exertions, however, of such ethnologists as Hutton and Mills who have 
been Deputy Commissioners of the district, the whole nomenclature has been put on 
a scientific footing. Monographs have been written by these and other authorities 
on the Naga Tribes in general and on the Angamis, Sennas, Aos, Rengmas and Lhotas 


The necessity of protecting the borders of Nowgong and Sibsagar 
against raiding Nagas which in the early days compelled us to 
penetrate in to the hills little by little, ceased wilh the formation of 
the Naga Hills district. But the process of penetration went on, 
inexorably if irregularly. It was impossible to draw a line as the 
boundary of our area of control and to say that we should be blind 
and deaf to all that went on across that line. Transfrontier Nagas 
raid our administered villages, the latter are involved in dispute with 
the former, head hunting and massacres go on just across the border 
and under the very noses of our officers. In such conditions local 
officers inevitably, and with reason, clamour for a forward policy. 
The Chief Commissioner sometimes supports them, sometimes he does 
not. The Government of India is nearly always reluctant. But the 

in particular, thus carrying out the wish expressed by Mr. Chief Commissioner 
Elliott in his memorandum of March 1881 (see page 4 below), and can be studied by 
anyone who wishes to acquaint himself with the ethnographical history of these 
interesting peoples. 

Mr. J. P. Mills, C I.E., I.C.S., who was Governor's Secretary throughout my 
time in Assam, and who had, previous to that , sixteen years experience of the Nagas, 
as Suttdivisional Officer, Mokokchung, and as Deputy Commissioner of the Naga 
Hills District, writes as follows on this subject in a note by him, dated the 5th 
September 1941. 

"On modern maps the names of villages shown are those used by the in- 
habitants themselves, a commonly used synonym being sometimes added in brackets. 
Sometimes the name in the old record is obviously merely a corruption of the correct 
name. Frequently however, there is no apparent connection between the two at all. 
The reason for this is that at each advance into the Naga country officers tended to 
adopt the names of villages used by the interpreters hailing from the area on which 
the advance was based. For instance, when we first entered the Ao country from 
the plains, Mcrangkong was known as Naogaon and Mubongchokut as Molodubia, 
and so on, Naogaon and Molodubia being the Assamese names for these villages. 
Once established in the Ao country, officers%egan to ask the names of villages yet 
further in the interior and were naturally told the Ao names. Thus the big Chang 
village of Tuesang was for years known by its Ao name of Mo/ungjami "the village 
of wicked men", for the Changs were the hereditary enemies of the Aos. Further 
complication was caused by the system of transliteration used by the American 
Baptist Missionaries, who were often die first people to attempt to record Ao names 
in writing. They do not use the British system but write "j" where we should use 
"ch" and often omit "y". Thus "Chami" becomes "Jami", and "Yongyimsen" 
becomes "Yongimsen". 

The same process went on at the southern end of the district. Western Angami 
names were soon brought into use, though often misspelt, and for long Western 
Angami names were used for Eastern Angami and Kacha Naga villages. For 
example, the. Eastern Angami village of Chizami was wrongly called Khezabama, 
and even now Henima would hardly be recognised by its correct name of Terming, 
When we began to acquire more detailed knowledge of the Eastern Angami country 
we began to learn their own names for their own villages. But here again, the same 
muddle was repeated and Eastern Angami names were used for the less known 
Sangtam and Rengma villages beyond them. Even today "Meliomi" and "Primi" 
are probably in more general use than the correct names of "Meluri" and "Akhegwo" 

The method I nave adopted, as in the case of Lushai names, is, when a name 
first occurs, to put the correct spelling in square brackets after that used in the 
current records. 


frontier moves forward. Whatever difficulties were felt by Governments 
the truth of the dictum of the Secretary of State of 1878, Lord Gran- 
brook, that "the continuance in the immediate proximity of settled 
districts of a system of internecine warfare conducted principally 
against women and children canot be tolerated" was vindicated time 
after time. 

While, therefore, in 1882 our writ ran only in an area covering 
Kohima and Wokha and their immediate neighbourhood, we have in 
the intervening 60 years become responsible for an administered area 
covering country far to the east and south of the boundaries of that 
date, and beyond that again of an area of "control". 

After the occupation of Kohima and Wokha in 1878 the general 
policy appears to have been one of consolidating our rule around 
those two centres. Mr. G. A. Elliott, Ghief Gommissioner of Assam 
between 1881 and 1885, recorded on the 31st March 1881, a memo- 
randum *on the administration of the district after he had made a tour 
of the Naga Hills in the cold weather of 1880-81. A brief reference is 
made to it at page 142 of Mackenzie. As regards forced labour, 
which had been levied in a very unequal way, causing extreme 
dissatisfaction, he said things must be put right at once and laid 
down certain rules to that rnd. It is clear that transport arrange- 
ments at that time were very badly organised, if organised at all, 
the position being made difficult because the station of Kohima was 
in course of construction. His views as to disarmament of the district 
are, in the light of present conditions, interesting. He states that all 
guns had been taken away from the Nagas and that no Angami was 
even allowed to carry a spear. He regarded it as "essential that the 
habit of carrying of arms should be discouraged which has a 
martial tendency or lead the people to believe that they can success- 
fully resist our arms". He was also very strong on the point that 
all village defences should be removed, and expressed the dosire that 
the practice of fortifying villages sites should altogether be put a stop 
to, his idea being that as soon as the village ceased to be defensible 
it would be safe to relax the rules against bearing arms. His wishes, 
however, were never fully carried out. Though village defences have 
in fact gradually fallen into disrepair, large numbers of guns did 
remain in Angami hands, and it is still normal for a Naga tp carry a 
spear, for use both as a "khud-slick" and to kill any game which 
may cross his path. He foresaw the great need of extending the 
practice of terracing as an alternative to jhuming, and he was very 
insistent that his office) s should try and spread this practice. (Over 
30 years were to elapse before these orders were carried out. 
Dr. Hutton began to introduce terraces into the Senna country about 
1915). He also advocated the extension of the cultivation of potah 
Finally, he declared that all officers should do their 
enquire into and record the habits and customs of the A 
said that he would be glad to publish works on these A 
of cost. 

Assam Sovetariat Files No. 137-J. of 1881 and No. 


A further reference to policy is to be found in a letter dated the 
25th January 1883 *No. 122 to the Deputy Commissioner, in which 
Mr. Elliott referred to "his scheme for the allocation of out-posts in the 
district by which to bring home to the people the assurance that they 
are permanently under the domain of the British Power". This letter 
was written with reference to a report from Mr. R. B. McCabe, i. c. s., 
the then Deputy Commissioner, who had earlier in the month 
established a post without any opposition at the Sema village of 
Lozema [Lazami]. The villagers had failed to pay their revenue in 
full for two years and Mr. McCabe decided it was necessary to punish 
them. He took an ample force, met with no opposition and construct- 
ed a stockade where he left a garrison of 55 police under a British 
Officer. Incidentally, in his report he makes mention of the bitter 
mutual hatred between the pushing, intruding Semas and the Angamis, 
an antagonism which persists to this day. 

A similar expedition on a smaller scale, but attended unfortunately 
with considerable loss of life, was undertaken by Mr. McCabe in June 
1883 agamst the Sema Village of Ratami across the Diyung in reprisal 
for that village's raid on the Lhota village of Tsingaki, or Chingaki, as 
McCabe spells it. He took a force of 72 officers and men of the 
44th Sylhet Light Infantry under Lieutenant Boileau and 42 officers and 
men of the Frontier Police under Mr.Livesay, Assistant Superintendent. 
The Deputy Commissioner reporting! on the 28th June 1883, was fully 
satisfied with the results, but the operations certainly entailed severe 
loss both of life and property. The Nagas were estimated to have lost 
between 50 and 60 men, their houses and dhan were destroyed, and 
their cattle carried off. This incident seems to be closely connected 
with the steady pressure of the Semas towards the west, the pursuit of 
which received a check when we occupied Wokha. 

Mr. McCabe raised the question of policy in a letter No. 205$ 
which he addressed to the Chief Commissioner on the 10th June 1884. 
He took the view that there were two possible policies, (1) non-inter- 
ference with the trans-Frontier people ; (2) annexation. Of the two 
he preferred annexation carried out in a gradual way. He also 
explained that his own policy had been based on four general princi- 
ples , (a) to insist on strict obedience within his .own jurisdiction 
(6) to punish villages within his jurisdiction for all raids 
committed against trans-Frontier villages ; (c) to punish trans-Frontier 
villages for raids against cis-Frontier villages ; (d) as far as possible to 
mediate in disputes between villages adjacent to the Frontier. 

It is interesting to observe that in paragraph 4 of his letter he uses 
the "somewhat singular name", as an Assam letter of November 1888 
was later to describe it, of ( 'military promenade" to describe expedi- 
tions made by the Deputy Commissioners with an armed escort among 

Awam Secretariat, Foreign, B, February IMS, Nos. 12-13. 
t Auam Secretariat, Foreign, B, December 1883, Nos.4-11. 
{Aan> Secretariat, Judicial Department, File Nq.l49-J of 1884. 


the Frontier tribes. This was later to become a commonplace term 
of the Naga Hills frontier, but was used possibly for the first time on 
this occasion in official correspondence. 

The Chief Commissioner, Sir Charles Elliott; and it looks as if 
the problems raised in this letter from the Deputy Commissioner had 
long been in his mind addressed the Government of India on the 
22nd August 1884 in his letter No. 1263. He referred to the increase 
of outrages of recent years ; to the decrease of influence of British 
Officers and to what he considered had been the failure of the policy 
that had been carried on for the last 20 or 30 years. These circums- 
tances had led him to review again the policy which had been 
associated during the years 1840-44 with the name of Captain Brodie, 
who was then in charge of the Sibsagar district, and which was describ- 
ed briefly in pages 93 to 95 of Mackenzie's work. The main feature of 
this policy were comprehensive excursions throughout the Naga villages 
accompanied by an armed force, during the course of which Captain 
Brodie took engagements from the Chiefs to abandon their feuds and 
refer all differences to the British Power. Sir Charles Eliott proposed 
to revert to some extent to that policy and he outlined a scheme by 
which a force of 150 Naga Hills Frontier Police should start from 
Wokha in the Naga Hills under Mr. McCabe ; 50 Frontier Police 
should join in from Sibsagar at Molong [Molungyimchen] or Dcka 
Haimong under the Deputy Commissioner of that district ; and, thirdly 
50 Lakhimpur Frontier Police should join in turn with their Deputy 
Commissioner at Jaipur. It appears that Colonel W. S. Clarke, the 
Deputy Commissioner of Sibsagar was opposed to the proposal and 
preferred complete annexation straightaway. Mr. Godfrey of Lakhim- 
pur, however, thought a promenade would have an excellent effect. 

The Government of India replied in Mr. Grant's letter No.2789-E., 
dated the 20th October 1884, a letter which was quoted as a "locus 
classicus" of policy for many a year thereafter, and which in the words of 
Sir William Marris, written 37 years later, "Sanctioned if it did not 
actually initiate the policy of political control areas beyond the Naga 
Hills Frontier". They did not approve of the proposal for a cc 
hensive promenade. They preferred to adhere to the existing ] 
I. *., (a) that infraction of our border and ill-treatment of 3 
subjects beyond it should be punished, but (b) inter-tribal feuds and 
murders committed outside the Frontier should be disregarded. They 
expressed in definite terms their dislike of taking engagements and gave 
at length their reasons for this attitude. They were clearly opposed to 
doing anything which might entail commitments, a term which 
covered of course such undesirable eventualities as extension of responsi- 
bility, a series of expeditions and a widely increased area of adminis- 
tration. Their instructions are summed up in the final paragraph of 
the letter which runs as follows : 

"5. For these reasons, chiefly, the Governor-General is disinclined 
to sanction any very marked alteration of the policy at present pursued 
towards the tribes in question. But at the same time he considers that 
the existing methods of checking and punishing border offences 



should be followed when necessary with increased energy and prompti- 
tude. He therefore approves of the arrangement under which the 
political control of the Nagas to the east of the Lhota country as far as 
the Jhanzi river, or any other point which you may select will be made 
over to the Deputy Commissioner of the Naga HilJs. All other details 
lie leaves to your discretion with the reservation that interference with 
inter-tribal quarrels should, as a rule, be limited' to those cases where 
they involve (1) outrages on British subjects ; (2) violation of the Inner 
Line ; (3) danger to the interests of people dwelling inside the British 
borders by reason of the proximity of disturbances outside, such 
disturbances, for instances, as would be likely to intimidate coolies 
employed upon tea estates or cultivators*'. 

This decision was passed on to the Deputy Commissioners of the 
Naga Hills and of Sibsagar, but, as will be seen later, it was not long 
before it had to be modified. 

In order to implement the Government of India's instructions, the 
Chief Commissioner then ordered the Deputy Commissioner, Naga 
Hills, to make two expeditions (a) to a number of Eastern Aiigami 
villages along the Manipur border to the east of Kohitna and outside 
the existing boundary of the Naga Hills district, and (b) to a number 
of Ao villages east of Wokha. The Deputy Commissioner, Sibsagar, 
was instructed to make a similar visit to the Konyak villages to the east 
of his boundary, ending by a return to his district along the Dikhu. 

Mr. McCabe of the Naga Hills, accompanied by an escort of 
30 Frontier Police, accomplished the first expedition between December 
23rd 1884 and January 3rd, 1885 and reported a highly successful trip 
in connection with which Mr. Ellioit expressed his "extreme gratifica- 
tion" that the fame of British administration in the Naga Hills was 
"attracting the wistful admiration of the residents beyond the Inner 
Line." Mr. McCabe started on his second expedition from Wokha on 
the llth January 1885 with Mr. L. St.J. Brodrick, Subdivisional 
Officer, Wokha, Dr. S. Borah, Civil Surgeon, and Captain Plowden, 
Commandant and 100 non-commissioned Officers and men of the 
Frontier Police. The objects of the expedition were "1st. To punish 
the Sema village of Nungtang [Litami] for the murder of a British 
subject. 2nd. To bring home to the Ao tribe the fact that it is 
politically subordinate to the British Government. 3rd. To determine 
a point on the Borodubia [ChangkiJ Waromong range, which should be 
the limit of the political control of the Deputy Commissioner of the 
Naga Hills District in the direction of the Frontier of Sibsagar.''- They 
punished Nungtang, and then turned aside from their original route to 
visit! the Sema village of Lophemi [LumamiJ* The Ao village of 
Nankam [Lungknm] had complained against them, and this village 
was connected with the other offending village of Nungtang 

Assam Secretariat File No.4fc.J of 1885. 
Military Report. 


Secondly, they visited the Ao village of Longsa to the south on a 
complaint from Borodubia and Moldubia, To Longsa McCabe went via 
Ungma, the biggest village of the Ao tribe. In both cases submission 
was obtained without difficulty. Thence proceeding via Mokokchung 
he met the Deputy Commissioner, Sibsagar (Colonel Clarke), on 30fh 
January, the date fixed. The villages visited, except the Sema villages 
of Nongtang and Lopphemi were all Ao. 

Mr. McCabe's conclusions as a result of this tour were clear and 
definite. In his letter No.853, dated the 16th March 18B5, he wrote as 

"21. In attempting to form any idea of the probable results of this 
promenade, it would be advisable to consider the object attained by 
Captain Brodie's tour in 1844. Captain Brudie marched from Bor 
Haimong to Lakhuti, and took engagements from the headmen of the 
different villages to refrain from inter -village war. He had not return- 
ed to the plains before many of these engagements were broken, and 
the chiefs in fault refused to obey his summons and appear at Sibsagar. 
From 1844 up to the present time, these villages have carried on in- 
cessant blood-feuds ; the Deputy Commissioner of Sibsagar has re- 
peatedly sent orders prohibiting murderous raids, but, as no steps were 
taken to enforce these orders, they have been systematically disiegard- 
ed. The Government of India has now sanctioned the extension of the 
political control of the Deputy Commissioner of Naga Hills district to 
these tribes, and my chief object in this promenade was to acquire a 
knowledge of the country and of the inhabitants, and to impress 
on the people my determination to put a slop to the cruel murders 
which have unhappily been of so frequent occurrence during the 
past years. 

22. The reception I experienced was of a friendly though somewhat 
apathetic character, and coolies and supplies were obtained without 
difficulty. The smaller villages would welcome subordination to the 
British Government, and the whole of the Ao tribe would view with 
pleasure security in trading with the plains. 

The larger villages make constant demands on the smaller ones for 
cattle and daos, and in case of lefusal a feud is established resulting 
in the loss of several lives. If murder is to be checked, the causes 
which stimulate it must be attacked, or the political control over these 
tribes will be of a merely nominal charactei . Mr. Clark, the 
missionary, who resides at Molong, br lives that this promenade will 
check for some time the aggression of the larger villages. I am not so 
sanguine. The men of the Ao tribe have been so accustomed to receiv- 
ing orders and being allowed to disregard them, that nothing less than 
the most" severe punishment will impress on their minds the necessity of 

I presume that the Government of India intends that this political 
control shall be of a real character, and it therefore remains to be 
decided in what manner it should be carried into effect. 
There are two courses open : 

(1) To make an annual promenade during the cold- weather , 
when punishment might be inflicted on all villages that had 
disobeyed orders during the rains. 


(2) To establish an outpost in the heart of the Ao country, and 
exercise the same political control over these tribes as that 
now brought to bear on the Angamis and Lhotas. 

The objection to the first proposal is that the punishment inflicted 
would follow at such a lapse of time after the commission of the offence 
that the motives of our actions might be misconstrued, and the inhabi- 
tant 1 * would simply regard us as a superior class of looters and 
murderers to themselves. 

The second proposal is the one which appears t.j me to afford the 
only solution of the difficulty. Experience has clearly proved that as 
long as Government contented itself with establishing outposts on the 
frontiers of these hill tribes, no efficient control was ever exercised. 
From 1837 to 1879, no outpost existed in the heart of the Angami 
country, and the history of those years was one succession of raids on 
Assam and inter-village feuds. From the dale of the occupation o* 
Kohima, the development of the control over this the most warlike oi 
the Naga tribes has been clearly marked. 

On the Sibsagar frontier outposts have been established 
for many years past, and nothing has been effected towards checking 
feuds which have caused the loss of thousands of lives. Under 
these circumstances, I think the Sibsagar Frontier Police might be 
more usefully employed if they were incorporated with the Naga Hills 
Policy and posted in tlv* hean of the Ao tiibc. A guard of 100 men 
at Ungma would, in my opinion, effectually control the whole of the 
country between the Doyang, Dikhu and the plains, and communica- 
tion with Wokha could be maintained by a road, via Nankam, and 
the crossing the Doyang by a suspension bridge below Ao. 

Captain Plowden, the Commandant of the Naga Hills Frontier 
Police, has given full detai's of this scheme in his letter No. 75, dated 
7th instant, to the Inspector General of Police, and it is not necessary 
for me to enter more fully into the matter, pending the decision of the 
Government of India on the policy to be adopted. There is one point, 
however, on which I consider definite instructions should be issued 
and that is the alignment of a fixed boundary, beyond which no con- 
trol of any description should be exercised." 

Colonel Clarke who similarly had had no difficulties during his 
tour of 14 days, considered that all the villages he visited should be 
added to the Naga Hills charge, and he agreed in general with 
Mr. McCabe's views. 

McCabe's proposals did not entirely commend themselves to the 
then Chief Commissioner, Mr W. E. Ward, i. c. s., who was 
officiating for Mr. Elliott. They are discussed at length in his letters 
Nos. 923* of llth June 1885 and 1898 of the 8th October 1885 to the 

* Assam Secretariat, 1885, File No. 40-J 


Government of India. 'They seem", he said in the first letter "to 
go considerably beyond the policy sanctioned by the Government of 
India in your letter No. 2789-E., dated the 20th October last : 
[see page 103 above] in the second place, they amount practically to a 
proposal to annex and administer rhe whole of the new area by adding 
it on to the present Naga Hills district, a measure which Mr. Ward 
thinks is certainly not called for at present ; thirdly, the cost of carry- 
ing out these proposals is more than the circumstances of the case 

warrant ; arid lastly, the proposal to withdraw the Frontier 

Police entirely from the Sibsagar district and to abolish its frontier 
outposts is one which would be sure to meet with much opposition 
from the tea-planting interests in that district.'* He then pointed out 
that the analogy which McCabe had drawn from the cases of the 
occupation of Samaguting in 1H66 and Kohima in 1878 was scarcely 
correct. "The occupation" ["he wrote], "of Samaguting and the sub- 
sequent advance of the Political Agent's headquarters to Kohima arose 
entirely from the necessity which existed for checking the numerous 
raids of the Angamis on British and Manipur territory, and also the 
state of -lawlessness in the Naga Hills district which encouraged the 
Angamis to make these raids. 

10. The Officiating Chief Commissioner does not find that any 
such excuse exists to justify similar action bein# taken with respect to 
the hill tribes now living outside the boundary of the Naga Hills district. 
In the first place, we have no longer the warlike race of Angamis to 
deal with. Then, again, raids by Naga tribes on British subjects are 
now almost unknown ; such as have occurred of late years have been 
entirely on villages lying just within the boundary of the Naga Hills 
district, the raiders having, perhaps, scarcely yet realised the fact that 
all Nagas residing within this boundary are now our subjects On the 
Sibsagar frontier the hill tribes are peaceable enough, except amongst 
themselves, being too anxious to tr.icle with us to be otherwise Nor 
was the existence of any such raids advanced as a ground for the 
policy advocated by Mr. Elliott in my letter No. 1263, of the 22nd 
August last. [See pa e 103 above] Mr. Elliott's recommendations 
were based on the view that the inter- tribal feuds and consequent 
massacres among the tribes on the Sibsagar frontier were on the in- 
crease, that they bore evidence of the growing turbulence of the 
Nagas and the decreasing influence^of British officers, and that if we 
wished to prevent this turbulence spreading over into the plains, some 
more stringent measures than exist at present ought to be adopted to 
check it. 

11. In your letter of the 20th October last, you stated, with re- 
ference, to Mr. Elliott's proposals, that the Government of India was 
disinclined to sanction any very marked alteration of the policy at 
present pursued towards the tribes in question, but at the same time 
considered that the existing methods of checking and punishing bor- 
der offences should be followed, when necessary, with increased 
energy and promptitude, provided only that interference with inter- 
tribal quarrels should be confined, as a rule, to the three cases mention- 
ed in the last paragraph of your letter It is, however, only in the last 
oi the three cases mentioned by you that any real difficultv has arisen 


in determining the policy to be pursued ; in the other two cases, viz.* 
where outrages occur on British subjects or British territory is' violated, 
our policy is clear, and is being vigorously acted up to. It is only in 
cases of inter-tribal feuds not affecting British subjects or involving any 
violation of British territory that doubts have occurred, giving rise to 
the present correspondence. In these cases the existing policy has 
ever since the days of Captain Brodie been one of absolute non-inter- 
ference ; neither the former Political Agent nor the present Deputy 
(Commissioner of the Naga Hills district has ever since the time 
mentioned exercised any political control whatever in such cases out- 
side the district, and the question now to be considered is whether we 
should continue this policy, or, if we interfere, in what way should 
this interference be exercised, what orders should the Deputy Commis- 
sioner be authorised to pass, and what power should be given to him to 
enforce his orders. 

12. The Officiating Chief Commissioner observes that the 
Government of India desires that all interference in the particular 
cases here referred to should be confined to those instances in which 
danger arises to the interests of people dwelling inside the British bor- 
ders by reason of the proximity of disturbances outside, such distur- 
bances, for instance, as would be likely to intimidate coolies employed 
upon tea estates or cultivators These instructions, however, only 
affect the question as fo what area should now be brought under con- 
trol. It still remains to determine the mode of control and the Deputy 
Commissioner's power to enforce any orders he mav be authorised to 
issue within that area. 

13. Upon this point, Mr. Ward would ask the sanction of the 
Government of India to his issuing the following instructions to the 
Deputy Commissioner to whom may hereafter be given the political 
control of the new tract or of any portion thereof. He will march 
once annually with a Frontier Police force through the particular 
tract assigned to him, and in the course of his march, will enquire, 
whether invited to do so or not, into all cases of murder committed 
within the past year, and punish the village to which the murderers 
belong. All punishments should, in the first instance, be by fine, the 
amount of fine in each case being left to the discretion of the Deputy 
Commissioner, subject to the approval of the Chief Commissioner. If 
the fine is not immediately paid, its equivalent in grain or cattle may 
be seized. If no grain or cattle are found, the village should be 
debarred from all trade ard intercourse with the plains until the fine is 
paid. In no case should the destruction of the offending village be 
resorted to an a punishment. In no case other than murder should 
the Deputy Commissioner interfere to settle inter-tribal disputes by 
making, or attempting to enforce, any award. This does not, how- 
ever, debar him from using his personal influence in inducing the 
tribes to settle their disputes amicably. Lastly, in no case should the 
Deputy Commissioner interfere in disputes between tribes residing 
within and the tribes residing outside the area of control, even though 
tuch disputes may have resulted in murder either without or within 
such area. 


14. The Officiating Chief Commissioner thinks that if the Govern- 
ment of India will sanction the issue of the instructions above proposed 
nothing more is required. Mr. Ward is not so sanguine as to expect 
that the limited power of control which he now proposes to give to 
the Deputy Commissioner will suffice to altogether put down the 
inter-tribal feuds and massacres among the Nagas whom it is propos- 
ed to bring under control, but he sees no reason to think that his 
proposals will not amply suffice to check to a very great extent that 
growing turbulence among the Nagas to which Mr. Elliott referred 
in my letter of the 22nd August last and so effectually prevent such 
turbulence from spreading over into our settled districts." 

The area of political control which the Chief Commissioner 
proposed should be assigned to the Deputy Commissioner, Naga Hills, 
was defined in paragraph 6 of the letter of the llth June subject to 
some slight subsequent modifications and, briefly, it covered the whole 
Ao country starting from west of the Dikhu where it cuts the present 
Mokokchung Subdivision from north to south, together with the Sema 
villages to the east of Wokha. 

The Government of India replied in their letter No.246-E., dated 
the 3rd February 1886,* which was forwarded to the Deputy Commis 
sioner with Assam leuer No. 494, dated the 9th March ]886. While 
observing that Mr. Ward's proposals were "practically a step towards 
the amalgamation of a considerable tract of trans-frontier country 
with the British districts", they were unable to see how it could be 
avoided. They approved the proposals in general, only observing 
that the instructions to be given were a little too stringent and inelastic 
and desiring that more discretion should be given to local officers. 
Burning a village, for instance, was to be allowed as a last resort. 
The geographical area was agreed to, as also that it should be placed 
under the Deputy Commissioner, Naga Hills. 

In February 18861 occurred the Shipvomi raid, in leprisal for 
which two villages had to be punished. Three men of the big Angami 
village of Khonoma were killed while trading in Mani ur. Their 
friends believed this to have been done by men of Shipvomi 
[Tephunge], a Manipur village just across the border, and on the 
13th February 1886 Khonoma, together with a number of men, said 
to be as many as 1,500 from 15 or 20 Naga villages, took revenge. 
They burned and looted Shipvomi and killed at least three persons. 
Mr. R. T. Greer, i.c.s., was on his way to join as Deputy Commis- 
sioner when this happened, Arriving at Kohima on the 1 7th 
February, he at once went to the spot accompanied by Captain Plowden 
and ws aided in his inquires by the ( 'Tan gal Major", the Prime 
Minister of Manipur, a gentleman who was to figure piominently later 
on in the events at Manipur in 1891. He was satisfied that not 
Shipvomi, but Thetchulomi [Thetsemi] a village within our boundary, 
was the original culprit and that therefore Shipvomi was raided and 
looted by mistake. Be that as it may, a number of Khorioma and 

* Assam Secretariat, File 21-J of 1886. 

f Assam Secretariat, 1886. File No.784-J. 


other Angami men were brought to trial and severe punishment was 
meted out to them. Thetchutomi also was punished by being burned 
for their part in the transaction, Mr. Greer had some severe remarks 
to make on the slackness of the Manipur administration. Colonel 
(later General Sir James) Johnstone was the Political Agent in 
Manipur at that time, and one can well imagine the measured periods 
in which, if he had not been busily engaged in connection with the 
'Ihird Burma War, a campaign in which he was wounded, he would 
have trounced the young officer who had dared to criticise* the 
administration for which he as Political Agent was responsible. 
Greer's remarks, as a matter of tact, only repeated what McCabe had 
said in 1885* on Manipur methods as the result of his own observations 
criticisms which evoked from the Political Agent, who must then too 
have been Johnstone, a spirited protest dated 20th March 1885. 

There is reference in the Report of 1885-86 to great trouble over 
forced labour for transport purposes. Unusual and heavy demands 
were made on the labour on account of the sudden removal of the 
43rd Regiment for service in Burma, their relief by the 42nd from 
Shillong and by the breakdown of the Transport Department. 

A brief reference to the growing of potatoes by some Gurkhas 
near the station of Kohima, in fulfilment of the wishes expressed by 
the former Chief Commis^ionei , Mr. Elliott, is worthy of rrcord. 

7'he RepoiL for the year 1886-87 is signed by Mr. Poiteous, but 
he actually only held charge of the district for the last two months of 
that year, the preceding period being divided into three short 
incumbencies, namely, those of Messrs. Greer, Davis and Grimwood. 
This last officer was Mr. F. St. C. Grimwood who was to lose his life 
as Political Agent in Manipur in 3891. 

A severe though localised outbreak of cholera occurred in this 
year. It was brought into the Hills by Naga coolies who had been 
taken to Manipur on transport work by the 44th Gurkha Light 
Infantry. There were 350 deaths in the group of villages to which 
the coolies belonged and 367 in Kohima. In the Civil station of 
Kohima there was only one death, that of the European Subedar, 
Mr. Lyons. 

The cultivation of potatoes spread further, but, as before, the 
Angamis refused to have anything to do with it and it was only 
Gurkhas and Kukis who cultivated it. As regards transport, though 
the position might have been expected to be somewhat eased in this 
year with five to six hundred pack ponies working on the foad to 
Nichuguard and Kohima, Mr. Porteous again makes strong references 
to the hardships arising out of forced labour, as many as 16,500 men 
being impressed during the year. 

File 14-J of 1886. 

* Assam Secretariat July 1805. Proceedings of the Chief Commissioner m the 
Departments under the control of the Foreign Department of the Government of 
India No.13. 


Large sums of money were spent on public "works: the total 
amount Icing as much as Rs.92,730. These works included, besides 
roads, the Kohima Fort and Magazine, both of which remained under 
construction at the end of the year. Rupees 9,000 was spent cm the 
construction of 33 miles of the new bridle path from Henima to 
Khonoma. The Kohima water supply arrangements were completed 
in 1887 and actually taken into use on the 4th April 1887. 

An interesting side-light on administrative conditions in those 
days is 'afforded by the fact that during the cold weather of 1886-87 
Wokha subdivision remained in charge of the Head Clerk. It must 
be remembered, however, that the Subdivisional Officer of Wokha 
had at that time neither Civil nor Criminal powers. The gap occurred 
between the death from dysentery of Mr. C. H. Parish on the 4th 
November 1886 and the arrival of Mr. E. Muspratton the 20th Febru- 
ary 1887. 

The usual promenades were carried out and Mr. Porteous remarks 
on the very hostile attitude of the Semas throughout. All efforts at 
friendship failed with only one exception, a village which was wise 
enough to see that it was worth while to be on friendly 
terms with the British. It was to the Semas to whom Mr. Por- 
teous referred when, in his letter No.841* dated the 21st 
February 1887, he asked for permission to take an expedition 
against the " Mczami Nagas " to punish them for their raids since 
December 1885 on Eastern Angami villages, especially Chipokitami 
which lay just outside the boundary, but was an off-shoot of a village 
inside the boundary. As Porteous pointed out in (he subsequent 
year's report, "* Mezami " was merely an Augami word for " bar- 
barian " and meant nothing to the Semas themselves The Chief 
Scma village was that of Sakhai, being the headquarters of the power- 
ful Zumon i clan and the village which, thirty years later, was to send 
a higher proportion of its population as volunteers to France than any 
ether village in the hills. Besides Chipokitami they had raided in 
December 1885 the village of Phiuma [PhuyemiJ and in November 
1886 the village of Zulhami, both of which lay within the political 
control area. The expedition was authorised, and took place between 
the 26th March and the 24th April 1887. Mr. D?vis, Assistant Com- 
missioner, and Mr. Muspratt, the Subdivisional Officer of Wokha, 
accompanied the Deputy Commissioner, and he took with him ;>s 
escort 80 Naga Hills Frontier Police under their Commandant, Lieute- 
nant Macintyre and 40 of the 42nd Gurkha Light Infantry (presum- 
ably from the garrison of Kohima) under Lieutenant Robin. There 
was no opposition and suitable fines were imposed on offending 
village^, while the Chief of Sakhai was carried off to Kohima, to suffer 
two months detention as a lesson to his pride. 

Mr, Porteous followed this up with a long tour through the Sema 
Political Control country, first between the Tizu and the Doyang, and 
then northwards, still east of the Doyang, into the Sema country which 
lies east of Wokha. The only display of truculence came from the 

* Assam Secretariat, File No.l81-J of 1887 and page 15 of Military Report. 


large and powerful village of Seromi, who were the prime Movers in 
an attack on PortcouV rearguard when leaving Lukobomi on the 15th 
April and had to be fired on. He ended his tour at Nunkum 
in the Ao .country, a big village of 400 houses, at which village 
be signified his disapproval of the practice of head-taking by burning 
all their trophies. Thence he turned south-west to the Lhota village 
of Pangti where Captain Butler was killed in 1875 and went back via 
Wokha to Kohizna. As he says in his report the results were that the 
" Mezamis " were subdued, our knowledge of the Semas was increased 
and the ground was prepared for the extension of our rale. The 
Chief Commissioner's comments contained in paragraph 2 of Assam 
Government letter No. 1487* dated the the 29th July 1887 were. 

" 2. The results of the march, as stated in your 38th paragraph, 
are the protection, which it is hoped will be lasting, of the Eastern 
Angami villages from further aggression by the Mezamis, the estab- 
lishment, for the first time, of our influence among the Semas, most of 
whose villages had never been visited by a British Officer since the 
survey, and the commencement of a policy which in the course of time 
will, the Chief Commissioner trusts, put a stop to inter-tribal murders 
and feud* among these savages and prove as successful in winning 
them to peaceful pursuits as it has already been among the Angamis 
and Lhotas ". 

A month latter, in his leter No.516| dated the 17th August 1887, 
Mr. Porteoufi recommended, as a result of his expedition to Are and 
Nunkum in June of that year, that the four Lhota villages of Are, 
Are Yanthamo, Pangti, and Okotso ; the Ao villages of Nankum and 
Mungatung ; and the Sema villages of Hangrung, Nangtang and 
Phinsing should be taken into the area of ordinary administration, 
and that an outpost should be established at Nankum. His views were 
stated as follows. 

"22. While at Nunkum, I was frequently begged to have an out- 
post stationed at the village, and was told that revenue would gladly be 
paid for the privilege of being included in British territory. The same 
request as to payment of revenue was preferred to me by the gaon- 
buras of Pangti, the principal of the four Lhota trans-frontier villages. 
At present they said they belonged to nobody, and were launte-1 with 
their position by their fellow Lhotas in Lakhuti and other British 
villages. A proposal to include these four villages in British territory 
was made by Mr. McCabe in his No.853, dated the 16th March 1885, 
giving an account of his tour through the Ao country, vide paragraph 
6, I am unaware whether the separate proposal, there referred to, 
was ever made, and, if so, with what result. 

23. It is my decided opinion that not only should these four 
villages be included in the Wokha subdivision, but that the whole tract 
lying within the streams Teshi and Chebi might now with advantage 
be so included, an outpost, as desired by its inhabitants, being station- 
ed at Nunkum. The tract I refer to forms roughly the triangular or 

Assam Secretariat, 1887. File No.lSl-J. 
| Assam Secretariat, File No. 625-J. of 1887. 


wedge-shaped area of independent territory which will be seen on the 
map running into the eastern boundary of the Wokha subdivision 
north-east of Wokha. 

24. The addition of this small area to the charge of the subdivi- 
sional officer of Wokha would not be felt. There is no village within 
it more distant from the subdivisional headquarters than at least one- 
third of the villages in the present subdivision. 

The placing of an extra guard of 25 or 30 men at Nuakum would 
moreover, put no undue strain on the resources of the Frontier Police. 
The Force at headquarters has within the past two years, been increas- 
ed by the strergth of the out posts formerly kept up at Barpathar and 
Dimapur, while no corresponding decrease for the establishment of 
new or the increase of former outposts has taken place. The proposal, 
therefore, involves no administrative inconvenience. 

25. From a political point of view, the establishment of an outpost 
at Nunkum would be advantageous in no ordinary degree. , The 
present report has illustrated the serious disadvantages under which 
political control is at present exercised over the Ao and northern Sema 
country. Had Nunkum had ready access to Wokha, the feud between 
Are and that village could not have occurred. The complaint of 
Nunkum that it can get no hearing for its grievances against Lhotas is 
an old one. The gaonburas represented their case to Mr. McCabe in 
August 1884, vide paragraph 27 of his No. 377, dated the 18th August 
1884, and he could only suggest to them that if unable to reach 
Wokha through the Lhota country, they should represent their grie- 
vances to the subdivisional officer at Jorhat, whence news could be 
sent to Kohima. The Ao country was at that time outs'de the sphere 
of any recognised political control. Now that it is within that sphere, 
it is, I would submit, our duty to see that the Ao villages have, at all 
events, the opportunity of making their wants known to the authority 
to which they are being taught to look for guidance in their relations 
with one another and with the Semas. At present this opportunity is 
virtually denied to them, as their messengers are, and not it appears 
without cause, afraid to pass through the intervening Lhota villages. 
So far as the Semas are concerned, tbeir isolation from Kohima and 
Wokha is still greater. They are on the worst of terms with the 
Lhotas, and but few of their villages lying between Lopphemi and 
Wokha have in recent years escaped being burnt for quarrels ending in 
murder between them and one and other of our border Lhota villages, 
generally Ghingaki In the tract I would have annexed to British 
territory are included three Sema villages, through which sooner or 
later communication with the outer Semas would certainly be estab- 

27. To sum up the arguments for the establishment of the outpost 
I propose, with annexation of the country on its hither side : We are 
invited by the population to take it over ;. the political result of the 
step in increasing our influence over the Ao and Sema tribes.would be 
most favourable; financially there would be a small increase of revenue, 
the administration of the new territory would give rise to no incon- 
venience, and, lastly, the move would be a sale one and unlikely to 
give rise to complications of any kind." 

ItiftlNff MA Denfc* Fkzpamck; wttx lia&rfuK*e*K$ .-]*& 
ahicfi<3ottiwiwitcr>on 31st October 1887, to 
of policy. In a note * which he recorded on the 

hc,flC<M>ut succinctly the, general positions regards control. He said 

"'2. ~J$cl Portcous' proposal is real^ an inVtaWht ' of ihfc impor* 
tant scheme advocatcd^y Mr: Ma^ in' paragWtf* : 2*f|*#rlW 

above ] of his letter above mentioned, which wouftt Have virtually' 
. Hills district an) extensive tract ^country that it 

February 18W), on the Teoewracndatioh of the Chjefc CbinaMiftbher, 
siJMfrid b*eacit*Ied from^that diitrict and be treated: as aa area of 
pattttart 'Control to be dealt with on the-" promenade "feystem, 

3. Now it seems to be admitted by all wbo, have from; time, to 
time considered this question, that it is our destiny, if not our duty, to 
bring 5 , these" wild Bribes more' and more under cotitrol, l anrf 1 there can 
beVno,dOuoje : tnat'in time the tract in 'question, and & great deal more 
biitidei, wircome. to be included in our ordinary fufly. adMiisiercd- 

J , T^he^ only question is as to .the rate at which, we should proceed, 
an4 t)ic answer, ,to that mual depen4- on.;a variety, of matters, ,the^ most * 
j |hbfc inexorahl^ limitations, of finance that hamper, us 
thfs.^pufitry^ and tlj0e: absolute necessity at c^aBpletely 
iag our authority -wit|u the existing boundaries of our dis- 
tricts before we. advance those -boundaries further ". 

, Foibther consideration and! consultatiom on the spot; with' 
Mr. McCabe r wh^had once mece-, come to theNagia Hill* as Deputy 
' ' ' ' 

foBowed, and' McGabe's views , were' summed' up as 
foB0w at the end of a notef whkh he recowied on the. 31%t< Janttary 
18HI; **i would not adviie the establishment of an outpost at 
NanJukm, unless^ Governmetit js prepared to take over the admmtotva* 
tie otmroiof ther whole of jthd. country between the Doyottgrand/tbb 
indaded/in the area of political control. " The Chief 
came DO the conclusion that the, time was not * ripe to 

Co hold hk hand for 

. Mr; McCabe matfc an important promenad^ between the 13tK 
the, rth' MktV m&i> the Ad country . rithiSCrepo^ 
&^ym&$$lWSon di& pr^ohlcnade anjl j Ion the; 
conat^cted against' several transnionner Nl^t viiia^cs in' 
__________ t rf falds upbn;Villaie within thfearea 'of pomcaf Coikrot " 

ToloserVei that he was guided by the rufiis laid 1 dbwrf in' the ^ton 
Government letters Nos.494 dated the 9th March 1886 (SM page 114T 
above):, aiid91^T dated th^^th'Febraaryasae. He; took, with him 
Liwrtcwmt- Matmtyre Commandant, abet, 10*< 

Fik N^ S9- 

esl4bi8 of ' Maitr BApwtr o,,Ngm* Hilkf 19 It). ( written ^by 

-of uheojfega uHftk / Jtaotier . fblice, and mho 
Office of r.WdUw,aiid- ea 

and Gtahu Yig J tha&tter, fedn* 
-*00 ! .yards.* from die. main Milage. .'IfcGabc: irtd 
faem, atthey.;had been wiity^of raiding- on > the 
ithin.thc are* of political control. aof; .Ungttrr>atad 
Akbia. jiBtth-riilages were. burned on-^he l^th and: a asabcr>of 
casuafek*infficted. On the 2Sth> April heburoed Noksen and Letum 
[ Litim ] also transfrontier villages;, for wmilar )cfiente8. 

- Mr, McCJabe sums* up. the results of, this ejight weeks tour in the 

"26, I cf*her*uUed r received deptttations;fi)OTn every *ittgc 
within theoountry lying between ftmgti-andl-.Naakamioreahe 'Sotfdi, 
-tfe*/Dikhuonlthe.ast, 'theplaais-of Atsam n* the ndrth, and rthe 
boundary oftiie. Wdkha subdivision on the west, and disposed of every 
comipaafnii that- was brought! to my notice. 

With reference to 'the results achieved' by ' these visits, I" wotild 
point out *thaf Trom IfllBS/myiirst prdmenftde 4n' this- part 'of the HiHs, 
up to the present time, oMy three* itwrdttrs have been conrrinhtecf^foy 
tillages "wttnin tin's area, and itrter-viJlage-warfaie has practically v deaSd, 
and I trust! that the punkhnient inflicted on Villages' l beVonid 4hc ami 
'of -control-will effectually put an lad- to tile itrdrdet^us'raUs *thaf have 
been noted in this report. ' I enclose copy 'of a fJetttion *prfehted^to 
meyYrom^ which you will see' that a- oonsktarafele number of 'tillages 
are willipg to fay (revenue. No difficulty' whatsoever < Would be -expe- 
rienced in admmistejro# the. Ao couatry , anda| ihiropeanflbffker^^ih 
a force of 1:00 police* sepoys r coild tn a. few years <briogf:tfeis tribe into 
as ciiilized and ^amenable a state as'/ that of- the Jjhatas *and .Angainis 

t in thelNaga -Hills district.*' TheX^uef Gbmshismoner (Mr.vRtzpatdck) 
who ^had samself toured inthe-Naga Hills an- February , and \ Macch 
188ft/ forwarded this- report to* (he Government of -India /wtthJiis jietter 
Nb. 1441, dated the iSth J*ne tt&8, and in cbxnmentJaig on *'the 

; question xrf bringing some pbrtioivtof die .-area of polidoal. 'control under 

- our wore direct ladmuiistratron : referred to -ih the Jast paragraph iof 
'Mr, MaOabe's report," said that * c ^it would of course rgtand on v new 
footing if it appeared thatahe oeople were really witting to -f*ay reve- 
nue", ahdJthathe would addrcst the Government bf fatdiaxgain. IHe 
concluded his letter with a warm tribute to the /work Mobfeh 

, ^fr,,^[c^abe .had 6Vne ih^g long service an the -Naga Hills,', in the 

", following terms. 

^*9.. Thfc.Ghie Commissioner^ I am to say, cannot close 'this letter 

> 'Wittout'attverting to the fact that the subniiisionbf'thC'tepOTfc herewith 
*ncked is. iheilast Official act xrfirapoirtance- <lone'by>Mr^McGabe ^as 

^1>9|ui7^Ckniuni8sie^ )TKe Gkief' Commis- 

sioner views Mr. McCabe's departure from the Naga Hills with much 
regret"; bWMrT"McCabe "had served liis time" there, 'and it'waV Tmpbs- 

.sibk; Jto^refose hkn a teaferwhick domestic -andiother reastfts^ittd him 

*1888, PilNo.S20.J. 


to solicit. Mr. McGabe's services have been so highly spoken of by 
previous Chief Commissioners that Mr. Fitzpatrick can hardly hope 
that anything he may say would add to the reputation that officer had 
already acquired ; but, having travelled with Mr. McCabe through 
the Naga Hills this year, and seen the good work he has done among 
this wild people and the feelings of mingled attachment and awe with 
which they regard him, Mr. Fitzpatrick cannot abstain from adding 
his testimony to that of his predecessors. He has rarely seen an officer 
who so happily combines the power of command with kindness of 
feeling and consideration towards the people " 

Mr. Fitzpatrick's commendation only repeated similar praise 
which Mr. McGabe's work as Deputy Commissioner of the district 
during the 3 years 1882*85 had already earned for him from 
Mr. Elliott, whose Resolution* on the Administration Report for the 
year 1884-85 concludes with a panegyric on Mr. McCabe's work 
written by Mr. Elliott himself. It compares Mr. McCabe's work with 
"the influence exerted by the greatest men in Anglo-Indian history 
over the Santhals, the Bhils and the tribes of the Derajat", and refers 
with satisfaction to the friendly way in which he, as Chief Commis- 
sioner, had been received throughout a tour which he made in the 
previous cold weather, a happy result which he attributed to 
Mr, McCabe's unusual qualities Mr. McCabe subsequently became 
Inspector General of Police and it was when holding that office that he 
was killed in Shillong in the earthquake of 1897. 

Mr. Alexander Porteous succeeded Mr. McCabe as Deputy Com- 
missioner and in July 1 888 he had to report the burning of the Ao 
villages of Mongsembi [Mongsemyinti] and Lungkung, both situated 
within the area of our political control, by a combination of trans- 
Dikhu villages, news of which was sent to him by the Rev. E. W. 
dark, an American Baptist Missionary, who had been established for 
some time at Waromang and Molongyimsen (Molungting ?) on the 
outer range of the Ao country. Mr. Clark referred to the raiders' as 
"Mozunger", but this is merely the Ao word for "bad men" and they 
were in fact, what aie now know as Changs. They had already 
absorbed a number of Ao villages and were tending to press across the 
river to the richer Ao country. In this instance they were reported to 
have killed and captured no less than 173 persons in Mongsembi and 
44 in Lungkung. In his letter No.426, dated the 26th July 1888J, 
Porteous said. 

"3 The raids are evidently intended as a revenge for the 

punishment inflicted on Noksen and Letum in the late promenade. I 
had previously so far back as May received news from Mr. Clark that 
these villages were boasting of the vengeance they intended taking, 
but, as no messengers reached me direct, and no demand for assistance 
came through Mr. Clark from Susu, which had reported the matter to 

*Chief Commissktaer's Proceedings in the Departments under the control of the 
Foreign Department of the Government of India for July 1885. No.1067, dated 2nd 
July 1885. 

tAswsn Secretariat, 1888, File No.67*-J. 


him, I considered these threats as mere empty bravado* not seriously 
taken by the Aos themselves, and I merely wrote informing Mr* dark 
that villages threatened were free to take any defensive measures they 
desired so long as they abstained from carrying war across the Dikhu. 
The threats made have been only too amply fulfilled, but it remains to 
be seen whether provocation of some sort may not have been given. 

4. We have of late so far interfered in the affairs of the Aos, and 
the recent massacres are (so far as can be seen) so clearly the result of 
our late unfortunately futile attempts to protect their outlying villages 
from the attacks of their savage neighbours by a policy of punishment 
followed by withdrawal, that it would now, I respectfully submit, be 
inconsistent both with the honour and duty of the British Government 
to abandon them further to the attacks of their relentless enemies. 

5. As regards my proposal to establish a guard at Susu or Mong- 
sembi, it would be useless to attempt to disguise the fact that such a 
guard must almost necessarily, to be effective at all, be permanent, 
and that to render its position perfectly secure the annexation of the 
whole Ao country muse perforce follow. 

7. An expedition sufficiently strong to visit all the villages which 
combined against us, and imposing enough to leave no doubt in the 
minds of the inhabitants of the hopelessnes of attempting to contend 
with us, will be indispensable for the future security of the Aos, with 
or without annexation of the country of the latter." 

In his letter No. 578* of the 21st September 1888 he reports the 
steps he had taken to establish a guard in the Ao country for the 
protection of the villages recently raided. (Incidentally, in this letter 
he refers to the hostile tribes as "Miris"). He chose Mongsemdi as the 
site for the stockade in which the guard would be established. He 
gave further details about the raid on Mongsemdi as follows. 

"11 The attacks were unquestionably intended as a retalia- 
tion for the expedition against Noksen and Litam in April last, under- 
taken to punish those villages for raids on Susu, Mongsemdi, and 
Lungkung. As I have now learnt, these villages suffered far more 
severely than could ever have been intended by my predecessor. Not 
only were several men killed by the small guard left by Mr. McCabe 
at Litam while he proceeded to Noksen, but a number, approach' ng 
40, was killed in the jungles round the two villages during 
Mr. McCabe's halt, by a rabble of some hundreds of friend lies who 
had followed from Susu, Mongsemdi, Lungkung, Salachu, and other 
villages in the wake of our force. There is reason to believe the one 
mer. of Mongsemdi who was killed met with his death while so 

The narrative of this massacre, and the looting which accom- 
panied it, was told me with a manifest feeling of pride by, among 
others, one of the gaonburas of Salachu and he clearly exulted in the 

*Aua Secretariat, 1888, File No.676-J. 

U8 tan NAOA 



eurtaiog enough to s^cny^ivfaei* I>put him this > question, ;'*iiat 
any wonicaortcMldren had- fceefrslaqgtaetfed. 

12.- It if smalt wofcder' that; 'after losing so tawip men in ' addition 
'toofefrdettructiowaf *heir tillage* idthe loss f most 'of ^ their cattle, 
teller kitted" or carried :*ff> as" loot^ the menof Ndcsen "nd Lfcam 
-sbcwrtdi have' sent iwmd vthe- fiery Across, ^aad, -with- the help of tfetar 
;iallictyaken a- avagr revenge on the *i!lage8 'at whose bands (witbwir 
ttaid) thryhadiwiflferediflo hevy a-puniifement. 

13.' The attack on Mongsemdi was made in broad daylight, about 

- 2 otclock in' the afternoon v when -almost allthe men ^actaatlaay bf the 
v women *and children were iat work in their fields. Aftfw sien-were^n 

{guard durty, 4sftit4hey were apparently taken 'by surprise, and 'attkottgh , 
-with a .-devotion ibr which I could hardlf^have given 'Naga* cfedk, 
and which cost them all their livesy^hey stayed long ,. eiwragh >^t 'their 
post to sound the alarm on the village drum, which stands near the 
gate by Which the enemy entered, it was too late to save the lives of 
flhe majority of .the women and children thpn in their/ Mouses. The 
, Miris swarmed over.,the village .like ants, as one of.the/tfurvivori descri- 
bed the ^cene, and cut down^every iftfin, woman^iOT'oMldtrwhcMwas 
unable to eicape, a. few young children who. were *ake$ alive evcepted. 
After taking all the heads, -they set, fire to -the villge**nd made good 
their retreat .before the Mongsemdi men could come up ,from their 
ihums. In all, 148 persons- were killed, .of whom 15 are said to have 
osen men, '30 women, and the rest children. Lungkung-was -attached 

at dawn on the* 23rd of June, no watrh having apparently v been. .kept. 
Herb the number of persons slaughtered was 40-~-5 men, 20 women, 
atid the rest children Two children, were also carried off alive." 

For the future, his views were as follows. 

"18. Now- that a guard ,has baen-, stationed at 4laogsemdi y <rjthe 
question arise of how long it is to remain, and, if *not permaucnt^iww 
in the future b the protection, of the Ao, froatier to be- .provided ; for. 
L-take it for>grdnted that ani expedition will b^4ent*hroilgh the.^Aftri 
cotmtry in^the^Oid weather, \ but ^uiless we .take ho*ageS|. f whick itattiy, 
perhaps, be imppisible todo, I daoot *ee, Jww,.^ny.fieflGctivc. -security 
, against a repetition of |he Mongsemdi aad Lusgkung oaassacecaiD4>e 
taken, 'Without eirfier annexation, of u the Ap^ouatry^ oraomtiatt^d 

occupation ofTMongsemdii or fl^mexxher, post, ,in s :it,xwihich . 

really equivalent >to that, step, ^and would entail, oaaay of the xkspottsi- 

Bilities of annexation ^with^ene of itf a4 vantages. 

In considering the expediency of taking over the country wst"bf 
the Dikhu, I may here point] ^ut tha^^d^ng t^^h^Ufr o-^o^ tillages 

. given atJthe,close of Mr,:MoGabe > 1 reent i^ppit*'thaAFg^trjm^)(ikbu 
Ao visage of Longaa, containing 1,GO(X hoacs,. tiw iUwta^gioap, 
Pangti, Okotso, and the two Ares, containing 500 houses, the few 

-Sena -village* north-west of the Teshi river cowtaininf350 houses, 
and Assiringia, Tamlu, and Namiajig, whjch are, not ^^mbwigh this 


a total -of 11,000-hou^M.attaJBwd. , Now, even on 
*jone rupee per house,. wUfih* ownopiofoiv 

at firrrt rrtrmartft, tthw rrpyriirrtffl-* ; 1a ngr incteasft, 
wrvim of a ^Eteropeaa officer bcMag k certainlyw)/ 
longer required at Wokha, in the event supposed, a lafgc saving in the 
administration of that subdivision would ensue. The duties of the Sub- 
WUmfrOOtet at Wokha have for- sonw-yeftrs, cspcoially sinoo- the 
Semfes ceased raiding across- the Dayang; been wh as * couid ' perfectly 
well b<4 performed -by a tahsiHaroi^^. 150 a month. They wereyin 
facfc, performed .with success lor nine months in 1886-87 by the Wojcha 
: on 

Before the Government- of India was approached Mr. Metl&be 
who Was-wow' Dejsutjr Commissioner, Tezpw, was consulted . Hfe gave 
his views as follows. 

"The pernrnnmt' occupation of the Ao> country. I have alwaysurgusd- 
that no'finai settlement of trar relations with 1 the Ao tribe could be, 
obtained- without -a permanent occupation of the country. The interests 
of "ih**ea-]alantvs demand that the hill tribes* immediately bordering? on 
the* north-east frontier should be under direct British control ; and once 
this is achieved, raids on the plains of Assam become an impossibility 
and the necessity of maintaining police outposts in the plains districts 
no longer exists. 

N6 difficulty will arise in permanently occupying die Ao country. 
The tribe is well disposed towards us, is readily amenable to discipline, 
and has experienced the advantages of the protection we can give it; 

The present movement seems to afford a favourable opportunity for 
instituting direct government, and it would be advisable to commence 
at one*- by levying a house- tax. 

This tax should be atiRs.2 per house; and I think little difficulty 
would be experienced in realising it. The enhanced- security to life 
and consequent development of trade, the sale of rice to the police, 
whose requirements would aggregate 1.500 maunds annually, the 
wages paid for wprk on roads and carriage of stores, would all cause an 
influx of money into this country, many of the Aos are opium-eaters, 
and -it would take but ,a small sacrifice of this luxury to- enable', them 
to pay .the house-tax. If .this tract of country become an* integral por- 
tion of. the Naga Hills district, it will be necessary to fix a definite 
boundary beyond which under no pretence whatsoever should any con- 
trol, be assumed- The. trans-frontier tribes should be given clearly to 
understand thaV provided they respect .die sanctity of our frontier, we 
have 4 nb wish to interfere in- any way with them. A natural boundary 
is fij^efejable to any other, and as the whole of the Aos, with the cxcep- 
tidn of Longsa^ reside on ,the left bank of the Dikhu no better selection 
for a boundary, than, tmYriver could .be made. , 

m.LeaxtKm of -ktadptarUfs art* <to#w*f. Ungma is* a very good 
er -statin. It is a large village, firt^ly sitoatei oft 

s^ e qtHer -san. a a vge, 

the main ridge running parallel to the BSkftt* i iver^ The Jaha^ tantt 
are^wcll-to-do, and in^kiee* to be exacting itt tbeif demandft freua^ the 
neighbouring small villages. 


An outpost at-Mongsemdi would be necessary to afford protection 
against the raids of the trans-Dikhu tribes, and this post could easily be 
connected with Ungma by a road along the ridge * above referred to. 
In case of necessity the journey from Ungma to Mongsemdi could be 
made in one day." 

Letter No. 3293,* dated the 14th November 1868, was then submitted 
to the Government of India with two proposals, (fl) a punitive expe- 
dition across the Dikhu, and (b) the annexation of the Ao country. 

On the latter point, the letter contains a valuable resume* of the 
past history of our relations with trans-frontier tribes together with 
a careful review of the then situation, and the obligations resting on 
Government. Sir Denis Fitzpatrick expressed himself as follows. 

"10 the Chief Commissioner has no hesitation whatever 

in saying that if the present political control system is to be maintained, 
it must be with the obligation of defending the area of political control 
against aggression from without, and as regards the limitation laid 
down by the Government of India, viz., that 'the measure of protec- 
tion must depend upon proximity and convenience' it is unnecessary 
to discuss it, because, so far as the Chief Commissioner is aware, raids 
of the sort here in question are always made by villages at no great 
distance, which it is easy to reach and punish some way or other. It 
is no doubt very inconvenient to have to go even across the Dikhu to 
punish the raiders ; 'but it is a thing which we could not with any 
decency refuse to do as long as we assert the authority we do within the 
area 01 political control. 

11. The question accordingly is, shall we stop (there is no possibi- 
lity of going back) at the present system of political control, saddled 
with the obligation of defending the territory against raids from with- 
out, or shall we go a step further and by degrees occupy the territory, 
taking revenue from it ? 

This question presented itself on a small scale to Mr. Fitzpatrick 
on his taking charge here this time last year, on a proposal made 
by Mr. Porteous to take Nunkum and a few other villages across the 
Doyung into the district (see correspondance ending with your office 
letter No. 568, dated the 16th March last). On that occasion 
Mr. Fitzpatrick was averse to the step, partly because, though he regard- 
ed it, now that Upper Burma has been annexed, as ultimately inevita- 
ble, and indeed a thing to be desired^ that we should gradually absorb 
all the country between our present district boundary and the confines 
of Burma and Manipur into our regularly administered territories, he 
was anxious to proceed slowly and cautiously, partly because he 
thought the political control system promised to be fairly successful, 
and had moreover not yet been sufficiently tried, but chiefly because 
there were financial difficulties, the particular proposals then made by 
Mr. Porteous applying to so small a number of villages that the revenue 
which they offered to pay would have gone but a small way towards 
defraying the necessary additional expense. 

* Aisara Secretariat, 1888, File No.676-J. 


Subsequently thc.Qwcf Gognmiadoncr came *ft It* 

___ ____ tract gad * coUejrtis&g rcvcawe. 

Deration which^Tme/Jy fed the C 

was that if we go on for a long series of years settling the affairs of 
these people and protecting them against attacks from beyond tfje poli- 
tical area, doing for them, in fact, almost all they want, they will come 
in time to imagine that they have a sort of prescriptive' right ' to htye 
all this done for them for nothing, and when : the thne comes when we 
rous* realise revenue from them, it may be a difficult and unpleasant 
business...! t - '- '" " ^ 

*',, 13: As to the necessity of the step, it is manifest that the chastise* 
mteht inflicted by Mr. McCabe on these trans-Dikhu villages in the 
spring has had no effect whatever, and the Chief Commissioner scarcer 
ty ventures to hope that the further action which he now proposes 
against them, though a sense of duty and a regard for our good name 

cdiapei us to take it, win have very much effect as a deterrent 

'i. altogether the Chief Commissioner, white insisting on the 

necessity pf the punitive visit he now proposes, cannot venture to think 
that, 4 far as the future is concerned, we shaU after it has been made, 
be in a very much better position than we were before Hie recent raid. 
It would be utterly impossible to withdraw altogether within the limits 
of the present district. The force at present at Mongsemdi would have 
to be kept where it is, and it is more than possible that a year or two 
hence one or more similar posts would be found necessary. 

Hie question is how is all this to be paid for, and the only answer 
seems to be by taking revenue from the Acs' who on every conceivable 
principle may be fairly required to pay at least in part fbr the special 
feeaflures we take for their protection. 

' 14. Further, as above observed, the recent occurrences make it 
easier to take revenue from them, and the opportunity is one which the 
Chief Commissioner would not allow io go by." 

A* regards the headquarters of the new area he proposed that it 
should be Ungma to which place the headquartcre of the Subdivision^ 
Officer of Wokha would be transferred. Finally he laid* 

"17. It only remains to be said that if His Excellency in Council 
sH'ould'be pleased to approve of what is now proposed, the Chief Com* 
missio&er would not advocate the establishment of a fresh area <of poll- 
~ 1 control hi the territory adjoining the portion of the present area of 
control now to be occupied, as in his opinion the result of 
-^ iat would inevitably be mat what has now occurred would 
rt$eaf iiielf, and we might be compelled to enter into permanent occu* 
pation of that fresh area much sooner that would he convenient. It 
may be that when the time approaches for a further advance, those " 
who come after us will think it weU to begin by establishing an area of 
political control along the frontier. That will be for them to consider ; 
but for the present the Chief ComnOsiioiwr *yauld make tht DikhU our 


boundary in the strictest sense and have nothing whatever to do with 
the people beyond, except in cases, which he believes under the new 
position of things would hardly ever occur, in whkh they might venture 
to commit aggressions on the people on our side. It would further, he 
thinks, be a question whether we should not place some restrictions on 
people crossing the river from our side, such as is established on other 
parts of our frontier under the Inner Lane Rules". 

The assent of the Central Government was obtained,* an expedi- 
tion with Mr. Porteous in general charge assisted by Mr. A. W. Davis, 
I. c. s., and with lieutenants R. M. Maxwell of the Lakhimpur 
Military Police Battalion and D. F. Macintyre of the Naga Hills 
frontier Police Battalion in charge of the troops, which consisted 
of 68 of the former's men and 32 of the latter'*, crossed the Dikhu on 
their way to visit the offending tribe on 5th January 1889. This 
tribe is what is known at the present day as the Changs, but in 1888, 
they are referred to as "Miris" or Mazungs, with their principal 
village as "Mazung -Jami". The Expedition was entirely successful 
and the casualties on either side extremely small. Porteous reported 
that 1 sepoy was killed and 1 wounded and 26 coolies spiked by 
panjis, while he put the loss of the "Mazungs" at "5 men killed, 
wounded unknown". Mozung Jami [Tuensang] was occupied on 
12th January 1889.- The tribesmen had then no acquaintance with 
fire-arms and Mr. Maxwell remarks that they were so unaccustomed 
to these weapons that they thought, as fire come from the muzzle of 
die gun, all that was required was a chunga of water to put it out. 
In fact, in general he describes them as a "contemptible", enemy. 
The ringleaders whom it was desired to capture escaped but the tribes 
were reduced to submission without any difficulty. Towards the 
end of his. tour, Mr. Porteous visited the Trans-Dikhu Sema village 
of Serorni, whose attitude to him in his tour of April 1887 is referred 
to at page 116 above. Their defiant attitude was no less marked than 
before and "it was very evident that it was interpreted as a sign of 
weakness that we had taken no steps to bring Seromi to its bearings, 
and, on the eve of our assuming the administration of the Ao country 9 
it would have been impolitic to allow such a feeling to get abroad 
unchecked." Seromi offered no resistance and, as they made complete 
submission and were not in the control area, Porteous contented 
Himself with warning them that headtaking must in future cease and 
exacting a small fine of 10 cattle. 

In the course of his tour Porteous halted at Ungma in order to 
examine a site near Mokokchung [Mokoktsu] which seemed to him 
tfr offer the toost suitable place tor the new subdivisional headquar- 
trs. He was able tb recommend the site, provided the water 
supply stood the test of the hot weather. (Subsequently, on 29th 
May 1889, he was able to report that the site he had selected "on 
the eastetri slope of a hill, about half a mile west of Mokokchung" 
had jitood the test) 1 


Government then proceeded to take over the Ao country. This 
had been lanctioned in the Government of India's letter No. 2463-E,* 
dated the 24th December 1888 in the following terms : "3 
The Government of India, while not desirous to hasten the extension 
of the frontier in this direction, has previously recognized the proba- 
bility of such an advance being forced upon it by circumstances ; 
and the Governor-General in Council agrees with you, for the reasons 
stated in your letter under reply, that the time has now come when 
the direct administration of die country of the Ao Nagas may with 
advantage be undertaken. It is not intended that the system of 
political control should be generally and definitely abandoned, but 
in this particular part of the country, where the people are themselves 
willing to pay revenue in return for protection, there is no sufficient 
reason why their wishes should not be acceded to. The Government 
of India accepts your recommendation not to establish, at present, 
any fresh area of political control, and will consider any further propo- 
sal you may make in regard to restrictions upon people crossing the 
Dikhu from our side. 

5. As regards the taxation to be levied from the inhabitants of 
the incorporated tract, I am to say that the Governor-General in 
Council would prefer, if the Aos have no obligations corresponding 
with those imposed upon the Lhota Nagas, that the house-tax should 
be fixed at Rs. 2 per dwelling to begin with ; but His Excellency in 
Council will not 'object, if you consider it advisable to its being 
temporarily assessed at one rupee only. It will in any case be desira- 
ble that the country should as soon as possible, without exceeding the 
two rupee limit, pay its own expenses." 

Discussion followed as to various details, of which four may be 
mentioned, i.e., (a) were any Sema villages to be annexed ; (A) was 
the Ao village of Longsa, which was across the Dikhu, to be included 
too ; (c) the rate of revenue to be fixed and (d) where was to be the 
site for the new headquarters of the Subdivision. 

As regards the first point, Porteous* advice was that the small 
group of villages west of the Teshi river, viz., Mangrung, Nangtang 
and Phinsing should be taken over : while, subject to the necessity 
of increasing the police force so as to provide for a guard at Loppheim, 
he would have liked to take over also the powerful group of 6 villages 
lying along the ridge from Lumokomi to Lopphemi. As regards the 
second jx>int, he was in favour of including Langsa which would .have 
otherwise been the sole Ao village outside British territory. Thirdly, 
he advised that Rs. 2 should be the rate of revenue. Lastly, He re* 
peated the views referred to above about the suitability- of a site near 
Mokokchung, summarising his reasons as follows : " ' - " I 

"12. Summary of reasons for choosing' the site ' near ' Mokok- 
chung ' .'."*',,,; 

, (1) Reasonable proximity to headquarters at Kohima, T , 1 

*Awun Secretariat 1889. Fife No,544-J, 


(2) Command of the frontier ridge of the Ao country with direct 
: communication by the Khenza ridge with the- rest of tjie 

Ao villages, withdut necessity of dropping" into 'any 
i valley, * ,.-')-> 

(3) Convenience of position with view to probable - ftittfre 
extensions of the subdivision in to the Sema country. 

(4) Situation midway between three large villages Ungnia 
600, Khenza 300, Mokokchung 300 houses, none more 
distant than 2J miles, and consequent facilities for procur- 
ing supplies and coolie, labour. * 

(5) Suitability of site in height and lie of ground for establi- 
shing a station." 

At the conclusion of the letter, N-i. 1033 of the 8th March 1889, 
in which he gave his views on these ' questions, Mr. Porteous ' added 
the following remarks about slavery : ' - { 

U 20. Not the least important question in connection with, our 
assumption of direct administration over the Aos is that of slavery, 
an institution which in the domestic form prevails widely throughout 
the tribe. * Some rich men are said to possess as many as ten or twenty 
, slaves,. , Slaves are not allowed to marry, nor to possess property, 
, and children borne by female slaves are usually put to death.- It 
' is-dbvibussuch a state of things cannot be allowed to continue In 
i British territory, but the question arises is Government, to 'declare 
' at once all slaves emancipated with or without .compensation, Or 
'should we leave the institution to disappear by the .slow, 4 but 'equally 
certain, method of refusing to enforce the supposed rights of slave- 
1 owners ? The latter system was that adopted, I, presume > uncon- 
sciously, by Government in the Kuki country, where slavery was, 
however, not so widespread as among the Aos, and the result has 
been that slavery has entirely disappeared. I ' believe 'this to be the 
wisest policy, unless the Government be prepared to allow 
1 compensation, but I have to request that definite instructions on the 
subject may be issued as soon as possible." , . 

The Chief Commissioner agreed to including the group of Sema 
Villages west of the Teshi, but not the others ; he did not accept the 
inclusion of Lana ; he approved of revenue being collected at the 
rateofRs.2 and the -location of the subdivisional headquarters at 
Mokokchung. (Incidentally, the missionary Mr. Clark, had, pressed 
strongly for Waromang but this was rejected on a .number ' pr good 
grounds). ' , ' ',,'.' 

", As regards slavery, the Chief Commissioner's reply was'ai follows i:^- 
"9. lastly, as regards your request that definite instructions may be 
issued as soon as possible regarding domestic slavery, which you state 
prevails widely among the Aos, I am to say that it would be altoge- 
ther out of the Question to come. to 5 any final conclusion as to the 
manner in which a matter of such importance anct difficulty 4)}pul(l 
be dealt with until wr have had possession, of the country for' some 
little time, and learned something about it. It is most probable that 
here, as elsewhere, the status in question involves, besides the incidents 


of merfe social inferiority, such as, in accordance with our practice 
of giving effect to native usage, are recognised all over the country, 
j exclusion, *. g., from' 1 marriage with superior classes, exclusion from 
^certain special tenures of land, and so forth, and if from the depths 
TO 'our -present ignorance we were to attempt to formulate any definite 

declarations on the subject, we should in all probability either go, 
,or,be understood to go, too far or not far enough, in the one case 
j destroying other things besides slavery, and in the other appearing to 

extend our countenance to things which called for our reprobation. 
,* - : 'The only instructions the Chief Commissioner can give you for 

'some* time to come are chat you should absolutely refuse to lend your 
i countenance 4n any way to slavery, in the proper sense of the word, 

and in particular that you should refuse to admit it as a justification 
-for illtreating or restraining the liberty of any person whatsoever. 

I am to add that if the practice of putting to death the children 
'born of so-called female slaves actually prevails, you should at once 
publicly notify throughout the new tracts that it will be punished 
'as murder." 

The Government of India agreed to the setting up of the new 
Mokokchung Subdivision in its letter No 223-E., of the 28th January 
*t890 and this was formally announced by Assam Government Noti- 
' fication No: 749-J , of the 28th February 1890, Mr. A. W. Davis, I.G.S., 
"being placed in charge as the first Subdivisional Officer by Notifica- 
tion No. 1491- G., of the sam<i date. Mokokchung has remained the 
outlying subdivision of the district ever since, and Wokha has lost 
"its Administrative importance. 

.". .III. 1890-^1900.- The year 1890-1891 was a year of quiet, 
,a- quiet ,the- more remarkable towards its close in view of the events 
i Mani,pur in March 1891, when the Chief Commissioner and 4 other 
British - Officers were murdered. The Nagas behaved extremely well 
-and showed generally a disposition to help the British. There was, 

however, a certain amount of unrest on the Sibsagar border and so 
.much -apprehension was felt among tea gardens and other residents 

that a body of troops was maintained for 2 months at Sibsagar. 

, There was one exception, however, to the general record of tran- 
quility, not that it was of great moment in itself, but because it led to 
the raising once more, and in a new direction, of the question of 

In "December 1890 Davis had to punish two Sema villages outside 
the area of political 'Control which lay to the east of Wokha, Seromi 
'and Ghovishe's village. [TsukohomiJ, the former for the murder 
-of ani*Emilomi man, and the latter for a more serious raid in which 
one woman and, 10 children were killed. Seromi which he reached 
On "the 1st December, put up no opposition, and was fined 30 head 
~$ cattle. < Ghovishe also put up no light, but his village burned as a 
punishment. (Seromi was included within the area of Political 
Control' ten years latter, with the sanction of the Government of India 
given in their letter No..l988-E.B.* of the 9th October 1900). 

' * Assam ^Secretariat, for., A, October 1900, No*. 46-50. 


With his letter No. 915 *, dated the 29th December 1890, Mr. 
Davis sent in certain recommendations for the extension to the east of 
the area of political control, so as to include the Tizu and Tita 
Valleys, or, in other words, the whole of the Scma and Angami tribes, 
as we'll as the Ao village of Longsa, the only pure Ao village hither- 
to left outside our jurisdiction, f 

The proposal commended itself to Mr. Quinton, but his death 
in 1891 and the hostility of his successors resulted in its being shelved 
for many years. The attitude of Sir William Ward and Sir Henry 
Cotton is well summed up in Mr. Ward's note of 25th November 1896, 
which runs as follows "I have always been opposed to extending our 
area of political control, which is always followed by annexation, as in 
the case of Mokokchung subdivision. To annexation succeeds a further 
area of political control, and further annexation, etc. All this anne- 
xation means futher expenditure. North Lushai is bad enough, with 
its expenditure of 5} lakhs a year* and a revenue of Rs. 7,000 only, we 
don't want to annex more hill tribes than we probably can help. 
The annexation of the Mokokchung subdivision was due to the theory 
started, I think, by Sir Dennis Fitzpatrick and adopted by India in 
which I have never agreed, rag., that political control area implies 
protection by us of that area from attacks of the area beyond. That 
practically means that to protect properly, we must annex and estab- 
lish additional police outposts and establish political control of an area 
next beyond the area annexed, and so on, ad infwitum. The object of 
political control areas is, I have always held, to keep people imme- 
diately outside our annexed territories from taking heads, etc M on our 
borders. We say "If you want to take heads, keep away from our 
borders.' I would also say 'We can't undertake to protect you 
from the attacks of tribes beyond the political control area, and there- 
fore won't interfere with your marching into their country and re- 
taliating upon them if they attack you'. " Mr. Cotton endorsed 
this view on 8th January 1897* saying, "I entirely agree with Sir 
William Ward's views, and would strongly object to any extension of 
political control, if it can possibly be avoided. But there is always 
the risk of our hands being forced at any time." 

1891-92 was described by Mr. Davis the Deputy Commissioner, 
in his annual report as a most disastrous year both for the Angamis 
and for the foreign residents. The former suffered greatly on 
account of the excessive impressment of coolies for military require- 
ments, and the outbreaks of cholera and small-pox. No less than 
20,500 coolies had to be provided during the year and that total did 
not cover those taken at Nichuguard and in that neighbourhood. The 
foreign residents of Kohima suffered "on account of the scarcity of 

provisions and famine prices consequent on the impressment 

of all available transport in Sibsagar and this district for military 
purposes and the high prices paid by the Transport Department for 
paddy for pack animals." 

Assam Secretariat, For., A, January 1897, Not. 1-8. 

t The still independent villages of Yacham and Yong are generally regarded at 
Ao, but differ greatly from the rest of the tribe in language and custom. 


In 1892-93* Longsa (a hitherto independent Ao village whose 
inclusion in administered territory had been the subject of discussion 
in 1889) paid revenue for the first time. (Mr. Davis had informed 
them that they would be so liable when he visited the village in April 
1892, but, as was discovered 11 years later somewhat to the conster- 
nation of the Secretariat, no written sanction of Government to this 
order was ever issued at the time, an omission which the Assam Gov- 
ernment requested the Government of India to rectify in their letter 
No. 428-For., | dated the 9th July 1904). In 1893-94 our hold over 
the eastern Angamis immediately east of the Sidzu was tightened and 
Ghajubama [Chozumi] was taken in as a revenue-paying village. 

Correspondence took place in 1895 between the Governments of 
India, Burma and Assam, arising out of a raid by trans-frontier 
"Chins" from the west on a village called Shawpu, just beyond the 
Burma border and about 10 miles south-east of Melomi in our 
Eastern Angami country, in which the Chief Commissioner of Burma, 
Sir Frederic Fryer, in his letter No. 742 J dated the 25th September 
1895, raised the question of denning the boundary on either side of the 
tract lying between the North Chindwin District and Manipur. This 
matter was left by the Government of India, in their letter No. 
1942-E., J dated the 23rd October 1895, to the Chief Commissioner of 
of Burma, to the two administrations to arrange. They took, at the 
same time, the opportunity to reiterate their policy that "no inter- 
ference in the tract beyond our administrative borders should be 
encouraged or permitted, provided the tribes occupying that tract 
refrain from raids within the administered area. This principle of 
general policy should be impressed on the local officers concerned." 
In so doing they repeated what they had said previously to the Chief 
Commissioner of Assam in their letter No. 679- E., dated the 29th 
March 1895, i.e., 

3. "The Chief Commissioner of Burma has laid down, and the 
Government of India have approved, the principle that no interference 
with the tribes in this region should be permitted so long as they 
abstain from raiding on the country under our settled administration. 
From this principle the Governor-General in Council would be un- 
willing to depart ; and should any operations be undertaken, it would 
be desirable to explain clearly to the tribes that the Government of 
India have no desire to enter into any relations with them, or to 
maintain over them any permanent control. The scope of possible 
operations should be regarded from the standpoint of this policy." 

In December * 1897 Captain Cole, now Deputy Commissioner 
of the Naga Hills, visited the Sema villages of Kiycku [Kiyekhu] , a 
trans-border village, to punish it for raiding Sakhai and taking 17 
heads. He imposed the heavy fine of Rs. 1,000, but this was not 

*Anam Secretariat, For., A, August 1892, NOB. 36-37. 

t Aam Secretariat, For., A, August 1904, NOB. 41-56. 

: Assam Secretariat, For., A, December 1895, Nos. 5-13. 

Assam Secretariat, For., A, September 1895, Nns. 9-20. 

Aisam Secretariat, For., A, May 1898, Nos. 4-5. 


realised and the village was burnt, and cattle to the value of Rs.400 
were seized. A sum of Rs.150 was later brought in in cash, and the [ 
rest worked off in labour on the Sema road. \ .'"- -- 

The report for 1899-1900 records a period of tranquillity, witli ' 
one exception. The one exception * , however, was an important 
one, the incident of Yachumi. In his annual report Captain Woods, ' 
who had succeeded Captain Cole, merely says he "met with opposi- ' 
tion" from this village and had to punish it. The punishment/ 
however, was one of unusual severity. Captain Woods, together with ^ 
Mr. Noel Williamson, Sub-divisional Officer of Mokokchung, and ' 
100 rifles of the Naga Hills Military Police under Captain Shakespear 
left Kohima on the 28th January 1 900 on a Trans-Dikhu tour. The 
route he took was north-east from Kohima by way of Khyeku, which ; 
had been burnt by Captain Cole in December 1897, to the Tlzu- 
river. At Kukiyemi [Huchirr] in the Tizu Valley, some 6 miles from 
Yachumi [Yimtsung-Aenrr], Woods got information of Yachumi's 
hostile attitude. He went there next day, the 8th February, and the 
incident is best described in the following extract from Wood's diary. < 

"8th February Kukiyemi to Yachumi and back, about 12 miles. . 
Shortly after leaving Kukiyemi this morning, we found the path panjied; 
this, I think, must have been devilment on the part of Ghovishe of 
Kukiyemi with the intention of getting Yachumi into a row, .because 
the path was quite clear of panjies until quite close up to the village - 
of Yachumi. The path runs pretty level for about four miles, and - 
then descends to a stream, from which there is a pretty steady pull 
up to the spur on which the village is situated, then the path runs 
slightly downhill to the village ; when we got within half a mile or 
so of the village, apparently the alarm was given, and many men were 
seen running up from the fields into the village. The village was 
hidden inside a ring of magnificent bamboo clumps. A number of 
men came out from the village in their full war paint with spears, 
daos, and shields, and executed the usual war dance. My dobhashas 
spoke to the people, and told them that our visit was only a friendly 
one, and that if they put away their arms, no harm would come to ^ 
them, but it was all of no avail, as they were collecting in numbers, 
and there would have been a heavy loss had they got in amongst my 
coolies ; I was reluctantly compelled to give the order to fire. It was 
only after they had some losses that they retired. We then entered 
the village, but not without a good deal of opposition. The village 
had a very strong fence and ditch all round, and the latter was heavUy 
panjied. It was a very fine village with some 400 or 500 nouses in it ; 
the houses were all of the Trans-Dikhu pattern, with a long main street 
and houses closely packed on each side of it. I had intended to stay 
the night here, but on account of the difficulty in keeping the coolies, 
who had been looting pretty freely all round, and the impossibility, 
had they bolted, of gettirg coolies from anywhere else, I decided on 
returning to Kukiyemo. As the village had offered so much opposition 
all through, I decided on burning it, and Captain Shakespear with the 
rearguard burnt the village. It is probable that - this lesson to 

* Assam Secretariat, For., A, April 1900, Nos.1-9. 


YacBumi will have a salutary eflect in this valley and elsewhere, rotore 
especially as Yackumi had been boasting so much, and had such 'a 
terrorising name on all sides. Did not get back to Kukiyemi until 
after dark. It was a long, trying day. One sepoy and my head 
dobaska, wounded by panjies and one coolie with a spear were our only 
casualties. There are a number of very big villages in this valley. 
This .village cannot be very far from Mozungjama. Elevation of 
Yachumi 5,400 feet." 

The truth at which Captain Woods evidently guessed, was that 
the Scmas through whose villages he had passed, had sent word to 
Yachumi urging them to resist. The Semas knew that heavy casual- 
ties would be inflicted and, following the column, decapitated the dead 
and wounded. The rest of his tour was uneventful and he visited a 
large number of villages outside the administrative border. 

The Chief Commissioner addressed the Deputy Commissioner on 
the subject in his letter No. i^ 1 dated the llth April 1900 in the 
fqllpwwg terms. 

" It is observed that on the 8th February you were encam* 

p^d at Uic village of Yachumi which is far outside the area of your 
political control, ard were there involved in serious collision with the 
mert of that village, which resulted in your firing on them at close 
quarters antf killing several, and afterwards burning the village which 
is said to contain 400 or 500 houses. 

2. I am to say that the -Chief Commissioner does not wish to take 
any exception to your conduct at this village. He has no reason to 
doubt that the circumstances in which you fountf yourself rendered it 
necessary for the safety of yourself and of your party to fire upon 
the men of the village, and that some loss of life was unavoidable. 
But it is -none the less deplorable that this collision should have occur- 
red. Mr. Cotton cannot understand that there was any necessity on 
your part to visit this unfriendly village, and he does not look with 
favour on any part of your protracted tour over a tract of country 
where the British Government possess and claim no political control, 
and where there is obvious risk of your coming into conflict with the 
savage tribes who inhabit it. He believes that on former occasions 
expeditions similar to your own have been undertaken without sane* 
tion, and this may be held to justify your procedure in the present 
case ; but he wishes you now to understand distinctly that he cannot 
approve of such expeditions unless some special reason exists for them, 
and that you must not in future organise or make an expedition or 
promenade through independent territory outside the area of your 
political control without obtaining the previous sanction of the Local 

3. The general policy has been frequently laid down of discourage 
ing interference beyond the Dikhu, except when aggressions are com- 
mitted on the people on our side ; and while the Chief Commissioner 
has no intention of laying down any hard-and-fast rules to which it 
would probably be found impossible to adhere -in practice, he is con- 
vinced that it is desirable to conform to the established policy, and that 


tours such as you have recently undertaken beyond the political con- 
trol area involve the risk of collision, such as actually occurred at 
Yachumi, and are likely to lead to the gradual extension of the area 
under direct administration in the Naga Hills and to political and 
financial responsibilities of a serious nature. The tendency no doubt 
if in this direction, but the Chief Commissioner has no wish to preci- 
pitate matters. The area of the Sema country under political control 
it sufficiently well defined with a natural boundary, though it is not 
marked on the maps, as it ought to be. This area is within your 
jurisdiction, but the Tizu and Tita and Yangnu valleys which you have 
recently traversed lie beyond it, and it is to prevent excursions being 
undertaken by the Naga Hills authorities into these independent tracts 
without previous sanction that the present orders are issued". 

III. 1900-1913. The Government of India to whom the Yachum 
incident was reported agreed in their letter No.l046-E.B.*, dated the 
18th May 1900 with Mr. Cotton's view of the matter and with his 
orders. These orders had far-reaching effects as subsequent events 
were to show, and eventually circumstances proved too strong and they 
had to be modified. 

It is worth while recording that Yachumi itself does not seem to 
have taken the matter very much to heart, as Mr. W. M. Kennedy in 
his report for the year 1900-1901 says "They are now on the most 
friendly terms with us and are anxious that we should visit their village 
again, which of course is impossible, in view of the present orders 
regarding crossing the frontier. The Yachumi people say that Ghovi- 
she instigated them to attack us " . 

Mr. Kennedy raised the question of control in the area to the east 
in the Tizu Valley in a letter No.486-G.,| dated the 1st June 1901, 
which he addressed to Government. He asked that he should be 
allowed to settle disputes across the frontier, and secondly, he strongly 
urged that the boundary should be extended so as to include the whole 
Sema country or at least that the Tizu should be made the boundary. 
At the conclusion of his letter he described the position which had 
come about as a result of the orders which were issued after the Yac- 
humi collision as follows. 

"The Chief Commissioner may with justice complain that he is 
always being urged to extend the area of our political control notwith- 
standing his repeated refusals to undertake any further responsibilities 
in that direction, but there are special reasons why this matter should 
be raised now. In times passed my predecessors have from time to 
time toured in the Tizu Valley, setded the more serious land disputes, 
and punished recalcitrant villages, the result being that there is peace 
in the Tizu Valley at present, and more particularly on the western 
slope thereof, which is contiguous to our boundary. These tours, 
which were reported in diaries have at least the tacit approval of the 
Local Government. The position of affairs is however, now entirely 

* Attain Secretariat, For., A, August 1900, Nos.9-1 1. 
tAsiam Secretariat, For., A, August 1901, Nos.27-32. 


different, as, since the collision at Yachumi last year, stringent orders 
have been issued prohibiting officers crossing the boundary or having 
any dealings with independent tribes. I am therefore now precluded 
from settling a land dispute even a few yards across the ridge, which 
is pur boundary and once the independent villages close to us realise 
this, they will resume the former habits of rioting and head-taking, 
which cannot fail to re-act unfavourably on our own villages close by. 
I feel, therefore, that I should be failing in my duty if I did not repre- 
sent the state of affairs to the Chief Commissioner. If I remained 
silent I should be bound to carry out the present policy of non-inter- 
ference beyond our border, and the responsibility" for plunging back 
the Tizu valley into a state of anarchy would be mine". 

The reply which he got in the Government letter No.327-For.-P- 
3466, dated the 8th August 1901 turned down his proposals in singu- 
larly definite and unsympathetic terms. It ran as follows 

"2. In reply, I am to say that the Chief Commissioner observes 
that most of the arguments put forward by you and Captain Woods 
have been used before and will doubtless be used again in favour of an 
extension of the area of political concrol. Where there is an ethnolo- 
gical boundary it will be said that a further extension is necessary in 
order to secure a good natural and geographical boundary. When the 
boundary is a natural one an ethnological frontier is declared to be the 
best. When the boundary is a stream it is proposed to push it on to 
the top of the mountain ridge beyond. When the watershed has been 
reached it will be found that political considerations require an exten- 
sion to the bed of the next river below and so on ad infmitum. It is 
usually reported that the proposed extension will involve no increase 
of expenditure, but in point of fact such extensions always do involve 
directly or indirectly additional outlay and farther acquisitions of 
territory at no distant date. It may be that in the present case it will 
not be necessary to establish any outpost in the tract, which it is pro- 
posed to take over, and that no addition to -the Military Police force 
will be required. But it is quite certain that the prolonged touri of 
the Deputy Commissioner in the area of Political control and beyond 
it do impose responsibilities and additional expenditure on the Admini- 
stration, which increase as that area extends. 

3. The Chief Commissioner does not forget that since the present 
boundary of the political control was laid down the Deputy Commis- 
sioners of the Naga Hills have repeatedly interfered to settle disputes 
among the independent Nagas beyond it. There is always a strong 
temptation to do this. Under the important orders of the Government 
of India, No. 246-E., dated the 3rd February 1886, you are authorised 
to punish villages outside the area of political control for raids com- 
mitted on villages within that area when this can be convenienty be 
done. In practice it has always been found convenient not only to 
punish such villages but to make enquiry into and settle the disputes 
and quarrels out of which the raids originated. Your predecessors 
have thus come to adjudicate in disputes between independent villages 
and to punish disobedience of their orders. In making an expedition 


to an independent village it is necessary to pass through other , indepen- 
dent villages and sometimes to halt at them with an armed force and 
to require them to furnish transport. In this way the Deputy Com- 
missioners of the Naga Hills have gradually extended their control over 
a number of independent villages beyond the political control area. 

4. It may be admitted that the result of this has been beneficial in 
the establishment of order in localities such as Tizu and Tiia Valleys. 
But Mr. Cotton cannot doubt that your predecessors would have been 
better ad vised if they had adhered more strictly to the spirit of the 
orders of Government and had avoided as fai as possible any inter- 
ference with independent tribes. Sometimes, as for instance, in the 
case of the visit of Yachumi, which led to a serious collision and loss 
of life last year, expeditions or promenades beyond the area of political 
control appear to have been taken with no other object than explora- 
tion, and the Chief Commissioner regrets that the orders, which Were 
the consequence of that case, did not issue earlier and that it was not 
laid down long ago that expeditions outside the area of political control 
should not be undertaken without previous sanction. 

5. Holding these views the Chief Commissioner is unable to accept 
your proposals for extending the area of political control in the direc- 
tion of the Tizu riv.-r or to approve of your interference in the specific 
cases which you have brought to notice, which all relate to inter-tribal 
disputes in villages outside of that area". 

The Chief Commissioner evidently drafted the latter part of the 
letter himself though he incorporated in the beginning of it almost the 
whole of a note written by his Secretary, Mr. F. J. Monahan, who, 
incidentally, while realizing the nuisance arising out of constant incur- 
sions into tribal territory accepted the situation and considered that 
there was no help for it out to accede to Mr. Kennedy's request. 

The advent of a new Chief Commissioner, Mr. J. B. Fuller, pro- 
mised a more sympathetic attitude to these ideas. In February 1903, 
apparently in response to enquiries from the Chief Commissioner, 
Captain A. A. Howell, the Deputy Commissioner, wrote strongly on 
the unsatisfactory state of affairs in the T*zu and Tita Valleys gave 
many instances of outrages which had occurred and reported how at 
least one village, Yatsimi, had asked to be taken under our protection, 
a request which he had had "with grief and regret" been obliged to 
refuse. In a later letter No. 2426-G., *dated the 24th February 1903 
he -made the following suggestions by way of remedy. 

"I have the honour to inform you that during my tour along the 
border of the political control in the Sema country, many of che^ lead- 
ing men of that tribe have come in to see me. They all complain of 
our present boundary, which follows the crest of a range of hills, and 
certainly it is by no means all that a boundary should be. For 
instance, within a radius of some six miles of Sevikhe's village are some 
dozen villages all on the same hill, some on one side of the crest, and 
some on the other, while some are on the crest itself, which is our 

Astftm Secretariat, For., A, Novoribet 1903, NoB.3-17. 


border. These villages are all closely connected by descent, marriage, 
and trade (such as it is), and their lands, which lie on both side's of the 
crest of the hill, are inextricably intermingled with each other. What- 
ever a red line on the map may mean to a civilised man, it has no 
meaning to these people, who entirely fail to see, where all are alike, 
by what principle Government should make such important distinc- 
tions. In their opinion, the best thing that Government can do is to 
take over the whole of the Sema tribe, or, failing that, to take some 
natural boundary, such as the Tizu or Tita River, forbidding the 
people on either bank to crofts the boundary on any pretence whatso- 
ever. There is a good deal in what they say, but the first alternative 
would necessitate the establishment of a Military Police outpost in the 
Sema country. Until the tribe will bear the costs of this outpost, the 
expense to Government is not justifiable. The second alternative is 
certainly an improvement on the present arrangement. A river is a 
natural feature, which the meanest savage understands, and is, to a 
great extent, a dividing line between villages and village interests, 
which the crest of a hill most certainly is not. I however, am not pre- 
pared to recommend either a natural or a tribal boundary. In a 
country such as that on the eastern border of the Naga Hills, inhabited, 
as it is, by numerous tribes often much scattered, whose lands are limi- 
ted by no well-defined natural features, I venture to suggest with all 
due deference that neither a tribal nor a natural boundary is the most 
desirable, but a mixture of the two, the principle to be followed being 
that the benign influence of Government should be exercised as far as 
can be extended without in any way increasing the cost of the ordinary 
administration of the British portion of the Naga Hills district. That 
this influence can be thus exerted beyond the boundary of our present 
political control, there is no doubt whatever. I am no advocate of 
exploring excursions unl< ss specially ordered by the Chief Commis- 
sioner. It is from these that the present unsatkiactor\ state of affairs 
has arisen. I would, however, mos' eaincstly request that these villages, 
which have lived for many years in peace and order, considering them- 
selves under our protection, should not be given over to every descrip- 
tion, of violence and outrage. Under existing orders the maintenance 
of peace and order is impossible, and I, therefore, trust that these orders 
may speedily be modified" . 

Mr. Fuller recorded a long note on the subject on 18th April 1903 in 
which he reviewed the past policy and showed himself to be inclined to 
favour Captain Howell's ideas. Further inquries led to letter No.l064-G. 
from Captain Howell dated the 25th July 1903 in which he advo- 
cated the immediate declaration of control ever all Angami villages : 
its gradual extension over the whole Sema tribe : and the application 
of taxation to the whole existing area of political control, to the 5 
Angami villages east of the Tizu and to the Sema villages lying between 
our border and the Tizu. He also made certain important recommen- 
dations about running roads through the country in question, proposals 
with which Mr. A. W. Davis, late of the Naga Hills and by then Ins- 
pector-General of Police, agreed. These proposals, as Mr. Davis 
explains in his Memo, of 30th July 140$, were a revival of those which 


were put forward by himself in 1891, accepted by Mr. Quintan, thrown 
aside owing to the latter's death in 1891, renewed in 1891 and 1892 by 
Mr. Davis, again shelved, revived in 1896 and this time definitely 
turned down by both Sir W. Ward and Sir H. Cotton : and then 
again revived in 1901 and again disapproved by Sir H. Cotton. Mr. 
Davis considered that the political control area should be extended so 
as to include every Scma and Angami village. 

He observed incidentally that the prohibition rule (consequent- 
oil Yachumi) had led to a tf deplorable amount of bloodshed and nu- 
merous murderous outrages just across our frontier", and in a note 
recorded a little later he stated his opinion that the frontier line was 
"no longer safe as it was 10 to 12 years ago", a "direct result", he con- 
sidered "of the non-intefference policy". He condemned the present 
condition of affairs as being "discreditable to our administration and 
unintelligible to the people who are affected by it". 

The proposals which the Chief Commissioner forwarded to the 
Government of India in his letter No. 517-For-P./5295, dated the 
23rd November 1903 embodied this advice in general. He reviewed 
the policy of the previous 20 years starting from 1884 and made the 
following recommendations : (a) that the present area of "control" 
should be formally incorporated in the district and house tax levied 
which would regularise the existing de facto position ; and 

(b) that the area lying west of the Tizu as far north as and in- 
cluding the village of Yehim as well as 6 villages, among them Sohe- 
mij inhabited either by Angamis or by Semas who had adopted Anga- 
mi habits, lying to the east of the said river, should be included in the 
district. He decided not to include Melomi or Lapvomi, though they 
had applied for annexation. 

The letter ended with the following reference to the Government 
of India's order of the 18th May 1900 arising out of the Yachumi 

"12 the Chief Commissioner ventures to represent that 

the decision of the Government of India in the Yachumi case, referr- 
ed to in paragraph 2 of this letter, has led to a recrudescence of bar- 
barism across the frontier. Previous to the issue of those orders the 
Deputy Commissioners were in the habit of making occasional tours 
beyond the boundary of the "political control" area, in the course 
of which they settled disputes which were referred to them, and pu- 
nished recalcitrant villages, with the result that raiding and head-tak- 
ing were kept under control. It was early brought to notice that the 
stringent prohibition against crossing the frontier was likely to lead to 
resumption of muiderous feuds by the adjacent Naga villages, and 
the numerous cases of violent outrage which have been reported lately 
show that the apprehension was well founded. An annexure to this 
letter gives a summary of the cases which have occurred since the 1st 
January 1902. 

With regard to the Tizu Valley, the eastern side of which will lie 
immediately beyond the proposed boundary, Major Howell writes : 
"It should be remembered that until the issue of the orders in the 
Yachumi case, the people in the political control were as well behaved as 


those in any other part of the district. So were those in the Tizu Valley. 
This Valley is now fast relapsing into barbarism, and the process 
has a disturbing effect on the villages within the control proper". 

Mr. Davis writes : 

If the control area be not extended to include the whole Sema 
tribe, then the rule prohibiting the Deputy Commissioner from cross- 
ing the border without formal permission should be relaxed, as it is 
very necessary that he should be able to settle cases brought by people 
within the control area against people living outside it. * * 

The prohibition rule has, I am afraid, led to a deplorable amount 
of bloodshed and numerous murderous outrages just across our fron- 
tier, which would not have occurred if the policy of the prc-Yachumi 
days had been followed of recent years. 

While we have, of course, no definite responsibilities for keeping 
the peace across our frontier, our Political Officers cannot but feel 
regret at the constant occurrence of barbarous outrages close beyond 
our border, which are preventible without risk or expenditure, and 
the Chief Commissioner sympathises with their feelings. Both Major 
Howell and Mr. Davis earnestly plead for the relaxation of the rule 
that now prohibits the Deputy Commissioner from promptly visiting 
villages across the border and using his mediating authority to com- 
pose feuds which not only lead to misery and loss of life, but have a 
disturbing effect on our own people. Mr. Fuller quite realises the 
danger of allowing British Officers a ft cc hand across the frontier. 
They are subject to great temptations to extend their authority further 
than it is possible to enforce it without risk of collision or of expendi- 
ture. But at the same time he is of opinion that cases arise in which 
short tours may be undertaken without any such risk and with great 
benefit to the people. Mr. Fuller would on no acount allow the De- 
puty Commissioner to cross the border without his express sanction ; 
but he would be glad if the Government of India would permit him 
to give such sanction occasionally on the understanding that a definite 
programme of the tour will be submitted by the Deputy Commissioner 
il, and that it will be strictly followed." 

In their letter No.291-E.B., * dated the 26th January 1904, the 
Government of India agreed to the extension of the eastern boundary 
of the district. This affected a long strip of country from Yehim in 
the north along the line of the Tizu which became, to its junction 
with the Hipu, the boundary of the administered area (as it is to this 
day) down to Sohemi [Sahunyu] on the south. Mr. Noel Williamson 
who was then Subdivisional Officer of Mokokchung (subsequently, 
as Assistant Political Officer, Sadiya, to be murdered by Abors in 
1911) went through the part of the newly annexed country which lay 
in his subdivision in March 1904 and was well received ; Major Howell 
went' a week later to the villages lying to the southern part of the 
area concerned. He also had no difficulties, but he lays emphasis in 

* Auam Secretariat, For., A, August 1904, Nog, 41-56. 


his report on the menace of the Aishao Kuki villages to the east wto 
were "a terror to the country side" especially as they were estimated 
to be armed in the proportion of a gun a piece for 200 houses. 

In 1905* occurred the second expedition against Mozungjami 
the first was conducted by Mr. Porteous in 1889 situated about 20 
miles east of Mokokchung and known by its own Chan inhabitants 
as Tuensang or Yemkhung. This expedition was sanctioned by the 
Government of India in 1904 and it started from Mokokchung on the 
12th January 1905 With Mi. W. J. Reid, the Deputy Commissioner, 
in charge, accompanied by Mr. Williamson, and an escort of iLOO men 
of the Naga Hills Military Police, under Captain H. A. H. Thomp- 
son, the Commandant. They arrived at their destination on the 15th 
January and found both the offending khels, Pelasi [Bilashi] and 
Chongpo deserted. These they burnt in reprisal for the killing of two 
Sema coolies and they then devastated the country and destroyed the 
possessions' of the villagers The punishment meted out is described as 
severe. The (expedition, however, instead of staying up to 26th Janu- 
ary as was intended had to depart prematuraly on the 22nd on ac- 
count of cholerak diarrhoea breaking out among the coolies. This 
prevented the operations being as thorough as the Deputy Commission- 
fir desired and he would have liked to exact further punishment sub- 
sequently. The Chief Commissioner, Mr. Fuller, was however, suffi- 
ciently satisfied with the results, though it was realised that it was only 
Chon&pu which made reparation wliile Pelasi made none. Little more 
^ than 2 years after the receipt of the Government of India's sanction 
* to 'the shifting forward of the eastern boundary of our area of cori- 
trol, the Local Government again addressed them with a similar re- 
quest. Their letter No. 6119-J.,t dated the 7th June 1906, arose out 
of certain strongly worded complaints which were submitted by the 
Deputy 'Commissioner of the Naga Hills on the llth July 1905 re- 
garding the state of affairs just across his eastern border, of which the 
following are extracts : 

"4 in the early nineties raiding on our immediate fron- 
tier 'had been put a stop to to a great extent. Since then, as we have 
taken no notice of savage acts of bloodshed, the country is lapsing 
into its former state, and if we maintain the non-interference policy 
it will be only a matter of time before it returns to the condition in 
which we found it. From a purely official point of view the pre- 
sent policy of allowing this barbarous warfare to be carried on is an 
excellent one, provided there is no fear of the sanctity of our border 
being violated. There should be no grounds for this fear, however, if 
we were to show ourselves more across the frontier. I have said that 
the orders in Jthe Yachumi case as regards touring across our border 
have not been the cause of the present condition of affairs. But these 
orders have had a distinct effect in lessening our influence across the 

* Assam Secretariat, For., A, April 1905, Nos. 1-50. 

t Eastern Bengal and Assam Secretariat, Political, A, July 1906, .Nos. 25-32. 


The total number of murders, thei efore, about which I have 
received reports amounts to 545 during the last 3J yeais. For the rea- 
sons given in my Jast Annual Report it might not have been possible 
to prevent the murders across the Tizu which during 1904 and 1905 
amount to 130. But all the other 324 murders, or an average of over 
90 a year, which have all occuired in a portion of the frontier not 
much more than 30 miles in lergth, could have been prevented with- 
out any increase to the Militaiy Police Battalion and without the ex- 
penditure of a single extia rupee. These figures, it must be remem- 
bered, represent only the numbers of muideis about which I have 
received information. As pointed out in my Annual Report others 
must take place about which nothing is ever heard. 

6. If the present awful condition of affairs is to cease, the only 
solution as far as I can sec is annexation. Let the country annexed 
be called a political control area if necessary, but let the inhabitants 
clearly understand that tht y are British subjects, and as such they 
may look to Government for protection and redress in return for the 
obligations we impose on them as regards raiding. I have written 
at length on this subject in my Annual Report. If we cannot annex, 
I think our policy J-hould be one of strict n on -interference If a 
savage comes to us for protection or rediess which we cannot give 
him on the grounds that our policy is one of non-intervention, we 
can hard'y in turn, I take it, place restrictions on him as regards 
raiding and expect him to consider the feelings of Government on this 

7. I would mention here that Mr. Davis sent a note to the 
Secretariat in about April 1903 on the state of affaiis of this frontier. 
This note was written by him after seeing the village of Alisibo burning 
before his eyes on the 25th March 1903 while on tour at Mokok- 

In referring the matter to the Government oi India in their letter 
No.6119-J., dated the 7th June 1906 the Government of Eastern Bengal 
and Assam enquired "whether the Government of India would assent 
to the exercise of the authority of this Government in. order to check 
the perpetration of barbarities by the inhabitants of villages which 
lie a short distance across the eastern frontier of the Naga Hills 
district." They were* 'confident that the Government of India will agree 
in the view that it is expedient to intervene for the prevention of 
these atrocities if intervention will not add materially to the respon- 
sibilities of British Government". The general lines of policy which Sir 
Bampfylde Fuller advocated were explained thus : 

"4. Should the Government of India approve an extension of the 
authority of the Deputy Gommissioner of the Naga Hills district, the 
Lieutenant -Governor would advocate no considerable change of policy. 
He would simply move on the lines which were recommended 16 years 
ago and establish an area of 'political'control' along and beyond the 
eastern frontier of the district. He has but little faith in casual 
'promenades', or in isolated punitive intervention ', and he believes 
that nothing short of a direct declaration of continuous intervention 
will put an end to the raiding of one village upon another. He is 


assured by his officers that such a declaration would have to be supple- 
mented by a very small amount of punishment in order to maintain the 
sanctity of human life : and their opinion is entirely borne out by our 
experience with the areas of 'political control* which formerly existed 

but have now been included in the district In one respect tfle 

Lieu tenant-Governor would depart from the policy of the past in that 
he would not attempt at present to define with precision the outside 
boundary of the belt of 'political control 1 . The country is not well 
known, and the existing maps are not reliable. Moreover it is plain 
that the area over which our influence should be exerted should be 
marked by tribal rather than by territorial limits, and should be 
defined by lists of villages, not by geographical features. Beginning 
with the southern extremity of the belt our intervention should cer- 
tainly reach the three villages or Melomi, Lepvorni and Primi 

The geographical limits which are mentioned above are, however, 
merely intended as a general indication of direction. It is proposed 
that the Deputy Commissioner should be authorised to list the villages 
which should be brought under our influence, subject to the limitations 
that they should constitute a fairly compact area, and that they should 
lie at no greater distance than two marches from the present frontier 
of the district or than 12 miles as the crow flies. 

5. If, as is proposed, the assertion of our control is gradually 
brought home to the people, the Lieutenant-Go vernor is assured that 
the contingency need not be apprehended of any very severe or exten- 
sive measures of punishment. It is possible that some of the trans- 
Dikhu villages may be disposed to resent interierence ; but it is very 
improbable indeed that anything further will be needed than a show 
of strength. Sir Bampfylde Fuller believes indeed that the great 
majority of the villages will accept without unwillingness an authority 
to which their neighbours are subject and which brings much material 
advantage in its train. There is no intention of interfering in petty 
quarrels. It would be our policy to repress raiding within the area of 
control, and to protect villages within this area from bring raided by 
those on the further side of them. The latter obligation may seem to 
involve rather wide possibilities. But the experience of the past has 
shown that the protection of the British Government, once formally 
asserted, is respected by the tribesmen, and with the exc option of the 
attack on Nongsemdi (in the Ao country) which occurred in 1888, the 
former area of political control remained practically immune from 
outside aggression." 

The Government of India, replying at leisure in their letter No.511- 
E.C.* of the 12th February 1907, were far from sympathetic. t They re- 
iterated at unusual length and with unusual emphasis their adherence 
"to the principle of accepting no responsibility for the protection of life 
and property beyond the administrative line of British territory" and 
the fact that they * had no desire to hasten the day when the outlying 
tribes would fall under their administration". They characterised the 
Eastern Bengal and Assam Government's proposal as being in 

'Eastern Bengal and Assam, Secretariat Political, A, March 1908, Nos.1-15. 


opposition to their declared policy, and, after reviewing the course of 
policy which had been adopted for the last twenty-five years, they 
pronounced themselves quite definitely as being opposed to any gene- 
ral change of policy. The only thing they would consider was whether 
there were any particular circumstances in the Naga Hills' case such 
as to make it desirable to make an exception. They, therefore, cauti- 
ously and without committing themselves, asked for further information 
on various points which they enumerated. The Local Government 
took a considerable time to reply to this letter and in the meanwhile 
made enquiries from their subordinate officers. These enquiries 
elicited some striking facts. The Commissioner in a letter dated the 
26th September 1907 mentions a peculiarly bad instance in which, 
in January 1906, 250 persons had been butchered at the fords of the 
Dikhu by trans-frontier Nagas, the survivors of whom he himself saw 
when on tour Similarly, Major H. W. G. Cole who had formerly 
been Deputy Commissioner of the Naga Hills wrote on the 20th June 
1907 from the Lushai Hills where he was then stationed and pronounc- 
ed himself in no uncertain terms on the subject. The only sensible 
thing to do was to accept as inevitable the ultimate absorption of all 
unadministered territory between India and Burma ; if our advances 
in this direction were to be gradual, they should be at any rate be 
constant, and the sooner the thing was faced the better. Thirdly, 
Mr. A. W. Davis, who was then the Deputy Commissioner of the 
Naga Hills, dealt at length with the subject in his letter No.584-G., 
dated the 6th July 1907 and concluded by saying that "We shall have 
no real peace until we have absorbed the whole hill area between this 
and the Chindwin. This can be done gradually and economically. 
As it is, the huge area of uncontrolled hill country between Assam and 
Burma is an anomaly." The East Bengal and Assam Government of 
which by this time Sir Lancelot Hare was the head, replied to the 
Government of India in their letter No.5204-J., dated the 7th Decem- 
ber 1907. They traced the history of our relations with our tribal 
areas fiom 1840 to 1904. They referred with regret to the effect that 
the orders of Government in 1900 prescribing the necessity of obtaining 
previous sanction had had in putting a stop to tours beyond the frontier. 
They strongly supported the view that there was a special case for 
extension of control on the Naga Hills border. c His Honour does not 
presume" the letter ran, "to criticize the general policy of the 
Government of India, and he ha no desire to see the sphere of British 
authority unnecessarily widened, but it seems impossible to avoid the 
i esponsibilities of sovereignty, and as each successive area gradually 
settles down under our administration the necessity arises for pushing 
back the pale of barbarism from its borders. The case for the Naga 
Hills appears particularly strong owing to the savagery with which 
the feuds there are conducted and now that law and order are estab- 
lished within the district, Sir Lancelot Hare would say in the words 
used by the Secretary of State (Lord CranbrookJ of 1878, "that the 
continuance in immediate proximity to settled districts of a system of 
internecine warfare conducted principally against women and children 
cannot be tolerated." In conclusion reference was made to a parti- 
cular aspecc of the matter which required decision, i.e., that difficulty 
had arisen owing to the fact that part at least of the coal-bearing tract 


which European firms wished to exploit lay outside the area of British 
administration. The necessity of early orders regarding an area of 
control which had been put forward in their letter written so lor.g ago 
as 7th June ]906, or 1J years previously, was urged. 

On the main object, in continuation of the letter of December 
1907, to which no reply had apparently been received, Eastern Bengal 
and Assam again wrote in their letter No.2450-J., dated the 18th 
May 1908 and again begged for orders on the question of taking over 
a number of villages in order to put down outrages and raiding. The 
general effect of the letter was that they wanted to extend the area 
of control on the eastern-frontier from the Dikhu down to Melomi 
[Meluri] in the south-east corner, where the Kukis' oppression of 
Angami village on our border had been particularly troublesome. 

The Government of India recommended these proposals in writing 
to the Secretary of State in their Foreign Department letter No. 1 32, 
dated the 16th July 1908. 

"3 it is urged on grounds- which are in our opinion ad- 
equate that there is no reason to apprehend that the proposed exten- 
sion will involve military operations or additional expenditure. It 
will be observed that Sir Lancelot Han* concurs in the opinion of his 
predecessor as to the desirability of permitting the officers of the 
Naga Hills District to exercise some control over the tribes just across 
the frontier, ard with this conclusion we are forced to agree. On a 
full consideration of the whole case, we think that we should be 
accepting a grave responsibility if, in opposition to the advice of 
successive Lieutenant-Governors supported by the practically una- 
nimous opinion of local frontier officers, we declined to take steps to 
ensure the safety of our frontier villages and to put a stop to horrible 
barbarities when we have the power, more especially when this end 
can be achieved without adding to our expenditure or increasing 
our political risks. 

4. It is, in our opinion, sufficiently clear from the correspon- 
dence, which we forward for your Lordship's perusal, that fitful 
intervention and occasional punitive expeditions have in the past 
pro-ed ineffectual, whereas in areas of political control the protection 
of the British Government has converted scenes of chronic murder and 
intestine feud to peace and agriculture. The Secretary of State in his 
Despatch No. 107 (Political), dated the 5th December 1878, expressed 
the opinion that the gradual extension of British authority over these 
independent tribes must be regarded as inevitable. "The continuance," 
he said, *'in immediate proximity to settled British districts of a 
system of internecine warfare, conducted principally against' women 
and children, cannot be tolerated," 

We desire therefore, with your Lordship's approval, to accept the 
proposals of the Government of Eastern Bengal and Assam for an 
extension of the area of our poli tical control " 

Eastern Bengal and Assam Secretariat, Political, A, June 1908, Nos.32-34. 
Ditto ditto May 1909, Nos.21-24. 


In spite however of this strong recommendation the Secretary of 
State (Lord Morley) declined to accede to the proposals. He said ^his 
Despatch No. 128-( Political) dated 13th November 1908) . 

"I have considered in Council the letter of Your Excellency's 
Government in the Foreign Department No. 132, dated the 16th July 
1908, recommending that steps should be taken to extend your 
political control over the tribes in a limited strip of territory adjoining 
the eastern border of the Naga Hills District. To give effect to this 
policy, it is proposed that the Deputy Commissioner with an escort and 
surveyors, should make a tour during the coming cold weather in the 
tribal area in question, it being left to his discretion, subject to general 
direction, to decide what places to visit. Villages at a distance of 
more than 12 miles from the administrative border are not, as a rule, 
to be included, and no attempt will be made at present to define 
geographically the limits of the- proposed area of control. The local 
Government have satisfied you that the policy you recommend in- 
volves no political risk, and will cause no increase either of military 
police or of expenditure. The cost of the tour, I understand, would be 
borne by provincial revenues. 

2. The force of the reasons that in 1878 led Lord Salisbury [sic], 
in the despatch to which you refer, to express the view a general 
extension of British authority over the independent tribes in these 
regions was practically unavoidable, cannot be gainsaid. But in 1884 
the Government of India found it necessary lo define more closely the 
principle of policy to be pursued, and they laid down, for the guidance 
of the Local Government, that interference with tribal quarrels should, 
as a rule, be limited to cases involving either outrages on British sub- 
jects, or violation of the Inner Line, or danger to the interests of dwel- 
lers within the British border by reason of the proximity of disturbance 

3. The objections based on this fundamental and essentially sound 
principle of policy to the proposals first submitted, when Sir B. Fuller 
was Lieutenant-Governor, for bringing the area of tribal territory in 
question under political control, weie stated most convincingly in the 
letter of your Government to the Local Government of the 12th Feb- 
ruary 1907. The impression produced on me by what you then wrote 
is that at the time you were of opinion that no necessity had been 
established for a departure from the policy of non-interference. You, 
however, thought it desirable to refer the matter back for Sir L. Hare's 
consideration, with special reference to the question whether, in the 
event'of the tract which it was proposed to control being brought ulti- 
mately under direct administration, the taxes to be levied from the in- 
habitants would be likely to cover all expenditure, direct and indirect, 
that would be incurred for its administration and protection. It is 
true that the Local Government in their reply speak reassuringly on 
this point, but they do not conceal the fact that the logical outcome of 
the slight extension of political control now proposed is the absorption 
of the entire tract of country, 60 miles in width, between the Naga 
Hills District and the territories subject to the Government of Burma. 


4. It is with reference to these wider consequences, and not merely 
to those immediately following on the measures now proposed, that 
the question must be considered and decided. I am not satisfied that 
the action Your Excellency would now take may not produce results 
wider and more serious than are at present anticipated . Nor am I 
satisfied on the facts as reported that it is at the present moment 
necessary, in the interests of the dwellers within the British border, that 
there should be a departure from the principle of non-interference by 
the extension of the area of our responsibilities on this section of the 

5. I am therefore compelled to withhold my sanction from the 
measure which you submit for my approval." 

The proposal was not to be raised again till six years later. 

A separate proposal as regards coal-bearing tracts, had in Octo- 
ber 1907 (our No.4461-J., dated the 23rd October 1907) already been 
sent up to the Government of India whereby the village of Kongan 
[Kongnyu] east of the Dikhu river, which then formed the eastern 
boundary of the Mokokchung subdivision, should be included in the 
district. This was a large coal-bearing area and business interests 
desired to exploit it. The effect of the proposal was to include the 
whole country lying between the Dikhu and the Safrai river. This 
was followed by a further letter No,2384-J,f dated the 18th May 1908 
in which the inclusion of an extended area covering the whole of that 
part of the subdivision now lying between the Dikhu and its present 
north-east and south boundaries and including such places as Borjan, 
Wake hi ng, Wanching and Longkhai was recommended. The Gov- 
ernment of India had apparently no great difficulty in acceding to this 
proposal and sanctioned it in their letter No. 2292-F. G., dated the 
1st July 1908. 

Further correspondence ended in Notification No. 63-P.,f dated 
the 1st February 1910, which added 14 Konyak villages between the 
Yangnyu and the Safrai to the district. The boundaries which it 
describes hold good to this day. The only difference is that there is 
now beyond this boundary a control area which includes the important 
villages of Mon and Chi and which stretches south of them fur many 
miles down to the Sema country. It is interesting to observe in the 
light of subsequent events that the then Subdivisional Officer of 
Mokokchung, Mr. Needham, had written on the 1st November,} 1909 
and pointed out the influence which these two villages exerted over 
villages within this territory and the necessity of explaining to them 
that they wduld no longer be allowed to interfere. In the District 
Report for 1914-15 it is recorded that the Nazira Goal Company 
worked the Borjan Colliery throughout the year, output being 778 tons. 

Eastern Bengal and Assam Secretariat, Political, A, June 1908, Nos. 32-34. 
Eastern Bengal and Assam Secretariat, Political, A, May 1909, Nos. 21-24. 
*Eastern Bengal and Assam Secretariat, Political, A, November 1907, Nos. 101- 

tEastern Bengal and Assam Secretariat, Political, A, July 1910, Nos.7-15 

Eastern Bengal and Assam Secretariat, Political, A, July 1910, Nos. 28-54, 



In October 1908 Mr. W. C. M. Dundas, I.P., the Subdivisional 
Officer, Mokokchung. reported fresh misconduct by Mozungjami. 
The Pelasi and Chongpo khels of Mozungjami had in 1903 
committed certain outrages and were in consequence visited 
in 1905 by the then Deputy Commissioner (see page 141 ante). 
But full punishment was not exacted, and up to 1908 Pelasi were still 
in arrears with their fine and it was Chongpo who had committed the 
fresh outrage reported by Mr. Duridas in October. Sir Lancelot Hare 
decided to put an end to the unsatisfactory position and he obtained 
the agreement of the Central Government in their letter No.l041-E.B., 
dated the 23rd June 1909 to sending an expedition. The expedition was 
entirely successful and its doings wcie reported in laudatory terms to 
the Supreme Government in the Eastern Bengal and Assam 
Government's letter No.l68-P , dated the 1st March 1910. 
Colonel Woods was in Political charge as Deputy Commissioner 
with Major Bliss, who was then Commandant of the Naga Hills 
Military Police, in charge of the escort of 100 Military Police. 
They left Mokokchuntf on the 20th December 1909, reached 
Mozungjami on the 24th, remained there on the 25th and left on the 
26th. The behaviour of the Nagas was ii reproachable, so Colonel 
Woods contented himself with imposing an additional fine of 5 mithan 
on the Pelasi Khel. In his report the doings of Chongpo are not men- 
tioned. The current Mozungjami version of this expedition is 
perhaps worth recording. According to it the first demand of the 
Sirkar was for the men responsible for the outrage. To this Tuensong 
replied " Does a hunter give away his hounds ? ". The next demand 
was for a fine in money. To this the reply was, " We have no coins. 
We hear the Sirkar makes coins. If they are short, let them make 
some more." The final demand was for mithan. To this no reply 
was given, and the expedition had to toil many weary miles only to 
find them tied up ready outside the gates. 

The Expedition of 1910 against the Aishan Kukis, a tribe who 
had been continually oppressing the local Nagas on our border in the 
most brutal way, originated in the murder at Melomi in 1909 of two 
British subjects oi Temirni [Kizare] village. In Major HowelPs letter 
No.421-G.,* dated the 8th June 1909, he explained that these trouble- 
some people belonged to a wild tract lying between the eastern border 
of Manipur and the Chindwin river, which extended to the north to a 
point beyond the Tizu. There were two groups of Kukis, the Aishan 
Kukis, who occupied the area to the north, and the Chasad Kukis, 
who occupied an area to the south, separated from the Lanier Valley 
by a high range of mountains. Between the two groups lay the Somra 
tract inhabited by Tangkhul Nagas. In reporting the matter to the 
Government of India in their letter No.4079, dated the 5th August 
1909, the Local Government referred to the Temimi murder and also 
to two raids which had been made by the same people into Manipur 
territory from Kangzang [Kanjangj near Laovome rLeohorii in 
unadministered territory. The expedition was agjjgCpJp^p^^ on a 

Eastern Bengal and Asam Secretariat, Pol., 
*Eastcrn Bengal and Assam Secretariat, 


fairly large scale, the escort consisting of 150 men of the Naga Hills 
Military Police, under the command of Major Bliss with two British 
Officers, Captain G. F. Porter of the 17th Infantry and Lieutenant 
Hardcastle, Assistant Commandant of the Police. Mr. Cosgrave, Vice- 
President of the Manipur State Durbar, joined the expedition at 
Melomi. It reached Kangjang on the 19th February where 
the Chief was arrested and kept in custody. On the 23rd February 
it reached Yangnoi where similar arrests were made. On the 5th 
March it returned to Kohima. There was no opposition throughout, 
but Colonel Woods reported that local conditions were such as to 
require drastic action. He proposed and he started carrying out this 
proposal that all Kukis should be disarmed (by the 31st May he had 
had surrendered to him 116 guns). Secondly, he considered that all 
Kukis should be ordered to return to their original homes in Manipur. 
Thirdly, he left a substantial guard at Melomi which was to remain 
there until his orders had been carried out. As regards Melimi and 
Primi, though the paragraph in Woods' report referring to them were 
left out when his report was forwaidcd to the Government of India, 
it appears that he quite definitely took over these villages and told 
them so at the time : Woods stated this in a note* recorded on the 
6th November 1912, and this was confirmed by the then Chief Secre- 
tary. Next he decided to keep seven prominent men, as well as the 
Aishan "Raja", a semi-imbecile boy, as hostages until the fine was paid 
and the orders carried out. Lastly, he advised that Komyang and his 
Chasad Kukis should be warned that they must restrict themselves to 
the territory south of the mountain range previously referred to. This 
Chief arid his men dominated the Somra Tract, which is geographi- 
cally in Burma and shut off by high mountains from the Lanier Valley. 
The Government of Burma weie asked to inform Koinyang of these 
orders and they agreed to do so. The letter No.380-P., from the 
Eastern Bengal and Assam Government reporting the results of the 
expedition to the Government of India, which is dated the 30th May 
1910, is somewhat inconclusive but presumably Government were wait- 
ing to see the effect of the orders which it was proposed to issue to the 
Kukis. One point which they did make was that Melomi and Primi 
had rendered Government the fullest assistance and that " it would be 
impossible to abandon them to the revenge of these bloodthirsty 
savages " (paragraph 4 of the letter) . 

In 1910-11, the principal event was the expedition in collaboration 
with Burma to Makware a village situated " high up on the great 
divide between Assam and Burma at an elevation of some 7,000 feet 
in a desolate valley surrounded with mountains covered with snow ", 
and overlooked by the great mountain of Sarameti (12,557), in repri- 
sal for a raid committed in January 1910 on the frontier village of 
Naungmo in the Upper Chindwin District of Burma. (As regards the 
place-names, Colonel Woods comments as follows in his report : " I 
hav? not been able to ascertain where the name Sarameti came from. 

* Assam Secretariat, Pol., A, July 1913, Nos.67-73. 

Eastern Bengal and Assam Secretariat, Pol., A, August 1911, Nos. 13-31. 


Among the Eastern Angamis the hill is called Mekriketu, the Thet- 
chumi people call it Atso, and Melomi, Puchimi, etc., call it Mera, 

nowhere is the name of Sarameti known ! 

The name Makware is not known on this side, and the Makwares 
themselves call their village Dzulechili, and the neighbouring villages 
call it Gulechiri ".) The Assam Column was under Lieutenant- 
Colonel Woods and consisted of Major C. Bliss, Commandant, Lieu- 
tenant Hardcastle, Assistant Commandant and 100 rank and file of the 
Naga Hills Military Police, Captain R. H. Lee, I.M.S., Captain V. R. 
Cotter, i. A., of the Survey of India, Captain Molesworth, Intelligence 
Officer and Mr. Pascoe of the Geological Survey of India. Colonel 
Woods had arranged that the Burma Column which was under Mr. W. 
Street, Assistant Commissioner, with Captain J. Simpson, Burma 
Military Police, should meet the Assam Force at or near Thetchumi 
on January 15th. Street, however, encountered tremendous difficul- 
ties on the route and eventually marched into Woods' camp at 
Puchimi on January 20th. They were therefore 10 days behind 
schedule when the combined force started off on the 25th January 
from Thetchumi on the march to Makware, which they reached on the 
31st January. They had to open fire before entering the village, 
killing 5 Nagas, but there was no further opposition. The village was 
burnt and the two Columns returned on 1st February to their respec- 
tive bases. Cementing on the Expedition to the Government of India 
in their letter No.294-P., dated the 6th May 1911, the Eastern Bengal 
and Assam Government wrote 

"Under the most favourable circumstance the march from Tetcha- 
nasami to Makware or Dzulechili, as it would appear to be more 
correctly called, would be an arduous one ; two ridges over 8,000 feet 
in height having to be crossed before the village is reached. But the 
circumstances unfortunately were far from favourable and the force 
was exposed to great discomfort from the exceedingly inclement wea- 
ther. It speaks well for the physique of the men and coolies employed 
and of the excellent management of the expedition that these hardships 
were attended with so little actual sickness. 

4. On the 31st of January 1911 the expedition reached Makware, 
and as the villagers declined to come in or to lay down their arms, 
the Political Officer had no option but to fire upon them, for, as he 
rightly observes, to enter the village with men armed with cross-bows 
concealed on every side, would have entailed serious and absolutely 
unjustifiable loss upon our men. The punishment inflicted upon Mak- 
ware was-severe ; but, in the Lieutenant-Governor's opinion, it was in 
no way excessive. The murderous character of the inhabitants of 
these hills is unfortunately too well known and the knowledge by the 
tribesmen that Government is alike able and willing to punish wrong- 
doers with a heavy hand is the one thing which checks the perpetration 
of the most atrocious outrages. His Honour regrets that it was not 
possible to recover the captive boy, but he has little doubt that with 
two hostages in the hands of the Burma Government there will be 
no difficulty in arranging for his surrender. 


5. The immediate object of the expedition was attained and the 
results are likely to be tar-reaching. The junction of the Burma and 
the Naga Hills forces cannot fail to produce a great effect upon all the 
tribesmen living in this locality. The Political Agent of Manipur has 
already taken the opportunity to point out to Komyang, the Kuki 
Chief, who, from time to time, has given trouble in the Somra basin 
that this junction has taken place and that Komyang can no longer 
hope to be able to trek to the north and east beyond the reach of the 
British Government and that his only chance is therefore to live quietly 
and peacefully with his neighbours and not provoke the wrath of a 
Government from which there can be no escape. All the villages lying 
in the valleys near the Somra range have learnt that their remoteness 
and isolation are no defence if they offend against the paramount 
power and this knowledge cannot fail to have a restraining effect upon 
their murderous propensities." 

In August 1910* Colonel J . Shakespear, the Political Agent in 
Manipur, addressed the Eastern Bengal and Assam Government and 
asked for permission to lead an expedition in order to punish the Kuki 
villages of Limkhuthang [Letkuthang] and Papang for certain outrages 
which they had committed against Manipur subjects. He also urged 
very strongly that it was time that the Somra Tract, in which these 
villages lay, should be brought under control. He considered, like 
most others, that Somra should naturally be administered by Burma. 
Sanction was given and Shakespear led an expedition which consisted 
of a company of the 17th Native Infantry under Captain B. J. Fagan 
and some men of the Manipur State Military Police to these villages 
in February 19111. The offending villages were duly punished and 
one of them, Phuntret, was burnt. Colonel Shakespear reported that 
" the effect of the promenade has been very good ". The proposal as 
regards taking over the Somra Tract was not then accepted by Govern- 
ment as a feasible proposition. 

Chinglong 19LO-J913. On 23rd June 1910 Mr. J. Needham, Sub- 
divisional Officer, Mokokchung (a son of F. J. Needham of Sadiya 
fame) reported a raid by the Konyak village of Chinglong from across 
the Yangnu oil Chingtang, a village across the Dikhu but inside our 
newly annexed Konyak territory (vide Notification No.68-P., dated the 
1st February 1910). He proposed to visit the village in the cold 
weather. Later, on the 17th November 1910, he reported a further 
complication, i.e., a raid by Longkai, one of our newly annexed trans- 
Dikhu villages, on Mongne across our border. 

In a demi-official letter No.62-P., dated 28th January 1911, the 
Commissioner's attention was drawn to the Government of India's 
orders contained in their letter No.l046-., dated the 18th May 1900, 
which laid down restrictions on operations on the border. The Com- 
missioner, however, replied that there was little risk likely to arise out 
of a visit to Chinglong. The orders issued to Mr. Needham were that 
he was to visit Chinglong only if the Chinglong people refused to 

Eastern Bengal and Assam Secretariat, Pol., A, January 1911, NOB. 16-38. 
t Eastern Bengal and Assam Secretariat, Pol., A, Augu&t 1911, Nos. 2-12. 
Eastern Bengal and Assam Secretariat, Pol., B, August 1911, Nos.39-82. 


attend an enquiry which he was directed to make ; and he was given 
no authority to inflict any punishment. It appears that he took an 
escort of 80 men oi the Naga Hills Military Police under Captain 
Hamilton and held an enquiry at Ghingtang. Four of the Chinglong 
men came in and he took their statements. He found that the fault lay 
with the Ghingtang people and the Longkai people and he was inclined 
to treat the doings of Ghinglong with considerable leniency. Be that 
as it may, he marched on Ghinglong on the 4th February 1911. The 
reasons he gave in his report were that the four men who came to meet 
him at Ghingtang were not Chiefs, that the Ghinglong Chiefs who had 
had notice to come in had refused and therefore he decided to go to 
them. They resisted. He retaliated by firing on them and he burnt 
the village. His conduct received the severe condemnation of Govern- 
ment, the Chief Secretary remarking that it was most improper and the 
Commissioner also characterised his behaviour as showing a "lament- 
able lack of discretion and disobedience of orders". An explanation 
was called for, but was not accepted as satisfactory. The Commis- 
sioner commented* that Mr. Needham's action " was as unjusti- 
fiable as it was certainly against orders From the tone of the 

explanation it is clear that Mr. Needham entirely fails to realise his 
position and that he was determined to visit the village and inflict 
punishment at all hazards." Government agreed, an expression of 
their displeasure was conveyed to Mr. Needham and he was transfer- 
red from the subdivision. 

Ghinglong again became prominent in 1912. In August t of that 
year, when Mr. J. E. Webster was Deputy Commissioner, certain 
British subjects of Wanching were murdered by 6 independent Nagas 
of Ghinglong from across the border opposite Wanching and an expedi- 
tion to punish the offenders was sanctioned. Before the expedition 
could start further raids took place which were attributed to 
Ghinglong and it was apparent that the 3 villages of the Totok group 
as well as Ching ] ong and Chongwr were in a truculent mood. The 
temper also of the villages within our border, recently annexed, was 
uncertain, and there was danger in the possible attitude of Mon and 
Ghi in unad ministered territory. Assam was shoit of military police 
owing to the Abor and Mishmi surveys which had absorbed 1,100 men 
for escorts, and hrd recourse to borrowing 150 men of the Dacca 
Military Police Battalion under Captain H. G. Bally, Commandant 
and Lieutenant . D. Dallas-Smith. Assistant Commandant. 

* Eastern Bengal and Assam Secretariat, Pol., B, March 1912, Nos.185-193. 
f Eastern Bengal and Assam Secretariat, Pol., A, January 1913, Nos.1-39. 

Mr. J. P. Mills comments as follows on this incident. "Chinglong's confession, 
which I believe to be true, has always been that they handed over the real culprits, 
but that Wanching persuaded the Subdivisional Officer to believe that they were 
substituted slaves. Ghinglong, having done their best to carry out orders then 
decided that all they could do was to fight and the opinion of their neighbours was 
strongly on their side. After their punishment in 191 1 it was hardly likely that they 
would be wantonly defiant", 


This force with 40 men of the Naga Hills Military Police under 
Captain J. Hardcastle was under the general command of Lieutenant- 
Colonel G. H. Loch, c.i E., Commandant of the Lushai Hills Battalion. 
The instructions to the expedition given in Government letter 
No.376-P.,* dated the 22nd January 1913 were to demand the surrender 
of the murderers together with such reparation and punishment as was 
suitable, and permission was included to make a friendly visit to Mon 
and Chi. The force entered and burnt Chinglong | on 5th February 
1913. But as the main force were carrying out the operation, the 
Nagas made a determined attack on and stampeded the baggage train, 
killing 4 sepoys and 9 coolies, wounding 5 sepoys and 27 coolies and 
carrying off 3 rifles. The coolies were so demoralised that Colonel 
Loch decided to retire from Chinglong to Chingphoi in British ter- 
ritory. In so doing he was actuated by what he considered to be the 
inadequacy of his force ; by the difficulties on account of water ; and 
because he thought that the season was too advanced. He proposed 
to wait to resume operations -until the cold weather. The Deputy 
Commissioner, Mr. Webster, on the other hand, wanted to undertake 
immediately the punishment of the offending villages and the Chief 
Commissioner agreed with him in holding that the season was not too 
advanced ; that the water problem was not insuperable ; and, lastly, 
that it was most important that retribution should not be postponed. 
The Government of India was addressed accordingly, on the 15th 
February 1913 J urging the immediate necessity of action and asking for 
the assistance of Regular troops in the shape of 200 men of the l/8th 
Gurkhas. The Central Government sent down Sir James Willcocks, 
the General Officer Commanding, Northern Army, to report. He 
recommended that the expedition should be sanctioned, that Colonel 
Loch should be sent back to the Lushai Hills and that Major Alban 
Wilson, D. S. O., of the Gurkhas should take command of 
the Expedition. The Government of India agreed to this and 
stated that the officer commanding the Police part of the force 
must be junior to Major Wilson. This, of course, necessitated the 
dropping of Colonel Loch. An interesting commentary on the whole 
incident is to be found in a demi-official letter dated the 26th February 
1913 from Colonel Woods, who was then Inspector-General of Police, 
but had spent many years in the Naga Hills, to Mr. Reid who was 
then Chief Secretary. In that letter it was made quite clear that the 
balance of opinion was against Colonel Loch in his attitude and this 
local opinion was fully supported by the General. Viewing it all at a 
much later date (1921) Mr. Reid expressed the opinion that Chinglong 
turned out as it did u simply because the Commandant in charge, a 
senior officer with a distinguished tecord but who had for years had 
nothing to do with our little trans-frontier shows refused to go> on with- 
out reinforcements though his force was more than strong enough to 
smash the opposition." A punitive expedition was at once organised 

Assam Secretariat, Pol., A, Jan. 1913, Noi.1-39. 

f Pol., A, Mar. 1913, Noi.9-77. 

J Pol., A, August, 1913, Nos.16-70. 

Assam Secretariat, Pol., A, February 1923, Noi.1.53, 


under Major Wilson's command, the original force being augmented 
by 2 companies of the l/8th Gurkhas. The Base Gamp was located at 
Wakening. The operations were completely successful, the rifles were 
recovered, and the guilty villagers were severely punished. The six 
villages were completely destroyed between 10th and 19th March and 
at least 120 Nagas killed, their losses in men, guns and livestock being 
described in the official report as "very heavy". As a consequence a 
post was established at Wakching. Gaptain Hardcastle, I.A., Naga 
Hills Military Police, and Captains Kernahan, Orchard and GifFard 
took part in this expedition. 

Webster's comprehensive report* on this "Trans-Dikhu Tour" 
among what are now called the Konyaks, No.250-G., dated the 25th 
April 1913, is well worth reading, especially the paragraphs on their 
relations with the British. 

IV. The extension of the control area after J9/3. The Chief Com- 
missioner (Sir Archdale Earle), in reporting the Ghinglong incident of 
1913 to the Government of India in his letter No.2717-P.,| dated the 
5th June 1913, concluded his report with a warning regarding 
a very much wider question, viz., 'hat he would probably have to send 
up further proposals regarding an extension of our area of control. 
He reminded the Central Government of how the Eastern Bengal and 
Assam Government had sent up such proposals in 1 906 ; how they 
had been first questioned and tlicn accepted by the Government of 
India ; and how they were finally negatived by Lord Morley, the 
Secretary of State. If they had been accepted, he thought, the events 
at Ghinglong might never have happened. 

In September of that year th*j Chief Commissioner received 
proposals from the Commissioner for the inclusion in a Political Con- 
trol Area of villages to the south of the Tizu river, Kaiami [Larurij, 
Phozami [YisiJ, Putsimi [Purr], Lapvomi [Lephori] ; as well as 
Melomi and Primi on the north. 

Our responsibilities for Melomi and Prirni dated from 1910, when 
at the time of the Aishan Kuki Expedition they had been assured by 
Colonel Woods, the Deputy Commissioner, with the approval of the 
Coinmissionei, that they had been annexed, an assurance which the 
Eastern Bengal and Assam Government neither approved nor dis- 
avowed. The guard at Melomi was withdrawn in March 1912, but 
Mr. Webster, the Deputy Commissioner, writing in August of that 
year was uneasy about the situation as regards Kuki activity and asked 
how far he might go in assuring Melomi and Primi against Kuki 
aggression. Sir Archdale Earle considered that we could not abandon 
them now, and the Government of India had been addressed in Assam 
letter No.2931-P., dateJ the 18th June 1913 with the request that they 
might be assured of protection, and taken within the boundary of the 

* Assam Secretariat, Pol., A, August 1913, Nos.16-70. 
| Assam Secretariat, Pol., A, July 1913, Nos.67-73, 


After holding a conference * at Kohima on the 10th November 
1913 SirArchdale decided to approach the Government of India 
once more. The outcome was a long letter No.l544-P., dated the 3rd 
April 1914 in which that Government were asked if they were pre- 
pared again to address the Secretary of State. It referred to the pre- 
vious correspondence contained in Eastern Bengal and Assam letter 
Nos.6119-J., dated the 7th June 1906, 5204-J., dated the 7th Decem- 
ber 1907 and 2450, dated the 18th May 1908. It stated that the 
Chief Commissioner had reached the irresistible conclusion that we 
must extend our control. It recounted the "melancholy record" of 
outrages which had occurred since 1908, the date of the Secretary of 
State's last orders, outrages in which our officers had perforce no 
power to interfere ; gave a history of events on the Naga Hills border 
since the Eastern Bengal and Assam Government had last addressed 
the Central Government and affirmed that if the Secretary of State 
had accepted the previous proposals, none of the expeditions under- 
taken since 1909, except perhaps Makware, would have been necessary. 

"9. With no desire to criticise the policy of non-interference the 
Chief Commissioner is forced to the conclusion that, had the pro- 
posals of the Government of Eastern Bengal and Assam found ac- 
ceptance with His Majesty's Secretary of State, none of these expedi- 
tions, save possibly the one against the village of Makware, would 
have been necessary. For reasons which have been fully explained to 
the Government of India the expedition against the village of Ching- 
long was on a larger scale, than any of the others, and the assistance 
of regular troops ultimately proved to be necessary. The other ex- 
peditions were all conducted by the Deputy Commissioner of the Naga 
Hills with the aid of the Military Police. The cost was trifling and 
the results were eminently satisfactory. 

Experience has, however, unfortunately proved that these results 
are only temporary. The inhabitants of a village which has been 
punished are for some time only too ready to obey orders. The Deputy 
Commissioner of the Naga Hills, to take a recent instance, has reported 
that, when he visi ted the trans- Dikhu British villages in December 
last, he received envoys from Ghinglong and Me allied villages that 
were so severely punished in the last expedition, and that their attitude 
was most friendly. There is another unfortunate, but usually unavoid- 
able, result of such expeditions. When a village has been reduced to 
a defenceless condition it only too frequently becomes an object of 
attack to its neighbours, and to the punishment meted out by the 
British Government arc added the horrors of organised attack by savage 
enemies. In March 1913 Ghinglong and the other villages that had 
been punished in the expedition suffered severely from raids., and men 
from our own trans- Dikhu villages were sentenced by the Deputy' Com- 
missioner to long terms of imprisonment for taking part in these. It 
was largely on account of these considerations that Sir Bampfylde 
Fuller in 1906 stated that he had but little faith in casual "prome- 
nades" or in isolated punitive expeditions, and that he believed that 
nothing short of direct declaration of continuous intervention would put 
an end to the raiding of one village upon another. With these views 
Sir Archdale Earle is in complete accord. 

'Assam Secretariat, Pol., A, May 1914, Nos.1-16, 


One effect of the abandonment of the earlier system of prome- 
nades is that the Deputy Commissioner, when lie crosses the border with 
an escort, now does so only in order to punish some village or other. 
This IB fully understood by our independent neighbours, and tiie oppor- 
tunity of establishing friendly relations with the various communities 
along our borders no longer presents itself. 

10. If, then, the Government of India are prepared to support 
him, the Chief Commissioner would venture to urge a new practically 
the same proposals that were made by the Government oi Eastern 
Bengal and Assam. He would advocate the declaration of an area of 
Political control beyond the existing border of the Naga Hills 
District, and the approximate limits of the country affected by the 
proposals are indicated roughly in the map attached to this letter 

11. Subject to the considerations set forth in the preceding para- 
graph, I am to describe briefly the proposed outer limit of these pro- 
posals so far as we have any knowledge of this. Beginning at the 
eastern corner of the area added to the District in accordance with the 
sanction conveyed in Foreign Department letter No.l730-E.B., dated 
the 26th October 1909, it would run along the Yangnu river so as to 
include the whole of the Mozung or Chang tribe. It would continue 
in a southernly direction and include the whole of the Serna tribe, the 
greater portion of which is already under British administration, but 
the Chief Commissioner would prefer to await a report from the Deputy 
Commissioner befoie deciding whether the Yachumi group of villages 
should be included or excluded. Their exclusion was advised by the 
late Mr. A. W. Davis in a note which formed the annexure to Mr. 
Webster's letter No.2450 J., dated the 18th May 1908, but in this view 
Mr. Davis was not and is not supported by any of the other Assam 
Officers with experience of this frontier. Its southern limit would be 
the high range in which the Kezatulazo Peak is situated, and which 
bounds the Somra tract of country, a tract to which reference will 
presently be made, and which undoubtedly falls within the sphere of 
influence of the Burma Government. It would include Melomi and 
Primi, and such other villages in the valley of the Lanier as could 
conveniently be controlled. Mr. Webster's letter No.2450-J., dated the 
18th May 1908, stated that Sir Lancelot Hare, as then advised, was not 
prepared to press for the inclusion of these villages. The Chief Com- 
missioner has, earlier in the letter, given the reasons which have led 
him to urge the inclusion of Melon ji and Primi, and he is inclined to 
think that, as the Kukis have been expelled from this area, such vil- 
lages situated therein as can conveniently be controlled should also 
be included. 

12. The control exercised in the area described would, in the 
first instarce, be of the loosest description, interference being limited 
to outrages and serious disputes. In this connection the Chief Com- 
missioner desires to associate himself completely with the views ex- 
pressed in paragraph 5 of Mr. Webster's letter No.6J 19-J., dated the 
7th June 1906. The prohibition of raiding in the area of control would un- 
doubtedly involve the protection of its inhabitants from outside aggression, but 
such a contingency would rarely arise, and it* it did, could be dealt with 


easily and at small expense. To facilitate the touring of the Deputy 
Commissioner, and to open up and civilise the area of control, the 
gradual construction of bridle paths would be necessary, but the work 
would largely be done by the adjoining villages. Ultimately the area 
would become an ordinary portion of the district, and house-tax would 
be realised. In certain parts this step might be taken almost immedi- 

15. The Chief Commissioner makes to attempt to disguise the fact 
that his proposals, if accepted, arc the step towards the inclusion of a 
further area under British administration, and that at some future 
date the process will have to be repeated until the whole of the country 
between As*am and Burma has been taken over. The inevitableness 
of his step has been recognised from the beginning by every one, but 
the Government of India, and his Majesty's Secretary of State have 
expressly declared that they have no desire to hasten the process. 
With this policy the Chief Commissioner venture respectfully to record 
his entire agreement. He feels strongly that our advance should be 
gradual, and he is confident that, if his proposals are accepted, the 
advance will be as gradual as may be desired. He thinks it unneces- 
sary to add to all that has b< en urged so often on the score of huma- 
nity, and he trusts that he has succeeded in convincing the Government 
of India that the present sacrifice of human life can be stopped and 
peace be established in an extensive area without either difficulty 
or expense. For many years to come the Naga Hills district will not 
pay for the cost of its administration, if indeed it will ever do so, but 
the additional revenue, which will ultimately be realised from each 
fresh area included, will more than counterbalance the additional ex- 
penditure involved. In paragraph 17 of Mr. Milne's letter No.5204-J., 
dated the 7th December 1907, it was stated that Sir Lancelot Hare 
believed that, when at last the frontier of this province marched with 
that of Burma, it might be possible to secure the internal peace of the 
whole district with a very much smaller force than is now required. 
Sir Archdale Earle shares this belief, and sees no reason why ulti- 
mately the Naga Hills should require a larger garrison than that of the 
Garo Hills, or why its inhabitants should not become as civilised and 
law-abiding as those of the Khasi and Jaintia Hills. This can never 
come about so long as raiding and head-hunting in adjoining areas go 

For one reason and another, of which the war of 1914-18 was not the 
least important, no orders were passed on these proposals for more than 
7 years, though it need hardly be said that the matter was not lost 
sight of in Assam. Thus in December* 1918, Mr. Barnes, Deputy 
Commissioner, Naga Hills, had asked for sanction to assess Melomi and 
Primi to house tax ; and the Chief Commissioner (Sir Nicholas 
Beatson-Bell) then addressed the Government of India on the 4th Feb- 
ruary 1919, referred to the recent operations against the Kukis and 

Assam Secretariat, Political, A, May 1914, Nos. 1-16. 
Assam Secretariat, Political, A, February 1923, Nos. 1-53. 


asked that sanction should be accorded to the proposals contained in 
Sir Archdaie Earle's letter No.l544-P., of the 3rd April 1914. Nothing 
happened for various reasons and again a reminder was sent on the 4th 
October 1920, reporting fresh outrages. The Government of India 
were as reluctant as ever to act but made the concession on the 29th 
March 1921 of leaving the matter for Sir William M arris, who was 
about to take office as Governor of Assam, to examine. 

On the 28th April 1921, Mr. Hutton, who had had by now 8 
years experience of these Hills, recorded a valuable note giving the 
history of relations up to then and on the basis of this the Chief 
Secretary addressed an important demi-official letter No. 5550-A.P., 
dated the 3rd September 1921, to the Foreign Secretary of the Govern- 
ment of India to inquire whether some action might not be hoped for. 
The letter gathers together and reviews the course of policy since 
1884, and the main points are contained in the following excerpts : 

"2. Sir William Marris has now studied the correspondence on 
this long-standing question. The Government of India's letter 
No. 2789 -E., dated the 20th October 1884, sanctioned if it did not 
actually initiate the policy of political control areas beyond the Naga 
Hills Frontier in preference to promenades and the execution of agree- 
ments with tribal chiefs. The restriction was imposed that interference 
with inter-tribal quarrels should as a rule be limited to those cases 
where they involved 

(1) outrages on British subjects, 

(2) violation of the Inner Line, 

(3) danger to the interests of people dwelling inside the 

British borders by reason of the proximity of disturbance 

A subsequent letter No. 246 -E., of the 3rd February 1886, sanc- 
tioned a further control area in the case of the Ao tribe and the 
majority of the Sema villages west of the Tizu river. This area except 
for paying no house-tax came to be as obedient to the orders of the 
Deputy Commissioner as any regularly administered portion of his 
charge It was absorbed gradually by the advancement of the district 
boundary to the Tizu river, the process being completed in 1904. 
During the whole of this time the policy worked well and gradually 
extended the influence of Government over the tribes on the immediate 
frontier until the time was ripe for the extension of the administered 
area. Meanwhile, however, an unfortunate collision occurred between 
the Deputy Commissioner of the Naga Hills and the village of 
Yachumi beyond the area of the political control, and was reported to 
the Government of India in the Assam Administration's letter No. 199- 
For.-1366-P., dated the 14th April 1900. Stringent orders were 
then passed prohibiting tours beyond the area of political control 
except with the previous sanction of the Local Administration ; and 
when the Eastern Bengal and Assam Government in their letters 
No. 6119-J., dated the 7th June 1906, and No. 5204-J., dated the 7th 
December 1907, proposed the formation of a new area of political 
control, the proposals, although approved by the Government of India 


were vetoed by the Secretary of State in his Despatch No. 128 (Poli- 
tical), dated the 13th November 1908. It may be that the unfavour- 
able impression created by the Yachumi incident was to some extent 
responsible for his decision, but that incident occurred far beyond the 
borders of political control, and would not have happened had not the 
orders of 1884 been entirely disregarded. The restrictions imposed on 
the exercise of influence beyond the frontier were to some extent relax- 
ed by the order contained in the Government of India's letter 
No.2561-E.-B., dated the llth August 1904, with reference to the 
village of Mazungzami, admitting the principle that British subjects 
trading beyond the frontier of the Naga Hills were entitled to protec- 
tion as long as they kept within the limit of a day's march of the 
frontier ; and the same principle was recognised in the Government 
of India's telegra/n No. 3769-E. G., of the 8th October 1905, in 
connection with an outrage committed by the village of Yachumi. 
During the years following the decision not to establish a new area of 
political control sundry trans-frontier expeditions had to be undertaken 
and the question came up again in the early days of the reconstituted 
province of Assam. In the Assam Administration's letter No. 2931-P., 
dated the 18th June 1913, proposals were submitted for special inter- 
vention, for the protection and the later absorption into British territory 
of the villages of Melomi and Primi ; but at the invitation conveyed in 
Mr. Reynold's demi-official letter of the 17th July 1913, the general 
question of the declaration of an area of political control beyond the 
existing boundary was again raised in Mr, Reid's letter No. 1544-P., 
dated the 3rd April 1914. Orders have not yet been received on the 
proposals then submitted, but in my demi official letter No. 10721 -P., 
of the llth November 1920, Sir Nicholas Beatson Bell's alternative pro- 
posal to which your letter more immediately refers, was put forward. 

3. Since the proposals of 1914 were submitted the position as 
regards this frontier has altered in some important respects. The 
labour corps which went from the Naga Hills to France during the war 
was largely recruited from independent trans-frontier Nagas. It follow- 
ed that our relations with many independent villages became much 
closer than they had been. 

Further the Somra Tract, which immediately adjoins on the south 
the area now in question, has since been brought under the adminis- 
tration of the Government of Burma, and the first real attempt to 
administer the Kukis aud other hill tribes in the Manipur State has 
been recently made by the establishment of the subdivisions in the 
Manipur Hills under European Officers. Thus the proposed .area of 
control which was flanked on the north by the administered tract to 
the east of the Dikhu river, added to the Naga Hills district under the 
orders contained in Mr. Reynold's letter No.l730-E.B., dated the 26th 
October 1909, is now also flanked on the south by the areas fully 
administered either by the Government of Burma or by the Manipur 
State. In this way also the relations between administered areas and 
the tract in question have become more intimate. 


6 The whole position on the frontier is dominated by the fact 

that the boundary is a purely arbitrary line. Mr. Hutton, the present 
Deputy Commissioner of the Naga Hills, who has a long and intimate 
acquaintance with the area, writes "Villages on either side have land, 
cattle, cousins and relations-in-law on the other. Feuds, alliances, 
trade, cultivation all the interests in life in fact except the payment of 
revenue and the freedom to hunt heads run counter to the frontier 
line and not parallel to it. Under these circumstances no one could ad- 
minister the district without being perpetually brought up against the 
question of interference beyond the frontier." In these circumstances 
we cannot hope to civilise our own half-savage peoples so long as they 
see raiding and head-hunting practised by their brothers and cousins 
just across the border. In order to complete our mission of civilisation 
within our own borders we must gradually extend the area which we 
control. The undertaking has been given in the past, and can be 
repeated by Sir William Marris, to do this, without asking for our force 
of Assam Rifles to be increased by a single man, or for our ultimate 
expenditure on the Naga Hills district to become greater than it is at 
present save in so far as the clai ins of education and medical facilities 
render this desireable. This, Sir William Marris thinks, does consti- 
tute a real and immediate advantage such as is referred to in para- 
graph 3 of Mr. Cater's letter. Another very real advantage is that as 
we extend our control, the risk that punitive expeditions will be neces- 
sary steadily diminishes, inasmuch as complications on this frontier 
occur not in controlled, but in uncontrolled areas. It is only necessary 
in this connexion to point to the fact that throughout the Kuki opera- 
tions not only the Lushais who are practically of the same race, but 
the Kukis themselves in the Lushai Hills and Naga Hills districts stood 
firm and gave no trouble, but on the contrary in some cases rendered 
considerable assistance. 

7. After studying the past correspondence and discussing the ques- 
tion with those of his officers who are best acquainted with the condi- 
tions, Sir William Marris therefore desires strongly to support the 
proposal put forward in 1914. He has not the slightest desire to move 
more rapidly in the direction of the extension of control over this 
unadministered area than is actually necessary, but he is convinced 
that the administration of the Naga Hills district and the process of 
civilisation of its inhabitants are being materially impeded for want of 
the small advance which was proposed in 1914. He does not think 
that the alternative course put forward by Sir Nicholas Beatson-Bcll, 
that the Deputy Commissioner of the Naga Hills should be authorised 
to tour 'across the frontier as are the Political Officers of the two 
Frontier Tracts, would suffice. The existing orders on the subject of 
tours beyond the frontier, whether of the Naga Hills or elsewhere, are 
those laid down in the Government of India's letter No.l046-E.B., 
dated the 18th May 1900, and provide that no such tour shall be made 
without previous reference to the Assam Government, and that where 
there is risk of complications such as might render a punitive expedi- 
tion necessary the tour shall not be sanctioned without the previous 
approval of the Government of India. A gooo! deal could be done in 
the direction of making our influence felt in the area concerned with- 
out going beyond these orders, but Sir William Marris, feels, as Sir 


Lancelot Hare felt, that it would be better to recognise the situation 
frankly, and to exercise gradually the same measure of loose political 
control which since 1911 we have been permitted to exercise through 
the Political Officer at Sadiya and Balipara and which upto 1904 was 
exercised with good results on the Naga Hills frontier. He can 
definitely undertake to do nothing which will compel him to apply to 
the Government of India for assistance from the regular army, and he 
can undertake also to observe the conditions which govern the under- 
taking of trans-frontier tours. That is to say, without previous refe- 
rence to India he will permit no tours which might render the subse- 
quent despatch of a punitive expedition necessary. 

8. Whatever orders are passed on the general question of the for- 
mation of an area of political control beyond the borders of the Naga 
Hills district, I am to urge that the area including the villages of 
Melomi and Primi, which were dealt with in our letter No. 2931 -P., 
dated the 18th June 1913, should be definitely included in British 

territory without delay In its letter No. 2931-P., dated the 18th 

June 1913, the Assam Administration represented that at the time 

of the Aishan-Kuki expedition in 1910 these villages had been assured 
by the Deputy Commissioner of the Naga Hills with the approval of 
the Commissioner of the Division, that they had been annexed. The 
letter continued : 'These orders were neither approved nor disap- 
proved by the Government of Eastern Bengal and Assam, and the 
Chief Commissioner feels strongly that to follow the latter course after 
this lapse of time could not but effect most detrimentally the peace and 
tranquillity of the Naga Hills frontier.' If the disavowal of the annexa- 
tion would have been detrimental in 1913, it is unthinkable after the 
lapse of a further period of eight years, especially in view of the course 

which events have meanwhile taken A reversion to the policy of 

non-interference in this particular part would entail the evacuation of 
an area occupied and administered since 1918, in which every existing 
village has applied for permanent and complete annexation and which 
is already regarded by independent tribes as a part of British territory, 
and the abandonment of villages which have been protected since the 
Aishan-Kuki expedition eleven years ago. It is unnecessary to enlarge 
6n the disastrous consequences of such a step among the frontier 
villages on either side of the boundary. It would be a fatal error 
inevitably leading to serious trouble in the near future. It would also 
be unfair to the Burma Government to allow an administered tract 
to relapse into an Alsatia for Kuki head hunters desirous of escaping 
from their control in the Somra Tract or from the Manipur State. 
Incidentally, though this is of minor importance, the abandonment of 
this area would entail the relinquishment of 50 miles of completed 
bridle paths and bridges and the exchange for an irregular frontier of 
eighty miles of a line only 54 miles long most of which is defined by a 
broad and swift river entirely unfordable in the rains and only fordable 

in places for the remaining six months of the year The area which 

it is now proposed to include in the Naga Hills district covers more 
than the two villages which it was proposed to annex in 1913. This, 
however, is owing to the change in the situation caused by the adminis- 
tration of the Somra Tract ana the enforced occupation of this area 
during the Kuki rising." 


Much hesitation and reluctance had to be overcome, and it was 
not until the end of 1922 that the Government of India felt that they 
were prepared to recommend the proposals of the Assam Government. 
Their Despatch No. 11, dated the 2nd November 1922 was to the 
following effect : 

' 'It will be seen that the measures advocated by the Assam 
Government are : 

(a) the inclusion in British territory of the villages of Melomi 

and Primi with the area surrounding them, and 

(b) an extension of the area in which political control is exer- 

cised by the Deputy Commissioner of the Naga Hills 
District beyond the present frontier of the district. 
The areas affected by these two recommendations are shown in 
the map which accompanies this despatch. In effect the Assam 
Government strongly advocate the same measures which were urged 
upon our attention by the Assam Administration in Mr. Reid's letter 
No. 1544-P., dated the 3rd April 1914, a copy of which formed the 
second enclosure to the despatch from Lord Chelmsford's Government, 
No. 16-Extcrnal, dated the 16th February 1917. 

3. These proposals embodying the considered views of the Local 
Government and the local officers, who have for many yean advocated 
the policy which we now support, are substantially the same as those 
advanced by Lord Minto's Government in their despatch No. 132- 
External, dated the 16th July 1908. They were, however rejected by 
Lord Morley in his political despatch No. 128, dated the 13th Novem- 
ber of the same year. 

4. We are now satisfied that that decision might with advantage 
be reconsidered. The steps proposed are called for on humanitarian 
grounds and will be justified further by the beneficial effect which we 
expect them to have upon our own border villages. They involve no 
strategic danger, and no movement , of troops, and we do not anti- 
cipate that they will lead to any charge upon central revenues or to 
any appreciable increase of expenditure defrayed from normal pro- 
vincial revenues. 

5. We, therefore, identify ourselves with the views expressed by 
the Assam Government and as regards the Melomi and Primi tract 
ask your authority to regularise the existing position by definitely 
including the area shown in yellow on the map within British territory. 
With reference to the second proposal it will be seen that the outer 
boundary of the area within which political control is to be exercised 
by the 'Deputy Commissioner, Naga [Hills District, has only been 
roughly indicated on the map. It is impossible until the country has* 
been visited and surveyed to give more definite boundaries. We 
request your permission, therefore, to approve the proposed extension 
in principle and to authorise the Local Government to direct the 
Deputy Commissioner of the district to march through the area with 
a suitable escort and then to submit definite proposals for a boundary 
based on a line beyond which it will not be necessary to extend control 
for several years to come". 


In their letter No.l327-534-Est., dated the 23rd December 1922, 
the Government of India informed Assam that the Secretary of State 
had agreed (in his telegram No. 4901, dated the 19th December 1922) 
to include Melomi and Primi and had accepted in principle the 
proposals regarding a political control area. 

Melomi and Primi* were formally included in the district and 
assessed to revenue in the year 1922-23. 

The final demarcation of the boundaries which had to be made 
in consonance with the decision of the Secretary of State was based 
on Dr. Hutton's report No- 377-G.,t dated the 9th May 1923 after 
a tour in the area east of Tamlu and between the Yangnyu river and 
Patkoi Range supplemented by a further report No.2168-G., dated 
30th November 1923. During these tours powerful villages were 
visited which had never even heard of the plains of Assam or had seen 
an European. The colour of Europeans was looked at with great 
distaste and they were considered "unripe". Dr. Hutton tried the 
bold experiment of attempting to induce these entirely savage villages 
to carry the loads of the expedition when required. He was success- 
ful, though often only after much parley. There were some critical 
moments, but not a shot was fired by the escort. 

Proposals for demarcation sent up in Assam letter No. 1463-5176- 
A.P.,I dated the 17th September 1924 were accepted by the Secretary 
of State in March 1925 and a comprehensive revised notification 
covering all the boundaries of the Naga Hills District was issued on 
the 25th November 1925, No. 3102-R. 

In January 1927 the Deputy Commissioner, Naga Hills, for- 
warded a proposal from the Subdivisional Officer, Mokokchung, to 
include within the administered area 6 villages on the east and south- 
east of Mokokchung. It was to cost nothing, simplify the boundary 
and the villages wanted it. Government supported the proposal and 
the Secretary of State's sanction was communicated in Government of 
India's No. 59 7 -X., dated the 13th October 1927, and the changes were 
published in Notification No. 6492 -A. P., dated the 23rd November 

Mr. Mills' report on the system for the year 1924-25 was to the 
eflfect that "It has worked well and has made it easier to deal 
promptly and firmly with trans-frontier villages". 

A description of this system as it eventually developed, though it 
should be premissed that it has not worked, and does not work, always 
"according to plan",- is to be found in a note}) recorded by Mr. Mills 
in 1937 of which the following are extracts : 

"4 Under this system a strip of territory was placed under 

loose control between the fully administered area and the entirely 
uncontrolled Tribal Area. 

Amrn Secretariat, Political, A, June 1926, Noi.22-96. 
f Annual Administration Report for 1922-23. 

i Secretariat, Political, A, June 1925, NOT. 48-126. 
i Secretariat, Political, A, Match 1929, No*. 219-267. 
i Secretariat, Tribal, B, September 1938, No. 1-9. 


* * * * 

(1) The area selected was not too large, and was confined as far 
as possible to country of which we already had fairly detailed 

(2) Much of the Konyak area to the north was deliberately 
omitted ; the powerful hereditary chiefs there control groups of 
villages ; they are fully capable of managing their own affairs ; and if 
control is ever decided upon in the future it may well be that a scheme 
for establishing a number of small States may have to be considered. 

(3) Tribal boundaries were as far as possible selected as our 
boundaries, rather than natural features, however geographically 
convenient, which intersected tribes. 

5. No taxes are levied in the Control Area, which is not adminis- 
tered in any sense of the word and does not form part of the Province 
of Assam. Though under loose control it remains part of the Tribal 

On the other hand the Deputy Commissioner is always read) to 
arbitrate in disputes in the Contiol Area, first obtaining, whenever 
possible a previous assurance that the parties will accept his arbitra- 

* * * * 

6 As time goes on the villages bordering the frontier of the 

fully administered area become so accustomed to bringing their troubles 
and disputes to the Deputy Commissioner that there are now considera- 
ble stretches of the Control Area where war is obsolete as a means of 
settling differences, c head -hunting* has died a natural death, and the 
villages are as amenable to orders as any in the fully administered 

8. In the Assam Naga Hills Control Area there is no general 
order prohibiting war with its inevitable concomitant of head-taking. 
All know that serious and treacherous massacres meet with retribution, 
and particular wars are sometimes specifically prohibited. For 
instance a war is prohibited if there is a risk of raiders crossing our 
boundary into administered territory in their attempts to outflank each 
other, or of fugitives being followed in hot pursuit across our border. 
Or again a weak village which is never likely to attack anyone may 
be given protection by specific orders. Or yet again war may break 
out between two villages so near to one another that normal work in 
the fields is hampered and famine threaten* both, and then the elders 
of both sides may come in and make it quite clear that their hotheads 
are out of control and that they would welcome orders which would 
put an end to the inconvenient feud without loss of honour to either 

General orders stopping war would be impossible to enforce with- 
out constant punitive expeditions, a remedy which might well be worse 
for the villagers than the disease. Even a, suggestion that war in 
general is prohibited has been found to lead to most unfortunate 


results. A few villages are sure to let their defences fall into disrepair 
and to lose their alertness. Then a sudden raid by a watchful neigh- 
bour results in a massacre, no punishment of which can bring the dead 
back to life. On the other hand a properly defended, alert Naga 
village is practically impregnable against Naga weapons, and attacks 
against such villages are rarely made and are infinitely more rarely 
successful. This in itself makes for peace. In normal circumstances 
raiders' victims are almost always stragglers and the wariness of the 
Naga makes their number extremely small. 

10 By far the most important part of the Deputy Commission- 
er's staff, on whom the whole efficiency of his administration depends, 
is a picked body of Naga interpreters, drawn from thf various tribes in 
such a way that a man is always dealt with by one of his own tribe. 
The functions of the interpreters extend far beyond anything that their 
name implies. They arrest offenders, advise the Deputy Commis- 
sioner on intricate questions of custom, and themselves settle a very 
large number of petty disputes. They wear tribal dress and remain 
Nagas in every way. In selecting them, though a few can read and 
write, education is not considered, but family character and influence 
are regarded as of supreme importance. Their prestige is great. 

The relevance for this note of this description of the method of 
Government through picked interpreters lies in the fact that it extends 
into the Control Area. Some of the interpreters come from villages 
just on our side of the border and have influence across the border, 
while other actually have their homes in the Control Area itself. They 
act as liaison officials between the Deputy Commissioner and villages 
in the Control Area. 

11. Apart from the constant stream of information reaching him 
through his interpreters direct knowledge of events in the Control 
Area is gained by the Deputy Commissioner in two ways. Firstly he 
makes occasional friendly tours (say once in two years) in some portion 
of it. Secondly, he receives frequent visits from the leading men of 

villages in the Control Area A tour, followed by return visits, 

smooths the way for yet another more extended tour, and a thorough 
prior knowledge of politics in the Control Area frustrates the common 
Naga trick by which a village will receive a column with the utmost 
friendliness and then by false tales egg on their enemies beyond to 
attack it, simply for the pleasure of witnessing the inevitably heavy 
defeat of. the said enemies " 

In 1925-26* by letter No. Pol. 1902-5225-A.P., dated the 28th 
October 1925, the conduct of relations with the independent Nagas 
bordering on that District was transferred from the Deputy Commis- 
sioner of Sibsagar to the Subdivisional Officer, Mokokchung, and the 
latter took over relations with the area between the Taukok and Dilli 

* Assam Administration Report for Naga Hills for 1925-26. 


In J 926-27* the question of guns among Konyak villages came 
under scrutiny, owing to the great increase in the numbers of these 
weapons, and in consequence Totok was ordered to use only spears 
and daos in their inter-village wars. This policy has been followed 
since though not without difficulty. It was emphasised in 1939 when 
the Governor held a Durbar at Wakening on January 13th and ordered 
the surrender, as fines for misbehaviour in this way, of 300 guns from 
Aopao, Longmien, Chingha, Lungha, Chi and Totok Ghingkho. 
They were all surrendered within a week. 

In letter No. Pol. 1488-4389-A. P.,f of the 20th July 1931, Sir 
Laurie Hammond reiterated the policy of minimum interference in 
quarrels between controlled and tribal villages. The occasion for this 
was a reference made by the Deputy Commissioner, Mr. Mills, in 
which he stated his own views as to the policy thus : 

" Lately our intervention in quarrels in the Control Area has 

become more and more automatic. It is easy, I admit, to say "stop" 
give a hint about Assam Rifles, and proceed to calculate how many 
mithan ought to be levied for each life lost. But I am convinced that 
such a remedy is only a palliative for quarrels, and a bad one in e\ ery 
way. People in our Control Area are lulled into a sense of false security 
and villages are unfortified. A surprise raid is easy. A penalty in 
mithan is paid, and things quiet down till there is another surprise 

Compensation from the fine is practically always refused by the 
aggrieved village. They do not consider that mithan can pay for the 
lives of their men and frankly settle down to wait till they can get 
head* in exchange. 

If we let it be distinctly understood, as we did till very recently, 
that we reserve to ourselves the ri<>ht to intervene, when we see fit, 
but do not guarantee to prevent all wars, trans-frontier villages would 
live more warily, and lives would rarely be lost, for the Naga depends 
entirely on surprise and never attacks an enemy who is ready for him. 
(I believe in a war which lasted 16 years between the big Konyak 
villages of Tamlu and Namsang the total casualties were 4.) Instead 
therefore of invariably punishing (but not hanging) the culprits I feel 
it is often advisable to let the disputants settle their differences for a 
time. I have usually found that the day soon comes when both sides 
have had enough, not of slaughter, for the number of lives lost is 
negligible, but of living in a state of nervous tension. Settlement is 
then easy." 

The Assam Government's reply was to the effect that 

the Governor-in-Council considers that the policy suggested 

by the Deputy Commissioner, Naga Hills, in his letter No. 1074-G., 
dated the 20th June 1931, is in consonance with that suggested by the 

'Assam Administration Report for Naga Hills for 1426-1927. 
Assam Administration Report for Naga Hills for 1924-19^5. 
fGoveraor's Secretariat, Political, B, March 1932, No. 976-984. 


Chief Commissioner, Mr. Ward and approved by the Government of 
India, w., that Government should not interfere in disputes between 
tribes residing within and those residing outside the area of control, 
even though murder has resulted. In this connection a reference is 
invited to the correspondence ending with the Assam Administration's 
letter No. 494, dated the 9th March 1886, to the Deputy Commis- 
sioner of the Naga Hills. 

If of course the 'war* cannot be localised then it may be neces- 
sary to use the Assam Rifles or for the Deputy Commissioner, Naga 
Hills to tour during the cold weather and administer communal 
punishment, but the Governor-in-Council considers that it is best as 
far as possible to avoid interfering," 

V. 1914-1923 Other Events The Great War of 1914-1918. In 
January 1917* the Secretary of State enquired of the Assam Adminis- 
tration whether they could assist in raising the 50,000 men who were 
wanted as labourers in France. Assam said they could produce 8,000 
men and this offer was gladly accepted. The intention was to find 
2,000 men each from the Lushai Hills, Manipur, the Naga Hills and 
the Khasi and Garo Hills combined. A spokesman on behalf of the 
Government of India described Assam's offer as the biggest, most 
definite and most practical one that had reached them. The proposal 
that house tax should be remitted to all who volunteered was accepted 
by the Government of India. 

On 9th March 1937 orders were issued to raise Nos.21 (Naga 
Hills) and 22 (Manipur) Corps. All the Lhotas and the majority of 
the Scmas made a good response, the latter sending 1,000 men. The 
Aos sent men too, if a little slowJy. Angamis, Kacha Nagas and Kukis 
would not volunteer. A remarkable feature was the number of 
volunteers who came in from across the frontier. The Corps was 
composed of: 

Semas ... ... ... ... ... 1,000 

Lhotas ... ... ... ... ... 400 

Rengmas ... ... ... ... ... 200 

Changs and other Trans-frontier tribes ... ... 200 

Aos... ... ... ... ... ... 200 


The Deputy Commissioner, Mr. H. C. Barnes went in command 
with a number of clerks and Dobashis. 

In December 1917 protests were raised against enlistment for the 
duration which had been laid down but the question was finally 
decided by the War Office, who said that men were not wanted unless 
they undertook to enlist for the duration, and orders followed in 
January 1918 to the effect that all who would not enrol for the period 
of the war were to be discharged. One result of this was that a draft 

* Assam Secretariat, Political, A, December 1917, Nos. 39-80. 


of 817 Naga Hills recruits which was waiting to go to France was 
diverted to the Kuki operations in January 1918. This draft consisted 

60 Lhotas. 
90 Semas. 
120 Aos. 

60 Kukis and Kacha Nagas. 
480 Angamis. 

There was a Naga Labour Corps numbered 35 and another 
numbered 38 which both arrived home in about June 1918. The 
money they brought home was soon spent . Semas paid their debts. 
Lhotas purchased land. The smiths of Wanching and Wakening and 
the ornament-makers of Seromi made fortunes. And prices soared. 
Mr Hutton says that the men came back greatly impressed with the 
might of the Sarkar. 

The response to the War Loan was, considering the poverty of 
the Hills, remarkable Rs.26,264 was subscribed to the War Loan 
during 1917-18 and Rs. 39,000 was subscribed to the 2nd Indian War 
Loan in 1918-19. 

The Somra Tract and the "Cross-hatched" Area. In a letter* dated 
the llth September 1915, Burma made the proposal that the Somra 
Tract should be brought under administration and included in Burma. 
In 1908 and again 1911 and 1912 they had considered the matter but 
decided against such action, mainly because the Tract was giving no 
trouble and because the Chief Komyang kept a good control over his 
Kukis in that area. Komyang, however, was now dead and there 
was no hope of peace. 

This Tract was described by the Commissioner of the Sagaing 
Division as covering an area of 800 square miles inhabited by Kukis and 
Tangkul Nagas. The latter were unarmed and were concentrated in 
the north-west corner of the Tract in 11 villages numbering 1,002 
houses. They were anxious to be administered and to be saved from 
what was described as the danger of "wholesale slaughter" by the 
Kukis. The Kukis, who were immigrants of the Manipur State, lived 
in the eastern and southern part of the tract and had numerous guns 
in their possession. 

There was agreement between Assam and Burma that the Somra 
Tract naturally belonged to Burma and not to Manipur. The only 
doubtful point was whether a small area hatched on the map, and in 
subsequent proceedings known as the "cross-hatched area" should go 
to Assam or to Manipur State. It was pointed out by Mr. Higgins, 
the Political Agent in Manipur, that the villages in the cross-hatched 
area had paid taxes to Manipur State for many years and considered 
themselves subjects of that State. Mr. Reid, who was now the Commis- 
sioner, Surma Valley Division, and the Deputy Commissioner, Mr. H. 
C. Barnes, however, declared that the cross-hatched area ought to 

Assam Secretariat, Political, A, May 1916, Nos.15-37, 


go to the Naga Hills though it cannot be said that their reasons appear- 
ed to be very strong. In the result it was recommended in our fetter 
No.3270-P.,* dated the 27th May 1916 that the Somra Tract should 
be placed under Burma leaving the fate of the cross-hatched area for 
later consideration, a proposal to which the Government oi India 
agreed in their letter No.359-E.B., dated the 23rd November 1917. 

This rather trifling matter, which only affected three small 
villages, cropped up now and again during the next five years, and 
finally m Aprilf 1922 the then Chief Secretary, Mr. A. W. Botham, 
suggested that the area should be recognised as belonging to Manipur. 
The Government of India agreed and the area was formally made 
over to Manipur in 1922-23. 

In J917 a small question arose of compensation to certain 
independent Nagas of Zunyu [BanferaJ and of the Ghopnyu 
[BermuthanJ group of villages on the Sibsagar district frontier for 
land which by Government Notification No.67-P. , dated 1st February 
1910, had been included in Sibsagar district. The chiefs had refused 
the amount offered and Mr. H. G. Barnes, the Deputy Commissioner, 
was ordeted to enquire in conjunction with Colonel Playfair, Deputy 
Commissioner of Sibsagar. Mr. Barnes reported the results of the 
expedition in his letter G(T), dat^d 25th January 1917, thus 

"3. From the time we left the Naga Hills district until we reached 
the area under the control of Yansa fjoboka) it was evident that we 
were unwelcome visitors: unwelcome owing to the inability of the 
Chiefs of Hangnyu to believe the assurance that neither punishment 
nor the annexation of their land was contemplated . Their fears were 
natural since for many years the Deputy Commissioner of the Naga 
Hills has not been permitted by Government to cross the border 
except to punish or annex. This tour may, it is to be hoped, lead to 
a revival of those friendly tours in the unadministercd tracts, which 
were in the past productive of so much good. Zunyu and Longhong 
endeavoured without success to accelerate our passage through their 
villages by making difficulties about showing the village water-supply. 
In Yansa and in the Chopnyu group we were well received. I attri- 
bute the absence of resistance to our movements to the careful 
arrangements of Major Arbuthnot, in camp and on the march, to 
make a surprise attack impossible or unlikely to succeed, to the size of 
the escort and to the fact that the force had its own coolies. Obstruc- 
tion appearing unprofitable to the Nagas, the opportunity of gradually 
getting en better terms with them naturally resulted and was utilized. 
Mr. Hutton was in charge of the organization and arrangement of the 
Sema coolies corps and its rations, a task demanding an unusual 
amount of forethought and attention to detail. It would be difficult 
to speak too highly of the manner in which he carried out his duties. 

*Political, A, May 1916, Nos.15-37, 
fl. Assam Secretariat, Political, A, June 1922, Nos.3-6. 
2. Political, A, December 1923, Nos.1-17. 


4. The enquiiy into the claims to rights over the land transferred 
to Sibsagar began at Longhong and was continued' at Zusa, Chopnyu 
and Chepsa and concluded at Nokphang. Colonel Playiair and I were 
in agreement on all points. And the decisions arrived at represent 
our joint decisions. These were accepted by the headmen of the 
villages concerned the whole matter wiH be settled on a pay- 
ment of Rs. 1,500, all the land included in the Sibsagar district to be 
entirely given up to Government, except that Zusa will have the right 
to j hum on the Tanglam range, though not in the plains to the north 
of it. The claimants are to come to Sonari on January 25th. to 
receive payment from me. It is quite evident that the Chopnyu group 
has not the slightest wish to quarrel with Government. They natural- 
ly looked vuth apprehension and distrust on the loss of their land- 
Any Naga hates losing his land, even if his claim to it is somewhat 

In Assam Government letter No.l584-P.,* dated 19th February 
1917, it was stated 

" The Chief Com missioner, approves of the arrangement 

under which a satisfactory solution has been arrived at on payment 
of a compensation of Rs. 1,500 to the Naga Chiefs. AH the land 
included in the Sibsagar district will now be entirely at the disposal of 
the Government with the exception that the village of Zusa will have 
the right tojhum on the Tanglam range, though not in the plains to 
the north of it." 

The Kuki Rebellion of 1917-19. Though in the earlier days of 
the Kuki Rebellion of 1917-19 in Manipur there was a great deal of 
alarm and unrest among the Angamis and Kacha Nagas in the Naga 
Hills, the Kukis within the district remained loyal. Dr. Hutton, the 
then Deputy Commissioner, conducted two important and success- 
ful expeditions against Kukis who were troubling his border. The 
first was between January and March 1918 in the neighbourhood of 
Henima in the south-west of the Naga Hills District. The Commis- 
sioner spoke in the highest terms of the way in which these operations 
were carried out and stated that Dr. Hufton had thereby kept the 
peace in the Naga Hills and taught the Kukis a lesson. In his report 
the Deputy Commissioner expressed himself in uncompromising terms 
on the origin of the trouble, viz- , that the Manipur Lambus were solely 
responsible and that the gross corruption at Imphal largely contributed 
to it. This was followed by an expedition in April 1918 to the area 
lying between the Somra/Tract on the south and the Tizu on the north, 
to take action against Kukis who had come in there and were oppress- 
ing the local Nagas in their customary way. They were settled near 
Lapvomi and were harassing it and neighbouring villages 
such as Phozami and Primi . His operations were entirely successful 
and he had only one casualty, a sepoy killed. In his rcpogL^fo cx- 
prcssed the hope that tl c effect would be to make this '" 
clear out of the Naga Hills District and go off into ^^ 
area" or into Burma. He proposed that posts of 
and 50 men each should be placed at 

Assam Secretariat, Political, B, April 1917, 


to guard against the return of the Kukis. Government agreed to his 
proposal, subject to any arrangements which might arise out of the 
large Kuki operations which were to take place in the following cold 
weather of 1918-19. 

These operations of course affected conditions in the Naga Hills 
and posts had to be established on the border of, and in, Manipur to 
check the movements of the hostile Kukis. They were recognised as 
part of the Great War and the General Service Medal, was given to 
those who took part in them. One or two points are worthy of men- 
tion. The Kukis not only possessed large numbers of muzzle loading 
guns, but made leather cannon which were far from ineffective at short 
range. Of the muzzle loading guns, which included many Tower 
Muskets in excellent condition, the most valued were flint-locks since 
the Kukis could make their own gunpower but were cut off from all 
supplies of percussion caps. Our columns were continually being 
ambushed, but any attempt to bring the enemy to battle and inflict 
losses on them would have been useless. Instead economic measures 
were taken. The rebellion broke out after the Kukis had reaped the 
harvest of 1917. Columns operating over a wide area prevented them 
from sowing and reaping a crop in 1918, and by 1919 resistance 
collapsed owing to lack of food. 

In 1921 orders passed by the Assam Government disposed of an 
interesting historical survival from Ahom times. Mr. J. P. Mills, the 
then Subdivisional Officer, Mokokchung, had raised the matter in 
1918 and the Commissioner in a letter dated the 24th October 1921 
explained that, in the days of the Ahom Kings, the Nagas who render- 
ed services or whose allegiance it was desired to secure were given 
grants of land called "khats" in the plains. These were still treated 
as valid revenue-free grants and as the Nagas could not look after 
them themselves they appointed "Katakis* who realised rent on behalf 
of the owners and were remunerated by a share of the rent. The 
position was an unsatisfactory one as the Katakis, owing to the fact 
that they were treated as intermediaries with the Nagas by British 
Officials, tended to be given a position to which they were not really 
entitled. They undoubtedly cheated the Nagas, while their office 
tended to be regarded as hereditary though they were in no sense the 
owner of the grants, but merely agents. It was therefore proposed 
that certain fixed amounts should be paid to the Naga owners as 
"Malikana" and the khats be administered by Government. Full in- 
formation was available about the khats as they had been surveyed 
and classified. Government agreed in its letter No. 4400-R., dated 
the 5th December 1921 that annual payments of certain fixed 
amounts should be made in perpetuity to Naga owners and that at 
the same time no payments should be made to the Katak 
is. The matter was thus disposed of except for a small point regarding 
a particular khat which came to notice in 1935 when Mr. N. L. Bor, 
I.F.S., the then Deputy Commissioner, pointed out that Government 

Pol., B, January 1919 and March 1919, Part III, 1-37, Nos. 554-646. 

*Pol. A, September 1936, Nos. 14-24. 
tRevenue A, February 1922, Nos. .5-28, 


under the terms of the orders of 1921 was making a fixed annual pay- 
ment for a village called Bhitar Samsang which actually was outside 
the Inner Line and was in fact uncultivated and therefore producing no 
revenue. Th remedy was to include the area within British Territory 
so that it might be resettled and re-cultivated. This was done. 

In February 1923* four men of the Konyak village of Yungya 
wounded a man of Kamahu, and pursued him on to and killed him on 
British soil . Mr. Hutton the Deputy Commissioner! visited Yongya 
in March and burnt the "morungs" of thr two hostile clans to whom 
the guilty men belonged. They did not however, give up the culprits. 
In the mean while information had been received that Tangsa right 
on our boundary and in the Control Area had bought from these same 
two clans a slave girl whom they beheaded. The Subdivisional Officer, 
Mr. Mills, then went there in August and succeeded in securing the 
four wanted men and also fined Tangsa for their delinquency. 

VI. Jadonang and Gaidiliu 1931-1941. In 1931 reports were 
received of a serious movement initiated by one Jadonang who set 
himself up in Kambiron in Manipur as a "Messiah-King" oi the Kabui 
and Kacha Nagas. In reporting in February ol that VcarJ to the 
Government of India on the considerable unrest which existed among 
the Kabui Nagas in the north-west hills of the Manipui State, the 
Assam Administration stated : 

"3. A Kabui Naga named Jadonang (living at a village Kambiron 
on the Cachar-Imphal bridle path) has proclaimed a Kabui Naga 
Raj. He is supposed to have powers of a sorceicr, and the Kacha 
Nagas, believing that he is the "Messiah" for whom the\ have been 
waiting, have sent him as tribute large numbers of mi t hum the semi- 
domesticated gayah which are a sign of wealth among some of the 
Assam hill tiibcs and used for marriage gii'is, etc. 

Large assemblies of Nagas have been held at a village marked 
Nongkhai where Jadonang has been treated as a God. The Kukis, 
who during the Kuki rebellion in 1918 cut up many villages ol the 
Kabui Nagas are afraid of reprisals and some ol them have already 
come into Imphal for safety. According to the Kukis, Jadonang is 
collecting guns with the int< ntion ol attacking them. The Deputy 
Commissioner, Naga Hills, also has received infomation that Jado- 
nang has given out that revenue may be paid this year but is to be 
paid to him in 1931-32. 

4. The Political Agent in Manipur sent out a State official to 
arrest Jadonang, but on news being received that the latter had gone 
to Cacbar with some followers, he wired to the Deputy Commissioner, 
Cachdr, to arrest him and news has now been received that Jadonang 
has been arrested in Cachar under section 108, Criminal Procedure 
Code. He is being taken back to Manipur under an extradition 

'Political, B, March 1923, Nos. 178-188. 

f Political, B, December 1923, Nos. 216-240. 

JAasam Secretariat, Political, A, September 1931, Nos.20-94. 


The Deputy Commissioner of the Naga Hills reported more fully 
on 16th March a* follows : 

" Jadonang's claim was as follows : His d ly and that of the 
Kabuis and Kacha Nagas had come at last. In three years all would 
be fulfilled. He knew by his miraculous powers that during the Kuki 
rebellion the Kukis captured two Naga girls, and brutally murdered 
one and buried the other alive. Therefore the Kukis were to be ex- 
terminated within the three years. Nagas were not to strike the first 
blow, but were to be absolutely ready. The first act of aggression by 
any Kuki was to be a signal for a general attack on them, and each 
Naga village was to massacre all Kukis within reach. This was to be 
kept an absolute secret from Government and the Kukis, and any one 
who revealed it would die. 

Jadonang's claim appears to be connected with the old Naga 
tradition of a Messiah King to which Dr. Hutton refers on page 252 of 
his 'Angami Nagas'. There is no evidence, however, that the 
Angamis are involved in the present trouble. On the contrary, Jado- 
nang has expressed his dislike of them, clearly regarding them as 
opp' essive overlords of the Kacha Nagas and Kabuis. 

His claims as a healer were probably only a bait to attract 
adherents, as invalids who went with the humble offering of a rupee 
were told that not much could be done for them, but that their village 
ought to send in more substantial tribute in the form of a mithun 
He is universally spoken of a 'the King' or 'the spirit King'. 

By his story of the torture of Naga girls Jadonang worked the 
Kacha Nagas of my district into a great state of excitement, and any 
incident between Kukis and Nagas, such as is always liable to occur 
somewhere in such a large area, would certainly have had deplorable 
results. The detachment reached Henima in time, however, and 
there was no disturbance" . 

On March 1st, Mr. Higgins, Political Agent, Manipur, visited 
Kambiron (Jadonang had already been arrested on 19th February). 
He describes Jadonang's home and temple as follows : 

" While camp was being made, we went into the village, and 
visited Jadonang's house and temples. The house is of the ordinary 
Kabui type but is an ahongyum (ornamented house). The front is of 
wooden planks, painted white, with scrolls, patterns, and pictures of 
men, mithun, elephants, tortoises, etc., in black. In front of the house 
were the sacrificial posts of thirty mithuns each one an upright post 
stuck in the ground, with two posts in front, in the form of a St. 
Andrew's cross. On each side of the door were white slabs of wood, 
stuck in the ground, bearing a representation of a sepoy with a "rifle, 
in red paint. In the back room of the house was a broad clay pedestal, 
supporting a large flat circular stone, about four feet in diameter, 
approached by day steps. We were told that Jadonang used to pray 
on this slab. Next to the house was a temple, built on high wooden 
piles, and entered by steps cut in a long log. The temple was a 
building of bamboo matting, thatched, with a small verandah in front 
and behind. It consisted of one long room with bamboo branches 
the whole length of each side wall.' From a cross beam in the middle 


hung an oil lamp. At the far end was a bamboo platform, with a 
railing round three sides, and a flight of steps on the fourth side. 
Facing the platform were four wooden chairs, on each of which was a 
white felt bat. We were told that it was Jadonang's custom to preach 
from the platform, while the elders of the village set in the chairs, 
wearing the hats, and the lesser lights occupied the benches. Beside 
the platform was a perambulator, and a zinc bath-tub, for the use of 
Jadonang's son. Higher up the village was a second temple, recently 
constructed. In design it was similar to the first, except that there 
was a long narrow room on each side, parallel to the long central 
room-. The central room contained benches, similar to those in the 
old temple. In place of the pulpit was a shrine, approached by a 
flight of steps, ornamented in black and white. At the top of the 
steps was a door, behind which was a red curtain, covering the open- 
ing of the shrine. Inside the shrine were clay figures of a Naga man 
and woman, dressed in festival clothes, and a clay mthun. la front 
of them were five black stones, and Re. 1-9-6 in small coins, 
mostly pice. On the top of the shrine was a platform, approached by 
a second flight of steps, on which was a chair. Just above the chair 
was a python, curled up on the ridge pole of the roof. In front of 
the shrine was a sacrificial block, made out of a log, at which goats 
were sacrificed. The floor round was plentifully sprinkled with blood 
some of which was fresh. I shot the python and told the village 
elders- the temples must be demolished. Their demolition, as- the 
elders themselves admitted, involves no interference with the animistic 
religion of these people, as it is not their custom to have temples for 
their gods. These temples appear to have originated in the brain of 
Jadonang, and to have been constructed for his personal aggrandise- 
ment, not to say profit, for he reaped a rich harvest of offerings, in ani' 
mals and money, from dupes who came to worship him. and his gods 

The two side rooms were his retiring rooms, each fitted whh a 
bamboo bed and a hearth. The elders said that he used to sleep in 
them sometimes, always with his first wife (he has two). 

Near Jadonanu's house were two large buildings called kitchens. 
The elders said they were used as hostels and the smaller rooms there- 
in were used as bath rooms by persons bringing offerings, who were not 
permitted to enter the upper temple until they had bathed". 

Oa March 13th he visited Nungkao where Gaidiliu was estab- 
lished. He described her as a "rather surly little unmarried girl of 

On- 16th May 1931, the Assam Government were able to report 

"3. Normal conditions now prevail again and the idea of a Naga 
raj has been dissipated. Jadonang, the instigator of all the troubles, 
is now under trial in the court of the Political Agent in Manipur, with 
a number of men of Kambiron and neighbouring villages, for the 
murder of four Manipuri tradters who disappeared about March 1930. 
It is understood that there is evidence to implicate him as one of the 


principals. If he is acquitted in the murder case the question of his 
internment as a State prisoner under Regulation III of 1818 will be 

Jadonang was tried* in Manipur on a charge of murder and 
sentenced to death on 13th June 1931. The murder had taken place 
in March 1930 at Kambiron when 4 Manipuris were set upon by the 
mob at Jadonang's instigation and with his participation and done to 
death. Jadonang's disappearance from the scene had some effect, but 
his companion Gaidiliu who was regarded as his spiritual successor, if 
not incarnation, carried on his. work. She was "wanted" on a charge 
of murder but she was not to be captured till October 1932, and as the 
agitation was centered in three administrations, the Naga Hills, the 
North Gachar Hills and Manipur, with every man and woman in the 
affected villages an active sympathiser, operations were made very 
difficult. In a notef recorded on 9th June 1932, Mr. Mills, Deputy 
Commissioner, Naga Hills, stated his views thus : 

"The real danger of the movement is the spirit of defiance now 
abroad. Nagas who are ordinarily truthful and friendly, have been 
taught that officials are to be lied to and deprived of information. 
These lessons will not quickly be forgotten. 

The capture of Gaidiliu will not end the agitation. There is a 
warrant for murder out against her and she can be dealt with when 
caught. She will be succeeded by one or more "mediums". To be a 
''medium" is not an offence under any law. Yet they will continue 
to keep the people in a state of constant excitement, and Nagas will 
continue to be set over against Government and Kukis. The result 
from the administrative point of view will be serious. Our first object 
is the capture of Gaidiliu. Once she is in our hands we must aim at 
-gradually suppressing the movement by punishment, persuasion and 
personal influence. This will be a long task". 

On 20th February 1932J the Assam Government reported the 
revival of the unrest among the Kabui Nagas to the government of 
India in their letter No.Pol.-471/1645-A.P. 

* 'Jadonang, who claiming to be their Messiah King was respon- 
sible for the trouble that occurred last year, was convicted and hanged 
for murder, and it was thought that the unrest would then cease. Un- 
fortunately the woman Gaidiliu, who was associated with Jadonang as 
a priestess, reappeared among these people, apparently with some man 

impersonating Jadonang, who was said to have come to life again 

The arrival of the Deputy Commissioner with a detachment of Assam 
Rifles at Henema led to the flight of the woman and her party, but 
she had already established the belief that the Messiah King was again 
among them, and that it was to him the Kabui Nagas owed allegiance. 
The fear of an attack on the Kukis has for the moment been dispelled 
by presence of the Assam Rifles, but it will clearly take time to undo 
the mischief which has been cleverly engineered by the impostors. 

*Auam Secretariat, Political, B, September 1931, Nos.422-447. 
t Assam Secretariat, Political, A, June 1933, Nos.59-315. 
JAwam Secretariat, Political, A, June 1933, Nos.59-315. 


Every attempt is being made to capture the woman Gaidiliu who has 
escaped, apparently with a large escort, into the North Gachar Hills. 
Detachments of Assam Rifles are pursuing hrr and her party. One 
section came in contact with them on the 16th instant, but they 
managed to escape after opening fire on the section." 

Soon after this a further report dated the 2nd March 1932 stated. 

"2. The cult which Gaidiliu has revived has clearly spread over 
a large area of the Naga Hills, Manipur and the North Gachar Hills, 
and unless Gaidiliu and her party can be captured, there is grave 
danger of a serious outbreak. The Governor-in-Gouncil has therefore 
sanctioned organized operations to round up Gaidiliu and her party. 
The Deputy Commissioner, Naga Hills, has been placed in control 
with authority to draw on the 3rd and 4th Battalions of the Assam 
Rifles for such men as he may need. The Subdivisional Officer, 
North Gachar Hills, and an officer in Manipur have been directed to 
co-operate as his assistants." 

Long and difficult operations followed in the attempt to arrest 
this girl. In March 1932 a detachment of Assam Rifles, when close on 
her heels, were attacked at Hangrum by a large body of Nagas and 
had to fire on them : and in the same month the Kacha Naga village of 
Bopungwemi in the Naga Hills District had to be burnt. At last, on 
the 17th October 1932 Gaidiliu was captured at Pulomi in the Naga 
Hills by Gaptain N. Macdonald, Commandant of the Assam Rifles. 
Mr. Mills describes her final movements thus* : 

" Gaidiliu was at Pulomi for about ten days before she 

was captured. She was clearly desperate, for she was at the end of 
the Kacha Naga country and had nowhere to go. She said openly 
that in the next two months either she or Government would win. All 
she could do was to stage a theatrical last stand. Apparently she 
hoped that an "army" would collect round her. Meanwhile she made 
Pulomi build an amazing palisade. It was copied from the palisade 
of the post at Hangrum, even down to a fault which had been criticis- 
ed by the Commandant there. It ran all the way round the village 
except where the ground is precipitous, and to make it Pulomi work- 
ed like slaves and destroyed a great deal of their valuable firewood 
reserve to provide the thousands of tree trunks required. Four 
thousand men with rifles behind it would have been formidable, but a 
few hundred Nagas inside it could neither have thrown a spear over 
it nor wielded a dao. It had not been quite completed when she was 
captured. Her orders on what was to be done when an attacking force 
come were remarkable. She would strike the Sahibs dead with magic 
and her supporters were then to use daos only, for they would be 
enough.* When Captain Macdonald made his attack at dawn on 
information brought to Kohima by a Pulomi gaonbura her "army" 
melted away and there was no magic. Pulomi shouted and brandish- 
ed daos according to her orders, but were careful not to go beyond 
them. No b'ow wan struck and the village was clearly relieved when 
sepoys ignominously hauled out of a house the biting, scratching girl 
for whom they had uselessly worked so hard and killed so many cattle 

Pditical, A, June 1933, Nos. 59-315, 


though any mistake on the part of the Commandant would probably 
have led to an attack in desperation by her supporters. With her 
were captured her young nephew, the Kambiron boy, a Bopuagwemi 
boy, two Lalongmi men and a Hangrum man. The rest of her .escort 
escaped but she gave the names of all but four later. The young nep- 
hew presents a problem, for he is obviously regarded as important and 
if he is released the mantle of Gaidiliu may fall on him." 

Captain Macdonald's dispositions received the commendation of 
the Assam Government in their letter No. Pol .-283- 175 1-A. P., dated 
the 28th 'February 1933 thus : 

"Captain Macdonald on receipt of information regarding the 
whereabouts of this Naga woman led a column of the Assam Rifles on 
a long night march through very difficult mountain country. 1 he 
Governor-in-Council appreciates very highly his quick decisions and 
splendid effort as well as the good work of the civil officer with the 
column and of the men of the Assam Rifles. If the dispositions made 
by these officers had not been as sound as the marching and the cour- 
age of the men were admirable, they could not have won the great 
success they did in such difficult and dangerous circumstances. The 
woman had acquired a great notoriety on account of her alleged 
supernatural powers and it was probable that her arrest would have 
led to resistance, but Captain Macdonald's excellent handling of the 
situation before and after the capture of the woman resulted in comp- 
lete success without any resistance and consequent loss of life or injury 
to any one." 

With him was associated Mr. Hari Blah, Extra Assistant Commis- 
sioner about whom Captain Macdonald wrote : - 

"28. Mr. Blah rendered the greatest assistance throughout the 
operation. In the confusion after entering the village he remained 
cool and by forcing our guides to hurry on was largely responsible for 
Gaidiliu's capture." 

Gaidiliu was tried ond convicted at Manipur on a charge of 
murder and sentenced to transportation for life. 

The arrest and conviction of Gaidiliu did not end the matter. 
According to letter *No. Pol. 1850-6261-A. P., dated the 8th August 
1935, to the Government of India, in Which the Assam Government 
asked for the detention of 7 Nagas under Regulation II [ of 1818 it 
appeared that 

" certain Kacha Nagas of the Naga HilJs and of the 

neighbouring villages in the Manipur State had obtained access to her 
[Gaidiliu] while in the Manipur State jail on more than one occasion 

by bribing the jail staff, and she had urged them to keep the 

movement alive. By way of following out her injunction to keep the 
movement alive the Kuki chaukidar of the Lakema Inspection Bunga- 
low in the Naga Hills district, who was supposed, quite incorrectly, 
to have been responsible for giving the information which had led to 
Gaidiliu's arrest, was maiked down for murder. A party of Nagas 

* Assam Secretariat, Confidential Political, A, September 1936, Not. 1-68, 


principally from the villages of Leng in Manipur and Bopungwemi in 
the Naga Hills, but also containing a number of individuals from other 
villages concerned in the movement, made a raid by night upon this 
rather isolated bungalow, and finding the chaukidar himself absent 
massacred his wife and family (four or five children) and two Kuki 
strangers, who were stopped there for the night. The raiding party 
got back to Bopungwemi either in the dark of by jungle paths away 
from the main road on the following day, and apparently was never 
seen by anyone between the time it left and returned to Bopungwemi 

This raid took place in December 1932 and during the same 
month reports were received from more than one quarter of dances 
and semi-religous celebrations held in disaffected Kacha Naga villages 
and of the great nervousness on the part of the Knkis who live mostly 
in small hamlets scaticicd about among the much larger Naga villages 
and were, as they have been ever since, in a state of great apprehen- 
sion as to what might not happen to them at any time ; for although 
the Kukis in the Naga Hills all remained loyal, with the exception of 
one individual, throughout the operations of 1917 to 1919, they share 
with the rebel Kukis of the Manipur State the hatred which the Kacha 
Naga now feels for all Kukis on account of certain sufferings at their 
hands experienced during th rcl el lion in Manipur State. 

This tension on the part of the Kukis was accentuated by the 
discovery in March 1933 of a headless corpse at Makui which was 
rumoured at the time to be a Kuki though it proved in fact to have 
been that of a Manipuri. The head had been carried away by the 
Kacha Nagas who had committed the murder and offered to the pyth- 
on god at Leng. In the following May this same village of Leng, which 
was the centre of the movement on the Manipur side as Bopungwemi 
has been on the Naga Hills side, sent out a deputation urging villages 
in the Kacha Naga country not to pay any tax, a movement which 
was accompanied by dances of a ceremonial nature in many villages 
although it was not the coriect season for such dances at all. In June 
information was obtained that this propaganda was also directed to 
the abandonment of cultivation partly on the ground that the god 
would provide food, and partly on the ground that Government was 
about to collapse and by the autumn villages would be at war. This 
rumour of the approaching collapse of Government was accompanied 
by one that a king called Gandhi was coming to rule instead and it 
was undesirable for anyone to pay any taxes to Government, as they 
might later be in the unfortunate position of having to pay them 
again to this king Gandhi, who was decribed as a son of that Jadon- 
ang who had been executed in 1931 . The result of this movement has 
been to make the collection of house tax extremely difficult in many 
villages, although the Kacha Naga is actually probably no worse off 
than the Kuki, who pays under similar conditions ; but it has also 
accentuated the poverty arising from economic causes that have been 
operating for some years, and it will not be out of place here to point 
out that a great deal of the success oi this movement has been and 
still is economic in origin. Many Kacha Nagas have nothing whatever 
to lose and are therefore easily seduced by any prospect, however 
wild, of an improved economic condition. 


In May, 1934 another prophet was arrested in Ncharramai 

by the Assam Rifles guard at Henima. He had been touring the 
disaffected villages in Manipur, the North Gachar Hills and the Naga 
Hills, claiming as usual divine or magical powers to cure illnesses, and 
holding ceremonies to commemorate Gaidiliu and Jadonang, and con- 
firming his followers in their refusal to pay taxes. The Indian 
Officer, who happened to be a Kuki, got information of his activities 
and made a clever arrest. This man Haido, of Pabaram Youte in 
Manipur, ultimately made a confession and has turned an approver 
in the case against Ramjo and others of Bopungwemi for the outrage 
at Lakema. As a result of information received from him, and con- 
firming previous information obtained from Leng and elsewhere, one 
Ramjo of Bopungwemi was arrested. This was in July 1934. 1 1 has 
been satisfactorily substantiated that Ramjo was the principal leader 

of the Bopungwemi party in the butchery at Lakema bungalow the 

Government of Assam is satisfied that it is really dangerous ti release 
him, but so far it has been impossible to get sufficient evidence to 

come into Court to convict him of crimes He is the first of the 

men whom this Government now proposes should be dealt with under 
Regulation III of 1818. 

After the arrest of Ramjo there was for a time quiescence in the 
Kacha Naga country and the Deputy Commissioner toured the greater 
part of it without an escort, and was everywhere received in a friendly 
manner, but it was clear that in Bopungwemi and in one or two 
other villages the movement continued below the surface. In 
November of the same year another of the murderers, one Dikeo of 
Bopungwemi, was arrested, but managed to escape by night in his 
handcuffs from the fort at Henerna. He has since evaded arrest but is 
known to moving about among the disaffected villages in the Naga 
Hills and Manipur, and more particularly in the less closely adminis- 
tered areas in the North Cachar Hills, preaching disaffection and 
hiding from justice." 

In addition to these two men, the Assam Government wished to 
place under restraint 5 others, viz., Gomhei of Bopungwemi and a girl, 
Arcliu, associated with him, and 3 men Italakpa of Laloi, Italakpa of 
Insung and Ivongtieng of Pcrenmi. 

The Government of India agreed in their letter No. F.425-P/35, 
dated the 31st January 1936. As it turned out, Gomhei and Areliu 
had by now been convicted, in September 1935, and sentenced to 
terms of imprisonment, while Italakpa of Laloi had died. 

Of the remaining 4, the histories of the other Italakpa, of Ivong- 
tcing and of Ramjo nerd not be pursued. Dikeo remained abscond- 
ing until November 1st 1940, when he was shot by the Assam Rifles 
guard at Henima while attempting to escape from a house which they 
had surrounded. 

Between 1935 when the letter* above referred to was written and 
1941 the agitation never entirely died down and there were periodical 
rumours of fresh attempts to revive the Gaidiliu cull, but the movement 

* Assam Secretariat, Confidential, Political, A, September 1936, No*. 1-6 8. 


fortunately never reached the scale it did in Jddonang's day. It 
remained necessary, however, to maintain the outpost at Henima in 
the Kacha Naga country as a precaution and as a base lor the hunt for 

VII. Pangsha and other Expeditions, 1936-39. In April 1936 
Mr. Mills, Deputy Commissioner, submitted a report* on the behaviour 
of Pangsha, a Kalo Kenyo village in Tribal territory outside the 
Control Area. They had been responsible for 200 deaths in the last 
6 months : they had raided Kejuk within the Control Area and taken 
53 heads : they had raided Saochu, also within the Control Area and 
taken 188 heads ; and they had been selling captives as slaves. Though 
Pangsha was outside the Control Area, their conduct had been such 
that Mr. Mills advised that an expedition be sent against them. 

The then Governor of Assam, Sir Michael Keane, approved 
of the proposal, and placed it beibrc the Government of India in 
Government letter No. Pol.-1948/7374-A.P., dated the 21st August 
1936. In a previous letter written in May 1936 he had already 
mentioned Pangsha in connection with the subject oi slavery 
and had expressed the view that die best way ol dealing with the 
problem was to extend the Control Area so as to cover slave-keeping 

The Government of India's approval to a visit to Pangsha having 
been accorded, the operations took place between November 13th and 
December 13th, J936, with Mr. Mills in political charge, Majoi W. R. 
B. Williams, 7th Gurkhas Commandant, in command of the escort 
oi 2) platoons ol the 3rd Assam Rifles, and Mr. G. W. J. Smith, i. P., 
in charge ol the 360 carriers, while Dr. von Fuhrer Haimendorf, 
an Austrian scientist also had permission to accompany the exped- 
ition (it is described in his book "'1 he Naked Nagas"). The course 
ol the expedition is described in the following extract ircm the Deputy 
Commissioner's Report No.3814-G., dated the 20th December 1936. 

" on November 20th we reached our advanced base at 

Chingmei where the loyalty of my old friend Chingmak was ol in- 
estimable value. There we found that Pangsha had handed over to 
him all their slaves but one ; they still delied us to visit them, and I 
found they had terrorised the whole neighbourhood, threatening to 
destroy any village which helped us. 

Soon after passing the Noklak-Pangsha boundary we saw a small 
unarmed party of Pangsha men in the distance. Four were induced 
to come and speak to us, and brought with them a goat and a chicken. 
They asked whether we would make peace. There was not the slight- 
est doubt as to the only possible answer. To have made peace, turned 
back and abandoned the remaining slave at the price of a goat, a fowl 
and some smooth words would inevitably have been interpreted as a sign 

* Assam Secretariat, Tribal, A, December 1937, NOB. 1-90. 


of weakness. Friends who had helped us would have been massacred 
and raids would have continued. I therefore told the envoys that I did 
not believe their statement that they could not produce the slave girl, 
and that I was going to punish them for their conduct and insults to 

On November 26th we burnt the main village, nearly losing four 
coolies who straggled against orders. In the afternoon we moved down 
stream to below the sepal-ate Wenshoyi 'khel'. Next morning the 
baggage with one platoon was sent straight to Noklak, and one platoon 
with a few scouts and dobashis went up to burn the 'kheT. We were 
very heavily attacked on our way down in a last effort by Pangsha to 
wipe us out. It was only the skill and coolness of Major Williams and 
his force that enabled us to make a safe withdrawal to Noklafc, without 
losing a man and after inflicting losses on the enemy, whom ground and 
cover enabled to charge to within 50 yards before they were stopped. 

That evening Chingmei and Noklak made peace, Noklak being no 
longer in any doubt as to the safer side of the fence. I also fined 
Noklak for their previous hostility. Ponyo, who may have sent a 
contingent to help Pangsha, also came to sec me. I sent word through 
them to Pangsha thai it they would come and talk to me at Ghingmei 
their envoys would be safe. This they did two days later, bringing 
with them the leading men of the Burma villages Ponyo and Shiwu. 
They admitted defeat and promised to slop slave-raiding and to return 
the remaining slave. All three villages swore an oath of friendship and 
were sent home with presents of salt. Pangsha kept their word and the 
slave girl was sent for from her purchasers in Burma and brought to our 
camp at Cheiitang on December 7th and is now safe with her parents." 

The Government of Assam in forwarding Mr. Mills' report on the 
30th January 1937 to the Government of India commented as follows:-- 

**2. The expedition completely achieved its objects in effecting the 
release of several slaves taken as captives and in inflicting on Pangsha 
a well merited punishment not only for its participation in the slave 
trade but for its head-hunting raids on its neighbours. The Deputy 
Commissioner, Naga Hills, has been asked to submit proposals for the 
constitution of a Control Area to include Pangsha and other village!." 

The slavery aspect of these operations was referred to by the 
Government of India when issuing the report for general information 
in the following terms : 

"India is a party to the Slavery Convention, 1926, and has" under- 
taken to bring about progressively and as soon as possible the complete 
abolition of slavery in all its forms. It was however found necessary to 
make a reservation in respect of certain outlying and inaccessible areas 
bordering on Assam and Burma where, it was thought, it would be 
difficult to implement our undertaking effectively. Recently the 
Government of India have agreed to the reservation being withdrawn 
in respect of certain cases including the Naga Hills area in Assam. As 
a first step towards the fulfilment of the requirement under the Slave 


Convention to bring about the abolition of slavery in this area, the 
Government of India, at the request of the Government of Assam, 
agreed to an expedition, headed by the Deputy Commissioner, Naga 
Hills, and composed of a column of Assam Rifles. The object of the 
expedition was to acquaint the headmen of the villages with the 
determination of Government to suppress the practice of slavery and, if 
they persisted in an attitude of defiance, to punish them. This action 
was rendered imperative by the conduct of one of the villages in that 
area, namely, Pangsha, which, with the assistance of certain other 
villages, had been raiding and destroying the weaker villages in their 
neighbourhood and holding their captives as slaves in defiance of warn- 
ing from Government." 

The proposals* referred to in paragraph 2 of the Assam letter dated 
30th January 1937 were duly submitted, and, with the sanction of the 
Government of India, the Control Area was extended so as to include 
Pangsha, Sanglao, Nokluk and certain other Kalo-Kenguyu villages 
with effect from January 1938. In forwarding his proposals the 
Deputy Commissioner said that "The proposed extension of the Control 
Area covers the approaches to the only known pass into Burma through 
which slav, s are taken, and the whole of the country in which we know 
that slave-raiding has survived to the present." 

In November 1937 Mr. Pawsey, Deputy Commissioner, accomp- 
anied by Mr. Hari Blah, Subdi visional Officer, Mokokchung, 
Major B. C. H. Gerty and 174 officers and men of the 3rd Assam Rifles 
conducted a successful expedition to Nokhu for the purpose of releasing 
slaves, in the following circumstances. 

"After the 1936 expedition to Pangsha, it transpired that the 
village of Sanglao still held one slave and in spite of constant warnings 
refused to release the slave. The Deputy Commissioner, Naga Hills, 
accordingly asked for permission to warn Sanglao that unless the slaves 
* were released the village would be visited and punished. Government 
permission was accorded to this action . It subsequently transpired that 
the village of Nokhu had not released their slaves in spite of their 
affirmations to the Deputy Commissioner last year, and that the 
village of Pesu, south-west of Sanglao, the position of which was then 
unknown, held at least one slave. It was not known whether villages 
further south held slaves or not. The sanction to the expedition was 
duly obtained from the Government of India. Throughout the rainy 
season constant attempts were made to sfet the villages to release their 
slaves, but although it was reported that Sanglao had obeyed Govern- 
ment or4ers, Nokhu and Pesu remained obstinate." 

The expedition left Mokokchung on the 1st November 1937 and by 
the end of the month all the slaves known to be in the unadministered 
area were set free without any casualty on our side. Nokhu was 
reached on November 12th, 4 slaves were released and a fine was 
exacted : Sanglao was reached on the 15th and was "overwhelmingly 

'Governor's Secretariat, Tribal, A, September 1938, Nos.1-27. 


friendly" : Pesu was reached on the 17th and burnt and slaves recover- 
ed. Soon after the expedition was over reports were received that, 
while Pesu was being rebuilt after it was burnt during the expedition, 
Panso went and took 6 heads from them. 

In 1939* Pangsha and some of its neighbours had again to be 
visited and punished. Early in 1939 Yungkao, Tamkhung and Ukha 
took 12 heads off Agching, and in June of that year Pangsha, Ukha and 
Yungkao destroyed Agcbing, taking 96 heads. Guns were provided for 
the endangered village for their protection and the sending of a column 
was agreed to. Mr. Pawsey, Deputy CSonamissioner, Naga Hills, was in 
charge and was accompanied by Major A. R. Nye, M. c., and 3 plat- 
oons of the Assam Rifles, and Mr. F. P. Adams, i. c. s., Subdivisional 
Officer, Mokokchung There was no opposition. Pangsha was burnt 
and property destroyed : Yungkao, which submitted unconditionally, 
was fined only : Tamkhung was fined a small sum : Ukha was burnt. 
Unfortunately Mongu and Mongsen, the Pangsha leaders, were not 
arrested. Pang&ha and Yungkao were told not to raid the small vill- 
ages in the Control Area on our side of the river. Ukha were told 
through an intermediary, but not directly as they did not come in, 
that guns must not be used in the Control Area. 

VIII. The Constitution Act of 1935. Throughout the discussions 
previous to the framing of the new Act, the authorities concerned had 
no difficulty in agreeing that the Naga Hills ought to be kept outside 
the purview of the New Constitution. They were accordingly declar- 
ed to be an 'Excluded Area* under the Government of India (Excluded 
and Partially Excluded Areas) Order, 1936 and have since the 1st of 
April 1937 been administered by the Governor in bis discretion. 

Governor's Secretariat, December 1939, Nos.1-118. 
*Governor's Secretariat, Tribal, A, June 1941, Nos.1-126. 



1 Introductory . . . . . . . . . . 181184 

II 1885-1891 .. .. .. .. .. 184192 

III Abor Expedition, 1893-1894 .. .. .. 193204 

IV Bebejiya Mishmi Expedition, 1899-1900 . . . . 204 2 1O 
V 1900-1911 .. .. . .. .. 210218 

VI Murder of Williamson and Gregorson . . - 218 22O 

VII The Abor Expedition of 1911-1912 . . . . . . 220 24O 

(a) Preliminaries . . . . . . . . 22O 229 

(6) The Expedition . . . . . . . 229337 

(c) The Mishmi Mission . . . . . . . . 237240 

VIII Administrative changes subsequent to the Abor Expedi- 240 249 


IX Minor Events 1912-1922 . . . . . . . . 249257 

X 1928-1941 . . . . . . . . . . 257264 

XI The Rima Road again .. .. .. .. 264265 

XII List of Officers . . . . . . . . . . 265266 

/. Introductory. Mackenzie deals with 






under those headings at pages 33-72 of his work, and his history of 
those tribes is brought down to the year 1883 or thereabout*. In 
these notes it is proposed to group together the subsequent history of 
these tribes under the one head of "Sadiya Frontier Tract." 

The Sadiya Frontier Tract district was formed in 1912 with head- 
quarters at Sadiya, the old Sadiya subdivision of Lakhimpur dis- 
trict being its nucleus. Its first designation was that of "Central and 
Eastern Sections, North-East Frontier", the Western Section being 
what is now known as Balipara Frontier Tract. 

The administrative changes thus brought about in 1912 are des- 
cribed succinctly by Mr. S. N. Mackeuize, i.c.s., the officiating Po- 
litical Officer, in paragraph 1 of the first annual report (1912-13) for 
"the district of Sadiya". 

"1. As this is the first Annual Report of this district, a few 
general introductory remarks will not be out of place. Formerly 
this district was known as the Dibrugarh Frontier Tract, and 
was administered by an Assistant Political Officer, with head- 
quarters at Sadiya, suboidinate to the Deputy Commissioner, 
Lakhimpur. Subsequent to the Abor Expedition of 1911-12 this 
system of administration was changed . The Dibrugarh Frontier Tract 
ceased to exist, and the district of Sadiya became a separate entity 
controlled by a Political Officer, working directly under the Chief 
Commissioner, with three Assistant Political Officers, of whom one was 
posted to Pasighat, and was, broadly speaking, in charge of the Abor 
Hills. Sanction to this system was conveyed in letter No.2447-E.B., 
dated the 16th October 1912, from the Secretary to the Government 
of India in the Foreign Department, to the address of the Chief 
Secretary to the Chief Commissioner of Assam." 

The title of this district was officially altered to "Sadiya Frontier 
Tract" in 1919, on the recommendation of the Chief Commissioner, 
Sir Nicholas Beatson-Bell, by Government of India Notification 
No. 141-E.B.,* dated the 20th March 1919. 

Before 1912, the Deputy Commissioner, Lakhimpur, was charged 
with the duty of maintaining relations with the frontier tribes, these 
duties being lightened from 1882 by the appointment at Sadiya of an 
Assistant Political Officer for that area. The first such Assistant was 
Mr. Francis Jack Needham of the Bengal Police, of whom it is stated 
in the note to the Preface to the Sadiya Frontier Tract Gazetteer of 
1928, "By his explorations arid discoveries, Mr. Needham acquired 
an international reputation and his work from 1882 to 1905 laid the 
foundations of the modern North-East Frontier of Assam." 

*Awam Secretariat, Political, A, May 1919, NM. 8-15. 


So far as this portion of the Frontier is concerned, the last import- 
ant incident which Mackenzie records (page 45) is the occupation* of 
Bomjur and Nizamghat in 1881 by Major G. W. Beresford and a 
force of some 300 officers and men of the 43rd Assam Light Infantry, 
a stockade being constructed and a garrison installed at each place. 

Beresford, besides being in military command, was also Chief 
Political Officer to the Expedition. His instructions were to 

(1) prevent the Abors crossing to the east of the Dibong ; 

(2) construct stockades at Bomjur and Nizamghat ; 

(3) avoid hostilities with the Abors. 

His Assistant Political Officer was Rai Bahadur Lahmon Das, 
Honorary Extra Assistant Commissioner, while Mr. G. H. P. Livesay, 
Assistant Superintendent of Police, was in charge of the Police who 
accompained the party. 

Nizamghat and Bomjur were evacuated towards the end of the 
following May, but were re-occupied after the rains, so as to show the 
Abors that we were determined to prevent them crossing the Dibong. 
Bomjur had a Military, and Nizamghat a Police, Garrison, each of 
100 men. 

Though these posts had been occupied vithout difficulty, the 
general attitude of the tribes, especially the Abors, gave anxiety, and 
Mr. Elliott, th( Chief Commissioner, was not satisfied with our arrange- 
ments for maintaining relations with them. He wrote thus in his 
letter No. 725 1 dated the 18th May 1882, to the Government of India. 

"9. The only plan that Mr. Elliott can suggest is that a suitable 
officer should be selected to conduct our relations with the Abors in 
particular, and also with all the tribes bordering on Sadiya. Such an 
officer, if intelligent in his instincts, quick in his syma pthies, and a 
good linguist, might in the course of two or three years obtain influence 
on the frontier, and might from that vantage-ground use any oppor- 
tunities that may occur of opening friendly communications and 
convincing the Abors not only of our strength to resist and our un- 
willingness to attack, but also of the advantages they may gain by the 
markets we can open to their produce. But the Chief Commissioner 
would add that there are not many points of contact between us 
and a hill tribe that lives chiefly by hunting and fishing ; and that the 
best consummation would perhaps be that they should let us, and 
we them, alone as much as possible." 

A second letter No. 728 of the same date made a formal proposal 
for the creation of the post of Assistant Political Officer at Sadiya, as 
a temporary measure, and described the position in more detail as 

"2. The only civil official who has any influence at Sadiya or any 
knowledge of the tribes tayond the border, is Rai Lahmon Bahadur, 
a native gentleman of a line presence and of much natural intelligence 

*Assam Secretariat, 1882. File No. 61-J. 

tAnam Secretariat, For., B, Decettfbcf 1M2, Not. 1-13. 


who and his brother, the political shcristidar, are heads of the im|x>r- 
tant Mattak tribe. He has been employed for many years on the 
border, first as Inspector of Police, then as Honorary Kxti a Assistant 
Commissioner, a post which he now holds, and he is veiy widely known 
to the Abors, Mishmis, Singphos, and Kamptis, and has great weight 
among them. But he is beginning to grow old and it is dangerous that 
he should be the sole repository of so much experience, lest it should 
die with him, and he is believed to be somewhat mixed up in trading, 
and elephant hunting operations, in the debatable land across the 
Inner Line ; and he has a deep distrust and dislike of the Abors 
feelings which arc known to them and which they reciprocate. 

3. For these reasons, some of which were known at the time 
while some have become more evident in the course of subsequent 
events Sir S. C. Bayley appointed Mr. Livesay, an Inspector and 
officiating Assistant Superintendent of Police to Sadiya, with the 
intention that he should have all the knowledge that Lahmon had 
acquired, and should gradually become fit to take his place as 
Political Officer on the Frontier. Mr. Livesay, however, has not 
proved equal to the situation ; perhaps, he has been a little wanting in 
tact, temper, and education ; perhaps the Rai Bahadur resented the 
attempt to supplat him and has been too clever for him. But the result 
is that at present Mr. Livesay does not know anything of the Mishmi 
or Abor language ; has no influence, and has made no progress what- 
ever in becoming acquainted with the notable men of the frontier 
tribes. The Chief Commissioner is satisfied that he is deficient in the 
qualities required for such a post, and has decided to remove him from 

In a third letter No.1587, dated the 28th September 1882, 
Mr. Elliott reported that he had found a suitable officer in the person 
of Mr. J. F. (sic) Need ham of the Bengal Police, whose services the 
Lieutenant-Governor of Bengal had agreed to surrender, and asked for 
approval to his appointment. In a letter No. 1731, dated the 23rd 
October 1882, to the Deputy Commissioner, Oibrugarh, the Chief 
Commissioner stated the duties of the new post as follows. 

"2. Mr. Necdham is to be chiefly employed on political work in 
subordination to you, but he should also take up all criminal work 
arising within such area about Sadiya as you may think it convenient 
to assign to him, and revenue work in addition if you desire it. It 
will probably be convenient to notify Sadiya as a subdivision, and to 
allot to it a certain number of mauzas. On this subject, and in 
regard Jo the magisterial powers with which he is to be invested, and 
the establishment he may require, you should make proposals after 
consulting with him upon his arrival at Dibrugarh. You should ordi- 
narily issue through him orders upon all matters relating to affairs on 
the Abor, Mishmi, and Singpho-Khampti frontiers, and the arrange- 
ments regarding the location of the frontier outposts, their supplies, 
the patrolling between them, etc. as well as the political relations 
with the Abors and Mishmis will be carried on through him as soon as 
he has acquired sufficient local knowledge. 


3. His first duty will be to make himself thoroughly acquainted 
with the history of our relations with those tribes and their neighbours 
both by mastriing the coi irspondmce in the political department of 
your office (rnoic especially the recent roncspundencc and Major 
Beresford's note * of 1880), and by gaining all the information he can 
from Rai Lahmon Bahadur and other local authorities. His next 
should be to become personally acquainted with the leading members 
of the tribes, their chiefs, Kotokis, etc., and to establish, as far as 
possible, friendly and cordial relations with them. He should 
endeavour to learn their languages, more especially that of 
the Abors, with whom it is important that he should establish friendly 
relations and a means of communication independent of the possible 
errors or intentional misinterpretation of the Kotokis. And he should 
regard border politics as his special sphere in which he is to acquire as 
much knowledge as he possibly can, and to endeavour to train his 
judgment to right and sound opinions upon all questions relating to the 

The Government of India agreed, and Mr. Need ham was 
appointed as the first Assistant Political Officer at Sadiya with effect 
from 8th November 1882. The way in which his position came in 
to be regarded, at any rate by Mr. W. E. Ward, Chief Commissioner 
in 1 894, is explained in the following extract from a letter from the 
Chief Commissioner to the then Deputy Commissioner of Lakhimpur 
No.49-Foreignt-356-P., dated the 15th January 1894. 

"3. Mr. Needham's position in relation to the Deputy 
Commissioner of Lakhimpur has always hitherto been 
that of a special adviser on all political questions arising 
on your frontier, and, from his intimate knowledge of the 
tribes on the frontier his views are necessarily entitled to con- 
siderable weight. At the same time, it is the District Officer who is 
immediately responsible for advising the Chief Commissioner on 
frontier questions, and he is not necessarily bound in every case to 
accept the views of the Political Officer at Sadiya." 

II. 1885-1891 

(a) NeedhanCs visit to Rima. Between December 
1885 and January 1886, Mr. Needham journeyed up to 
a point very close to Jlima and back, he and his 
companion, Captain E. H. Molesworth}, being, as the Chief Com- 
missioner observed, the only Europeans who had ever penetrated into 
Tibet by the route of the Brahmaputra [sic] subsequent to the French 
Missionaries, Messrs. Krick and Boury, who were killed by Mis h mis 
in the Zayul Valley in 1854. His tour is described thus in the Assam 
Administration Report of 1885-1886. 

* "Notes on the North-Eastern Frontier of Assam" by Captain G. W. Beresford 
Assam Light Infantry. Assam Secretariat Press, 1881. [Reprinted 1906.1 ' 

t Assam Secretariat. For., A, July 1894, Nos. 34-371. 
$ Assam Secretariat, 1886, File No.l735-J. 


"4 . . . .This year's record has been marked by an expedition of 
no less interest and boldness, carried out by Mr. Needham, Political 
Officer at Sadiya, up the course of the Brahmaputra into the Zayul 
Valley, where the river leaving Tibet emerges into the plains of 
Assam. Mr. Needham, who took no armed escort, started on the 
12th December 1885, and was accompanied by Captain Molesworth, 
Commandant of the Lakhimpur Frontier Police Battalion He 
marched a distance of 187 miles up the course of the river 
from Sadiya by a track presenting great difficulties to an unaccus- 
tomed traveller, to within a mile of the Tibetan village of Rima 
where he was turned back by the officials . Rima was reached on the 
4th January 1836, and by the 20th he was back at Sadiya. The 
geographical interest of his journey rests mainly in the confirma- 
tion it affords to the narrative of the Pandit A-K, who made' his 
way from the Tibetan side to Rima in 1882, and lived in the 
Zayul Valley for some weeks. After the publication of the Pandit's 
report, a theory was started by those who maintain that the 
Sanpo is identical with the Irrawaddy, and not with the 
Dihong as generally supposed, that the river of Zayul was an 
affluent of the Sanpo, and that the Sanpo finds its way into Burma 
somewhere between the Frontier of Assam and the furthest point 
reached by the Pandit in the Zayul Valley, efc. the village of Same*. 
Mr. Needham, by following up the Brahmaputra along it whole 
course from Sadiya to Rima, has conclusively proved its identity with 
the river of Zayul As from the Pandit's record it is proved that 
the Sanpo does not descend into Burma to the east of this river, 
there appears to remain no other hypothesis than that it finds its way 
into Assam, most probably as the Dihong. 

[Needham's views on this point are expressed thus in paragraph 

15 of his report*. " I am in the proud position of being able 

satisfactorily to settle a great geographical quest : on. Having followed 
the course of the Brahmaputra from Sadiya to a spot within a mile 
or so of the Tibetan frontier village, or town, of Rima I can con- 
fidently assert that no river in any degree corresponding to the Sanpo 
in size joins it between Sadiya and Rima, and consequently the Sanpo 
must pass into the Brahmaputra west of Sadiya, and my opinion is 
that it can be no other than the Dihong."] Another important result 
of Mr Needham's journey is the evidence it affords of the friendly 
disposition of the Mishmi tiibes which separate Assam from the Zayul 
Valley. These people are divided into two tribes, speaking different 
dialects, the Digarus, who hold the country between Sonpura, 
our outpost on the Brahmaputra east of Sadiya and the Mdaun 
or Du river, within 60 miles of the Tibet border, and the Mijus 
who -occupy the tract between that point and Zayul. In 1851 
M. Krick, a French Missionary, entered Tibet by this route, and 
returned to Assam in safety. In 1854 he, in company with another 
French priest, M Boury, again penetrated to the Zayul Valley, but 
both were murdered there shortly after their arrival by the Mishmi 
chief Kai-i-sha. In February 1855 Lieutenant Eden, with a party 
of the 1st Assam Light Infantry, attacked Kai-i-sha's village, and 

* Assam Secretariat 1886. File No.l735-J. ~~~ 


carried the chief off a prisoner to Dibrugarh, where he was subse- 
quently hanged. From that date till Mr. Needham's journey, no 
European had succeeded in accomplishing the journey to Rima." 

Mr. Needham's principal native assistant on this journey was 
Ghowsa Khainti Gohain, of whom he spoke in the highest terms in his 
report and who was presented with a double barrelled gun as a 
reward, suitably inscribed as from the Governor-General. The Chief 
Commissioner's letter No. 1194, dated the 21st June 1886, with which 
Mr. Needham's report and diary was forwarded to the Government 
of India describes at great length the previous history of this country ; 
the geographical problems which it presented ; and the valuable 
contribution which Mr. Needham's journey had furnished to geogra- 
phical science especially in regard to the identity of the Sanpo and 
the Dihong and our knowledge of the Mishmi inhabitants. Para- 
graph 28 of the letter suggested that there were great possibilities of 
commercial intercourse by this route between Tibet and Assam, and 
asked for permission to take steps towards opening it out. 

The Government of India's acknowledgment of the report was 
described by the Chief Commissioner's Secretary, Mr. Stack, in the 
official noting as a " douche of cold water." While giving credit to 
Mr. Needham for a successful enterprise, they said they would be 
glad in future to have their sanction asked for for official expeditions 
beyond the frontier : and they declined to incur expenditure on the 
roads in the "Brahmaputra Valley route into Tibet" without "clear 
evidence of their necessity and utility " This comment did indeed 
cause Mr. Ward, the Chief Commissioner, to admit that it was "a 
dangerous business" and to observe that they did not "want to 
have Mr. Needham murdered and a military expedition to punish the 

(b) Needham's visit to the Hukong Valley, 1888. In letter No.2323,* 
dated the 13th October 1887, the Chief Commissioner recommended 
to the Government of India that Needham should bo permitted to 
"examine the country between Makum in the Dibrugarh district and 
the Hukong Valley." The Government of India agreed, and they also 
gave sanction to Captain St. J. F. Michell, Assistant Quarter-Master 
General, Oudh Division, accompanying the expedition. An escort of 
50 Frontier Police was taken and a Survey Officer, Mr. M. Ogle, was 
included in the party. 

The Chief Commissioner's instructions as regaids the objective 
of the misssion were as follows : 

"3. Mr. Needham's objective will be Main-khwon in the Hukong 
Valley, beycrd which he will not go It is believed that the journey 
from Lado [sic] near Makum to this place will take from 21 days to 
a month, and that the whole expedition may be carried through 
within two months. The route to be adopted in reaching Mainkhwon, 
and in returning thence to Assam, is left to Mr. Needham's discretion, 

*Assam Secretariat, 1887, General Department. File No. 547-J. 


subject to the condition that he is not to traverse country outside the 
sphere of Singpho influence, which, Mr. Fitzpatnck understands, 
includes the whole of the Naga country east of a line drawn north and 
south through Ledo as far as Hukong. On arrival at Mainkhwpn (or 
before, if possible) he should endeavour to enter into communication 
with Captain Adamson, Deputy-Commissioner of Bhamo " 

In a subsequent letter to the Deputy Commissioner, Lakhimpur, 
the Chief Commissioner stated that he had learnt from Captain 
Michell that "special importance is attached by the military authori- 
ties to the exploration of the route across the Pati.oi by the Nongyang 
Lake, where the height of the range is least, and where it is believed 
to be practicable to carry a military road. The course to be followed 
by the expedition in going to Hukong has now been made for laying 
out depot of supplies, and cannot be alte red ; but in returning the 
Chief Commissioner desires that Mr. Necdham will unless there should 
be difficulties now unforeseen against it, select the route by the 
Nongyong Lake, and carefully examine the country he tiaverses in 
this direction." 

In point of fact, Needham did go by the \ongyong Lake in his 
outward route and this change of plan caused him to fail in his objects 
in some respects. The route which he followed and the causes whirh 
led to the failure to reach the Hukong Valley are briefly described 
thus in the Chief Commissioner's report,* dated the 22nd June 1888. 

"2. Mr. Needham left Margherita on the Dehing river on the 4th 
January 1888, and returned thither on the 28th February ; he was 
thus absent for 55 days. He failed to reach the Hukong Valley, 
but has explored to a considerable extent two routes leading to 
it, one of which leaves the Dehing river at N'dong, crosses 
the Patkoi at an elevation of 4,650 feet, and goes by the 
Nongyang lake and the Loglai river to a Singpho village called 
Numyung, distance eight marches from Dafa Nong's village in the 
Hukong Valley, and the other of which, going through the hills 
south of Margherita, via Yogli and the Namchik river, crosses the 
Patkoi at an elevation of 7,300 feet, and proceeds via Phoong, Morang, 
Shangge, Hashan and Khulluk, to Sumbaya Nong's village in Hukong, 
distant two days' journey from Khulluk, the furthest point reached 
by Mr Needham. 

3. The expedition failed, primarily, owing to the want of sufficient 
carriage, arid dependence upon local porters and supplies ; secondly, 
owing to the sudden and abrupt change of plans, the Yogli route 
having been first adopted and provisions sent out by it in advance 
which it became necessary to transfer to Numyung : this caused much 
loss of time and disappearance of about a quarter of the stores so sent 
out, while great difficulty was experienced, partly owing to the want 
of water in the Dehing river, in provisioning the route selected via the 

*1888 Assam Secretariat, General Department. File No. 613-J. 


Nongyang lake, and d:lay consequently occurred in making a start in 
that direction ; thirdly, owing to the late period at which the expedi- 
tion was sanctioned by the Government of India, its start being rhus 
deferred till well into January, by which time the Nagas had scattered 
on rubber-cutting business, and the weather (though the Chief Com- 
missioner believes that the past was an exceptionally dry cold season 
elsewhere in A' sam) had broken, and the hardships of the journey 
were thus much increased." 

The expedition had been, however, not without results. It esta- 
blished "the possibility of reaching Hukong by either of the two routes 
explored, that by the Nongyang Lake, Numyung, and Dafa Nong's 
village, which is two days' journey from Mainkhwon, and that by 
Yogh, Phoong, Morang, Shangge, etc., to Sumbaya Nong's village, 
which is five stages from Mainkhwon" : and the Survey Officer who 
accompanied the party had succeeded in mapping about 1 ,500 square 
miles of new country south-east of the Patkoi, up to which the hi Is 
had been fully mapped by the survey party of 1873-74 and had linked 
the work of this expedition with that accomplished by Colonel Wood- 
thorpe in 1884-85. 

The party suffered great hardships throughout owing to bad 
weather and failure of supplies. The ascent of the Patkoi was begun 
on ihe 19th January, a steep and slippery route, and camp was made 
at an elevation of 3,500 feet. Crossing the top at 4,655 feet on the 
20th, they descended to the Nongyong Lake at 3,429 feet. They reach- 
ed Phoong on the 6th February, a Moshang village at 4,300 feet and 
remained there 6 days. Needham found this village in a bad way, 
reduced to only 8 houses, though it was the oldest of the Moshang 
villages, and in fact the parent village of the rest. 

On the 16th February they reached camp at Hashan and from 
there on the 17th they visited their furthest point, the village of 
Khulluk. They returned via Phoong, Namchik and Yogli. 

Accounts of conditions in this country which were recorded many 
years later by Mr. Williamson in 1909 and Mr. O'Cailaghan in 1924- 
25 and 1925-26 may conveniently find a place here. Mr. Williamson 
stated as follows in paragraph* 11 of his report on his visit to that 
country in 1908. 

"11. The loss of life by raids in these hills is slight, but the people 
make up any deficiency in this respect by the sacrifice of human 
beings. Ordinarily every male is responsible for the death of two 
slaves. Raids among the Naga tribes to the south-west of the Rang- 
pang country result in the death of women and children, but these 
raids would appear to be less savage than the slaughter of a helpless 
slave in cold blood". H 

Further comments on this subject are to be found in his diary of 
7th and 9th December. 

* Eastern Bengal and Assam Secretariat, Political, A, May 1910, Nos. 13-40. 


"Human sacrifice appears to be very common. Every householder 
has to offer up at least one victim during his life time to propitiate the 
deity located in his house. The Gam's lather had offered up a victim 
when the Gam had attained manhood. He had himself made a sacri- 
fice on his father's death when he became the head of the household, 
and again when his son had arrived at man's estate. Victims consist 
of women and children as well as males. A soothsayer, who lives at 
Chumka in the Numyung valley, decides which sex is necessary for 
proper propitiation. These victims are obtained from the south from 
the naked Naga tribes. A victim costs in kind Rs.300 a very high 
estimate. 1 saw one of these people at Rangku. Marriage is exogam- 
ous, and a wife is said to cost three slaves. This, at the Rs.300 rate, 

come to Rs. 900, which is of course a very exaggerated estimate " 

And again on the 9th December he records "Sacrifices are made for 
the purpose of propitiating the household deity. If this is not done, 
the man falls sick, his crops fail, and his wife will either die in child- 
birth, or her children will be still-born. When a household wish to 
sacrifice a human being, a slave is purchased and kept in the village 
for about a month, with his ankles in heavy wooden stocks to prevent 
his running away. Otherwise, he has the use of his limbs. Women 
and even children are sacrificed any human being in fact who is 
brought for sale, old or young. The slave is well fed, and on the day 
of sacrifice has his head struck off as he is descending the notched log 
which leads from all these houses to the ground. The owner of the 
victim does not strike the blow. Some man of the village is selected 
for the duty and is paid Rs.10, a pig, a woman's brass bracelet and a 
fowl. The pig is given in order that after the ceremony the execu- 
tioner may use the fat of the animal to cleanse his hands from blood, 
etc. The head is stripped of all flesh by the executioner, and the dry 
skull is hung up in the verandah of the house. The same man has to 
drag the headless corpse to some ravine, where he buries it. The hair 
and flesh off the head is not kept but thrown away. The blood which 
falls on the steps of the house is carefully covered over with dhan chaff, 
As the victim is beheaded, the owner of the house calls on the deity to 
accept a human being as a sacrifice, and in return to deal kindly with 
him and his household. These people may not go in much for raid- 
ing compared to the Naga tribes to the south-west, but they certainly 
take a pretty steady toll of human lives. Every male of this tribe 
accounts for two victims one on the occasion of becoming possessed 
of a home of his own, and one on the birth of his first son." 

Mr. O'Callaghan wrote as follows 

(a) in 1924-25*, "The Nagas of the Sadiya Frontier Tract have 
hitherto, been known as Rangpang a name unknown among them- 
selves. They live on the southern slopes and in the broken country 
of the foot hills of the Patkoi Range in basins of the Namphuk, Nam- 
chik and (mainly) the Dirap Rivers (South and Sou 
rita and Ledo). Some of them still have clansmen 
west of the Patkoi in the unadministered area bet 
Valley and the Naga Hills district from whence thej 
due North and North-East to the Sadiya Frontier ffl^ty- The 

Appointment and Political, B, June 1925, Nos. 1311-13 ~ 


are Moklum (6 villages) Yogli (13 small villages), Rongrang (5 
villages), Moshang (3 villages), Tikak (6 villages), Longri (3 villages) 
and odd hamlets of Mungrang, Sakeng, Tonglim and Yungkup. 
South of the Patkoi are Morang, Moshang, Longri, Dongai, Shong- 
rang, Rinku, etc. Nagas when asked who they are will always name 
their clan and not their village. It may be mentioned that between 
the Tirap River and the plains of Lakhimpur the foothills are occupied 
by other clans of Nagas Lungchang, Tikak, Seban and those known 
to the plainsmen as Namsangias, Jaipurias, etc. These people live in 
'chang' houses and do 'jhum' cultivation. Those in the Sadiya area 
live in small and scattered hamlets built on spurs, each clan in its 
own area, usually divided into hamlets, owing to their system of culti- 
vation. The absence of weapons other than the dao is noticeable. 
They are physically medium in build, well proportioned, active and 
hardy. They have the one language varying more or less with each 
clan, some of which state they find it difficult to understand some of the 
other clans. They claim to be endogamous. They are spirit-wor- 
shippers, a peaceful people who still keep to themselves, with primitive 
culture and probably representing the front of a wave of one of the 
first foreign invasions (Mon) from the South East towards India, 
pushed forward by economic pressure from the South. One note- 
worthy practice has attracted particular attention to them that of 
human sacrifices. Within the past decade occasional sacrifices have 
undoubtedly been held in the area now administered from Sadiya and 
are probably still carried out south of the Patkoi. It must not be 
inferred that they were or are common, the bar of expense alone being 
a guarantee ; once in the lifetime of a leading man in a village being 
an exaggerated estimate. The details they give lead one to think that 
a human sacrifice was a real event in the history of the village it was 
offered to the spirit of the house, an evil Spirit (Mathai or Thangba) 
in the case of serious and general sickness. Victims were procured by 
capture or purchase costing to the value of Rs. 400, Rs. 500 and might 
be of either sex, any age and, in addition to captives, were probably 
slaves, idiots, orphans or useless members of clans. They were slain 
soon after purchase in front of the house offering the sacrifice in 
presence of the village. Previous to the actual killing which was done 
by a relative of the giver, residing in a different house, the victim was 
offered to the Spirit with a prayer to accept and remove the sickness. 
The victim was then slain by the blow of a dao on the neck and the 
body buried at once, unmutilated, in an unmarked grave some 
distance away in the jungle. The authority for these details are the 
Nagas themselves and are probably correct in the main." 

(b) In 1925-26*, "This custom [human "sacrifice] has been and is a 
normal practice among all Rangpang its clans which they explain as a 
reaction to felt necessy to appease the spirits. It is primarily a personal 
or communal votive and intercessionary gift and will be vowed in times 
of difficulty, t.*., promised for the future if a victim be not immediately 
available and it is such promises already made to the spirits, which 
many clans in the unadministered area have advanced as one of their 

main reasons for not immediately abandoning the practice i.e., the 

,_, t . 

* Appointment and Political, B, September 1926, Nos. 155-162. 


fear of retribution due to the non-fulfilment of such vows. More than 
one household may subscribe to purchase a victim ; in time of urgency 
a slave victim may be borrowed to be replaced later or may be bought 
on credit and even buffaloes, etc., stolen to provide part of the price. 
Victims who are generally slaves, captives in war, may be of either sex 
and any age and cost from Rs.300 to Rs.500. Doubtless, useless 
members of the community are seized and sold and also weak, help- 
less debtors in a powerful turbulent village. Kangpangs do not supply 
any victims themselves and all admit that the source of supply is away 
to the South and South-west, i.e., the Dilli (Namphuk) River Basin 
and Westwards i.e., west of the Sandri Bum and Magri Bum Ridges 
where the Rangpang area may run with the big raiding head hunting 
Naga villages in the unexplored area east of the Assam-Burma boun- 
dary on the extreme east of the unad ministered area of the Naga Hills 
district of Assam. The Rangpang not only sacrifice but traffic in 
victims, the Dilli Basin people not only buying from the west and 
sacrificing but buying and reselling ; in fact, it is probably the custom 
for a victim to pass through more than one hand before meeting his 
or her end. The slaves are always described as of being of an unknown 
clan , tattooed on the cheeks and forehead and speaking an unknown 
tongue. The Rangpang of the administered area give the, Laju clan 
as one of as the sources of supply in the past. The Laju dwell just 
inside the Sadiya Frontier Tract unadministered area is the most 
Northerly of the big head hunting villages and though they deny keep- 
ing slaves or trafficking in them, it is extremely probable that some of 
them did in the past. They number some 7,500 people. When pur- 
chased for sacrifice, the victim is kept in the house of the owner, well 
cared for and fed but kept in stocks if there is any suspicion that 
escape may be attempted. The sacrifice is within a month of purchase 
unless bought for resale. On the appointed day, selected as is the execu- 
tioner, by divination by the 'wise* man, the victim is drugged with 
opium or clrink or, failing these, even beaten into insensibility, led lo 
the front of the front \erandah of the house and decapitated by a blow 
or blows on the neck from behind at the top of the notched tree 
which serves as a ladder entrance to the verandah. The skull when 
clean is divided in two perpendicularly and the front hung suspended 
in the verandah room. As for the body, one account is that the body is 
divided up and bones, flesh and entrails are sold as charms or divided 
among clansmen !. Another account is that the body is buried in the 
jungle and when the bones are cleaned they are distributed or sold. 
Others have stated that the body is buried unmutilated. The execu- 
tioner, it may be noted, is never of the household of the donor of the 


It has often been alleged that runaway coolies from Assam tea 
gardens, and coal mines, earthworks, etc., have been enticed away 
by the Rangpang and others, seized and sold as victims but enquiries 
have hitherto failed to elicit any evidence whatsoever to support these 

Assam Secretarial, For., A, February 1893, Nos. 17-49. 


(c) Needham 9 s second visit to Burma : In December 1891 Mr. 

Needham, at the instance of the Chief Commissioner of Burma, was sent 
on an expedition to join hands from the Assam side with a Burma 
column which was being sent to Mungkhom (spelt on early maps as 
Mainkhwom) in the Hukong Valley to subdue the tribes lying north 
of Mogaung between the Irrawadi and the Hukong Valley. Starting 
from Margherita on December 14th, 1891, with a force of 100 Lakhim- 
pur Military Police, under Captain R. M. Maxwell, their Comman- 
dant, he reached the Tirap on the 17th and the Namchik on the 19th. 
The party crossed the Patkoi at an elevation of 7,000 feet and went 
on down to the Namphuk on the 20th reaching Phung on the 21st. 
Here they had to leave half their force behind owing to shortage of 
transport. On the 4th January they reached Dabop, thereby passing 
the farthest point (Khalak) that Needham had reached in 1888. On 
14th January they arrived at their destination, Mungkhom, where they 
met Mr. A. Symington, Extra Assistant Commissioner, the Civil 
Officer with the Burma Force and Major the Hon.A.E. Dalzell 
of the 52nd Light Infantry, commanding the Force, which consisted of 
SO men of the 2nd Devonshire Regiment, 100 Sikhs of the (3rd Burma 
Battalion) 33rd Madras Infantry, 2 Mountain guns and 12 or more 
British Officers. Shortage of rations compelled an early return and on 
the 19th they commenced (heir return march. Much valuable assist- 
ance was rendered to the expedition by the Singpho Chief, Bisa Jauh- 
ing, his brother Bisa La and Ningrang Nong, and Needham took with 
him as well Chawa, the Tengapani Kharnti Chief who had gone with 
him to Rima in 1885. The route entailed great difficulties and hard- 
ships for the coolies, and Needham advocated that for future expedi- 
tions the "old Burmese Route" should be explored. This route (para. 
24 of his report) was described as being from Ningben via Numyung and 
the Nongyong Lake, and Chausa Khamti actually traversed it on this 
occasion, reporting subsequently to Needham that it was an easy one. 
It was by this way that the Burmese armies invaded Assam. Needham, 
while stating that most of the great numbers of slaves in the Hukong 
Valley were Singphos carried off from Assam, reported that not one of 
them asked him to secure their release and return to their homes, they 
being very well treated where they were. 

Needham in his report, long and detailed as usual, makes some 
disparaging remarks about the Burma Column and their arrangements. 
In particular he was much perturbed at the Commanding Officer's 
proposal to hold a ceremonial parade at which he was going to "cele- 
brate [to quote Major Dalzell's Garrison Order] the establishment of 
British authority and the supremacy of Her Majority the Queen Em- 
press of India over this portion of Upper Burma". Needham pointed 
out that, apart from the fact that the Burma Column had orders merely 
to tour through the Valley and accept the submission of such Chiefs as 
chose to come in, such action would endanger his own small force on 
their return journey, as the Singpho Chiefs had been told that their 
independence would not be interfered with and would now hold that 
he ^ Need ham) had deceived them and would take revenge upon him. 
Fortunately he managed to persuade the Burma Officers to cancel 
their plans. ^ 


III. The Abor Expedition of 1893-94. Encouraged by the failure 
of previous expeditions, the lenient treatment hitherto meted out to 
them, and the continued annual grant of posa inspite of their mis- 
deeds, the Bor Abors or Padams (according to Mr. Bentinck, writing 
on 23rd April 1912, after the close of the Abor Expedition df 1911- 
1912, the term 'Bor Abor' should never be used, "Padam" being the 
correct term) had become more and more independent and defiant. 
The climax was reached when 3 of our sepoys were ambushed and 
murdered near the Bomjur out-post on the left bank of the Dibong 
river on the 27th November 1893, probably by men of Bomjur assisted 
by Dambuk and Silluk. Writing in his letter No.21-T*., dated the 
10th December 1893, the Chief Commissioner, Mr. W. E. Ward, 
said he was only waiting for a further report from the Deputy Com- 
missioner before deciding "that there shall be an expedition" (he 
seems to have held he ha i a freer hand than was later admitted and 
his language is interesting in view of the way in which his actions 
were queried later on) and said that he thought 500 men, half Mili- 
tary and half Military Police, would suffice. Before a reply had been 
received, a further outrage occurred on the 23rd December 1893 when 
a sepoy was killed and a rifle carried off. Mr. Needham strongly re* 
commended action against the offenders ; and on a reference from the 
Chief Commissioner an expedition was sanctioned by the Government 
of India. The Chief Commissioner's instructions are set forth in para- 
graph 20 of Mr. Needham 's report of the 19th March 1894f and were 
as follows 

"20. The Chief Commissioner, after informing me that he had 
appointed me Political Officer with the expedition, and left all details 
as to direction and management of the same in my hands, gave me 
the following instructions regarding the object and scope of the expe- 
dition : 

Confine yourself to punishing villages you have good reason to 
believe concerned in outrage, insisting on delivery of murderers and 
sepoy's rifles. Don't go further inland than is absolutely necessary 
for purpose, and give all villages clearly to understand that we have 
no desire to annex their territory, but only to punish offending villages. 
Old complaints about Miri slaves and claims to territory which we 
have always disputed are on no account to be listened to". 

In a telegram (No.60-T), of the same date to the Deputy Commis- 
sioner, however, the Chief Commissioner indicated that any villages 
which might offer resistance to the force were also to be punished. 

Though a small detachment of regular infantry formed part of the 
force, this was not a military expedition, and the Commander-in-Chief 
assumed no responsibility for the plan or the conduct of the opera- 
tions, a point which the Chief Commissioner Mr. Ward was careful to 
make when subsequently reporting to the Government of India -in 
June. The force consisted of 100 men of the 44th Gurkha Rifles un- 
der Lieutenants J. A. Wilson and G. L. S. Ward (son of the Ghiel 
Commissioner) of that regiment : 300 men of the Lakhimpur Military 

* Ass am Secretariat, Foreign, A, July 1894, Nos. 34-371. 
fAlsam Secretariat, Foreign, A, July 1895, Nos. 36-95, 


Police under Captain G. Row, 44th Gurkha Rifles, Lieutenant J. M. 
Gamillcri, 13th Bengal Infantry and Mr. . Muspratt, Superinten- 
dent of Police : 100 men of the Naga Hills Military Police under Cap- 
tain W. R. Little of the 21st Punjabis, their Commandant: and two 
7-pounder guns under Lieutenant L. W. P. East, R.A., and a British 
non-Commissioned Officer, Sergeant Loweth, and manned by men of 
the 44th Gurkhas. At that time the Military Police Battalions in Assam 
had only one British Officer attached to each of them, and so, for 
purpose! of an expedition such as this, it was necessary to borrow 
extra officers from Army. Captain R. M. Maxwell, Commandant of 
the Lakhimpur Military Police was in command, and Mr. Needham 
was appointed as Political Officer. The Medical Officer was Surgeon- 
Lieutenant Birdwood. Major . H. Molesworth of the 44th and Cap- 
tain W. Prior of the 13th Bengal Infantry, took over Military Police 
outposts so as to release the police for the expedition, and were in 
charge of the line of communications but did not take part in the 
actual operations. 

_ By the 14th January 1894 the expedition was ready to move 
against Bomjur, which they entered on the 15th January and found 
deserted. They then advanced to Dambuk on the 20th January where 
they encountered considerable resistance at a tremendously strongly 
built stockade, 2,000 yards long, 10 feet high, and strongly panjied, in 
some places having a double palisade with 2 or 3 feet thickness of stone 
between, which was quite impervious to shellfire. It was rushed 
successfully however, with a loss of 3 killed and 22 wounded, Lieute- 
nant East, who showed great gallantry, being the first to climb in. 
Returning to Bomjur, they went westwards on the 28th across the 
Sesseri to Mimasipu and Silluk, which they burned. After the fight 
at Silluk, opposition ceased, and the force halted at Silluk from the 
29th January to 8th February, during which time Needham was eng- 
aged in negotiations and inquiries. 

Needham became convinced that Damroh, a village to the North, 
described by the Chief Commissioner as "the headquarters and strong- 
hold of the Padam Abor occupying the country between the Dihong 
and the Dibong and the paramount power which controls and guides 
the actions of all the villages on that side," was deeply involved in the 
opposition to our advance and that unless it was punished the expedi- 
tion would fail in its object. He therefore asked the Chief Commis- 
sioner's permission to go there, and was informed in a telegram, dated 
the 9th February, that "If Needham and Maxwell think it quite safe, 
I sanction advance on Damroh but no farther". This was followed 
by another wire on the llth February to the Deputy Commissioner 
desiring him to inform Needham that after Damroh had been ade- 
quately punished the Chief Commissioner wished operations against 
the Abors to cease and the force to return to Sadiya, arriving not later 
than 10th March. Damroh was a long way north up the Yamne 
river in unknown country, Mr. Needham never having gone beyond 
Silli, while its strength was also unknown, and the Chief Commissioner 
evidently hesitated before he granted the permission asked for. He 
must have been greatly influenced by the reliance which he placed on 
Needham's experience and judgment , and by the fact that Needham 


was convinced on what he believed to be reliable information that the 
Abors had given up all intention of resistance. Necdham affirmed in a 
letter which he wrote to the Chief Commissioner on the 17th February 
from Membu that if he succeeded at Damroh, "as I have no doubt we 
shall", the Abors would never given any trouble again and that he 
did not expect any fighting there. 

Needham decided to march via Bordak OK the left bank 
of the Dihong, above Pasighat. Damroh was estimated to be 4 
marches from Bordak, and owing to shortage of transport it was 
decided to leave at Bordak the rations which were not required as 
well as the heavy baggage and all unneeded sepoys and followers, 
amounting to 60 in all, under the charge of Subadar Enayet All 
Khan of the Naga Hills Police. A start was made on the 22nd 
February and Silli was reached on that day and Dukku on the 
23rd, at both of which places they were hospitably received. 
There was still anxiety about rations and transport, but Dukku was 
left on the 25th and camp was made, after an arduous march, on 
the left bank of the Yamne river. Lieutenant East was wounded in 
the hand by a poisoned arrow in the course of a brush with the 
Abors that evening. On thejnext day, the 26th, the march was an 
equally difficult one, and very little progress was made. Lieutenant 
Camilleri and his company were engaged for some hours with the 
Abors and had some difficulty in withdrawing in the face of gun 
and arrow fire and showers of boulders. Rations were low, they had 
only 3 days' food with them, Lieutenant East was now very ill with 
dysentery and heavy rain made the position still more disheartening. 
The decision was made to leave Muspratt at the camp with 100 
men, while Maxwell and Needham went on with the rest and one gun 
to try and reach Damroh and burn it. On the 27th February the 
attempt was made. But by 2 00 P.M. after a terrible march in con- 
fused jungle and heavy rain, with Damroh evidently still a long 
way off, it was decided to return. 

They halted on the 28th as word had come that the Damroh 
gams were anxious to come in and make terms, but neither they nor 
any rations turned up, and a miserable day was spent in camp, 
Needham himself being in bed and Mr. East's condition worse. It 
became clear that there was no alternative but to return to Bordak. 
On the 1st March therefore they began the return journey. Dukku 
was reached that night, Lieutenant East being carried in a dooly. 
Heavy rain continued. On the way to Silli the following day, 
Needham got word that the camp at Bordak had been attacked, 
every one in it massacred and all rations destroyed. (At the same 
time Major Molesworth reported* to the Chief Commissioner from 
Sadiya that Ulung Pasi, Gam of Gina, who was left in charge of 
the Bordak stores, had just come in with the same news.) Silli was 
reached at 11 P.M. and there they halted on the 3rd and resumed 
their march on the 4th. When they were some 3 miles short of 
Bordak at 6 P.M. Maxwell, Needham and the advance guard under 
Row pushed on to the old camp. They found it deserted and spent 

Assam Secretariat, Foreign, A, July 1894, No*. 54-371. 


a miserable night in the wet. Next morning 2 survivors of the mas- 
sacre turned up, a Khasi cooly who had escaped owing to his being 
out of the camp when it occurred, and a dhobi of the 44th who had 
managed to escape across the river though severely wounded in the 
arm with a dao cut. No less than 27 dead bodies lay in the camp, 
12 sepoys and 15 followers and coolies, while everywhere stores and 
clothing were strewn in confusion. 8 more persons were later found 
to have been killed. The Abors got away with 14 rifles* and many 
hundreds of rounds of ammunition. On the 6th they resumed their 
march towards Padu: on the 9th they attacked and took Membu. 
Needham had decided to visit and punish these 2 villages for their 
complicity in the massacre at Bordak. Though he had intended to 
return via Silluk and Bomjur, the continuous rain had caused the 
rivers to rise and he had to turn back and make for the Dihong 
and so to Sadiya. On the evening of the 10th they met Major 
Molesworth and his party at Membu Ghat. By 14th March the 
force was back in Sadiya. Bomjur was evacuated and burnt on the 
20th March. 

Needham claimed that the chief object of the expedition, i.e., 
to punish Bomjur, Dambuk and Silluk, had been accomplished. 
He explained, however, how it had become necessary to take steps 
also against other villages, i.e., Membu and Damroh who had joined 
in the defence of the 3 villages previously mentioned. He strongly 
recommended that another expedition should be organised in the 
ensuing cold weather to punish Damroh : and that Bomjur be forbid- 
den -to rebuild on their old site. 

As regards the massacre at Bordak, Needham's opinion was 
that the Padu and Membu Abors were the culprits, instigated by 
Damroh, that the sepoys were completely off their guard, having on 
suspicion of foul play : that if the smallest precautions had been 
taken no massacre would have occurred : that it was carefully pre- 
meditated, the Abors having seen that no watch was kept in camp. 

Maxwell in his report explains how it was believed by Needham 
and everyone else that there was no sort of danger and that he 
(Maxwell) left the sickly men behind only because they were sickly 
and not as .a guard because no guard was considered necessary. If 
a guard had been asked for he would have left 50 men and put 
them in a stockade. Needham told him he did not require a guard 
as the place was perfectly safe. The Chief Commissioner in his 
letter to the Government of India, No. 520, dated the 1st June 
1894, reviewed the results of the expedition and the question of 
future 'pdlicy in the following words 

"59. It is too soon to judge what the results of the expedition 
will fre in the direction of keeping the Abors quiet in the future. 
It is of course quite possible that Damroh, having been left unpunished, 
will try and stir up the villages in the plains and on the lower 
slopes of the hflls to fight us again, but the Chief Commissioner 
doubts whether it will succeed in doing so, at any rate, for some 
years to come. The punishment inflicted on these villages has been 

* Assam Secretariat, Foreign, A, July 1895, No. 36-95. 


as severe as it is possible for any expeditionary force to inflict on the 
hill tribes on this frontier, and it will take them some time to recover 
from it. We have now proved to the Abors for the first time that 
we can march through their country from one end to the other with 
the greatest ease, and destroy every village they have, their cattle, 
their household goods, and their crops. They are not likely to forget 
this, however much they may boast that they succeeded by treachery 
in preventing the force from reaching Damroh. One important result 
of the expedition is that we now know the way to Damroh, and the 
nature of the opposition we may expert if any future expedition 
is undertaken against that village. 

60. It has, however, to be considered whether, without further 
provocation, there should be an expedition next year to punish 
Damroh. The murderers of our sepoys on patrol have not been 
given up. The Chief Commissioner does not attach much impor- 
tance to this point. Wu do not know who the actual murderers 
were, and are, therefore, not in a position to say whether, suppos- 
ing anyone was given up, he was or was not really concerned in the 
murders, and experience lias shown that, whenever we have insisted 
upon hill tribes who have raided on British territory and killed 
British subjects delivering up the murderers, they have almost in- 
variably delivered up some unfortunate man or men who look no 
share whatever in the crime committed. Moreover, in such cases, 
the Chief Commissioner does not think that we should try to dis- 
tinguish the particular men who commit a murder from the rest of 
the inhabitants of the village to which they belong, or from other 
villages which have instigated the crime. The punishment, there- 
fore, to be inflicted should be on villages and heads of villages, not 
on any particular member of the village community. If this view 
be accepted, then one of the primary objects oi the expedition has 
been accomplished, as every village in the Padain Abor country, 
except Damroh, has received as severe a punishment as it is pos- 
sible for any expeditionary forces however strong, or howevei com- 
posed, to inflict. If there had been more time, and the season had 
not been so far advanced, the Chief Commissioner would have 
been glad if Mr. Needhim could have remained longer at Padu 
and Membu than he did when on his way back from Damroh. If 
the force had quartered itself for a week on each of these impor- 
tant villages it would have made them realise more keenly than 
perhaps they have done what the penalty is of treachery against 
the British Government. Mr. Needham, however, had received the 
Chief Commissioner's orders to return to Sadiya before the 10th 
March,* and he had to comply with them, so far as he was 
able to do so. It will he seen, from paragraph 144 of his 
report, that he proposes to inflict further punishment on these 
two villages for their treachery if another expedition is sanctioned. 
He would also inflict fi rther punishment on Silluk and Dambuk. 
There is, however, nothing at present to show that these villages 
had any share in the Bordak massacre, and unless it is proved that 
they had, it seems scarcely necessary to add to the punishment they 
have already received. 


61. But, although the offending villages have been more or less 
Adequately punished, ard thus the chief object of the expedition has 
been secured, the rifles stolen from the murdered patrols and at Bordak 
have not yet been given up. It was not to be expected that they would 
be given up at once. In paragraph 140 of his report Mr. Needham 
gives the number of rifles and the amount of ammunition stolen and 
recovered to date, and he believes that he will recover the remainder. 
If his expectations are realised, we may be assured that the Padam 
Abors, including the village of Damroh, have submitted and do not 
wish to fight us again ; but, if they are not recovered, the Chief Com- 
missioner has no hesitation in recommending that another expedition 
be sanctioned next coid weather, which will include in its programme 
the punishment of Damroh, and a march through all the villages which 
have been visited by the present expedition, these same villages to be 
again punished if they resist the progress of the force in any way, but 
not otherwise. 

62. There is still the further question to b^ considered, whether, 
supposing all the stolen rifles and ammunition are recovered, there 
shall be another expedition for the express purpose of punishing 
Damroh. The Chief Commissioner has no desire to recommend the 
Government of India to take any step which, in the present state of 
the finances, would involve a large expenditure of money, unless he 
felt that such a step was absolutely necessary. Mr. Ward has already, 
in paragraph 28 above, indicated his opinion that, so long as Damroh 
remain? unpunished for the share it has taken in fighting against us 
during this expedition, and for ordering and inciting the villages of 
Membu and Padu to commit the gross act of treachery they did at 
Bordak, we shall never succeed in bringing the Abors who live in the 
territory immediately contiguous to our own to a state of submission. 
They may, after the lesson they have now learnt, keep quiet for five 
years or so, possibly for ten years ; but, after that, the Chief Com- 
missioner has little doubt that the lesson of the past will have been 
forgotten, impudent demands and insolent behaviour will be repeated 
and will go on increasing year after year, until another overt act of 
hostility is committed, followed by another expedition, and possibly 
annexation, resulting in permanent additional expenditure for the 
purpose of administering a country which will bring us in no revenue 
in return. Anyone who is acquainted with the history of our past 
relations with the hill tribes on this frontier knows that this is no 
fanciful prophesy. If we are going to strike at all, therefore, and to 
show Damroh that we will not tolerate the support which it is now 
proved that village gives to the villages in the plains to murder British 
subjects in British territory, the Chief Commissioner thinks it is better 
that we should strike at once. By doing so the Government 6f India, 
may, by the immediate expenditure of a lakh and a half of rupees 
save many lakhs of annually recurring expenditure hereafter." 

His conclusions as regards the responsibility for the massacre at 
Bordak are stated in paragraph 68 of his report as follows. 

"68. On the whole, the conclusion which the Chief Commissioner 
has come to on this unfortunate affair is that Mr. Needham committed 
a grave error of judgment in acting as he did in allowing himself to 
put implicit belief in the statements and promises of the Abors of 


Membu and Padu, and that he would have acted more wisely if 
he had borne in mind the habitual treachery of the hill tribes on this 
frontier, and had asked Captain Maxwell for the guard which that 
officer says he would have had no difficulty in supplying, if it had 
been asked for. Mr. Ward also thinks that the consequences of this 
mistake were aggravated by carelessness on tfe part of the guard in 
not standing by their arms when the coolies appftured, if not by actual 
provocation given to the coolies. In regard to Captain Maxwell, the 
Chief Commissioner thinks that he should have insisted on a guard 
being placed at Bordak without waiting to be asked for one by the 
Political Officer. He says he trusted entirely to Mr. Needham's 
opinion in the matter, and there is no doubt, Mr. Ward thinks, that 
the chief responsibility for the massacre must lie with the Political 
Officer. At the same time the Chief Commissioner believes he is 
correct in stating that the Officer Commanding an expedition is not 
always bound to follow the Political Officer's opinion in a matter of 
this kind, and that it was quite open to Captain Maxwell to refuse to 
leave the men at Bordak in the middle of an enemy's country without 
a proper guard, and in an exposed position, on the genera) ground that 
it is opposed to all military rules to leave the base of an advancing 
force unpiotected, or insufficiently protected The fact that, at that 
time the Abois had tendered their submission, and that their submis- 
sion was generally believed to be complete and sincere, was not, 
Mr. Ward thinks, a sufficient reason for departing from the ordinary 
rule in this respect." 

He concluded his report with the following remarks on the same 

"Mr. Ward, however, trusts that whatever degree of blame or 
responsibility it may be decided attaches to Mr. Need ham and Cap- 
tain Maxwell for the massacre at Bordak, His Excellency the Governor 
Genera] in Council will agree with him in thinking that the services 
rendered by these officers in connection with the expedition and in 
accomplishing what they have done, are such as deserve high praise 
and the acknowledgments of the Government of India." 

By way of immediate action against the tribes the Chief Com- 
missioner proposed to blockade all tribes North of Sadiya and on the 
left bank of the Dihong ; to stop all further payment ofposa to Abor 
villages on the left bank of the Dihong ; to impose a fine of Rs.5,000 
on Damroh, the Padam Abors to be blockaded in case of non-pay- 
ment ; Membu and Padu to be fined Rs.2,000 each ; Bomjur not to be 
rebuilt on the old site ; and that the gams of Dambuk and Silluk 
whom Needham had arrested on the 8th February and sent to Sadiya 
should Jbe kept in custody at Tezpur or Calcutta as hostages until the 
stolen rifles were given up and the fines of Damroh, Membu and 
Padu paid. 

In their letter No. 1509-E., dated the 31st August 1894, the Gov- 
ernment of India who had already expressed their dissatisfaction with 
the conduct of affairs in telegrams sen*- while the expedition was still 
in the field, conveyed a severe reprimand to the Chief Commissioner, 
for permitting the advance to Damroh and on Mr. Needham 
and Captain Maxwell for their share of responsibility for the Bordak 
massacre as follows. 


"3. The advance on Damroh was, however, as Mr. Ward him- 
self says, 'another matter*. It was not only altogether beyond what 
the Chief Commissioner admits he had originally contemplated ; but 
it was entirely unprovided for by the orders of the Government of 
India, and it seriously enlarged the field of operations of a force 
organised for action within much more restricted limits. The move- 
ment should certainly not have been undertaken without the previous 
sanction of (he Government of India ; Mr. Ward, in authorising it, 
incurred a grave responsibility ; and it has been observed with surprise 
that he did not even consult the General Officer Commanding in 
Assam before issuing orders on Mr. Necdham's proposals. It is to be 
regretted that an officer of Mr. Needham's experience should have been 
misled, as he apparently was, by entirely untrustworthy information, 
but in the opinion of the Governor General in Council, no force should 
have been sent so far into the Abpr country unless strong enough to 
overcome all opposition, and with its communications thoroughly 
assured and at the proper season of the year. The available strength 
with which Captain Maxwell made the final attempt to reach Damroh 
from his camp on the Yamne was only 250 men and one gun, though 
his original force was 500 men and two guns. In fact by that time the 
expedition had failed ; to have proceeded further would have been to 
run serious risk- -the necessity of retiring without effecting anything, 
when our troops had advanced to within sight of Damroh, in all pro- 
bability encouraged the opposition afterwards encountered, and must 
in any event have left a bad impression behind, but it was the almost 
inevitable result of the rashness with which the operations were under* 
taken. After a careful consideration of all the circumstances, the 
Go\ernorGerieral in Council is constrained to record the opinion 
that Mr. Ward, in sanctioning the advance on Damroh without the 
knowledge or approval of the Government of India, altogether 
exceeded his authority, and committed a grave error of judgment. 

4. The Government of India consider that the main responsibility 
for the Bordak massacre attaches to Mr. Need ham, who appears, in 
this instance, to have shown want of judgment and political foresight. 
At the same time it is impossible to excuse Captain Maxwell for 
neglecting necessary military precautions. It was Captain Maxwell's 
duty to secure his base and the followers and supplies left there ; the 
small detachment of weakly men, unprotected by any entrenchment or 
stockade, and apparently without any orders as to precautions against 
surprise, was obviously insufficient for these purposes, and the sub- 
sequent massacre can only be attributed to over-confidence and to 
failure to appreciate the military situation. The responsible officers, 
however, anticipated no risk ; Captain Maxwell reports, 'when 
Mr. Needham told me the place was perfectly safe and a guard was not 
necessary, I implicitly believed him, and I believed, equally of course, 
that the unfortunate men left behind were perfectly safe.' Under these 
circumstances the Government of India do not accept the suggestion 
that the men who lost their lives can be in any way considered to have 
brought their late upon themselves, and they regret that it should have 
been made." 


They declined to sanction any further action against Daroroh, 
including the imposition of a fine, which, as they pointed out, "would 
render the despatch of an expedition almost obligatory if the fines 
were not paid". 

They agreed, however, to the blockade, to the withdrawal ofposa, 
and to the prohibition of the rebuilding of Borajur. They would not 
agree to the deportation of the Dambuk and Silluk gams . 

Mr. Ward's rejoinder to the expressions of the Government of 
India's displeasure are contained in his letter No.6851-P., dated the 
25th October 1894. He explained that he had no idea that he was 
exceeding his powers when he sanction the advance on Damroh : that 
in any case a decision had to be given at once and the lateness of the 
season made a reference to the Government of India out of the ques- 
tion : and that he gave the matter ' 'very full and earnest considera- 
tion. " On the general question, he stated as follows." 

"Putting the matter shortly, Mr. Ward has always understood 
and assumed that, after a Military Police expedition across the Frontier 
has been sanctioned by the Government of India, the main responsibi- 
lity for its organisation and proper direction rests entirely with the 
Chief Commissioner, subject, of course, to the general control of the 
Government of India, who, in order to enable them to exercise such 
control effectively, should be kept regularly informed by the Chief 
Commissioner from time to time of all action taken, and also of the 
progress and main incidents connected with the advance of the expedi- 
tionary force. In the terms "organisation" and "direction" Mr. Ward 
includes such matters as the power to determine what shall be the 
strength and composition of the expeditionary force, and also of its 
transport, as well as the power to direct generally the plan of cam- 
paign, and to limit and extend or reduce from time to time, as occasion 
may require, the fieJd of operations. The Chief Commissioner is also 
further solely responsible for seeing that the force is provided with the 
necessary transport and supplies so far as it lies in his power to procure, 
what, after consultation with the Political Officer, he considers to be 
necessary. In all the matters above indicated it has been always 
assumed that the Military authorities have no concern and incur no 
responsibilities whatever, the expedition being entirely under the direc- 
tion of the Civil authorities acting under the control of the Foreign 
Department of the Government of India. In all cases where the Chief 
Commissioner is in doubt upon any question of a military nature, he is 
expected to consult the General Officer Commanding, who will give 
him such advice as he is able, upon the information supplied to him by 
the Chief Commissioner as to the character of the country in which 
the operations are to be conducted, the probable strength of the 
enemy, their weapons, the field of operations contemplated by the 
Chief Commissioner, and other similar matters. In advising the Chief 
Commissioner, the General Officer Commanding takes upon himself no 
responsibility for the direction and control of the operations of the 
expeditionary force after it has once started. The Chief Commissioner 
is also not bound always to accept the advice tendered to him. In all 
cases, and more especially in cases of urgency, he is at liberty, and is 


expected, to take action on his own view of the situation, provided 
always that the Government of India are kept informed of the action 
taken and of the Chief Commissioner's reasons for not adopting the 
views of the General Officer Commanding. 

4. It was in accordance with what has been briefly described above 
as the past practice and procedure of this administration in direct- 
ing Military Police expeditions across the frontier that Mr. Ward acted 
throughout his proceedings in the recent expedition against the Abors, 
with the exception that he omitted to keep the Government of India 
regularly informed of the progress of events and of the action taken by 
him from time to time. Mr, Ward has already expressed his regret for 
this oversight, and in paragraph 55 of my letter of the 1st June has 
explained how it happened." 

The paragraph referred to shows that the Chief Commissioner sent 
no intimation of the progress of the operations to the Government of 
India between 31st December 1893 and 4th March 1894 when he wired 
reporting the Bordak massacre and stating that he had "some cause 
for anxiety about the safety of the Abor Expedition". (In the mean- 
time the Government* of India themselves had had intimation from 
some other source of the massacre and wired on 3rd March asking for 
particulars). The reason given was that the Chief Commissioner was 
on tour, away from his Secretary, and had himself to carry on the 
whole correspondence regarding the expedition with the General 
Officer Commanding, the Deputy Commissioner, Mr. Needham and 
Captains Maxwell and Molesworth. 

He then enquired what was to be the procedure for the future, 
urging however that previous practice should be adhered to, i.e., that 
once the Government of India had sanctioned an expedition and agreed 
it should be carried out by the Military Police, all further details 
should be left to the Chief Commissioner. "Mr. Ward feels", the 
letter said (paragraph 7), "that he has some justification for pressing 
upon the attention of the Government of India his view that nothing 
has occurred in the recent expedition against the Abors to render it 
either expedient or desirable to depart from the existing practice of 
allowing the Chief Commissioner full power to organise and direct such 
expeditions, without requiring him to obtain the previous sanction of 
the Government of India to all his proceedings, and without requiring 
him to consult the General Officer Commanding the Assam District 
unless there appear to him to be very special grounds for doing so." 

The Government of India replied on the 25th January 1895 (letter 
No.214-E.) to the following effect 

"3 the expedition for which you asked sanction, was 

distinctly limited to the punishment of certain named villages. The 
Governor-General in Council accorded sanction to the undertaking of 
an expedition for that purpose ; and though he recognises, as you have 
already been informed, that reasonable latitude must be permitted in 
conducting such an expedition, he cannot admit that sanction to under- 
take a special trans-frontier expedition implies indefinite sanction to 
extend its field of operations. You have yourself recorded that, 

*4\nam Secretariat, Foreign, A, July 1894, Nos.34-371. ~* 


although the first visit to Membu and Padu was within the scope of 
Mr. Needham's orders, the proposal to attack Damroh went altogether 
beyond what you had originally contemplated. The original object 
was the punishment of three or four frontier villages The change of 
scheme involved an advance, through unknown country and late in 
the season, far across the frontier against the headquarters of the tribe 
which, according to the information* before yourself and the Govern- 
ment of India, consists of a cluster often villages said to be able to 
turn out 6,000 fighting men. 

4. The Government of India must adhere to the view which 
they took of this case, that the approval given to the Abor expedition 
did not extend to the advance on Damroh ; and for the future the same 
principle will obtain. When the Government of India sanction an 
expedition for a definite and limited object, it is not open to the Chief 
Commissioner to extend the operations without authority from the 
Government. The Government of India however readily accept the 
assurance that, exept in your omission to keep them informed of the 
progress of events, for which you frankly express your regret, you 
believed yourself to be following previous practice and had no inten- 
tion or desire to go beyond the orders of the Government of India, 
as you understood them ; while your willingness to accept their orders 
now shows that it can be safely anticipated that no similar difficulty 
will arise in future. 

7. Punitory expeditions fall into .-, two main classes according as 
they are conducted in what may be styled interior and exterior tracts. 
In the case of interior tracts, it should generally be possible to foresee 
with tolerable certainty what the limits of possible disturbance may 
be. When an expedition in an exterior tract is under consideration, 
the Local Government or Administration should report, in applying 
for sanction to the expedition, not only the approximate limits pro- 
posed for active operations but also the extent of the area within which 
those operations are likely to have an immediately disturbing effect. 
If, after sanction has been accorded, it is anticipated that the opera- 
tions cannot be confined to the area indicated : or, if there is reason to 
believe that the disturbing effect was originally under-rated, immediate 
report should be made and unless local circumstances rended delay 
impossible, the orders of the Government of India must be awaited." 

The sequal, however, was more satisfactory to the Assam Admini- 
stration, for in letter No.37-E.,* dated the 6th January 1896 the 
Government of India forwarded despatches "showing that in the 
opinion of Her Majesty's present Secretary of State and of his prede- 
cessor, the censure passed upon Mr. Ward by the Government of India 
went beyond what the occasion called for". In the first of these des- 
patches the Secretary of State, Mr. Fowler, took the view that, while 
Mr. Ward was justly censurable for not keeping the Government of 
India informed of events, he was not justly censurable for sanctioning 
the advance to Damroh. Damroh was implicated and if the advance 

* Aram Secretariat, Foreign, A, August 1896, Nos.1-5. 


had been successful, probably the question of responsibility would 
. never have been raised. The Secretary of State also feared that if 
the censure were maintained, it would tend to make officers shirk 
responsibility in the future. He also disagreed as to the responsibility 
for the Bordak massacres, holding that Captain Maxwell, not Mr. 
Needham, should be blamed. To a further letter from the Govern- 
ment of India Mr. Fowler's successor, Lord George Hamilton, said 
he adhered to his predecessor's view. He did, however, express his 
agreement with the principles laid down in the last paragraph of the 
Government of India's letter of the 25th January 1895 to the Chief 
Commissioner for the future regulation of frontier expeditions (see 
page 207 ante) . 

IV. The Bebejiya Mishmi Expedition of 1899-1900 .On the 6th May 
1899, Mr. Needham sent in his first report of an outrage committed 
by Mishmis on the inhabitants of a Khamti hamlet containing only 1 
inhabited house known as Mitaigaon some 16 miles north-east from 
SadJya, in which 3 Khamtis were killed and 3 carried off. He des- 
cribed the Mishmis, including the Chulikattas (who, he at first 
thought, had committed the crime) as "bloodthirsty wretches of the 
fint water who take a life for the mere devilry of it." On 9th June 
he reported that he had no doubt the crime was committed by 
Bebejiyas, and recommended that the tribe, not the individual, should 
be punished and mentioned that these Bebejiyas had never been 
punished for the murder ol our sepoys on the Bomjur road in 1893. In 
letter No.357-For.,* dated the llth July 1899 the Chief Commissioner 
recommended a punitive expedition. In recounting the past misdeeds 
of this tribe, he explained how the murder, in November 1893, of 
three Military Police sepoys near Bomjur outpost, then attributed to 
Abors, was really committed by the Bebejiyas and it was from a 
Bebejiya village that the sepoys' rifles were recovered. For this 
reason it was that Mr. Needham asked permission in February 1895 
to visit and punish the Bebejiyas. This was not sanctioned, but a block- 
ade of the whole of the Chulikatta Mishmis was ordered, to be with- 
drawn in 1897-98, on Mr. Needham's representation that the Chuli- 
kattas were not badly behaved and that a blockade of the Bebejiyas 
was not effective. For this reason the Chief Commissioner advised 
an expedition rather than a blockade. The object of the expedition 
should be to "arrest and punish the perpetrators of the Mithaigaon 
massacre, and recover the guns and children : arrest the gams of Aiyu 
Mimi's village who were guilty of the 1893 outrage : and acquire in- 
ibrmatipn about this unknown country." Explaining that "the 

Mishmis are not warriors and they are extremely few in number", 

1 he advised that the military authorities thould take charge of the 
expedition : that the difficulties would be those of transport and of 
moving bodies of men in jungly and hilly country: that 
. open fighting was not probable : and that the force should be 
reduced to the lowest possible limits. Lieutenant Eden in 1855 had 
stormed Kaisha's village with 20 Assam Light Infantry and 40 Khamtis 
and brought back Kaisha to Dibrugarh to be hanged. Mr. Needham 

Asiam Secretariat, Foreign, A, July 1899, No.32.49. 


4 years before had proposed to visit these hills with only 60 Military 
Police, but Mr. Cotton thought that on this occasion, to be tin the 
safe side, there should be provided a force of JOO men and half a com- 
pany of Maddras Sappers. (This was what Cnrzon called **Force A"). 
The Government of India intimated thrir sanction to the expedition, 
following it with the Commander-in-Chief J s recommendation that the 
force should consist of some 900* Infantry, Police arid Sappers: that 
guns were undesirable but bluejackets with rockets would be useful. 
(This wa* what Curzon calls Force '*). The Chief Commissioner con- 
curred in these numbers, but demurred to the bluejackets. He nomi- 
nated Lieutenant- Colonel E. H. Molesworlh 43rd Gurkha Rifles, to 
command. Mr. Needham was attached to the expedition as Political 
Officer. Two guns were added later on arid the strength of the 
Sappers brought up to 90 and the Police increased by 95. (This is 
called Force C by the Viceroy). 

Needham joined the force on the 2()th December 1899f at a point 
2 | miles south- west of the high pass which led into the Bebejiya 
country, known as the Maiyu Pass. (Names are confusing, but this 
seems to be the point marked on the 2 inch map as Mayodia at 10,008 
feet) . On the 28th December Needham with a party of 290 men 
under Colonel Moles worth crossed the pass. Ncedharn gives the 
height as 8,900 feet. On 1st January they arrived at Hunli, at 3,880 
feet. From there bad weather with much snow set in ; and Molesworth 
decided to send back the gi eater part of his force and the guns, 
proceeding with only a small party. To this Needham readily agreed, 
for as he says in his report, lit* was ''convinced from the very 
first that our force was more than double as large as was required for 
the work we had to perform." During the halt both the captive 
children and 1 of the guns were* recovered : and Pika and 2 other 
villages were burnt. Leaving Hunli on the 22nd January, they 
marched first north-west on the left bunk ol the Ithun via Abrangon, 
Elanpu (Elapom ?) Ethorna and other villages and then south down 
the left bank of the Dibong, reaching Nizamghat on 5th Frbruary. 
They destroyed Aiyu Mirni's village on 1st February. It was the 
son of Aiyu who with others killed our 3 sepoys near Bomjur in 1893. 

Needham summed up the results of the expedition as follows : 
"40. I think it may fairly be said that the expedition has success- 
fully accomplished the major portion of the task which was set it, 
and we have demonstrated, in a forcible manner, to both tribes that, 
difficult as their country is, we can penetrate it with ease whenever it 
suits us to do so, either by using the Maiyu pass, or by entering the 
hills via* Nizamghat. We failed to arrest any oi the murderers, and 
this is not to be wondered at, considering the facility with which any 
one knowing the country can move about from one jungly and inac- 
cessible fastness to another if any attempt is made to search for him, 
and the fact that no Mishmi will act as a spy, even against a mem- 
ber of a hostile clan, lest he should incur the displeasuie of that clan, 

* Assam Secretariat, Foreign, A, June 1900, Nos.1-26. 

t Awam Secretariat. Foreign, A, August 1900, Not. 46-60, 


for once a blood-feud has been started, it is carried on from generation 
to generation with reJentlcss severity; but we nevertheless punished them 
and their clansmen severely by destroying their houses and property, 
and loitering about in their country at a time when fresh lands have to 
be cleared, arid prepared for next season's crops, etc., and there can 
be no doubt that these men will, now that we have left the country, 
still further suffer, and that some of them may even lose their lives 
at the hands of certain members of their own clan, for Arati Mison, 
one of the headmen of Hunili, told me distinctly that he did not 
blame us for having shot one and wounded another of his clansmen, 
or for damaging his village, and, by occupying it, compelling him and 
his fellow clansmen, with their wives and children, to reside for weeks 
in the jungles at the most inclement time of the year, but that he and 
his people would call Ahonlon (the leader of the Mitaigaon outrage) 
and his crew to account for these misfortunes ; while Sondon Mega 
(the Bebejiya we arrested on suspicion in May 1899, and kept in the 
quarter-guard at Sadiya for weeks) told me he and his clan had de- 
termined to avenge themselves on Ahonlon and his crew for all the hu- 
miliation and trouble he (Sondon) had suffered on their account. In 
addition, too, to punishing the guilty and impressing both tribes with 
our power, we have mapped in a large tract of hitherto unknown 
country, and, had the weather been more propitious, we should have 
mapped in a good deal more, and the Political Officer has learnt a good 
deal about both tribes which he did not know before, and the infor- 
mation which he has gathered will not only be most useful to himself 
now, but likewise to his successor". 

Ncedham also freely admitted that the Bebejiyas were far from 
deserving the description of a blood-thirsty and dangerous race which 
he had previously given them. Nor were they anything like as numer- 
ous as he thought. He put them now at 3,000 to 4,000 souls, of 
whom 1,500 would be fighting men. 

Mr. Cotton's comments, in his letter No. 231-For., dated the 17th 
April 1900, were as follows : 

"3. It was decided that the Military authorities should be entirely 
responsible for the conduct of the operations, and it does not fall 
within the Chief Commissioner's province to say anything regarding 
the expedition from a military point of view. There was no fighting, 
and practically no opposition ; but the natural difficulties of the coun- 
try were immense, and steep passes rising to 8,000 feet in elevation, 
dense forests, cold, snow, sleet and rain were obstacles which pre- 
vent the advance of the troops and circumscribed the extent of the 
operations. Mr. Cotton may, however, be permitted to say-that he 
had hoped that the force would have been able to stay for a somewhat 
longer period in the heart of the Bebejiya country, and that ampler 
opportunities would have presented themselves of improving our geo- 
graphical and topographical knowledge. So far as he is aware, it 
has not been found possible to add very largely to our scientific know- 
ledge of the North-Eastern Frontier . Despite the energy of the offi- 
cers and admirable spirit of the men, too much time was taken up 
in getting to the enemy's country. The expedition was hampered by 


its transport, and very little attempt was made to pierce the hills by 
flying columns, which are practically independent of transport. The 
Chief Commissioner deeply regrets the heavy losses attributed to cold 
and exposure among the members of the Khasia coolie corps. 

4. At the same time Mr. Cotton entertains no doubt that the 
objects with which the expedition was undertaken have been substan-, 
tially accomplished. It was not possible to capture the murderers, 
who fled into the forest-clad hills on the approach of our troops. But 
the captives and guns have been recovered, and the principal often 
ders have been severely punished by the occupation and destruction 
of their villages. Our previous ignorance of the Bebejiya country 
and of the people who inhabit it was profound. This ignorance has 
now been dispelled, and Mr. Need ham, with a candour which does 
him credit, is not ashamed to confess that his information was at fault, 
and that his views have undergone considerable modification. The 
darkness which lay over the Mishmi country has been dissipated. The 
home of the Bebcjiyas is no longer a terra incognita , which had never 
been visited by a European. The Bebejiyas, who had hitherto been 
described as a fierce race of cannibals, a very savage, blood-thirsty, 
and dangerous race, are now known to be no better nor worse than 
their neighbours. They are undoubtedly responsible for the outrages 
with which they have been charged, but these outrages do riot appear 
to have been perpetrated from mere wantonness or devilry as was sup- 
posed, but to be due to the ordinal y blood feuds which always prevail 
among these frontier tribes. They have now learnt the strength of the 
British power ; they know that if they commit murder and plunder 
within the area of Biiush political control, they will be punished, and 
the Chief Commissioner does not hesitate to express his belief that 
there will now be peace on a frontier where there has hitherto been 
continual raiding. It may be confidently expected that for a generation 
at least quiet will be restored". 

This Expedition came in for severe criticism by the^ Viceroy 
Lord Curzon, and he recorded a minute on the 14ih May 1900, in 
which he expressed his views in uncompromising terms "So far", he 
said, "from regarding this expedition as having been satisfactory, either 
in its inception or in its results, I hold it to have been marked by seri- 
ous miscalculation from the start, by a sacrifice of life which ought, 
with reasonable precautions, to have hern avoided, by an expenditure 
of money for which theie has been no proportionate return and by 
political and scientific result? that are all but Morthless." He then 
proceeded to show how the size of the force which was, according to 
the original proposal made by Assam, to be only of 400 fighting 
men, wa$ gradually developed by the Army Department into a force 
which reached a total of more then 1,200. As Lord Cur/on put it, 
"27 British Officers, 7 British non-commissioned officers, 31 Native 
Officers and 1,126 rank and file were considered necessary to discharge 
a task, for which the Chief Commissioner had only originally asked 
for 400 men, and which the Political Officer had avowed his willing- 
ness to undertake with 60 Police." He then proceeded to examine 

what became of "this miniature army", and discovered that, " the 

small army that had assembled at Sadiya for the reduction of the 


rebellious Mishmia a few weeks before was finally reduced to 120 se- 
poys and such coolies as were required To such paltry dimensions, 

just double the force which Mr. Needham had originally considered as 
sufficient to march through the country, but only one-tenth of the total 
force equipped, had fallen, in less than 3 weeks, the army of 1,200 
men who had been assembled on the frontier foi the subjugation of 
the Bebejiya Mishmis. It was this insignificant body of 120 men who 
carried through the whole of the expedition. The various numerical 
phases through which this ill-fated expedition has passed, and which 
I have designated from A to F were in fact as follows : 60, 450, 1,2)0, 
600, 300 and 127." As to the results of the expedition, he said 
" When the expedition was originally proposed, it had a number of 
objects. These are classified by Mr. Cotton in his final letter of April 
17th, 1900, as primary and secondary. The primary objects were the 
arrest and punishment of the perpetrators of the Mitaigaon massacre 
of May 1899 (i.e. the murder of three unoffending Khamtis) ; the 
recovery of the three children and three guns then carried off ; the 
punishment of the guilty Bebejiya gam* (headmen) who hal murdered 
three Military Police in 1893 ; and retribution for other raids and 
murders. The secondary object was the acquisition, by exploration, 
of an accurate and scientific knowledge of a hitherto almost unknown 
country and people. 

Let us see to what extent these results were attained. Not one of 
the Mitaigaon murderers was captured. The three children were 
recovered. Mr. Cotton says that the guns were recovered also. But 
this is not the case ; since it is clear from Mr. Needham's paragraph 17 
that only one gun was recovered. So far as is known not one of the 
guilty gams of 1893 was punished. The expedition finally came away 
with two solitary captives who were seized (Needham's paragraph 30) 
under circumstances into which it is not desirable to enquire too 
closely, since it appears that they had received us in their village with- 
out resistance, and were seized after a sort of palaver and both of 
whom Mr. Cotton has since thought it prudent unconditionally to 
release. Finally a large number of villages were buint or destroyed. 

As regards the scientific results of the expedition, I take 
Mr. Cotton's opinion. He points out that the force stayed too short 
a time in the Bebejiya country to enable us greatly to improve our 
geographical and topographical knowledge, that too much time was 
taken in getting to the enemy's country, that the expedition was ham- 
pered by its transport, that very little attempt was made to pierce the 
hills by flying columns, and that "it has not been found possible to 
add very largely to our scientific knowledge of the North-Eastern 

Finally, to cap the whole story, the Bebejiyas, who were the 
objects of the whole expedition, who "had hitherto been described as a 
fierce race of cannibals, a very savage, blood-thirsty and dangerous 
race*' , and whose homes and villages, acting upon this hypothesis, the 
expedition unsparingly destroyed and burned, were discovered by the 
Political Officer to be a petty community of only 3,000 to 4,000 souls 
(including not more than 1,500 adult men), who are described by him 
as "on the whole a well behaved and inoffensive tribe, very desirous of 
being on friendly terms with us"," 


His final conclusion is as follows. "These being the facts of the 
case, when I read the conclusion of the Political Officer (paragraph 40) 
that "it may fairly be said that the expedition successfully accomplished 
the major portion of the task which was set it" ; of the Chief Commis- 
sioner that "the objects with which the expedition was undertaken 
have been substantially accomplished ; " and of the Military Officer 
Commanding that "the spirit of the scheme was thoroughly carried 
out", I am inclined to wonder whether euphemism can further go. 
The actual results of the expedition were the recovery of 3 children, 
the capture of 1 gun, the seizure of 2 Mishmis (who have since been 
released), the slaughter of a few tribesmen, and the destruction of a 
number of villages. For these returns we have sacrificed the lives of 
34 unhappy coolies ; have expended a total sum of about 16,000 ; 
and have gained the cheap honour of having marched with a force of 
130 men, out of an army of 1,200, through a difficult and almost 
impassable country. The conclusions which I draw from the whole 
affair are these. I hold 

(1; that a serious miscalculation of the strength required for the 
expedition in the first place was made by the military 
advisers of the Government of India ; 

(?; that, when the expedition had been sanctioned, the force 
was increased, more especially in respect of officers and 
staff, to wholly unreasonable and unnecessary dimen- 
sions ; 

(3) that the successive stages of subsequent contraction, and the 

relative failure of the entire expedition, have bern imper- 
fectly brought out in the reports, and notably in the 
military report, which represent the whole affair as 
having been, in the words of Commander-in-Chief and 
the Military Member, of a satisfactory nature ; 

(4) that much greater care will require to be exercised in the 

future, both in the authorisation and in the composition 
and equipment of these petty frontier expeditions, which 
are much too readily converted from police excursions 
into military campaigns." 

It is satisfactory, however to observe that he concluded his minute 
by adding, "In these criticisms I have not one word to say against the 
conduct either of tnc Political Officer or of the Military Officers and 
troops who actually took part in the expedition. Mr. Needham seems 
to have played his part with ability and discretion it is a pity that 
his views as to the strength of the force required were not followed 
earlier in the day and to have frankly admitted the misconception 
under which he had previously laboured as to the character of the 
Bebejiya Mishmis. The small minority of the assembled force, who 
penetrated into the country, appear to have faced considerable diffi- 
culties and hardships courageously and well, and to have performed 
such limited work, as was open to them, with credit.". 


In a letter* to the Secretary of Stale, dated the 22nd February 
1900, he referred to the Expedition as "an absolutely bootless though 
costly excursion, with no result whatsoever but the capture of two 
inoffensive and worthless prisoners". 

In a further lettcrf to the Secretary of State dated the llth March 
1900 after he had himself travelled in Assam as far as Dibrugarh, he 
described the incident as follows. 

"Lockhart turned it into a military expedition. I managed to 
prevent him sending a naval detachment with rockets. But the 
soldiers, once they got hold of the matter, turned it into a military 
expedition on a large scale over 600 men, 27 officers, 6 doctors, 86 
sappers and miners with dynamite, gun cotton and wire rope, and 
2,000 coolies. When they got into the pass entering the Mishmi 
country, it was found to be quite impossible to get this great force 
over, and all but 120 soldiers, 8 officers and 300 coolies were sent 
back, to remain hanging about on the border in receipt of campaign 

pay, until the expedition was over You may be sure that there 

will be some very plain speaking on my part when the final reports 
are submitted and when the bill estimated at several lakhs of rupees 
comes in". 

V. 1900-1911. The next few years were uneventful, until in July 
1905} a murderous outrage was committed in British territory on two 
Chulikattas Certain Bebejiya Mishmis, Pongon and Taji, were held 
to be responsible and it seems that the murder was done in revenge 
for their punishment during the Bebejiya expedition of 1899-1900, 
but as no arrest was effected, a blockade both of the Chulikattas 
and the Bebejiyas was proclaimed in 1905. Mr. Needham advised 
that the Chulikattas be exempted, but that was not agreed to. 

Mr. Needham left Sadiya for good in December 1905, after 
23 years service there, and was succeeded by Mr. Noel Williamson, 
who, until his death in 1911, was to do much to establish good 
relations with the frontier tribes and to explore hitherto unknown 

In December 1907 January 1908, Mr. Williamson, made a 
valuable tour up the Lohit towards Rima, his object being to make 
himself "acquainted with the people and their country and to collect 
information regarding the practicability of a trade route towards 
south-eastern Tibet". (His letter No. 233-G., dated the 27th February 
1908) . He had no escort, his party consisting, besides himself, only 
of Chowna Khamti Gohain, two other Khamtis and one servant. 
Travelling by the right bank of the Lohit, he reached Sati, 35 miles 
south of Rima, his furthest point, on 27th December. He hud ciders 
not to enter Tibet and therefore did not go beyond that village. 
He mentions that the next village, Walung, paid tribute to the 
Gbvernor of Rima. His account of the country and the people was 
most favourable. 

Ronaldshay 's Life of Curzon, Vol . II , Page 1 13 . 

fRonaldshay's Life of Curzon, Vol. II, Page 114. 

+Eastern Bengal and Assam Secretariat, Political, A, January 1907, Nos. 13-70. 
Eastern-Bengal and Assam Secretariat, Political, B, October 1908, Nos. 87-110. 



"5. I found the inhabitants respectful and obliging. In fact, 
I might have been travelling in an administered tract. There is 
nothing to stand in the way of a trade route. The people through 
whose country it would pass are peaceable and quiet. British prestige 
is high in the land, the result possibly of Kaisha's capture by Eden 
in 1855, and subsequent punishment. The country itself presents no 
difficulties ; it is in fact a strikingly easy one for a mountainous 
tract. The highest altitude is met with when crossing the first range, 
where the axis of the mountain system is transverse to the course of 
the river. Even here we only have to face a rise of 4,600 feet, after 
which no high altitudes obstruct the way. The banks of the river 
would appear to be formed especially for a road. Large flat tiers 
running parallel to the Lohit, with easily-surmounted spurs extending 
to the river itself, the whole rising gradually from 1,200 feet at the 
Tidding to 3,100 feet at Sati, an ascent of 1,<>00 feet in 70 miles. It is 
a natural highway into Tibet, and only requires the hand of man 
to render it easy and expeditious. From the Tidding to Rima, with 
the path properly cleared and aligned, the journey for mule or coolie 
transport would not occupy more than seven days ; and from Sadiya 
the whole distance could be accomplished in 11 or 12 days. 

6. Before embarking on any project connected with a trade route, 
the first point for consideration is whether the result would justify the 
expenditure. At present trade is infinitesimal, I admit. The imports 
which pass up from Assam to Tibet amount to little and of Tibetan 
exports there are none. But would these conditions continue if an 
easy and expeditious route existed ? I very much doubt it. At 
present south-east Tibet has no industries, because she has no incentive 
for the development of her resources. To the north she has no 
market ; to the south the country is mountainous and inhabited by 
savages ; to the east her nearest market is Batang, where however 
the demand for her industries has not been sufficiently great to create 
a supply : and to the west at present she has to encounter a wild 
and tedious route inhabited by a people of whom the Tibetans stand 
in some dread. South-eastern Tibet is absolutely isolated, and she 
has no industries and consequently no exports, because she has no 
outlet for them The attainment of affluence is one of the principal 
objects of man, be he yellow or black or white, Pagan, Christian, or 
Buddhist. Given facilities for export, industries must arise. Improve 
communications along the natural outlet and the line of least 
resistance, viz. the Lohit Valley, and facilities for export are placed 
within the reach of all. Once the Tibetan learns that every hide 
and every pound of wool has a marketable value in Assam, which can 
be reached quickly, comfortably, and safely, and where in return 
he can purchase tea, clothing, etc., commercial interchanges are 
assured and the expenditure on the route justified. Trade intercourse 
just now is impossible, as Tibet is a forbidden land to the trader. 
But there can be no objection to attracting the Tibetan to trade with 
us by constructing a good bridle-path from the border of Tibet to 
Sadiya, a place which in a short time will be in clrse proximity to the 
terminus of the Dibru-Sadiya Railway. 


7. At present this is all that can be done. This will, however, 
only create a trade with south-east Tibet, for a bridle path from the 
Tibetan boundary is not likely to draw traders from beyond Tibet, 
from Western China. A railway can alone produce this result ; 
a railway running towards Sechuan. Until, however, commercial 
necessities become sufficiently pressing to overcome political objections, 
no connection by rail can be hoped for. But as far as Rima a railroad 
is practicable. From there the country is difficult. Between Rima 
and Batang, which would probably be 300 miles by rail, the Tila La 
has to be crossed at an altitude of 16,000 feet. This altitude, however, 
is not that above the surrounding country, for Rima we know to be 
about 5,000 feet above sea level, which substantially reduces the 
height to be encountered. Batang is on the main route from China 
to Lhassa, and from Batang to Litang and on to Ta Chien Lu a regular 
post road exists. Two high passes would have to be surmounted and 
the Salween and the Mekong crossed. To judge by the Lohit, 
however, the bridging of these rivers at the points where they will 
be met should not prove difficult. They are not the enormous rivers 
we know them to be further south, but are confined within narrow 
limits with a rock formation suitable for bridge foundations. But, 
however costly, weie there facilities for quick communication between 
India and Western China the possibilities would appear to be 
boundless. Given a railway, every ton of our exports for Sechuan 
would be captured for this route instead of being carried a long sea 
voyage from Calcutta, only then to commence the difficult journey 
up the Yangtse. With such improved communications, the resources 
of Sechuan, one of the wealthiest provinces of China, would develop 
enormously ; with an easy and expeditious route there is no reason 
why the Chinese coolie should not seek for employment on the tea- 
gardens of Assam, and so possibly solve some of the present labour 
difficulties. I trust I may be pardoned for writing at such length on 
a route which at present is politically impossible, and the cost of which 
may be considered prohibitive. My excuse is that I have been 
singularly impressed by the comparative ease with which it would be 
possible to forge the next link in a chain connecting India with China. 
From Chmagong to Rima is about 620 miles, and on to Batang would 
probably total 900 miles by rail : of this we already have 400 milea of 
railroad, a 400 miles which have proved very costly, and which lead 

In December 1906 the management of the Sissi Saw Mills and the 
Meckla Nuddee Saw Mills Company, who were working timber at the 
western end of the tract, had complained to the Chief Commissioner 
of exactions by the Pasi Minyong Abors on threat of stopping timber 
supplies by contractors working between the Inner Line and thte foot of 
the hills. This question of blackmail was an old one, having been first 
brought to notice by Mr. Needham in 1902. In connection with this, 
among other matters, the Government of Eastern Bengal and Assam 
made certain proposals embodying a policy of a 'forward 5 nature to 
the Government of India in their letter No.3923-J.,* dated the 9th 

Eastern Bengal and Assam, Political, A, November 1907, Nos.1-40. 


September 1907. These, and the Government of India's decision 
tfiereon are summarised in the latter's reply No.l77-EC., dated the 
Iptji January 1908 as follows 

"2. The Lieutenant-Governor considers, after consulting with 
several officers of frontier experience, 

(a) that Government should no longer tolerate the extortion 
by the Abors of blackmail from timber-cutters and traders in 
British territory ; 

(b) that a policy of aloofness is foredoomed to failure, and that, 

apart from the urgent need of preventing interference 
with the development of trade, the fact that over half a 
century of proximity to civilization has failed in any way 
to redeem the tribes from their native savagery is in itself 
a condemnation of the policy of non-interference. 

3. With these views in mind, His Honour recommends a modi- 
fication of policy in dealing with the Abors and other tribes inhabiting 
the hills to the north of the Dibrugarh Frontier Tract, and in regard 
to the territory between the Dihong and Dibong he proposes 

(a) to prohibit and prevent by force, if necessary, the recovery 
* of dues by the Abors from traders, etc., within the 

"outer" boundary ; 

(b) to impose a poll-tax or house-tax on all settlers in British 

territory ; 

(c) to impose a tax on cultivation within the Dinner" line ; 
(rf) to substitute a system of presents for the fixed "posa" ; 

(e) to encourage the tribesmen to visit Sadiya and settle in 

British territory ; 
(/) to require them to receive in their villages the Political or 

other officers of Government who may have dealings with 

them ; 
(g) to take some measures through the Political Officer for the 

purpose of preserving the valuable stock of simul timber 

in the forests north of the Brahmaputra, from being ruined 

by ignorant and improvident felling, simple rules being 

drawn up for this purpose. 

The Lieutenant-Governor does not propose to put back the 
"Inner" Line or to relax the restrictions on crossing it, nor does His 
Honour agree with Mr. Williamson's recommendation that the line of 
police posts should be advanced to the foot of the hills, i.e., to the 
"outer" border. 

4. To attain his objects, the Lieutenant-Governor considers that 
it will be sufficient if the Assistant Political Officer visits "the principal 
villages" with a strong escort and informs them of the orders and 
intentions of Government. His Honour also thinks that during the 
tour the Political Officer should settle details of the assessment of 
villages within the border, and warn the villagers that failure to pay 
will entail the destruction of both crops and villages. 

"Eastern Bengal and Assam, Political, A, April 1908, Nos,7~19 


5. The Government of India regret that they are unable to sanc- 
tion His' Honour's proposals in their entirety. They have not at 
present before them sufficient information regarding the temper of the 
people, to justify the assumption that the poll-tax, house tax and tax 
on cultivation proposed could be collected without resorting to puni* 
tive measures, which are undesirable ; and, while agreeing that some- 
thing should be done towards the conservation of the forests, they con- 
sider it doubtful whether the steps proposed by the Lieutenant-Gover- 
nor would be effective, without further knowledge regarding the forests. 
It is also desirable that the country should be surveyed as far as 
possible before a definite scheme for its future administration is adopt- 
ed. In these circumstances, the utmost to which the Government of 
India can agree is that Mr. Williamson should undertake a tour in 
the tract between the "inner" and "outer" lines in order to ascertain 
the actual position of affairs now existing there, if this can be accom- 
plished without any risk of a serious collision with the tribes. Mr. 
Williamson should be accompanied by a forest officer and a surveyor, 
and his instructions should be as follows 

(a) to inform the villagers that the collection of blackmail with- 

in our border must cease ; 

(b) to collect information as to the forests ; 

(c) to survey the country as far as possible ; 

(d) to test the feelings of the people in regard to the proposed 

taxation on settlers within the outer line and generally. 

Nothing should at present be said to the villagers about the impo- 
sition of any new taxes, and I am to request that His Honour will take 
no action in this direction until the Government of India have been 
furnished with the further information above indicated, which will be 
obtained by Mr. Williamson. As "posa" has not been paid since 1894, 
it should not be revived, but in lieu thereof presents may be given as 
recommended in paragraph 12 of the letter under reply. 

6. There remains the question of possible visits to the parent Abor 
villages of Kebang, Padu [Dukku] iVfembo [Mebo], Silluk and Dambuk. 
which are mentioned in Paragraph 11 of your letter, and which appear 
from the accompanying map to be (with the exception of Padu) 
beyond the "outer" line. The Government of India recognise that 
it is desirable to get into closer touch and to establish better relations 
with the Abors, and that it will be difficult to protect the tract 
between the inner and outer lines effectively unless this is done, but 
they are not prepared to contemplate the possibility of an expedition. 
If, therefore, the Lieutenant-Governbr is satisfied that Mr. Williamson 
can safely extend his tour to these villages without the use of force or 
the danger of subsequent complications, they agree to this being done. 
Otherwise, the visits to these villages must stand over for the present. 

7. In conclusion, I am to request that no action be taken in 
regard to that portion of the border, inhabited by Mishmis, east of the 
Dibong river 4 without further orders from die Government of India." 


In March 1908*, Williamson made a tour from Pasighat through 
the foot hills south-west to Lcdum and then on through the Pasi Min- 
yong and Galong country to the Sinyeng River at Dijmur. He return- 
ed along the Inner Line, which then ran a little distance away from 
the right bank of the Brahmaputra by way of Lai makuri Saw Mills, 
to Sadiya. He had no escort. Most of these places had never seen a 
European before, and he was able to establish friendly relations with 
them. One point to which the Government of Eastern Bengal and 
Assam referred in forwarding Mr. Williamson's diary to the Govern- 
ment of India with their latter No. 3873-J of the 25th August 1908 
was as regards the levying of blackmail, discussed before in 1907 
on the import of timber to the saw mills. Though Mr. Williamson 
made it clear to the people of Depi, one of the principal offending 
villages, that they were within British territory and that this practice 
must stop, a iurther incident had occurred in May 1908. The Assist- 
ant Political Officer recommended the imposition of a Poll-tax on such 
villages as a means of making them realise they were within British 
territory : 

In November-December 1908, Mr. Wiliamson visited the Rang- 
pung Naga country, in order to find out and punish those responsible 
for a raid on Wakpang in British territory in October 1907, when 7 
British subjects were killed. He had an escort of 154 officers and men 
of the Lakhimpur Military Police Battalion under 2 British Officers, 
Captain Bliss, 8th Gurkha Rifles, their Commandant, and Subadar- 
Major Dorward. Mr. Driver of the Assam Oil Company went with 
him as Geologist. Leaving Mushong on the 17th November 1908 
they crossed the Patkoi at 5,900 feet and camped at Manpang. From 
there they went south west to the Dilli and on the 29th November 
reached Rashi, their destination. There was no opposition, and being 
satisfied that its men were guilty of the raid, Williamson had the 
village burnt. On 1st December they started on the return journey. 
When they reached Phung on the 10th December they turned left and 
returned by the old and normal route instead of making the detour 
(of double the distance) of their outward journey. Williamsons report f 

"8. The tour has been a satisfactor one. The last visit paid to this 
part of the country was in 1891, [by Needham] and since then 
many changrs have taken place. It has been a great disappointment 
to me that I was unable to return by another route, which would have 
extended our knowledge of the country still further. But circums- 
tances, I considered, did not permit of my doing so. Our being able 
to take a column, consisting at its lowest of 334 persons so far from our 
base without any previous preparations in the shape of advanced 
store- godowns, and the rapidity with which we showed we could move 
on occasion, has considerably opened the eyes of these savages. The 
tour has further proved of great benefit to the men of the escort in 
the shape of a very practical camp of exercise. 

* Eastern Bengal and Assam Secretariat, Political, A, March 1909, Nos.27-39. 
t Eastern Bergal and Assam Secretariat, Political, A, May 1910, Nos. 13-40. 


9. As regards the guilt of Rashi, one of the objects of my tour, 
there is no doubt that this village was concerned in the raid on 
Wakpang in October 1907." 

He added, as regards the Singphos and the Rangpangs that 

"10. The story that the Singpho Chiefs oi the Hukawng Valley 
exercise great influence over the Rangpangs is a myth. I made 
enquiries during my return journey, and was informed that, beyond 
an bccasional visit from Singpho traders, the two tribes have no in- 
tercourse. The idea probably originated in the fact that, when hill 
people go down in the Hukawng Valley to cut rubber or to search for 
amber at the mines, they have to pay a tax to the local Singpho 
headman for permission to do so." 

The expedition entailed considerable hardships and all the British 
Officers were incapacitated at one time or other from fever or colds, 
while their men and followers suffered pretty severely. Both Captain 
Bliss and Mr. Williamson commented unfavourably on the want of 
efficiency and discipline of the escort. 

In February 1909, Mr. Williamson penetrated to Kebang. In 
1901* two Gurkha surveyors of the Survey of India had got as far this 
village in an endeavour to reach Gyala Sindong, only to be turned 
back by the Pasi Minyongs who would let them go no further, but no 
Europeans had visited it before, the expedition of 1858 having re- 
turned before reaching it. Mr. Williamson went across the hills, 
leaving the river well to his right, via Balrk. He was accompanied by 
Messrs. Jackman (an American missionary) and Lumsden. 

In commenting on the results of this trip, the Lieutenant-Gover- 
nor, Sir Lancelot Hare, observed as follows in his letter No.3390-Gf 
dated the 22nd June 1909, to the Commissioner, Assam Valley Divi- 

"2. The conclusions at which H. H. has arrived, after a 
perusal of the papers, are as follows : 

(i) that there is no Tibetan influence in the tract ; 
() that Kebang controls several of the villages with which we 
shall have to deal during the impending Abor settlement 
and is therefore an important place for negotiation ; 
(fit) that the attitude of hillmen is generally friendly ; 
(IP) that thev recognise that all the country up to the foot of the 
hills is British territory, an important factor in coming 
. to a settlement with them ; 

(i>) that they are very amenable to the influence of money and 
that they are likely therefore to fall in with a settlement 
which will probably carry with it pecuniary benefits. 

3. H. H. congratulates Mr. Williamson on the pronounced suc- 
cess of his tour and regrets that the hardships which he underwent dur- 
ing the journey should have resulted in a severe illness." 

* Assam Annual Administration Report, 1900-1901. 

tEastern Bengal and Assam Secretariat, Political, B July 1910, Nos 39-58, 


; In 1^09-10 Mr. Williamson repeated his Lohit tour of 1907-8, and 
this time went beyond Sati, his previous furthest point, almost as far 
a Rima. His purpose was partly to construct the Digaru-Miju bridle 
path, and partly to make further contacts in that area. As regards 
the former, a track was cleared from the Tiju River to Sati, 92 miles 1 . 
Reaving Sadiya on the llth December 1909 with Mr. Ward, Superin- 
tendent of the Margherita Company's collieries, he was back in Sadiya 
on the 26th February 1910. He reached Walung 2 days march- 
beyond Sati on the 31st January, which he found to consist of "one 
hovel with five inhabitants". Finding no trace of Tibetan influence 
there, he pushed on, until on February 2nd, finding the first signs of 
Tibetan authority, he halted at the stream called Tatap Ti and went 
no further. The Governor of Rima visited him at his camp on 
February 4th, and presents were exchanged in a cordial atmosphere. 
Williamson formed* the opinion that the authority either of Tibet and 
China was very slight in Rima and could find no trace of collisions 
between Chinese and Tibetans. 

But signs of Chinese penetration became manifest later in the year, 
when the Government of Eastern Bengal and Assam reported to the 
Government of India in their letter No. 23 l-P,f dated 26th May 1910 
to the effect that a large body of Chinese had occupied Rima, had 
demanded taxes and had issued orders for the cutting of a road to 
Assam by the Mishmis. The Mishmi chief, Tungno, who brought the 
news, claimed to be a British subject and the Lieutenant-Governor 
asked for instructions as to how the situation should be dealt with "in 
the event of further information being received confirming the report 
that Rima has been effectively occupied by the Chinese". A later 
letter dated 4th July 1910, reported that the Chinese were in firm 
control of Rima, and had planted fla, s at the river Yepuk, two miles 
west of Walung or 30 miles west of Rima. 

Mr. Williamson again penetrated J into the Mishmi Hills in 
January and February 1911 and went as far as Walong. He observed 
then that the Chinese had set up flags outside Tibetan territory,. 
While agreeing that Walong might be considered to be in South-East 
Tibet, he said they had no claim to going as far south as Menekrai or 
Menilkrai where the flags were planted. The Chinese were then in 
full possession of Rima, a fact which Mr. Williamson thought did not 
arouse any resentment on the part of the Tibetans. In forwarding his 
diary to the Government of India, the Eastern Bengal and Assam 
Government expressed their concern at the way the Chinese were 
penetrating to the south in this area, and said that His Honour con- 
sidered it essential that they should not be permitted to extend .their 
influence up to the Outer Line ; as he feared they would overawe 
the hill tribes of our border and "dominate alt the tea gardens north 
of the Brahmaputra". They recommended that the Mishmis should 
be brought definitely under our control . 

Eastern Bengal and Assam Secretariat, Political, A, September 1910, Nos. 7-10. 
tEastern EebgaJ and Assam Secretariat, Political, A, August 1910, Nos. 1-6. 
{Eastern Bengal and Assam Secretariat, Political, A, June 1911, Ntt.85.88, 


A few moathi later Captain F. M. Bailey* of the Political De- 
partment arrived at Sadiya, having travelled from China na Bataag 
and Riraa. He mentioned large forces of Chinese troops in that direc- 
tion and evidence of their increasing influence. He found in the 
Taroan country evident signs of friendliness especially among the Miju. 

VI. The murder of Mr. Williamson and Dr. Gregorson in 1911. On 
30th March 1911 Dr. J. D. Gregorson, a tea garden doctor from 
Tinsukia who was accompanying Mr. Williamson on a tour in the 
Abor country was murdered at Pangi, and ' on the 31st March 1911 
Mr. Williamson was murdered at Komsing. 44 followers belonging , 
to their party were massacred at the same time. 

The details of this outrage are best desc ribed in the words of 
Mr. Bentinck who visited the spot when with the Abor Expedition of 
1912, in his letter dated the 23rd April 1912f " The party con- 
sisted of Mr. Noel Williamson, Assistant Political Officer at Sadiya, 
Dr. J. D. Gregorson, a doctor with a large practice on the tea gardens 
round Tinsukia in Lakhimpur district and a man much interested in 
the frontier tribes, their three servants, two orderlies, ten Mir is, 
and 34 Gurkhali coolies from Shillong ; assembling at Passighat they 
started thence on March 8th and reached Rotung on the 20th. The 
object of the journey was to ascertain, if possible, the extent of Tibetan 
influence in the Abor country and was expected to extend over about 
six weeks. At Rotung some rations and a case of liquor were found 
to have been stolen by the Abor carriers who supplemented the Gur- 
khalU, and Mr. Williamson told the villagers that he would require 
satisfaction on his return journey ; this seems to have caused some 
anxiety in Rotung, and the advisability of murdering Mr. Williamson, 
was discussed at a council that night ; the matter was reported to 
Mr. Williamson, but he, knowing the Abor to be stronger in council 
than in action, considered that nothing serious was intended and on 
the next day continued his journey. Carefully avoiding the territory 
and village of Kebang which was not only of doubtful friendliness, 
but infected with small-pox, the party crossed the river and marched 
up the left bank to a place below Pangi village where a camp was 
made and the return of the coolies sent back to bring up the remaining 
stores awaited. On the 28th one of the Miris, by name Manpur, was 
sent back with three sick coolies and some letters. In Rotung 
Manpur boasted that the letters contained orders to send up sepoys 
and guns to punish Rotung and Kebang ; this of course was untrue, 
but coming on the top of the previous alarm, which had otherwise 
died down, so excited the Rotung men that on the following day they 
followed the four men, and when they halted for their mid-day meal 
fell upon them and killed them all. The murderers at once returned 
strengthened in numbers, hurried on to Kebang, picking up on the 
way men from the small village of Babuk, and in number about 100 
crossed the Dihong, and finding in the Pangi camp only Dr. Gregor- 
son, the Miri Kotoki (or interpreter) Moria, and three or four sick 

* Eastern Bengal and Assam Secretariat, Political, A, March 1912, Not. 3-46, 
|A9Sam Secretariat, Political, A, September 1912, Noi. 1-22, 


coolies, killed them all on the spot Dr. Gregorson was resting in his 
tent and was instantly cut down : this was at about 1 P.M., on March 
30th. That same morning Mr. Williamson had marched on with the 
rest of the party and had camped on the large stream the Ribung, 
which runs at the foot of the hill on which Komsing stands. There 
were stifl a few Abor coolies in his camp and news reached these from 
below of what had happened that afternoon ; the facts, however, 
were deliberately kept from Mr. Williamson. The following morning 
the party moved up to Komsing and encamped in the village. At 
about 10 A.M., while the coolies were cooking their food Mr. William- 
son started to go to the house of the Gam, Lornben, who had come 
with him the previous day. Three men Lunung Gam of Pangi, 
Manmur of Yagrung, and Tamu of Bosing went with him on the 
pretence of showing him the house ; taking him down a- side path out 
of sight of the rest of his party, they suddenly set on him and cut him 
down. The rest of the Abors who had crossed from Rotung and 
Kebang attacked the coolies at the same time ; only five or six wore 
killed in the village, the remainder mostly reaching the river bank in 
small parties ; there after exhausting the little ammunition that the few 
men with guns had with them, they were all killed except five coolies, 
who managed after great hardships to make their way back to the 
i ; a servant of Mr. Williamson, who reached the Pangi village of 
_jing and was there kindly leceived ; and the principal Miri kotoki 
Ilina, who swam the river, was taken by Babuk men up to their 
village and killed there. Three of the survivors reached an Abor 
village near the mouth of the Dihong, and from there news of the 
disaster was sent in to Sadiya and thence to Dibrugarh, where it 
arrived, at about 9 A. M., on April 5th. Being then Deputy Commis- 
sioner and Political Officer, I at once communicated with the Mili- 
tary Police and arranged to have their station duties taken over by 
the 114th Maharattas, and the same afternoon left by train* with' a 
detachment of Military Police under Captain Dunbai, fully equipped 
and rationed for three weeks. Captain Hutching, Assistant Comman- 
dant, Lakhimpur Military Police, met us at Saikhowa with all the boats 
and boatmen that could be secured, and within 100 hours of the 
receipt of the news in Dibrugarh a defensive post was being cons- 
tructed at Passighat. The journey up the river, as most of the- boats 
were far too large, was most arduous, and the advance party under 
Captain Hutchins, which had the largest boats, rested hardly day or 
night ; it bore, however, excellent testimony to the organisation aad 
training introduced by Captain Duntar that the movement was per- 
formed' in as many days as not many years ago it would have required 
weeks. On the way up Mr. A. J. Harrison of the Eaimekuri Saw- 
mills overtook us in his steam launch on which he had picked up the 
three survivors already mentioned ; he also did us great service in 
securing extra boatmen. At Passighat Captain Hutchins received 
from the Passi Gams the remaining two survivors whom they Ead 
found, fed and cared for ; one of these two, Dal Bahadur Rai, 
remained with Captain Hutchins until the expedition started and was 
of the greatest service during the three months that foUewed on 
account of his accurate knowledge of the country he had: been 
through ; the other was later on enlisted in the Military Police." 


It was sufficiently established that Kebang and Rotung com- 
mitted the murders and that Babuk, Sissin and Pangi had accounted 
for some of the fugitives. 

Government apparently had no idea that the Assistant Political 
Officer had any intention of going so far, or at all, beyond the Outer 
' Line. He had previously been as far as Kebang before without a 
guard, had been received in a friendly manner and had been given a 
cordial invitation to visit Komsing and Riu. As the Government of 
Eastern Bengal and Assam's report No.l97-C.G.,* dated the 22nd 
ApnT1911 observes, there is no doubt that Mr. Williamson acted 
contrary to standing orders in crossing the Outer Line : he was no 
doubt actuated by zeal to obtain information. The Government of 
India accepted this conclusion in their letter No. 850-E.B.f dated the 
8th May 1911 in the following terms. 

"2. The Governor General in Council desires in the first place, 
to record his deep regret at the untimely end of this zealous and gallant 
officer, whose almost unique experience of the tribes on the North- 
Eastern Frontier rendered his services at the present moment of the 
. greatest value to the Government of Eastern Bengal and Assam and 
to the Government of India. The Governor General in Council feels, 
however, that it is impossible to ignore the fact that this sad incident 
could not have occurred but for Mr. Williamson's breach of wellknown 
standing orders, prohibiting the crossing of the Outer Line without 
permission. The Governor General in Council accepts Sir Lancelot 
flare's view that, in thus acting, Mr. Williamson's fault was that of 
a zealous officer anxious to obtain information which he believed 
would be valuable, and willing to run a certain amount of risk in 
getting it. In the circumstancse, it is undesirable to record a formal 
expression of disapproval of the late Officer's proceedings, but the 
Governor General in Council directs that such steps should at once 
1 be taken as shall ensure the enforcement of the standing order regard- 
ing the crossing of the frontier and relations with the frontier 

Owing to the advanced season, effective punitive operations were 
out of the question, and the Lieutenant-Governor decided to wait till 
the cold weather. In the meanwhile a stockade was erected at $alek, 
I close to the present subdivisional headquarters of Passighat, and the 
principal village of the Passi Group, to ensure their safety, against 
reprisals and to check possible raids by the hostile elements, and when 
the rest of the force withdrew in May, a garrison of 150 rifles remained 
thereunder Captain Hutchins. 

' VII. The Abor Expedition of 2flM'9ll. (a). Preliminaries. The 
' political background in the light of which the Abor Expedition and 
Its ancillary expeditions on the North-East Frontier were undertaken 
' requires to be described. 

Eattern Bengal & Assam Secretariat, Political, A.June 1911, Nos. 1-84. 
t&tttern Betagal & Assam Secretariat, Political, A, June 1911, NOB. 89-141. 


The general question of Chinese encroachments had been the 
subject of discussion between the Lieutenant-Govcrnor, the Govern- 
ment of India and the Secretary of State since 1910. As early as July 
-of that year the Lieutenant-Governor had inquired of the Government 
of India as to "the degree of recognition to be extended to the Mishmi 
Tribe and the attitude to be adopted b> this Government with refer- 
ence to the Chinese occupation of Rima", and eventually, in a tele- 
gram dated the 2Srd October 1910* the Viceroy 'Lord Minto) repor- 
ted to the Secretary of Slate (Morley) that - k ln consequence of procee- 
dings of Chinese in Rima and vicinity of tribal tracts on the North- 
East Frontier, the question of our future relations with these tribes 
is causing anxiety/ 1 Pending the obtaining of further information and 
a decision on the general question, he wished to have authority to 
inform the Mishmis that they were under our protection and would 
be supported if they refused to have relations with any other foreign 
' power. The Secretary of State definitely refused to agree to the giving 
of these assurances, and said that the main question of policy must 
be left to Lord Hardinge, who was to join very shortly as Viceroy. 
The matter was further icviewed in Despatch No. 182, dated the 22nd 
December 1910, written after Hardinge had assumed office and also 
had had a discussion with Sir Lancelot Hat e in Calcutta on the 22nd 
November 1930. The despatch quotes a demi-official letterf which 
Sir Lancelot addressed to the Viceroy on the 24th November 1910, 
which summed up the position as well as his own views 

"I think I hardly brought out with sufficient distinctness one 
important consideration which should induce us to press forward 
beyond the limits by which under a sell-denying ordinance our frontier 
is at present limited. We only now claim suzerainty up to the foot 
of the hills. We have an inner line and an outer line Up to the 
inner line we administer in the ordinary way. Between the inner 
and the outer lines we only administer politically. That is, our Poli- 
tical Officer exercises a very loose jurisdiction, and to prevent troubles 
with frontier tribes passes are required for our subjects who want to 
cross the inner line. The country between the two lines is very 
sparsely inhabited and is mostly dense jungle. 

Now should the Chinese establish themselves in strength or obtain 
complete control up to our outer line, they could attack us whenever 
they pleased, and the defence would be extremely difficult. We have 
a chain of frontier outposts directed to controlling the main routes 
used by the neighbouring hill tribes when they come down to trade 
in the cold weather. These are not on the outer lines, because such 
positions at the foot of the hills would be too unhealthy to occupy, as 
they would be in the worst part of what is called the Terai. It is 
accepted that, if the outposts were pushed forward so far as the outer 
line, than in each case it would be necessary to place ' them on the 
spurs of the hills and above malaria height. This we could only do 
it we establish our suzerainty or could claim the consent of the hill 
people who are in occupation, as being under our protection. It seems 

'Eastern Bengal & Assam, Political, A, December 1910, Nos. Ml. 
fEastern Bengal & Assam Secretariat, Political, A, March 1911, Nos. 45-46. 


to me, in view of the possibility of the Chinese pushing forward, that 
U would be a mistake not to put ourselves in a position to take up 
suitable strategic points of defence. It is true in anv trial of strength 
between England and China the contest would not probably be deci- 
ded on this frontier, but we should be bound to defend our valuable 
tea gardens, and unless we had suitable positions, this would be 
exceedingly difficult, and we could very easily be greatly harassed 
and put to great expense and have to maintain an unduly large force 
on this frontier. 

I am therefore of opinion that we sho jld take a more active line 
and should (a) tour in the hills bordering our frontier, (b) improve 
the trade routes to the principal villages so far as they lie within our 
recognised borders and further, if not opposed, and (c) give presents 
to our neighbours for friendly services and information. 

Where we have already established ourselves by friendly rela- 
tions, as in the country on extreme east up to Sati on the road from 
Sadiya to Rima, we should maintain our present standing and should 
forbid China stepping in. After all, if China presses forward, we 
must forbid further progress some day, and at this point of our frontier 
I do not think we can safely allow the Chinese to advance beyond 
Sati. I think it would be a pity to give away any advantage we now 
possess here, and as far as I can see, this is the only point where any 
immediate measure is likely to be required. We should be well 
advised to take our stand here ; to allow the Chinese to intrude here 
would make the defence of the Lakhimpur district difficult, and would 
not be in agreement with the accepted Burma frontier line. I have 
already advocated this view in my official representation, and I wish 
to make it clear that I do not recede from that position." 

The Government of India, however, were not convinced and 
their views are summarised in paragraph 9 of the despatch as follows. 

" we do not see our way at present to recommend the 

more active policy which the Lieutenant-Governor advocates. We 
recognise that the action of the Chinese may ultimately compel us to 
fix a line beyond which no further advance can be permitted : but we 
see no necessity at present for incurring the risks and responsibilities 
entailed by a forward movement into the tribal territory now beyond 
our control : and we propose, with Your Lordship's approval, to 
request the Lieutenant-Governor to instruct his frontier officers that 
they should confine themselves, as hitherto, to cultivating friendly rela- 
tions with the tribes beyond the "outer line" and punishing them for 
acts of hostility within our limits. Should it be possible to obtain 
further information about the country beyond the "outer line" 
without, risk of complications, we should be prepared .to authorise 
explorations for the purpose, but we would not permit any general 
increase of activity in this direction, nor can we recommend that any 
sort of promise should be given to the tribes that they may rely on our 
support or protection in the event of Tibetan or Chinese aygression." 

Discussions had reached this stage when the events of March 1911 
occurred, and the opportunity was taken, while seeing to the punish- 
ment, of the guilty Pasi Minyongs. to clear up also the frontier situation 


in respect of the -Chinese both on the Abor and the Mishmi border. 
The Government of Eastern Bengal and Assam recommended die 
despatch of an expedition to exact punishment for the murders in 
their letter No. 294-G. G., dated 16th May 1911 in the following 
terms : 

" 3. Since 1858, no expedition has gone into the Meyong 

[Minyong] Hills, and the first British Officer to penetrate into them 
was Mr. Williamson when he visited Kebang in February 1909. 

Mr. Needham, Assistant Political Officer of Sadiya, visited in 
1884, some of the outlying villages, including Balek, where the Military 
Police have erected a stockade since Mr. Williamson's murder ; he 
received a hospitable though somewhat rude and boisterous reception, 
but it is recorded that the demands of the Abors were for the most 
part unreasonable. Mr. Williamson, himself, made a tour in 1908 
from Pasighat through Ledum and Dijmur to Laimekuri, but did not 
cross the Outer Line on that occasion. 

4. The Pasi Meyong have repeatedly given trouble ; in 1888, 
the villages of Yemsing and Ledum combined and murdered 4 
Miris whom they had induced to go beyond the Inn*r Line. They 
levied blackmail on contractors cutting timber for the saw-mill and 
in 1904-1905 a new Military Police post had to be placed at Laimekuri 
to protect the Meckla Nudi Saw Mills. Subsequent years show little 
improvement in their conduct. In 1906-1907, they interfered with 
the Sissi Saw Mills, robbed an employee of all his property and con- 
stantly oppressed the Miris who were usually too frightened to 
complain. In 1907-1908, they again attempted to blackmail the 
Manager of the Me. kla Nudi Saw Mills. 

5. The attack on Mr. Williamson's party, for so it must be 
considered since the Pasi Meyongs sought for the quart el by asking 
him into their country with the deliberate intention of killing 
him, was probably due to sheer bravado and devilment due to 
want of appreciation of our power arising from the fact that the only 
force which had penetrated into their hills was driven back and 
compelled to retreat, fighting hard for existence. The challenge can- 
not be refused and due reparation must be exacted. Otherwise our 
position on the frontier is impossible and our villages and tea gardens 
will not be safe. It is as much a deliberate attack upon us as if the 
Abors had come into our country, for Mr. Williamson's was a wholly 
unarmed and peaceful entry solicited by them. Certain villages are 
principally concerned and Madu, the Gam of Riu, seems to have 
taken a leading part, but the blow was, as all the evidence goes to 
show, a deliberate blow given by the whole community in council 
and evecy village of the Pasi Meyongs is concerned and must share in 
the reparation. This, subject to further information from enquiries 
in the country, must, if they submit, principally take the form of 
fines in cash and supplies and in labour in carrying, and on roads so 
far as these may be required. It will also be for the Government of 
India to consider whether the opportunity should be taken to enter 
into any treaty with these people on the lines on which it is under- 
stood that treaties have been framed with Sikkim and Bhutan. In 

| Eastern Bengal and Assam Secretariat, Pol., A, June 1911, Not. 89-141, 


this connection I am to refer to Government of India's telegram No. 
560- P., dated the 30th September 1910, on the subject of the policy to 
be adopted on this frontier and to this Government letter No. 468-C., 
dated the 26th October 1910, in reply. Every village of the clan will 
have to be visited, as only by this means can it be ascertained what 
punishment would be suitable, as the number of houses and the Wealth 
of each village must be considered in apportioning the fines. At the' 
same time the opportunity must be taken of obtaining all possible in- 
formation of the country and to survey and map it as far as possible. 
Much information of great value and interest will, it is expected, be 
secured, and on this aspect of the question I am to invite attention to 
my letter No. 204-C. G., dated the 25th April 1911, with which was 
forwarded Mr. Williamson's diary of his tour to Walong. It is as 
important to prevent the Chinese from establishing their influence 
over the Abors as over the Mishmis, and this expedition should furnish 
an excellent opportunity of ascertaining their movements in the 
neighbourhood of Gayala-Sindong." 

The Government of India agreed, and recommended to the 
Secretary of State that an expedition should be despatched. It was 
to be "a Military one conducted by the Government of India and 
under the immediate command of the General Officer Commanding 
Assam Brigade, who will also be in supreme political control, and will 
have attached to him Political Officers to be nominated by His Honour. 
A "friendly political mission was to be despatched simultan- 
eously to the Mishmi country under the orders of the Lieutenan t- 
Governor" (letter No. 1382-E. B. * dated the 28th July 1911.) 

Telegram P. dated the 29th June 1911 which the Government of 
India addressed to the Secretary of State shows that they intended to 
take advantage oi this punitive expedition to clear up the obscure 
boundary situation as against China both on the Abor and the Mishmi 
border, which had been discussed in 1910. They said : 

"The primary objects of the expedition are the exaction of 
reparation for the murder of Mr. Noel Williamson and his party, and 
the establishment of our military superiority in the estimation of the 
Abor tribe. The principal villages in the country will be visited, and 
it is hoped that the Pasi Meyong Abors will be compelled to surrender 
the chief instigators and perpetrators of the massacre ; thereafter such 
terms for past offences, and such security for futute good conduct of 
the tribe will be exacted as may seem advisable. 

It is of prime importance that we should take advantage of the 
opportunity afforded by the expedition to carry out such surveys and 
exploration as may be possible, in order that we may obtain the 
knowledge requisite for the determination of a suitable boundary 
between India and China in this locality, as to which at present we 
know practically nothing. Recent events on the frontier of Burma 
have shown the urgent necessity of coming to an understanding with 
China about our mutual frontier, of preventing Chinese intrigue 
within our limits, and of keeping her as far as possible removed from 
our present administered area. We accordingly propose to depute 
a staff of Survey officers with the punitive force. 

* Eastern Bengal and Assam Secretariat, Pol., A f March 1912 r Nos 47-148, 


Simultaneously with the despatch of the punitive expedition, we 
propose to send a friendly mission under escort from Bomjur, through 
the Mishmi country, with the double object of checking any tendency 
on the part of the Mishmis to help the Abors, and of obtaining in- 
formation for boundary purposes. This step is rendered especially 
desirable by the advance of China to Rima. There is no reason to 
anticipate opposition on the part of the Mishmis, whose headmen, 
indeed, on the occasion of Mr. Williamson's recent journey to Walong, 
asked that they should be recognised as British subjects. Our object 
would be a friendly one, and no trouble should arise, provided that 
previous notice of our intentions is given, and the people are tactfully 
treated. The escort for this Mishmi Mission woula be furnished from 
the Assam Military Police. We do not propose that the Mishmis 
should be given a guarantee of protection, but we would leave them, 
as well as the Abors, in no manner of doubt as to their being under us, 
or as to their having to look to us for future reward or punishment 
according to their conduct. We should see no objection to the erec- 
tion by this party of cairns and boundary stones on what may be con- 
sidered a suitable frontier line, since this would greatly strengthen our 
position in the event of future negotiations with China for frontier 
demarcation. It is not proposed to advance 'our administrative fron- 
tier ; our future policy would be to cultivate friendly relations with 
the Mishmis, and, in the event of our demarcating our external limit, 
we should explain that we regard it as the line within which Chinese 
officials should come [sic. should be "should not come"?] and that we 
should periodically send a small police column to visit their country". 

The Secretary of State (Lord Crewe) agreed in his telegram* P. 
dated 24th July 1911 to punitive measures against the Abors as well 
as surveys and explorations in their country : to the despatch of a 
friendly mission to the Mishmis : and to the proposal not to advance 
the administration frontier in that direction and at the same time not 
to give the Mishmis a formal guarantee of protection. 

The objects of the Abor portion of the operations were laid down 
by the Government of India in the inductions to General Bower, 
contained in letter No. 1773-E.B.f dated the 25th September 1911. 

"2. The Governor General in Council is pleased to vest you with 
full political control during the progress of military operations and 
Messrs. Bentinck and Dundas have been appointed as Assistant 
Political Officers to accompany the expedition, and as such will give 
you every possible assistance in political matters. Your authority and 
responsibility will, however, be complete. 

3. The objects of the expedition are 

(1) to exact severe punishment and reparation for the murder of 
Mr. Williamson, Dr. Gregorson, and their party in March last ; and, 
by establishing our military superiority in the estimation of the tribe, 
to endeavour to compel the Minyongs to surrender the chief instigators 
and perpetrators of the massacre ; 

* Eastern Bengal & Assam Secretariat, Political, A, March 1912, Nos. 47-148. 
tEastern Bengal & Assam Secretariat, Political, A, March 1912, No*. 149-197. 


(2) to visit as many of the Minyong villages as possible, and to 
make the tribe clearly understand that, in future, they will be under 
our control, which, subject to good behaviour on their part, wiD for 
the present be of a loose political nature : 

(3) to visit the Bor Abor or Padam village of Damroh, which the 
expedition of 1893-94 failed to reach. Provided that the Padam 
Abors behave themselves, the visit to their country will not be of a 
punitive nature 

(4) if during the course of the expedition Chinese officials or troops 
are met, endeavour should be made to maintain amicable relations. 
If, however, such officials or troops be met within the territory of 
tribes on this side of recognised Tibetan-Chinese limits, they should be 
invited to withdraw into recognised Tibetan-Chinese limits, and, if 
necessary, should be compelled to do so ; 

(5) to explore and survey as much of the country as possible, 
visiting, if practicable, the Pemakoi falls and incidentally settling -the 
question of the identity of the Tsangpo and Brahmaputra rivers ; and 

(6) to submit proposals for a suitable frontier line between India 
and Tibet in general conformity with the line indicated in paragraph 6 
[quoted below] of the despatch enclosed. No boundary must, how- 
ever, be settled on the ground without the orders of Government except 
in cases where the recognised limits of Tibetan-Chinese territory are 
found to conform approximately to the line indicated above, and to 
follow such prominent physical features as are essential for a satisfact- 
ory strategic and well-defined boundary line 

4. I am to add that instructions will be issued to the Officer in 
charge of the Mishtni Mission, which will explore and survey the 
country to the east of the scene of your operations, to endeavour to get 
into touch with the expedition, and to connect his results with yours ; 
and, in the event of the sanction of His Majesty's Government to the 
despatch of a mission to the Miri and Dafla country being received, 
similar instructions will be issued to the Officer in charge of that 

About this time also the Government of India had addressed the 
Secretary of State in their despatch No. 105*, dated the 21st September 
1911 on the "policy to be followed in future on the north-east frontier" 
of which paragraphs 6, and 10 12 ran as follows. 

"6. Lord Minto's Government were of the opinion, subject to 
further information being obtained in regard to the nature and extent 
of the territory of the tribes and their position vis a vis China and 
Tibet, etc., that the external boundary should run, approximately, 
from the east of the wecjgeshaped portion of Tibetan territory known 
as the Tawang district, dBfiiruns down to the British frontier north 
of Odalguri in a north-e^Scny direction to latitude 29, longitude 94, 
thence along latitude 29 to longitude 96 ; thence in a south-easterly 
direction to the Zayul Ghu as far east and as near as possible to Rima ; 
thence across the Zayul Chu valley to the Zayul Chu-Irrawaddy water- 
shed ; and then along that watershed until it joins the Irrawaddy- 
Salween watershed. At the same time, in view of the near approach 

'Eastern Bengal & Assam Secretariat, Political, A, March 1912, Nos. 149-1977* 


to, and aggression of, the Chinese on the Mishmi border, they re*- 
commended, at the urgent request of the Local Government, that the 
Mishmis should definitely be informed that they were under British 
protection, and that we would support them in refusing to have any 
intercourse or relations with any Foreign Power. His Majesty's 
Government were however, opposed to any such communication being 
made to the Mishmis and desired that this, as well as the general 
question of policy, should be held over for Lord Hardinge's consider- 

* * * * * 

10. During the past few months, there have been further develop- 
ments in the Chinese policy of expansion which it is impossible to 
ignore. For example, Mr. Hertz's expedition on the Burma-China 
frontier had no sooner been withdrawn than the Chinese attempted 
to assert their influence in the country we claim by the despatch of a 
party with the usual appointment orders and tokens for issue to 
village headmen ; in April last a party of Chinese appeared in the 
Aka country close to the administrative frontier of Assam ; the Chinese 
officials at Rima have sent a summons to the Mishmi tribal head- 
men to appear before them with a view to the annexation of the 
Mishmi country ; and Sir John Jordan has recently reported that, in 
connection with the disturbances in the Poyul and Pomed country in 
south-eastern Tibet, the Chinese Government have approved of the 
despatch of a force down the Dihong river towards the Abor country, 
a measure which, if carried out, may possibly lead to claims to tribal 
territory which do not at present exist, if not to more serious complica- 
tions. Circumstances have thus forced us to revert practically to the 
original proposal of Lord Minto's Government that endeavour should 
be made to secure, as soon as possible, a sound strategical boundary 
between China cum Tibet and the tribal territory from Bhutan up to 
and including the Mishmi country, and this should, we consider, 
now be the main object of our policy. As long as such tribal territory 
lay between us and our peacefully dormant neighbour Tibet, an unde- 
fined mutual frontier presented neither inconvenience nor danger. 
With the recent change in conditions, the question of a boundary well 
defined and at a safer distance from our administrative border has 
become one of imperative importance and admits of no delay, for we 
have on the administrative border of Assam some of the wealthiest 
districts of British India, districts where large sums of private European 
capital have been invested and where the European population out- 
number that of almost any other district in India. The internal con- 
ditions moreover of our Eastern Bengal and Assam Province are not 
such as to permit us to contemplate without grave anxiety the close 
advent of a new aggressive and intriguing rfeigiibour. 

11. As to the actual frontier line to be aimed at, we know little 
more of the area than we did last year, and can, at the moment,, only 
indicate approximately the course of a line which promises to suit our 
purposes. Such a line is the one defined in Lord Minto's telegram of 
the 23rd October 1910, which represents roughly the limits of triba) 
territory on the Assam frontier, which we desire to keep out of 
Chinese control ; and, subject to such modifications as may be found 


necessary as a result of the explorations which will be made during the 
ensuing cold weather, we consider that that line should be pur approxi- 
mate objective up to which the existing Assam "Outer Line" should 
be advanced. We do not propose to have a third or intermediate line 
between the existing "Inner Line" and the new external boundary ; 
neither do you think it necessary lor the latter to be regularly demar- 
cated at present, but it will probably be necessary, during the course 
ol the contemplated operations in tribal territory, to erect cairns at 
suitable points, such as trade routes leading into Tibet, to indicate the 
limits ol our control, and to explain to the tribesmen the object ot 
such marks. One such cairn will be required in the neighbourhood 
of Menilkrai on the Lohit river, opposite the flags erected by the 
Chinese from Rima to mark the limits of their territory, but the sites 
of other cairns can only be determined alter enquiry on ihe spot ; 
and, provided that the sites selected conform approximately to the 
position of the line defined in the above cited telegram, and correctly 
represent the limits of locally recognised Tibetan territory, we see no 
objection to the erection ol such marks by officers duiing the course of 
their enquiries. 

12. The question of* future arrangements for controlling and sale- 
guarding the area between the administrative boundary and the new 
external frontier remains to be considered. We consider that our 
future policy should be one of loose political control, having as its 
object the minimum of interference compatible with the necessity of 
protecting the tribesmen from unprovoked aggression, the responsibili- 
ty for which we cannot avoid, and of preventing them from violating 
either our own or Chinese territory ; and, while endeavouring to 
leave the tribes as much as possible to themselves, to abstain from any 
line of action, or inaction as the case may be, which may tend to 
inculcate in their minds any undue sense of independence likely to 
produce results of the nature obtaining under somewhat analogous 
conditions on the North- West Frontier of India. We admit that, as 
a natural and inevitable consequence of the settlement of the external 
boundary, whether the settlement be by mutual agreement or, as in 
this case, for the time being at any rate, of an ex parte nature, it will 
be necessary to take effective steps to prevent the viola- 
tion of the new external boundary by the Chinese after the 
expedition and missions have been withdrawn. The nature of the 
measures to be adopted, however, cannot be determined until we 
know more of the country. In one part they may take the form of 
outposts, while in another only tribal agreements and arrangements 
may be necessary ; but in addition to such local measures as may 
eventually be decided upon, it is essential in our opinion that, . as soon 
as the boundary has been roughly decided, a formal intimation should 
be made to China of the limits of the country under our control." 

The next reference to policy is contained in telegram No.458-S., 
dated the 8th August 1911, Irom the Government of India to the 
Local Government in which they stated their policy as follows : 

"Reference my No.l382-E.B. of 28th ultimo. Policy on North- 
Eastern Frontier. Government oi India, in consequence of changed 

Eajtcrn Bengal & Aiiam Secretariat Pol., A, March 1912, Nos.47-148. 


conditions during last eight months, propose to recommend to His 
Majesty's Government the following genet al line, of policy :- - 

1. That, subject to such correction as may be found necessary as 
result of Abor expedition, and connected exploring parties, the 
boundary to be secured should be that rd in my wne of 29th 
September, 560-S., up to which existing outer line should be advanced. 

2. That administrative frontier should not be advanced and no 
intermediate line will be necessary. 

3. That our future policy with regard to tribes between lines will 
be one of loose political control, having, as its object, minimum inter- 
ference compatible with necessit of piotcctiuv; them from unprovoked 
acts of oppression, responsibility for which must be admitted, and of 
preventing them from violating either Chinese territory or our own, 
and while endeavouring to leave tribes as much as possible to them- 
selves, to abstain from any line oi action, as case may be, which may 
tend to inculcate in their mind any overdue sense of independence. 

4. That we admit necessity to take effective steps to prevent 
Chinese violating new boundary, after expedition and missions retire, 
but nature of measures cannot be decided until we know more oi' 
country. They may take the form of outposts in one place, and only 
tribal agreements and arrangements in another. 

5. That it is not proposed to regularly demarcate new boundary 
at present, but it may be deiirable to erect "cairns" at suitable places 
such as loutes leading into Tibet to indicate limits of our control and 
to explain to tribes object of such maiks. Sanction of His Majesty's 
Government would, however be requiicd before anv cairns are 

The Lieutcnant-Governor accepted this policy. 

(b) The ExptdiLion. The Expedition was composed of both 
military and police units. 1 he lattei consisted ol 725 officers and men 
drawn from the Naga Hills, Lushai Hills, Lakhimpur and Dacca 
Military Police Battalions, under the command of Major C. Bliss, 
Commandant of the Naga Hills battalion. The former included the 
I /8th Gurkhas, the 32nd Sikh Pioneers, a company of the 1st King 
George's Own Bengal Sappers and Miners, and a detachment of 1 /2nd 
Gurkha Rifles. They were accompanied also by two 7-pound er guns 
which "proved to be a useless encumbrance". 

Messrs. A. H. W. Bcntinrk, i.c.s., who had been Deputy Commis- 
sioner, Lakhimpur, and W. C. M. Dundas oi the Police, were appoint- 
ted Assistant Political Officers. Majoi-Gcneral H. Bower was in 
command and was also Chief Political Officer, and he assumed his 
duties at the Base Camp of Kobo, 6 miles above the junction of the 
Poba river with the Brahmaputra on the 6th October 1911. 

The days spent in October at Kobo before the Expedition actually 
started, were utilised in making contact with the Padam Abor gams 
not excluding those of Damro, the Chief Padam village which had 
caused so much trouble in 1894. The local gams of the Passis and 
Minyongs proved of value, particularly Mullein of Balek, a Passi, 


who died at an advanced age only in 1939. The main column com- 
menced their advance on 28th October, no very serious opposition was 
encountered anywhere, and with tht: fall of Kebang* on 9th Decem- 
ber 1911, the active opposition of the tribes came to an end. The 
general effect of the military operations is those described at pages 
49f and 69 of the "Official Account". 

"With the fall of Kebang the active opposition of the tribes came 
to an end. The operations had been uniformly successful and had 
avoided the regrettable incidents of former campaigns, and, although 
the actual loss inflicted on rhe tribesmen was small, the moral effect of 
the compaign must have been very great. The Abors had been driven 
out of their selected and carefully prepared positions without difficulty ; 
they had been shown that an armed force could visit with ease any 
part of their country ; their crops and villages had been destroyed 
wherever resistance had been offered ; and a road had been made 
through the heart of their country. The force employed by us must 
have seemed very large to them, for the Naga carriers, of whom there 
were several thousand, from their numbers, their bearing and their 
fierce aspect, no doubt appeared very formidable. Again, the rapid 
fire to which they were subjected for a brief period at Kekar Mony- 
ing, although its actual effect was small, must have been veiy terrifying 
to savages unaccustomed to the report of firearms. Had it been 
possible to intercept their retreat and harass their scattered parties 
in the depths of the jungle the effect of the compaign must have been 
greatly increased. 

Previous to the expedition, the power of the Abors was greatly 
overrated owing to the reverses suffered by former expeditions. It 
was not realised that the tribe were quite incapable of combination, 
and that the failure of these enterprises was due, not so much to the 
strength of the enemy, as to lack of organisation on our part. For this 
reason, the strength of our force on this occasion was unnecessarily 
great, and whenever the enemy made a stand, they found themselves 
so greatly outnumbered that they realised that resistance would be 
useless and they fled before heavy loss could be inflicted on them. 

"The expedition resulted in the punishment of all the hostile 
villages and the exaction of punishment for Mr. Williams n's murder. 
All the men who had taken a leading part in this were tried and 
punished and practically all the looted property was restored. The 
Minyon tribe was crushed and its villages brought to submission, 
while the power of Kcbang, which for years had terrorised its 
neighbours, was finally broken. This village lost a large number of its 
fighting men, and its reputation was so shattered that it will probably 
take years to recover. 

* Assam Secretariat, Political, A, June 1912, Nos. 140-200. 

fOfficial Account of the Abor Expedition, 1911-1912. General Staff, India, 1913. 


"The disgrace and memory of our former defeat was wiped out 
and the tribes were shown that, while resistance to the British was 
useless, we could with ease visit any part of their country. The tribes 
who had not prove themselves openly hostile, were visited by friendly 
missions, which behaved with great judgment and tact, proving to the 
people that, while the hand of the British was heavy in dealing with 
aggression or avenging insult, nothing was to be feared by the well- 

"Many of the weaker tribes had been quite debarred irom visiting 
the plains in order to trade, and had, in general, been tyrannised over 
by their moral powerful neighbours. The advent of the British and 
the messages they conveyed made clear to all that weak and strong 
alike would be allowed to visit the plains and that no tribe was in 
future to be prevented from doing so by another, while our ability to 
enforce this could no longer be questioned. 

"The geographical Jesuits of the expedition, although not ,is full as 
had been expected, owing to the climate and physical diHiculticp of 
the countiy, were still ol great value. I'ractically the whole of the 
country was surveyed accurately as la as lalitutc 28' -10' IM. The whole 
of the valley ol the Yanme was sutvcyrrl up !o (he snow ranges , the 
Shimang rivei was mapped throughout its entire length ; the course 
of the Siyom was roughly tiaced : and the valley of the, Dihang was 
followed as far north as Slugging, Latitude 28" 52' (approximate), a 
point within 25 or 30 miles o( the most northern Aboi village. The 
identity of the Dihang with the Tsangpo, though not absolutely pioved, 
was at any rate practically established, and theie is little doubt that 
part of the district traversed by Kinthup in his famous exploration 
from the north, was visited. 

' Although it was not possible to determine accurately the natural 
frontier between the Abor country and Tibet, a rough idea of its nature 
and position was obtained. Points on the great snw range to the 
north were definitely fixed and a way was p.ived foi an accurate deter- 
mindtion of the boundary in the future while the chances of Chinese 
aggression in this region were greatly reduced. 

"Although there was liitlc actual fighting, the successful conclusion 
of the military operations was no small achievement. The popular 
imagination likes to be fed with accounts of battles and daring, but 
it is not in these that the whole of an army lies. The continual 
struggle, with natural difficulties and with hardship and privation 
without the loss of a cheerful discipline, and the self-control required 
when dealing with ignorant and arrogant savages, represent a very 
high standard of military efficiency.". 

The total causaltics were 1 officer wounded, 2 other ranks killed 
and 2 wounded, and 3 followers killed and 3 wounded. Severe orders 
were issued to all the offending villages. Kebarig had among other 
things, to restore all stolen property, to pay a fine of mithan and war 
equipment, and "In future to obey all orders of Government and not 


prevent people from trading in the plains". This last point refers to 
a perennial source of grievance which previous political officers had 
commented on unfavourably often before and which persists to the 
present day in the shape of "trade blocks" further North. Similar 
orders of varying degrees of severity were issued to Rotung, Babuk, 
Pangi, Sissin, Yemsing and Rengging. 

As regards those guilty of the actual crime, two of the 3 mur- 
derers of Mr. Williamson were captured and tried as well as 3 other 
persons who killed members of his party. The two men, Manmur of 
Yagrung and Tamu (or Namu) of Bosirig who were accused of Mr. 
Williamson's murder, were tried on 2nd April 1912, by a "Military 
Court", presided over by Mr. Bentinck, with Captains J.F.D. Coleridge 
and L. S. Smithers as Assessors. Both were found guilty. Manmur 
was sentenced to transportation for life, since, though he was held to 
have acted with premeditation, it was also held that he was origi- 
nally unwilling to consent to the murder but did so under compul- 
sion. (Judging from the contents of the Court's Order, he was ex- 
ceedingly lucky to escape the death penalty). The other man was 
given 10 years, on the ground that he was younger, of a weaker cha- 
racter and acted under Manmur's influence. Three other men, 
Buissong of Bos ing, and Lutiang and Popiom, both of Yagrung, who 
were found guilty of killing Williamson's coolies were sentenced to 
terms of imprisonment. It was not until the expedition was over 
that the 2 men of Kebang, Lamlaw and Bapuk, who murdered Gre- 
gorson were surrendered to Mr. Dundas. They were found guilty of 
murder on 18th May 1912. by the Deputy Commissioner of Lakhim- 
pur, Colonel Herbert, and sentenced to death, sentences which, in 
view of the sentences referred to above, gave the Chief Commissioner 
considerable embarrassment when they came before him for confir- 
mation* "After prolonged and anxious consideration" he decided to 
commute them lo transportation for life. It is sufficiently clear from 
paragraph 5 of the Chief Commissioner's letter No.69-P.T., of the 7th 
July 1912, that all these culprits were decidedly fortunate. 

An echo of these proceedings was heard in 1922 when by chance 
it came to the District Officers' notice that one Tarung Tamuk, a gam 
of Panggi village, was identical with the man Lunnung who was 
mentioned in Bentinck's judgment as one of the actual murderers 
but who was not placed on his trial then. This fact was confirmed 
by Namu (or Tamu) who had recently returned from the Andamans 
after serving his sentence, as well as by Manmur who made a statement 
while still serving his sentence there. When the Political Officer, Mr. 
O'Callaghan, report this, it was pointed out to him by Government 
that this Lunnung, though one of Williamson's foremost assailants, 
was, according to Bentinck's own reports used as an intermediary to 
bring other tribesmen in and had received promises of protection by 
implication. This is a point that Bentinck himself made in reporting 
the result of the trial in his letter from Kobo, dated the 5th April 1912. 
No further action could therefore be taken against the man, guilty 
though he was. 

Assam Secretariat, Political, A, September 1912, Nbs. 1-22. 
Assam Secretariat, Political, B, July 1922, Nog. 203*212. 


At the end of December, Mr. Bentinck, with 5 British Officers 
and a party nearly 300 strong set out to visit as many Minyong villages 
as could be reached in 26 days. No part of the country they were to 
visit, except Pangi and Komsing, had ever before been penetrated. 
The Column was received in friendly fashion. Only a few small 
Minyong villages v\ ere not visited. In Komsing they found some of 
Mr. Williamson's remains which the people of Komsing had buried. 
These were re-interred on 13th April 1912 at Dibrugarh*. In Kom- 
sing and below Pangi were later erected cairns in memory of Williamson 
and Gregorson. Thereafter they visited the important villages of Riu, 
Geku (the chief village of the PangLs a small tribe wedged in between 
more powerful tribes, which inhabits the Riu bank of the Yamne and 
extends into the Dihong Valley at Geku), Riga ^the metropolis of the 
Minyong and the biggest village of all that the column met with, con- 
taining from 250 to 300 houses), and Simong, opposite Kar ko, of about 
220 houses, a village whose people are akin to the Panggis whom 
they protect. From Simong they continued Northwards, towards 
Tibet. Their furthest point wasSingging, which they reached on 
31st January. From there they turned back and reached Simong 
once more, where they stayed till the 23rd February, enjoying 
excellent relations with the local people all the time. Bentinck took 
the opportunity to hold a representative gathering o f gams at Komkar 
which was attended by men from Simong, Damro. Riu (Madu and 
Konying), Panggi and Komkar. At this he explained to them the 
necessity of behaving properly as subjects of the Queen, and that all 
were entitled to trade where they liked. 

Meanwhile, a party under Colonel D. C. F. Mclntyre had been 
up the Yamne between December and February and had visited many 
Padam villages including the redoubtable Damro, bcintr received in 
friendly fashion throughout : another headed by Captain Molesworth, 
l/8th Gurkha Rifles, and Mr. Needham visited the Minyong villages 
on the right bank as far as Paiong : a Survey Party under the same 
two officers went up the Shimang Valley visiting Dosing, Pareng, 
Yingku (or Yuying) , their object being to work from a 10,900 feet 
hill at the head of the valley : and Captain Dunbar toured to Kom- 
bong, the principal Gallong village and one held in respect as far 
north as Riga. 

Mr. Bentinck's "Political Report*' on the expedition dated the 
23rd April 1912, recounts not on'y the details of Messrs. Williamson's 
and Gregorson's murder, and the course of the Expedition from the 
political point of view, but also furnishes proposals as to the future of 

these tracts. 

He sums up the "results and conclusions" of his 3 months tour 

in this hitherto unknown country as follows. " our [previous] 

knowledge of them was confined to those nearer villages which, so far 
from forming the door opening on those beyond, have acted as the 
curtain shutting off us from them and them from us, so that trade 
was forced into circuitous routes, or in most cases in the opposite and 

* Assam Secretariat, Pol., B, June 1912, New. 46-60. 


unnatural direction, and the thoughts of men turned rather to the 
country across the great snowy range than to the plains towards which 
they faced. The worst side of the Abor character was also emphasiz- 
ed by our previous failures in the Minyong country and by the two 
unfortunate incidents the massacre at Bodak (Bordak) and the stopp- 
ing short of Damro, which have tended to overshadow the otherwise 
marked success of the 1894 expedition. What Mr. Willamson might 
have done single-handed in opening this country had his life been 
spared, can be estimated from the brillant success of his five years at 
Sadiya, which opened a new era in our relations with the hills, work to 
which I cannot help thinking that sufficient justice has not yet been 
done. He had at least shown that the Abor is not the truculent, in- 
tractable savage, which previous accounts generally made him, but 
there had not been time for this view to gain general acceptance. 
Quite recently the Abor has been characterized by those who know 
him least as dirty, sullen, lazy and treacherous. It may be taken that 
those who visit a new tribe expecting to find an unpleasant savage wile 
not be disappointed wherever they may go, but it does not follow that 
they are correct. In the case of the Abors, I concede the dirt, as far as thr 
men are concerned; our friend the Riga Gam spoken to on the matte 1 
replied to the effect that dirt was the poor man's blanket ; I grant also 
a certain surliness, but only when their fears or suspicions are aroused; 
it must be remembered that to the vast bulk of the people whom we 
visited we were utter and mysterious strangers, and that our appearan- 
, cc, our habits, our methods, and our designs were alike new and unin- 
telligible to them. The strong force which accompanied all parties might 
have produced a more or less reluctant acquiescence, but not the 
genial welcome, the ready and often generous hospitality, the tolerance 
of our strange ways, and the interest in our doings and belongings 
which we found at almost every village we entered ; of the fearless 
confidence with which they approached us, I have already spoken. To 
their indolence their vast and laboriously prepared jhums are an em- 
phatic contradiction ; in this work men, women, and children all 
share, and in a country where vegetation runs riot few sights are more 
remarkable than many hundred acres of steep hillside cleared not only 
of jungle, but at sowing time of every weed and blade of grass, and 
this by means of a dao and a pointed bamboo. Treachery has for so 
long been branded on the Abor that to refute the charge fully would 
need an examination of every occasion on which the charge has been 
made ; I do not propose to reproduce my conclusions after such 
examination beyond pointing out that what has been attributed to 
Abor treachery has always been the outcome of an assumption on our 
part of a friendliness or a fear or an unwillingness to take action on 
theirs which the circumstances did not justify. I do not mean to hold 
up the Abors as Bayards, but they have a code and recognise the 
obligations which it imposes. 

"The Abors have reached a period of their history at which they 
must either adopt new methods, such as we are able to teach them, or 
must risk their whole existence. Their methods of warfare and 


defence have been proved to be puerile except against one another, and 
their methods of agriculture have brought them to such a pass that 
unless they are superseded by better every child that grows up brings 
them nearer starvation ; already hill-sides so steep that it is surprising 
that even a plant can maintain its hold have been brought under 
cultivation, and there are many clearings on whose fresh lap the swart 
star can look very sparely indeed. Fields are cropped for three years 
in succession, and the jungle is then allowed to grow up again for as 
long as possible, varying from about six years where the pressure on 
the soil is greatest, as at Riga, to as much as 10-12 years in a few more 
fortunate villages. For many miles together there is no virgin soil left, 
and my impression from seeing many score of jhums in all stages was 
that the soil, partly from too rapid rotation and partly from the ten- 
dency of grass jungle (khagri and ikra) to replace and check the 
saplings, is steadily deteriorating, while some of the oldest lands, on 
account of repeated jhuming, steep hill-sides, and heavy rains, are 
suffering from denudation. The position, though serious, is one that 
can be met by improved methods, as, for instance, terracing like that 
practised in the Naga Hills, and improved implements, which will 
enable more to be done than a mere scratching of the surface." 

As regards slavery he states as follows : "The Abors generally 
obtain their slaves from one another by purchase, but prisoners of 
war also become slaves ; they feed with the family and are not in 
ordinary life distinguishable by any mark from free men. A master 
has full powers over his slaves, but attempts to escape are rare because 
if a slave has been sold, he will not better himself by returning home, 
where he is likely to starve, and if he has been captured, his own 
village is not likely to welcome him back, because he provides one of 
those causes of friction which as I have said above, the Abor is anxi- 
ous to avoid. The only place of refuge is the plains, and under the 
existing rule the slave has to work out his ransom ; this in the case 
of men (for women readily find a protector who is willing to pay 
the amount fixed) generally means that either a Government officer 
has to find him work until his wages amount to the required sum, or 
else he borrows the amount and becomes a bondman of his creditor. 
The owner in any case has to wait some time for his money and in 
the interval to replace the labour which he cannot do without. It 
is probable that in the future such runaways will be more frequent, 
and the only alternatives at present open are either to refuse to re- 
cognise slavery at all or to make prompt restitution of the value to 
the owner. I have explained why the former course will cause grave 
injustice and hardship to the owners ; the latter can only be effected 
if officers who have to deal with such matters have at their disposal 
a fund from which they can pay the claimants and treat the amount as 
a loan to the runaway, for the recovery of which certain powers will 
be required. The case for abolition here is not on a footing with 
abolition elsewhere, and it should therefore be our endeavour to intro- 
duce a currency as soon as possible and to foster the growth of a 
labouring class, Slaves, it may be added, are generally kindly 


His remarks regarding the Menbas, who have come to figure pro- 
minently in the political history of recent years are as follows. 

'47. The three last villages on the right bank Kopu, Jeling, 
and Shirang are occupied mainly by the Menba, though Abors also 
inhabit them. The Menba appear to be emigrants from the country 
on the other side of the snows and therefore originally Tibetans in 
the geographical sense. They are, however, in no way under Tibetan 
authority, nor is the tract that they inhabit regarded as in any way 
different from the rest of the area occupied by Abor tribes. A Tibetan 
sardar of coolies that we had with us denied that either they or the 
tribes beyond the range are Tibetans, and this is borne out by the 
fact that the Abors speak of the people in the area under Tibetan 
control by another name. I have described how we met two Shirang 
men at Gette ; though different in feature from the Abors' they were 
not much like the usual Tibetan and wore neither boots nor hats." 

For the future administration of the conntry his views were these 

** Even before the expedition the area under the control of the 
officer at Sadiya had become too large for one man, and for the western 
part of it Sadiya was distant, inaccessible, and probably the Assistant 
Political Officer was away. The importance of the Mishmi area has 
now greatly increased, and cannot be separated from the Khamti 
country. These tribes and the Singphos will afford ample work for 
the Assistant Political Officer at Sadiya, and he should, in my opinion, 
become an officer corresponding directly with the Local Administra- 
tion, and not through the Deputy Commissioner at Dibrugarh The 
last named should in my opinion be relieved of his responsibility for 
matters beyond the line 01 administered c' untry ; his ordinary' dis- 
trict work is heavy and increasing as the district is markedly progres- 
sive, and he had either to neglect frontier matters or to sacrifice his 
other work to them. Frontier work has now become so extensive and 
important that a whole time officer, who should, in my opinion, have 
the status of a District Officer, appears to me an imperative necessity. 
While therefore the Sarkari Nagas, who are in easy reach of Dibrugarh 
by rail and visit the district in large number for work, must remain 
under the Deputy Commissioner he will not have other political duties. 
This will leave the whole of the Abor country, both the eastern and 
western sections, the Daflas (including the " Hill Miris ") and the 
various tribes westwards to the Bhutan border, together with the 
plains area from the Dijmur-Sengajan path to the Dibong, to form the 
new charge of which I have spoken, and this will be too large for the 
efficient control of one officer, even with assistants. The plains area I 
had proposed should fall under Lakhimpur district, but it is likely to be 
so intimately connected with the hills on account of migration to it 
from above that to put it under a different authority would tend to 
cause delay, friction, and divergencies of procedure. It should form a 
subordinate charge and may include the villages in the hills contained 
roughly in a line following the Simen, Sipu, and Siyom and thence 
with the Dihong as its northern boundary ; the headquarters, I would 
suggest, should be at Pasighat, where the site is much bettrr than had 
been at first supposed. The inner country cannot be controlled from 
a point nearer the plains than Geku, and it should not be necessary to 


go further. Geku possesses an admirable site for a post, which being 
under grass will not diminish the area of cultivation and it is remark- 
ably central, being 2 days' journy from Damro, 1 day from Riu, Riga, 
or Komkar, 2 days from Simong, and if the Dihong can be crossed 
below Rengging only 5 days at most from Passighat : there is no other 
place within easy reach of, and so accessible to, so many different 
tribes. Another subordinate charge will be required for the area 
between the Siyom and the main stream of the Subansiri and at least 
one more for the country west of the Subansiri. " 

General Bower, who commanded the Abor Expeditionary Force 
held much the same views, and recommended in his latter No.l47-A.,* 
dated the 16th January 1912 that the Frontier should be divided into 3 
sections (1) Central, for the Abors, under 2 Political Officers, one of 
whom would be in charge of all 3 sections, with headquarters at 
Rotung ; 

(2) Eastern for Mishmis and Khamtis, with an Assistant Political 
Officer at Sadiya ; (3) Western, with an Assistant Political Officer for 
the whole country from the Subansiri to Bhutan. 

He proposed Military Police Garrisons at Rotung, Pasighat and 

Both he and Mr. Bentinck were agieed that the time had corne 
to separate these areas from the crntrol of the Deputy Commissioner, 

(c) The Mishmi Mission - -As is stated on a previous page, the Secre- 
tary of State agreed to a Mission visiting the Mishmi country at the same 
time as the Abor Expedition. The proposals of flu- Lieutenant-gover- 
nor of East Bengal and Assam are contained in his letter No.72-G.P.T.,f 
dated the 21st August 1911. The Mission was on a large scale us 
regards officers Mr Dunclas was in chief Political contiol : Major 
G Bliss commanded the Escort of 150 Military Police, assisted by 
Captain J. Hardcastle: Captain W. H. Jeffrey 73rd Garnatics was 
Intelligence Officer : Captain F. M. Bailey was Assistant Political 
Officer : Captain E. P. Le Breton, R E., commanded No. 5 Company, 
Sappers and Miners, assisted by Lieutenant J. F, Gray, R.E., : Captain 
E. J. C. McDonald, J.MS., was Medical Officer: Captains H. G. 
Bally, Commandant and L. A. Bethell, 10th Gurkha Rifles were with 
the Dacca Military Police i Captain C. P. Counter, R E., and Lieu- 
tenant Morshead, R. E., were with the Survey Party : Captain 
R. A. H. Robertson, 30th Punjabis, Commanded the Lines of Commu- 
nication. It was intended that Mr Dundas should go towards Rima 
as far as the place where the Chinese planted flags between Menilkrai 
and Walong. In letter No. 488- G.G.,J dated the 5th October 1911, 
Mr. Dundas was instructed that - 

" 8. If during the course of the mission Chinese officials or troops 
are met endeavour should be made to maintain amicable relations. 
If, however, such officials or troops be met within the territory of tribes 

* Assam Secretariat Pol. A, June 1912, Not,. 140-200. 

| Eastern Bengal & Assam, Pol., A, March 1912, No*. 47-148. 

^Eastern Bengal & Assair, Pol. A, March 19J2, Nos. 149-197. 


on this side of recognised Tibetan-Chinese limits, they should be invit- 
ed to withdraw into recognised Tibetan-Chinese limits and, if neces- 
sary, compelled to do so. " 

A little earlier 1 * the Secretary of State had inquired whether it was 
"possible or advisable to take any steps to at once make clear to the 
Mishmis " the fact that they were under us and must look to us for 
future rewards or punishment, the proposal which Lord Morley so 
firmly turned down in October 1910 when made to him by the pre- 
vious Viceroy, Lord Minto. The Lieutenant-Governor thought it was 
very desirable and in a telegram* dated the 4th September 1911 he was 
desired by the Government of India to make the communication. 

The Mission eventually was directed along two lines (i) the Sisseri 
and Dibang Valleys, () the Lohit Valley. 

(t) The Dibang or Nizamghat Column. This was under command of 
Captain Bally and had attached to it as Political Officer Captain 
F. M. Bailey. Captain Bet hell of the Lakhimpur Military Police and 
Lieutenant A. de R Martin, R.E., accompanied it, with 150 officers 
and men of the Dacca Military Police, and 10 men of the 1st 
(K.G.O)Bengal Sappers and Miners. The objects of the column 

" (a) to enter into friendly relations with the Mishmis ; 

(b) to inform the Mishmis that for the future they will be under 

British control exclusively and must accept no orders except 
for the present from the Political Officer, Mishmi Mission 
and thereafter from the Assistant Political Officer, Sadiya '. 

(c) to further inform them that, in return for the protection 

afforded, they must unhesitatingly obey orders and provide 
coolies for work on the track, which is about to be improv- 
ed, between Nizamghat and Amili and to carry such loads 
for the column as they may be ordered ; 

(d) to inform the people that all the land up to the foot of the 
hills is British, and that all cultivation on it makes the 
village to which such belongs liable for poll tax and that 
this tax must in future be paid ; 

(*) to order the people that all raiding in the plain must cease, 
as must all inter-tribal feuds and raiding, which should be 
always referred to the Assistant Political Officer at Sadiya 
for settlement and orders ; 

(/) to inform the people that all prohibition against visiting 
Sadiya and trading will be withdrawn as long as orders are 
obeyed ; 

(g) to select a line for a future "bridle track" from Nizamghat 
onwards to the north, and if time permits, to cut a trace 
as far as Amili, and in any case, to improve the existing 

Eastern Bengal & A*am, Pol., A, March 1912, NOS, 47-148, 


They toured up the Sisseri between 4th and 19th December 1911, 
and found the Mishmfe of the Sisseri Valley, who constitute the Mi 
Hi section of the Chulikatas, very friendly : they were evidently in great 
fear of the Padam Abors of Damroh and Dambuk* A friendly message 
was even received from Dambuk, to the effect that they were British 
subjects as much as the Mishmis. 

At the end of January a move was made northwards to the Ithun 
river, and they got as far as Ichigu on the right bank of river of that 
name which runs in to the Dibang. In all 30 Mishmi villages were 

(it) The Lohit Valley Column. This, under Mr. Dundas himself, 
went as far as the Yepak river, J mile north of the flags set up by the 
Chinese at Menilkrai. Survey Parties went up as far as Sama on the 
right bank and to the source of the Sa'al Ti on the left bank, and they 
collected sufficient material on which to base a good strategical frontier 
line on either side of the Lohit. The people in the Lohit Valley were 
every where friendly. Mr. Dundas considered that their general tend- 
ency was to favour British protection, though the Chinese had been 
making great efforts to win their friendship. Out of the whole number 
engaged 5 British Officers, 86 officers and men of the Sappers and 
Miners and 31 officers and men of Military Police arrived at the fur- 
thest point, Menilkrai (on 4th January 1912). 

The physical difficulties they encountered were very great, as 
the following extract from Major Bliss* report* indicates. 

"The communications hi the Mishrri Country are by far the 
worst that in a considerable experience I have ever met with. Before 
the cart road was cut by the Sappers and Miners, the path from 
Sanpura to Temeimukh was narrow track, over which jungle hung 
so low that it was seldom that one could move in an upright attitude. 
It crosses a large number of rivers of varying sizes and was in parts 
infested with leeches as late as the middle of November. The road 
opened by the force has greatly simplified movements over this portion 
of the country, but even the Mishmi country is entirely cut off from 
the plains throughout the rains, owing to the rivers rising and the 
country around Sadiya becoming a huge swamp. Until a road paral- 
lel to the rivers has been constructed from Sadiya to the hills, con* muni- 
cation must remain only possible by boat. Some line should be found 
from Sadiya which will lead to the hills without crossing any large 
river. I do not think this should be difficult when the results of the 
Survey operations are available. 

After leaving Temeimukh, the path enters the hills and the difficul- 
ties are at once enormously enhanced. The slopes are so great that 
large portions of the hills are on the move. At one point the path will 
be following a knife edge with 1,500 feet drops on either side. At 
another there is a precipice on one side and a cliff on the other with 
the path between little broader than one's boot to walk on. Again, 

Assam Secretariat, Political, A, September* 1912,Nos. 1-22. 
* Brief Narrative of the Miihrni Mission, submitted by Major C. Bliss, I. A. 


the path will lead over rocks tumbled aimlessly one on the other with 
hollows under and between them. Ladders were built in many cases 
to enable the force to climb steep faces of rock. Sometimes the soil 
is a slippery clay and at others a crumbling saru with boulders, and 
these latter are the cause of constant land-slides. Rivers and streams 
occur at frequent intervals. All these are torrents and must be 
bridged, as the few that are fordable would nevertheless be dangerous 
owing to the current. The Mishmis have cane suspension bridges over 
the larger rivers." 

The Sappers and Miners assisted by the Military police cut 37 
miles of cart road and built 1843 feet of bridges in 37 days. 

VIII. Administrative changes subsequent to the Abor Expedition. 
The proposals of the Lieutenant-Governor (Sir C. S. Bayley) for 
the future administration of the North-Eastern Frontier, after the troops 
of the Abor Expedition had been withdrawn, based on the recom- 
mendations contained in General Bower's letter No.l47-A,* dated 16th 
January 1912, are summarised as follows in paragraph 9 of his letter 
No. 53-C. G.,* dated the 22nd February 1912. 

"9. Summary. --In conclusion, I am to sum up the Lieutenant-Go- 
veinor's proposals with regard to the North-East Frontier. 

(1) The tribal country should be divided into three sections : 

(a) The Central, or Abor, Section, with headquarters at 
Rotung ; 

(b) The Eastern Section consisting of the Mishmi Hills and 

the Bor Hkamti country with headquarters at Sadiya, the 
Dibrugarh Frontier Tract continuing to be administered 
from Sadiya as at present ; 

(c) The Western Section comprising the country between 

Tawang and the Subansiri river and including the eastern 
watershed of that river. 

For (a) there will be two officers at Rotung, with garrisons at that 
place, Pasighat, and Kobo, and for (b) two officers at Sadiya working 
under the supervision of the Political Oflicer at Rotung. A post will 
be established near Menilkrai on the site chosen by Mr. Dundas and 
Major Bliss with subsidiary posts connecting it with Sadiya. 

To maintain communications a company of Sappers and Miners 
should be employed further to improve the Rima road and to build 
bridges over the Delci and the Du rivers, materials for which should be 
collected at Sadiya during the rains. Any further survey required in 
the Mishmi or the Hkampti country should also be undertaken next 
cold weather. For (c) three small missions should be employed to 
survey and explore the Aka, the Dafla, and the Miri Hills, connecting 
their work with that done by the Miri Mission under Mr. Kerwood. 

(2) In order to provide for the permanent posts in the Abor and 
the Mishmi country together with their reliefs, a second Lakhimpur 
battalion with a strength of about 750 men should be formed. 

(3) The Dacca Battalion should be transferred to Assam, the por- 
tion not required for Tura or Silchar forming the nucleus of the new 
Lakhimpur Battalion. 

* Assam Secretariat, Political, A, June 1912,Nos. 140-200. 


(4) As the Assam Military Police, even when re-inforced by the 
Dacca Battalion, will not be able to provide sufficient men for all the 
work which will have to be done on the frontier next cold season, at 
least the escorts for the missions in the Western Section should be 
drawn from a Gurkha regiment. 

(5) Mr. Dundas should be selected for the post of Political Officer 
at Rotung, exercising at the sa me time general supervision over the 
Eastern Section also. The Political Officers on the North East Frontier 
should be under direct control of the Chief Commissioner of Assam." 

As regards the Central or Abor section he wrote as follows : 

"3. Central, or Abor Section. The Abors have always been the 
most troublesome tribe on this frontier, and past experience has 
proved the impossibility of exercising effective control over them 
from a post in the plains. This experience is not unique, 
for the Nagas and the Lushais weir only brought under 
control when their country was permanently occupied. The policy 
hitherto adopted of sending expeditions into the Abor country, 
inflicting punishment, and withdrawing the force has invariably 
been misunderstood by the tribes concerned. The temporary occupa- 
tion has been soon forgotten and fresh trouble iias ensued It 
should now be definitely abandoned both on the ground of its want 
of success and because the presence of an aggressive and intriguing 
neighbour, whom it is absolutely necessary to debar from obtaining 
influence over the hill tribes on our border, necessitates a reconsi- 
deration of the whole position not in regard to the Abor tract alone, 
but in respect of the whole frontier, from Bhutan to the Hkampli 
country and the unad ministered regions north of Burma. In the 
Lieutenant-Governor's opinion, it is essential lo establish a post 
within the Abor country, preferably among the Minyongs, the section 
of the tribe against whom the present expedition has been specially 
directed. Rotung is described by Mr. Bentinck in his letter dated 
the 22nd December 1912 as an admirable site for the purpose. I 
promises to be healthy throughout the rains, which seem to be less 
heavy there than on the southern face of the hills and good building 
sites arc available in the vicinity Rotung is only two days' journey 
from Pasighat, where a connecting post would be stationed, and it 
is near enough to Kebaug to prevent that village from giving further 
trouble. It commands many of the more important paths and would 
ensure an outlet to the Pangi clan, who are now cut off from the 
plains by the Minyongs. It is in all respects well adapted to play 
the useful part played by Samaguting in the early days of British 
connection with the Naga Hills. His Honour desires, therefore, to sup- 
port the recommendation of the General Officer Commanding the 
Expedition that a post garrisoned by UOO rifles should be established 
at Rotung with a connecting po&t held by K'O rifles at Pasighat and a 
small guard of, say, 50 men at Kobo The. road between Kobo and 
Pasighat is being improved by the Public Works Dcpai tmcnt, and 
it is hoped that it will be passable throughout the rains except in the 
case of a very severe flood." 


These proposals were recommended by the Government of India 
to the Secretary of State in their Telegram No. P., dated the 7th 
March 1912, but the reply they got in his telegram dated the 14th 
March 1912* was that he was "most unwilling on grounds of general 
policy to sanction the establishment of the permanent police posts 
in the Abor country as this would arouse strong Parliamentary 
opposition in view of what has been stated by us as to the objects 
of the expedition." The Secretary of State added that he would 
"prefer even not to keep a permanent post beyond the Inner Line". 
The Government of India protested against this in their reply of 
the 21st March as follows. "It is impossible, we consider, to bring 
into accord with existing conditions our relations with the tribes as 
contemplated in our secret despatch dated the 21st September 1911 
without the establishment rfthe proposed posts. It is not proposed 
to advance administrative boundary, but results of present expedition 
will speedily vanish and fresh trouble may arise necessitating further 
operations unless posts are established in tribal territory beyond. 
Further, complete withdrawal is to be deprecated, in justice to the 
friendly tribes see paragraphs 7 and 8 of Bentinck's letter of the 
22nd December, a copy of which was forwaided with the Foreign 
Secretary's weekly letter No.3-M., dated the 18th January 1912. 
Again, the eventual demarcation of the boundary with China with- 
out the proposed posts would necessitate a considerable military 
force. The posts proposed in the Abor country are, we consider, 
quite as necessary as the post suggested near Menilkrai by His 
Majesty's Government, where at least the intermediate boundary 
appears to be respected and known." 

Apparently these protests were heeded and the Chief Commis- 
sioner of Assam who had in the meanwhile replaced the now defunct 
Government of Eastern Bengal and Assam was able to send up 
his proposals for the administration of this frontier, in his letter 
No. 69-P.T.,* dated the 7th July 1912. 

In this letter Sir Archdale Earle reviewed in a comprehensive 
fashion the results of the Abor Expedition and the Miri and Mishmi 
Missions and made his recommendations as follows. As regards 
Chinese influence, he observed that neither the Abor Expedition 
nor the Miri Mission found any trace of the Chinese in the country 
which they explored. Only in the extreme north of the Abor 
country was there some signs of Tibetan influence. The position 
in the Mishmi country was different and was such as, in the opinion 
of the Chief Commissioner, urgently to call for further survey and 
exploration. The Chief Commissioner quoted with approval a note 
recorded by the general staff, which recommended as follows. 

"(1) A matter of the first importarcc is the construction of a 
road up the Lohit Valley as far as Walong. This should be a cart 
road in the plains section (constructed by the Public Works Depart- 
ment) and in the hill section a good bridle path, with permanent 
bridges above flood level over the Ti elding, Delei and Dou rivers. 

* Assam Secretariat, Political, A, September 1912, Nos. 1-22, 


For this work the employment of two Companies, Sappers and 
Miners, and two double Companies, Pioneers, is recommended, the 
whole under an Engineer Major of experience in such work. The 
question of the economical strength of the party resolves itself into 
one of supply and transport. The above party is the minimum 
that could hope to complete the work in one season, and the maxi- 
mum for which supplies, together with the budging material, etc., 
could be forwarded. Half the strength of the above party with a 
road survey party, should advance from Sadiya on the 15th Septem- 
ber to commence preliminary work liorn the terminus of the Public 
Works Department cart tract, in order to facilitate supply matters. 
The remainder of the party should leave Sadiya on 1st November, and 
at once commence work on the bridges. 

* * * * * 

(2) The construction of Military Police posts at Walong, Min- 
zang and near the mouth of the Delei river." 

As regards the necessity of posts in the Mishmi country, their 
arguments were these 

"It is necessary lo establish posts in the Mishmi country for 
the following reasons :- - 

(1) The Mishmi mountains impose a screen behind which the 
progress of the policy and movement of the Chinese near our vulner- 
able north-east salient cannot be observed fiom within our admi- 
nistrative border, and it is imperative that we should be in a posi- 
tion to watch this progress. Native information, necessarily unreli- 
able, would often arrive too late to be of value. 

(2) A wrong construction will be placed, both by the Mishmis 
and the Chinese, upon our failure to establish posts after the 
withdrawal of the Mission The fact that the Mission started on 
its return journey just at a time when a considerable ion 
oi Chinese troops was taking place at Kiina, will be given undue 
significance, and the Chinese are skilful in turning such mallei s to 

(3) The Taroaris of the Delci Valley, who wtre induced to 
surrender their Chinese passports to us, will find themselves in a 
false position if the Chinese demand an explanation, were we riot 
in a position to suppot t them. 

(4) The difficulty of future negotiations with China will be much 
enhanced by an apparent renunciation of territory by us, and our 
failure to set up boundary marks or occupy any position will be 
construed to mean that we are not justified in regarding the 
country as under our control, and acquiesce in the Chinese demar- 

(5) Mishmis of all clans are anxious to obtain firearms. They 
have been informed that they cannot expect them from India. The 
establishment of posts in their country will minimise the danger of 
their obtaining them from the Chinese. 

(6) Advantage shpuld be taken of the present friendly attitude 
and primitive armament of the Mishmis to consolidate our posi- 

Assam Secretariat, Political, A, Septraiber 1912, Nos. 1-22. 


The Chief Commissioner agreed that Walong was the best site. 

As regards general control of the tribal country, the Chief Com- 
missioner proposed a staff on a pretty generous scale. 
He said 

"The Chief Commissioner would now propose that, so far as 
political control is to be exercised, the entire tribal area east of the 
Subansiri-Siyom divide should be in political charge ol Mr. Dundas, 
who should have the status of a Deputy Commissioner and work 
immediately under the Chief Commissioner. He would require four 
assistants. One of these would devote his attention particularly to the 
Lohit Valley ; the second would look after the Bebejiya and Chulikata 
Mishmis ; the third would deal especially with the Abor Hills ; while 
the fourth would, in the first instance, assist the Political Officer at 
headquarters in the administration of the plains area, and would 
ultimately be concerned with Hkarnti Long. Tt is essential that the 
Political Officer should be left free to tour as circumstances necessitated 
in any portion of his extensive charge, and it is almost certain that 
before long he will require yet further assistance. For the present, 
however, the Chief Commissioner desires to keep his proposals within 
as moderate limits as possible, Sir Archdale Earle fully endorses the 
view expressed in paragraph 7 of Mr. Grutiing's letter No. 53-G. G., 
dated the 22nd February 1912, that recruits for appointments on this 
frontier should be drawn mainly from the officers of the Civil arid 
Military Police " 

As Mr. Dundas' assistants, Sir Archdale Earle proposed Mr. 
T. E. Furze of the Indian Police for the Abors ; Mr. T. P. M. 
O' Callaghan, also an Assistant Superintendent of Police, for the 
Lohit Valley : and, for Assistant at headquarters and the Hkamti 
Long, Mr. W. J. H. Ball an tine, an Extra Assistant Commissioner. 

Rotung, which had been recommended in February by Sir 
Charles Bay Icy as the headquarters of the Abor section of the frontier, 
had by now been abandoned under orders of the Secretary of State, 
and garrisons in the Abor section were maintained at Kobo (25 Mili- 
tary Police) Pasighat (75 Military Police) and Balek (100) . It was 
yet to be decided which of the last two was to be retained as a per- 
manent post. 

The important point of trading facilities so often referred to 
in the past and which is of particular interest in view of later 
developments in connection with the situation around Karko and other 
places of recent years, is dealt with in paragraph 16 of the letter, 
which runs as iollows. 

"16. This question of trading the Chief Commissioner regards as 
of paramount importance. Many of our past difficulties and 
misunderstandings with the various Abor tribes have arisen from the 
fact that the privilege of trading with the plains was monopolised by 
a few sections of the community, to \\hose interest it was to misinter- 
pret our motives and actions. In the course of the Abor Expedition 
both General Bower and Mr. Bentinck impressed upon all the tribes 

Assam Secretariat, Pol., A, September 1912, Nos. 1-22. 


visited that trade with thf plains would in future be open and nn- 
restricted, and the powerful villages which h;id hitherto prevented their 
weaker neighbours from approaching us were solemnly warned that 
such conduct must cease. The chief sufferers from the high-handed 
attitude of Kebang and other powerful villages were the Panggis and 
the tribes lying to the north ol them. These people importuned both 
General Bower and Mr. Bentinck for ac ess to the plains, and have 
since approached Mr. Dundas with si milar requests. If effect is to be 
given to this policy, and if our relations with the Abor tribes are to 
improve, the Chief Commissioner considers it essential that a trading 
post should be established within the Abor country. Kebang have 
promised obedience to the orders issued by General Bower, and have 
accepted, as one of the conditions on which peace was made, the 
stipulation that they will not prevent people from trading in the plains. 
The promise was made when Kebang were overawed by superior force 
and suffered from the presence of a body of troops. A breach of the 
promise could not be overlooked, and, with a view both to obviate the 
necessity of future hostile operations against Kebang, and in the in- 
terests of the other tribes concerned, the Chief Commissioner must urge 
most strongly that, for at least several months in the year, a trading 
post, temporarily cccupied by a guard of 100 rifles, should be estab- 
lished. As to the precise location of this trading post, Sir Archdale 
Earlc would prefer to reserve his final decision. A post has actually 
been built at Rotung, but against this it must be remembered that a 
bridle track has been constructed for ten miles beyond as far as 
Yambuiig, and that the villages concerned have been ordered to keep 
this track in repair. Yam bung is situated immediately below the 
village of Kebang, in the middle of the villages which formerly inter- 
fered with trade and have now undertaken to refrain 
from so doing, and the occasional presence of a garrison 
there would tend more than anything else to ensure that the 
promises given were kept. There is another consideration. As already 
stated, a bridle track has been constiucted as far as Yam bung, and 
orders have issued for its maintenance. Both General Bower and Mr. 
Bentinck have laid the grea rest stress on the educative and civilising 
effect of roads in this country, and from this point of view as well as 
in the interests of trade, it is essential that this road should be kept 
open, and, as opportunity affords continu* d further. In paragraph 11 
of this letter the Chief Commissioner has held that if survey and ex- 
ploration by small parties is to be rendered possible, it will be necessary 
for the Political Officer to become acquainted with all the important 
villages in his charge and to establish friendly relations with them , and 
Sir Archdale Earle holds that the best, and indeed the only means, of 
doing this will be, in the first instance, through the medium of trade 
and by the establishment of a trading centre in the Abor country. He 
considers in fact that the entire success of the policy outlined for the 
control of this area depends on the suggestion now made. Mr. 
Bentinck has described the scarcity of culturable land when cultivation 
is carried on by the wasteful method ofjhuming, and Mr. Dundas has 
actually carried out on a small scale a demonstration of the advantages 
of permanent terrace cultivation such as is effected with the utmost 
success by the Angami tribe in the Naga Hills. It is by the Abors 


thus coming in contact with civilisation and seeing for themselves its 
benefits that Sir Archdale Earle counts on converting these hitherto 
troublesome tribes into peaceful neighbours. On this subject Major- 
Gcneral Bower, extracts from whose note are appended to this letters, 
is in complete sympathy.*' 

The following are extracts from the note referred to (it forms 
Annexure H to the Government letter) : 

"The chief points to notice in our relations with the various Abor 
tribes is the manner in which certain sections have denied access to 
the plains to all those living behind them. These sections are the 
people who have been responsible for many raids and for the massacre 
of Mr. Williamson's party. Their power has been broken , condign 
punishment inflicted, and the purdah lifted. The villages in the hinter- 
land have expressed a wish to be allowed to trade, and we have 
explained to the border villages that no hindrance will be tolerated. 
Common humanity indicates that the Panggi tribe should be allowed 
access to a trading station. Their condition owing to their inability 
to obtain salt is pitiable. They will do almost anything to obtain it. 
They are also anxious to obtain cloth, cooking pots, etc. 

The villages to the north, such as Simong, trade with Tibet, but 
this trade is carried on under considerable difficulties, and the people 
state that they would much prefer to trade with India if allowed to do 

To keep touch with the people and at the same time pursue a 
policy that will tend to their material prosperity should, I consider, 
be the lines on which our future dealings should be directed. 

The first step required towards both objects is the establishment 
of a trade mart, and Rotung is the nearest suitable point. It has the 
great advantage of being easily accessible to both the Minyongs and 
the Panggis, and can be reached by both the Padams and the Gal longs. 
It has the further advantage of being placed just inside the line across 
which hitherto the trade barrier existed. It is suitably placed for the 
maintenance of the mule road recently constructed". 

Finally, in paragraph 21, the Chief Commissioner proposed the 
formation of a permanent Coolie Corps at Sadiya, of a strength of not 
less than 600, as a permanent nucleus of transport. 

The Government of India's orders, approved by the Secretary of 
State, on these proposals were contained in their letter No.2447-E.B.,* 
dated the 16th October 1912, and were to the following effect as 
regards the policy to be followed on the North-East Frontier. 

"Central section 

(1) The retention of the posts established at Balek (100 rifles), 
Pasighat (75 rifles) and Kobo (25 rifles). 

* Assam Secretariat, Political, A, December 1912, Nos.172-173. 


(2) Establishment of a trading post near Kebang to be hold for 

several months in the year by a guard of 100 rifles. 
This post is sanctioned on the clear understanding that 
the guard only remains there as long as the trading post 
is open and that its scope is confined to keeping the road 
open and undisturbed. The Chief Commissioner's pro- 
posals for the precise location of the post should be sub- 
mitted as soon as possible. 

(3) Despatch of exploring and survey parties, with sufficient 

escorts to overcome any possible opposition, to the 
Doshung pass and the head-waters of the Siyom and 
Sigon rivers. 

Eastern section 

(1) Construction of a properly bridged cart and bridle road 

from Sadiya to the frontier near Menilkrai 

(2) Establishment of a Military Police post in the vicinity of 

Menilkrai. The actual strength and site of the post must 
be decided later and will require careful consideration. 
An intermediate post of 100 tides at Buruphu with a 
track up the Delei river to the G'lei Dakhru pass ; and 
a third post of 25 rifles on the Digaru river with a track 
up to the Painlon pass. The sites of these intermediate 
posts not to be finally settled until the road is cons- 

(3) Employ mem of two companies of Sappers and Miners and 

two double-companies of Pioneers, with complete trans- 
port under a Major of Royal Engineers, for the construc- 
tion of the above posts and roads. 

(4) Construction of a light telegraph line from Sadiya to the 

advanced post with offices at the intermediate posts. 

(5) Construction of a bridle track up the left bank of the Dibong 

river up to the Dri-Dibong confluence, and the employ- 
ment of an additional company of Sappers and Miners 
and an additional double- company of Pioneers, with full 
transport, for the construction of this track. 

(6) Surveys to be made of the Dibong valley in continuation of 

the woik done last season ; of the Dri river to its source ; 
of all the inhabited valleys leading into either the Dri 
or Dibong rivers ; arid of the Sisseri valley to connect 
with the Mishmi and Abor surveys of last season. Escorts 
and coolie transport to be provided by the Local 

Western section 

The next season in this se< tion no survey or exploration on any 
extensive scale be undertaken, but west of the Subansiri- 
Siyom divide the Political Officer in charge should in- 
crease our knowledge of the tribes arid establish relations 
with them by means of promenades as a preliminary to 
subsequent survey and exploration. 



(1) Appointment of officers and pay. The entire tribal area, east of 
the Subansiri-Siyom divide, to be in political charge of 
Mr. Dundas, with headquarters at Sadiya. Mr. Dundas 
to have the status of a Deputy Commissioner and work 
directly under the Chief Commissioner. 

Mr. Dundas, who should be left free to tour, to have for the 
present four assistants. OneMr. T. P. M. O'CalJa- 
ghan, Assistant Superintendent of Police, 1st grade for 
the Lohit valley ; another, to be nominated by the 
Chief Commissioner, to look after the Bebejiya and Chuli- 
kata Mishmis ; the third Mr. T. . Furze, Assistant 
Superintendent of Police, 1st grade to deal especially 
with the Abor hills ; while the fourth Mr. W. J. H. 
Ballantine, Extra Assistant Commissioner, 6th grade 
in the first instance to assist Mr. Dundas at headquarters 
in the administration of the plains portion of the charge. 
The portion of the frontier, west of the Subansiri- 
Siyom divide, to be in political charge of Captain G. A. 
Nevill, Superintendent of Police. Captain Nevill to have 
no fixed headquarters, but, after a period of training 
under Mr. Dundas, to tour about with the object of for- 
mulating definite proposals for the control of his charge. 
Captain Nevill to also work directly under the Chief 

"(2) Police. (/) Removal of the present Lakhimpur battalion 
of Military Police from Dibrugarh to Sadiya, where it will 
be accommodated in temporary quarters until its final 
location is decided. 

(it) The immediate recruitment at Dibrugarh of a second batta- 
lion of Lakhimpur Military Police, 750 strong, to occupy 
the quarters vacated by the first battalion 

(iv) The maintenance of a permanent coolie corps of 600 men, 
with sardars, etc., at Sadiya". 

In letter No.l394-P., dated the 24th March 1914, Assam 
addressed the Government of India on the question of defining the 
inner boundary of the North .-East Frontier Tract, the 
object being "to enable the Political Officers to exercise in 
a regular manner the measure of political control which has been sanc- 
tioned". The Chief Commissioner proposed "to constitute a new 
North-East Frontier Tract, which will comprise two political charge-, 
and at the same time to define a new Frontier Tract in which the 
Deputy Commissioner of Lakhimpur will exercise jurisdiction". The 
three new charges would be known as the ' 'Cent al and Eastern Sec- 
tions, North-East Frontier Tract, the Lakhimpur Frontier Tract, and 
the Western Section, North-East Frontier Tract". 

* Assam Secretariat, Political, A, April 1914, Nos.1-2. 


The proposals were agreed to and by Notifications* Nos.977-E.B., 
978-E.B., and 979-E. B., all of the 25th September 1Q14, 
the new charges were constituted and their boundaries defined. By 
Notification No.6709-P ,| dated the 16th November 1914, the Chief 
Commissioner prescribed ''rules for the administration of justice in the 
Central and Eastern Sections North-East Frontier", adding that "these 
rules will only be enforced in the area under loose political control to 
the extent which may from time to time appear expedient". 

IX. Minor events, 1912 1923 (a) The Dibong Survey and Explora- 
tion Expedition of 1912-1913.% This was organised with the sanction of 
t'"e Government of India, in pursuance of the policy outlined in their 
letter No 2447-E.B.,J dated the 16th October 1912, and its purpose was 
to (o) discover the course of the D : bong river and (I) fix the main 
range of the Himalayas north of the Dibong river basin. Its objects 
were survey and exploration, safety was to be kept in view but the 
officer in charge was to "visit as many as possible of the villages in the 
areas over which loose political control will now be exercised.". 

It was a big force, including 315 Military Police, 52 Survey person- 
nel, over 1,000 coolies and 10 British Officers. Captain G. A. Nevill, 
S. P. was appointed to be in charge of the party : Major C. Bliss com- 
manded the Military Police escort : Captain F. M. Bailey was Intelli- 
gence Officer : Captain G. P. Gunter, R E., was in charge of the 
Survey Party. 

The expedition were in the field from 30th November 1912 to 5th 
June 1913, and Captain Nevill claimed that they had accomplished 
the whole of the task set before them. The entire country been 
surveyed, and excellent relations were established with the inhabitants. 
The Sisseri Valley, the Matun Valley, the Emra Valley, the Upper 
Dri Valley, the Upper Tanong Valley and the Ahui Valley were sur- 
veyed. When in the Matun region, interesting information was 
obtained about the incursion of Tibetans which had occurred some ten 
years previously with disastrous results to the invaders. A few were 
still left, however, a colony of about 900 souls, in the Matun Valley. 
Nevill observed that there were constant complaints, as in the Abor 
country, of "trade-blocks", which he gave orders must be removed. 
He found no trace of Chinese penetration. In May towards the end 
of the expedition, Nevill made an attempt to arrest Pongon of Elapoin 
who had been concerned in a murder and evaded capture ever since. 
He failed to arrest him, but burnt his village. 

(b) The Rima Road. The progress made in carrying out the six 
schemes* enumerated under "Eastern section" in the cold weather of 
1912-3 was disappointing. In his letter No.2958-P., dated the 19th 
June 1913, with which he sent up his proposals for the ensuing season's 

* Assam Secretariat, Political, A, December 1914, Nos. 19-54. 
tAasam Secretariat, Political, A, December 1914, Nos.11-18. 

JAssam Secretariat, Political, B, February 1914, NOR. 153-162. (Capt. Nevill's 


work, the Chief Commissioner explained how the Public Works De- 
partment constructed a cart road 22 miles long from Sanpura to Paya, 
and a mule road of 52 miles from Paya to Pareliang. Beyond the 
Tidding Sappers and Miners and Pioneers, under the command of 
Colonel G W. Somerset, 48th Pioneers, were employed. It soon be- 
came clear that no more than the Lohit Valley road could be attempt- 
ed, and item (3) of the programme was postponed, while the men were 
also withdrawn from the work on item (5). Great physical difficulties 
were encountered, and finally work had to be abandoned owing to 
heavy and continuous rain from April to May A mule track 
had been constructed to a point 8 miles from Minzang, at which 
instead of going on to Walong, they had to decide to stop, the with- 
drawal from Minzang entailing severe hardships and difficulties. 

(c) The "Walong Promenade" of January- March 1 91 4. The Secretary 
of State's sanction was conveyed in the Government of India's telegram 
No.2657-E.B.* dated the 19th November 1913. The expedition! was 
in the charge of Mr. T. P. M. O'Callaghan, Assistant Political 
Officer, Sadiya, accompanied by Major C. Stansfeld and Lieutenant 
H. R. Haringlon of the l/8th Gurkha Rifles and an escort provided by 
that regiment. Captain MeDonald, I.M.S , was Medical Officer. 
Rim a was visited at the invitation of the Tibetan authorities, and cor- 
dial relations established. Sir Archdale Earle's views as to what 
should be done as regards the frontier were given in letter No.2025-P., 
dated the 6th May 1914 as follows. 

"3. Mr. O'Callaghan's report confirms the information in the; 
possession of the Chiel Commissioner that there arc at present no 
Chinese troops anywhere in the neighbourhood of Rima. It urges 
nevertheless the importance of carrying the Lohit Valley road to our 
frontier, and of establishing a post as near the frontier as is practicable 
at the earjiest possible date. This view is shared by the Chief Com- 
missioner, but he realises that, for reasons which will presently be 
staled, it will probably be found advisable to move slowly in the com- 
ing cold weather. He thinks, however, and he trusts that the 
Government of India will agree in this view, that the impossibility of 
recognising a Chinese boundary in the neighbourhood of Mcnilkrai 
has been finally established, and he regards Mr O'Callaghan's action 
in removing the boundary posts as thoroughly justified. He has all 
along held that our boundary should begin at the junction of the Tho 
Chu stream with the 1 ohit, and that "he road should be continued up 
to this point. In your telegram No.l27-C., dated the 2nd March 1913, 
the Government of India found themselves unable to accept this 
proposal, holding that the Tho Chu stream was clearly within Tibetan 
limits. The Chief Commissioner was compelled to ask for a reconsi- 
deration of this decision, and did so in Major Kennedy's letter 
No.358-C., dated the 17th September 1913, to which no reply has yet 
been received. 

Assam Secietanat, Political, A, May 1914, Nos. 17-64. 
*Assam Srcretriat, Political, A, September 1914, Nos. 1-86. 
f Assam Srcrrfariat, Political, A, June 1914, Nos. 5-J3. 


4. Another matter, as regards which Sir Archdale EarJe considers 
that there can no longer be two opinions, is the location of the ulti- 
mate post on the road. Mr. O'Gallaghan supports all the officers 
who have visited the locality in selecting Walong, and the Chef Com- 
missioner has little to add to what was stated in my letter No.22-T.G. 
dated the 23rd January 1913. I he position is t mateiially altered by 
the undoubted possibility that, in a few years, the garrison of the post 
could be rationed locally, while the experience of the promenade 
shows that Mishini transport will be available in incirasing volume 
for the carriage of the stoics and rations, which must be sent up from 
Sadiya, and for reliefs. Sir Archdale Earle is not at present prepared 
to put forward definite proposals for the establishment of a post at 
Walong in the coming cold weather, but, if the Government of India 
are prepared to accept the necessity of this post, the ca?e will hi* further 
examined, and the knowledge gained in the trilling operations which it 
is proposed to undertake, and which will be presently described, will 
be utilised. The possibility that the Tibetan authorities will improve 
communications between Walong and Rima, and that thereby a 
valuable trade route will be opened, is an atti active one, and it must 
be remembered that this road, if constructed, could readily be rendered 
impassable by the Walong garrison should signs of Chinese aggression 
render this course advisable at any time. It is also possible that, with 
the completion of the load and with local supplies and transport 
available to a large extent, it may not be necessary to have a chain of 
connecting posts between Sadiya and Walong as was at first proposed 

The party started on January 1st, 1914 ftom Sadiya: thev 
reached Mmzang on the 29th : and Tilam on the Uth February, pass- 
ing on the way at Menilkrni the Chinese boundary post : and on Fe- 
bruary llth rode into Rima, the party consisting of O'Callaghan, 
Stansfeld, Macdonald, Harington, Sergeant Howard, Supply and 
Transport Corps, and 3 Gurkha Officci s and 36 Rifles of the 1/ttth. 
They exchanged visits with the Tibetan officials the attitude of whom 
was most cordial. On the 13th February they left Rima. While at 
Mcnilkrai on this occasion, O'Callaghun took the opportunity to 
remove both the boundary pillars which the Chinese had put up 3 
miles south of Walong and which Dundas found there in 191 1, as well 
as a fresh one which had been put up on June 9th, 1912. 

O'Callaghan's views as to the establishment of a post at Walong 
were expressed as follows. 

" I am more than ever convinced of the necessity of the 

finishing of the road to our frontier and the opening of a post as near 
our frontier as soon as possible. From Walong to Rima, there is no 
difficulty in road making and the Lohit Valley road already con- 
structed and open up to Mankum only required continuation to 
Manglor flat, a distance of less than 30 miles, to make the opening and 
rationing of the post a practicable scheme. I trust it will be clearly 
realised that a small force, operating from Walong, could occupy Rima 
and hold the Rong Tho and Zayul Valleys in 24-30 hours and, 
vice versa, a force moving from Rima can unopposed be in position 
on Menilkrai flat within 36 hours and effectually prevent any advance 
up the Lohit Valley. Should delay be made, it is not impossible that 


in the yrars to come it may take much more than the resources which 
the Local Administration will have at its immediate command, to 
assert our legitimate rights and claims, which the ready completion of 
the already sanctioned but uncompleted scheme for the Lohit Valley 
will confirm. 

Another important point in connection with the establishment of a 
post at Walong is that of the immense cost rationing the post from 
Sadiya would entail. I made enquiries locally and am satisfied that 
within a few years the majority of the rice and other items required for 
the supplies can be procured locally, either grown or purchased. 
Large quantities of u rain are raised locally and at or near Rima and 
up the Rong Tho Ghu and much of the grain trade could, I think, be 
diverted southwards. 

With the construction of the properly graded mule road to the 
frontier, it is to be hoped that a trade route, capable of progressive 
development, will be created and a high road secured to Tibet and 
perhaps beyond, in no way infeiior to the present route from Bengal 
through Gyantse in point of distance and in a few years of economic 
and strategic importance. The eastern and south-eastern Tibetans will 
quickly realise the advantages of their proximity to the markets of 

The cautious policy adopted in the new Frontier Tract for the 
first few years al'ter its formation is described in Mr. Dimdas, report for 
the year 1917- 18 as follows. 

"During the year the remaining few Abor and Singpho villages 
and all Khamtis were brought under administration and assessed to 
poll-tax. The district is now completely formed as far as the Si men 
river. V\ est of that stream and as far as the Subansiri the country is 
comparatively unknown and the first point to be decided on is a definite 
boundary with the Lakhimpur district, which cannot be done until the 
area is properly surveyed. Parties were at work on it during the year, 
but the result of their survey has not yet been communicated. 

The plains as far as the foot of the hills have always been claimed 
as British territory. It was not however expedient to enforce this 
claim until recent years, and several Abor villages, all the Khamtis 
and half the Singphos enjoyed immunity from taxation. I began with 
the most powerful villages in which strong opposition to any impost 
was to be expected, ana in 1915-16 brought the large Pad am Abor 
villages Bomjur, Dambuk, Silluk, Mimasipo, Mebo and Aiyeng under 
administration not without critical moments when trouble was barely 
averted. The example influenced the smaller Mishmi villages between 
the Dibang and Dihong who offered no opposition and began to piy 
poll-tax the same year. Next year the process was extended to the 
Pasi-Minyong and Minyong villages near Pasighat and to those Sing- 
phos and Nagas living to the south and west of the Noa Dihing. During 
the year under report the remaining Abors as far as the Simen river, 
the rest of the Singphos and all the Khamtis have been assessed to 
poll-tax and are now British subjects. Once the difficulties with the 
Padam Abors were surmounted, the rest was simple. The test applied 
in bringing a village under administration was the fact of having any 
portion of its cultivation in the plains. None of the Padam villages 


now British are exactly in the plains, but the greater part of the culti- 
vation of each is. The same test was not found practicable in the case 
of the Pasi-Mmyongs, Minyongs, and the Galongs in the Pasighat sub- 
division. There between the Dibong and Siznen I made the Bapur 
Torne ridge the boundary and taxed every village on its slopes and 
spurs running down to the plains. They are easy of access to Pasi- 
ghat. The people have since the Abor Expedition and the establish- 
ment of a post at Pasighat b't-n very friendly, bringing all their 
disputes to us for decision. The transition in their case was not 
abrupt, and they had the example of villages infinitely more powerful 
submitting to taxation. They are contented now under close adminis- 
tration, hardly realising that conditions were ever different. Pasighat 
has been happy in the quality of the officers posted there," 

On the 24th November* I 1 ) 18, a sepoy was murdered at Nizam- 
ghat by three man of Elapoin (Mideren Mishmis) 6 days march from 
Nizamghat. In sending up proposals for an expedition to punish the 
perpetrators of this outrage, the Chief Commissioner, Sir Nicholas 
D. Beatson-Bell gave a history of the case as follows. 

"2. The murder of the rifleman appears to have been but another 
step in a long series of blood feuds. In the month of July 1905, as 
reported in paragraph 13 ot the Report on the Frontier Tribes of 
Eastern Bengal and Assam for the year 1905-1906, three British 
subjects were muHered by Bebejiyas near the Dikiang block-house. 
This outrage seems to have been committed in retaliation for the 
detention in jail of a man named Pongon, during the Mishmi Expedi- 
tion of 1900. The chief culprits in the murder of 1905 were found to 
be the same Pongon and one Taji Mideren of Elapoin village in the 
Ithun Valley. In consequence of ihe murder a blockade was declared 
against both the Bebejiya Mishmis and the Chulikatas through whose 
territories the mm derers had passed. This blockade was maintained 
down to the time of the Mishmi exploration of 1912, subject only to 
some relaxation in the case of friendly villages. In 1913 ^ Captain 
Nevill, while engaged in the Mishmi exploration, visited Elapoin and 
tried to arrest Pongon and his confederates, but found the village 
descried. Pongon refused to come in, so Captain Nevill burnt the 
houses of Pongon and of his relations and also those of Taji and Tali 
who were concerned in the 1905 murder. Nothing more happened 
until December 1917, when Taji Mideren came down to Sadiya, ap- 
parently thinking that the outrage of 1905 has been forgotten. He was 
arrested, tried, and sentenced to death, and his appeal for mercy 
having been rejected by the Governor General in Council he was 
hanged at Tezpur Jail on the 29th January 1918. In his Report on 
the Frontier Tribes for the year 1917-18 Mr. Dundas, Political Officer 
of the STadiya Frontier Tract, wrote as follows : 

"The villagers of Elapoin have now sworn to revenge his death. 
This is not idle talk. Some innocent person will certainly be ambus- 
caded and done to death. It may not be this year, but it will 
happen." The murder of the rifleman in November 1918, a few 

Political, B, December 1919, NOB 1-28. 


months after Mr. Dundas wrote that report, is striking evidence of the 
accuracy of Mr. Dundas 1 knowledge. In his letter oi the 30th Novem- 
ber 1918, of which a copy was submitted to the Government of India 
with my letter No.9652-P., dated the 6th December 1918, Mr. Dundas 
reported that he had received information that the persons responsible 
for the murder of the rifleman at Nizamghat were Ekhrome Mideren, 
Bapo Mideren and Kosa Mideren of Klapoin, and it seems certain that 
the murder of the rifleman at Nizamghat was the work of Pongon and 
his confederates in retaliation for the hanging of Taji Mideren." 

r l he Government of India weie, however, averse to any sort of 
"military commitments" and they asked that the operations should be 

In December 1919*, the Chief Commissioner reopened the matter, 
pointed out how we were supposed to be exercising "loose political 
control" in these areas a approved in Despatch No. 105, dated the 
21st September 1911 and Secretary of State's orders dated the 8th 
November 1911), and undertook that the operations would entail no 
risk of any situation arising which could not be controlled by local 

The Government of India agreed on the 31st December 1919, but 
owing to the lateness of the season the expedition had to be postponed. 
It took place under Mr. O'Callaghan who had succeeded Mr. Dundas, 
in December 1920. They reached Elapoin on the 9th December. An 
ambush was laid for our troops and one Mishmi was shot who very 
fortunately turntd out to be 1'ongon Mideren himself, the leader and 
instigator of the whole previous trouble and a constant nuisance lor 
some 25 years. There was no further difficulty and the troops return- 
ed to Sadiya by 2?th January 1921. Punishment was inflicted where 
required, and many outstanding disputes settled. The Chief Commis- 
sioner was satisfied lhat the result ot the expedition had "gone far to 
re-establish the authority oi Government after the enfoiced non-inter- 
vention of the last few years." (Government letter No.l094-P.,f 
dated the llth Febiuary 1921). 

In his Administration Report for 1921-1922 Mr. O'Callaghan, 
Political Officer, stated as follows 

" The Minyong of the Dihong Valley rendered what assis- 
tance was required of them without open murmur in helping the 
Survey Party who were working in the foot hills and on the second 
range, also in the construction of the new memorials to the late Messrs. 
Williamson and Gregorson on the scenes of their murders in 1911 at 
Komsing and near Panggi villages, bir Archdale Earle when Chief 
Commissioner on his tour in the Abor country in 19 1 3 ordered the 
construction of memorials suitable to the memory of the murdered 
officers. These memorials massive cairns 15 feet high on a 15-foot 
base were constructed this year, the villages giving, without question 
or delay, every help demanded of them, and the memorials were placed 
in charge of the villages concerned with solemn ceremony some of 
those present at the ceremonies being undoubtedly the actual 

* Political, B, January, Ncw.775-781. 
fPolhtioal, B, April 1921, Nos.243-268. 
Assam Secretariat Appointment & Political, B, Progs., June 1922, Nos. 37-39. 


murderers. It would not be correct to say that the Minyong has 
forgotten the Abor Expedition of 1911-12 that was despatched to 
exact punishment and retribution for the treacherous murder of 
Messrs. Williamson and Gregorson and party but the earnestness of our 
occupation of the Dihong Valley must never be allowed to openly 
diminish. More than with most primitive peoples, the Abor responds 
to signs of thoroughness and strict fairness in our administration. 

The Hukong Valley route for a railway 

Railway route connection between Assam and Burma from Ledo 

BurmT m to Sahmaw was surveyed by Mr. F. W. AUum, 

GB.E., Engineer-hvChief in 1920 and 1921. His 

report is dated the 30th April 1922, and the following extracts give 

the main facts. 

"3. Early in the nineties of the last century the desire for a 
railway connection between India and Burma was so strong that the 
Government of India appointed Mr R. A. Way, a very experienced 
and capable Engineer, to investigate the problem, and he examined 
three routes in this ordci : 

(1) From Ghittagong on the Assam-Bengal Railway along the 

Arakan coast and over the An Pass to the Chindwin 
river in Burma ; the coast route. 

(2) From the neighbourhood of Lumding on th? Assam-Bengal 

Railway, by way of Manipur, into tho Kubaw valley at 
Taromu, and thence, crossing the Chindwin river near 
Yuwa, to a junction with the Mu Valley Railway in 
Burma near Wuntho ; the Manipur route 

(3) From Ledo on the Dibrugar h-Sadiya Railway in the north- 

east corner of Assam, via the Hukong Valley, to a junc- 
lion with the Mu Valley Railway in the neighbourhood 
of Mogaung ; the Hukoi.g Valley route. 

* * * * * 

6. In the cold weather of 1 895-96 he reconnoitred the third route 
and estimated its length at 284 miles and the cost at 383 lakhs of 

* * * * * 

9. In the winter of 1917-18 Mr Stevenson, Executive Engineer 
of the Assam-Bengal Railway, explored the Patkai ridge for a distance 
of 20 miles west of Way's pass and 25 miles east thereof and discovered 
the lowest point on the ridge within this distance, the Sympana 
Saddle. He established the impracticability of any route west of 
Way's pass and east of the Sympana Saddle. 

10. Early in 1919 the Government of India decided to make a 
preliminary survey of the Hukong Valley Route 

* * * * * 

24. The Hill Section dividing the Assam plains from the Hukong 
Valley, of which the principal feature is the Patkai range, the watershed 
between Assam and Burma. In the viciniiy of the route the range 
varies in altitude from 6,800 at the Maium Bum to 3,080 at the 
Sympana Saddle, where the railway will cros* it. Extensive spurs 


nearly as high as the main range are thrown offiri directions indicated 
by the main rivers, roughly, after a qtiick turn, parallel to the main 
range arid these sjf>urs throw off subsidiary spurs to right and left, form- 
ing a tangled mass of hills through which the main rivers, the Namchik 
and the Namphuk on the As&m side of the watershed and the Loglai 
and Turong on the Burma side, present the only practicable route for a 
railway : the hill sides, especially in the upper portions of the main 
ridge, are very steep and crimped to an extraordinary extent, like the 
teeth of a bevil Wheel and the soil consists of sandstone or shale 
covered with a shallow layer of earth in which clay predominates 
supporting an exuberant growth of tree and bamboo jungle 

25. A part of the hill section, from the crossing of the Namphuk 
to the summit of the Patkai range, lies in the Sadiya Frontier Tract, 
and the remainder is not under British rule. 

* * * * * 

43. The length of line, as surveyed, from Ledo in Assam to 
Sahmaw in Burma is 278' 71 miles, of which 17 miles are in the 
Lakhimpur Frontier Tract, 46 miles in the Sadiya Frontier Tract, both 
under the Assam Government, 151 miles in unadministered territory 
(from the Patkai range to the eastern boundary of the Hukong Valley), 
and 64 71 miles in the Myitkyina district of Burma. The route I 
recommend, see paragraph 173, will be about 268'36 miles in length." 

* * * * * 

"70. The proposed route via the Namphuk Valley. The extreme 
costliness of a railway over the Patkais compelled us to look for the 
shortest practicable route over these mountains and from the Assam 
plains to Digum Jup this appear to be the line I have shown in dotted 
red on the map, i.e. , Ningrangnong to Nambong Jup on a ruling grade 
of 0*7 per cent, and Nambong Jup to Digum Jup via the 
tunnel " 

The cost was estimated (paragraph 173 of Allum's report) at 

The potentialities of the Nongyong Lake as a source of power in 
connection with what was known as the "HuJcong Valley Project" 
were investigated in the course of the Hydro- Electric Survey of India. 
The report of Mr. B. A. Blenkinsop, officer in charge of the Hydro- 
Electric Surveys, Assam, dated 1923,* states that "the Hukong Valley 

power station should form an excellent commercial undertaking". 

Mr. Blenkinsbp's succeeding remarks are interesting in view of the 
long-drawn controversy, as yet unsettled, regarding the Assam-Burma 

boundary, in this area. He observes " though situated in the Naga 

country 40 miles from Namchik, the finished products turned out by 
the Electro-Chemical factories in connection with this power station 
would practically be at the present rail head of the Assam-Bengal 
Railway, for the rough estimate of cost provides for constructing a 
line from Ledo to the Power House site of the scheme at the foot of 
the Patkai Range. I understand that the boundary between Assam 
and Burmah has not yet been finally decided on. If the present 

* Report on Hydro-Electric Surveys, Assam, 1923. 


territorial boundary as at present shown on the older maps, some , 20 
miles to the south-east of the Patkai Range, be adopted, then the 
whole of this project lies in Assam, but if for geographical reasons the 
Patkai Range is taken as the dividing line, then the Power House and 
pressure pipe line would be in Assam, while the reservoir would be in 
Burma. 'This project, it will be realized, is of intense importance to 
Assam, for if taken up commercially, it would certainly be a big, if 
not the decisive factor in the construction of the IndoBurma connec- 
tion railway along this route and consequently all that this railway 
would mean to the further prosperity of Assam." 

X. 1928*1941 In December 1928*, Mr. Furze the Pol- 
itical Officer, reported the arrival at Sadiya of Tebu 
Dendun, the Raja of Po, who had fled before invading 
Tibetans to sanctuary in British territory. The unrest in Po had 
started, according to the Political Officer in Sikkim, 
in the previous year, when the inhabitants refused to pay taxes to 
the Tibetan Government. Troops were sent by the latter to enforce 
their orders, and their action resulted in the flight of the Raja to 
British territory. At the suggestion of the Political Officer, Sikkim, 
permission was accorded by the Government of India in March 1929 
to the Raja to reside in Darjeeling or Kalimpong, it being held 
undesirable that he should remain so close to Po as 
Sadiya. In February 1930, however, the Political Officer advised that 
the Raja should be allowed to remain in Sadiya, advice with which 
the Governor of Assam concurred, and which the Government of 
India accepted. A yearf later, however, the Raja expressed a wish 
to return to his own country. While the matter was under reference 
to the Government of India, he absconded from Sadiya on the 25th 
'April 1931. He was arrested and kept in confinement, but again fled 
on the 20th July. Information was subsequently obtained to the 
effect that he had fallen ill and died at the village of Aokan some time 
in September 1931. 

The flight from Sadiya and subsequent death of the Po Raja 
gave rise to conditions in the northein vil ages of the Abor country, 
which caused concern to the authorities, as the following extract from 
the Political Officer's Report for the year 1931-32 indicates. 

"The flight of the Po Raja from Sadiya, which had 
been organized by one of his following Kcmi Tsiring, and his subse- 
quent death from exposure brought about consequent reactions in the 
Abor Hills. Alleging that the Padam tribe had been responsible for 
his leader's death and for the imprisonment at Sadiya of two Membas 
who had assisted in the escape, Kemi Tsiring succeeded in persuading 
the Shimong group of villages to attach Komkar, which is allied "to 
the Padam tribe, and in this unprovoked attack Kemi Tsiring and a 
small party of Membas also joined. It would appear however, that 
these warlike operations were organised without the knowledge of the 

Assam Secretariat, Political, A, September 1930, Nos.1-58. 
t Assam Secretariat, Political, A, December 193 VNos. 1-49. 


Tibetan force which still occupies the Memba country or alternative- 
ly had been sanctioned by them only on account of Kemi Tsiring's 
misrepresentations. The Tibetans, obviously, would not view with 
displeasure the death of the Po princeling, whose refusal to remit 
tribute to Tibet and whose action in slaughtering the first Tibetan 
force which came to extract the outstanding^ was the direct cause of 
all the trouble. Possibly with the idea of righting the wrong done by 
the unprovoked attack on Komkar village, two parties of Membas, 
led by Tibetans, subsequently visited Shimong and Karko villages, the 
first mentioned force sending a Memba delegation to Damro. It is 
reported, but this report is not yet confirmed, that the Tibetans have 
taken over Shimong and are realizing taxes from that village. What- 
ever the intentions of these Tibetan-led parties of Membas may have 
been, such activity in areas under our loose political control, parti- 
cularly in view of the fart that no official communications on the 
subject have been received from Tibet, cannot but cause concern. 

About the beginning of March, in retaliation for the attack on 
Komkar earlier in the year, a combined attack on Geku village was 
made by the villages of Komkar, Riga, Pangkang and Karko. The 
attacking force found the village undefended and are reported to have 
killed a number of women and children, but on their return journey 
they were trapped by the Geku fighting force and in the fighting which 
ensued they suffered considerably, 11 men being killed and a large 
number wounded, Komkar being the chief sufferers. The Geku 
casualties are not known but are also supposed to have been consider- 

Anual Report for 1933-34 relates that in this year "The 
British Museum Expedition (Captain Kingdon Ward, the explorer 
botanist, Mr. Kaulback and Mr. Brooks Garrington) passed up the 
Lohit Valley but separated not far beyond Rima. Captain Kingdon 
Ward took a route which was approximately the line of the Rongthong 
Chu North by west, till he could look into the basin of the Dibang, 
and thence back down the Delei south by west to the Lohit and 
Sadiya. He was away 9J months. The other two turned east and 
then south coming out to Fort Hertz in Burma. 

Nothing much was achieved in the way of exploration but the 
scanty news that got through and subsequent confirmation by letters, 
revealed conditions which show that the influence of Government is 
felt far up amongst the Lohit Mishmi tribes who are definitely friendly. 
The Tibetan Official at Rima was extremely kind and helpful and 
seems most anxious to establish close relations and trade with 

The Cinematograph, which Mr. Brooks Carrington operated, 
seemed to have aroused neither superstitious fears nor unfavourable 
comment which is rather unusual. 

The tribesmen were very willing to earn the several thousands of 
rupees which the expedition brought in to the country. Since all 
relationships were friendly the expedition may be considered to have 
been beneficial. 


* * * * 

"That the British Museum Expedition could wander about so 
vaguely and yet return in complete safety without difficulties augurs 
well for the progress of pacific conditions since the march of 
Colonel F. M. Bailey some 20 odd years age, when he 'found the 
Mishmis there a disagreeable and hostile lot." 

The Political Officer referred again to the aggression of Membas 
on behalf of Shimong and their interference in Abor quarrels. 

In November 1933 an outrage was committed by unadministered 
Chulikatta Mishmis on a village in British Territory within one march 
of Nizamghat, four children being killed and others injured. The 
Political Officer (Mr. Grace) was authorised to make a "promenade" 
in the Sisseri Valley. Mr. Grace carried* this out between 14th 
February and 5th March 1934 accompanied by Gaptain Glenn and one 
platoon of the Assam Rifles. The expedition was successful, many 
cases were settled by the Political Officer and friendly relations were 
maintained throughout. 

This was followed in October 1934 by a si milar promenade up 
the Dibang by Mr. Grace who was accompanied by Gaptain Sherman 
and 6 sections of the Assam Rifles. The object was to exact retribu- 
tion for certain murders and to settle cases between taxpaying and 
non-taxpaying villages. The expedition was successful and penetrated 
above the Ithun by way of Aprunye as far as Ibyni and Aurnli (or Eru- 
nli) on the Emra. Immense physical difficulties were encountered and 
successfully overcome. 

In his report for 1936-37, Mr. W. H. Galvert, I.P., the Political 
Officer, wrote "With an escort of one British Officer and 25 rifles, the 
Political Officer carried out a three weeks' tour in Unadministered 
territory of the Abor Hills. The column crossed the Dihang River at 
Yembung, inspected the Memorial to Dr. Gregorson at Pangi and 
that to Mr. Williamson at Komsing, and proceeded north to Riu 
and Bcging, crossing the river again to Dosing and returning down the 
right bank of the Dihang River through Yeksing, Pangin, Yembung 
and Rotung to Pasighat. This is the first occasion villages north of 
Komsing and Pangin have been visited since the Abor Survey in 1913. 
The Column was well received everywhere and friendly contact was 
renewed with the Minyong Abors of the Dihang, Shimang and Siyom 
valleys. Large representative gatherings of Minyongs took the oppor- 
tunity of discussing disputes, mostly concerning land, mythun and 
other prpperty (and actually setting some !) which have been hanging 
fire for years. I was repeatedly urged to extend my tour further 
north and was assured of a warm welcome if I would do so.*' 

Assam Secretariat, Political, B, June 1934, Nos.1300-1329. 
Governor's Secretariat, B, Progs. December 1937, No. 2 22, 


During March an armed party of Mcmbas came down the 
Dihang Valley as far as Karko. They brought presents of salt and 
endeavoured to collect tribute. At Riga, the Minyong parent village, 
they met with a blank refusal. This village also refused to accept the 
salt and would not allow the party to pass through or camp in the 
village, declining to supply coolies. 

The annual report for 1937-38 states that 

"Mr. Calvert carried out a tour in the Mishmi Hilts so far as the 
Dou Valley (Unadministered). The object was to renew contact with 
the Taroan and Miju Mishmis who had not been visited for fifteen 
years, to inspect the suspension bridges over the Deloi and Dou Rivers 
and to investigate the possibility of re-opening the Lohit Valley Road 
beyond Theroliang. 

Another tour was undertaken in the Unadministered area of the 
Abor Hills as far as the Shimang River. Mr. Calvert was escorted 
by an Indian Officer and 25 rifles of the 2nd Battalion, Assam Rifles. 
Friendly contact was renewed with the Minyong Abors of the upper 
reaches of the Siang and of the Shimang and Siyom Valleys. The 
tour was a success and he was well received every where,. large numbers 
of tribesmen coming in to renew acquaintance and to have their 
disputes settled by an unbiassed arbitrator. Dosing, who resented his 
visit last year and non -co-operated as much as they dared, received 
him most cordially, an indication that we are gaining their confi- 
dence. It is hoped in a few years those living in and close to the 
Control Area will be as amenable to orders as those in the fully adminis- 
itered area. Mr. Calvert is confident that this tour did a great deal 
in that direction." 

In this year the formation of a "Control Area" to the north of 
Pasighat was sanctioned in the Government of India's letter No.F.-45- 
X/37, dated the 13th January 1938. This was the outcome of a con- 
ference held in 1936, the immediate purpose of which was to take 
measures for the abolition of slavery in unadministered areas, and 
final proposals were submitted to the Government of India in the 
Assam Governor's letter No.2762-G.S. ,* dated the llth November 
1937. It was this Control Area which was subsequently extended in 
1941 by virtue of the Government of India's letter No.l21-X/41, 
dated the 20th May 1941. (Sa page below). 

In 1938 the Political Officer, Mr. Godfrey, reported to Govern- 
ment on the subject of the annual incursion by Tibetan officials into 
the villages along the Tsangpo as far as Karko which had been going 
on for the last 20 years, and which was stated to be getting yearly 
more of a burden. These officials levied taxes and took forced labour 
from both Mtxnba and Abor villages south of the McMahon line, 
treated the villagers with great cruelty, and told them they were 
Tibetan subjects. Subsequent information showed that Karko had 

* Governor's Secretariat, Tribal, A, March 1941, Nos. 42-98. 


instituted a trade block preventing trade up or down to go past them. 
It was then recommended to the Government of India in Assam 
letter No.5474-G.S., dated the 31st December 1938 that the Political 
Officer should himself pay a visit to this area, and this was agreed to. 
Mr. Godfrey left Sadiya with Mr. J. H. F, Williams, Assistant 
Political Officer, Pasighat, and an escort of 45 Assam Rifles on the ?6th 
February 1939, and was back there on the 31st March 1939. The 
objects which he set before him were 

"I. To ascertain the position as regards Tibetan infiltration and 
oppression south of the McMahon Lane. 

II. To attempt to remove "trade blocks" imposed by certain of 
the Abor clans on the main trade routes to Tibet and the plains on 
either side of the Siang Valley. 

III. To settle inter-tribal disputes between the main Abor clans 
the Padam, Pangi, Minyong and Karko, which of recent years have 
become aggravated and which in the absence of an early peaceful 
settlement it was feared would again lead to bloodshed. 

In addition the opportunity was to be taken to carry out a rough 
survey of this area, which had not been visited since 1913, with a view 
to ascertain the prevalence or otherwise of tuberculosis and other 

His 32 days' tour covered a total distance of over 230 miles, 
took him through the heart of the Minyong country up the Siang or 
Tsangpo Valley from Pasighat and brought him into contact with 
villages north of Dosing which had not been visited since the Abor 
Survey Expedition of 1913. He found trade blocks at (1) Riga on 
the right bank, who prevented trade from going past them either north 
or south : (2} at Karko, also on the right bank who prevented any 
trade going from south to north : (3) at Komkar and Dainroh. 
(Padam) on the left bank who prevented trade corning down to the 
south : and (4) at Shimong on the left bank who prevented travel 
from south to north. He ordered these blocks to be removed. His 
reception in general was friendly, except from Shimong, who were 
inclined to be hostile, but he was convinced that any escort of less 
than a platoon would be unwise beyond Dosing, Komsing, or Damroh 

It was apparent from this expedition that Tibetan influence 
extended some 70 miles south of the McMahon line and that the big 
villages of Shimong and Karko had recently been paying tribute to 
Tibetan officials. It was recommended that the whole position 
needed review ; while as regards trade blocks it was pointed out that 
to enforce their removal, a cold weather outpost would be required. 

In letter No.3720-G,S.,* dated the 24th October 1939, the 
Government of Assam proposed on the basis of the Political Officer's 
report that outposts should be established at Karko and Riga in the 
Upper Siang Valley at the beginning of the cold wea^Jiet.jjf 194Q, 
being withdrawn the following April, a propo L -^ S5fi ~^^**^ 
Political Officer in Sikim, agreed. The n 

Governor's Secretariat. Ti thai, A, June 1940, N< 
* Governor's Secretariat, File No.G.S.-768 of 1 


agreed in their letter of the 30th August 1940.* The outposts were 
put out under the direction of Mr. J. H. F. Williams i.p. the 
Assistant Political Officer, Pasighat in March 1941. 

In April 1940J- Mr. Godfrey made an extensive tour up the 
Siyom Valley on the south, or right, bank of the Siyom 
through the north-east unadministered Gallong country which had 
not been visited since the Survey operation of 1912-13. The main 
purpose of the tour was to settle a serious land dispute between the 
Minyong and Gallong Ab ors who were on the verge of hostilities. A 
boundary was fixed and peace assured. 

In reviewing the effects of the action taken in the season 1940-41 
in the upper reaches of the Siang, the Governor of Assam expressed 
the opinion (letter No.l439-G.S.,* dated the 22nd March 1941) after 
discussion with the Political Officers, both of Sikim and of Sadiya, 
that progress had been made towards the pacification of this area, that 
feuds had been checked, trade routes opened, and our abhorrence of 
slavery impressed on the inhabitants. Success in preventing the 
illegal exactions by the Tempo officials had not been so great, inas- 
much as the Memba tax-collecting parties came down as before imme- 
diately after Mr. Williams' departure and exacted tribute from Gette 
and Simong. His recommendations as to the next step were as 

"5. In His Excellency's opinion matters cannot be allowed to rest 
in this condition, and he considers that the time has come to follow up 
the partial success of this year by extending our protection up both 
banks of the river. From Karko northwards to Tuting inclusive on the 
West Bank and similarly from Simong northwards to Jido inclusive on 
the East Bank the villages are Abor and owe allegiance to the powerful 
parent villages of Karko and Simong. North of Tuting and Jido 
there are a few small villages of Bhutanese origin akin to the villages 
in the valley on the Tibet side of the frontier. Two alternatives 
appear to be possible. We can either consider the Abor villages only 
and leave the Bhutanese villages further North to their fate, or we can 
consolidate our position right up to the Tibetan frontier on the 
McMahon Line. His Excellency favours the latter alternative, seeing 
that to stop short of the Bhutanese villages might appear to imply 
relinquishment of our claim to the territory they occupy. This alter- 
native, as the Political Officer in Sikkim has pointed out in discussion, 
has the following definite advantages ; the Tibetan Government would 
soon thus realise that we intend to exercise control up to the McMahon 
Line and no further ; the presence of people of the same race on either 
side of the frontier is likely to prove as advantageous as at other places 
on the North-East and North- West Frontier ; and the relationship of 
Bhutanese on our side of the frontier to Bhutanese on Tibet side would 
tend to facilitate intelligence work. His Excellency further considers 
that the best method of estab'ishing our counter-influence over these 

* Governor's Secretariat File No.G.S-1159 of 1940 

I General Administration Report of the Sadiya Frontier Tract for the year 


villages would by extending to include them the control area approved 
in your letter No. F.45-X/37, dated the 13th January 1938. The 
Political Officer, Sadiya Frontier Tract, is satisfied that if this be done 
he will be able gradually to stiffen their resistance to illegal exactions m 

6. I am to request the approval of the Government of India to 
the proposals to re-establish the outposts in the Upper Siang valley 
next cold weather and to extend the control area as indicated above, 
the Political Officer being permitted to tour with an escort up to the 
Tibetan frontier for the purpose of ensuring that his orders of this cold . 
weather to the Abors have been duly carried out, of investigating 
suitable boundaries for the extension of the control area and of in- 
forming the villagers that they are under no obligation to comply with 
the demands of tax-gatherers coming down from the North." 

Ihe Government of India sanctioned the " proposed extension of 
the Control Area of the Political Officer, Sadiya Frontier Tract, up to 
the McMahon Line in the Siang Valley" as suggested in the above 
extract, on the understanding that no additional expenditure was incur- 
red, in their letter No. F.121-X/41,* dated the 20th May 1941. 

Further correspondence ensued in order to elucidate certain points, 
and the Government of India were again addressed in Assam letter 
No.5360-G.S., dated the 9th September 1941 as follows. 

" the Political Officer, Sadiya Frontier Tract, will, in the 

Upper Siang Valley, come in contact with the following : 

(a) A large number of Abor villages, who are not Buddhist and to 
whom the revenues of the Sera Monastery are of no concern . 

(b) A small group of Bhutia villages inhabited by Buddhists at the 
farther end of the new Control Area. These Bhutias trade in Tibet 
and have probably always contributed to monastic revenues. 

(c) The Tempo officials on thcii tax-collecting tour. 

The attitude which His Excellency considers the Political Officer 
should adopt towaids the persons in each of these categories is slightly 

(a) To the Abor villagers he considers that the Political Officer 
should say that they are under no obligal ion to pay anything to the 
Tempo officials > and that they may tell the Tempo officials so ; if the 
Tempo officials after this warning persist in their demands the Abor 
villages should send word down to the Political Officer. 

(b) To the Bhutias His Excellency considers that the Political 
Officer should be authorised to give the same assurance, adding that 
we have no intention of interfering if they wish to subscribe to purely 
monastic funds in Tibet. 

(c) If the Political Officer meets the Tempo officials His Excellency 
considers that he should inform them that they are within a British 
control area, where no exactions of taxes other than such as may be 
imposed by the British Government are permissible ; but if they 
claim any rights to exact monastic dues he will report that claim to his 
Government for orders, pending which none should be collected. 

'Governor's Secretariat File No. G.S.- 11 59 of 1940. 


These proposals have the concurrence of the Political Officer in 
Sikkim. The orders of the Government of India on them are 

2. His Excellency considers that the Political Officer should be 
careful to say nothing to the villages in the Control Area which 
might be taken to imply that immediate and effective protection wJll 
be forthcoming. Protection, His Excellency considers, must certainly 
come about at some time or other, either by the exercise of their autho- 
rity by the Tibetan Government or by the establishment of posts but, 
taking into consideration the delays in correspondence and the distance 
involved, that protection cannot immediately be effective. 

3 If these incursions from north of the McMahon Line do not 
cease it may I e necessary at some future date to establish one or more 
additional outposts further up the Valley, but the expenditure involved 
is not likely to be large." 

The Government of India concurred in these views in their letter 
No. F.121-X/41, dated the the 2nd October 1941. 

The post at Riga and Karko were put out afresh by Mr. Williams, 
accompanied by Captain G. A. E. Kcene and an escort of Assam 
Rifles. They had difficulty with Riga at first, that village having 
apparently thought that our people had come to take sides with them 
in their old quarrel wi.h Karko and being correspondingly dissatisfied 
when they found they were mistaken. A firm attitude and the 
exercise of some judicious pressure, however, made them change their 

The Governor of Assam paid a visit to this region in December 
1941. His tour had unfortunately to be cut short as the outbreak of 
war with Japan necessitated his return to headquarters, but he went up 
as far as Pangin, 4 marches up the Siang Valley from Pasighat. He 
met 370 representing 75 villages, both Padam, Gallong, Minyong and 
Pang-i, and including such important ones as Karko, Riga, Pangin, 
'Dosing, 'Rotung, Kembang, Komsing and Damro. Their attitude was 
throughout friendly, and His Excellency impressed upon them the 
necessity of refraining from the practice of slavery, from mit ban-raiding, 
and from maintaining tradeblocks : as also the fact that they were 
undtr no necessity to accede to the demands of the Mombas. 

XI. The Rima Road again. The nature and quality of our system 
of intelligence on the North-East Frontier was reopened in 1936, at the 
instance of the then Governor-General and, as regards this side of the 
Frontier, the Governor of Assam in his letter No. 1704-G.S., dated the 
1st September 1937 to the Government of India recommended that 
the Lohit Valley Road up to the International Boundary near Rima 
should be reopened as the best means of improving our system of in- 
telligence. He thought that 

".3. The advantages likely to accrue from the reopening of the 
road are great. His Excellency is advised that were a road passable 
for ponies to be maintained as far as the International Boundary the 
Tibetan Government would undoubtedly keep the road between Rima 
and the Boundary open. By this means the great wool-producing 
areas of Eastern Tibet would be tapped and the trade from them 



brought down to Sadiya and thence to the Assam-Bengal Railway or 
the Brahmaputra steamer service. With the Assam end of the road 
emerging in the tea-growing districts there will be every inducement 
for planters to produce leaf and brick tea suitable to Tibetan taste, 
and a valuable return trade could be expected to develop. It would 
not indeed be unduly optimistic to anticipate that the road might 
well become one of the greatest trade routes across the Indian Frontier, 
and with the trade a constant stream of information can be expected 
to reach us. 

4. A subsidiary, but not unimportant, result of the reopening of 
the road would be a tightening of our hold on the tribes through which 
it passes ; with increased opportunities for the gradual suppression of 
slavery to which the Government of India is committed." 

The project was, however, for the time being dropped, the Govern- 
ment of India stating that they had come to the conclusion that there 
was "little probability that any material advantages were to be expect- 
ed either from the the commercial or strategical point of view in case 
he road were reopened up to Rima." 

The matter however was not lost sight of, and our information of 
conditions in these regions was greatly increased by the visit which 
Mr. Godfrey, the Political Officer, made there in 1940. As he wrote 
in his annual report for 1939-40. 

"For the first time in twenty-six years a visit was paid by the 
Political Officer to Rima. I spent a week at Rima in January and 
established friendly relations with local officials and residents. I was 
received with great hospitality. Both the people at Rima and also 
traders from Kham and the country bordering on China are all very 
anxious that we complete the mule track as far as Rima. They point 
out that a great deal of the trade now diverted to Sikkim would come 
straight down the Lohit to Sadiya, a journey eight times shorter and 
far more safe." 


1882 to 1905 F. J. Needham, Bengal Police. 

1906 to 1911 ... ... Noel Williamson, i. P. 

1911-1912 ... ... W. C. M. Dundas, I. P. 


1912-1919 ... . W. C. M. Dundas, i. P. 

Governor's Secretariat, Assam, Tribal, A, December 1037, Nos. 1-19. 
Governor's Secretariat, Assam, B, Progs., September 1940, NOB. 267-268. 



1919-1920 ... . W. G. M. Dundas, i. P. 

1920-1927 ... . T. P. M. O'Callaghan, i. p. 

1927-28 (8 months) . R. C. R. Gumming, i. p. 

1928-1932 ... . T. E. Furze, i. P. 

1932^1935 ... . J. H. Grace, i. P. 

1935-1938 ... . W. H. Calvert, i. p. 

1938-1942 ... . R. W. Godfrey, i. p. 


1912-1917 . T. E. Furze, i. P. 

1917-1922 . R. C. R. Gumming, i. p. 

1922-1925 . W. H. Calvert, i. p. 

1926-1927 for shortl G. S. Lightfoot, i. p. 
periods. >B. H. Routledge, i. p. 

J R. W. Godfrey, i. P. 

1927-1930 ... ... R, W. Godfrey, i. p. 

1930-1932 ... ... R. Carse, i. P. 

1st May 1932 lo llth E. T. D. Lambert, i. P. 
January 1933. 

1933-1937 R. E. R. Parsons, i. p. 

1937-1938 G. E. D. Walker, i. p. 

J. H. F. Williams, i. p. 

1938-1942 J. H. F. Williams, i. P. 



I Introductory . . . . . . . . . 269 

II Aka Expedition of 1883-1884 . . . 269273 

III ApaTanang Expedition ofl 897 .. .. . 271278 

IV The Miri Mission . . ... 278-281 
V Formation of the Western Section of the North-East Frontier 281283 

VI Aka Promenade and Tawang, 1914 . . . . . 283289 

VII 1918-1937 ..... 289294 

VIII The Constitution Act of 1935 . . . . 294 

IX Tawang 1936-1941 ... .. 294300 

X Minor incidents 1938-1940 .. . . .. 300301 

XI Posa . . . . . . . . 30130 

XII List of Officers . . . . . . . . . . 303 


1. Introductory. Mackenzie deals with the Dufflas and Akas under 
those headings at pages 21-32 of his work. The last incident which he 

mentions as regards the former is the sending of a military force into 
the Hills in 1874-75, after which, up to the date at which his narra- 
tive leaves off, they had given no trouble. 

As regards the Akas, the last entry in Mackenzie is a reference to 
the Duffla "the first Aka raid since our early connection with the tribe 
and our first expedition into their hills". This was in 1883-4. 

2. The district known since 1919 as the Balipara Frontier Tract 
was formed in 1913, under the title of 'Western Section of the North- 
East Frontier', with Captain G. A. Nevill, of the Indian Police, who 
was to remain there for some 17 years, as its first Political Officer. 
Previous to that the Deputy Commissioner of Darrang had been 
charged with the duty of maintaining relations with the hill tribes on 
this border. The change came about at the same time as the "Cen- 
tral and Eastern Sections of the North-East Frontier' 1 , the present 
Sadiya Frontier Tract, were placed under a separate officer as a 
consequence of the events of 191 1-1912 and the review of our arrange- 
ments on the North-East Frontier to which they led. 

II. The Aka Expedition of 1883-1884. On 10th November 1881 
occurred the raid on Balipara referred to in the concluding sentence 
at page 26 of Mackenzie, when a party of about 100 Akas headed by 
Chandi, brother of Medhi Raja, carried off as captives the clerk of 
the forest office, die fore t ranger, and 2 guns. 

This incident was connected with events which occurred in the 
previous October and the causes which led the Akas to act as they 
did are set forth in paragraphs 7-9 of Captain H St. P. Maxwell's 
"report on the Expedition There was an old grievance as regards 
the boundary between us and them, going back to 1873. As Max- 
well says 

"The demarcation of the boundary, and the gazetting of the 
forests as forest reserves, at once precluded them from following their 
usual pursuits as regards this tract of country ; and for the purposes 
of hunting the most valuable preserves lie at the foot of the hills. 
Whatever the grievance may be worth, it is certain, I think, that in 
the savage mind a grievance did exist, and an experience of hill tribes 
teaches me that a "land" grievance is the most deeply rooted of all 
grievances and is next to impossible to smooth. 

8. The tract of country included in the boundary lies in the Bali- 
para mauza, of which the mauzadar or head revenue official was 
Babu JL.akhidhar Kolita This officer had held charge for nearly 
fourteen years, and when the boundary was surveyed, and later on 
when the demarcation followed, he accompanied the Government 
officers. True to his salt he naturally would include in his fiscal 
charge as much land as possible and thus throw back the boundary as 
near the hills as feasible. 

*Assam Secretariat, Judicial Department, File No.lI6-J. of 1884, Nos.1-26. 
Military Report on Assam 1908. 


The Akas would of course conclude the -fountain-head of their 
grievance to be Lakhidhar, and it is well known at Balipara that the 
tribe has for many years showed much ill-feeling towards him and has 
frequently threatened him with reprisals. 

This ill-feeling has also extended to the Forest Department, on 
which has fallen the duty to strictly enforce the forest rules in the 

When the District Officer of Darrang was asked to collect some 
exhibits for the Calcutta Exhibition, Lakhidhar consented to visit the 
Aka changs for the purpose. By persons most intimate with his rela- 
tions with the tribe he was strongly advised not to undertake the duty. 

This counsel he overruled, and as mentioned in paragraph 12 
of this report, he in due course started for the hills. 

On his arrival at the Kapaschor villages, the meetings of the 
Akas and their after-conduct clearly shows that the opportunity to 
punish Lakhidhar was at once seized. 

"The true reason for seizing Lakhidhar must be that the Akas 
were of opinion that he materially assisted in ousting them from the 
land to which they considered themselves entitled " 

Thus it was that when in October Lakhidar reached Medhi's 
village, he and his party were detained. Eventually all except Lakhi- 
dar himself and his servant were sent back with a message from Medhi 
to say he would see the sahibs after a certain interval . This party 
arrived back on the 15th November, 5 days aiter the outrage at 

Mr. Elliott, the Chief Commissioner, recommended to the Govern- 
ment of India in his letter No.38-T.,* dated the 26th November 1883, 
that a small military expedition should be sent to punish the offenders, 
unless the captives were restored, His letter recounts the previous his- 
tory of our dealings with these people since 1829, and explains how 
Medhi was a powerful chief of the Kapaschors and had been in cons- 
tant and generally friendly touch with the Deputy Commissioner for 
many years, though there had been a long standing dispute about 
boundaries. Since 1848 the Kapaschors had been in receipt of an 
annual posa of Rs.520. They were a small clan, numbering according 
to Maxwell, only about 510 souls, of whom only 100 would be fighting 

Early in December information was received that Lakhidhar had 
died in captivity. This information came in a letter written by one 
of the Bengali captives accompanied by a number of preposterous 
demands for restoration of territory. It was proved subsequently that 
no violence was used on him, though no doubt his end was hastened 
by the circumstances of his captivity. 

* Assam Secretariat, Judicial Department File No.l54-J of 1883, Not. 1-18. 


On 27th November the Viceroy approved of the proposed expedi- 
tion. Brigadier-General Sale Hill, G. B., was in charge of the 
operations from his base at Dijumukh. Captain H. St. P. Maxwell, 
Deputy Commissioner of the Garo Hills (who was later to be cons- 
picuous in Manipur) was Political Officer with the force. His instruc- 
tions were to rescue the captives : punish the leaders of the raid : and 
generally to reduce the Akas to submission. The force included both 
military and police. The later consisted of 290 Frontier Police drawn 
from Dibrugarh, the Garo Hills, Sibsagar and Darrang, under the 
command of Mr. W. B. Savi, and Lieutenant . H. Molesworth. 
The former included 571 officers and men of the 43rd N. I. from 
Shillong, 210 of the 12th Khelat-i-Ghilzais from Caqhar, 2 mountain 
guns and a party of Sappers. 

On 17th December a flying column of 150 rifles of the 43rd Assam 
Light Infantry and 50 of the Dibrugarh Corps of the Assam Frontier 
Police under Major Beresford of the 43rd started for Medhi's village. 

Negotiations were attempted from the 19th December when the 
force reached the Maj Share li, but without success, and on the 23rd 
night the Akas who were assisted by many Mijis, who live to the 
North of the Kapaschors, carried out a surprise attack on the British 
camp which was driven off with a loss of 32 men to them, and 2 dead 
and 6 wounded and 2 rifles lost on our side. On the 27th they met 
with resistance in attempting to cross the Tenga which lay between 
them and Medhi's village and had to fall back on their previous 
camp. One sepoy* was shot and one died from a wound from a 
poisoned arrow. Reinforcements now began to arrive and the 
General himself and his staff reached the camp on 5th January. On 
the 8th January 1884 the advance began ; the Akas were easily dis- 
persed ; Medhi's village was occupied : and the enemy disappeared 
from view. The Chiefs, however, did not come in. General Hill was 
anxious to evacuate the country, and this took place on 21st to 23rd 
January without contact having been made with the Chiefs. Maxwell, 
judging from paragraph 22 of his report, seems to have been satisfied 
with this decision. He says. 

"The country had been well surveyed by the survey officers, and a 
further inducement to leave the hills soon was contained in the fact 
that sickness among the troops had broken out at an alarming rate. 

"23. As regards the objects of the expedition, the results were 
The surrender of the captives ; 
The restoration of all firearms taken by the Akas ; 
A fine of 10 mithan, valued between Rs. 700 and Rs. 1,000 ; 
A great loss to the enemy in live-stock, consisting of pigs, goats 
and fowls ; 

Destruction of much grain. 

* Assam Secretariat, Judicial Department, File No. 116-J. of 1884, No*. 1-26. 


And to show the displeasure of the Government towards the ring- 
leaders of the Balipara raid, the houses of Chandi, Naloo and Kota 
were burnt to the ground. These houses were substantially cons- 
tructed of planked sides and flooring about 120 feet long and valued 
at Rs. 400 each." 

Reviewing these results, however, the Chief Commissioner was 
not so well satisfied and wrote as follows in his letter No. 167-T.,* dated 
the 7th February 1884. 

"3. The Chief Commissioner considers that the expedition has, 
on the whole, been decidedly successful from a military point of view, 
the repulse of the midnight attack on the Maj Bhoroli camp on the 
23rd December (where, as Captain Maxwell was afterwards 
informed by the Hazarikhoas, the assailants lost 32 men) and the cross- 
ing of the Tengapani on the 8th January were creditable, and even 
brilliant feats of arms, and showed a spirit, dash, and discipline 
among the troops, which are highly praiseworthy. From the politi- 
cal point of view, the punishment of the Akas has been severe. They 
have lost largely in grain and small live-stock, and ten of their mithan, 
valued at Rs. 1,000, have been killed. They have shown how 
thoroughly they feel their defeat by giving up the captives, the guns, 
rifles, and bayonets, without any conditions whatever, and by not 
venturing to attack the force during its return. 

4. At the same time, the Chief Commissioner is bound to say 
that the political success would have been more complete if the force 
had remained longer in the hills and if more time had been allowed 
for the chiefs to come in. In the instructions given to the Political 
Officer, the terms of which were discussed by the Chief Commissioner 
with Geneial Hill and agreed to by him, great stress was laid on the 
importance of inducing them to do so. It was part of the programme 
settled on between the Chief Commissioner and the General Officer 

in command that the troops should not retire hastily the surrender 

and appearance of the chiefs was an object of the highest importance, 
and, inasmuch as the Political Officer considered that in all proba- 
bility they would come in as soon as they had mastered their fear, 
in the space of a week or ten days, the Chief Commissioner would 
have wished that the force, or a part of it, should have remained 
longer on the spot. As long as they were there, and could hold out 
the threat of destroying their houses if submission was withheld, the 
chiefs had an incentive for coming in, which is now removed 

5. Mr. Elliott has the more regret in recording his disappointment 
regarding this one point, because in every other respect he considers 
General Hill's management of the expedition to have been highly 
praiseworthy and successful ; and he ventures to think that the Gov- 
ernment of India may be congratulated on the proof which the Aka 
Hills Expedition has given of the efficiency with which the military 
force on the North Eastern Frontier is able to overcome the hostility 
of a savage tribe and the difficulties of a mountainous country". 

* Assam Secretariat, Judicial Department, File No. 116-J. of 1884, Noi.1-26. 


He proposed the following steps for the further reduction of the 

"I. Unless Medhi and the other Aka Chiefs come down and make 
submission, no Kapaschor Akas will be admitted into British tenitory, 
and, if found anywhere, they will be arrested. 

* * * * 

III. They will be required 

(a) to bring in the prismatic compass stolen from the Forest 
Office, which they are known still to possess ; 

(6) to restore the money taken from Lakhidar, from the forester, 
and the opium shop at Balipara. 

(c) to make a written submission, acknowledging their error in 
raiding on Balipara and in detaining Lakhidar, and with- 
drawing all claim to any land south of the boundary 
pillars set up in 1873-75. 

IV. On their doing this, their submission will be accepted, and 
the order forbidding any Akas to enter or trade in British territory 
will be withdrawn. 

* * * * 

VI. The posa will not be given them till the year after next, i.* ., 
January 1886, and only then if the conduct of the tribe has been per- 
fectly peaceful. When it is restored it will be distributed by name to 
the respective chiefs, and will in future only be given into the hands 
of those chiefs, his own share to each, on their appearing and present- 
ing an article of tribute 

VII. It will be a further condition that the road which has this 
year been cut from Balukpung via Dijumukh shall be kept open by the 
Forest Department to the Balipara stockade, and that the Kapaschor 
Akas shall ue that road alone when they come down for posa or any 
other purpose, and shall present themselves at the stockade, give up their 
weapons and receive a pass which they shall give in again when they 
return to the hills. A date will be fixed, corresponding to the 1st 
December, as the earliest date on which they are allowed to come 
down, and a Kotoki will ordinarily be sent to accompany them 

To these proposals the Government of India agreed. The princi- 
pal action taken to bring about the submission of these Akas was a 
blockade which was instituted immediately after the Expedition re- 
tired. This was not lifted until January 1888, when Medhi and 
Ghandi appeared before Colonel Campbell, the Deputy Commissioner 
of Darrang, and made their submission. As the Annual Administra- 
tion Report for 1887-88 states. "The compass taken has been res- 
tored, fhe value of the property looted paid, and written agreements 
in the terms prescribed by Sir Charles Elliott executed, by which the 
chiefs have sworn to abide. The blockade against the tribes has been 
raised, but they will not get posa for two years, and only then if they 
have conducted themselves well 1 '. 

It is noticeable that the author of this Report refers in paragraph 
2 of the General Summary to "the abortive expedition of 188$". 

Assam Administration Report Tor 1887-88 


III. The Apa Tanang Expedition of 1897. On the 8th November 
1896, a Tarbotia Miri, Podu by name, and his step son, Tapak, were 
murdered near Mr. H. M. Crowe's tea garden at Kodom, within the 
Inner Line, and four of his household taken captive. The Deputy Com- 
missioner (Mr. F. G. Henniker, i.c.s.,) was satisfied on circumstantial 
grounds that the offenders were Apa Tanangs, or "Anka Miris" as, 
according to the report, some people termed them, and he recom- 
mended the immediate obtaining of sanction to a punitive expedition. 
The Chief Commissioner supported this proposal in writing to the 
Government of India in his letter No.32-T, dated the 6th January 
1897 and said that a force of 200 Military Police would suffice, the Apa 
Tanangs being "a small and not very warlike tribe". (This was 
raised to 300 subsequently on the advice of General R. M. Jennings, 
General Officer Commanding, Assam) . It was proposed to send Mr. 
R. B. McCabe, i.c.s., by now Inspector-General ol Police, as the 
Political Officer to the Expedition in view of his great experience in 
such campaigns. The Government of India agreed. 

The force consisted of 300 men of the Lakhimpur Military 
Police Battalion, under Captain G. R. Row, their Commandant, and 
Lieutenant H. F. Norie, of the 42nd Gurkha Rifles while Surgeon- 
Lieutenant A. Leventon, I.M.S., was the Medical Officer, and Mr. E. 
Muspratt, Superintendent of Police, was Transport Officer. Actually 
only 120 men completed the march to Hong. Transport problems 
compelled the reduction of the force to a minimum, nor were more 
indeed necessary. A start was made on the 3rd February 1897, when 
the force moved to Camp No. 1 on the Ranga River. On the llth 
February they crossed a high range called Lui at 8,000 feet and des- 
cended to camp at 4,000 feet near Silli, a Duffla village. On the 14th 
they crossed the Pobo range at 6,800 feet and that afternoon reached 
the southern extremity of the Apa Tanang country. Mr. McCabe 
wrote, "The sight is one I shall never forget, as we suddenly emerged 
on a magnificent plateau some ten miles in length, laid out in highly 
cultivated and artificially irrigated terraces well watered by the Kali 
river, a sluggish stream some 45 to 60 feet in breadth, with low alluvial 
banks. The valley was dotted with isolated hillocks, and low pine-clad 
spun ran here and there into the valley from the Eastern ranges. No 
crops were on the ground, but the stalks gave ample evidence of the 
beautiful character of the recent paddy harvest. Our hearts warmed 
at the sight of primroses, violets, wild currants, strawberries and 
raspberries, and I felt disposed to almost believe some of the wonderful 
stories we had heard of the fabulous wealth of this country." 

They marched into Hong that day, being threatened with opposi- 
tion all -the time, in which however there was not much real sting. 
McCabe explained it thus "Unless the Hong men had shown by 
every possible means that our presence was unwelcome, their neighbours 
would have turned on them afterwards and accused them of having 
invited us into the country." Next day after much discussion the Apa 
Tanangs were induced to hand over the three captives as well as 
Mr. Crowe's gun which had been taken .in the raid from Podu's house . 

Aisam Secretariat, Foreign, A, November 1897, Nos. 15-104. 


McGabe was satisfied that the Apa Tanangs had had a well-founded 
grievance against Podu on many scores. The punishment he decided 
on was a somewhat oblique one. He considered that the only form of 
fine, one of mithan t was unsuitable on a number of grounds, and there- 
fore he took the following course. The Apa Tanangs had in the pre- 
vious October raided a Duffla village, Tara's and carried off six cap- 
tives and a gun, all of which were in Hong. He ordered these to be 
restored, thereby, as he succinctly put it, discovering "a means at 
hand by which I could do him [Tara] a good turn, assist the cause of 
humanity, and at the same time inflict a punishment on the Apa 
Tanangs which would touch both their pockets and their amout propre." 
On the 17th February the force started on its homeward journey, and 
McCabe was back at North Lakhimpur on the 21st, the whole expedi- 
tion having occupied only 18 days. 

Mr. McCabe's observations on the Apa Tanang country deserve 

"19 1 take the opportunity of recording my impressions of 

the Apa Tanangs and comparing them with the information previously 
recorded. The first mention I find made of the Apa Tanangs is in 
Major Graham's report on the Dafla Expedition of 1874-75. In 
describing the survey operations undertaken by Lieutenant Harman, 
he writes : 

'To the north, far up thr Ranga, could be seen the plains of the Apa 
Tanang Abor country, a race held in much dread by the Daflas of the 
Ranga valley. These Abors seldom or never visit the plains, and from 
the fact of their trading in rock salt and swords, such as are made by 
the Tibetans, are evidently in communication with Tibet. The people 
of the Ranga valley state that the Apa Tanang Abors have bullocks 
and ploughs, that they have made roads about 4 feet wide, and that 
they had at least one stone building in which they place the skulls of 
their enemies. They do not intermarry with the Abor Daflas of the 
Ranga Valley, ^nd are evidently quite independent of the plains either 

as regards food, clothing, iron or salt I think it will be found 

sooner or later that the Apa Tanang Abors, if not actually subordinate 
to Tibet at least are in a measure under its influence. As regards 
their strength, all that can be said is that the Ranga valley people fear 

them and describe them as a very powerful people I have often 

been asked what is an Abor, and what is a Dafla ? The Abor Daflas 
express themselves as quite unable to understand the language of the 

Apa Tanang Abors The Abors proper I take to be Apa Tanang 

Abors, while Abor Dafla would appear to be the fitting nomenclature 
for the tribes residing North of the Dikrang and in the Ranga valley. 

In the report on the North-East Frontier of India, 1883, I find the 
following remarks : 

'It appears probable that a force marching straight for the villages 
of the North- West corner of the Ranga valley would find abundant 
supplies in the Apa Tanang villages ; for we are told, on reliable 
evidence, that they possess large stone-built granaries, and we know 
from actual observation that their country is highly cultivated.' 


Again, in the revised Dafla report it is noted : 

'A group of villages in the North- West corner of the Ranga valley, 
called Apa Tanang, consists of Takay's village called Cheng Hong, 60 
houses ; Rikom's 60, Apa Tanang 150, and two or three other very 
small villages. Their total population is about 3,000 souls. 

( Comparing them with Dallas the Apa Tanang are smaller and 
rather darker men. Some of them are tatooed like Dafias, and they 
wear cane helmets of the same shape. 

The revised Miri report gives a condensed account of Mr. Crowe's 
and Captain Dunne's description of this tribe. I fully agree with 
much that they have said, but have to dissent on one or two important 
points, viz., the names and location of the villages and the tribe to 
which the Apa Tanangs bear the closest affinity. 

20. My impressions have been derived from personal observation 
and from informaiion received from the Apa Tanangs themselves and 
from Daflas who had resided for a long time in the Apa Tanang 
country. The first point to which I would call attention is that the 
name "Apa Tanang" is a complete misnomer. Throughout the 
Expedition I never once heard this name used by a single Miri or 
Dafla ; the tribe was referred to only by the names of Ankas, Apas 
and Akas, the first name being that in most common use. Captain 
Dunne agrees with me that these people are best described under the 
name of "Ankas", but goes on to state that they are more allied to the 
Miris than to the Daflas. I totally dis \gree with this last dictum. I 
had the opportunity of seeing plains Daflas, Abor Daflas and Miris, 
side by side with the Apa Tanangs, and while the latter differed most 
markedly from the Miris they bore a most striking resemblance to the 
Daflas. The principal points of difference are : 

1st They wear no cane helmets. 
2nd They carry no bows and quiver. 
3rd They wear a tail. 
4th Their cloths are of distinct patterns. 
5th They tatoo their faces differently. 

The Miris did not seem to be able to make themselves understood 
by the Apa Tanangs, while I noticed that my Dafla coolies chatted 
away with them without hesitating for a word, and as far as I could 
judge they appeared to be speaking one and the same language. I 
have no hesitation in concluding that the Apa Tanangs are merely a 
tribe of Abor Daflas who have developed a few distinguishing charac- 
teristics Jrorn their isolation and from the special physical features of 
the country they inhabit. They are somewhat smaller and of less 
robust build than the Daflas, but this is easily accounted for by the fact 
that while the latter have to cultivate steep, sterile mountain sides, the 
former are favoured with a fertile, level, well- watered plateau yielding 
a maximum outturn for a minimum of labour. The male Apa 
Tanang only tattoos below the mouth ; a horizontal line is drawn 
across the under lip, and straight lines are drawn downwards from it to 
the point of the chin. The women are tattooed with broad blue lines 


from the top of the forehead to the tip of the nose, and from the lower 
lip to the base of the chin. To add to their original ugliness thry wear 
wooden plugs inserted in the sides of the nostrils, expanding the nose 
right across the face. Both the Daflas and the Apa Tanangs wear 
strips of cane around the waist, but the latter specially distinguish 
themselves by the addition of a tail. This tail is made of loosely plait- 
ed strips of cane dyed red, and gives the wearer a most ludicrous 
appearance. Tn reply to my enquiries as to the meaning of this 
appendage I rec?ived nothing but the stereotyped answer " Our 
fathers wore it, and so do we' 1 . It must be left to some scientist to 
determine whether it is used as a portable cane chair, or for the sake 
of decency, or again perhaps with the idea of inspiring awe in their 
enemies. I would describe the Apa Tanangs generally as a "timid, 
good-natured, industrious and loquacious people far inferior in pluck 
ard physique to the Hill Miris". It would be interesting to ascertain 
the sources of information from which previous reports on this tribe, 
were derived. There are no four-feet wide roads, no stone granaries, 
and no bullocks and ploughs. The Apa Tanangs only possess a few 
hoes which they obtained through the Daflas, most of the work of till- 
ing the land being done with sharpened bamboos. Each village has 
its granaries built outside the circuit of houses. These granaries 
consist of small bamboo sheds with roofs, either of thatch or of pine 
shingles, and are usually half hidden in clumps of bamboos. 

21. * * * * 

Hong contains 800 houses. 

Krachi and Kotipu are small overflow hamlets from Hong. 

Hari, 2 miles north of Hong, h&s 400 houses. 

Hut, 2 miles north of Hari, has over 1,000 houses. 

Nichebamin, IJ miles north-west of Hong, h^s 150 houses. 

Modutaji, 200 houses. 

Hija, about 900 to 1,000 houses. 

The houses are very large and commodious I would roughly 
estimate the total population of this tribe at 15,000. As all the 
villages are within half a day's journey of one another, the Apa 
Tanangs can in a few hours concentrate a large force to repel nay 
invasion, and it is due entirely to this fact that they have been care- 
fully let alone by the neighbouring Miris and Daflas. On the other 
hand, their inferiority in arms and physique reduce them to a com- 
paratively low level as an aggressive power. It is quite possible, any 
even probable, that this tribe was at one time in regular communica- 
tion with Tibet, and even at the present moment articles of 1 ibetan 
manufacture find their way into the country ; but from the evidence 
I have collected I feel justified in stating that the intercourse is very 
limited, and that Tibet exercises absolutely no authority in Apa 
Tanang land. The present tendency is to seek trade relations with the 
plains of Assam, and instead of bartering Tibetan rock-salt and 
swords, the Apa Tanangs shows a strong leaning towards salt, hoes and 
daos imported from our district of Lakhimpur." 


The Chief Commissioner's opinion was that the Expedition might 
be described as "a complete success." 

IV. The Miri Mission. As part of the general plan of the 
Government of India in connection with the North-East Frontier, 
they asked in their telegram No.458-S. of the Pth August 1911 for the 
views of the Eastern Bengal and Assam Government on a proposal 
that a mission similar to the proposed Mishmi Mission should explore 
the tribal country between Bhutan and the Dihong river, or the "Hill 
Miri country", as it is referred to in the correspondence. To this the 
Lieu tenant- Governor agreed and his proposals were as follows (his 
letter No. 72-C.P.T.f, dated the 21st August 1911, paragraph 4). 

"4. I am now to discuss what can be done to explore the country 
between the Dihong river and Bhutan, which will not be touched by the 
Abor expedition. The area to be covered is very large and cannot be 
traversed in one cold season . His Honour considers that the best that 
can be done is to despatch a small party with a Surveyor, who should 
be deputed by the Surveyor General, up the Subansiri river. He 
proposes to place this mission in charge of Mr. Kerwood, Sub- 
divisional Officer of North Lakhimpur, who has some acquaintance 
with the Hill Mir is. Mr. Kerwood will be given an escort of 75 
men under an experienced Assistant Commandant. Twenty-five rifles 
will remain at Dulongmukh, where a depot will be established, while 
Mr. Kerwood with 50 rifles will advance up the Subansiii to the 
Kamala and then turn westward, choosing whatever route seems to be 
most practicable and penetrating as far as possible. The Hill Miris 

are friendly This Mission will probably take two months, and 

it is hoped that the friendly relations with the Hill Miris will be 
strengthened by it, and that Mr. Kerwood will be able to get into 
touch with the tribes further to the west." 

The Secretary of State agreed to this on condition that the 
Mission could be sent without risk. In their letter No.490-G.G. to 
the Commissioner dated the 5th October 1911* the Eastern Bengal 
and Assam Goverment explained the object of the Mission as follows. 

"2. It is believed that the Hill Miris, whose country immediately 
borders Indian territory, are friendly, and that there will be no diffi- 
culty with these people. No information is, however, available to show 
what the attitude of the more remote villagers will be ; and in view 
of the Secretary of State's orders, the Licutcnant-Governor desires to 
impress on Mr. Kerwood the necessity of advancing with caution. 
He should not hesitate to retire if he finds the country into which he is 
penetrating to be hostile. 

3. The main object of the mission will be to establish friendly 
relat ons with the tribes and to survey and explore the country in 
order to obtain information which will enable a satisfactory frontier to 
be demarcated between India and Tibetan-Chinese territory. Mr. 
Kerwood's route will be up the Subansiri river to the Kamla river 

* Eastern Bengal and Assam Secretariat, Political, A., March 1912, Nos.149-197. 
t Eastern Bengal and Assam Secretariat, Political, A., March 1912, Nos. 47-148. 


and then northwards or westwards as he may deem most desirable. 
It is, however, very important that he should endeavour to get into 
touch with the General Officer Commanding the Abor Expedition 
which will explore and survey the country to the east of that in which 
he will work, so that the results obtained by the two parties may 
be connected. 

4. A copy of a map on which is marked the approximate line of 
frontier proposed by the Government of India will be forwarded in a 
few days' time. It is extremely improbable that Mr. Kerwood will 
succeed in penetrating as far as this line unless he joins hands with the 
General Officer Commanding the Abor Expedition and he should run 
no risks in trying to go so far, but, should he succeed, he should submit 
proposals for a suitable frontier line between India and Tibet. No 
boundary must, however, be settled on the ground except in cases 
where the recognised limits of the Tibetan-Chinese territory are found 
to conform approximately to the line indicated in the map and to 
follow such prominent physical features as are essential for the strategic 
and well-defined frontier line. A Memorandum by the General Staff 
on the subject is annexed and I am to invite special attention 10 the 
importance of ascertainii g, as far as possible, the course of the Kamla 

Besides Mr. Kerwood, the other members of the Mission were 

Captain A. M. Graham, 5th Gurkha Rifles, Assistant Com- 
mandant Military Policy in charge of the Escort ; 

Captain G. A. Nevill, I.P., Transport Officer ; 

Lieutenant C. G. Lewis, R.E., in charge of the Survey Party ; 

Lieutenant R. S. Wahab, I.A , Surveys; 

Captain B. O. Duff, Intelligence Officer ; 

Captain A. S. Kirkewood, Supply and Transport. 

The escort numbered some 150 officers and men. The Base 
Camp was formed at Dulangmukh and from there the party made a 
start on November llth, 1911. Mr. Kerwood's account is difficult to 
follow, but it seems that unforeseen difficultic sforced them to retrace 
their steps. A fresh start was made early in De rmber and on the 6th 
they reached camp at the junction of the Persen and the Kamla at 
Gocham. Here they encamped for the rest of December and a great 
deal of useful surveying was carried out in hitherto unknown country. 
A party under Captain Duff and Lieutenant Wahab was 
out from 27th December to 9th January and did some useful 
survey work in the Subansiri valley and neighbourhood, their furthest 
point being Muki. At this place they had considerable difficulty in 
avoiding a clash with the ignorant and suspicious villagers, but fortu- 
nately no incident occurred. 

There was a high proportion of sickness, 66 men being at one time 
in hospital at Dulangmukh, mostly cases of dysentery, while the 
damdims gave much trouble. 


On 13th January 1912 the party reached Ghemir advanced camp 
with a view to exploration in the Kamla valley, and here for the first 
time all the British Officers of the Mission met. From here Captain 
Duff and Mr. Wahab explored the Khru valley, the furthest point 
being Takum. The main party went on and reached Sartam on 28th 
January where they halted till 8th February. They then made a 
move northwards. On the 9th they reached the neighbourhood of 
Rugi where they halted for some days. On the 14th February their 
camp at Tali was attached. 3 Miris were shot by Captain Graham 
and the rest soon melted away, between 10 and 20 of the attackers 
being killed. Rugi and Tali were judged guilty of this attack and both 
villages were burnt. 

The return journey commenced early in Alarch, all trans-Kamla 
posts being evacuated on 20th March. The route lay through the 
Apa Tatiang and Duffla country. The former was reached first and 
Kerwood was evidently as impressed with the beauty of the 
country and the friendliness of its inhabitants as was McCabe, whose 
report of 1897 he quotes and comments on. Kerwood did not agree 
with McCabe as regards the name of the tribe. He says he found 
the name Apa Tanang frequently used, and held that it or Tanae, a 
variant used by Miris and Dufflas, was correct, with Anka as a sort 
of nickname. The language he held was distinct from Miri and Duffla, 
and he thought this people were distinct in origin from their neigh- 

On the 16th March 1912, the party reached Diju Tea Estate and 
by the 16th the whole force had been evacuated. Nearly 1,400 square 
miles of unkn >wn country had been mapped, though it proved im- 
possible to obtain any definite material for the delimitation of a fron- 
tier : the courses of the Khru and the Subansiri had been determined : 
the sites of more than 100 villages had been located and over 70 visi- 
ted : the population of the area mapped was estimated at between 
15,000 and 30,000 ; but fighting strength was held to be very low . 
there was no tribal consciousness, each community or clan living in 
isolation. As regards nomenclature, Mr. Kerwood points out that 
Miri is an Assamese term, and he found it impossible to discover any 
general Tribal name. They themselves referred to themselves as 
"Nyisi" and to the Dufflas as "Bodo", while the latter called them- 
selves "Nyisi'' and the Miris "Ghimir." Again 3 clans of these Miris 
who had long been in the habit of visiting the plains called them- 
selves Ghikam, Percn and Pai, while the Assamese referred to them 
as Tarbotia (users of the land paths) , Panibotia (users of the river 
routes) and Sarak. 

As regards Tibetan influence, Tibetan swords, bells and beads 
were to be found in every village. There was no trace of Chinese 

A note by the Chief of the General Staff which was compiled 
about this time is worth quoting on the subject of Tawang and our 
boundary there in view of subsequent developments. It says : 

"The direction of the frontier line about Tawang requires 
careful consideration. The present boundary (demarcated) is south of 
Tawang, running westwards along the foothills from near Udalguri 


to the southern Bhutan border, and thus a dangerous wedge of ter- 
ritory is thrust in between the Miri country and Bhutan. A compara- 
tively easy and much used trade route traverses this wedge from north 
to south, by which the Chinese would be able to exert influence or 
pressure on Bhulan, while we have no approach to this salient from 
a flank, as we have in the case of the Ghumbi salient. rectifica- 
tion of the boundary here is therefore imperative, and an ideal line 
would appear to be one from the knot of mountains near Longitude 93% 
Latitude/2820, to the Bhutan border north of Chona Dzong in a direct 
east and west line with the northern frontier of Bhutan. There ap- 
pears to be a convenient watershed for it to follow.*' 

V. Formation of the " Western Section of the North East Frontier" 
as an independent charge. This process was, owing to our scanty know- 
ledge of the country, begun on very tentative lines. In Eastern Ben- 
gal and Assam letter No.69-P.T . of the 7th July 1912, the Chief 
Commissioner reviewed the results of the Miri Mission and made 
proposals for future dealings with this tract. As regards the Mission, 
he observed as follows. 

"6. The Miri Mission, which was sent forth with the est- 
ablishment of friendly relations as one of its objects, was in this res- 
pect successful, with one notable exception. The Government of 
India have already had full particulars of the attack on the camp 
at Tali, but the effect of this, so far as can be judged, has been 
to show that armed opposition to our forces only leads to severe 
punishment, while those who received us in friendly fashion have no- 
thing to fear. One unfortunate result of the incident at Tali was, as 
Mr. Kerwood points out, to debar the party from obtaining any 
definite data on the question of the frontier. A considerable amount 
of survey work was done, but this will be discussed in more detail 
later on. The Chief Commissioner, while fully appreciating the tact 
and forbearance displayed by all members of the Mission, as shown 
by the manner in which ^so large an area was visited with only one 
instance of active opposition, cannot but feel that the force employed 
was too small, particularly in view of the fact that such long lines of 
communication had to be established, and so comparatively large a 
number of connecting posts maintained. Sir Archdale Earle considers 
that any further exploration in what is still a largely unknown country 
should be done in greater force, so that not only may any opposition 
encountered be met, but the odds against the possibility of offering a 
successful resistance may be apparent to the tribesmen concern- 

As regards the future of the Western Section of the Frontier, he 
wrote as* follows 

"12. The note of the General Staff recommends, as regards the 
Miri section, that an exploring and Survey party with an escort should 
proceed to Mara in the Subansiri Valley and explore the pass and 
the upper waters of the vallry, and that a similar party should pro- 
ceed through the Dafla country to the upper waters of the Khru river. 

Secretariat, Political, A, September It 12, Nos,l-22. 


The advisability of an adjustment of the Frontier Line in the neigh- 
bourhood of Tawang is also mentioned, but on this subject the Chief 
Commissioner, while fully realising its importance, is in possession of 
less information than are the Government of India. The programme 
already outlined for survey and exploration work in the coming cold 
weather is so extensive that the Chief Commissioner hesitates to add 
to it. The Chief Commissioner would suggest that, instead of under- 
taking extensive survey operations, an attempt should be made to 
increase and consolidate our knowledge of the frontier west of the 
Subansiri, and proposals to give effect to this are stated later in this 

* * * * 

"14. In a previous paragraph the Chief Commissioner under- 
took to make suggestions not so much for the control of the western 
section of the tribal area as for some means by which our knowledge 
of the tribes west of the Subansiri-Siyoms divide could be increased 
and consolidated, and relations established with them as a preliminary 
to subsequent survey and exploration operations on an extensive 
scale, and the ultimate settlement of a suitable boundary. For this 
work the Chief Commissioner considers that the most suitable officer 
would be Captain G. A. Nevill, a Superintendent of Police on the 
Assam List. If the suggestion is approved, Sir Archdale Earle, with- 
out for the present locating him at any permanent headquarters, 
would leave him to make promenades, extending in no case to any 
great distance from the Inner Line. He would travel with a suitable 
escort and have, throughout the cold weather at all events, a regularly 
organised coolie corps. He would begin by spending some time at 
Sadiya to receive instructions from Mr. Dundas, and would work 
directly under the Chief Commissioner. After an experimental season 
of this nature, it should be possible to formulate definite proposals for 
the control of this troublesome area." 

These proposals were approved by the Government of India in 
their letter No. 2447-E.B., dated the 16th October 1912. 

Captain Nevil took charge in July 1913 and in Assam letter 
No. 5197-P.,* dated the 23rd September 1913, the Chief Commis- 
sioner reported that he had received Nevill's recommendations and was 
able to formulate his own proposals. These were as follows 

(a) the boundary between the Western Section and the Central 

Section should be the main channel of the Suban- 
siri ; 

(b) Captain Nevill's charge should be demarcated off from the 

regularly administered charges of Darrang District and 
North Lakhimpur Subdivision ; 

(c) his headquarters should be at a site chosen by him about 

5 miles from the terminus of the Tezpur-Balipara railway 
and buildings should be erected there ; 

(d) he should be provided with an escort of 200 military Police 

for his tours ; 

*Aam Secretariat, Political, A, September 1913, NOB. 300-321 f 


(e) a permanent coolie corps should be constituted, 400 strong. 
For the ensuing cold whether extensive touring was recommended 
to the Aka country, up the Subansiri to the Dafla country, and to 
Tawang. As regards Tawang, it is noticeable that the Chief Com- 
missioner refer to this as being a "wedge of Tibet which abuts on the 
Assam Valley", while his Chief Secretary in noting on the subject 
observed "Towang is of course in Tibet". This was to be a friendly 
visit and made without any escort. 

VI. The Aka Promenade and the visit to Tawang, i PI 4. "Captain 
Nevill was authorised to visit the Aka country in the cold weather of 
1913-14, the object being to establish friendly relations with the inha- 
bitants : to visit also the Mijis and the people living north of the AJtas, 
if time allowed ; and to survey as much of the country as possible. 
The expedition, known as the " Aka Promenade " was on a consider- 
able scale, comprising a total of 1,032 of all ranks. There were 6 
British Officers besides Captain Nevill, '*., Captain A. L. M. Moles- 
worth, 8th Gurkha Rifles, Assistant Political Officer : Captains A. M. 
Graham and G. D. Mathew, Commandant and Assistant Commandant 
respectively, of the Naga Hills Military Police ; Captain W. B. Dunlop, 
Supply and Transport Corps : Captain R. S. Kennedy, I.M.S., and 
Lieutenant P. G. Huddleston, R.E.. Surveys. One hundred and eighty- 
eight officers and men of the Naga Hills Military Police formed the 

They star ted from their base camp at Peinjulie on the Borelli 
river on 31st December 1913, and reached the neighbourhood of 
Jamiri on the 5th January 1914, where they had good reception. On 
the 12th January they visited Rupa. On the 27th January, Nevill, 
Graham, Kennedy and Huddleston left for the Bichom Valley, mainly 
inhabited by Miji Akas. They had a friendly reception at Kelong and 
other Miji villages and stayed until February 17th. On 4th February 
they visited the Monba villages of But and Konia, the people of which 
Nevill describes as " a miserable lot ...... entirely under the thumb of 

the Mijis who make them cultivate for them very poor and 

the dirtiest and most craven people I have ever seen. " 

They then returned and rejoined the rest of the party in the Miri 
Aka country. The one untoward incident of the expedition occurred 
on 8th March in the Duffla country at the village of Riang. It is best 
described in Nevill's own words. 

" The following day we left camp at 7 a.m. As our advance 
guard reached Riang, a large number of Dallas were seen streaming up 
the ktyd on both sides of the village. The village itself was full o 
armed men, who as we came were endeavouring to erect a barricade. 
At this moment Captain Graham, who was with the rear guard, opened 
fire at the men advancing up the khud side. He did so just at the right 
time, as immediately afterwards a thick fog descended and nothing 
could be seen more than 20 yards off. It was an unpleasant position, 
as the khud side was lined with Daflas, whom we could hear but could 

Assam Secretariat, Political, A, December 1914, No*. 1-37. 


notsec. The coolies behaved excellently. Our advance, flank, and 
rear guard opened a slow fire, and we managed to get our whole party 
clear of the village. Fortunately the fog lifted shortly after the main 
column had cleared the village, and a steady advance was continued 
to the Pachuk, the rear guard was considerably harassed, but their 
steadiness and successfully improvised ambuscades soon made the 
Dallas keep at a respectful distance. On arrival at the river we found 
the bridge had been cut down on the far bank, presumably by the 
Yefan people. The whole scheme had been well thought out, they 
evidently thought they had us in a trap and could dispose of us with- 
out much difficulty. We had to return up the path again and cut a 
track down to the river, about 400 yards up stream, where there was 
some open cultivation, and it seemed a likely place for building a 
bridge. Here the coolies were put on to make a bridge, covered by 
sepoys. The rear guard picquet under Captain Mathew remained 
above guarding the main path. Our coolies worked exceedingly well 
and in about two hours got a good bridge over. Whilst building the 
bridge we saw a party of Daflas trying to outflank us, we opened fire and 
dispersed them, at the same time a very large number tried to encircle 
our rear guard. Captain Mathew opened fire on them and drove 
them off. As soon as the bridge was completed, the advance guard 
was thrown over and we got aU the coolies across, Captain Graham and 
Captain Mathew guarding our rear. I was very relieved to get our 
whole force over without any casualties. It is not pleasant going 
through very enclosed country where hundreds of bowmen can hide 
without being seen. It was made worse by a thick fog encircling us 
most of the time. After crossing the bridge we destroyed it ; as it was 
late, we had to camp close to the river. 

The Dafla casualties were to-day, I fancy, about 16 or 17. Their 
attack was most treacherous, as they had professed friendliness, taken 
our presents, and had been very well treated by us. 

We had no casualties. 

Early next morning we left camp at 7*30. We went along very 
carefully, but saw no signs of Daflas. We continued our march till 
we got to the village of Yefan. There we saw a few men who waved 
green branches to signify peace. I met them and spoke to them. 
They acknowledged that some of their men had been at Riang. I 
told them I should fine them 20 pigs and 10 swords, and that they 
must produce the gaonbura \ they then said they would go and collect 
the fine, but instead of doing so, they left the village. I waited a 
while for them. As we left the village, the men shouted at us from 
the hill side, but they did not come on. I burnt all their grain, houses, 
which is a very severe punishment 

On March 15th Captain Nevill arrived back at Jamiri and the 
Aka portion of the "promenade" was over. Salient portions of Nevill's 
report are as follows. 

"The Daflas as a tribe have not yet recognised British authority 
as was shown by their treacherous attack on us this year and also by 
numerous petty acts of aggression on our Assam frontier. For the 
sake of peace on our frontier it will be necessary for us to impress on 


them a sense of our power. We shall probably in the near future be 

compelled to exercise some kind of control over the Dafla and Abors 

living near the head waters of the Borelli, Subansiri and Khru rivers. 

* * * * * 

"The Akas are divided into two tribes the Kavatsun and the 
Kutsun ; each of these tribes is under its Chief or Raja, who is the 
nominal head ; it greatly depends on the personality of the Raja as to 
the amount of power he enjoys. The post is an elected one and is 
not hereditary. 

Each village has its own council for its own local affairs and an 
elected he adman, every man has the right of free speech and a vote. 
The Raja has his central council and they control the foreign policy 
of the tribe and affairs of inter-village interest. Disputes are settled 
and offenders punished by the village elders, dissatisfied persons can 
always appeal to the Raja and his council. 

Both the present Rajas have a good deal of control over their 
people. Tag! is gifted with a good deal of intelligence, perhaps 
slimness would be a better term, he has been much spoiled when 
visiting Assam and is now somewhat puffed up with the sense of his 
own importance. Kalor, Raja of the Kavatsun, is a pleasanter man, 
though not nearly so shrewd, he is too much given to religious 
meditation and pondering of affairs other than of this world. I think 
all the Akas thoroughly realise our power and recognise the advan- 
tages to be gained by standing well with us. There should be no 
difficulty in controlling them in the future, it is our best policy to 
strengthen the power of the two Chiefs, who will then obtain a firmer 
grip over their people. 

The Mij is are very like the Akas in most things, but have no 
Chiefs ; each village is the unit having each its own council and head- 
man, who settle all the external and internal affairs of the village. 
There is, however, a good deal of tribal spirit amongst the Mijis ; 
there are practically no inter village quarrellings, and in affairs con- 
cerning the whole community, the different village representatives 
meet together and talk the matter over. Against a common enemy, I 
think there would be a solid combination. 

* * * * * 

"I would strongly advocate the establishment of a trading post and 
dispensary at Kolabruh in the Kavatsun Aka country with a guard of 
50 rifles. Now is the favourable time. The Akas know us and are 
friendly, and there would be little difficulties in establishing this post, 
and by doing so we should get the loose political control which it is 
our policy to exercise over the frontier tribes, also the development 
likely to occur in the Tawang area of the Bhutia country would render 
the immediate establishment of the post desirable. If we leave the 
establishment of a post till later on, the effects of our visit will be 
lessened and difficulties will very likely arise. The post would have a 
great effect in controlling the Mijis, and the policy of checking these 
people from raiding the Tawang area, which will be necessary, will 
probably for a time make them very restive. Of course before a post 
can be established, communications must be improved. I think 


there will not be much difficulty in making a mule road. 

In the past the Akas have been, like most of the other tribes, 
somewhat a thorn in the flesh of the Assam Administration due to our 
lack of control over them. With a little supervision and the intro- 
duction of improved methods of cultivation and the proper treatment 
of the sicknesses prevalent amongst them, their material prosperity 
would very rapidly improve, and a great step towards the control of 
the frontier would be achieved. 


"Over 4,000 square miles of country was surveyed. 

The most excellent relations were established with the Akas. I 
believe this friendliness will be permanent. The hitherto unknown 
countries of the Mijis and Miri Akas were surveyed, and we 
received from both people a very good reception. 

The Daflas living on the Upper Borelli were visited ; unfortu- 
nately we were not well received, we made every endeavour to make 
friends, but without success, and in the end they treacherously 
attacked us. We were able to teach them a needed lesson that they 
are not so powerful as they think, and also that they cannot interfere 
with us with impunity." 

On March 18th, Captain Nevill and Captain Kennedy, I.M.S.* 
left Jamiri on the first stage of their journey to Tawang. The object 
of this journey as stated in Captain Nevill's memorandum dated 
23rd May 1914, was "(I) to actually see the trade route in order to 
know what was required to improve the communications and to find out 
the best means of fostering and increasing the present trade ; (2) to 
gather information about the inhabitants of this part of the frontier 
and to make myself thoroughly acquainted with the local conditions ; 
(3) to enquire to what extent the Lobas harass the villagers ; (4) to 
ascertain exactly how far Tibetan rule and influence affected the 

They reached Dirang Dzong on the 23rd, the principal Monba 
village south of the Sela Range : and on the 30th March they crossed 
the Sela pass at 14,450 feet over deep snow frozen hard. On the 
1st April they reached Tawang where they received what Nevill 
describes as "a most overwhelming welcome." Nevill describes the 
country thus 

" At Tawang there is a large monastery containing SOO 

monks: it is built in a fine position on a gently sloping ridge. 
The Monastery buildings are enclosed by a fortified waif, fldow the 
monastery is the village of Tawang consisting of a collection of Vooden 
huts. The inhabitants are largely composed of Tsona people, who 
come here to escape the severe cold of Tsona during the winter months. 
North of the Sela range is the magnificent open valley of the Tawang- 
chu. The gentle slopes on either bank of the river are almost entire!) 
under cultivation. The soil is rich and it is exceptionally well tilled. 
The principal crop is barley, but large quantities of wheat, rice, beans, 
peas, maize, onions, chillies, dal and garlic are grown. Also I believe 
below Tawang cotton is planted, although I did not see any. The 


country between Tawang and Jang is thickly populated, numerous 
villages are dotted over the valley and the inhabitants appeared pros- 
perous. South of the Sela is the valley of the Dirangchu, a fine open 
valley and well populated. There is a very large area of land under 
cultivation and the fields are well kept, also up some of the small 
tributary streams, such as the Dugamchu and the Sangtichu, there 
is a good deal of cultivation, also a great deal of land that could be 
brought under the plough and hoe. I noticed in the Dirangchu 
valley a very considerable area of land under irrigation. This area 
might easily be increased. Although this valley is naturally a very 
rich one and although a very large area is brought under cultivation, 
the inhabitants did not strike me as being nearly so prosperous as 
their neighbours north of the Sela. This is due to the fact that the 
country south of the Sela as far as the Assam border is controlled 
entirely by the monks of Tawang, with the exception of the village of 
Sengedzong, which is under the jurisdiction of the Tsona Jongpens. 
The people are ground down by excessive taxation they are only left 
barely enough to live upon, also they are greatly harassed by the 
Lobas, who levy blackmail in the most oppressive manner." 

Leaving again on April 9th, they were back at Udalguri on the 

The reception they got throughout is described thus 
"We were made very welcome on the trade route, and all our 
wants as to provisions and coolies were at once supplied. After cross- 
ing the Sela we found that the Tawang officials had sent instructions 
to all headmen that they were to do their utmost to make us comfort- 
able, and from this point on our advance was a triumph. At each 
village the people had made houses ready, both for us and our coolies. 
We were invariably met outside the villages, the headmen carrying 
huge quantities of beer, blocking our way and insisting on us 
partaking before they allowed us to advance. We were officially 
met and entertained at about five miles from Tawang by the two 
Tsona Jongpens, who annually winter at Tawang and who administer 
the Tawang country north of the Sela, and also by two representatives 
of the Tawang monastery. On our arrival at Tawang good quarters 

were found for us and for our party During our stay 

the officials and the people did their utmost to entertain us and to 
make us welcome." 

Captain Nevill wrote thus as regards Tibetan influence 

"The chief Tibetan influence is the monastery in which 500 
monks live, this monastery is an off-shoot of the Drepung monastery in 
Lhasa. Its abbot and the principal officials are also appointed from 

"The country south of the Sela is, with the exception of the 
village of Sengedzong, administered only by the monks of Tawang. 
There are two Jongpens at Dirangdzong and two Jongpens at Kalak- 


His recommendations for the future, which bear a close resem- 
blances to those of Captain Lightfoot 24 years later, were as follows 

"In order to bring about a state of prosperity in this region and 
to promote the growth of trade, it will be necessary to establish a 

simple form of Government The present state of the 

Tawang Monbas, more especially of those south of the Sela, is one 
of extreme poverty. They are greatly harassed by the Lobas, who 
run over the country, demanding whatever is their fancy, robbing and 
stealing if their demands are not complied with. They are also 
ground down by excessive and unjust taxation of the monastery, being 
left barely sufficient for a livelihood. These taxes are collected en- 
tirely in kind. Thus a people who are naturally industrious and who 
are good farmers have no incentive to better themselves and are 
gradually being starved. The people are crying for a just adminis- 
tration and would greatly welcome our rule under which they would 
be infinitely better off. They are simple, hardworking, timid folks 
and very easy to deal with. The two difficulties we should have to 
deal with are (1) the Tawang monks, who for a century have had a 
complete control over the Tawang area. South of the Sela is monastic 
property and is the endowment on which the monastery has to depend 
for its sustenance. The monks, without a doubt, would take up a 
policy of obstruction which, if backed by the great local influence of 
Guru Rimpoche, as is probable, would be most difficult to overcome. 
Also this obstructive policy might perhaps be backed by the weight of 
the Drepung monastery, the largest of the three great religious houses 
in Lhasa, and from which the Tawang monastery has sprung. I can 
see very great difficulties in administering the Tawang country north 
of the Sela. South of the range the difficulties would exist, but not 
in nearly so large a degree. 

I would suggest that the best method of overcoming these difficul- 
ties would be to carefully assess the value of the supplies drawn by the 
monastery from the district and then to subsidise the monastery on the 
basis of this assessment. It would then be necessary to fix a standard 
rate, only to be altered by the Political Officer, at which all supplies 
should be bought. If this was not done, the monks would cheat the 
people and get their supplies for little or nothing. Also I would 
suggest that arrangements be made so that the five thousand rupees we 
annually pay should be used for the monastery and not sent to Lhasa. 
The second difficulty is the Lobas. I have shown how they harass the 
people. Their blackmailing raids have been going on for many years. 
They look on the Monbas as their lawful prey and talk of their visits 
as collecting- taxes. These things must be stopped at once, antf there 
should be no great difficulty about it. The Lobas must be clearly 
told that this state of things cannot continue. Police posts must be 
established at Dirang and Rupa, and possibly in the Aka country to 
enforce our orders. There would be friction at first, but it would not 
continue long. This need not involve a great expense, as military 
police at present stationed in the plains would be used. 

There is no doubt that given protection from raiding tribes 
and relief from monastic oppression by establishing a fair system of 


taxation, this valley would soon become most prosperous and, I think, 
far more than self-supporting, An increased prosperity would extend 
to the Lobas, who, both by circumstances and example, would be 
forced to work and might in time become useful members cf society 
instead of a set of idle blustering freebooters. 

A very great want in all parts of the Tawang country and even 
throughout the whole of the North-East Frontier is treatment for the 
sick. Everywhere I went a great cry was for the doctor and medicine. 
Whilst among Monbas, Captain Kennedy was constantly surrounded by 
people suffering from real and often imaginary diseases and clamouring 
for medicines. I am very sure the establishment of dispensaries will 
form a very large factor in gaining the confidence of the people and a 
peaceful settlement of the country. 

I think that, in view of the coming changes in the conditions, 
loose administration of the country and settlement of the affairs with 
the monastery and the Tibetans should be taken in hand at once. 
Now is the psychological moment. We are popular with the Monbas, 
we are fresh in the mind of the Akas and the Mijis, and we could more 
easily introduce changes now, with less friction, than later on. A 
delay, I am throughly convinced, will be to increase our diffic Ities. 
A European Officer should be stationed, at least for a time, at Tawang. 
He will have no easy task and will have to take up a very firm 
attitude. He must be able to speak Tibetan well. If he can combine 
this work with doctoring, I am sure he would get a great hold on all 
the people and this would make his work the easier." 

Affairs on the North-East Frontier were overshadowed by the 

Great War of 1914-18, and the Chief Commissioner in forwarding the 

report in letter No. 6466-P., dated the 7th November 1914, to the 
Government of Irdia observed as follows. 

"3. Captain Nevill has submitted various interesting suggestions 
for the extension of our control over the country visited by him, but 
the Chief Commissioner does not propose to submit his recommenda- 
tions on these proposals now, as he understands that the Government 
of India are averse fiom anything in thtf shape of a forward move 
upon the frontier at the present moment. Sir Archdale Earle observes 
with much gratification that the majority of the people are well-dis- 
posed towards the British Government, and that the country possesses 
considerable natural resources, which only await a more advanced 
form of Government for their proper development." 

VII. 1918-1937. -In May 1918 the Miripathar Daflas raided the 
plains Dana villages of Gaigaon and Boranipathar and carried off 59 
captives. 14 escaped, 20 were released by the - Political Officer who 
started immediately for the offending village, Pigerong, and all the rest 
were subsequently sent back. Owing to the latenrss of the season 
Captain Nevill was not able to exact full satisfaction. He completed 
the business, however, in January 1921, when he visited Pigerong and 
imposed a suitable fine. 


In Government letter No. 100-T.,* dated the 4th February 1919, it 
was ordered that no settlement should be permitted within a strip of 
country north of the Inner Line 5 miles wide. This revived an order 
of 1888. 

By Notification No. 1534-P., dated the 13th February 1919 the 
Political Officer Western Section was appointed a Special Magistrate 
in Darrang and the North Lakhimpur Subdivisions for the trial of 
cases in which Daflas only were concerned. This was at the request 
of the Political Officei who had pointed out how difficult it was for 
Courts with no experience of their ways to adjudicate in Dallas 1 

The title of the Western Section of the North-East Frontier was 
changed to that of "Balipara Frontier Tract" in 1919, on the recom- 
mendation of the then Chief Commissioner, Sir Nicholas Beatson-Bell, 
by Government of India Notification No. 142-E.B., dated the 20th 
March 1919. 

In letter No. 395-T.,t dated the 7th August 1919 the Chief Com- 
missioner of Assam reported that anxiety was being felt as to the 
inadequacy of the garrisons maintained in Darrang and North Lakhim- 
pur and that since 1914 neither the Polical Officer, Sadiya, nor the 
Political Officer, Balipara, had been able to make proper tours. He 
accordingly recommended to the Government of India the raising of a 
5th Battalion of the Assam Rifles * for the protection of the 
Western Section of the North East Frontier, now known 
as "Balipara Frontier Tract". The Government of India 
supported the proposal and the Secretary of State sanctioned 
it in his telegram of the 14th Ap- il 1 920, One consequence of the 
raising of this new battalion was that the Civil station was shifted from 
Lokra, where the new batt lion was quartered, to its present site at 
Charduar (sanctioned in G. O. No.3702-P.,J dated the 12th May 
1921.) The battalion was, as a measure of economy, amalgamated in 
1931-32, with the 2nd Battalion, to be revived again as a separate unit 
in 1941-42. 

Captain Nevill visited the Akas in 1925 and in his Administration 
Report for the year 1924-25 he records some interesting remarks about 
these people. He says 

"I visited the Aka country in February at their request. I was 
made very welcome. Since Kalao and Tagi the two old 
chiefs died there has been no one to take their p'ace, all the older 
men of standing have died and only young men with no experience 
remain. The most important people in the country are Kelime, 
widow of Tagi, and Dibru, the present head of the Kovatsun^ These 
two and all -the principal people early in the season put in a petition 
to Government that we should station a guard in their country and 
establish a dispensary. 

* Assam Secretariat, Pol , A, June 1919, NOH. 21-30. 

t Assam Secretariat, Pol., A, Deceml er 1920, Nos. 42-66. 

Assam Secretariat, Pol. A, May 1919, Nos. 8-15. 
$ Assam Secretariat, Pol., B, February 1923, Nos. 298-386. 


The reason for this is that for the past three years they have hern 
much worried by the Mijis, a neighbouring tribe closely related to them 
who finding they are weak and leaderless have taken to bullying them. 

They also have become painfully aware that for sometime their 
death rate is larger than their birth rate, and that their numbers are 
seriously decreasing. This is why they are so anxious for a dispensary, 
this is not a new idea, but they have continually spoken about it for the 
past ten years. 

I strongly recommend that a garrison should be stationed in the 
Aka Hills and that a dispensary with a good competent Sub-Assistant 
Surgeon be established. 

These Akas are an excellent and most interesting people, they 
are much more civilised than the Dufflas and they are capable of great 
improvement. I do not think it would cost a great deal. The main 
expense would be the construction of a road, which would present no 
very formidable difficulties. 

It would mean the salvation of these people, who, if we do not 
comply with their request, will gradually die out. Another advantage 
is the excellent strategic position of the Aka Hills. A garrison station- 
ed there would protect the Monbas of Rupa and Shergaon. It would 
puard the Udalguii-Lhassa trade route and would dominate the Mijis, 
Miri Akas, and Dufflas on the North and the Bhorelli and Miripathar 
DufBas on the East." 

In 1926-27 the Runganuddi* Expedition (East Dufflas), was 
undertaken in consequence of a raid by Dufflas of the village of Jorum 
in February 1926 in which 5 Dufflas settled in the plains were killed 
and 3 carried off. Captain Nevill with 68 m?n of the Assam Rifles 
and Captain Abbott left his headquaiters on 23rd December 1926, 
reached Jorum in January and inflicted suitable punishment. He 
visited the Apa Tanang country in the course of this expedition and 
was much struck by its fertility. On his return journey the party 
encountered snow and suffered considerable hardship, there being 9 
cases of frostbite. 

Captain Nevill's Annual Administration report for 1927-28 con- 
tains valuable suggestions on the question of placing posts in the Hills 
with which he had relations. He wrote 

"As years have passed by, the Akas, Dufflas and the other tribes 
have gained confidence and learnt to appreciate the benefits of the new 
order. The pople are increasingly bringing their disputes for settle- 
ment and they fully appreciate the fact that their grievances are 
sympathetically listened to and dealt with when possible. 

This growing friendliness has brought about the desire for a still 
closer relationship. Nowadays the constant request from all sections 
ot the hills is to establish a garrison in their country. Wherever 
I go, I am asked to plant a boundary post so that others may know 
this portion is under my immediate control. This lequcsl is not made 

*Apnointment and Polttical B, June 1926, Nos. 587-603 and June 1927, 
Nt* 582-586. 


by the small villager frightened of his stronger neighbours but invari- 
ably by the wealthiest and most important men in the villages. The 
reason being that in Duflla land a most terrible state of unrest prevails ; 
amongst the tribes there is no cohesion or combination. Every village 
is an independent unit, and even in the village there may be several 
factions. Every man's hand is against his neighbour. Raids, arson 
and murder are the order of the day. If a man goes on a journey 
alone, he is likely to be seized, and carried off into slavery. Even 
women working in the fields are sometimes seized and carried off. 
There is no certainty of life and no peace. All Dufflas realise the 
benefit of peace, but owing to their entire lack of combination they 
are unable to make a united effort to stop this anarchy. I have 
constantly been asked to help one faction against another. Of course 
such action is out of the question. I have many times called a 
meeting of headmen and explained the benefits of a miniature League 
of Nations. Such meetings always end with the request that I should 
come and administer affairs for them I have constantly arbitrated 
between two villages and have been able to patch up quarrels and 
effect peace which in some cases has been lasting. 

However with the headquarters sited in the plains cut off from 
the hills from June to October the Political Officer cannot in any way 
administer the Hill Tracts nor can he exercise very much control in 
inter-village or inter-tribal affairs. 1 am quite convinced that the 
only way to effectively deal with the tribes of this Frontier is to make 
roads and establish outposts at different points in the Hills. 

A small garrison with a British Officer, a dispensary and a 
Sub- Assistant Surgeon should be attached to every post, as a hospital 
for treatment of sickness is appreciated by ihe savage more than 
anything else. The British Officer would be the eyes and ears of the 
Political Officer who should spend at least three quarters of the year 
at the different posts. In time as the posts thoroughly settled down, 
the strength of the posts could be reduced. 

Jamiri, Miripathar, the Dikrang valley, and the Apa Tanang 
country should be the sites for posts. Jarniri in the Aka country 
should be the first post established. The Akas have petitioned for a 
post to be established and the petition was sent to the Government 
with my letter No. 53,* dated the 5th January 1925, to the Chief 

Jamiri is so situated that it controls a very large area of country. 
It dominates the Duffla villages on the North and East of the Akas, 
it would control the Mijis. It is neir to the Mombas of Rupa and 
Shergaon, who consider themselves under the British .protection, 
indeed they live for five months of the year on British soil at'Doimara. 

Good roads exist from Jamiri to Rupa and Shergaon, easy for 

It is also close to the Tawang are? and near the Tibetan Trade 
route from Udalguri to Lhassa. There is no doubt that as soon as 
China settles down this Tibetan Frontier will become of great impor- 
tance. China has still its eyes on Tibet and on Lhassa, the pro-Chinese 

*Assam Secretar.'at, Political, A, December 1927, Nos. 21-57. 


party is growing in influence and should China gain control of Tibet 
the Tawang country is particularly adapted for a secret and easy 
entrance into India. Russia is also trying to establish her influence 
in Tibet, and, if successful, could safely and secretly send her emis- 
saries into India by this route. 

The road to Jamiri is now under construction. 

I would advocate that after Jamiri, the Apa Tanang country be 
opened up. The road would not present any extraordinary diffi- 
culties. A post situated there would control the large and turbulent 
population of the Runganuddi Valley. It would not be an expensive 
post to maintain as I believe a very large proportion of the sepoys' 
rations could be bought locally as the whole Apa Tanang countiy 
is under irrigated rice and is very fertile. 

Miri Pathar controls the Dafflas East of the Bhorelli and west of the 
Poma Pani. It is a very large open valley containing thousands of 
acres admirably suited for wet rice cultivation. 

The Dikrang is a very large flat-bottomed valley capable of support- 
ing a very large population It is very sparsely populated at piesent 
owing to the state of anarchy that has existed there for many 
years past. 

Discussing this Frontier I have often heard it expressed that the 
country is worth nothing and is not worth the expenses of Adminis- 
tration. This is not altogether true for there are very large areas 
of extiemely rich country, the only thing wanting to develop it is 
settled conditions and a just administration. 

There are two other strong arguments for the establishment 
of posts in the hills. These are that it would put an end to the 
most undesirable settlement of Duffla villages in the plains. Also 
if slavery is ever to be abolished, it can only be done by Oflicers 

living in the hills 

The question of slaves has got to be taken in hand before 

long, indeed Burma has already given us a lead 

Amongst the Dufflas the system is one of serfdom rather 

than slavery in the sensr usually accepted in Europe. The slave is 
a son of the soil and in no case an alien different in tongue and habits 
The slave lives on his master's land, or in his house, his marriage is 
ananged and paid for by his master. He is provided with clothing 
and feeds with the family and he is even permitted to acquire pro- 
perty. In many cases he is the confidential adviser of his master. 
Every wd!-to*do householder has his slave or slaves, he could net 
do withturtHetti. A man is accounted rich by the size of his 
cultivation, and the number of his cattle, and it is necessary for him 
to have labour to help in his work. Hired labour is impossible is 
there is no currency and each free rran has his own cultivation to 
look after. 

Sudden emancipation of slaves would cause a complete disloca- 
tion of the existing social conditions. It would bring ruin to the 
owners and in many cases would prove disastrous to the interest of 
the so-called slaves themselves. 


Nevertheless the question has to be faced in the neat future and 
I am confident it can only foe tackled by an officer living amongst the 

Finally I do not advocate the establishment of the posts simul- 
taneously, but the policy must be roads and posts. As soon as one 
has been established a start should be made on the next post in order 
of importance. When this is done, the safety of the Frontier is assu- 
red, and the benefits of civilization will be introduced^among a 
people who at present are amongst the most miserable of any race 
on earth." 

Eventually, in 1928-29, a new post was opened for 2 months at 
Jamiri. It was generally regarded as a good move but the troops 
stationed there suffered severely from the damdims. It was given up 
temporarily in 1930-31 

In 1931-32 Mr. N. L. Bor, the Political Officer, made 3 small 
punitive expeditions into the Duflla country, to punish Ghemgung 
for complicity in ill-treating and imprisoning a British subject : to 
burn Sengmara for being set up within the Inner Line against 
Government orders : and to punish Midpu for raiding Laluk, a plains 

VIII. Tht Constitution Act of 1 935. Neither the Local Govern- 
ment nor any other authority which had to deal with the matter had 
any difficulty in deciding that Bali para Frontier Tract should be an 
"Excluded Area*' It accordingly was entered as such in the Govern- 
ment of India (Excluded and Partially Excluded Aieas) Order, 
1936, and came under the direct administration of the Governor 
from the 1st April 1937. 

IX. Tawang, 1936-1941. Questions connected with Chinese 
and Tibetan influence and regarding our system of intelligence or lack 
of it on the North-East Frontier became prominent again in 1936. 
The position as it then appeared to be is described in a letter dated 
the * 17th September 1936. from the Assam Chief Secretary to the 
Political Officer, Balipara Frontier Tract. 

"2 The Tibet Conference of 1911 resulted in the delimita- 
tion of the Indo-Tibetan frontier from the eastern frontier of Bhutan 
to the Isu Razi pass on the Irrawaddy-Salween water parting The 
line, which was accepted by the Government of Tibet, was demarcated 
on maps then specially prepared, and is known as the Macmahon 
Line. Sir Henry Macmahon recommended in his memorandum that 
while great care should be taken to avoid friction with the Tibetan 
Government and the vested interests of the Tawang monastery, an 
experienced British officer should proceed to the western part, of the 
area south of the Line to settle its future administration. 

The 1914 Convention was never published, mainly because the 
Chinese Government failed to ratify it, and nothing was done to give 
effect to Sir H. Macmahon 's recommendation for extension of adminis- 
tration in the Tawang area. Another consequence is that many 
published maps still show the frontier of India along the administered 
border of Assam. 

'Governor's Secretariat, Tribal, A, December 1937, Nos .1-19. 


The information you collected has been reported to the Secretary 
of State. An important point to notice is that the latest Chinese 
atlases show almost the whole of the tribal area south of the Macma- 
hon Line up to the administered border of Assam as included in China. 
If amounts to this, that while the Chinese already claim a large stretch 
of Indian territory East of Tawang as part of the Sikang province of 
China, the Tibetan Government, over whom the Chinese claim suze- 
rainty, afj^collecting revenue and exercising jurisdiction in the Tawang 
area maSy^tiiles south of the international frontier. The Government 
of India consider that some effective steps should be taken to challenge 
activities which may be extended to a claim on behalf of China to 
Tav^ang itself, or even Bhutan and Sikkim. They therefore propose 
to demand from the Tibetan Government, which has recently re-affirm- 
ed the Macmahon Line, that collection of revenue for the latter 
Government in the Tawang area should be discontinued, and the 
question whether it will be necessary to introduce Indian administra- 
tion to replace Tibetan officials in that area has been left for further 
consideration in the light of Mr. Gould's i eport on conclusion of his 
mission to Lhasa. The suggestion which has now been made to this 
Government is that it is highly desirable to emphasise the interest of 
British India in the Tawang area either by actual tours or by collecting 
the revenue ourselves, since the mere reproduction of the Macmahon Line 
on Survey of India Maps would be insufficient to conect false impres- 
sions which have gained ground in the years since 1914. The conti- 
nued exercise of jurisdiction by Tibet in Tawang and the area south 
of Tawang might enable China, or still worse, might enable any other 
power which may in future be in the position to assert authority over 
Tibet, to claim prescriptive rights over a part of the territory recognised 
as within India by the 1914 Convention In taking any steps of the 
nature contemplated it would be necessary to make it very clear that 
there is no intention to interfere with the purely monastic collection of 
the Tawang monastery." 

The views of the Governor were forwarded to the Government of 
India in Assam letter No. 284-G.S., dated the 27th May 1937, in 
which it was stated that Tawang was undoubtedly Tibetan up to 1914, 
when it was ceded to India, but that, " though undoubtedly British it 
has been controlled by Tibet, and none of the inhabitants have any 
idea that they are not Tibetan subjects ". The letter then went on 
to say : 

" After giving the matter his moit careful attention, he is forced 
to the conclusion that more impressive and permanent action is 
required if:X*wang is to be effectively occupied and possible intrusion 
by QnftJn**hat area forestalled Great importance was attached 
to Tawang in 1914 by Sir Henry McMahon and Sir Charles (then 
Mr* t* A.) Bd), and it was then urged that a tactful and discreet 
officer should be posted to Tawang for the summer months, with 
instructions to collect a light tax but at the same time to leave the 
people to manage their own affairs. His Excellency considers that 
the time has now come when the policy advocated in 1914 but so long 

Governor's (Asiam) Secretariat, Tribal, A, June 1940, Nos. 331-534. 


held in abeyance should be carried out. His Excellency would there- 
fore propose that a European officer of the Indian Police with experi- 
ence of frontier diplomacy should be posted as Assistant to the Political 
Officer, Balipara Frontier Tract, and should proceed to Tawang in 
the spring of 1938 and remain there for the summer, the visit being 
repeated year by year for the present. He should be furnished with 
an escort of a size consistent with the importance of his mission and 
sufficient for his protection. This would be not less than one platoon 
of the Assam Rifles. He should have a carefully selected Sub- Assistant 
Surgeon who, in addition to his ordinary duties, would give fiec to the 
local inhabitants the medical treatment of which they are believed to 
be in great need. The Governor would propose to impress upon the 
officer deputed to Tawang the great importance of tactful behaviour 
towards the inhabitants. In particular it is desirable that he should, 
as suggested by Sir Charles Bell, give to the owners of privatee states 
an assurance that their proprietary rights would be respected, and to 
the monks of Tawang monastery an undertaking that the Tibetan 
Government would be consulted whenever a new head Lama was 

After further consideration it was proposed that, as a preliminary, 
a small expedition should go up to Tawang, "examine the country, get 
into touch with the inhabitants, and foun some estimate of its revenue 
possibilities " before a final decision was come to. This was agreed 
to by the Government of India. 

Captain Lightloot was in charge of the expedition and the instruc- 
tions issued to him were as follows 

" your task will be to explore facts rather than to issue orders 

and make decisions. 

4. Our position vis a vis the Tawang monastery is a particularly 
delicate one in view of Tibet's de facto position there. In the autumn 
of 1936 Gould had an interview with the Kashag in Lhasa at which 
Tawang was discussed. Their attitude was that (1) up to 1914 
Tawang had undoubtedly been Tibetan, (2) they regarded the adjust- 
ment of the Tibet-Indian boundary as part and parcel of the general 
adjustment and determination of boundaries contemplated in the 1914 
Convention. If they could, with our help, secure a definite Sino- 
Tibetan boundary they would of course be glad to observe the Indo- 
Tibetan border as defined in 1914, (3) they had been encouraged in 
thinking that His Majesty's Government and the Government of 
India sympathised with this way of regarding the matter owing to the 
fact that at no time since the Convention and Declaration of 1914 
had the Indian Government taken steps to question Trbotajj^or to 
assert British, authority in the Tawang area. There is, of course, no 
possible doubt that the Indo-Tibetan boundary was definitely 
determined ; and I am to ask you to be scrupulously careful to give 
no impression that the matter can be reopened. Your presence with 
an escort in Tawang will in itself be an assertion of British authority, 
but your conduct in all things should be such as may be calculated 
to cause least shock to Tibetan susceptibilities." 


7. It is probable that the preliminary to detailed action in 
future will be the notification of a Control Area to include the Tawang 
area and the country to the south as far as the administered border, 
I am to ask you therefore to submit on your return proposals for a 
suitable boundary for such an area 

8. Detailed questions, such as that of tribute, now exacted in the 
area, should be left till a Control Area has been established, but 
the more information you can obtain on all such matters the better. 

9. Any officials of the Tibetan Government whom you may 
encounter will realise at once that we aie at last asserting oui lights. 
You should endeavour to find out exactly what they are doing 011 our 
side of the boundary and note for the information of Government 
their attitude and any claims they may makr. It would be improper 
for you to give them any orders ; that will have to be done through 
the Government of India. 

10. I am to say that vour whole handling of this delicate situa- 
tion must be cautious. It is better to go too slow than too fast " 

The expedition reached Tawang on the 30th ol April 1938. 

Their arrival soon carne to the ears of the Tibetan Government, 
who protested to Mr. B. J. Gould the Political Officer in Sikkim and 
asked that the expedition should be withdrawn. Meanwhile, Captain 
Lightfoot had reported on the 26th April that Tibetan ollicials had 
been collecting taxes in presence of the expedition and asked that they 
be made to withdraw. The Goveinor therefore asked that the Tibetan 
Government be requested to withdraw their oilicials to their side of 
the International boundaiy. The Government of Jndia, however, 
were averse to "any action which would commit them to permanent 
occupation and further expenditure." They intimated that "Light- 
foot should inform all concerned that Tawang is by treaty Indian and 
not Tibetan territory and should impress this on Tibetan officials if he 
meets them. He should not however demand their withdrawal and 
should give no assurances to local inhabitants but should simply inform 
them that he has been sent to make enquiries into local conditions and 
that Government will decide after he returns whether to take any 
further interest in them or not. This attitude may create difficulties for 
Lightfoot but is only possible line until future policy has been 

Captain Lightfoot furnished a full and accurate report of condi- 
tions as he found them in Tawang and in addition made certain 
concrete fttgflgj0nfl for the future control of this area, of which the 
following"*** extracts. 

w (l) The Tibetan Government should be asked to withdiaw their 
officials, vk.j the Tsona Ozongpons and their assistants, With them 
will ;mtomatically disappear their exactions of tribute and forced 
labour. Till this is done our prestige must inevitably be non-existent. 

Governor's Secretariat, Tribal A, June J 940, Nos. 335-026 


(2) It wouM be of the utmost advantage if the withdrawal of the 
Tibetan officials from the monastery could be arranged, making it, 
what in fact it is, a Monba monastery. So inextricably are State and 
Religion intermingled in Tibet that till the Tibetan monastic officials 
are withdrawn, Tibetan influence and intrigue must persist in the 
surrounding country. 

(3) The monopolies of salt and rice should be abolished. 

(4) Payment of tribute in kind, whether to us or the monasteries, 
should be abolished and payment in cash substituted. Payment in 
kind means carriage of the bulky tribute by forced labour, the form of 
oppression most bitterly resented now. 

4. The following are the innovations the introduction of which I 
beg to propose : 

(1) In place of the present? haphazard and inequitable tribute in 
kind I beg to propose that tribute in cash at the rate of Rs.5 a house 
be paid to the Government of India throughout the Control Area the 
establishment of which is proposed brlow. This rate of tax may seem 
high as an initial rate, but I am of the opinion that it is not excessive. 
I think, indeed, ihat in a few years this rate might even be increased. 
Such a fixed and properly distributed tax would be a boon to the 
villagers in that it would do away with the greater part of the forced 
labour now being inflicted on them. 1 have calculated that at the 
beginning about Rs. 1 1,000 in tribute would be collected from such a 
tax. The following figures will explain how this total is arrived at : 

In the Tawang area there arc approximately 80 villages with an 
average of 15 houses in each. In the Dirang area there are about 15 
villages with about 40 houses in each. In the Kalaktang area there 
are some 15 Monba villages of 12 houses each and in addition there are 
two Sherdukpcn villages of 160 houses. This makes a rough total of 
2140 houses, which gives a revenue of approximately Rs.l 1,000. 1 
confidently anticipated that the amount of this tribute will gradually 
increase. Not only will freedom from oppression lead to greater 
prosperity, but the emigration of families seeking asylum in Bhutan 
will cease, and many will return. 

(2) After the removal of the Tsona Dzongpons, I would suggest 
the appointment of two Agents, one of whom, the senior, would be 
stationed in Tawang, and the other in Dirangdzong. 

These Agents would be assisted by panchayats. The panchayat 
at Tawang would be composed of 2 Representatives of the monastery 
council, elected for a period of one year, and 4 village headmen, who 
would be elected by a meeting of all village headmen ftBce^a year. In 
the Dirangdzong area two panchayats would He naeenfff^vac in 
Dirang and the other in Kalaktang, the additional paachayat being 
necessary owing to the great distance between the two places. The 
Dirang panchayat would consist of the two Dirang Dzongpons, who are 
monastery officials, and, as in Tawang, 4 village headmen, who would 
be similarly elected. Tie Kalaktang panchayat would be composed 

Governors Secretariat, Tribal, A, March 1941, Not,. 1-41. 


in the same way as the Dirang panchayat, except that the Talung 
Dzongpons would take the place of the Dirang Dzongpons. These 
panchayats should be empowered to deal with all cases under the 
supervision of the Agents and, of course, subject to the right of appeal 
to the Political Officer of Balipara Frontier Tract. The two Agents, 
who should be Tibetan-speaking persons of good social position, should 
be given considerable powers to deal with cases independently of the 
panchayats when necessary. A brief summary of the two Agent's duties 
is given herewith. 

(i) The collection of the Rs.5 house tax. 

(it) With the aid of the panchayat the hearing of cases. 

(ill) Checking and counting houses in the villages. 

(io) Keeping the Political Officer informed of all matters 
concerning their areas. 

(v) Putting up of appeals. 

The Senior Agent would carry out the above duties in the Tawang 
Area, and would, in addition make occasional vsits to Dirang for the 
purpose oi inspecting the work of the Junior Agents, who would be 
under his supervision. 

"5. To mark the limits of our loose administration and of the area 
from which revenue is received a Control Area should be established. 

6. I would recommend the institution of village panchayats as is 
done in most hill'districts. Such panchayats would hear all petty 
village cases, the parties, of course, having the right to appeal to the 
main panchayat of their area, 

7. Influence should tactfully be brought to bear to trv and 
persuade the monastery officials to elect Monbas to their high religious 

nts and riot to allow Tibetans to be brought from Drepung in Lhasa, 
m making this proposal tentatively as, being a matter of religion, it 
would have to be very carefully handled. As the Monbas dislike the 
Tibetans I do not think that such action would be difficult of accom- 

In forwarding these proposals to the Government of India in his 
letter No. 3851-G.S., dated the 7th September 1938, the acting Go- 
vernor {Sir <CiMfcert Hogg) expressed hi mself strongly to the effect that 
the*liijjjjgf*ipn was intolerable and should be terminated as soon 
as ptiffiMi* ' Unaccepted in general Captain Lightfoot's proposals and 
* follows : 

(1) A control area should be declared, with boundaries as propo- 
sed by the Political Officer (vide Report, Part II, paragraph 2 and 
Appendix 2). This will in itself entail no expenditure, but will mark the 
limits of the area horn which the tribute proposed in sub-paragraph(S) 
below will be paid and into which raids by Akas from the east will 
not be allowed. 


(2) The Tibetan Government should be requested to withdiaw 
their officials from this area. The absolute necessity of this needs, 
His Excellency feels, no further emphasis (Vide Report, Part II para- 
graph 3). 

(3) Negotiations should be begun with the object of causing the 
substitution of Monba for Tibetan religious officials in Towang monas- 
tery and of placing the contiibutions to the monastery on a known and 

equitable basis, with the abolition of all forced labour. 

(4) Monopolies in salt and rice should be abolished. 

(15) A tribute o 1 Rs. 5 per house should be imposed throughout the 
area. His Excellency has discussed this with the Political Officer and 
is satisfied that it is not excessive [vide Report, Part II paragraph 

His Excellency recommends that this should be a tribute rather than 
a tax, for he considers that the area now under consideration must re- 
main tribal territory and cannot form part of the Province of Assam 
even with the status only o( an excluded area, in any future that can 
be foreseen The inhabitants are for the most part Buddists, with no 
affinities with the plainsmen of Assam. Indeed members of some of 
the tribes are, His Excellency understands, forbidden by their reli- 
gion even to visit the plains. His Excellency therefore considers that 
the receipts in the form of tribute from the Towang area should be 
credited to Central Revenues, from which expenditure on the area, 
will be drawn. 

(6) His Excellency agrees with the Political Officer (vide Report 
Pait II, para 4(2) (3) and (4) that the administrative staff should 
consist of an Agent at Towang and Assistant Agent at Dirangdzong, 
and considers that the type of officer and pay proposed are suitable." 

Estimates amounting to Rs.4l,617 non-recurring and Rs. 37,896 
recurring to cover the cost of carrying out this policy were subsequently 

In December 1938 the Government of India were again addressed 
to the effect that, if permanent occupation were not immediately prac- 
ticable, a second expedition in the ensuing April would be desirable, 
astheiewcre sign that the Tibetan officials were reverting to their 
previous practices since our people had left. 

The Central Government however, reluctantly decided (their letter 
No. F-8-X/ 38, dated the 20th April 1939) that the ..papMcd second 
tour could got be allowed as it "might result in tfajjgvnnuat&t of 
India having to undertake permanent occupation in^MtflMMUheir 
obligations towards the Morbas". It was decided subsftrftuJMJ^ in July 
1939, that the question of futuie policy should be decided after the 
expiry of one year. While agreeing that the situation should be 
watched, the Government of India ti ustc-d that nothing would be done 
to incur commitments in that area. 

X, Minor incidents 1938-40. --The main event of the year 1938-39 
was the visit to Tawang, but besides that there were the following 
minor incidents. 


An Expedition* visited in December 1938 the Miji Aka village of 
Nakhu in order to warn them that raiding and taking tribute from the 
Monbas of the Dirangdzong area must stop. 

In the Eastern Duffla country, Kabeng was guilty of a raid on 
Pinji, a village in the tribal area but very close to our frontier, in 
which 8 persons were carried off. Orders were issued to release the 
prisoners, but as they were disobeyed a punitive expedition was 
despatched, the captives were released and a fine of 10 mithan 
imposed. The Political Officer reported that this action had a good 
effect on other Dufflas. 

In 1939-40f the Miji Akas were again troublesome, attempting to 
exact tribute from the Monbas ot the Dirangdzong and Shcrdukpen 
areas, Nakhu again being conspicuous. 

XI. Pow. References to the payment of posa occur frequently 
throughout the history of this tract. 

Captain Nevill's annual report for 1914-15 gives the details of the 
posa payments as follows. 

"Pnsa. The following amounts are paid : 

Rs. a. p. 
Tawang Monbas 5,000 

Rupa and Shcrgaon 2,526 7 Galled by the 

Bhutias or Sat 

Tembang ... 145 13 6 Galled by 


Akas, Kovat sun ... 536 Called Kopa- 


Akas, Kutsun ... 164 Galled' Hazari- 


Daflas ... ,.. 3,631 2 3 

Miri-Abo* 1,124 11 

> Ari^pw3rne -posa paid to the Tawang Monbas, the amount was 
_ tii pfdn in 1853 and was given in order to put a stop to the Bhutia 
raids, and to their quite groundless claim to land in the Mangaldai 
subdivision. The Rs.5,000 paid at Udalguii, as I have previously 
stated, is sent direct to Lhassa with the exception of Rs. 500 which is 
retained by the Monks of the Tawang Monastery. 

* Administration Report for 1938-1939. 
f Administration Report for 1929-1940. 


The Rupa and Shergaon Monbas receive Rs. 2,526-7-0. This 
was originally paid to them in lieu of goods obtained by black-mailing 
the plains people. It is hard to conceive why these two very insigni- 
ficant villages should receive so large a sum, especially as they are a 
very timid people and quite incapable of ever causing much trouble 
on the Frontier. 

The Tembang Monbas receive Rs. 145-13-6. How these people 
established a claim to posa is extraordinary. Their village is a small 
one about 5 days' march from the plains and due north of Rupa. 
They are the most craven and degraded people I have seen in the 

The two Aka tribes receive posa of Rs. 536 and Rs. 164, respec- 
tively. These amounts are paid to the two chiefs and they are held 
responsible for the good behaviour of their people. 

The posa paid to the Dafla* and Miri-Abors is in varying sums 
from Rs. 350 to four annas arid in some villages as many as twenty 
persons receive it. Amongst the Daflas the great majority of posa 
receivers are men of no standing or influence at all, in some cases even 
slaves receive payment. Posa is paid on the production of a piece of 
paper called a Hat Chit. Previously little or no effort has been made 
to verify the claim of the producer to this Hat chit. These chits have 
been made an object of barter and consequently in some cases quite 
uninfluential people will produce 7 or 8 chits. Runaway slaves have 
stolen the chits from their masters and have settled in the plains 
and received payment on production of the chits. Iwery endeavour 
has been made this year to straighten matters out. The producer 
has been asked to establish his claim and state how he became 
possessed of his chit and his fingerprints have been taken, in order 
that in future, there may be some check. Since posa is given it is a 
great pity that it is not paid to responsible headmen who could be 
made responsible for the good behaviour of their villages. 

With the Miri-Abors the state of things is better and the larger 
receivers of posa are in most cases influential men. 

In addition to money-payment of posa it has become an esta- 
blished custom to present the hillmen with 203 bottles of liquor, 18 
maunds 32 seers of salt, Rs. 164-2 6 to meet their expenses in the 
plains, also 108 yards of red broadcloth" 

In his report for 1921-22, Nevilj again mentioned the payment 
to the Tawang Jongpens of posa of ftft,tl% wfeich went to Dre- 
pung monastery, except for Rs. 50& to tfvtaig, mA ftW that jt 
ought to be discontinued. The point WM f>BaaAyj ,* aa ^ it was 
found that it originated in 1844 when it was S3S9pMH% the 
Government of India in commutation of the claims of *tl WwMMS 
of Kuriapara Duar : and it was guaranteed in the treaty shown at 
page 156 of Aitchison's Treaties, Volumn I. Though Captain Nevill 
affirmed that the Tawang people had got the posa on false prelenses, 
and that the monastery received the posa and not the Tibetan 

*Assam Secretariat, Appointment and Political, July 1922, Nos. 64-67, 


Government, it was decided that the payment could not now be 
stopped. So the rather curious position, by which, as Mr. A. W. 
Botham, the then Chief Secretary, put it, "Tawang being a depen- 
dency ofLhassa and Tibet being a dependency of China, we are 
in a way paying tribute to China for part of the Darrang Dis- 
trict", continued. 

By 1923-24 the amounts paid to the Dufflas had been reduced 
to Rs. 2,440 and that to the Miris to Rs. 935. Nevill again re- 
ferred to it as "a very bad system, but it is very hard to abolish". 



19131919 Captain G. A. Nevill, i. P. 


1919 -1928 Captain G. A. Nevill, I.P. (Retired 21st May 

19281930 Mr. R. G. R Gumming, i. P. 

19301931 Mr. H. F. B. Burbidge, i. P. 

19321934 Mr. N. L. Bor, i. F. s. 

19341942 Captain G. S. Lightfoot, i. P. 

A. G. I'. (G.S.) No.14 500 9-4.1942.