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Views & Reviews

History Is Solidly on Our Side — Chümoukedima Village Council

By EMN Updated: Jan 06, 2022 9:49 pm

In recent times after the declaration of new districts of Chümukedima and Niuland some communities are forcefully trying to carve themselves out of the new district of Chumukedima by giving reasons which are baseless and therefore to set right the history the following clarifications are brought to the notice for your kind authority.

1. History tells us that  when Sukhapha the founder of the Ahom Kingdom left Mong Mao in Yunnan to present day Assam, he traversed the Patkai Hills for 13 years and encountered the Nagas for the first time in 1227 AD. With his huge army he was able to penetrate the Naga country and made them pay tributes till he reached Namrup and as per oral narration, like the rest of the Naga villages, the  Chümoukedima people had also paid tributes at that time. According to the Buranjis(the chronicle of the Ahom Kings), during the reign of Sukhapha from 1228- 1268, the Nagas were in frequent clash with the Ahoms but they were kept largely under control by granting revenues and free Lands to the Angami Nagas on the understanding that they will not make marauding raids into the plains and their borders were left undisturbed. In the  Burajis account, Sukhapha is said to have encountered a kachari group who were forced out of a place called Mohung (Mohung Dejao) after losing it to the Angami Nagas.

2. Following the battle between the Dimasa and the Ahom Kingdoms, as per the oral narration the Dimasa Raja and his subjects initially migrated and settled around Medziphema and Rüzaphema valley and it can be seen that   there were remnants of man-made lakes (“Dimazie” translates in English as  Dima’s Lake). Having found that the area is  insufficient for settlement, it is said that the Kachari king had moved to the Chümoukedima peaks at Tsiedukhru where there are still remnants of whetstone, earthen and clay wares to be found. According to the folklore, one Angami Warrior Thezhü-u from Kiruphema had already settled at Tsiedukhru and made alliance with the Dimasas and he alongwith 30 warriors from Chümoukedima assisted the Dimasas for establishing Dimapur Kingdom after taking the consent from Chümoukedima people. It is said that Thezhü-u and the 30 warriors had lived amongst the Dimasa people for a considerable period and Thezhü-u even married the Dimasa King’s daughter but he along with some of the Angami settlers return to their native village and  shortly after that the Dimasa Kingdom was attacked by superior Enemies (Ahoms) and they were forced to abandon Dimapur. It may be noted that the Dimasa remnants have sculptures of traditional Angami Spear and Daos and the Dimapur Gate was even referred as “Thezhü-u Kharu”(Thezhü-u Gate) by the Angamis.

3. While the above details are based mostly on oral narrations passed down by Ancestors, there is no dearth of written records beginning with the first British expedition to the Naga Country in 1832 when Captain Pemberton and Jenkins endeavoured to open a communication between Manipur and Assam through the Naga Hills and they were met with great hostility from the Nagas. Thereafter, in 1835, the attention of the British Government was drawn to the marauding Angami Nagas who frequented the North Cachar and exacted dreadful plunders upon the British Subjects, following which the British Government made forays to the Naga Hills in order to protect their interest in Assam and Manipur.

4. It may be noted that “Samaguting” is the mispronounced term for Chümoukedima and it has been clarified in the book written by Varrier Elwin’s “The Nagas in the Nineteenth Century” where in  page 29, it was mentioned clearly that  “I say Samaguting as it has become the common appellation but correctly speaking it should be Chumookodima” (1874, Jan 23rd). It also mentioned  how Chümoukedima people received yearly tax in the form of salt and cattle from people located as far as Nowgong (Nagaon) and this was  confirmed by ER Grange, who 1840 while writing about the Kacharis mentioned in page 218 that in and around present-day Manja area (Mahong Dijao), “The Cacharees here (Bokolea), till within two years past, have been obliged to pay tribute to the Nagas of Sumoogoding, to preserve peace. The tribute consisted of a cow or bullock, and one maund of salt per annum.”.

5. Another author Alexander Mackenzie in his book,”The North-East Frontiers of Bengal” gave reference about ER Grange’s second expedition to the Naga Hills in 1840, and it mentions how the expedition resulted in burning of five villages and capture of eleven Naga prisoners. In the page 106 it was mentioned that  “Soon after Mr Grange had returned from the hills the second time, the two Ganw Boorahs of Samoogooting came down and entered into written engagements to be friendly, expressing a wish to settle on the plains. Lands east of Mohang Dijooa were promised them, and the Naga prisoners were all released, but it does not appear that any active steps were taken to induce a Naga immigration to the plains.”. In the same book, Alexender Mackenzie, wrote about the occupation of Chumukedima and he mentioned how all “Angami Nagas visiting the plains of Assam were to be furnished with passes… as they passed through Sumoogooting, where they were also to leave their spears”. In a footnote, the author also states that the “boundaries of the District of the “Naga Hills” were thus fixed in 1867 –”Eastern Boundary – The “Doyeng” or “Rengmah” river.”Northern Boundary – A line from the confluence of the “Doyeng” and “Dhunseery” river along the “Dhunseery” for a distance of six miles, thence up the Nambar Nulla to its source and across country to a point on the “Doeegooroong” nulla, thence along it northwards for a distance of 7 ½ miles, from which point it takes a due westerly course to a point on the “Kolleeanee” river along which it runs for a distance of 28 miles. The “Southern Boundary – A line along the crest of the Burrail range from the source of the “Rengmah” or the “Doyeng” to the small western feeder at the source of the “Dhunseery” river. The “Western Boundary – A line from the crest of the “Burrail” range down the “Dhunseery” river for a distance of 26 miles, thence across the Hills to a point on the “Loongteng” river and along it to its confluence with the “Doyang” river; across the Hills to the “Gungah Ghat” on the “Kopilee” rivers; and along it to the junction of the “Kopilee” and the “Doyang” rivers”.

6. Now, it is a historical fact that the Ahoms themselves chased away the Kacharis and ransacked their capital Dimapur. But, the Ahoms made no attempt to occupy Dimapur. In fact, Dimapur, in whatever array or disarray it was post Ahom-Kachari imbroglio in the 16th century, found mention and gained prominence only when the colonial powers, to appease the “wild” marauding Angamis who made frequent attacks on the tax-paying villages, released several Angami Naga prisoners and agreed to set up a “salt market” at “Dheemapore” way back in the mid 19th century. And if one were to go through the maps and descriptions of the early British officials who made daring expeditions to these wild and barbarous, uncharted regions of the world in their attempt to find routes to Manipur from Assam in the 19th century, present-day Assamese zealots would cringe and feel 2-feet small when they find that villages from present-day Bakolia were paying “tribute” to the Chümoukedima as far back as 1838.(Excerpt from Sabastian Zumvu Article titled “Naga-Assam boundary-Paying the price of silence).

7. There is very little written records to prove the existence of any tribe in between the Angami area and Assam state prior to the World War-II. Before the advent of the Britishers to Naga Country, it is established beyond any doubt that Chümoukedima people controlled and received tributes from all the areas now in present Karbi Anglong,Assam and the tributes were exacted even some 30 years after the British advent in 1832. In 1851, Tularam Senapati, the Principle Chief of North Kachar Assam, recorded that the Nagas controlled most of the areas of Cachar. As late as 1912, the British Government recorded that the Boundary of the then Naga Hills extended much beyond the present boundary of Nagaland. There is several such recorded history to establish that the present Dimapur and beyond belonged to Chümoukedima.

8. It may be noted that the thick virgin forests in the foothills of the Naga Hills were part of Naga Hills but they were constituted into reserved forests by the then British Government around the first Quarter of the 19th century with the verbal negotiations and understandings of the Nagas particularly of Chümoukedima Angamis. These areas were then for administrative convenience, controlled from Sibsagar District since the administrative machineries was better available in the Sibsagar District and the Naga Hills was then made a part of Assam by the British. Therefore,  all forest areas at the Foothill of the Angami country belonged to the Angamis likewise to the Zeliangs, Rengmas and Lothas in their respective borders with Assam.

In view of the fact that history is solidly on our side, the Chumukedima people will not tolerate any attempt to distort history and the Chumukedima people therefore request your kind authority not to entertain any request to change the boundaries of the newly created district of Chumukedima. Incase any attempt is made to change the boundaries of the newly created district of Chumukedima comprising of administrative area of Seithekima EAC Circle, Dhansiripar Sub-Division and Medziphema Sub-Division, the people of Chumukedima will go to any extend to cancel the newly created district of Chumukedima and Niuland and revert back to the original district declaration of Dimapur on 2nd December 1997 with Chumukedima as the district headquarter of Dimapur.

Sedevikho Tsükru
Joint Secretary

Zeno Kire
Head G.B

By EMN Updated: Jan 06, 2022 9:49:17 pm