Military Campaign In Western Zogam

By this time Edgar, who was highly optimistic about his mission in conciliating the Zomi, was also baffled by the repeated raids and he submitted a memorandum in which he suggested that the Zomi should be subjugated completely. He made it clear that for the protection of the tea gardens of Cachar Frontier, the Zo country should be annexed.

Thus, on July 11, 1871, the Governor-General-in-Council ordered an expedition against the Zomi in Lushai Hills (Western Zogam) which became to be known as The Lushai Expedition 1871-72. The expeditionary force was divided into two columns — The Left Column advanced from Cachar under the command of Gen G Bourchier, with Edgar, Dy. Commissioner of Cachar as Civil Officer; the Right Column advanced from Chittagong under the command of Gen CA Brown Low, with Capt TH Lewin, Superintendent of Chittagong Hill Tracts, as Civil Officer. In addition, a contingent of Manipuris under the command of Major Thangal and Major Songaijamba accompanied by Gen Nuthall, the Political Agent of Manipur, made a demonstration march across the southern border of Manipur in support of Gen Bourcheir’s operation. The Manipuri contingent, on their way back to Manipur, met the Guite Chief, Goukhothang who was treacherously seized and carried off to Manipur, where he died in jail in 1872. The action was bitterly criticised by Edgar and Gen Bourchier who charged Manipuris as ‘liars’ and Nuthall as a ‘coward’.

The military campaign in Western Lushai Hills (Zogam) was successful and most of the Zomi chiefs were reduced to submission. Mary Winchester was surrendered, and the fines imposed were paid. Once the expedition was completed, the British withdrew from Western Lushai Hills, leaving the chiefs to rule as before. At the time, the British had no intention of occupying the country.

Then, the question of frontier defence came up for re-consideration. However despite the advocacy of ‘Forward Policy’ of the ‘complete military occupation’ of territory by the frontier officers, the policy of loose control and conciliation was re-affirmed in the belief that the successful Lushai Expedition would have convinced the Zomi of the inadvisability of further raids on British subjects. To some extent the policy was successful, and for ten years there was no further trouble.



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