The Nagas

Hill Peoples of Northeast India

Project Introduction The Naga Database

book : Return to the Naked Nagas (1939;1976)

caption: Chapter Eighteen. A Skirmish with Head-Hunters
caption: the danger over, a quick withdrawal
medium: books
ethnicgroup: Kalyo Kengyu
location: Pangsha
person: Furer-Haimendorf
date: 6.1936-6.1937
text: Now there is not an enemy to be seen, and if I had a word to say regarding our policy, I would stay here on this very convenient hill, in this splendid strategical position, and wait for a second attack. However, Major Williams has good reason to think that the Pangsha warriors will change their tactics and attack us again in the jungle by the crossing of the river. Their numbers are so superior that to surround us would be an easy matter. A quick withdrawal is the only way to avoid any such manoeuvre.
text: Already we can see the groups of warriors collecting again on the slopes above us, and their battle cry rises once more; but not with the same relentless urgency. It is no doubt tempered by the effect of our bullets, for in the face of our continuous firing they keep at a respectful distance, though always at our heels, as we make for the valley.
text: Luckily there is only a narrow strip of jungle lining the river bank, and by some special act of providence we hit upon the narrow path that brings us to the bridge. How thankful we are for the open, treeless slope on the other side, where no enemy can approach unseen.
text: The Pangsha warriors follow us up to the river, and their shouts are anything but flattering. The Chingmei scouts catch some of the remarks and, as we go, they tell of the calls of our pursuers -- rather monotonous, since they all harp on the same theme: "First you come to fight with us and now you run away." Well, yes, it is more or less true, but yesterday it was the Pangsha people who had run away, and they had only dared to attack when they found our numbers greatly diminished.