The Nagas

Hill Peoples of Northeast India

Project Introduction The Naga Database

book - 'Naga Path', by Ursula Graham Bower, published John Murray 1950

caption: Chapter twenty-eight. The Hangrum Incident
caption: bombing of air-strip
medium: books
person: Graham Bower/ Ursula
text: We were just at the outcrop, Namkia and I, at nine that morning, when there was a deep, insistent, piercing hum - growing louder, vibrating all round us; the throb of massed engines, high.
text: " A lot," he said.
text: " They don't sound like ours."
text: The whole village was listening, standing at doors and staring up. Then we saw them. Two big formations of bombers were flying high, the attendant fighters hardly visible, seen only as tiny winks as one or other turned over and caught the sun. The two formations passed over. They were above the plain.
text: " They must be ours, Namkia - but they don't look - - -"
text: A little mushroom smoke-puff appeared below them. They sailed on. There was another and another. We heard (200) the boom of gunfire. Then, suddenly, from Kumbhirgram, there was the deep 'whoomp' of bombs.
text: You couldn't see the airfield from the village itself. The nearest viewpoint was a quarter-mile up the road. We all began to run. In ten seconds, the male population of Khangnam was strung out along that road - small boys scudding in front with a horde of dogs, bucks overtaking them, elders shedding their cloaks to run the faster, while girls and women shrieked and dashed for home. Namkia was gone from me in a flash, at a pace I wouldn't have believed of him. In a minute or two I was panting along alone, and one of the headmen, with perfect tact, slowed down to a trot to keep me company.
text: When we reached the viewpoint, a haze of red dust hid the airfield. We could just hear the moan of the receding bombers. From the dust-cloud came intermittent reports - whether gunfire or exploding ammunition one couldn't tell. When the dust-cloud fell, tilting and blowing away over the wide plain, we could see smoke rising from buildings; there was a fire of sorts, but it was too far to see more.
text: Namkia pushed through the crowd to find me.
text: " The guns hit one ! We saw something falling. We couldn't see where it went because of the sun."
text: " Was it in our area ? "
text: He wasn't sure. He thought it was more over Manipur way.