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-nine. Crisis
caption: on patrol
medium: books
person: Graham Bower/ Ursula
text: Namkia and I went back next day with the patrol, a company of the Chamar Regiment. We reached Asalu the first night, instead of Laisong, as planned; the men were straight up from the plains and out of training. The following day, there were four men down before we crossed the pass. The company commander was carrying one man's equipment, Ramgakpa the second's, and Namkia the third's - Namkia in a netted tin hat, with a Bren gun on his shoulder. When the fourth went down, there was no one spare but myself. Willy, the O.C., was a tower of strength, ramping up and down the line, coaxing, cheering, scolding and keeping the men moving. He bent over the fourth man and shook him.
text: " Come on - 'tisn't far."
text: A groan.
text: " Can't."
text: Willy reached for the fallen equipment.
text: " All right - the Miss-Sahib'll carry your kit. Up you get - come along."
text: The sepoy had his equipment again before Willy had finished speaking, and marched on the rest of the way to camp.
text: All was quiet at Laisong. There was no news from the Jiri; no word of Japs. Willy camped till sunset in the rest- (209) house and then moved off to sleep out in the woods. I gave him a Laisong scout as guide and runner. As they were moving off by the old road up the valley, the Zemi stopped short, plucked Willy's sleeve, and pointed up at a tree.
text: "Jap sniper ! " thought Willy. " Damned if I can see him." He ducked and peered. The Zemi was pointing and gesticulating, whispering excitedly.
text: The whole column had stopped by now. It was dusk, the dim, creepy dusk of the dense woods. No one could hear a thing; no one could see the Japs.
text: The Naga, with a cluck of impatience, raised his gun and fired.
text: The company flung itself down and sideways into the scrub and ditches with a frantic rattle of rifle-bolts and looked wildly round for the enemy. With a loud thump a dead squirrel fell almost on top of the prostrate Willy, and the scout, with a pleased smile, picked it up.
text: I spent all next morning soothing Willy.
text: We went out to Thingje next day - baking heat and a road like concrete; no Japs. Then to Hangrum; no luck. On the 6th, back to Laisong again, still with no information. I left the Chamars to camp down by the river and trudged the weary eight hundred feet up the Laisong hill.