The Nagas

Hill Peoples of Northeast India

Project Introduction The Naga Database

Typescript - J.P. Mills, Tour Diary, November to December 1936

caption: A determined Pangsha attack repulsed; two villages establish peace
medium: tours
person: Wenshoyi khel/ PangshaWilliams/ MajorFurer-Haimendorf/ Dr C.
ethnicgroup: SemaLushaiAngami
location: Noklak Pangsha Patkoi R. Langnyu R. Chingmei Ponyo (Himbu)
date: 27.11.1936
person: Mills/ J.P.
date: 11.1936-12.1936
person: School of Oriental and African Studies Library, London
text: 27th November
text: To Noklak. After a bitterly cold night in the reeking damp of the valley we sent our very vulnerable baggage train under a guard of one platoon straight to Noklak, and ourselves took a highly mobile force of one platoon, with the minimum of dobashis etc, up to the Wenshoyi khel of Pangsha. The path led through reaped rice fields, with fine wild Michaelmas daisies in the patches of jungle. Pangsha strip their rice by hand as the Semas do, and winnow it from platforms rather after the Lushai fashion. Among the rice is planted giant red millet about ten feet high. This was still unreaped and this forest of stems, easy to run through but difficult to see through, was of supreme importance later in the day. Across a narrow ridge just below the village a stone wall, loopholed for either muzzle-loaders, of which Pangsha have a few, or bows, had been built. In the middle of the wall was a fence of banana stems, for it is a very old Naga belief that bullets passing banana stems are "cooled" and rendered harmless. This line of defence was brand new, but was not held. The sun rising over the Patkoi was straight in our eyes and we could see very little. The enemy were, however, observed collecting above the village and were dispersed by long range Lewis gun fire, without, as we afterwards ascertained, any casualties. We then occupied the village. All property of any value had been taken out of it and we burnt it as we returned.
text: Very soon after our retirement began we saw very large numbers of men from the main village streaming along a path on our right, I had always been told that Pangsha would at some time attempt to overwhelm us with every man they had - and that number could not be less than 500 and was probably more. Our immediate objective was the bridge over the Langnyu on the Wenshoyi - Noklak path, and the path to it lay down a long ridge like a series of giant steps. We went straight down it and the advance guard had taken up an excellent position by the time the shouting of the Pangsha men coming up in dead ground rose into a roar which no one present is likely ever to forget. They topped the last rise and the advance guard got their target, and opened fire while millet stems still hid the enemy from the main body and rear guard who were being attacked. The rush was stopped fifty yards from us, and before the shower of spears came, the first shot hitting the leader in the chest and dropping him dead. We continued our withdrawal, with the rear guard keeping off any attempted renewal of the attacks. Major Williams will send in an official and detailed report, and it only remains for me to say that the conduct of his men and his handling of them was beyond all praise. He repulsed what was probably the most determined open attack ever made on a column in these hills, without suffering a single casualty and after inflicting severe losses on the enemy. Nor can one fail to recognise the great bravery of Pangsha.
text: With completely unknown ground in front of us we lost no time in getting to the river, and succeeded in doing so without being cut off in the valley. On the Noklak side the ground was open, and we went straight up to the village, where the inhabitants regaled us with rice beer such as Angamis make. I went into the village, which has all its houses roofed with slate. Dr Furer who was with me took some photographs. On my way to Pangsha I had told Noklak they must pay six mithan for letting Chingmei do all the work of clearing the path, and for causing three sircari feet to be spiked by panjis on the portion Chingmei could not clear in time. In our presence Noklak and Chingmei were able to meet, and peace between the two village was concluded. This will be to their mutual advantage and will be a severe blow to Pangsha. Himbu came in to see me from over the Burma boundary. They had come through Pangsha, with whom they are great friends. Pangsha had only admitted to five men killed on the spot and had said nothing about wounded. Their casualties were undoubtedly higher than that. I sent word through Himbu to Pangsha that they must stop slave-raiding and must not take revenge on anyone who has helped us. I also said that if they sent representatives to Chingmei to see me they would as safe as the four men who met me when we first approached their village. I shall be surprised if they come, but they might.