The Nagas

Hill Peoples of Northeast India

Project Introduction The Naga Database

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

caption: Establishment of boundaries; oath-taking; treatment of slaves
medium: tours
person: Wongtu/ of Ponyo
ethnicgroup: ChangRangpang
location: Chingmei Chentang Pangsha Ponyo Langnyu R. Patkoi R. Tsawlaw Saochu
date: 30.11.1936
person: Mills/ J.P.
date: 11.1936-12.1936
person: School of Oriental and African Studies Library, London
text: 30th November
text: Halted. Coolies moved our rice dump to Chentang. Pangsha (the real name of which is Wailam) readily swore a solemn oath of friendship, and Ponyo similarly swore not to raid across the Langnyu again. I was much struck by the reality of the Patkoi as a boundary here. Though it is not conspicuous among so many high ranges men from Ponyo and Tsawlaw, villages only just on the other side, were wearing Burmese cloths, and puggarees such as are never seen in Assam. Wongtu, the Chang slave at Ponyo (Himbu) was produced before me. His dress and tattoo are Ponyo, his wife is Ponyo, he can speak only the Ponyo language and cannot understand a word of Chang, and he has no wish at all to return to relations he does not remember. He has been adopted as a son and his status is that of a freedman. Ponyo agreed that he was perfectly free to go to a Chang village in the unlikely event of his ever wishing to do so. No further action is necessary in his case. There are only hearsay reports of the use made of slaves when they are sold to villages further to the East. Some are certainly adopted. It is equally certain that human sacrifice of the Rangpang type is unknown in the area to which these slaves go. Rumour has it that one is sometimes used a a foundation sacrifice for a morung and buried alive under the main post. Or a rich man may buy a slave and let his son take his head and thereby win his headtaker's ornaments without risk. Another rumour (heard of other tribes and never confirmed) is that a slave is tied up in jungle felled for jhuming and burnt alive. Of the slaves in my hands the only two old enough to give an account for their treatment after capture are the young widow and the youth from Saochu. The woman still seems bewildered and will say nothing. The youth, however, told me he was treated perfectly well on the road from Saochu to Pangsha, but that when he got to Pangsha his knee joints were pounded to make him temporarily lame. The pounding must have been very severe, for he says the joints still hurt, and this is eight months later.