The Nagas

Hill Peoples of Northeast India

Project Introduction The Naga Database

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

caption: Description of houses, head-taking customs and funeral customs at Panso; attempts to check slave taking
medium: tours
person: Sangsuyi/ of PangshaWenshoyi khel/ Pangsha
ethnicgroup: Chang
location: Panso Noko (Nokhu) Pangsha Kenchung Posu Wui Ponyo Sanglao
date: 4.12.1936
person: Mills/ J.P.
date: 11.1936-12.1936
person: School of Oriental and African Studies Library, London
text: 4th Dec.
text: Halted. I visited the village in the morning. It consists of two "khels", the upper containing about 400 houses and the lower about 200. They are about half a mile apart. The houses are so close together that there is only room to move in single file between them, and pigs wanted for the table are driven down the narrow alleys and caught in huge conical traps like fish traps. Slate is used for the roofs under the thatch. When heads fall from the head tree they are collected and put on a rack on the outer wall of an official who corresponds to the Chang Ung. When he dies all the heads are put on his funeral monument and his successor begins a new collection. To bring up boys in the way they should go they are taught to hang gourds, ornamented in the proper way from mock headtrees. The dead are put on platforms in the scrub jungle a long way from the village. A man who dies of any foul disease is put at a distance from the other platforms, and for a man who is killed in war and whose body is not recovered, only ornaments are hung from a pole. The log drums are all in drum houses and one is the finest I have ever seen.
text: Our reception was friendly. Children watched us everywhere and the gaonburas' wives served us with drink. Other women only peeped from their houses, which was a pity, as Panso girls have the reputation of unrivalled beauty. For all the friendship the village is not one to enter without a strong escort. All the Nokhu people I had sent for came in after dark, which was very satisfactory.
text: They asked me not to inflict on them the fate of Pangsha as they had returned their slaves. There was no reason at all to doubt their word and I accepted it and promised their headmen red cloths. It is impossible to get in touch with the villages from which the slaves were taken. The details of their slaves are as follows. They captured three from Kenchung, a colony of Posu (two villages to the SE of us which we cannot see and cannot put on the map). Of those one is dead, one has been sold in Burma and one had been returned to Posu. They also captured one little girl from Wui and have returned her. The slave in Kenchung now in Burma is a little girl. She was sold to Sangsuyi of the Wenshoyi khel of Pangsha, who sold her to a man of Ponyo, thus passing her into Burma by the usual slave-route. In time I hope to find out from Sangsuyi the name of the Ponyo man to whom he sold her. Burma can then take necessary action. The only other slave I know of is one at Sanglao (E. of sq.12). We shall have to halt here tomorrow and see what can be done. Sanglao are expected to come in.