The Nagas

Hill Peoples of Northeast India

Project Introduction The Naga Database

letters from J.P. Mills to Henry Balfour

caption: Punishment of Yungya village; women dance wearing men's hats, carrying headless spears, at Kamahu; treatment of prisoners; tour arrangements
medium: letters
keywords: Bontoc Igorot
person: Balfour/ HenryHutton/ J.H.
location: Yungya Kamahu
date: 11.9.1923
person: Mills/ J.P.
person: Pitt Rivers Museum Archive, Oxford
refnum: Mills Ms.
text: Mokokchung,
text: Naga Hills,
text: Assam
text: Sept. 11th 1923
text: My dear Balfour,
text: ...Yungya are properly cooked this time. I surprised them and occupied the village in the process shooting one of the swine who was chiefly responsible for the whole business. Then I abode with them three days. It was unpleasant for me, but much more so for them, and they wished me gone. So much did they wish it that they gave up the four prisoners. Plenty of loot, but all rubbish. I went through it in detail. The only thing of value I got was an antique spear of curious type - more Bontoc Igorot than Naga. Probably I shall send you a head with a new characteristic: it is time I sent off another box to the P.R. Kamahu received us with a dance of welcome. The woman danced, led by the widow of the Kamahu man about whom the fuss was. They wore men's hats, boars' tusks and carried headless spears. The dance was at the prisoners and presumably meant to show them the sex and quality of the warriors good enough to beat them. A back-handed compliment to me and the column - but let it pass! I think it was lucky the prisoners had a guard over them, or they would have been scratched to bits. Rather nice men. Hutton talks of hanging them, but I doubt if they deserve it. And he may say something else next letter. He is being a little difficult over this T.F. tour we are to make. He hates having plans made ahead - being 'tied down', as he calls it, and I like every detail to be worked out. And when it comes to it I shall have to run the transport and so on...
text: Yours ever,
text: Philip Mills