The Nagas

Hill Peoples of Northeast India

Project Introduction The Naga Database

Typescript copy of extracts from letters from J.P. Mills to Mrs Pamela Mills (in England), 1936

caption: First day's march: problems with late vaccinations; friendly reception and ample food but poor camp
medium: letters
person: VieyraWilliams/ Maj.LambertSmith/ Mr.PawseyFurer-Haimendorf/ C.
ethnicgroup: Lhota
location: Mokokchung Dikhu R. Chare
date: 13.11.1936
person: Mills/ J.P.
date: 1936
person: Pitt Rivers Museum Archive, Oxford
refnum: Mills Ms.
text: (1) November 13th, 1936
text: Here we are one day march out, and all more or less safe and sound. One coolie who has dysentery will have to go back, and two have had bad arms and fever owing to vaccination.
text: There was not the least need to vaccinate any one, but Vieyra (the sub-assistant surgeon) insisted. His sole object in life is to cover himself always and avoid responsibility. So those poor devils of coolies were vaccinated just before they started.
text: I stopped it as soon as I got to Mokokchung. Vieyra is one mass of oiliness when he talks to me, but I am told he loathes me.
text: The day started none too well and very early. About 4 a.m. a damned pony got into the compound and started stamping round the bungalow. You know how every stamp sounds there, as if the ground were hollow. So I went out and chased it, whereupon it fell down the steps of the bungalow and woke Williams up!
text: However, we were off by 8 to the tick and went down to the Dikhu river. The road on to Mokokchung is bad, and that on the other side worse. Yet Lambert called it a bridge path and wants Government to take it over and maintain it. I shall turn that proposal down with a bang. No wonder poor Blackie got out of the condition if he was taken up and down it. The bridge across the river is the most Heath Robinson thing you ever saw in your life. The coolies had to wade across, only about two could have been on the bridge at the same time, and we should still be there waiting for them all to get over. Chare met us in force, with a lot of fish.
text: Smith is as bad on hills as ever.
text: It certainly was very hot and I was fairly cooked on the climb myself. Practice will put him into training. We had two or three halts, and at one I was much amused by a Lhota coolie stuffing rice into his mouth and eating enormous red chillies exactly as if they were sticks of chocolate!
text: I know everyone round here, and there were plenty of smiles to meet us. Our camp is a poor one, very cramped and uneven, but it will do for one night. No one is likely to stay awake long, we've got a worse march tomorrow, I fancy.
text: Smith works very hard, too hard. He won't let his subordinates run their shows, But he'll soon learn. He ran about and looked after things when we got to camp, while we other three sat peacefully and had our sandwiches.
text: But the poor boy did hog it before tea: I thought we should never wake him up again- and that in the most awful babel of hundreds of voices you ever heard.
text: The Baron and I went into the village and had a look round. Not very interesting, they told me that Pawsey made them burn all their old heads when they were taken over. I wouldn't have believed him guilty of such an act of vandalism.
text: Everyone has full bellies tonight, we've been given three cows, five enormous pigs, four goats, 30lbs. odd of fish and chickens without number.
text: Of course we shan't do as well as that everywhere.