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: Health problems; inter-village hostilities; political manoeuvres, allies and hostile villages
medium: letters
person: Furer-Haimendorf/ C.Williams/ Maj.Smith/ Mr.
ethnicgroup: ChangYimsungr
location: Chentang Sangpurr Pangsha Panso Chingmei
date: 19.11.1936
person: Mills/ J.P.
date: 1936
person: Pitt Rivers Museum Archive, Oxford
refnum: Mills Ms.
text: (7) Camp Chentang
text: November 19th. 1936
text: I forgot to tell you of the most amusing thing that happened yesterday. The Baronial bowels were being troublesome and he had to go aside into the Jungle while the Column went slowly past (it's not far short of a mile long.) The Sepoys a little way behind heard rustlings and grunts and groans in the Jungle, and thinking it was some beast of prey began to throw stones: where- upon the Baron swore back at them in English broken by emotion! I would have given anything to see it! Williams and I laughed till we cried when he told us. The Baron is quite weak today but as careless as ever. Again I found him cooling himself off with only a shirt on.
text: Smith seems all right too. He admits that he suffers from a more or less chronic liver in the mornings. He is so absurdly critical of the very slight and very human faults of the coolies.
text: We had a pleasantly easy march of about five miles today, and on the way passed the place where a Chentang man was recently ambushed and speared. We were given a vivid description of how he ran down the path with a spear in him and were shown exactly where he was eventually caught and his head removed.
text: Chentang is a small Chang village and only holds its own by stoutness of heart.
text: There is a huge Yimsungr village called Sangpurr on the heights above them who never give them any peace. Most of the Chentang people are living in miserable huts for Sangpurr got in and burnt them not long ago. One of the Sangpurr men was caught and lost his head, however, and the trophy was hanging up when I went into the village.
text: It has been a day of politics. Pangsha sent me a final message to say they would not give up their slaves, that we were probably all women, and that the sooner we came to attack them the better they would be pleased.
text: Panso, however, a big and truculent village on our flank, came and were given rum and red cloths. They have never attempted to make friends before, and they were rather an anxiety.
text: Sangpurr also came in and were likewise clothed and repasted, they too are a troublesome crowd. I would like to visit them, but we shan't have time, I'm afraid.
text: We can't make any detailed plans till we get to Chingmei, our advanced base, tomorrow. I could not help admiring the pluck of the Sangpurr and Panso headmen. There they were, in our Camp, disarmed and surrounded by Sepoys, yet they showed no emotion. I told Panso I would visit their village and that if they did us no harm we would do them none.
text: It was a short march, and the Baron and I went and had a look at the village while camp was being made. I loathe the making of camp. I get hungry and cold and irritable, and people worry me about countless things.
text: In the afternoon I got an hour off and slept for half of it. Last night was rather a poor one - I was probably over-tired. Today has been an easier day.
text: I've got to turn out for a practice alarm in a few minutes.