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 visit to high-altitude village of Yimpang; use of pipers; confiscation of heads to punish slave-raiding
medium: letters
person: Hutton/ J.H.
location: Chingmei Yimpang Ponyo (Himbu) Saochu Waoshu (Waoshu) Noklak
date: 22.11.1936
person: Mills/ J.P.
date: 1936
person: Pitt Rivers Museum Archive, Oxford
refnum: Mills Ms.
text: (10) Camp Chingmei
text: November 22nd, 1936
text: Twelve to fourteen miles up and down these hills is not conducive to good letter writting. We went to Yimpang, one of the slave-raiding villages, with fifty rifles. To say we got a hearty welcome would be an exaggeration. The people were pretty frightened for no white man has ever been there before. It is over 7,000 ft. up, and the first thing we did was to look at the view. It was rather thrilling, looking down on to unsurveyed country, and we were busy for some time taking bearings and putting on the map villages which were mere names before. The range which marks the boundary with Burma was quite close and I was told a Column with 50 horses, i.e. mules, visited Himbu, a village just the other side of it, last year.
text: The sight of Sepoys with rifles and fixed bayonets must have been rather shaking to Yimpang's nerves,but we had a piper with us and after one of your National Airs the people began to look more cheerful.
text: Hanging from the Head Tree were five heads of the wretched Saochu people they killed in the spring. As the raid was for slaves and was a gross act of treachery I was determined to confiscate them, but I bided my time till we were safely outside the very strong fortifications. A double fence with a ditch in the middle simply bristling with poisoned bamboo spikes. Then I demanded those heads, and waited outside with my 50 rifles till they were produced. We got them and the Yimpang Head Tree is bare: and the Pitt-Rivers Museum will get some fine specimens if I can ever manage to send them.
text: We had gone straight up a valley to Yimpang, with a steep climb at the end. We were going north with ranges on the east and west. For our return journey we turned down the western range and went through a village called Waoshu. The views were beyond description. I could see right into administered territory and even a bit of low cloud which must have been the Plains.
text: Waoshu is small, and in an immensely strong position on a ridge which dropped sheer on both sides.
text: The entrance we went in by is the most strongly fortified I have ever seen. I think Hutton went through the village 13 years ago, and everyone was most friendly. The rather breathless Piper played another tune. Then we went along the ridge and down to a well-earned tea.
text: What a nuisance, it has been fine all day and now it has begun to rain. My poor "heads" will get wet, but it won't be the first storm they have ever know. They are hanging just outside my tent. I hope they won't send ghosts to give me dreams.
text: Tomorrow I don't mean to budge from Camp as I have a lot of writing to do.
text: The day after we go to Noklak - I am trying to make peace with them but can't get in touch. We heard when we got back today that a party of them had been moving along the range parallel to us on the East end, and three men walked into Yimpang as we walked out, just to see what information they could pick up.