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: Hostile confrontation with Noklak averted; inter-village relationships; destruction of Noklak's bamboo; fortifications
medium: letters
person: Chingmak/ of ChingmeiUpansoWilliams/ Maj.Furer-Haimendorf/ C.
ethnicgroup: Chang
location: Noklak Pangsha Chingmei
date: 24.11.1936
person: Mills/ J.P.
date: 1936
person: Pitt Rivers Museum Archive, Oxford
refnum: Mills Ms.
text: (13) Noklak,
text: 24th, November, 1936
text: All safe so far. The immediate tragedy is that they have left the bitters for our gin behind. I was called at 4 a.m., then breakfast, and we were off before 6 a.m. and dropped down a very steep hill to a stream.
text: Noklak has sent in word that they would not clear the path for us or prepare a camp site, as they did not want to offend Pangsha.
text: Chingmei and Noklak being at war, the path between the two villages is entirely overgrowm with jungle, with panjis for the feet of the unwary stuck in the ground. Men from Chingmei had cleared most of the path yesterday, but the last two hours were terrible going. You could hardly see where to put your feet and there was a sheer precipice on our right most of the way.
text: We had six Chingmei scouts going ahead looking out for poisoned arrow traps and panjis, but they could not see them all.
text: One Chingmei man got a panji clean through his foot, and one was badly cut by a panji on the shin, and one Sepoy was badly cut in the calf. Also one Sepoy was terribly stung in a mysterious way and had enormous swellings on his throat, arms and thighs.
text: The Chingmei man who got the panji clean through his foot had it bound up by the sub-Assistant Surgeon with us, and merely said, "How silly of me to tread on it!", and insisted on rejoining the head of the column again. A fine hardy lot, the Changs.
text: For a long time after Noklak came in sight there was not a sign of life. Then suddenly a large body of armed men appeared on a path below us. The troops were splendid, they realised that if men advanced conspicuously like that, there was a chance of parley, and held their fire. We shouted and they shouted, and eventually we got two men to come up to us, and they greeted Chingmak like an old friend, though the two villages are at war!
text: We then got the Noklak men to lead us and soon found an excellent camp site in a grove of trees and bamboos. With a lovely stream of water just outside our perimeter! Then at last I was able to settle down to sandwiches, having had nothing since about 5.30 a.m.
text: As Noklak had done nothing to help us I did not spare their bamboos.
text: Far the most dangerous hour of the day was when coolies were felling them in all directions, and we kept looking up to see if one was going to fall on our heads!
text: Everyone was cheerful and glorying in destruction, except, needless to say, Upanso. He, with a face like a wet day, announced he had fever and a bad ankle. A little later on I noticed him laughing and keeping an eye on the distribution of pork!
text: Winged words from me have reduced Noklak to such a state of politeness that they have produced no less than 10 pigs, 10 fowls and an enormous he-goat which stinks to heaven! The only trouble is that our camp is far too small and crowded, Williams having miscalculated the size of the perimeter.
text: However, we have all squeezed in somehow. We have only got 120 of our 360 coolies.
text: The Baron has enjoyed his day. While we were getting into camp, a very long process, he sat talking to Dobashis and taking notes. He is disgusted at the idea that the Hapsburghs might get back on to the Austrian throne. He says Otto knows nothing of the world and is entirely run by his mother who is a foul woman. She used to have awful scenes with her husband in public!
text: Austria crawls with Archdukes, all of whom are utterly degenerate and must have married much beneath them.
text: They are calling me to step across to the mess, to drink gin without bitters! I am going to burn Pangsha tomorrow. We shall probably have a battle, and we are all feeling in good fettle for it.