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: Approach to hostile village of Pangsha; burning of jhum lands; plan of assault
medium: letters
person: Furer-Haimendorf/ C.Williams/ Maj.
location: Langnyu R. Pangsha Noklak
date: 25.11.1936
person: Mills/ J.P.
date: 1936
person: Pitt Rivers Museum Archive, Oxford
refnum: Mills Ms.
text: (14) Langnyu River, below Pangsha
text: November 25th, 1936
text: People stirring in our tiny camp woke me at three this morning. I was called at ten-past four, and we began moving off at half-past six. We were on the move with no halt of longer than ten minutes till half-past two. So you can imagine I am pretty tired. We went along hour after hour expecting an ambush at any minute. Once we heard a Pangsha scout call back to say we were coming - so just to show we were coming, I had a whole hill-side of Pangsha land set on fire as we passed and so made useless for jhuming for years.
text: About midday we got in touch with a party of Pangsha men and much shouting persuaded four of them to wait for us. They had a goat and a chicken and made a fulsome speech. I kept them as hostages till we were through a particularly bad bit of jungle. Then I told them I had come to punish their village and show them that we were more powerful than they. Then I sent them safely away. We had been going along the slopes of the west side of the Langnyu Valley, and very soon saw strong armed parties coming across the river with the evident intention of coming up on our side and blocking the path they expected us to take. So we cut our way straight down to the river and spoilt their nice little plan. The river valley is broad and covered with short grass, and we got our first bit of easy marching, without strain, of the day. We had meant to go up and deal with Pangsha, which is on the east bank, but it was too late, and we were all too done. So we made camp on a lovely level island. The Baron described the grass as being "like an English lawn", and I replied that it might be like a Viennese lawn, but not an English one.
text: We sent 30 coolies, with a guard of Sepoys, to cut some bamboo for our camp. We soon saw an armed party assemble on a spur above them. So Williams had the Lewis gun trained on the path down. Very soon three men came down flourishing spears and obviously intending to get a coolie's head (probably they could not see the guard of Sepoys and did not understand who the funny little men in khaki were). The Lewis gun opened fire and knocked over two out of three. Both of them picked themselves up and crawled or walked away, but it was good shooting at long range.
text: I don't know whether Pangsha will fight tomorrow, I rather doubt it. Nor do I know whether they will attack the camp tonight. We are within bow shot of the jungle slopes.
text: We can't help that. My tent has its back to the perimeter and an arrow would have to go through both the bathroom and the inner flap, not to mention the piles of blankets under which I propose to sleep.
text: We have a very hard day in front of us tomorrow. Our idea is to leave the loads here under a guard, go up to the main village with the main body and the armed coolies.
text: Having burnt that, and done all the damage we can, we come back here, pick up the baggage and march for three hours down the valley.
text: There we dump the baggage again, climb an enormous hill, and deal with a colony of Pangsha, come down the valley again, and pretend to make camp. At moonrise we slip away to Noklak to comparative safety - so you see, I might not manage a letter to you tomorrow.