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: Burning of Pangsha as punishment for slave-raiding; minor skirmishes
medium: letters
person: Williams/ Maj.Balbahardur/ SubadarNlamoFurer-Haimendorf/ C.Chongsema
ethnicgroup: Lhota
location: Langnyu R. Pangsha Noklak
date: 26.11.1936
person: Mills/ J.P.
date: 1936
person: Pitt Rivers Museum Archive, Oxford
refnum: Mills Ms.
text: (15) Langnyu River
text: November 26th, 1936
text: Here we are, all safe and sound, and Pangsha the invincible is a heap of ashes. We left the loads in camp with a guard and moved out at half-past six, and very cold it was in the valley.
text: Pangsha men were shooting down on us, "Come along, come along", and up we went very carefully indeed.
text: Williams is in his element with advance guard taking positions in front of us, and flanks out and all the rest of it. Pangsha people appeared from time to time and short bursts of fire kept them at respectable distances.
text: It was all at very long range except once when Subadar Balbahardur got into some men at about 300 yards and bowled over six. They all got away, however. These modern bullets go right through without doing much harm. They are meant to be humane and to wound a man without killing him.
text: The coolies' feelings can be imagined at seeing no one killed. I am very sorry too, Pangsha will be able to boast that they lost no lives. Nor did we destroy as much property as I should have liked. Homes can always be rebuilt, and the few cattle and pigs we got are nothing. The village is huge and very difficult to deal with. There is a small Khel at the bottom, two very big Khels at the top on different spurs and with a deep ravine between them.
text: We are on one spur and had to send a party round to burn the other.
text: It would have taken all day to move the whole force. Then when the flanking party had lighted their khel they couldn't hear the bugle calls, and we took ages to get in touch with them and withdraw them.
text: All the property that matters had been taken out of the village and hidden near it. We could hardly touch it for we did not scatter our force.
text: We were back in our camp in the valley by a quarter to twelve and then the really anxious moment of the day began.
text: Nlamo, who is now foully untidy and the Baron's factotum, and three other Lhotas had not come back with the coolies. To make things worse we could hear Pangsha men shouting, "Cut them off, cut them off!". They had been sent to collect some special stuff, and had evidently mistaken the orders about re-joining the last coolies as they returned behind them.
text: We thought they were certainly dead and a party was just going out as a forlorn hope when they appeared, breathless and sweating.
text: The idiots had gone the wrong way and met Pangsha men at short range.
text: I can't imagine which side was most surprised. Nlamo plastered a man with buckshot and they got away. It was a near squeak.
text: We had a short meal and marched again at 12.30.
text: At first the path down the river was good and then a series of gorges began. We went on and on, no one knowing the way, and tried to find the path back up to Noklak. At last we had to camp, far too late to attempt to go up to the little colony of Pangsha this evening. We shall have to deal with it tomorrow, and I am spared a night march, which I should have hated after such a long day.
text: The men and coolies are tired out too, and the latter want to settle down to mountains of meat they have carried away. Chongsema himself shot 13 cows. I am glad no one had a poisoned arrow into him. We found two among the stuff, left behind, dreadful things, with huge iron barbs.