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: Resume of skirmish with Pangsha and situation to date regarding retrieval of slaves; inter-village hostility
medium: letters
person: Williams/ Maj.Smith/ Mr.Furer-Haimendorf/ C.King Edward VIIISimpson/ Mrs W.Chingmak/ of Chingmei
location: Chentang Pangsha Noko (Nokhu) Chingmei Mokokchung
date: 1.12.1936
person: Mills/ J.P.
date: 1936
person: Pitt Rivers Museum Archive, Oxford
refnum: Mills Ms.
text: (19) Camp Chentang
text: 1st December,1936
text: We are re-rationing and the noise is deafening. A great deal has happened since I last wrote to you. All the details are in my daily letters to you. Sufficient to say now that we got to Pangsha without any firing worth speaking of, having out- manoevered a big force which tried to block our way. We burnt the village, but when Williams, Smith, the Baron and I with a platoon of 50 men were withdrawing from an outlying Khel we were attacked by about 500 Pansha men who charged with a roar, meaning to wipe us out. The charge was between 10 ft. high stalks of giant millet, easy to run through but hard to see through. However, our advance guard, having gained a bit of high ground, fired over the heads of the rest of us, and stopped the charge 50 yards away before the shower of spears came. We had no casualities at all and killed a number of the enemy, including two ring leaders. We then continued our withdrawal.
text: It must be one of the most exciting battles there has ever been in the Naga hills. I knew Pangsha would give us trouble, but I did not want to worry you by telling you. Send up a little prayer of thanks that all went so well. That was on the Friday. On Sunday evening, more amazing still, Pangsha came in to make peace. We had a most cheerful talk about what was a perfectly clean fight, and parted the best of friends in the morning. We shall have no more trouble there: in fact I hope we shall have no more anywhere this trip.
text: I have to try to get some slaves out of one more village, Nokla, but I want to do it by diplomacy rather than fighting.
text: A mail is in this evening and the congestion in my cramped little tent surpasses anything you can imagine. Even my bed is piled with papers.
text: Williams hears that the city is simply buzzing with these awful rumours about the King. Lloyd's Insurance against the Coronation not coming off went up to 25% and they refused to do any more business.
text: The American papers are full of flaring headlines about the divorce, "King's Cuty kicks husband out", and so on. Williams and I are miserable about it all and don't let the Baron know. One can't discuss the King of England's affairs with foreigners. If he were to go off the deep end it might break up the Empire!
text: Afternoon of December 1st. We collected five more of the slaves from Chingmei. "Girly" is a young widow. Her mother was killed when she was captured and her father died a few days ago. She wants to stop on at Chingmei with Mrs. Chingmak. Really, she is hardly fit to be moved, as her mind is still dulled with shock and fear. "Bert" is the youth. He has some relations left so I am taking him back to them. One of the children has a grandfather in Chingmei, so will stay with him: another deaf and dumb poor little rabbit is going back to his father, the last has no one left in the world, all killed in the raid, so he is being adopted by a Dobashi and his wife, a nice childless couple who live in Mokokchung.
text: Diplomacy is completely jammed at the moment. In the area through which I want to get messages, no one dare visit anyone else's village. We plunge into it tomorrow, and then things will be easier. It's going to be one of our worst marches. We go down into a valley, over a hellish range on the other side and down into another valley. I want to make the next day's march short so as to leave plenty of time for talking. Nokhu is the place out of which we are trying to extract slaves, and the last thing anyone wants to do is to go there.
text: Williams has a streaming cold and we are all sick of hills and battles and rather short rations.