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: Injuries caused by panjis; problems with coolies; to Tuensang; finale of the slave-freeing operation; fines paid in kind
medium: letters
person: Smith/ Mr.KauffmannWilliams/ Mrs.Williams/ Maj.Furer-Haimendorf/ C.Pangting
location: Tuensang Kohima Pangsha Ponyo
date: 8.12.1936
person: Mills/ J.P.
date: 1936
person: Pitt Rivers Museum Archive, Oxford
refnum: Mills Ms.
text: (26) Camp Tuensang
text: December 8th, 1936
text: The panjis are a damned nuisance. We have not been in camp long, and already a wretched coolie has been carried in with his leg cut to ribbons. The doctor got a tourniquet on at once or he would have died of loss of blood. He is in a pretty bad way now. It has been a long day and the last thing I want is an extra pack of trouble. We had breakfast at 6 a.m. and lunch at 2.30, a long time to march on an empty stomach.
text: Smith blotted his copybook badly. He told me several times we had "plenty of coolies", taking into account the casualties and the people to carry them. So we stood about in icy wind while local men were caught and put beneath the yoke, otherwise it would have meant 16 loads being left behind. Then it was discovered that the local men had had no breakfast, and there was more delay while they had some.
text: At last we got off and crawled up 2,000 ft. to the top of a 7,000 ft. range. From the top the path ran along a knife edge in heavy jungle and we went on trying to find somewhere to halt in the sun. Then we went down a long, long spur, up through this enormous village, and a little way down the other side, to find a camp cleared for us and eleven fine houses built for us. I am afraid the trouble is going to be a shortage of water.
text: When we arrived the dak was waiting for us, and I sat on a bundle of firewood and read some of it while lunch was got ready. A huge repast of tinned salmon, bully beef, cold chicken, potatoes, baked beans and cheese. "A decent lunch for a change!" was Smith's gracious comment!
text: Kauffmann continues to be most unpopular in Kohima. Mrs. Williams wrote to her husband, "When one meets the Baron one wonders why we went to war with Germany and Austria: Kauffmann supplies the answer". Rather neat, I think.
text: I see in the paper there has been fighting on the N.W. Frontier, with a fairly big casualty list. I do hope you didn't get a turn from some such evening poster as "British Officers killed by Tribesmen"!
text: A good deal of the evening has been taken up with reports of fines of mithan sent in by various villages guilty of contumacy. Pangsha have paid four. They still admit 5 dead and no wounded, which can't be true, for we saw men topple over and get up again. They say their cows are finished.
text: One Dobashi admits shooting 13 himself, and there was more beef going than anyone could carry away. They have also sent in 6 eggs. They had them ready for us before we were there, so you can imagine the state they are in now! Ponyo, a village in Burma, has also paid up 4 mithan. How horribly against all the rules of red tape! I ought to have corresponded with the Burma Government "through the proper channels". If I had there would have been no mithan.
text: I've seen the last deputation and received the last presents. The Pipers played their goodnight tune, the sun is down, and the gates of the perimeter are closed. I therefore hope work is over.
text: I forgot to tell you the little girl from Burma was restored to her parents today, and I saw them all together. Another absolutely miraculously transformed child, a little smiling imp. Panting's little boy was too busy stuffing food into his mouth to play, but he gave me a beaming smile. "Girly" and the little one are the oldest and youngest of four sisters, the two middle ones lost their heads in the raid.
text: I've been to see the injured coolie: he is suffering from shock and loss of blood, but he'll pull through all right. No main artery is cut and the bleeding has been checked. They are very tough!
text: Tomorrow we stay here. The men have clothes to wash and there is bread to be baked, and I have got to visit this village.
text: We are at about 4,000 ft. here, a very grateful change in height and temperature. In no other camp have I been able to sit comfortably after dark with the flap of my tent open.
text: How difficult is the English language! The Baron suddenly announced at breakfast, "I do not smell so much today", meaning that his nose was stuffed up with a cold! He also always described his gold watch as his "Golden watch".