The Nagas

Hill Peoples of Northeast India

Project Introduction The Naga Database

book : Return to the Naked Nagas (1939;1976)

caption: Chapter Sixteen. Into the Blue
caption: camping on island; nearly lose porters
medium: books
person: Williams/ MajorMills
ethnicgroup: Kalyo Kengyu
location: Pangsha
person: Furer-Haimendorf
date: 6.1936-6.1937
text: Soon the porters are hard at work bringing in bamboos to build the palisade and the huts, while a group of Pangsha men sit above on a little hill watching our every movement. Suddenly one springs up. What can he have seen? To our horror, we notice that some of our porters have ventured too far, and are unsuspectingly cutting bamboos just beneath the outlook of the enemy. We cannot warn them in time, for the rushing of the mountain stream deadens our voices. If the Pangsha men run down the hill it is only a moment's work for them to hold a porter's head in their hands. Quickly Major Williams orders the slope to be covered. Already several men, whirling their spears, run down the narrow path. A command, a salvo -- two men fall, but they pick themselves up and disappear into the thicket.
text: No other Naga leaves the safety of the camp that evening. Night falls, and with the dwindling of daylight dwindles the advantage of our rifles. Luckily Nagas will seldom attack in the dark, but usually wait until the grey light of dawn increases visibility, for it would be an easy matter to ply our camp with their famous poisoned arrows from the safety of the river bank. During dinner we discuss the possibility of an arrow piercing the (139) canvas of our tents, and Mills thinks that to be quite safe I would have to sleep under my camp bed. Even the promise of safety does not lure me into such discomfort; we had an exhausting day behind us, and a few minutes after my head touches the pillow I know nothing more of poisoned arrows or head-hunters for seven hours.