The Nagas

Hill Peoples of Northeast India

Project Introduction The Naga Database

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

caption: Chapter Seventeen. Pangsha Burns
caption: Nlamo missing in pursuit of trophy head
medium: books
person: NlamoNakhuChingmak
ethnicgroup: Kalyo Kengyu
location: Pangsha
person: Furer-Haimendorf
date: 6.1936-6.1937
text: We are incredibly hungry and we throw ourselves on the contents of several tins, and then -- I suddenly miss Nlamo. I sent him with the porters to the lower khel, thinking that it would be a good opportunity to add to my collection of trophies, and told him to cut a few heads off the tree. He should have rejoined the column with the porters, but he is nowhere to be seen. Now Nakhu, our Chang dobashi, comes to us in great excitement. Nlamo and two Lhota porters were last seen in the burning village.
text: "They are lost!" gasps Nakhu. Chingmak was at the end of the column, he heard the voices of the Pangsha men crying from the hill to their own people, "Cut them off, cut them off." But Chingmak did not know that Nlamo was still behind him, and did not take any notice."
text: "My God! Then the Pangsha men have got Nlamo!"
text: "If he really was seen with the two other Lhota boys staying behind in the village, I am afraid there is very little hope."
text: "But this is ghastly -- can't we do anything?"
text: "I'm afraid not. We have been a quarter of an hour in the (143) camp already, and it would be at least another half an hour before we reached the village again; by that time the three will have long lost their heads. Perhaps, though, they are only lingering on the way, and will soon turn up."
text: I feel quite sick, as though the blood had left my body; never have I seen Mills so pale. Now Nlamo is lost, and all for those stupid heads. And it is all my fault. But for me, he would still be in Kohima. I seem to see his body already without its head. How dreadful that moment must have been when he suddenly found himself alone amongst enemies! Why in the devil's name did he stay so long in the village? Didn't he hear the order to withdraw? It is true, he carried my gun, and he is not a bad shot; strange that we did not hear anything.
text: Anxious moments go by as we stand about, perplexed and helpless, at the thought that Nlamo's head and those of the two Lhota boys may have long been in the hands of Pangsha. Suddenly we see men running down the path through the burning grass we had set alight behind us. They are the missing boys, who finally reach the camp completely exhausted and covered in sweat.