The Nagas

Hill Peoples of Northeast India

Project Introduction The Naga Database

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

caption: Chapter Nineteen. Making the Peace
caption: negotiators from Pangsha seeking peace
medium: books
person: Mongsen/ of PangshaSangting/ of PangshaMills
location: Chingmei Ponyo Pangsha Tsawlaw
person: Furer-Haimendorf
date: 6.1936-6.1937
text: "Sah'b, Pangsha men are at the gate!"
text: We all jump up. No, these Pangsha warriors are not storming the camp. They are the negotiators whom Mills invited to come to Chingmei, and with them are the men from Ponyo. Mills had always been convinced that, in spite of our rapid retreat, Pangsha would take the loss of five of her best warriors and the burning of the village as a bad defeat, and would try to come to terms with us. The door is opened and the dobashi let in the men, one by one, taking away their dao as a precaution. Nakhu and Matche are called to serve as interpreters.
text: Mills' reception of the negotiators in the "mess" is a strange scene. I feel my pulses hammering. There is something solemn and tense in this meeting with men who only two days ago attacked us without the least intention of giving quarter.
text: Eight men squat in a semi-circle in front of us. Only three are from Pangsha, the others come from Ponyo and Tsawlaw, two villages lying across the Patkoi; and it speaks for their courage that they have once more delivered themselves unnecessarily into (153) the hands of their allies' enemy, or perhaps they have already discovered that we are not so fearsome as we were painted. However, they seem quite at ease, but the envoys of Pangsha stare gloomily before themselves. One of them is Mongsen, the most famous warrior of Pangsha, and leader of one of the khel. The Noklak people have told us how he and Sangting led the raid against Saochu, rivalling each other in the taking of heads, and how Mongsen won, with the proud number of fourteen. But Sangting fell in yesterday's attack, and Mongsen now holds the undisputed place of "first warrior."
text: His speech is open and dignified. He attempts neither defence nor accusation. What has happened, has happened; we have burnt their village and killed some of their best men -- they, too, have tried to kill us. But now they wish to make peace, and so they have come to Chingmei in answer to Mills' message.
text: Mills replies that peace is also his wish. He bears them no grudge, but Pangsha must swear not to take revenge on any of the villages who have befriended us. It would be futile to exact from Pangsha a promise to desist for ever from all head-hunting, and Mills demands only that in future they shall not raid "this" side, leaving it open what is to happen "that" side, i.e. in the unexplored area to the east. But above all they must return the slave-girl. All the other terms are agreed to, but in this last demand there lies a difficulty, for the Pangsha men assure us that the child has really been sold across the Patkoi through the mediation of Tsawlaw, but they know which village bought her. The transaction must have been carried through shortly before our coming, and in a great hurry, for Mongsen complains that the price is still owing. Well, so much the better; it should be easy to recover the child from a defaulter, and Mongsen promises to bring the slave-child as soon as possible.