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: terms of peace concluded
medium: books
person: Mongsen/ of PangshaMills
location: Chingmei Pangsha
person: Furer-Haimendorf
date: 6.1936-6.1937
text: The terms of the peace are concluded. Solemnly Mills asks Mongsen once more if he agrees that there should be no more blood between them, and, according to custom drinks a mug of rum touching Mongsen's hand. He passes the mug to Mongsen, who, dipping a small piece of ginger into the rum and throwing it away, empties the mug of the last dregs. The ceremony is repeated with the two other negotiators.
text: Soon the Pangsha men lose their shyness, and they chatter freely about all the details of the fight. Mongsen tells us that he was (154) in the front line during the attack, and though four bullets whistled a hair's breadth past him, he remained unharmed because Mills, at their first meeting, when he had acted as Pangsha's envoy, had called him a lambu, a sacrosanct ambassador, one who will not be killed. The gods had heard the word, and he had escaped death. His companions smile during this tale in quite a friendly way. They seem to feel quite comfortable talking to their enemies of yesterday. They recount their losses during the fight, which they apparently consider an honest affair, and no cause for recriminations among straightforward men.
text: Involuntarily I think that we could learn something from men with such magnanimous minds. What a pity it would have been if a man of Mongsen's candidness had fallen victim to a bullet! Until this moment I have seen Pangsha in only the blackest light, but now even the remembrance of that three-year-old child's foot on the head tree is dimmed, and I feel that you could surely make friends with these people just as well as with my Konyaks. They are Nagas, after all, and all Nagas have an amiable side to their character!