Head stones of Deka Chang of Semkhor

Scope and Content

B&W photographic print. 'On these stones outside the "deka chang" (bachelor's dormitory) enemy heads were placed after returning from a raid. They were kept there until the days of "genna" (ritual taboo time) were over and then thrown away, rather than kept, as Konyak Nagas would have done. Mills was told this was "because the Semkhor people are Hindus". Despite this, Mills considered that the customs associated with the deka chang and the head stones suggested affinities with the Konyaks. The inhabitants of Semkhor are very different from the Zemi Nagas which surround them. They speak Kachari, dress like Kacharis and their houses are of the Kachari pattern, yet they are definitely not Kacharis, though Kacharis are the only people allowed to enter their houses, a right which is reciprocated. They are Hindus, like Kacharis. Mills considered that they could be descendants of the Konyak Nagas who used to form the bodyguard of the Kachari kings. This theory was borne out, in his opinion, by certain similarities with the Konyaks in burial customs and items of dress. There are the remains of a Kachari fort about three miles from the village. The people of Semkhor have never intermarried with Kacharis, and the reason why the village is the only one of its kind is that the Kachari kings strictly forbade the founding of any colony villages.Mills, with his vast experience of the hill tribes was'

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Note

Ethnic group: Bodo Kachari

Ethnic group: Dimasa Kachari

Ethnic group: Kachari

The Dimasa Kachari are alternately known as the Semkhor and the Dwimasa

Physical Characteristics and/or Technical Requirements

9.5 x 7 cm

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright held by J.P. Mills