Portrait of Rillo, dobashi

Scope and Content

B&W photographic print. 'Rillo, a dobashi (interpreter). A note on the back says "taken by Barnes". A dobashi, or interpreter, not only performed that important task, but was a vital liaison between the British officer and the tribal people whom he was administering. Dobashis were hand picked for the job and, given that there were dozens of often mutually incomprehensible Naga languages, a particular case being heard in a village might involve two or more dobashis translating between the aggrieved parties, and into Naga-Assamese for Mills, who spoke that language fluently. This form of Assamese bore little resemblance to the classical Assamese of the plains, but was used as an essential lingua franca, because villages barely an hour's march away might not be able to speak each other's languages.'

Access Information



Ethnic group: Naga

Ethnic group: Western Rengma Naga

Ethnic group: Rengma Naga

Physical Characteristics and/or Technical Requirements

9.5 x 7 cm

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright held by J.P. Mills