Deka Chang of Semkhor (Image number U.009, J.P. Mills Photographic Collection)

Material Information

Deka Chang of Semkhor (Image number U.009, J.P. Mills Photographic Collection)
Series Title:
J.P. Mills Photographic Collection
Mills, J. P. (James Philip), 1890-1960.
Hobson, Geraldine ( contributor )
Publication Date:
B&W photographic print 9.5x7 cm ( medium )


Subjects / Keywords:
एशिया -- भारत -- असम -- उत्तर कछर जिला
এশিয়া -- ভারত -- আসাম
Bodo Kachari ( ethnicity )
Dimasa Kachari ( ethnicity )
Kachari ( ethnicity )
बोड़ो कछारी ( ethnicity )
कछारी ( ethnicity )
ডিমাছা कछारी ( ethnicity )
বড়ো জনগোষ্ঠী ( ethnicity )
Spatial Coverage:
Asia -- India -- Assam -- Dima Hasao District -- Semkhor
25.255718 x 93.302979


Deka Chang: This building is used by men and boys as a sleeping place at night and a kind of "club" by day. The image shows a crowd of men and boys standing outside. The deka chang has three doors in front, and hanging from the eaves above them is a pointed bamboo stick marked with transverse black lines, identical to those put up by the Maghs of the Chittagong Hill Tracts. Inside the building are bamboo sleeping benches, but no carvings of any kind, in contrast to the elaborate carvings to be found in the Morungs of many Naga tribes. 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.They usually had no experience of working with hill tribes and were not interested in learning about their cus ( en )
General Note:
Date of photograph: 1927 March 6
General Note:
Copyright held by the Estate of J.P. Mills. The Estate is currently (2015) represented by Geraldine Hobson.
General Note:
This item may be used under license: Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial (CC BY-NC)
General Note:
This image is part of album U. This album and the preceding one both refer to the time between 1927 and 1928 when Mills was posted as Acting Deputy Commissioner to Cachar, in the southern part of Assam. The adminsitrative headquarters was at Silchar in the plains, but the area which particularly concerned Mills was the hill country of North Cachar. This was regarded as the Cinderella of Subdivisions, to which officers were often sent temporarily while waiting for a better posting. They usually had no experience of working with hill tribes and were not interested in learning about their customs and history. Mills, with his vast experience of the hill tribes was asked to sort out the resultant mess, and took it as golden opportunity to study and photograph the people and their way of life. The album also contains a few photographs from other areas.
General Note:
Originally collected in Album U of the "J.P. Mills Photographic Collection". (Held in the SOAS, University of London, Archives and Special Collections.)
General Note:
Mills, J. P. (James Philip), 1890-1960. [Note on Semkhor, 4.4.27 and Tour Diary 1927.] (Held by SOAS, University of London.)
General Note:
The Dimasa Kachari are alternately known as the Semkhor and the Dwimasa
General Note:
VIAF ID: 2475026 (name authority) : Mills, J.P. (James Philip), 1890-1960
General Note:
VIAF ID: 24095368 (name authority) : Hobson, Geraldine
General Note:
Ethnologue reference:

Record Information

Source Institution:
SOAS, University of London
Holding Location:
Archives and Special Collections
Rights Management:
Image: © 1927, The Estate of J.P. Mills. Text: © 1996, Geraldine Hobson.
Resource Identifier:
PP MS 58/02/U/09 ( calm reference )