The Nagas

Hill Peoples of Northeast India

Project Introduction The Naga Database

typescript tour diary of W.G. Archer, S.D.O. Mokokchung 1947

caption: visit to Jotsoma
caption: bachelors' dormitories
medium: tours
person: Tseyama khelToloma khel
location: Jotsoma
date: 8.1.1947
person: Archer/ W.G.
date: 31.12.1946-14.2.1947
text: The old function however still accounts for the lay-out of the bachelors' halls. Here as in Kigwema, these are not merely evening club-houses but nightly dormitories. In the whole village, there are six such halls and each adjoins a fort.
text: In the Tseyama Khel, for example, the fort towers above the houses and just below it, to the west is a substantial hall. This was made 12 years ago and its entrance is hung with skulls of mithan, cows and pigs which were slaughtered at the public feasts. When a new gate is made or a party from a visiting Khel is entertained, animals are killed and the skulls are sent here for permanent exhibition.
text: In the Toloma Khel also, each morung adjoins a fort, and is not unlike a sentry house. In fine and warm weather the members sleep on a stone circle but repair to the hall when it is cold or wet. In the higher of the two halls, a broad wooden platform goes round two sides and the bedding of the youths is heaped along it. The platform has a six inch border painted in black and white with warriors' shields. Outside there are stone and log seats and I noticed the ashes of a great fire, heaped in the centre of a paving stone engraved with the words Japanma Kevop April 1944 - in April 1944 the Japanese met their defeat.
text: In all these halls the normal age of entry is 15 or 16 and that of leaving is 20 or 21. Membership is unaffected by marriage and most of the youths enter unmarried and are married during their stay and leave two or three years later.