The Nagas

Hill Peoples of Northeast India

Project Introduction The Naga Database

book : Return to the Naked Nagas (1939;1976)

caption: Chapter One. The Naga Hills
caption: setting out on tour with Mills and interpreter Thevoni
medium: books
person: ThevoniMills/ J.P.
ethnicgroup: Angami
person: Furer-Haimendorf
date: 6.1936-6.1937
text: The weather was fine as we started from Kohima -- a piece of luck early in June when the monsoon is normally at its height. Mills had arranged for ponies for himself and for me, so that we could ride whenever we were tired. Otherwise we preferred to walk, talking to one or other of the Angamis who accompanied us. The most amusing figure in our company was Thevoni, an Angami with a merry full-moon face and a round belly, bloated with frequent bouts of rice-beer. As a sign of his office as Government interpreter, he wore a waist-coat of bright red over his black loin cloth. Thevoni was an irrepressible talker, and only too eager to tell us of all the customs and beliefs of his tribe. His stay in Kohima, where he had interpreted the complaints of his own people at the courts of the Deputy Commissioner, even helping in the decision of some of the quarrels, had in no way shaken his belief in the goodness of the old customs. Mills valued him highly, for it was men such as Thevoni through whom the Government could exert its influence without upsetting Naga customs and the traditional social order.