[Group of] Nagas, Jaipur
Photographer: Gobindram and Oodeyram
Medium: Photographic print
Photograph of a group of Nagas at Jaipur in Rajasthan, taken by Gobindram and Oodeyram in the 1900s. The photograph is from an album containing views of various locations in India, formerly in the collection of Horatio Kitchener, 1st Earl Kitchener of Khartoum and Broome, (1850-1916), who was Commander in Chief of India between 1902 and 1909.
The term ‘Naga’ has been historically applied to an extensive range of ethnic groups found in India. Among these were the ascetic class of Nagas of Jaipur, of whom the Rajputana Gazetteer of 1879 gives the following account: “The Nagas of Jaipur are a sect of militant devotees belonging to the Dadu Panthi sect, who are enrolled in regiments to serve the State; they are vowed to celibacy and to arms, and constitute a sort of military order in the sect.” The Imperial Gazetteer of India (1908-1931) records that 5,000 Nagas were irregular infantry in the army of Jaipur State. In this view they are shown on parade, dressed in uniform and bearing shields and swords.