People in North East and South India
The making of Indian society
Most general accounts of Indian society have very little to say about Northeast and make, only some scanty observations about the south. This result in an inadequate and incomplete social profile of the country.
The monoploid groups of the North -East either preserved their tribal identity or they were partially or fully assimilated into Hindu Society. Sizes or numbers from the tribal groups-Khasi, Mizo, and Naga- have now been converted to Christianity, although they still retain some distinctive attributes of their tribal way of life. These( Indo-Monogoloid) groups, according to Suniti Kumar Chatterjee – an authority on linguistics-are the descendants of the Kirata, who find frequent mention in old Sanskrit literature. The Kirata belt presents some social processes not generally met within other parts of India.
Assam, as it was before the creation of the States of Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya, Mizoram and Nagaland, which were detached from its territory, provided a home to several ethnic groups and a municipality of cultures. It extended to the entire north-east expect Manipur, Tripura, and the Darjeeling district of West Bengal. It was known as Pragjyotisha in ancient times and extended to a wider territory. The epics- the Ramayana and the Mahabharata-mention it by this name and so do some of the Puranas. Later, possibly in the medieval period, it was known as Kamarupa and came to be regarded as the legendary home of magic, witchcraft and Tantra.
The Kamakhya temple net Guwahati is recognized as a great seat of the Shakta branch of Hinduism. Still, later the region acquired its present name- Assam. Several conjectures have been made to explain the origin of this name. According to one, Assam stands for the nature of the terrain and could mean ‘uneven’ or ‘unparalleled’. Another view associates it with the Ahom conquerors.
Migrations into India from passes in the North-west are well documented; what is less well known is the entry into the country of several waves of Monogoloid groups from the difficult north-eastern routes, mostly via Assam- Burmese passes and also through the northern passes of Bhutan, Nepal and Tibet. Most significant early settlers in Assam came through these routes, especially through the Burmese passes. It is possible that earlier some groups came first by sea and entered Assam by land routes through Bengal or Burma.
Physical anthropology presents some evidence of the possible entry of the Negrito and Austric groups it the distant past, but nothing can be said definitively about their impact on culture society. Although no Australian population as such is found in Assam, physical anthropologist believes that this element came into Assam before the Mongoloids and was absorbed by the latter. Then came the migration of people from India regions lying west of the traditional cultural and political boundaries of Assam. They included both Hindus and Muslims.
There was a frequent military incursion, which was resisted with determination. However, the influx of settlers continued and several non-Assamese Hindu groups as well as Muslims- the Indeed element – joined the population of Assam.The history of the mongoloid groups in Assam is long and their positioning in the society that emerged is extremely complex. Worth touch very sensitive chords and as such all generalizations about them will open to doubts and disputations on one point, however, there will be no this disagreement; this element constitutes the bedrock of assumes cutler and society.
Doubtless, there have been cultural adaptations and adoptions, what the imprint of these groups is in delve. The bodes bobs are and important groups in Assam. This generic name does does not refer to a tribe. But to a large number of communities speaking Bodo languages of the Tiveto-Vurman family. The kacharis, once a power full people with thire own kingdom, belong to this group. So are the ravhas. What is being rapidly Hinduized; in fact one section identifies itself as Hindu. These people of diverse origin. After their absorption into Hinduism. Have given themselves a new identity as Rajbanshis.
This group also include Koch. Now a Hindhujati, Who ruled over a substantial part of Assam. They too have discarded their traditional name and now call themselves rajbanshis. Another important cluster, of Indo Mongoloid population, includes the Chutia Deuri, Missing, and Moran. They now live in upper Assam. The chutes and Morans had there oownedkingdom in the past.
They have mixed with other population; a sizeable section has adopted Hinduism. The Kuki –Chin groups, living in the southern tip of Assam, constitute the third ethnic cluster and have a linguistic affinity with the Burmese and Kachins. They did not accept Hinduism and continued to preserve their traditional way of life but now most of them have embraced Christianity. The Fourth and perhaps the most important, group consists of the people of Tai or Shan origin Known as the Ahom. They believed to have moved first from Yunnan in China to upper Burma, from where one of their branches entered into Assam in the thirteenth century.
They established a powerful kingdom, of which records are found in the Buranjis or historical chronicles maintained by their priests and noblemen. They continued to rule until the second quarter of the nineteenth century when British conquered their territory. The Ahoms took others into their fold, freely intermarried with non-Ahoms, adopted the second quarter of the nineteenth century when the British conquered their territory. The Ahoms took others into their fold, freely intermarried with non-Ahoms, adopted the Assamese language, and were gradually Hinduized.
Other Shan groups- the Khamyang, Khamis, Tarungs, Aiton’s Phakials and others-entered into Assam later. They spoke languages of the Tai Family and were culturally Influenced By The Burmese. They followed the Buddhist faith and did not adopt Hinduism. Assam dramatically illustrates an important aspect of the cultural processes of India and how alien groups are absorbed into Hindu society.
Hinduism in north-eastern India has several other puzzles also. Manipur, a small but fertile valley surrounded by hills that are inhabited by groups, is the home of the Meitei or Hindu Manipuris. There are several theories of their origin.
According to one, they are the descendants of Tartar groups who migrated from north-western China in the thirteenth and fourteen centuries. According to another, Pamheiba-a Naga chief- became king of Manipur in 1714. He accepted Hinduism and curiously adopted the Persian – sounding name Garib Nawaz – protector of the poor. Others followed him. The Brahmans serving the rulers gave them Kshatriya status, which was later accepted by most Kshatriyas elsewhere also.
They began following Jati norms and observing rules of ritual purity Hinduism in Manipur has a distinctive flavour and has evolved graceful styles of devotional music and dance. Tripur illustrates the co-existence of Hinduism and tribal religions. The Hindus worship fourteen deities- Hara or Shiva, Uma(the spouse of Shiva), Hari or Vishnu, Lakshmi, Saraswati, Brahma, Prithwi(Goddess of Earth), Samudra(God of Ocean), Ganga, Agni(fire), Kamadeva(Cupid), and Himalaya.
The list has some unusual features: Brahma’s worship has been discontinued elsewhere(with the exception of a few small pockets) in Hindu society and those listed after Brahma do not figure among the gods and goddesses worshipped in northern and peninsular India. The massive idols of these fourteen idols as it would have been difficult to carry home the very heavy status. They are made of stone; thirteen of them are covered with gold, one with silver.
All the priest are tribal Tripuris, not Brahmans. The head priest is known Chantal; his four principal assistants are known as Narayan. They have eighty junior priests called Galim.
The heads are kept in an iron safe, and each day three of them are worshipped by turn. Only on the occasion of the Kharchi festival, held in June-July for a week, they are lodged in a but open on all sides and all fourteen are worshipped. On these days, a large number of goats are sacrificed by the Galim on behalf of the worshippers. In a separate hut kept the idol of another goddess- Burma. During the Kharchi festival, women desiring children make her the offerings of Vermillion and Light candles in the shrine.
This tribal goddess is worshipped by all; she also receives her share of sacrifices. Tripura illustrates how tribal traditions are enmeshed with the Hindu heritage and to function together in harmony. This situation needs to be known her better.
The texture of Hindu society in the South was influenced by strong regional traditions that existed there during the process of Aryanization. Tamil society, scholars believe, as well established in 200 B.C. An early grammar (A.D.200)- Thoolkappiyam-provides some profile of the organization of society and describes life in the hill areas, in forests, in cultivated plains, in coastal areas, and in desert areas.
People in North East and South India
In the rich corpus of Sangam literature (200 B.C . -A.D. 200), one gets the portrayal of Tamil society emerging from segmented social formations into larger well-knit states under kings whose bravery and valour was celebrated. Trikkural (A.D.300) by Tiruvalluvar, who was born in the low Jati of weavers Little is known about the author except for his social origin, the fact that he lived and worked in Mylapur (now a suburb of Madras), and that he was familiar with the great works of Hinduism as well as Jainism. Tirukkural consists of 133 chapters, each of ten couplets. This book has altogether 2,660 lines and 1,330 chapters, each of ten couplets or Kural, which stand out in their brevity as choicest of moral epigrams.
The focus in this work is on virtue, wealth, and enjoyment(or pleasure); deliverance (or Moksha) does not figure in it. It described the life and attributes of the householder, the ascetic. And men of power and influence. In formulating rules of the householder, the ascetic, and men of power and influence. In formulating rules of conduct for individual success and social harmony, the work constantly keeps in mind Aram- the great power which keeps a ceaseless watch on individuals, society, and the state and which confers on all who follow it’s principles, material and spiritual riches. Aram also implies love and justice and makes no distinction between the prince and the peasant when they deviate from the principles of righteousness.
Tirukkural is rated as Tamil Veda, in which the people recognize their inner speaking to them about righteousness, morality and justice. This wordly rather than other-worldly in its trust, Tirukkural has a ring of eternal validity.
People in the North East and South India
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