Tuesday, April 1, 2014

India’s tribal belt is spread over North West and Central India where as different tribal groups are found in West, North, Northeast, East and South. According to Article 342, of India Constitution, there are 697 tribes as notifies by Central Government of India.  When we talk about Northeast, it is an abode of tribal communities in a large number. In other words, by breaking the monotony, let’s nail the major tribes that recount, evoke and designate their cultural aura and traditions and efforts to preserve some of the dying lifestyles in the chronicles.

I would describe the Northern states as a giant grinder that blends every (states) literature, music, paintings, philosophies which get enlightens as a result of strong faith and beliefs sustained for the generations to come! Alphabetical chronology of the complex nonpareil is common, let’s jot the states in a descending order!!

1.       Tripura:  
Tripura: Tribal women carry drinking water at Reang refugee camp in Tripura. A PTI file Photo

The most indigenous tribe that holds Tripura tourism as one of the best place in Northeast India is the aborigines of ‘Tripuris’. Until 1949, Tripura was under the rule of Tripuri king. Ethnically, Tripuri belong to the Indo-Mongoloid and speaks Kok-Borok like the other tribes in Tripura. The popular tourist attraction in Tripura is the Ujjayanta Palace situated in Agartala; the capital city. Hinduism is followed all over the state but they also have beliefs in deities, rites and traditions followed through generations. Garia, Musak Surmani, Lebang, Mamita are the folk dances performed during occasions galvanized with flute, Champreng in musical instruments. With an epic rise in Northeast Tourism, the most visited destination all over India is this colorful land of Tripura!
2.       Sikkim:

The hilly terrain of Sikkim is commonly known as Rongkup, Rongpa or Rong; they are the indigenous ownerships among the tribes of Sikkim and some neighboring places like Darjeeling. They speak Himalayish; which means a mixture of Tibeto-Burmish language.  Sikkim tourism preserves this interesting story that the Lepcha king; Pohartak Panu sent his army to ChandraGupta Maurya for war with the Greeks in Takshashila. The clans of Lepcha’s are divided into many parts and each clan has their sacred lake and mountain peak. Few clans for example are Rongong and Sada. Lepcha’s follow Tibetan Buddhism but a large number have adopted Christianity. Patriarchal lineage is followed in marriages. Traditionally Lepcha women wears ‘dumdem’; an ankle length garment, whereas ‘Dumpra’ is worn by men which is a hand woven piece worn over white shirt and pant.

3.       Nagaland:

Most of us do not know the actual reference of Naga people. It is an agglomeration of different tribes inhabiting Northeaster region and northwester Burma. The ethnic tribes contribute strongly to Nagaland tourism. Angami-Pochuri, Ao, Inpui are among the different languages spoken all over the state, but Nagamese; a Creole based on Assamese is preferred to communicate between villages and communities. Audacity of Nagaland is its 17 different tribes. Every tribe has their own identity, culture and very strict towards its tradition. ‘Konyak’ is the largest populated tribe which is recognized for its tattoo imprints in face and hand; also called as land of Angh’s.  The USP of this tribe is that they were known as the “Head Hunters” who were very fond of wars and would attack nearby villages of different tribes and used to cut head of the opponent and hang them in ‘Morong’; the public house. Northeast tourism does hold these thrilling stories of the tribes that differ from each other.
4.       Mizoram

Famous for its bamboo dance across the world; Mizoram has a distinct culture and tradition. Among the tribes of Mizoram, Hmar’s are considered as the aborigines who came through Himalayas from Mainland China. Hmar’s belong to Chin-Kuki-Mizo tribal groups having dark hair, brown eyes also known for their bravery. Mizoram tourism protects their rich culture and tradition which can be seen in their dance form and in few musical instruments like Khoung (drum), pheiphit (whistle made from bamboo). Hindi, English and Hmar are spoken and Christianity is practiced all over the state. Rice is staple and pig meat is favorite. Patriarchy is followed where Monogamy is prevalent and Polygamy is allowed. Northeast India has this uniqueness across all the states.

5.       Meghalaya
Garo Hills is home to the Garos – one of the 3 leading tribes of Meghalaya (Garo,Khasi, and Jaintia)

The header is going to prove that Meghalaya is unique in its own way. Among the Khasi’s of this region, matriarchal affair has been practiced since time immemorial. Meghalaya tourism boasts being the only state in India that has a matrilineal lineage where mother is the head of the family. This tribe has seven clans and marriage between same clan is barred. Child marriage does not exist and divorce and remarriage is allowed. Northeast tourism guides on the different food cultures and attires to. Women wear ‘Ka- jympiem’, men wear ‘dhoti and chaddar’.
6.       Manipur
A tribal woman - Fishing at Lake Loktak in Manipur, India

The little paradise of Manipur is also known as the Switzerland of the East.Kom tribe of Manipur is found in Senapati and Churachandpur district of Manipur. The languages spoken are Aimol, Koireng and Chiru. There are many interesting local stories that fascinate its history. Kom’s are farmers focusing on shifting and wet cultivation. Christianity is practiced. Artistic acuity is inherited in Kom tribe which is also a fascinating fact of Northeast India.
7.       Arunachal Pradesh

The scenic beauty of Arunachal Pradesh is simple worth witnessing. Among the various tribes of Arunachal, Nocte stands out of the box having a population of 33,000 spread over Patkai hills of Tirap district. Their origins lie in Myanmar and have migrated in 1670 to 1700. This dying tribe of Northeast India was followers of Buddhism ad Animism but later on got influenced by Shri Sankardeva. They worship ‘Jauban’; the supreme God who have created human beings. Few indigenous communities of Nocte in the past were head hunters and to mark the number of heads, they wore brass lockets as a replica of heads. The major attractions are the well preserved human skulls in the village museums are displayed publically.

8.       Assam
Assam is culturally juxtaposed with varied indigenous tribes. The colorful attires, folk songs-dances, authentic delectable dishes take all the credit in creating this part of North east India as a cultural hub. The Northeast Tourism boasts for its different tribes namely the Bodo, Mishing, Deori, Karbi, Tiwa, Rabha, Sonowal Kachari,Khamti, Dimasa and Hajongs to name a few. This culturally rich state with these many tribes has a varied form of cultural practices and traditions. Though it’s Patriarchy, dowry is a big no no in entire Northeast. The major attractions here is that every tribe have their different language and dialects, but Assamese is spoken commonly to connect with each other. Rice is staple but variations of cooking vary in each tribe. Bihu is the major celebrated festival in three forms.

Refresh yourself from the tedium trips to the popular tourist attraction of India and give a break in exploring the various tribes with their peculiar traditions and customs, get dizzy by consuming the local made beer; healthy in its terms, and thrill yourself with the stories behind every activities that were been practices once upon a time, but have got faded with due course of time and rapid urbanization. So… drill yourself for the most exquisite and elaborate journey towards the Tribes of Northeast and mark your presence by capturing wonderful memories!! 


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