ETHNIC CULTURAL RELATIONS OF THE NORTH-EAST INDIA: AN OBSERVATION

Archana Konwar
Assistant Professor, Department of Assamese,
Chandra Kamal Bezbarooah College, Teok, Jorhat, Assam, India

Abstract
The North East Region comprises the states like Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Nagaland, Meghalaya, Mizoram, and Tripura including Sikkim. In this greater region, excluding Sikkim, more than two hundred ethnic communities having distinctive cultural characteristics inhabit in diverse ecological stretch. Indeed the conflicts among the various communities are observed in this region. Despite of the present situation of fractured relations, tensions and misunderstandings between the communities, there are some hope of rebinding the ties of inter-community understanding and appreciation if we go dip into the resources of folklore and myths. Therefore, an attempt is made to explain how history mixing the folklore entered into determining relations between myriad communities inhabiting in the hills and plains of North-East India and to show some of these relations that still exist today.

Key words: Inter-community understanding, Myriad communities, Folklore, Barter system 

1.   Introduction
The northeastern part of India is a vast topographical expanse comprising the mountains and hills of the eastern Himalayas wherein gracefully flows the mighty Brahmaputra River including some other rivers like Barak, Imphal, etc. Debrory (2016) opined that Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Meghalaya, Manipur, Mizoram, Nagaland and Tripura in the North East excluding Sikkim are home to over 200 tribes tracing their ethnic roots to diverse parts of Asia. Down the years the lesser and larger tribes such as Jaintias, Apatamis, Khasis, Garos, Mizos, angami Nagas, Bodos and Kacharis have sustained their cultures and traditions. This region, therefore, is stated as the most heterogeneous part of India with different food habits, languages, religions, dresses, customs, etc. and more so, the North-East India is the living museum disseminated with various aspects of anthropological studies.

Very rich in folklore, the spoken form of social aspects among ethnic communities of North-East establish primarily two district trends, such as, (i) unique identity of each community apropos other communities and (ii) continuing social, political, economic and cultural links among communities. Hence, irrespective of occasional skirmishes, the folkloric references helped continuing the inter-community relationship among people of North-East living in the hills and plains (Bhagawati, 2011). Indeed the conflicts among the various communities are observed in this region. Despite of the present situation of fractured relations, tensions and misunderstandings between the communities, there are some hope of rebinding the ties of inter-community understanding and appreciation if we go dip into the resources of folklore and myths.


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