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Folk Culture of The Missings of Assam

Tradition and Change

The book is an in-depth study of the socio-cultural life of the Mising tribe of Assam, the second largest among the plain tribes of Assam. Studying their oral narratives, it deals with the factors that influence the material cu below

About This Book

The book is an in-depth study of the socio-cultural life of the Mising tribe of Assam, the second largest among the plain tribes of Assam. Studying their oral narratives, it deals with the factors that influence the material culture of the tribe and delve, broadly, into their folk art, craft, architecture, costumes and ornaments and food. It examines the way their traditional life pattern and legends, myths and tales are interwoven in aspects of their artistic and cultural life, painting and sculpture, specific preoccupations as that of doll-making and the tradition of swastika emblems, for instance. Dr. Sarma studies a vast range of their art and craft activity: weaving and embroidery, designs depicted, cane and bamboo works, wood works, metallic tools and other implements, earthen pottery, aspects of building, traditional cooking process and food types and preservation. He, significantly, tries to analyse the process of modernisation, acculturation and urbanization the Misings are undergoing and the impact of these factors on the tribes people which is resulting in, among other things, erosion of their traditional life and folk culture.

The work will interest students and scholars of Indian anthropology, sociology and specifically of folk cultures and traditions. General readers will also find the work extremely interesting and informative.

  • Binding: : Hardbound
  • 13 Digit ISBN : 9788186921272
  • 10 Digit ISBN : 8186921273
  • Edition : 1st edition
  • Year : 2004
  • Pages : xx, 228 p.
  • Size : 25
  • Weight (approx.) : 800
  • Bibliographic Details : Glossary; Bibliography; Index

List of Figures & Maps  
List of Tables  
List of Visuals   
Map 1: India -- Position of Orissa in India 
Map 2: Orissa -- Bissam Katak Tahasil, District Rayagada

1. Context, Objectives and Research Approach 

Geographical Setting 
Indigenous Knowledge and Development 
Research Objectives 
Methods and Techniques of Data Collection 
Previous Studies 

2. The Dongaria Kondh Community 

Village Setting and Arrangement of Houses

Settlement Pattern -- Oral History of Dongaria Settlement -- Selection of a Site -- Villages of the Research Area -- Change of a Settlement -- Structure of a Settlement -- Location of Settlements -- Housing Pattern and Space Arrangements -- Building New Houses -- Construction of Sadar Kudi or Padari Kudi

Social Organisation and Lineage 
Political Organisation

Jani Punja -- Pujari Punja -- Mandal Punja -- Bisimajhi Punja -- Barika

Stratification of Religious Services 
Life Cycle Rituals 

Birth Rites -- Marriage (Hedi) : Arranged Types -- Divorce (Pihija Turteyu) -- Death Rites (Sudhi or Ambmata Rupina) -- Destiny of the Spirit after Death

Inter-Ethnic Relationship 

3. The Dongaria Economy 

Economic Organisation 
Major Sources of Livelihood 
Fishing (minka beta) and Hunting (beta) 
Food Gathering, Drinks and Narcotics 
Livestock Management 

Pig (Paji) -- Goat (Ada) -- Cattle (Kading) -- Buffalo (Kadru) -- Fowl (Kayu) -- Pigeon (Parang)

4. Transmission and Specialists of Knowledge 

Practical Knowledge 

Learning at Home -- Learning in the Forest

Knowledge, Skill and Status of Instrumentalists 
Becoming a Shaman 
Becoming a Medicine Man or Disari

Case Study I -- Case Study II -- Case Study III -- Case Study IV

A Group Discussion with Elder Priests 

Test of Gambling (Juakhela) -- Test of Walking on a Rope -- Test of Literacy -- Collection of Medicine from Pond Bed -- The Act of Transformation into a Tiger (Kai Kdani) -- Knowledge and its Specialists) -- Gender and Wisdom

Hierarchy of Specialists 

Disari -- Sisa -- Peju -- Bahuki -- Pujuni -- Gurmeni -- Bajayun or Bajneyun -- Budhi -- Bateri

5. Oral Traditions and Cosmology 

Cosmogonical Myths 
The Dongaria Myth of Origin, Phase II : Evolution of Religious Beliefs and Practices
Dongaria Myth of Origin, Phase III : Duku-Dumbe Katha (Duku Dumbe's Tale)
The Myth of Niyamraja, Niyamgiri, and Naktivali 
Water Resources and Myths Related to Streams 
Learning from Oral Tradition

Forms of Oral Lore -- Narratives Techniques 

6. Knowledge of the Supernatural Environment 

The Dongaria View of the Supernatural 
Divine Environmental Forces 

Horu Penu -- Danda Penu -- Lada Penu -- Niyamraja Penu -- Kaman Penu -- Dharani Penu -- Gangi Penu -- Sandi Penu -- Mardi Penu -- Katei Penu -- Giri Buleni Penu -- Jaura Penu or Jamarani

Household and Village Deities 

Ilu Penu -- Holu Penu -- Handanikudi Penu or SIta Penu -- Kandadoe Penu -- Tudiaa Penu -- Village Deities

Other Deities 
Worship of Other Important Deities 

Gangi Penu -- Kidi Penu -- Kadiyu Penu

7. Knowledge of the Natural Environment 

Social Dimensions of a Hill 
Physical Configuration of Hills and their Management  
Perception and Classification of Forests 

Horu : Hill -- Kaman : Forest of Large Trees -- Jada : Forest of Small Trees -- Hada : Forest of Bushes -- Patra or Dasak : Plateaus -- Trunjeli Muanri : Restricted Forest -- Mahane Dangu : Forest with Cremation Grounds -- Nellu and Neta : Swiddens

Perception, Classification and Social Aspects of Plants and Trees

Indigenous Rationale to Perceive Trees and their Parts -- The Social Significance of Plants and Trees -- Caryota Urens (Mada Mara) -- Sargi Mara : Shorea Robusta Gaertn. F. -- Bela Mara : Aegle Marmelos (L.) Corr. -- Nima Mara : Azadirachta Indica A. Juss. -- Made Mara : Lannea Coromandelica (Houtt.) Merr. --  Leka Mara : Bombax Malabaricum DC. --  Kendu Mara : Diospyros Melanoxylon Roxb. -- Bundeni Mara :  Cassia Fistula L. -- Dhaman Mara : Grewia Tiliaefolia Vahl. -- Bija Mara : Pterocarpus Marsupium Roxb. -- Mading : Bambusa Species -- Heperi : Thysanolaena Maxima O. Ktze. Syn : Thysanolaena Agrostis Nees. -- Wika : Themeda Arundinacea -- Paeri : Bauhinia Vahlii Wt. & Arn.

Perception of Life of Natural Objects 
Classification of Soil 

8. Knowledge of Cultivation  

Shifting Cultivation 

Basic Features of Shifting Cultivation -- Stages of Shifting Cultivation

Traditional Distribution of the Hill Lands and Land Classification

Ploting of Hill Lands and Denominations -- Traditional Land Distribution Pattern -- Land Classification

Swidden Products, Agricultural Practices and Protection Measures

Pigeon-Pea (Cajanus Cajan L. Millsp.) : Kaanga -- Cow Pea (Vigna Indica L.) : Jhudunga Cow Pea : (Vigna Species) : Katinga -- Castor (Ricinus Communis L.) : Kabang -- Yam (Dioscorea L.) : Uhakuna -- Sweet Potato (Ipomoea Batatas (L.) Lam.) : Ranikuna -- Tapioca (Manihot Esculenta Cranz) : Leka Kuna -- Bird Chilli (Capsicum Frutescens L.) : Ichun Adna

Mid-Term Agricultural Practices 

Huda Rena : Weeding -- Transplanting -- Harvesting -- Fallow Period -- Safeguarding the Crops and Trees

Horticulture and other Important Crops

Bada : Orchards -- Important Horticultural Plants -- Swidden Vs. Horticulture 

9. Knowledge of Forest Management

Utilisation of Kaman, Jada and Hada 
Religious Aspects of Forest Management 
The Forest as a Resource 
Aspects of Indigenous Forest Conservation 

10. Dongaria and Tribal Natural Resources Ownership Claims : An Outlook on Indian Forest Policy

The Forest Around the Dongaria Habitat 
Interference in Forests 
Problems with Minor Forest Produce (MFP)/Non-Timber Forest Products (NTFP)
Conservation Strategy and Joint Forest Management (JFM)
Forest Policy in India with a Glance at Orissa's Forest Culture

Appendix: List of Botanical Names 

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