Tuesday, 1 January 2013

Introduction | Tiwa (Lalung) Community | North-East | INDIA

Tiwa Community | North-East | India

Tiwa (তিৱা) is an ethnic group/indigenous tribe inhabiting the states of Assam and Meghalaya  (main region) and also found in some parts of Arunachal Pradesh and Manipur in Northeast India. They are recognized as a Scheduled tribe within the State of Assam.They was known as Lalungs in the Assamese Buranjis, Colonial literature and in the Constitution of India, though members of the group prefer to call themselves Tiwa (meaning "the people who were lifted from below"). Some of their neighbours still call them Lalung.
A striking peculiarity of the Tiwa is their division into two sub-groups, Hills Tiwas and Plains Tiwas, displaying contrasting cultural features.


Hills Tiwas:
The Hills Tiwas live in the westernmost areas of Karbi Anglong district (Assam) as well as in the Northeastern corner of Ri-Bhoi district (Meghalaya). They speak a Tibeto-Burman language of the Bodo-Garo group. They are divided into a dozen of clans recognized by specific names which they use as patronymics. Their descent system can be said to be ambilineal. In most cases, the husband goes to live in her wife's family settlement (matrilocality), and their children are included in their mother's clan. However, in about 30% of unions, the woman comes to live with her husband. In such cases, children take the name of their father. This trend is on the rise under the influence of neighbouring populations which are mostly patrilineal. About one half of Hills Tiwas follow their "traditional" religion. It is based on the worship of local deities. The other half have been converted to Christianity since the 1950s. The Hills Tiwas society is organized around seven old villages which constitute its political as well as ritual centre. Each of them harbours a chief (loro) who performs judicial and religious duties for a network of settlements. Old villages are also characterized by their bachelor dormitory (shamadi).

Tiwa Khorla (Tiwa Girl's)

Plains Tiwas:
Plains Tiwas live on the flat lands of the Southern bank of the Brahmaputra valley, mostly in Morigaon, Nagaon, Kamrup (Rural) and (Metro), Sibsagar, Lakhimpur and Dhemaji districts. The vast majority speak Assamese as their mother tongue, Tiwa language being still spoken on the foothills and in rare villages of the plains. Their descent system is definitely patrilineal. Their patronymics are not derived from their clan's names but are common Assamese & Plain Tiwas ethnic surname-names instead (Mostly Lalung, Pator, Senapati, Manta, Dekaraja, Dewraja, Bordoloi, Konwar, Das, Doloi, Kakoti, Deka, Dewri, Deuri, Deory, Deori etc.). Their religion share many elements with Assamese Hinduism, but remains specific.

Tiwa clan system:
The Tiwa community is divided into several Phoit (Wali) and Dilok (divided into exogamous clans and again the clans are sub-divided into many sub-clans) Example - Amsai wali, Marjong wali, Magro, Sagra, Mayong, Lingra, Lumphui, Amkha, Amlera, Amni baro, Amnisa, Rongkhoi baro, Rongkhoisa. The Wali or Phoits have their own own 'Loro'. The 'Loro' (priest) is the Governor of the 12 Phoits or Wali kingdoms. Now in every Phoits there is a Sat Phuni, Baro Phuni called Khul, Pongos, Khel, Mahar and Warang. Tiwa have various Khuls , they can marry with other Khul but not with Pongos, Khel and Warang (means that they are allowed to marry people from other clans). A single Khul consists of several Khel Mahar. In every Khul there are different Khel called Warang.

Khul = Clan,
(i) Pongos,
(a) Khel, Warang
The Tiwa clans cooperate with one another as a community, whether constructing a house, harvesting rice, or worshiping. Every clan has its own place of community worship where there is a titular for the clan's god.

The list of Tiwa (Lalung) clans:
1. Agari (আগাৰি), 2. Amphi (আমফি), 3. Amphili (আমফিলি), 4. Amchi/Amsi (আমচি), 5. Amchong/Amsong (আমচং), 6. Aphi (আফি), 7. Agar (আগাৰ), 8. Amji (আমজি), 9. Akawang (আকৱাং), 10. Anchong/Ansong (আনচং), 11. Buma/Puma (বেমা/পেমা), 12. Borong (বৰং), 13. Chagra/Sagra (চাগ্ৰা), 14. Cholong/Solong (চলং), 15. Chomsol/Somsol (চমচল), 16. Chongrang/Songrang (চংৰাং), 17. Chomchong/Somsong (চমচং), 18. Chomcha/Somsa (চমচ'), 19. Chongcha/Songsa (চংচ'), 20. Chanchor/Sansor (চস্ঞ্চৰ), 21. Cholo/Solo (চল'), 22. Darang (দৰং), 23. Darphang (দাৰফাং), 24. Daphor (দাফৰ), 25. Dakhor (দাখৰ), 26. Datrang (দাত্ৰাং), 27. Dongkhoi (দংখৈ), 28. Damo (দাম'), 29. Dumura (দুমুৰা), 30. Hukai (হুকাই), 31. Khorai/Kharai (খৰৈ/খৰাই), 32. Kholar (খলাৰ), 33. Khajar/Khachar/Khasar (খাজাৰ/খাচাৰ), 34. Karkha (কাৰখ'), 35. Kharal (খাৰাল), 36. Khamli (খামলি), 37. Khonjai (খনজাই), 38. Kocho/Koso (কচে'), 39. Lumphoi (লুম্ফৈ), 40. Ladur (লাদুৰ), 41. Laram/Lara (লৰম/লৰ), 42. Lupu (লুপু), 43. Madar/Mathar (মাদাৰ/মাথাৰ), 44. Madur (মাদুৰ), 45. Magor (মাগৰ), 46. Marjong (মার্জং), 47. Malang/Melang (মালাং/মেলাং), 48. Machlai/Maslai (মাচলাই), 49. Markang (মার্কাং), 50. Machereng/Masereng (মাচেৰেং), 51. Mithi (মিথি), 52. Maloi (মালৈ), 53. Muni (মুনি), 54. Mathlai (মাথলাই), 55. Mothrong/Mosrong (মথং/মচৰং), 56. Phangchong/Pamchong/Phangsong/Phamsong (ফাংচং/পামচং), 57. Pulu (পুলু), 58. Puru/Pu (পুৰু/পো), 59. Radu (ৰাদু), 60. Rongkhoi (ৰংখই), 61. Taram (তৰম).

The 2001 Census reports 171,000 approx. "Tiwas/Lalungs"; this figure comprises only the Plains Tiwas. As they became a Scheduled Tribe after the 2001 Census, the Hills Tiwas were not taken into account. Their population may be estimated around 10,000. The total number of Tiwa speakers amounts only to 26,481 approx. (2001 Census).

Tiwa language:
Tiwa or Lalung, is a Tibeto-Burman language of Assam in North East India. Many of the hills dwellers are bilingual, speaking -- Tiwa/Lalung, Bodo, Garo etc. But many of the plains dwellers speak -- Tiwa And Assamese.

Tiwa Mor (Tiwa Alphabet)

Official status:
Tiwas, under the denomination of "Lalung", have been recorded as a Scheduled Tribe since the first Constitution Order (1950) for the State of Assam "excluding the autonomous districts of Karbi Anglong and North Cachar Hills (now named Dima Hasao)", thus leaving the Hills Tiwas out. It was only in 2002 that the Lalung ST status have been extended to Karbi-Anglong district and thus to the Hills Tiwas. Tiwas still do not benefit the ST status in the State of Meghalaya.

Indigenous narratives give various accounts on the migration of the Tiwas to their present habitat. Some of them claim that the tribe came originally from Tibet. Some others say the Tiwas had to flee the oppression of the Dimasa king of the Kachari kingdom. The Buranjis (Assamese chronicles) recount the meeting of Assamese soldiers with "people of the margins" (datiyaliya) and the settlement of 12 families of Lalung and Mikir, i.e. Tiwas and Karbis, in the plains in the 17th century. Tiwa people are closely associated with the principality of Gobha. The Gobha raja belongs to a Tiwa clan and his territory covers more or less the Tiwa cultural realm. Gobha is mentioned in the Buranjis since the early 18th century, as an important market for the trade between Ahom dominated plains, i.e. Assam, and the Jaintia Kingdom. These two powerful neighbours have since been competing to keep Gobha principality under their authority, with varying success. The historical role of Gobha and the Tiwas as mediators between plains and hills in Central Assam is enacted every year during an old fair, the Jonbeel mela.

The Tiwa tribe in India who live in the hilly areas practice the "slash and burn" method of farming. The tribes living on the plains have been influenced by wet rice cultivation methods, and rice has become their major crop. Sesame, mustard, ginger, and chilies are also grown by this tribe. The Tiwa economy suffers from the same drawbacks as other local tribes, such as land alienation, indebtedness, lack of modern techniques, and inadequate credit and marketing facilities.

Food habit:
Rice is the staple food of the Tiwa Tribe along with meat, fish, or eggs. Fowl and pork are considered delicacies. These tribes enjoy drinking locally brewed rice-beer on a daily basis. The consumption of rice-beer is disappearing among the plains Lalung due to economic problems. Nevertheless, it is still an essential part of certain religious ceremonies. Today, the more educated Lalung encourage drinking tea rather than beer.

In the festivals Tiwa communities sing two types of songs. These are:

  1. Lo Ho La Hai – songs of the ceremony of name giving, wedding and harvesting etc.
  2. Lali Hilali Lai – song of marriage ceremony, karam and such other festivals.
*Songs and dances are the life spirit of the Tiwa community; the tribe is considered to have one of the richest reservoirs of folk songs and dances in Assam.

"Feel Proud To Be A Tiwa/Lalung (তিৱা/লালুং)"

Tiwa Cool Boys And Pretty Girls Of North-East
© Copyright: www.facebook.com/TiwaBoysAndGirlsOfNortheast Official Page

*Information Collected By: Jyotishman Dekaraja Mosorong From Guwahati, Assam, India.

A Study On The Autonomy Movement Of Tiwa (Lalung) Community | Assam | India


This research work is intends to study the Tiwa movement for self-identity in Assam and the reaction of the State Government towards the issue. The Tiwa people started their movement with the objective of preserving their identity against the dominant Non-tribal communities in Assam. It is seen that the tribal Belt or Blocks failed to protect the land of the Tribal people. The non-tribal people had deteriorated the economy of the tribal people in various ways. The Govt. had completely failed to protect the identity of the tribal people. Since 1967, the Tiwa people became politically organized in their efforts to protect their Socio-Cultural and land rights. Regarding the works on the Tiwa movement of autonomy issue we have less number of book and Journals. However, regarding the growth of Political consciousness among the Tiwa tribe Dr. Ramesh Chandra Nath of Jagiroad College had studied the causes for the growth of Political Consciousness among the Tiwa People in his book 'Growth and Development of Political Consciousness among the Tiwas of Assam in the post-Independence Period'. Besides this A. K. Baruah in his book 'The Lalung Society' has written on the Socio-Cultural and economic conditions of the Tiwa people of Assam. On the other hand G.C. Sharmah Thakur in his works 'The Lalungs (Tiwa)' has given importance on the socio-cultural conditions of the Tiwa People. Mr. Balairam Senapati in his 'Atitar Sandhanat' has also highlighted on Tiwa nationalism and their cultural aspect. Prof. Mileswar Patar has written several works on the socio-cultural and political condition of the Tiwa people. But there is no works that discuss in details the Tiwa Movement for self-identity in the post-colonial Assam. So, the study on Tiwa autonomy movement will help the researcher to understand and Analize the causes of the Tiwa autonomy movement and the response of the state government of Assam on the problem.

The present study will highlight the factors of Tiwa autonomy movement and the activities of various Tiwa organizations for the cause of Tiwa autonomy. It is necessary to study the topic of Tiwa movement as it will bring to light the factors, organizations of the Tiwas and reaction of state government on the problem. In keeping with this purpose this paper has been written so that people will know the Tiwa movement and impact in the socio political aspect of Assam. It will also help to know the socio political conditions of the Tiwa tribe. The ethnic movement launched by various organizations in Assam has created many complicated problems to the government and people of the state have to suffer a lot. An amicable solution of the problem is the need of the hour. For this purpose, it is very important to know the problem of Tiwas of Assam and an attempt has been made in this paper to study the Tiwa autonomy movement in the region.

Sketch Of Tiwa King "Jongal Balahu Khidri"

The Tiwas are one of the aboriginal tribes of North-East India. They are also known as the "Lalung", but they preferred to call themselves as the "Tiwa". They are one of the major ethnic tribes in Assam. The people of the Tiwa Community are mostly living in Asssam and Meghalaya, particularly in the Nagaon, Morigaon, Karbi Anglong, Dhemaji, Kamrup district of Assam and the Khasi and the Jayantia district of Meghalaya. The Tiwas of Assam have been enlisted as a scheduled tribes but a section of them resides in the hill areas also. They have their own language, culture and traditions distinct from other tribes of North-East India. But due to undue pressure of the non-tribals their culture and the identity of the community is now at stake. The Tiwas have remained backward in all spheres of social life. 
During the time of the Ahoms there were several smaller independent kingdoms of indigenous people in the south bank of Brahmaputra. The smaller kingdoms like the Nelly, Gova, Topakuchi, Mayang, Dhing, Tetelia, Rani, Dimoria and Beltola etc., were independent. But the rulers of these states had to pay taxes to the Ahom king. Their relation among themselves was not cordial and to save themselves from the invasion of the Jayantia, the king of Dimoria and Kachari king made relation with Ahom king Pratap Singh by giving their daughters in marriage in 1627. The Lalung king of Gova though initially was under the dominion of the Jayantia king later shifted his allegiance to the Ahom kings.

Statue Of Tiwa King "Mohan Phador Khidri"
(West-Karbi Anglong)

Though the Tiwa people came under the control of the British power, but they acted against the British imperialism and prepared for the revolt against the British Government. They in 1861, revolted against the British imperialism which is popularly known as "Phulaguri Dhawa". The Phulaguri Uprising of 1861 was the first agrarian revolt in Assam against the British Raj. In 1860 the British government banned the cultivation of opium. In Nagaon district rumours circulated that the government was planning to impose tax on their houses, barees (garden) and pan (betel leaf) cultivation. So, the Tiwas of Phulaguri protested through their mels against imposition of the new taxes. In September, 1861, some 1500 strong peasants marched to the district headquarter and demonstrated before the magistrate against the proposed new taxes. When the magistrate showed no sign of withdrawing the proposed taxes a Raj mel was held in October 1861 to discuss the matter. About this time the government introduced license tax. This sharpened the belief of the villagers, particularly of the tribals of Phulaguri, on the impending taxes. Therefore, on 14th October, 1861, the riot’s of Phulaguri revolted against the authority and in the ensuing clash with the police one English Officer, Lt. Singer, lost his life. This incident followed brutal suppression of the uprising by the military forces in which eight tribal leaders belonging to the Tiwa community were arrested and while some of them were sentenced to death.

In the freedom struggle against the British Government, the Tribal people of Assam played a significant role. The Tiwa people had joined the "Tribal League" which was formed in 1933 and actively participated in the freedom movement. The active participation of the Tiwa people of Assam in the freedom movement was seen in the Quit India Movement in 1942. The Tiwas of Raha, Bebejia, Barapujia, Kampur and Jamunamukh have participated in large numbers during the movement. Despite the police harassment they continued their struggle. Till September, 1942 four Tiwas died in the ensuing struggle: Kolai Koch, Hemoram Patar, Gunabhiram Bordoloi and Tilak Deka. On 25th August 1942, people of Kampur took out procession defying the prohibitory orders. The crowd attacked and damaged the local post office, the Circle Office and the Railway Station. The furious people derailed a train at Kampur followed by military atrocities upon the village At Phulaguri the crowd damaged railway station. The people of Kathiatali destroyed an inspection bungalow. At Raha Government Circle Office was burnt down. In Jongal balahu garh village, near Raha, people became panicky over a rumour that more police forces would be coming to Nagaon from Guwahati. A group of people, apprehending police raid, started to cut the approach road to a bridge, suddenly a military patrol party appeared from the eastern side and opened fire on them killing Hemoram Patar and Gunabhiram Bordoloi belonging to Tiwa Community. On 28th August the police conducted raids upon Raha, Bebejia and Barapujia. Tilak Luka, who was a volunteer of the 'Santi Sena', was shot dead. Another Tiwa freedom fighter Kolai Koch (Originally Tiwa but converted to Koch) also sacrificed his life. The active participation of Tiwa people in the freedom movement led to the arrest of several people besides innumerable forms of police torture.

The development of social consciousness among the tribal people realized them about their self-identity in the society. The Tribal League in 1947 submitted a memorandum before the constituent Assembly demanding the creation of separate scheduled areas in the plains district of Assam under fifth schedule of Indian Constitution.

When Mikir Hills and North Cachar Hills autonomous district was formed in 1951, there was a controversy about the Tiwa dominated areas of the hills whether it could be included with Mikir Hills or to remain with Jayantia Hills. In that time, Abra Malang of Ulukunchi demanded a separate autonomous district for the Tiwas of Assam for the first time. Abra Malang organized a movement among the hills Tiwas with less followers. He can be say as the father of Tiwa movement for autonomy. Mr. Larshing Khyrim supported the demand of Abra Malang. But his movement was suppressed with cruelty and he was imprisoned for four year and the Government has also seized his property. Then Mr. Bonnily Khongman, the first M.P. from that areas, manipulating the population structure of Tiwa on paper and showed less Tiwa population and more Karbi population by submitting bogus data to the Mikir Hills boundary Commission and accordingly the Commission recommended that they could be included with the Mikir Hills.

Tiwa Freedom Fighter "Late. Indrosing Dewri"

The language policy of the Assam Government which made Assamese compulsory brought the sense of feeling of insecurity among the tribal leaders in Assam. The Tiwa people of Assam also felt that their language and culture is in at stake. They wanted to preserve their own ethnic identity. During that time a dynamic youth Mr. Indrosing Dewri while he was in government job in Garo Hills left his job and came back to his native village and organized some educated Tiwas. A meeting of the Tiwa community was conveyed at Umsuai of Mikir hills. Ananda Ram Deuri of Jagiroad and many others of Nellie delivered lecture in that meeting. They had spoken that the imprisonment of Abra Malang and confiscation of his property was the humiliation for entire Tiwa Community. The meeting took many resolutions and formed 'Lalung Darbar' as the political organization of the Tiwa people in 1967. Late Abra Malang was the first president of the 'Lalung Darbar' though he died soon. Regarding the death of Abra Malang it is said that he was tortured physically in jail for which his health deteriorated later on. After his death Hemaram Bordoloi and Indrosing Dewri took the leadership of the organization.

The main aim of 'Lalung Darbar' was to demand for the creation of 'Lalung Hill Autonomous District', taking the Tiwa dominated areas of Mikir Hills, Nagoan and Kamrup district of Assam and the Tiwa inhabited areas of Jayantia Hills. Since then, the 'Lalung Darbar' had organised several public meetings among the Tiwa people. The "Lalung Darbar" sent a telegram to the Home Minister of the Govt. of India on 8th July, 1967, demanding for the creation of Lalung Autonomous Hill Sub-division with separate council. But the government did not respond to this demand and on 19th May, 1968 a general meeting was held at Nellie under the president ship of Mr. Gambhir Bordoloi and adopted some resolutions. In the resolution No.5, it was stated that the Tiwa people supported the creation of Lalung Hill Autonomous Sub-Division and urged the central as well as the state government to take necessary step. When the government did not respond another telegram was sent to the Home Minister of India on 20th June, 1968 demanding to create an autonomous Hill Sub division.

Again on 24th July 1968, a public meeting was held at Chahari, Amsoi under the president ship of Madan Konwar and strengthened their demand for autonomous Hill Sub division. On 15th and 16th October 1969, the two days convention was held at Makangkuchi L.P. School, Jagiroad and was presided over by the Ex M.L.A. Baliram Das. The convention took the resolution that the Tiwa people unanimously supported the "Lalung Autonomous Hill District" instead of "Hill Sub division" and urged the Central and State government to create Lalung Autonomous Hill District and to take necessary steps to implement the demand.

Tiwa Freedom Fighter "Late. Bin Maslai"

On 15th July, 1970, a delegation of Tiwa people consisting of 9 persons namely Indrosing Dewri, Raiman Patar, Bin Maslai, Narayan Kumar Kakoti, Thal Amsong, Minaram Patar, Butbar kharai, Madan Deka and Parshing Roma meet the then Governor of Assam, B.K. Nehru at Raj Bhawan, Shillong and submitted a memorandum to create "Lalung Autonomous Hill District" and urged to take necessary step for that. This delegation also met the chief minister of Meghalaya Mr. William Changma and the Health Minister of Assam Mr. Chatrashing Teron and requested them to create the Lalung Autonomous Hill District.
The Tiwa people became gradually conscious of their ethnic identity. They started articulating their identity to gain political power and overcome their socio-economic backwardness. After formation of Lalung Darbar in 1967, the Tiwa people tried to organize themselves in different fronts. The Tiwa leaders realized that without co-operations of different sections of Tiwa people, it would not be possible to run their movement. But in 1971, a difference of opinion arose between the hills Tiwas and the plains Tiwas. In that time Mr. Giridhar Patar, as young educated Tiwa with his friends Mr Budhiram Bordoloi and Khirod Patar organized a convention to form ‘Tiwa (Lalung) Yuva Chatra Sanmilon’. After discussing the matter they convened a public meeting at Barapujia in 1971.
In around 1971 the Tiwas were divided into two groups- Hills Tiwas and Plains Tiwas. Budhiram Bordoloi and Giridhar Patar both president and Secretary of the Tiwa Yuva Chatra Sanmilon tried to bring unity among the Tiwa people of both hills and plains. They tried to make the people understand that the split between the hills Tiwas and plains Tiwas was only due to misunderstanding. So, for the unification of hills and plains Tiwa they convened a public meeting at Shahari village, Amsoi in 1977 in that meeting they changed the name of Tiwa Yuva Chatra Sanmilon and renamed as "All Assam Tiwa Sanmilan" with the Tiwas. This organization worked for the unification of all the Tiwa people and asked them to maintain their cultural identity. They wanted to revive the lost culture of the Tiwa people.
In 1977, the "Lalung Darbar Youth Frony" was formed in a special convention which was held under the banner of Lalung Darbar. This LDYF was the youth wing of the Lalung Darbar. The first president and Secretary of this organization was Rabatsingh Deuri and Mukunda Bordoloi respectively. This youth front also demanded the creation of Lalung Hill Autonomous District. At the 9th general conferences of Lalung Darbar held at Umsuai, 1978, there was great debate regarding the agitation programme. Majority members of the Lalung Darbar did not agree for agitation but the youth wing was in favour of agitation to achieve its goal. Due to this controversy, it came out from the Darbar to establish its own identity. In 1980, it was re-organised and changed its name as "Lalung Youth Front". Tulsi Bordoloi an educated Tiwa Youth of Jagiroad was elected as secretary respectively. Later on both the organisation united and on 24th June, 1983, the Lalung Darbar and Lalung Youth Front jointly submitted a memorandum to the Prime Minister of India Mrs. Indira Gandhi for the creation of the Lalung Autonomous Hill District.
When the Assam movement was started in 1979, majority of the Tribal people participated in the movement against deporting the foreigners. The Tiwa people of Nagaon and Morigaon actively participated in the Assam movement. The Tiwa people of west part of Nagaon played active role in Neilly's violence. When the Assam Accord was signed in 1985 the Tiwa people were dis-satisfied over the article 10 of the Assam Accord which emphasized on the eviction of tribal people from forest land. From that time they became conscious for their self-determination.
On 30th October 1985, the Lalung Youth Front tried to co-ordinate all Tiwa people and all Tiwa organization into one common platform and held a public meeting at Jagiroad. In that meeting the Tiwa people formed the "Autonomous Lalung District Demand Committee" (ALDDC) as Giridhar Patar and Narayan Radu Kakati as president and secretary respectively. The main aim of this organization was to gain autonomy. The leaders of the organization decided that as majority of the Tiwa people are living in plains and so they would change their views and decided to demand the Autonomous Lalung District instead of Autonomous Lalung Hills District.  From that time the ALDDC has submitted several memorandum to the central and state government to formed Autonomous Lalung District. They demanded to include part of Karbi Anglong, Nagaon and Kamrup district to the proposed Lalung Autonomous District. But significantly the ALDDC did not include any part of Khasi and Jayantia hills of Meghalaya which was formally demanded by the Darbar. 


The Tiwa students and Lalung people realized that the main struggling fronts of the Tiwa people are becoming inactive. They failed to place the demand strongly in front of the central as well as state government. So, on 25th February 1989, the "All Tiwa Student Union" (ATSU) was formed with broad out look at the Tribal Rest House, Nagaon. The birth of ATSU was the result of the failure of ALDDC (Autonomous Lalung District Demand Committee) in fulfilling the aspirations of the Tiwa people. From its beginning this organization was very active and this organization succeeded in arousing the feelings of nationalism among the Tiwa people. The first conference of the ATSU was held on 16th and 17th March, 1990 at Raha. Madan Bordoloi and Hemakanta Deuri was the first president and secretary of the student organisation. In the first conference the ATSU demanded the creation of an autonomous district to preserve the socio-economic and political rights of the Tiwas. The conference adopted a resolution to launched a mass of the constitution be upgraded granting more legislative, administrative and financial powers by the amendment of the constitution. They submitted a memorandum to the cultural and state government demanding the creation of a separate Tiwa autonomous district under the provision of the sixth schedule of Indian Constitution. But the Govt. did not respond to the call given by ATSU and so the ATSU launched several agitation programmes to strengthen their demand.

Though the Autonomous Lalung District Demand Committee, All Tiwa Student Union, All Tiwa Woman Association, the Lalung Youth Front (LYF), Tiwa Sanmilon had submitted several memorandums to the Central and State Government, but there was no reaction till July, 1992. On 13th September, 1992 the ATSU had organized a special convention at Jagiroad College premises to discuss the autonomy problem. The convention resolved to continue the agitation until the autonomy demand was fulfilled. From that time the ATSU organized group meetings, Conventions and public meetings at different places of Morigaon, Nagaon and Sonapur area of Kamrup district on 11th March, 1993, the chief Minister of Assam Mr. Hiteswar Saikia announced in the public meeting at Lakwa of Dibrugarh district, that Government was considering to grant autonomy to the Misings, Rabhas and Tiwas.  For that announcement the leaders of Autonomous Lalung District Demad Committee (ALDDC) became very happy and met the Chief Minister at Janata Bhavan on 10th May, 1993 and requested to create an autonomous Tiwa district. The delegation of ALDDC was led by Giridhar Patar and Narayan Radu Kakati both president and secretary respectively. 


Gradually the ATSU had noticed that the leaders of the ALDDC were going away from the link of ATSU. The leaders of ATSU surprised that the Government had maintaining close contact with the leaders of ALDDC. So, on 30th August, 1993 the ATSU and ATWA convened a press meeting at ASEB Guest House, Jagiroad and chalked out new agitations programmes. They protested the Government action for dividing the Tiwa people and asked the Government to grant autonomy to the Tiwa people immediately. They alleged that the Chief Minister was playing his own game in the name of autonomy among the different tribes of Assam. They demanded to stop the cavalier attitude of the Government towards the Tiwa people.

When the Tiwa movement was going on in full swing, the Government of Assam responded to the demand of the Tiwa community. Accordingly, the Govt. of Assam invited the leaders of ALDDC and ATSU to discuss the autonomy problem on 10th December, 1993. On that day the Govt. of Assam constituted an Autonomy Committee under the Chairmanship of Mukut Sarmah, the Revenue Minister of Assam. The other members were Mr. Gomeswar Pegu, Minister of State for Tribal Welfare and Backward classes, Mr. Jatin Hazarika, adviser to the Chief Minister, T.L. Baruah, the Commissioner of Home and Political affairs and the special Secretary to the Chief Minister. On the other hand three different committees were also constituted for Mising, Rabha and Tiwas on that same day.

The Government had also forwarded a draft proposal to all the autonomy demand committee regarding the problem of autonomy. Following this a meeting was held on 14th and 15th December, 1993 at Janata Bhavan, Dispur between Autonomy Committees and the Govt. of Assam. They discussed regarding the modalities concerning the final draft. The Chief Minister was himself present on 15th December. The ATSU objected to some points of the Govt. draft proposal as there was no fix boundary where they would implement the powers of the council. The ATSU demanded greater autonomy and powers for the Tiwa autonomous council. But the ALDDC did not object and accepted the Government proposal.

Another round of discussion was held on 22nd December, 1993 at Janata Bhavan between five member delegation of ATSU headed by Bhupen Kholar and Rimal Amsi and State Government represented by Mukut Sarma and Gomeswar Pegu. Govt. had assured to consider the demands of ATSU for greater autonomy.

On the other hand the ALDDC had submitted a ‘Model’ of autonomous council on 15th December with some modifications of their previous demands. Again discussion was held on 30th December, 1993 between autonomy Committee of the govt. and ALDDC and ATSU. On that day ATSU submitted a memorandum to the Chairman of autonomy Committee with a new type of proposal for granting autonomy.  In that memorandum they clearly expressed their position and reached out some consensus regarding the Govt. proposal. They demanded autonomy like the Bodoland type autonomous council. ATSU had completely rejected the Govt. draft proposal regarding the creation of Tiwa Autonomous Council.

On 4th March, 1994, another round of discussion was held between the Govt. of Assam and ATSU. But no solution was arrived regarding the final draft of the proposed Tiwa Autonomous Council. On the occasion of Independence Day on 15th August, 1994, after hoisting the National Flag at Judge Field, the Chief Minister Mr. Hiteswar Saikia publicly announced that after discussing with the Central Govt. the State Govt. would grant autonomy to the Mishing, Rabhas and Tiwas according to the recommendation of the three man expert committee led by Bhupinder Singh.

The ALDDC though submitted a memorandum for some modification of the Tiwa Autonomous Council but agreed to accept the Government proposal. The ATSU criticized the ALDDC for their division to accept the Govt. proposal without a fixed boundary. The Government was also interested with their supporting groups to grant autonomy in their hands. The Government had signed the Rabha Accord on 16th March, 1995 and then invited the ALDDC to sign the Tiwa Accord. But interestingly ATSU was not invited. On 13th April at about 9.00 A.M. Mr. Mukut Sarmah, the Chairman of autonomy Committee called the ATSU leaders over phone through Deputy Commissioner of Morigaon District. But ATSU did not accept such invitation. Because Govt. had no any clarification regarding the proposed autonomous council with fix boundary. So, they requested Mr. Mukut Sarmah to postpone that day. But the Government didi not give importance to the ATSU and on 13th April, 1995 the State Government had signed the Tiwa Accord with the leaders of ALDDC at about 1 P.M. From the Govt. side Mr. Arunodoy Bhattacharjee, the Chief Secretary of Assam signed in presence of Chief Minister Mr. Hiteswar Saikia and all the members of autonomy committee. From the ALDDC the Tiwa Accord was signed by Sridam Deuri (President, ALDDC), Narayan Rudu Kakoti (Secretary, ALDDC), Giridhar Pata (Legal Adviser), Madiram Deuri and Kapana Patar.

In the accord signed on 14th April, 1995, the most important fact is that it did not mention the areas to be included in Tiwa Autonomous Council. According to the accord, there will be an Apex Council of the Tiwa Autonomous Council consisting of satellite areas of the village council called Lalung (Tiwa) Village Council (LVC). There will be no boundary of the proposed council. The Apex council will consist of 144 villages of Nagaon, Morigaon and Kamrup with 28 blocks. The ALDDC had demanded 174 villages.

The Tiwa Autonomous Council (TAC) will consist of 30 elected members out of which 4 will be nominated by the Government to give representation to the people of other community. Out of these 30 seats, 15 will be reserved for the Tiwa Community and 3 seats will b reserved for women.

Each village council will consists of 10 elected members out of whom 5 will be from Tiwa Community, out of 5 reserved seats one will be reserved constituency will be ex-officers members. There will be an elected president and a Vice – President. The term of office of Tiwa Autonomous Council and Village Council will be for 5 years.

Moreover the signing of the Tiwa accord was strongly protested by the ATSU, ATWA and Lalung Youth Front. The general people also did not support the attitude of the ALDDC for signing an accord where there was no fix boundary of the Tiwa Autonomous Council. They alleged that the leaders of the ALDDC were more opportunists and as they had no mass support of the Tiwas, they had no right in signing the Tiwa Accord. The ATSU protested against the action of ALDDC and asked the Govt. of Assam to cancel the Tiwa Accord. When the leader of ALDDC arrived after signing the accord at Jagiroad, they were gheraud, humiliated with strong unbearable words and the mob insulted them. The mob threw stones and bricks at them. But the officer in charge of Jagiroad Police Station controlled the situation.

Already the interim council was formed by the Government of Assam on line of Rabhas and Misings by an ordinance, namely, “Lalung (Tiwa) Autonomous Council”, ordinance, 1995 effective from July 27th 1995 vied notification no. – AAD/ST/ 276/ 94- 95 and the Councils is expected to look after the additional duties of the village Councils till the same are constituted under the aforesaid ordinance.

Accordingly, 28 members interim Tiwa Autonomous Council under the leadership of Mr. Narayan Radu Kakoti was sworn in by the Upper Assam Commissioner Mr. Bhaskar Mushahari at a function at Nellie Pujathali on 27th July, 1995.26 The members of the TAC who took oath were Narayan Radu Kakoti as Chief Executive Councilor, Kamal Patar, Basistha muni Rumdu and Panindra Bordoloi as executive councilors. The other general members were Madiram Deuri, Puheswar Bordoloi, Shashi Bordoloi, Ruhit Deuri, Budheswar Konwar etc. The Chief Minister Mr. Hiteswar Saikia, the Education Minister Mr. Mukut Sarmah, the Minister of Plain Tribes Mr. Gomeswar Pegu, the Chief Executive Member of Boroland Autonomous Council Mr. Premsingh Brahma, the Chief Executive Member of Rabha Autonomous Council Mr. Sabyashashi Rabha and the CEM of Mising Autonomous Council Mr. Lakshmionath Panging were attended the oath ceremony.

From the study on the issue of Tiwa autonomy movement it is clear to us that there were various factors for this movement. The issue of land alienation of Tiwas, the desire to preserved ethnic identity with their language and culture, the growth of socio political organizations in the post-colonial period, the language policy of Assam government, backwardness in almost all spheres of life, impact of other tribal autonomy movement in North East India, growth of socio political consciousness etc. were the factors for the Tiwa autonomy movement. The past history of the Tiwas encouraged the Tiwa people to demand an autonomous Tiwa district in Assam. The activities of Lalung Darbar increased the political consciousness of the Tiwas. It was the ATSU that transformed the movement to a mass movement of Tiwa people. Though the state government had created Tiwa Autonomous Council in 1995, but it did not end the movement of the Tiwas. During the course of negotiations with the Tiwa organizations the government had favoured those organizations which had close touch with the ruling Congress party.

The Tiwa people started their movement with the objective of preserving their identity against the dominant non-tribal communities in Assam. Land alienation was central to their movement. It is seen that the Tribal Belt or Blocks failed to protect the land of the tribal people. The non-tribal people had deteriorated the economy of the tribal people in various ways. Most of the Tiwa people of Sonapur, Jagiroad, Morigaon and West part of Nagaon lost their lands in their own villages for the lack of Protection within the existing belts and blocks.27 The Govt. had completely failed to protect the identity of the tribal people. Since 1971 the Tiwas become politically organized in their efforts to protect their socio-cultural and land rights. Their movements under the aegis of various tribal organizations have earned them Tiwa Autonomous Council under Tiwa Accord in 1995 without any territorial demarcation. Although the ALDDC accepted the Accord it was strongly opposed by other Tiwa organizations like ATSU, ATWA and LYF. Central to the opposition of the Accord to these organizations was its borderless nature based mainly on tribal council. Besides under this Council many Tiwa villages were left out. It was demanded that Tiwa community should have all the belts, blocks, forests and tribal sub-plan villages under the autonomous council. The Accord was rather considered by the people to be a political game of the government to deceive the Tiwas as was similarly done in the cases of the other tribes like the Misings, the Rabhas and the Bodos.

Notes and References
*S.K. Bhuyan, ‘Asom Buranji’, Guwahati, 1965, p.38.
*K.N. Dutta, ‘Landmark of Freedom Struggle in Assam’, reprint, Guwahati, 1993, p.14.
*A. Guha, ‘Planter Raj to Swaraj Freedom Struggle and Electoral Politics in Assam 1826-1947’, p.5
*Rimal Amsi, ‘Tiwa Songe Thalar’, Morigaon, 2013, p. 112.
*R. Bordoloi, ‘Quit India Movement in Assam with special reference to Nagaon District’, Lanka, 2007, p. 61.
*R.C. Nath, ‘Growth and Development of Political Consciousness among Tiwa Community of Assam in the post-Independence period’, Jagiroad, 1996, p.7.
*N. Radu Kakati, (ed.) ‘Smriti Grantha’, Morigaon, 1997, p. 1.
*Radu Kakati, Op.cit, p. 2.
*Interview with Narayan Radu Kakati, first Chief Executive Member of Tiwa Autonomous Council on 4th October, 2014 at his own residence, Nellie.
*G. Senapati, (ed.) ‘Ring-Chhang’, in his Editorial Column, Jagiroad, 2004.
*D.C. Kalita, and H. Sharmah, (ed.) ‘The Tiwa (Lalungs): Profile of a Tribe’, published by Morigaon College, Morigaon, 2010, p.227.
*Radu Kakati, Op.cit, p.10.
*S. Amsi, ‘Bartaman Parjayat Tiwa Jatiya Sangram–Ak Parjalusana’ in Bhupesh Darphang, (ed.) ‘Sheran’, a souvenir of ATSU, Nagaon, 2001, p.11.
*Rimal Amsi, Op.cit, p, 33.
*Radu Kakti, Op.cit, p. 12.
*Interview with Mr. Sidam Deuri, Ex-CEM oof Tiwa Autonomous Council, Bangthai gaon, Jagiroad on 4th October, 2014.
*The Assam Gazette (Extraordinary), 13th April, 1995.
*The Sentinel, a daily newspaper published from Guwahati, 14th April, 1995.

*Information By: “Rabindra Bordoloi”,
-Department of History,
-N.N. Saikia College,
-Titabar, Jorhat, Assam India’


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Tiwa Community Festivals

Festivals constitute a significant part of the culture of the Tiwa people. There are many festivals of Tiwa tribes. Tiwa people celebrate several occasions and festivals. The main festivals of the Tiwa tribes are: Three Pisu (Bihu), Borot Utsav, Sogra Phuja, Wansuwa, Jonbeel Mela, Kabla Phuja, Langkhon Phuja, Yangli Phuja Etc.

Tiwa Pisu (Bihu):
Tiwas of different areas observe Bihu in different days of the week. Though there is similarity with other communities as the main agricultural festivals, in some dance form and rituals the Tiwas bihu is distinctive. Some of the distinctive Bihu features of Tiwas are Boka Nach, Jora Tola ceremony, Bheti Karha ceremony, Gosai Utiowa utsav etc.

Jonbeel/Jonbil Mela:
Jonbeel Mela is one of the most attractive festivals of Assam. Jonbeel Mela is held every year during the winter season at a historic place known as Dayang Belguri at Jonbeel. Jonbeel is like the crescent moon that is why the mela on the side of the bill is named as Jonbeel. Jon and Beel are Assamese terms for the Moon and a wetland respectively. It is a 3-day-long community fair held at the weekend of Magh Bihu. This is traditionally the Gobha Haat of barter exchange. On the Jonbeel Mela, a huge market or bazaar is held where the people of different tribes interchange their merchandise with the local people in barter system.

Before the mela takes place, an Agni Puja or fire worship is performed for the well-being of the mankind. The mela starts with community fishing in the Jonbeel wetland. People from the Tiwa community catching fish during the “Community Fishing”. The theme of the mela is harmony and goodwill among the various tribes and communities scattered in the Northeast India. During the mela, the king of the Tiwa tribes popularly known as Govaraja along with his courtiers visits the mela and collects taxes from his subjects. During this festival people from various tribes perform their traditional dance and music and makes the whole atmosphere joyful.

Borot Utsav:
The word Barat originated from Sanskrit word Brata. The meaning of the word Brata is penance observed to satisfy the God. Barat utsav is a community utsav of Tiwa Tribes, which bears a traditional religious-cultural character. Brata festival is celebrated in the full moon day called Purnima of the month of Puha. The festival is observed to make the society free from pestilence, epidemic or aggression of wild animals.
In the beginning of the festival, young people from different villages even from distant areas come to the place of festival with decorated birds of wood and bamboo fixed to a long bamboo or read. Peerajuj is one special feature of the Barat utsav. It is observed in the end of the festival.

Sogra Phuja:
Sagra Phuja is a spring festival of Tiwa community. This festival is observed in the month of Fagun. In this festival mainly the bachelors participate. This festival is full of music and dance. It is known that the bachelor’s dormitory Samadai becomes the centre of this festival. This festival starts with worship of Langkhun and Mahadeo with sacrifices of goat, fowl and other birds.

One of the biggest clan of tiwas the ‘Amkhawali’ people are used to celebrate ‘WANSUWA’ festival in the interval of every five to six years. This festival celebrated during the month of May and first part of July and generally its start on Tuesday and completed on Thursday. The main function occurred on Wednesday at the residence of ‘SHANGDOLOI’. Where the ‘SHAM’ (wooden mortar, UROL in Assamese) are buried nearly half portion at the open ground in a circle. The youths of same clan came from different villages took parts in the dance of ‘Wansuwa’ and with the rhythm of KHRAM, PANGSI and THURANG they used to grind the wet rice with ‘Lomphor’ (wooden pestle / Ural mari in Assamese) till rice became powder. Then the ‘Pisai’ (office bearer) of the villages distribute this ‘wankuri’ to every household and the household cooked it in water vapors and in the next morning bring the ‘Wan rusa’ (cooked rice cake) in the house of ‘Shangdoloi’ and performed the rituals activities by offering the ‘Wan rusa’ to ‘SODONGA RAJA’ and ‘MALDEO’. Then they mixed all the ‘Wan rusa’ and again distribute it to every household of the village. As such by late evening of Thursday the ‘WANSUWA’ festival come to an end. Next morning the villagers pay respect and farewell the youths from different villages who have participated in this ‘WANSUWA’. It is to be noted that this festival is performed under strict supervisions of ‘Shangdoloi, Shangmaji, Huruma, Khuramul’ and others officials of the village.
Now, let us know the beautiful legend behind this festival. Once there was a couple called ‘Ram Pha and Ram Ma’ and as they do not know what to be eaten to survive, so their health became worse, out of hunger. So, the couple went to the ‘Sodonga Raja’ and ‘Maldeo Raja’ and asked for a solution to remove their hunger. ‘Sodonga Raja’ and ‘Maldeo Raja’ asked them to try the roots of thatch and grass; they also tried but failed to remove their hunger. They again went to ‘Sodonga Raja’ and ‘Maldeo Raja’ and prayed to give alternative solution to remove their hunger. ‘Sodonga Raja’ and ‘Maldeo Raja’ asked them to eat roots tuber; they also tried but failed to remove their hunger. At last ‘Sodonga Raja’ and ‘Maldeo Raja’ thought them how to use ‘SATBUNI & BAROBUNI’ (RICE) to remove hunger. So, they tried with ‘SATBUNI & BAROBUNI’ and they succeed to get ride from hunger. Then they understood that ‘Sodonga Raja and Maldeo Raja’ itself used to eat ‘SATBUNI & BAROBUNI’, that’s why they are healthy and strong. So, ‘Rampha & Ram Ma’ decided to offer the ‘SATBUNI & BAROBUNI’ to the human being. But, first they have to learn how to cultivate the ‘SATBUNI & BAROBUNI’. So, ‘Ram pha & Ram Ma’ invited ‘BAROKHONDEO’ (the Deo & Devi) to come down into the earth to cultivate the ‘SATBUNI & BAROBUNI’. ‘BAROKHONDEO’ also accept the invitation after having due permission from ‘SHARIBHAI PHA MAHADEO’ and came down to cultivate ‘SATBUNI & BAROBUNI’; they began to cultivate from ‘SERA SERI MAKHA’, then WASI WARI, KHARPHADA, BORSIRA, BOR LEMPHRA MATHAL PARO, MATHAL PISA, MAKHA KOJA, MAKHA KHOJOM, SHARIBHAINE THASAM HULA’NE MAKHA, THOLPARO, THOLPISA, KHODYATHULI, KHANGKI, MINDAIMARI, TEKHONDEO, MADHABPARA, BORNUDI, BORKHOLONG, THINDULI MAKHA, TUMRA MAKHA etc places. They cultivate for long 12 years restlessly. Even their lice grownup as bigger as pig and flew away to the sky, their sweats flown to a stream and river, but they didn’t stop working.
One day ‘Ram pha & Ram ma’ visited to their working field and asked ‘BAROKHONDEO’ about their cultivation. Then ‘BAROKHONDEO’ replied that, despite of our hard work we have failed to make productions of ‘SATBUNI & BAROBUNI. ‘Ram pha & Ram ma’ advised ‘BAROKHONDEO’ to take help of ‘MAHAMUNUS’ (human being) for cultivation of ‘SATBUNI & BAROBUNI’. ‘BAROKHONDEO’ then engaged ‘BAROJONA PANTHAI & BAROJONA KHORLA’ to cultivate SATBUNI & BAROBUNI along with them. Within a year they faced success by huge and surplus productions of SATBUNI & BAROBUNI. ‘BAROKHONDEO’ was quite happy and satisfied with the ‘BAROJONA PANTHAI & BAROJONA KHORLA’, so they gave all the productions to them and asked them to live happily with SATBUNI & BAROBUNI. ‘BAROKHONDEO’ thought ‘BAROJONA PANTHAI & BAROJONA KHORLA’ how to build the ‘SHANG’ of ‘SHARIBHAI’ the ‘SHAMADI’ to administer the village and protect, preserved and practice the God gifted culture of ‘MAHAMUNUSH’. ‘BAROKHONDEO’ specially thought the idea of ‘WANSUA MISAWA’ and asked them to celebrate the festival at the interval of every five years to keep the memory of our joint adventure for cultivation of ‘SATBUNI & BAROBUNI’. And such, after giving suggestions and ideas to human being ‘BAROKHONDEO’ flew away to the place of ‘SHARIBHAI PHA MAHADEO’.
After leaving of ‘BAROKHONDEO’, the ‘BAROJONA PANTHAI & BAROJONA KHORLA’ holds a meeting and decided to build a ‘SHAMADI’ as per direction of ‘BAROKHONDEO’. But as they do not have the necessary instrument such as Ruwa (axe), Khangra’ (knife) etc so they went to the ‘KHAMAR MINDAI’ with a ‘JULAW-JUTHAM’ (rice beer in a certain pot), ‘KOIPANTHA-PHANPANTHA’ (package of Beatle nut and leaf) and request him to provide the necessary instrument for building of ‘SHAMADI’. ‘KHAMAR MINDAI’ accepted their plea and gave them whatever they need. After getting the necessary instrument they came back to their village and again hold a meeting and they selected ‘Shangdoloi’, ‘Shangmaji’, ‘Huruma’ and other officials of the village amongst themselves.
One Tuesday morning ‘Shangdoloi’, ‘Shangmaji’, ‘Huruma’ and the villagers went to look for main three ‘THOMKHUNDA’ (big wooden post) in the nearby forest. First they select the tree in the name of ‘Shangdoloi’ and under the tree they offer ‘Ju’ (rice beer) on the bamboo leaf. Then by taking the name of ‘Sharibhai Pha Mahadeo’ Shangdoloi first give a cut on the particular tree and they try to hear any sound from the cutting place. If no unusual sound from the tree is heard then they start cutting the tree (It should be noted that if some unusual sounds heard from the particular cutting place then they leave the tree and find another one. The tiwas believed that such tree shouldn’t be used as posts of a house or ‘Shamadi). Same procedures are also maintained for the post of ‘Shangmaji and Huruma’. After cutting of the trees, make pieces of its as required measurement and then by making a hole in the lower side of the post and tight it with a strong rope, the villagers dragged the same with the rhythm of songs and music of ‘Khram’ (drum), Pangsi (flute) and ‘Thurang’ (special long flute of two holes only) to the place where “Shamadi” is proposed to be build. Then decorators were appointed to decorate the ‘THOMKHUNDA’ of ‘Shangdoloi’, ‘Shangmaji’ and ‘Huruma’ and after completion of decoration of the post, these were erected and after a week they completed construction of the ‘Sharibhai Shang’ the beautiful ‘SHAMADI’.
As construction of ‘Shamadi’ has completed, so they discussed about performing the ‘WANSUWA’ and finalized to start the same on next to next Tuesday. They invited the entire headman and the clan people of neighboring villages to witness and took part in the festival. Then the particular day has come and they celebrated the ‘WANSUA MISAWA’ as thought by the ‘BAROKHONDEO’ and such the festival come to an end as mentioned earlier. Since then the Tiwas of Amkhawali clan celebrating the ‘WANSUWA’, as to mark the joint adventures of cultivation of ‘SATBUNI & BAROBUNI’.

(This write up is dedicated to Late Lonsing Bordoloi Pumah, the first Radio Artist from Tiwa community. And my heartiest thanks always go to my beloved mother Msjo Sundi Pumah for her restless efforts to make me know about the folktale, folklore, legends, art & cultures of our community.)

Moinari Kanthi Misawa (Kabla Phuja):
One of the major clan or group of Tiwa’s the Makrowali believed ‘Kabla’ as their main deity. Amongst all deities of tiwa’s only Kabla do not accept any phuja and sacrifices performed facing in the east side. Kabla gifted the ‘Moinari kanthi misawa’ to the people of Makro and asked them to performed ‘Kabla Phuja’ at the interval of every five year. ‘Moinari kanthi misawa’ is a beautiful and typical dance amongst the dances of tiwa’s. In general participations of girls in the dances are very rare, but in the dance of ‘Moinari kanthi misawa’ participation of girls is must. In place of Khram (drum), Pangsi (flute), Thurang (long flute having only two hole) the Makro people used Muhuri (wooden trumpet/ like kaliya in assamese), Tumding (small drum made of soil) and togor (like tabola small drum wear in waist, beat with two small sticks).
As every festivals of tiwa’s, there is a beautiful legend behind the ‘Moinari kanthi misawa’ too. Once, a poor woman was lived alone nearby forest of ‘Makro’ village after death of her husband. One Wednesday afternoon an old man came to her house and asked for food and shelter for a night. She gave shelter to him but failed to offer food. Then the old man introduced himself that he is no other then ‘Kabla’. He told her if she is ready to accept him as a deity and offer him phujas and sacrifices as his desired then there will be no poorness and she will became richest woman of the nearby villages and everywhere there will be always festive situation. After hearing to the ‘Kabla’ the woman agreed to offered ‘phuja and sacrifices’ as per his directions and desired.
Immediately after giving consent the whole scenarios of the woman’s house has changed. Automatically appeared everything whatever needed for a luxury livelihood. Suddenly a group of young boys and girls came down from the sky with Muhuri, Tumding and Togor and began to dance by singing songs. The woman was quite happy seeing the changes of her conditions and promised to offer phuja and sacrifices by next day. Then ‘Kabla’ thought the woman about the procedures of phuja and to performed the phuja he created a man and appointed him as ‘Loro’ and such after giving details the ‘Kabla’ and the boys and girls disappeared before sunrise. On the next day, the woman and the Loro completed preparation of phuja. But, by afternoon a man of Maslai clan appeared in the house of the woman and asked for a shelter for a night. The woman denied him but the Loro asked her to give shelter in return he will have to give his hand to perform the phuja and sacrifice. The Maslai jela also agreed the proposal. On evening the ‘Kabla and the boys and girls again appeared in the house of the woman. Kabla was happy to see the preparation of phuja and asked the boys and girls to start the ‘Moinari kanthi misawa’. Within this festive mood Loro started the phuja with the help of Maslai jela and the woman as per procedures thought by the Kabla. But, they could not complete the phuja on that night, so Kabla asked Loro to adjourn the phuja for next evening and as yesterday Kabla and the boys and girls disappeared from the house of the woman before sunrise.
Next evening of Friday Kabla with the boys and girls again appeared in the house of the woman and as yesterday dance and phuja again started as per procedure. By late night phuja was completed. ‘Kabla’ was quite happy to have the phuja and sacrifices as his desired. So, he decided to gift the ‘Moinari kanthi misawa’ dance to the Loro and the woman. On the other hand the Maslai jela was surprised and impressed by observing the phuja and ‘Moinari kanthi misawa’ and he asked permission to perform this festival in his village also. ‘Kabla’ agreed to his plea and asked them to become part and partials of the Makro Loro. The Loro will teach you the procedures of phuja and the sacrifice. And by giving directions to hold the festivals at Phatmakro’ together with the ‘Phamhola’, Kabla disappeared from the house of the woman.
Since then the ‘Moinari kanthi misawa’ festival is celebrating by the Makrowali at the interval of every five year. As the woman who gives shelter to ‘Kabla’ was of ‘Soleng’ clan so till date only from ‘Soleng’ clan the Loro of Makro is being selected. The Maslai jela who has given his hand to perform the phuja and sacrifice and adopted the ‘Moinari kanthi misawa’ from the Makro Loro was of ‘Phamhola’ (branches) of ‘Phat Makro’. The present ‘Phamhola’ villages of ‘Phat Makro’ are Ulukhunji, Silaguri, Maslaikhunji, Kromkhunji and Khumraikhora of Karbi Anglong district. It is mandatory that boys and girls, men and women from these ‘Phamhola’ villages have to participate the ‘Moinari kanthi misawa’ when performed in the house of ‘Makro Loro’ at ‘Phat Makro’.

(This collection is dedicated to late Obra Malang who stands first for the separate homeland of Tiwas. He was kept behind the bar of Nagaon Jail for six month for raising voice for homeland in the year of 1952).

Yangli Phuja:

Langkhon Phuja:
It is devided into two parts. One is observed in Kati (October-November) and the other is observed in Fagun.

In the festivals Tiwa communities sing two types of songs. These are --->

1) Lo Ho La Hai  songs of the ceremony of name giving, wedding and harvesting etc.
2) Lali Hilali Lai – song of marriage ceremony, Karam and such other festivals.

*Songs and dances are the life spirit of the Tiwa community; the tribe is considered to have one of the richest reservoirs of folk songs and dances in Assam.

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