people

 People

Tripura has rich cultural heritage of 19 different tribal communities. These communities are - Tripura/Tripuri, Riang, Jamatia, Noatia, Uchai, Chakma, Mog, Lushai, Kuki, Halam, Munda, Kaur, Orang, Santal, Bhil, Bhutia, Chaimal, Garo, Khasia, and Lepcha. Each community has its own unique culture including their own dance forms which are famous in the country. Long and intimate association of Poet Rabindranath Tagore with Tripura has added luster to the rich cultural heritage of the state. The state has produced the famous musicians Sachin Dev Barman and Rahul Dev Barman.Tripuri women wear a dress called Pachra, which reaches down just below the knee. They weave in their loin-loom a small piece of cloth, which they call 'Risha', and they wear this piece of cloth on upper portion of their body. Garia and Lebang Boomani are the two main dances of Tripuri tribes..

Folk Dances

The main folk dances are Hozagiri dance of Reang community, Garia, Jhum, Maimita, Masak Sumani and Lebang Boomani dances of Tripuri community, Bizu dance of Chakma community, Cheraw and Welcome dances of Lushai community, Hai- Hak dance of Malsum community, Wangla dance of Garo Community, Sangraiaka, Chimithang, Padisha and abhangma dances of Mog community, Garia dances of Kalai and Jamatia communities etc. Each community has its own traditional musical instruments. The important musical instruments are' Khamb( Drum)', Bamboo flute, 'Lebang,', 'Sarinda', 'Do- Tara', and 'Khengrong', etc.

Tripuri Community

The Tripuris constitute the largest section of the entire tribal community, representing more than 50% of the total tribal population of the State. The Tripuris live on the slopes of hills in a group of five to fifty families. Their houses in these areas are built of bamboo and raised five to six feet height to save themselves from the dangers of the wild animals. Nowadays a considerable section of this community is living in the plains, constructing houses like the plains' people, adopting their methods of cultivation and following them in other aspects of day to day life.

 

Garia Dance

The life and culture of Tripuris revolve around Jhum(shifting) cultivation. When the sowing of seeds at a plot of land selected for Jhum is over by middle of April, they pray to the God 'Garia' for a happy harvest. The celebrations attached to the Garia Puja continue for seven days when they seek to entertain their beloved deity with song and dance.

Lebang Boomani Dance

After the Garia festival is over, the Tripuris have time to relax awaiting the monsoon. During this period, hordes of charming colorful insects called 'Lebang' visit hill slopes in search of seeds sown there. The annual visit of the insects encourages the tribal youths to indulge in merry-making. While the men-folk make a peculiar rhythmic sound with the help of two bamboo chips in their hand, the women folk run tottering the hill slopes to catch hold of these insects called 'Lebang'. The rhythm of the sound made by the bamboo chips attracts the insects from their hiding places and the women in-groups catch them. With the change of time jhuming on hill slopes is gradually diminishing, but the cultural life that developed centering round the jhum has deep roots in the society. It still exists in the state's hills and dales as a reminiscence of the life, which the tribals of today cherish in memory, and preserve as treasure. In both the dances Tripuris use the musical instruments like ‘Khamb’ made of Bamboo, Flute, Sarinda, Lebang made of bamboo and bamboo cymbal. Tripuri women generally put on indigenous ornaments like chain made of silver with coin, bangles made of silver, ear and nose rings made of bronze etc. They prefer flowers as ornaments

 

Reang Community

Next to Tripuris, the Reangs constitute the second biggest group among the tribal population. It is generally believed that this particular community migrated to Tripura from somewhere in the Chittagong hill Tracts in the middle part of the fifteenth century. The Reangs are much disciplined community. The head of the community enjoys the title 'Rai' whose word is supreme in all matters of internal disputes and is to be obeyed by all belonging to Reang community. The Reangs are very backward both educationally and economically and, therefore they are still considered to be the primitive group..

Hozagiri Dance

Hozagiri Dance is the most famous dance of the reang community. While the theme of the dance remains almost to be the same as of other tribes, the dance form of the Reang community is quite different from others. The movement of hands or even the upper part of the body is somewhat restricted, whereas the movement beginning from their waist down to their feet creates a wonderful wave. Standing on an earthen pitcher with a bottle on the head and a lighted lamp on it, when the Reang belle dance twisting rhythmically the lower part of the body, the dance bewilders the onlookers. The Reangs also use the musical Instruments like Khamb, Flute made of bamboo and bamboo cymbal. The Reang women prefer to put on black Pachra and Rea. Reang women put on coins ring, which generally covers their entire upper region. They also put on rings made of coin in their ears. They are fond of fragrant flowers as ornaments to metal things

 

Chakma Community

People of Chakma Community in Tripura are found normally in the Sub-Divisions of Kailashahar, Amarpur, Sabroom, Udaipur, Belonia and Kanchanpur. They are followers of Buddhism. Although the Chakmas are divided into several groups and sub-sections, no major difference is noticed in the manner and customs among different groups. The Chakma chiefs are generally called 'Dewans' and they exercise great authority and influence within the community in all internal matters. The Chakma Women, like all other tribal women are experts in weaving. The Chakmas are very neat and clean in their domestic life.

Bizu Dance

Bizu Dance is the characteristic of the Chakma community. Bizu means 'Chaitra-Sankranti' which denotes end of Bengali calendar year. During this period the Chakmas sing and dance to bid good-bye to the passing year and welcome the new year. The dance is beautifully orchestrated with the rhythm playing of what is known as 'Khenggarang' and 'Dhukuk' sorts of flutes. The Chakma women are fond of flower, which they often use in their hair. They also use metal ornaments

 

Halam(Malsum) Community

‘Malsum’ is one of the 12 groups belonging to the Halam community of Tripura. Halam, again, originally hailed from one of the branches of Kukis. It is said that Kukis had lived in Tripura even before the Tripuris came to conquer the land. Those of the Kukis who had submitted to the Tripura 'Raja' came to be known as Halams. Originally the tribe was divided into 12 sub-groups of 'Dafas' but in course of time these sub-groups have split into sections and as many as sixteen clans are found to exist in the whole Halam community. Malsum belongs to one of these 12 groups. The Halams are followers of the 'Saka' cult, but the influence of 'Vaishnavism' is quite marked, particularly, in two sections of the community. They believe in the existence of spirit too. Their worship is solemnized with offerings and sacrifices so that nothing calamitous befalls the community in the form of crop failure or epidemic or any other natural disaster. During the festival, they sit together to settle all internal disputes, try cases related to crime and inflict punishment on the offenders which makes the Puja a useful social gathering for keeping peace and harmony within the community.

Like other tribal communities of Tripura, the social and economic life of the Halam community also revolves around jhum cultivation. At the end of the harvesting season the Malsum traditionally adore Goddess Laxmi. They enjoy this festive occasion for their famous Hai-Hak dance. It is also a community dance with exquisite beauty. Rhythms of the dance reflect the tradition inherited from distant past.

 

Garo Community

The people of Garo community live in the South and Dhalai Districts of Tripura. Originally they used to live in Tong Ghar made of bamboo to save themselves from wild animals like the other tribals of Tripura. But now they prefer houses made of mud wall with sun-grass as roof. They are believed to have migrated to Tripura from Garo Hills in Meghalaya. The life style of the Garos living in Tripura is almost like that of other tribes. The Heads of the community is known as ‘Sangnakma’ and the priest of the community is known as ‘Kama’. They put on the dress as good as that of the Khasis.

After the happy harvest 'Wangala'(1-st rice eating ceremony) is performed in every house. The Sangnakma, head of the communities visits every house and cuts a pumpkin as part of worship. This pumpkin is sacrificed on this occasion. After that the women dance to the beat of 'Dama' and 'Aaduri' made of buffalo horn. The dance projects the rehearsal for war. This dance form is called Wangala Dance.

Lushai Community

The Lushais were originally inhabitant of the hills lying in east and north-east of Tripura and also in the adjoining hilly areas. It seems they migrated from neighboring Mizoram and have settled down in Jampui Hills situated on the North-East boundary of the state under Kanchanpur Sub-Division in North Tripura District. Their number is small compared to the total population of the state. Their social life and Customs have been objects of great attraction to others. The principal means of livelihood of the Lushai still remain to be Jhum cultivation. Of course, this can be considered chiefly to the dearth of plain land in the hills. They prefer living in high altitude of the hills.

 

 

Mog Community

There is a controversy over the origin of the word 'MOG' or 'MOGH'. In a periodical magazine of the Burmese Research Society, this 'word' has been desired to originate from Bengali. But in the model Bengali Dictionary of Bangiya Sahitya Parishad, the origin of this word is 'unknown'. In another Dictionary this word is claimed to have originated from a Burmese word 'Mogh' which is generally used as an epithet before the name of a gentleman. Some others of course referred to the ancient Mogadha Empire for its origination. But it is said that when the domination of Hindu religion began to thrive in this ancient center of Buddha religion, a branch of Mogadha dynasty left for Chittagong and subsequently settled down in Hill Chittagong. Probably the Word 'Mongo' came from 'Mogadhi'(one who hails from Mogadhaor one who is a resident of Mogadha). In English dictionary the words Mog, Mogen, Mouge have been shown as surnames to the inhabitants of Arakan in 15-th and 16-th centuries. Bengalis of course refer to the inhabitants of Arakan as 'Mog'. The people of 'Mog' community claimed to have come from Arakan and settled down in Tripura in 957 A.D. Almost all the people belonging to the Mog community are the followers of Buddhism. Sangrai ( last day of the month of Chaitra, which is the last month of the Bengali Calendar Year) is the occasion of special festival. The people of the Mog community in general and the young boys and girls in particular celebrate the day through cultural programs to invite the new year. Cakes are prepared at every home and people move from house to house to eat cakes. On this day water is carried through auspicious pitchers and respected persons are allowed to take bath with this water. The young boys and girls indulge in aquatics and traditional ‘Khouyang’ is played on bet. Paste of fragrant sandalwood and water of green coconuts are sprinkled in every house. In the midst of pomp and grandeur fragrant water is poured on the root of 'Bodhi Briksha'. The festival continues for three days.