Acculturation Among the Mishings                                             Page :39

 
Dr. Jatin
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Dr. Jatin
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In spite of so much changes in their religious practices, the majority of the Mishings are still the followers of traditional pattern of tribal worship which can be called the hybrid of Hinduism and tribal ritualism. In this context, writings of Hunter (1879 : 343) will be relevant to quote.
              The Miris (Mishings) in the plains have generally abandoned the vague religious notions of their ancestors, and adopted ideas put into their heads by Assamese Gosains or Brahminical priest, that each of them chose to adopt as their Guru  or Spiritual instructor; but all efforts on the part of the Hindus to wean them from their impure mode of living have utterly failed.
        The above stated situation still prevails in the villages under study. As regards the religious institutions, the Namghars and the Satras have been playing important roles in their day to day life.
        Now, let us try to derive conclusions on the basis of the analysis of the primary data. Table 5.1 indicates the nature of their visits to the place of worship.
        The regularity is rare in visiting the places of worship and since only 16 (4.77%) respondents regularly visited the Namghar. The majority of the respondents (67.47%) visited Namghar occasionally. It is because they use to visit Namghar only when some rituals are perofrmed. 26 (7.76%) respondents do not visit the worshipping place, whereas, 67 (20.00%) visit frequently. Those who visit the Namghar regularly are the Bhakats - the Mishing Hinduised priests. The respondents do not visit the Satras regularly. The Satras of Majuli and other areas of Sibsagar district are visited by the Bhakats and few other interested respondents either frequently or occasionally. Out of 335 respondents, 260 (77.62%) have never visited the Satras, whereas, 10 (2.98%) visited frequently and 65 (19.40%) occasionally.
              The frequency of visiting the place of worship (Namghar) is more or less the same irrespective of literacy and illiteracy. Table 5.2 shows the frequency of visits to the Namghar according to the level of education.
              An indicated in the above table(Table 5.2), out of 16 respondents who visit Namghar regularly, 6 (37.50%) are illiterate and 10 (62.50%) are literate. Out of 67 respondents, 14 (20.89%) are illiterate, 40 (59.71%) are literate, 8 (11.94%) are undermatric and 5 (7.46%) are matriculates and above who visit Namghar frequently. Again, out of 226 respondents, 96 (42.47%) illiterate, 107 (47.36%) literate, 18 (7.96%) under-matric and 5 (2.21%) matriculates and above visit occasionally. Only 14 (10.76%), out of 130 respondents, do not visit Namghar. Contrary to it, Namghar is much popular among the literates, because out of 162, only 5 (3.08%) respondents do not visit the place of worship. Anyway, from the above analysis, it is seen that irrespective of literacy and illiteracy the people participate in occasional rituals performed in the Namghar.
               The transitional stage of the religion and religious activities of the Mishings is fascinating. They have not yet been able to determine whether they should accept a religion which is completely Hindu oriented or not. For instance, in Barpamua village, the villagers informed that about 15-20 families were converted into Bhagawatia or Vaishnavism in 1961. The converted families avoided all tribal practices for a few years  which were performed earlier. But this habit did not last long. Most of the families left
 


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