Acculturation Among the Mishings                                             Page:42

 
Dr. Jatin
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respondents, 70 (20.89%) and 61 (18.20%) know Assamese language through marketing centers and traders respectively. Other 204 (60.91%) respondents have learnt it through schools. In case of the Bengali language, 98 (29.25%) of them learnt this language through marketing centers and equal number of respondents picked it up through traders. Both marketing centers and traders have been playing very significant roles in spreading Hindi language among the respondents. 130 (38.81%) and 115 (34.33%) respondents learnt Hindi through marketing centers and traders respectively. In case of Nepali language also, the same sources of learning the languages have played significant roles. It is worth mentioning that the respondents have not chosen leaders as the sources of knowing other languages. English is known only to the educated respondents. 113 (39.70%) out of 335 respondents learnt English through schools whereas 6 (1.79%) respondents picked up English through students. The table shows that next to Assamese, the most well-known language of the respondents is Hindi.
                 In some areas, especially in Lakhimpur sub-division of Lakhimpur district and Golaghat sub-division of Sibsagar district, the acculturation in the field of language is so deep that in several Mishing villages, the people have almost forgotten the Mishing language. Among the non-Mishing speaking Mishings, there are five divisions, viz., Temar, Samuguria, Bongkual, Bihia and Bebejia (Loying, 1972 : 28). The Mishings of these divisions have completely forgotten the Mishing language. At present, their main language is Assamese. Only few Mishing words and kinship terms are used by them in daily conversation. It is not sure whether the non-Mishing people formed these sub-groups during the Ahom-Chutia conflict and Mon (Burmese) aggression or the Mishings accepted the Assamese language in place of their own. these sub-groups and families are not found in the villages of the present study.
               The major observations on language can be summarised as follows :
     (1) All the respondents, irrespective of the levels of literacy, can speak and understand Assamese language. Next to the  Mishing dialect, Assamese is the predominant  Medium for communication with other people.
     (2) In conversation, use of Assamese words and sentences are common among the respondents. It is found in few educated families that the young children do not know their own language. It is noteworthy that parents of such families are proud of their children as their sons and daughters can speak sound and fluent Assamese.
     (3) Next to Assamese, Hindi is the most popular language of the respondents.
     (4) Most of the respondents are of the view that in future Mishing language may be replaced by Assamese language, if proper written and printed literature in Mishing   language is not developed. The respondents told that like the Samugurias(as discussed earlier) they might forget their dialect if the acceptance of Assamese l language   continues as it is continuing today.
     (5) All the mantras for ritual activities used by the Bhaktas and Hattulas are in  Assamese language. These mantras are the  abstract from Kirtana,Namghusa  and Bhagavat Gita.These are the influences of Sankardev's Vaishnavism through the Gosains of the Satras.Thus religion has helped in the spread of Assamese language.
                       The respondents are in favour of the gradual change in all spheres of the  Mishing culture.
         
Case Study 5.5
            
Shri Babulal Paw, 54, of Mohmora village is a successful contractor. His economic condition is sound. He told that as a contractor he had to know almost  all the languages of his locality. He feels "Assamese language is a must for us. So is he case with Hindi. Our own dialect is not fully developed, therefore we have no   other alternative but to accept other languages." More or less the same views   were expressed by other respondents also.


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