Society can be defined as a
interconnecting communication networks (Hockings, 1977). Of course, communication is a
very general term and it is difficult to define it within a specific frame work.
Along with the radio and television,(Hockings, 1977:475-76) says that different type of
communication networks, such as transportation of people and their materials, mechanical
system for transmission of personal messages, media of mass-communication and
interpersonal linkages are very essential in the field of the sociology of communication.
Keeping view of these points, the following aspects of communication are attempted to study
in this chapter:
(1) The phase of oral communication among the Mishings and
their linkages with other communities.
(2) Introduction of roads and its impacts on Mishings.
(3) Introduction of railways and its impact.
(4) Impact of the marketing centers.
(5) Impact of post and telegraph, radio listening and news
(6) Interaction and communication with religious, political
and educational elite.
Before the British
in India, the Mishings had low rate of interaction with non- tribes.
Though, they were within the plain districts of Assam, The Mishing were dwelling in
the isolated places near the river banks of Assam. Due to that, their mode of
communication and interaction with the non tribes was similar with the other tribes of
North-East India. Trade was one of the main sources of
communication among the Mishings which was also the only source of communication of the
other hill tribes. In context of the tribes of Arunachal Pradesh, Roy Barman and
Thakral,(1970:93), Said : The
trade between Apatanis and their Dafala and Miri neighbours is largely
based on the complementary nature of their economics. The exchange of
surplus Apatanis rice against Dafala or Miri animals is, therefore, to the
advantage of both sides. Besides, buying mithun and pigs for rice, the Apatanis
obtain from Dafalas almost all the cotton required for their highly developed
The interaction between the tribes and the non-tribes
started gradually when the tribes were converted either to Christianity or
Hinduisim. One of the main reason behind it is the improvement of the communication
facilities. As a result, alike the other tribes of North-East India, Acculturation
started among the Mishings of Assam. The non-tribal Hindu population of Assam have
gradually been influencing the language and speech pattern of the Mishings. The
increasing use of Assamese, Bengali and Hindi by them is indicative of this process. As
the communication facilities are increasing, the process of acculturation has also been
increasing. The same process has been discussed in this chapter in the light of the
points indicated earlier.
In their pre-literate and primitive system, oral communication were
more important. The Mishings used a dialect which was akin to Adi group of
dialects. Naturally, the range of their communication, even after their migration to the
plains, was oriented and confined to the tribes having kinship relationship with
them. When they moved to the plains, probably for a long time , they had their compact
tribal territory. Gradually, they came in contact with other communities- such as
Deuri, Chutias , Ahoma.There were three different dimensions of their oral communication :