Mishings: A Portrait of the Traditional Social System                Page : 17

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Dr. Jatin
Mipun's

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Dr. Jatin
Mipun's

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                                                         IV

The Mishings villages  are situated along the river courses of Upper Assam. The distribution of villages along the courses of the rivers Brahmaputra, Subansiri, Dishang, Dihing and their tributaries indicate the immigration of the Mishings. The Mishing villages are founded in a haphazard manner without proper planning. The front side of the houses generally faces the river. The houses of the Mishings are on piles, about 4ft. to 5ft. above the ground. The level for the floor is obtained from stilts. It may be made of  wood or bamboo. On the stills, they form the floor with the match of  thick bamboo splits. The platform forms the main houses which is walled by mattings of split bamboo. The houses are about 40ft. to 100ft. in length and 10ft. to 15ft. in width. Several  families usually dwell in a household, without a partition. For the bigger families several fire places are found, which indicate the size of the particular family. Various types of  household utensils are similar to the utensils of non trials Assamese .
Social life
        
The Mishings are peace loving people. Both men and women are hard workers. During the time of rituals and festivals, both enjoy as much as possible. The women are comparatively more hard working than men . They remain engaged in household and agricultural activities, and look after cattle breeding(pig and fowl), for extra income ,from morning to evening . The members within the family follow the advice of the head of the family . Co-operation among the villages is an important feature of Mishings. Rikbo-ge' nam and dagle'ka-alek are some  of their co-operative activities organised by a family whenever there is a need .
      For instance, when a person is unable to cultivate his fields due to some reasons, he may request the villagers for co-operation(rigbo gok nam). To keep his request, the villagers will help him according to their capacity and time. For the construction of a new house , the owner may inform the villagers in advance and accordingly the villagers will help him.
     The Mishings are divided into various groups though they do not strictly follow them. First they are divided into two broad divisions, viz., Barogam and Dahgam. These two are further sub-divided into Pagro, Chayengia, Ayengia, Dambukial, Samuguria and so on. Then, the clans of the Mishings can be categorised according to the sub-group. As for example, Doley and Pegu clans are normally included within Pagro sub-group and Regon, Padun, Morang are included within Chayengia or Ayengia sub-group.Matrimonial alliances are usually preferred within the sub-group.For instance, a man of Doley clan usually prefers to marry a woman of Pegu clan as both the class belong to Pagro sub-group.Clan exogamy and sub-group and tribal endogamy is practiced by them.


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