Mishings: A Portrait of the Traditional Social System                Page : 21

 
Dr. Jatin
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Dr. Jatin
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Religion
     
The present religion of the Mishings is the synthetic product of animism and Hinduism.That religion among them is known as Kewalia or Kalhanghati or Nishamalia. Inspite of the mixture, they are worshippers of Uyu or spirit. The name of the Doynee-Po :lo (the Sun and the Moon) is recited in every ritual and festival. Some of the main Pujas-cum-festival of the Mishings are Po:rag, Ali-ai-ligang, Taleng Uyu (pujas-cum-festivals concerned with agriculture), Dabur, Ashi Uyu, yumrang Uyu (Pujas for the deceased ) and Dodgang,Urom Apin (pujas for ancestors or  ancestor-worsip). Thus the above pujas can be divided into three broad headings e.g. group puja,self or personal puja and pujas due to causes.
            It has been mentioned earlier that the Mishings are the worshippers of numersous Uyus (spirits). In this context the Miboo (the priest) plays a significant role among them. He is supposed to know the Uyus responsible for all evil happenings of the Mishings. The Miboo usually offers chickens in the name of Dopum-Dorum (an imaginary spirit having three heads), and after some ritual activities the Miboo knows the measures for the remedy of the sufferer. Later, according to the direction of the Miboo, the family offers pig, fowl, apang etc. to the spitit for remedy.
        One of the important rituals of the Mishing is Dobur-uyu. The women are debarred from participating in it. During the performance of Dobur-uyu, traffic and business transaction with neighbouring villages is withheld for a day by constructing gates on both sides of the main entrance lane of the village. On the same day, the villagers approach each house demanding dues (aje ng).  The families offer apang, pig, fowl and rice which they collect in the outskirt of the village.
          Two idols simulating the snake swallowing an egg, are prepared from some forn (Tuktak) and split bamboo, and placed at the altar facing the rising sun. Pigs and fowls are sacrificed uttering some prayers meanig "Oh mother Sun, father Moon, Oh Divine Self, be pleased with these offerings and bless us with health and happiness,etc. (Pegu, 1956:57)
Dobur-uyu is performed once a year. This ritual is one of the example of ritual performances of the Mishings.Due to the influence of Hinduism many changes have taken place in their religion and religions performances which will be discussed in details in Chapter V.
Festivals
         There are various festivals performed by the Mishings. The most significant among them are Ali-ai-ligang and Po:rag. They perform the three main bihus (festivals) of Assam, namely, the Magh bihu, Bhohag bihu and Kati bihu, but the two festivals mentioned earlier are of their own.They perform them according to their traditional customs. Like their own traditional puja-cum-festivals, the Mishings perform bihus with equal enthusiasm. The three bihus, now-a-days, are regarded as a part of their culture. The Assamese bihu songs and Mishings Oinitom are equally popular among them.Both the Mishings and the non-tribal plains people are interdependent so far as the performance of bihus is concerned. Formerly, the non-tribal plains people did not allow women to dance in bihu festivals. Now-a-days, by imitating the Mishings and other neighbouring tribes, they allow females to dance with men in festivals.

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