Mishings: A Portrait of the Traditional Social System                Page : 23

 
Dr. Jatin
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Dr. Jatin
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Moman nitom is for various games and merry makings and Ko-ninam to stop children from crying. This song is very popular among the Mishing women as they engage in household and agricultural activities with their newly born children tied on their backs.
         The Mishing folk dances are allied in spirit and deliverance to the Bihu dance of non-tribal Assamese. Generally, pure form of Mishing dance (Pagso monam) is seen only in the festivals like Ali-ai-ligang and Po:rag. Both girls and boys with colourful dresses engage in dance in any festival. Along with the expression of musical instruments like dhol, tal, pepa, dendum, tapungs, gungan, the girls express the different stages of nature through their movements. Oi-nitom has played part and parcel of any type of dance and merry-making. The coloured dresses of the girls (e.g. ribi, gasing, egge, gero) and the boys (ugon, dumer, galuk etc.) in dance show the special production of weaving of the Mishing women (see Chapter V for elaborate discussion).
Political Life
       The socio-political structure of the Mishings is democratic. Like the Pasi, Minyong and Padam of Arunachal Pradesh, the Mishings have Ke'bangs (Village Council) consisting of village elders within a village. The Ke'bang is supreme within a village which controls the social and political life of the villagers. Any complaint or anti-social activities are brought to the notice of it. The Kebang has the power to deliver judgments and punish the offenders. The punishment usually depends upon the nature of offence.  Generally, it is in the form of the imposition of fines in money or kind, physical punishment or ex-communication. In case, controversy arises between two or more villages, Bane-Ke'bang or bigger Ke'bang is called for judgment. The Gam or now-a-days the Gaonburah acts as the chairman and delivers judgment in consultation with selected   elderly villagers. Usually the women are not allowed to be a member of the Ke'bang.
    
The Ke'bang is held in the Murong where all discussion are taken by elderly villagers. The Murong or the public hall, though now-a-days found only in a few villages, is significant for community activities among them. Besides Ke' bang, the member-yame (young woman and man) is another village body consisting of members of younger age group.The body helps in all social activities within a village. The head or the Chairman of the Member-yame body is known as Bora who is responsible for the maintenance of the body.
        Besides the above two important bodies, the Mishings have several other institutions which are responsible to maintain customary laws of the people which are there for all occasions, e.g. for marriage performance, divorce, widow-marriage, laws of inheritance and so on. These bodies, though smaller than the Ke'bang, work for the well being of the people within a village.
          In conclusion, it can be said that the Mishings have a well organized social structure with tribal characteristics. But as they are living with the non-tribal Assamese for many centuries, changes have naturally been taking place in the tribal social structure. 


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