Socio-Economic Development                                                       Page :61

 
Dr. Jatin
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Dr. Jatin
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                                                        I

         In this chapter, our main focus is to analyse the nature of socio-economic development among the Mishings. The Mishing as a community have passed through several stages of development. At first, they were hill dwellers. At that stage, their economy consisted of food gatherings, hunting and fishing. They moved to the plains Brahmaputra Valley and came in contact with permanently settled Assamese villagers. The physical mobility (movement from hill to the plains) and cultural contact with the  Assamese peasantry brought about a great deal of economic and cultural change among them. They develop semi-permanent settled and started shifting(jhoom)cultivation along with hunting and fishing. At this stage their production   was entirely for the purpose of consumption(Dubey:1978).
         Then growing contact with Assamese peasantry has its bearing over the Mishings and they develop their permanent settlement in the form of villages , adopted permanent cultivation and gradually discarded shifting cultivation. Now , in many areas, their agricultural products are surplus and almost in every village, some of the families are engaged in trade, business, contract and service. A few of them are professionals. Of late a number of Indian studies on tribes have tried to show the relationship between physical mobility, social interaction , acculturation and change in economic organisation(Rao:1966;Sinha:1968;Aurora:1972;Dubey:1978). Some of the Indian Sociologists tried to analyse the impact of communication on Indian villages(Damle:1955) . Some of the sociologist and Anthropologist have focused their attention on the question of tribal  development(Sinha:1972;Vidyarthi & Rai:1976;Kulkarni:1976). The main focus of the present chapter is to probe into the following issues:
             (a) The physical mobility in the case of a community brings it into the contact with other communities.This process leads to increased interaction and acculturation.
             (b) The acculturation and communication bring about change in the economic  organisation of a community. This is visible in the case of Mishings also.  Their  productive techniques, occupational structure, nature of production  (from subsistence to surplus), investment pattern,concept of  health,  schooling have under gone considerable change.
      As regards the first issue, we have discussed in details in other chapters and in the first page of this chapter. The historical structural relationship between acculturation, communication and development in the case of Mishings is explained through the help of paradigm.
      It was mentioned in the fifth chapter that acculturation has taken place in different aspects of the social life of the Mishings. The Donyee-Polo worshippers now-a-days, regard themselves as Hindu and their religion is known as Kewalia,Kalhanghati or Nisamalia. It was, however , observed during the field work that both acculturation and communication have started motivating the people to acquire new techniques of production to receive new ideas, to adopt innovations and to send their children to schools and colleges. It was found that the processes of acculturation and communication have made people conscious for greater sense of equality and respect for human dignity.
       The acculturation and communication have accelerated the pace of development. Now, the Mishings as a community are not isolates. They are linked with their neighbours , regional culture and nation through Hinduism, Mythology, Assamese and Hindi languages,railways and marketing system. The process of democratic decentralisation has aroused tremendous political consciousness among the Mishings.This can be proved by their participation in elections and positions occupied by them in the State level hierarchy of the different political parties.The improved nature of social development is visible among them through the spread of modern education, growth of educational institutions, availability of medical facilities and access to modern channels of communications.
        In the political sphere too,acculturation and communication have been playing influential roles.The Murong and Kebang have gradually been losing their status as decision making body of the people.As observed in the field, the newly emerged leaders are replacing the traditional leaders and the former are more and more alert in acquiring new knowledge and ideas. And for maintaining their position and status they (PARADIGM 2)


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