Foreword                                             

 
   
Dr. Jatin
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       Socio-cultural changes because of cultural-contact through different media are inevitable in the modern dynamic world. Dynamism is a sign of progress. The individual as well as group are exposed to these changed situations and hence adjustment become necessary for survival. But the processes and factors involved are always not identical in all the situations. Therefore it is interesting to know what is happening where and among whom. The author has looked at the Mishing's life from this point of view. By studying the three villages in detail he has attempted to project the changing situation in the tribe.
      The Mishings is a major tribe of Assam, the homeland of a large number of a populations, both tribal and non-tribal, of different ethnic origins, linguistic affiliations and having varied socio-cultural traditions since long past. There has always been socio-cultural as well as biological interaction among these populations, and as a result the tribes are at a different levels of modernization. The influence of  Hinduism is very strong among many tribes. Among these some members have accepted Hinduism, while others are Hinduised.
       The neo-Vaisnavite movement was launched by the great Assamese Saint Srimanta Sankardeva in the later part of the Fifteenth century. Gradually it started gaining momentum  and was spread to different parts of this region of the country. It had great impact on the Mishings as well. They accepted neo-vaishnavism, though side by side they followed some of their traditional rites and rituals. The neo vaishnavite faith bought remarkable changes in the socio-cultural life of the Mishing. The author has found this to be the strongest force for acculturation.
        The Mishings have their own language, but they have accepted the Assamese language to a great extent. Many of the neo-vaishnavite literature are written in old Assamese, and hence learning of Assamese helped the Mishings to understand the new ideas beliefs, practices etc. Thus religion helped in the spread not only Assamese language, but also the Hindu way of life among them.
         It is known fact that different types of communication network break the isolation and brings different populations closer. In this process several processes are associated. The author has clearly has demonstrated how this factors are interacting to bring changes among the Mishing society.
         The process of acculturation and improved communication system have accelerated the  pace of development of the Mishing people. They are no longer a isolated community, but has become a part of the greater whole. The noteworthy changes in their attitude towards economy,  education, health practices and the like have helped in the overall development of The Mishings under study. However, the author has observed that the present processes operating in the Mishing society have widened the distance between the rich and the poor sections and have created new elites among the Mishings, a situation which deserves special consideration.
       Dr. Jatin Mipun deserves congratulations for his presenting such a vivid picture of the socio-cultural changes in the Mishing tribe and analysing the forces and factors involved in the process by undertaking a in-depth study. Such work among the tribes in this part of the country are rare. The book will be a valuable addition to the existing literature on the sociology and ethnography of north eastern India.

                                                                                    B.M. DAS
     Department of Anthropology
     Gauhati university.


Dr. Jatin
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