Overview and Concluding Remarks                          Page :74

 
Dr. Jatin
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Dr. Jatin
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roles of marketing centers in socio-economic change in tribal areas. The economic development of the tribes mainly rests on the growing up of marketing centers around the villages.As mentioned earlier, the marketing centers have accelerated the process of economic and cultural exchange.The Mishing villagers sell their agricultural products in these centres.The demands of marketing centres have commercialised the agricultural products and there is growing trend to produce cash crops.The influence of the middleman ,due to whom the villagers formerly lost the actual price of their products, is declining because of the marketing facilities available nearby the villagers.
                                                         II
Various studies on the socio-cultural change among the castes and tribes of India have been conducted earlier to the present study.There are several theoretical and contextual aspects of present study, ie.,the question of caste-tribe relationship,sanskritisation and tribe-folk, peasant and urban continuum.
           At first let us try to examine into the question of  caste-tribe relationship(Baily:1961; Dumont:1962;Volchok:1964; Oran:1965; Reddy:1973) and sanskritization (Srinivas:1966).An analysis of the process of acculturation among the Mishings  clearly indicates the trends of Sankskritisation through the introduction of Hindu beliefs, myths, legends, religious ideology, and institutions and notion of purity and pollution related with food and social interaction. The studies of the Oran(Singh:1964), The Santhals(Oran:1965) and the Nilgiri hill dwellers(Gould:1967) have tried to examine in to the impact of Hinduism, great traditions and Jajmani relationships on the tribes. After the adoption of Hinduism, almost the similar trends are visible among the Mishings also. In many parts of Upper Assam, the Mishings are living along with other Hindu castes in multicaste villages, some of them have lost their compact territories, and have forgotten their dialects. In the Hindu  hierarchy, their position is low but, constitutionally in  all parts of Assam and socially and culturally in Dhemaji and Jonai sub-divisions of Lakhimpur district, they have preserved some of the basic features of tirbal structure, i.e., compact territory, dialect and culture. As regards the question of the tribe-folk, peasant and urban continuum (Redfield:1953a, 1955b),the trends of folk and peasantry and the influence of urban centres are already visible among the Mishings. Keeping in view the works of Srinivas and Redfield, Aurora(1972) has studied socio-cultural change among the Bhilalas of Alirajpur where he has given special stress on-folk urban continuum.
   The Mishing have tried to adjust tribal institutions and practices with the growing impact of Hinduism. The Christian tribes of the North-East India have almost abandoned their tribal customs, practices and institutions, but the tribes who are converted to Hinduism are still practising their tribal rituals along with Hinduism. The best example is the Mishings of the present study. Few of the examples are quoted here. The Bihu festivals in Assam i.e. rangali bihu, kati bihu and Bhugali bihu are performed by the Mishings with equal enthusiasm as they are celebrated by Assamese. The festival is accepted as part and parcel of their life. But they perform it according to their own traditional way. Similarly, their sraddha ceremony is almost similar to that of the non-tribal Assamese. But the ritual activities are done according to their traditional practices. That is applicable in all other aspects of their life which are accepted from non-tribal Assamese and to whom we often regard as acculturation.
                                                              III
It is mentioned in the introductory chapter that no proper studies have been done on the Mishings regarding their cultural change and development. Only Doley (1973) and Bhandari (1974) raised some of the issues regarding the backwardness of the Mishings. According to them, the main reason behind the backwardness is cultural factor. The development of the Mishings, according to them, is arrested mainly due to some of the tribal practices which encourage wastage. After proper scrutiny of the findings of the present study, the following issues seem to be seriously influencing the Mishings:
              It is found that two distinct groups opposing each other have emerged among them. The first group which is composed of illiterates and elders, try to retain their traditional practices, norms and institutes, whereas the second group composed of educated and yongers is more prone to modern ideas and values (Chandra: 1964; Singh:1970).
               Due to the process of acculturation, some of the traditional practices and institutions are abandoned among the Mishings. For instance, the functions and positions of the mibu are being replaced by bhakats and hatulas. Similarly, the place of murong is replaced by namghar. So,a gradual process of detribalisation is visible among them.


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