The people of Tripura are both the Tripuris and non-Tripuris the present day. It was the land of Tripuri people earlier who form the majority with many more communities forming minority group, till he beginning of the twentieth century. Among the non-Tripuris are the indigenous group and non-indigenous group. Bengali are the largest non indigenous group, majority are Hindu, rest are Muslims. There are myths and legends about the origin of Tripuris. Scholars are of different opinion about this. Ethnically Tripuri belong to Mongoloid race.
Tripuri is traced in the following way:
Mongoloid Race Sino-Tibetan Tibeto-Burman Bodo or Borok Tripuri.
The descendent from this Bodo / Borok race are the Tripuri, Bodo, Mech, Koch, Kachari, Rabha, Garo, Dimasa, Hajong, Chutia etc.
The original home of Bodo or Borok was in the South-West China near the head water of the Yang Tsze-kiang and the Howang-ho river. From there they went down the course of these two great rivers into China proper and then down the Brahmaputra river into Assam, India. From Brahmaputra valley the Tripuris migrated to the Borak velley, Kachhar, of present Assam state, but later finally migrated to the present state of Tripura and upto Chitagang Hill Tract of present Bangladesh which was once under the administrative control of Tripura rulers.
The king used to call his Tripuri subjects as 'Pancha Tripura', which literally means five Tripuris. The Tripuris are devided into five main communities. They are the Jamatia, the Riang, the Noatia, the Tipra ( the Debbarma) and the Halam.
This five communities are again sub-divided into different sub-groups and sub-clans or gotras.>
Beside Tripuris other different indigenous people residing in Tripura are the Mog, the Chakma, the Darlong, the Garo, the Lusai, the Manipuris, the santhals etc.
Jamatia clan is the third largest sub-tribe of among indigenous Tripuris, after the Puratias (Debbarma), and the Riang sub-tribe in Tripura. The origin of the word Jamatia, in one opinion had derived from the word 'Jamat', which means 'collection or union of peoples'. This later on turned to Jamatia. It is to be noted that the people of this clan live in unity and concentrated in any particular place even today.
According to other opinion Jamatia is conjugation of two Kokborok words, 'Jama,' means tax and 'twiya' means no need to pay any tax. It is fact that the men of this clan were used to engaged in Tripura royal force as soldier by the kings of Tripura during the rule of Manikya Dynasty. So the peoples of Jamatia clan were exempted to pay any tax by the king for their loyalty, service and sacrifice for the royal regime. Later on the people of this clan had been known as Jamatia.
The Jamatias are physically very strong, stout, and courageous, muscular as a whole. This fact had led to induct them to royal force during kings' regime. It was evidently proved by the mighty rebel leader like Porikshit Jamatia who fought against the unjust oppression by king's corrupt officials.
The economic condition and financial condition of Jamatia clan is better than rest of the indigenous Tripuris. It is the Jamatia clan who had first discarded the shifting cultivation called 'huk chamani' and opted for modern way of agriculture and farming in plain land. The other clan followed them later on gradually. That is why they are in possession of more plain land than any other indigenous Tripuri. They are economically more sound and self sufficient than rest of fellow clans. Now a day many youths are getting education and employed in various state and central government office. Many people of this race are doing business in Tripura and many are settled out side of Tripura as success full business man as far as up to Shillong, Guwahati, and Mumbai etc.
The Jamatia are also follower of traditional Tripuri religion like rest of the clans of Tripura. They worship the 'Goria mutai' the most, which is worshipped by all other clans. The Jamatias Goria celebration needs special mention and shall be dealt separately. Besides this, they worship the Mahadev or Mutai Kotor, Tripura sundori, twima, and other god of fourteen gods. The Jamatias were annoyed and agitated after the armed rebellion under the leadership of Porkshit Jamatia was brutally curved out. The Jamatias decided to leave the state en-mass and migrate to neighboring state. The king Beer Chandra pacified the agitated Jamatia clan by placing them as higher class than rest of the Tripuris. They were motivated to convert to Vaishnavism, since then, they had feeling of superiority and did not allow other clans to enter to their kitchen. They had stopped drinking wine, eating various meats, raring various live stocks like pigs, goats, hens, and etc altogether. The Jamatia men started wearing holy thread 'puida' and applying 'chandan' tilak at fore head. But recently the Jamatias had discarded this tradition and started consuming meat and other things and such discrimination has abolished today.
JAMATIA SOCIAL STRUCTURE THE "HODA"
The Jamatia clan had three tier social structures for smooth inter action and social order. These are HODA, MOYAL and LUKU. 'Hoda' means the apex body of the Jamatia society. It is headed by the 'Okra' who is the supreme of the clan. The whole of the Jamatia population is divided in to sixteen regions called 'Moyals'. The head of the moyal is known as 'panchai'. The 'luku' is the village whose chief is called 'chokdiri'.
The Moyal is consisted by five to thirty-two villages, where two panchais are selected in each moyal by the regions Chokdiri and prominent persons of the village for the period of five years.
The village head or the 'chokdiri' is selected unanimously by the head of each family of the village once in every five year.
Similarly the head of the hoda, which is the 'hoda okra', is selected unanimously by the village chokdiris and moyal panchais at the annual conference for five years. There are two hoda okras at the apex body at present.
The supreme authority to govern the society is vested collectively with the two 'HODA OKRAS'. They are assisted by an Advisory Board consisting of four members, possessing sound knowledge and experience of traditional religion, cultural affairs, administrative rule, and Jamatia customary law.
There are ten priests appointed by Hoda Okras and accountable to Okras. There is also a Hoda Working Committee consisting of 33 members which function under the direct supervision of Hoda Okras. One third of the board members have to be women folk. Hoda have an audit board comprising of five members, who are selected by the hoda members for three years. All the income and expenditure are audited by this board once in every year, to maintain the financial regularity of the hoda. The hoda has 321 villages which are governed by the above social system. The hoda is very strong and influential among the Joamatia clan, and that is why the traditional social life and the customary laws are still strictly practiced by the Jamatia clan of indigenous Tripuri. DUTY OF HODA OKRAS.
1) The twin Hoda Okras shall not do or follow opposite or contradictory policy. 2) They should ensure that the Hoda rules and regulation are adhered in performing social occasions and worshiping different gods. 3) The first and the foremost duty of the Okras are to implement the resolutions and decisions of the Hoda. 4) The hoda Okras should protect any person who is assaulted while protecting the society's rules and regulation. 5) Whenever there is disputes or conflicts among the members of the clan the Okras shall do the conciliation independently and impartially. 6) The okras should hold the responsibility for five years. But if they indulge in any unfair and corrupt practice, they may be removed before the expiry of the terms. Such expulsion from the post can be done only by 2/3rd majority of the advisory board and 2/3rd majority of the Hoda working committee. There should be a majority support for the removal by the moyal Panchais also. 7) The Okras can resign from the post by giving appropriate reasons. They should do so jointly as they were elected. 8) If any okra dies or any of their wives dies the two okras shall resign from the post and the emergency meeting of the Hoda shall be convened and new Okras selected unanimously. DUTY AND POWER OF PANCHAI.
1) The prime and primary function of the pachais is to peace and discipline of the Moyal. 2) They shall solve all the disputes among the members by the help of working committee. 3) They should implement the programs of the Okras. 4) They shall keep contact with the Okras to maintain peace and tranquility at the region. 5) They should tale any such step to maintain the harmony and discipline of the society with the approval of Okras. 6) They should collect he subscription for the welfare of the society. 7) They should preside over any working committee of the moyal. 8) They can do arbitration in any problems related to women, theft, dacoity, burglar etc. and punish the accused accordingly. DUTY AND POWER OF CHOKDIRI.
Reang is the second most populous sub tribe of Tripuris after Debbarma clans. According to the legends one of the Tripuri prince was expatriated by the king, who along with his followers migrated to the Mayani Thalang area of Lusai hills and founded a state over there. He proclaim as king of the state and the descendent of the exiled Tripuri prince ruled over the state for generations. In due course of time there was no heir to succeed the throne, which lead to anarchy in the kingdom. Owing to some internal feud and vendetta four chief of the sub tribes, namely Twikluha, Yongsika, Paisika,Tuibruha and their entourage left their hearth and home and migrated through Chittagong to the state of Tripura centuries ago. These Reang chiefs could not climb up the Dombur hill peak for two consecutive times and succeeded in third times.
MahendraManikyawas at the throne of Tripura kingdom. After reaching to the capital these chiefs tried to persuade the ministers and other bureaucrats to give them permission to meet the king and submit their memorandum but was not successful in doing so. By then they have exhausted whatever food and edible they had brought with them and suffered a lot. They were very sad and disheartened by this. They were determined to send the message of their arrival to the king anyhow. In order to send information to the king they broke the dam of the river Gumti where worship was going on at that time. This was a serious crime and all of them were brought before the king. The king ordered them capital punishment. Some how this news came toQueen Gunoboti .The chiefs prayed in front of the queen who after persuading the king motivated to forgive these chiefs of their crime, who letter forgave them. Since then the Riangs became very obedient and loyal to the queen and throne of Tripura. It is said that the queen Gunoboti fed these chiefs with her breast milk in a big pan of brass, which is still intact with Kotor dofa, which was gifted by the queen. The queen gifted many other valuable things, which were carefully preserved by Reangs till date.
The Reang clans are divided into two groups:
(1) Meska,(2) Molsoi.
(1)Meska Group: it is divided into seven sub groups or dofa, these are as follows:
Meska :- means the lemon tree in kuki language. There were plenty of lemon trees where the forefather of this dofa used to live.
Mwsa :- means tiger in Kokborok. It is said that the forefather of this dofa was brought up by a tigress in his child hood like the Romulus and Ramous of ancient Rome.
Chorkhi :-Chorkhi means Spinning wheel in Kokborok, it is said that one Riang chief was speaking obscene about his daughter in-low, when his friends started spinning the spinning wheel to musk the obscene of the chiefs. So the descendent are named after the chorki.
Raikwchak :-Rai means cane, kwchak means red in Kokborok; it is said that the fore father of this dofa used to wear cane made red colour armlet.
Wairem :-wai means Tripura, rem means mix/hybrid in kuki language. It is said that they are descendent of Riang man and kuki woman.
Tokma yakcho :-Tokma means hen, yakcho means toes; the toes of the forefathers of this dofa resembled to that of hen.
Twimuiyafak :-means tortoise in Riang dialect, the fore father of this dofa were suffering from white patches like the tortoise chest.
(2)Molsoi Group: this group is sub divided into six groups, which are as follows:
Molsoi :-is the derivatives of moso, which means chilli in Kokborok. Their fore fathers first settled in the chilli field of kukis. Since they were called in that name.
Apet :-Apet means is a type of fish in Kokborok. The fore fathers' belly was big like the belly of Apet fish.
Nogkham :-nok means house, kham means burnt in Kokborok; once the fore father of this dofa's house were burnt to ashes since then they were termed in this name.
Chongpreng :- means a type of musical instrument, it is said that the fore father of this dofa used to survive by playing this musical instrument as they were suffering from ‘gungri' disease.
Yakstam :- means ring of finger, it is said that the fore father of this dofa used to used to wear ring and used to display proudly to others. This dofa has been in extinct at present.
Riang kachko : Kachko means chief in Kokborok, the fore father of this dofa were chiefs of Riang.
Kotor Dofa: in the above thirteen dofas there are 26 chiefs or heads, who are designated as Kotor Dofa. Kotor means head dofa means clan or group. The chiefs are divided into two categories, Rai and Kasko .Rai and his subordinates chiefs:
Rai : means Raja or the chief of the sub group is bestowed as Rai.
Chapiya Khan `: Crown Rai.
Chapiya : Crown Chapiya Khan`.
Dor kalim : He is the priest of Rai.
Doloi : Helper of Rai.
Bandari : Store keeper of Rai.
Kanda : Servant and holder of umbrella of Rai.
Doya Hajari: Drum player.
Muriya : Trumpet player.
Dugria : Helper in of priest.
Dauwa : Arranger of puja, or worshiping.
Siakrak : distributor of prasad, that is the sacrificial animal meet.
Kasko and his sub ordinate chiefs:
Kasko : means chief minister of the sub group is bestowed as Kasko.
Yaksung : Means the assistant of chief minister.
Hajra : Servant of Kasko.
Kangreng : Umbrella holder of Kasko.
Karma : Servant of Yaksung.
Khan Galim: umbrella holder of Yaksung.
Khandol : The collector of food and other required articles.
People of kotor dofaare exempted from paying taxes to the king. It is presumed that the Riangs are the offspring or descendent of Tripura and the Kukis peoples.
The Riangs are primarily an agriculturist tribe. In the past they mostly used to practise the ‘Huk' or Jhum cultivation, like most other Tripuri tribes. But now shifted to modern agriculture practice. Most of the educated are employed in government job and many are occupying very high post in administration. Some are also started doing business also.
Marriage system: The Riang is an endogamous tribe and had very little contact with the Bengali or other sub tribe of Tripuri. But recently there has been some inter tribe marriages and inter caste wedding among them. The marriage system is similar to other Tripuri tribe of Tripura. There is no dowry system but the bride-groom has to spend to father in-law's house for two years before marriage is preformed. There are two types of marriages; Haloksai, and Haloksam. Parallel cousin marriage is prevalent but declining. Cross cousin marriage among the Riang is accidental. Child marriage is not allowed, widow marriage is permitted. Widows are prohibited to wear ornaments before one year is passed after the marriage of husbands. Widow and widower are forbidden to participate any entertaining and enjoying programme or activity or attending such activity within one year of death of their spouses. Remarriage of widow and widower are allowed after one year of death of the spouse. Monogamy is the present day practice of the society.
Marriage is arranged through the matchmaker Andra , who goes to the prospective bride's parent for negotiation. Then the brides party is invited to finalise the marriage in Koksumgma, while pork, fowl, rice, rice bear are served. Marriage is settled to the satisfaction of both the party. The Ochai performs the wedding ceremony on the nuptial day fixed.
The Riang widower is not permitted to get marry to an unmarried virgin girl. The Riang marriage bond is very strong and Riang mean cannot divorce with out the consent of wife. If any Riang is alleged for extramarital relation ship and found to be true then they are dealt with strict punishment and heavy penalty is imposed upon.
Dress and ornaments: The traditional dress of the Riang is simple and plain like other Tripuri people. Traditionally the men wear a hand woven loin cloth and a piece of cloth as a wrapper for upper portion. The women wear a long cloth called Rignai , wraparound; from the waist to down to the knees. A Riha , covering the chest, and Rikutu for covering the whole upper half of the body, wears the upper part of the body. These are woven by the Riang women, which are colourful and very beauty full. But now a days the educated mass are wearing all the modern dresses like any other part of the world.
The Riang women are very fond of personal decoration and take much care for the makeup and hair-do. They love like other Tripuri people, ornaments, flowers, and cosmetics. Silver ornaments especially the necklace of silver coins, the Rangbwtang have a pride of place and status.
Dance and music: It is very much integral part of the Riangs daily life. No other Tripuri people are so fond of dance like them. As a result the Hojagiri folk dance of Riang sub tribe had attained achieved acclaim all over the world.
Customs: most of the disputed and differences are settled by the people of Kotor dofa, that is by the Rai and Kasko of respective sub tribe. It is done through the customary law of the Riangs. Whenever a disputes arise in the between the member of the community, a meeting is called by the Rai. All relevant arguments are heard and then justice is done according to the principle of natural justice. Whatever verdict or punishment is pronounced in the judgment it is implemented with firm hand and payments of penalty etc. are made then and there.
Religious belief and practices: Like other Tripuri people they also belief many god and goddess. The centre figures are those of fourteen gods and goddess of Tripura. Their important festivals are same those of prevailing in Tripura. These are Ker, Gonga mutai, Goria, Chitragupra, Hojagiri, Katangi puja, Lampra wathop. The religious observance are community in nature, and each family has to contribute his part of share of payment. It is called as Khain`.
All the religious festivals are arranged with the prior meeting of chiefs. In such meetings political, social, and religious matters of importance are discussed and decided by the majority of the meeting.
The deities of the Riangs are similar those of other Tripuri people. These are Mutai Kotor or the supreme deity Subrai , Twima- the presiding deity of river, Mailungma -the goddess of paddy, Khulungma -the goddess of cotton, Goria- the god of wealth prosperity well being and war, Kalaia brother of Goria, Sangrongma -the deity of mother earth, Haichuma -the goddess of hill, Burasa -the god of jungle, Thunairok -the god of death, Bonirok -the god of evil spirit, Noksuma -the goddess of house holds.
The worship of different deities are similar to the main stream Tripuri people. Ochai , the priest performs all the ceremony along with his helper. The green bamboo pole is used as deity in most on the cases. Different types of life stock like fowl, pig, goat eggs, etc. are offered in the worship. The place of worship is selected out side of the houses. Where the offerings are dedicated in the names of the deities in front of the wathop, green bamboo pole, the symbol of god. But the Rangtou k and Noksuma puja is held inside the house only. Two earthen pots are filled with newly grown rice and at top of the pot some oval pebbles collected from huk specially. The pebbles are called the fortune stone. And the pots ( Rondok) are decorated with the rice powder, vermilion, and garlands. One is named Mailungma, the other as Khulungma.
Rituals on Birth of the baby: On the birth of the baby many pujas are observed. These are Kebengma, Abu suma, Khongkhonok kama, Maitukma etc. for the welfare of the baby. The fowl, prawn, several leaves of trees are needed. When the child grows up special form of worship has to be performed. Bukhuksini the seven-gurdian deities of witches are pleased with sacrifice of a pig, four fowls, and other things beside.
Ceremony on death: The mortal remains are cremated. The obsequies is done in two stages: Broksakami and Kothainami.
Broksakami: W hen a person dies his corpse is first bathed with the Chakhwtwi that is alkali water or soap, and Mairangtwi that is water obtained from the washing of raw rice. After that he is dressed with new clean Rikutu , head is dressed with another piece of rituku like the headgear. In case of woman rignai and risa. Then a fowl is sacrificed in front of the feet of the corpse. Later on an earthen pot filled with mean and rice placed at the feat of the deceased and it is followed by dance rituals through out he night. Rice bear is distributed to all the mourners excepting the family members of the deceased. The next morning the body is laid to rest on pyre and cremated usually near a stream.
Kwthwinami: It is a ritual connected with the respectful and well wishing offering to the manes. Laotok or the soul deceased remains under the control of the sisi manji , the son of Buraha , for a year and it is said that sisi manji is the protector of the soul. On the day of the kathainaimi the widow of the deceased offers dried rice, meat, fish, fruits, and wine in the name of Laotok and sisi manji on the simangnok , then taking the burnt bones or ashes go to the charinok. It is worshiped for over a period of one year or he next hangrai, when it is immersed in any river or in Gumti River at Dombur , according to the ability of the family.
In short the religious culture of the Riang is similar to that of other Tripuri of Tripura.
The meaning of Noatia is newcomer. It is said that the Noatia are the last entrant to the Tripuri race. Noatia are also a hybrid race like the Jamatia and Riang. There are divided into eleven clams these are, Aslong, Murasing, Keowa, Gorjon, Khalicha, Tongbai, Laitong, Deildak, Anaokia, Khaklo, and Totaram. Out of these only first six clans are living in Tripura, remaining five are living in neighbouring country of Bangladesh at Chitagong hill tract area.
The Noatia practice Huk, that is jhum cultivation like most of the Tripuri people of Tripura. But ploughing cultivation and agriculture in conventional method are the practice of the present day. The educated are employed in the government job, doing business, in politics and occupying the ministerial post in the state.
Traditionally they are more or less similar to the Debbarma, excepting certain deviation with regard to the disposal of corpse were they follow the Riang customs. The worship and the festivals of Noatias are in close resemblance to those of other clans of Tripuri people. They also believe one supreme god Mutai kotor, the creator of the world, who in course if time has been identified as Subrai. They believe that there exists an invisible relationship between the deities and the living creature. Besides Subrai, the Noatia recognise a good number of nature deities, spirits like other Tripuri people.
Mutai kotor : Supreme supernatural creator of the world,Sibrai.
Mutai kotorma : The Consort of Mutai kotor.
Bikhitra : The god of sky.
Sangrongma : The god of earth.
Mailuma : The goddess of rice.
Twima : The goddess of water.
Akhatra : The god of sea.
Khuluma : The goddess ofcotton.
Below are the ranks of nature deities
Goria : the god of war, fertility, and wealth.
Kalia : the spirit of ancestor.
Noksumutai : the spirit of theFamily.
Haichukma : the spirit of hill and mountain.
Sirijumdu : the spirit of bareness of woman.
Thumnairoko : the spirit of death.
Burasa : the spirit of disease.
The Noatias have deep rooted belief in the power of nature, spirit, and ancestors. They believe that disease, famine, scarcity, low fertility of soil and human, low production of crops, and human beings, high incidence of death etc. are happen when the nature deities and the spirits are not properly worshipped and sacrifices are not made in due course.
Lampra Puja: The purpose of Lampra puja of Noatias is analogues to the other Tripuri people of Tripura. Akhatra and the Bikhitra, the benevolent deities are worshiped regularly by all the family of Noatia. Lampra puja is worshipped on occasion of marriage, ker puja, beginning of all social and religious ceremonies.
Twima Puja: The nature deity as twima as the goddess of water is worshipped who looks after the welfare of the members within certain individual household and community also. It is said when offerings and sacrifices are not made to the goddess twima, she her role and brings diseases, death, failure of crops, accident and such other calamities or the family or the villages. It is celebrated once a year and the villagers of Noatia community arrange this expensive puja by raising fund from the individual hose hold. Twima puja is arranged by the river or a stream near to the village. The symbolic representation of the deity is made with the aid of the green bamboo poles. A platform raised up on the water level, on the middle of the platform a wathop is prepared. Chanting the mantra Ochai, the priest scarifies he-goat, pigeon, and eggs, and puja is rounded of with feast in which the village takes active part.
Ker Puja: The sacred and the most important Ker puja is celebrated during the months of February March by the Noatias in every year for the welfare of the villagers. The deity of the ker puja is performed on the symbolic wathop constructed green bamboo poles and panted in the ground by Ochai.
When ker puja is performed for the material success in the collective life of the villagers. Series of taboos follows this puja. The rules and regulation is the most strict and difficult to follow. All the pregnant women are kept out side, the diseased, dying peoples are removed from the village, no one is allowed to come in side the village and no one is allowed to move out from the village till the ritual is over.
Goria Puja: The Noatia pay reverence to the lord Goria on the last day of the chaitra, which lasts for seven days. Like other clan of Tripuri people Noatia maintain a common code of the deity with the aid of green bamboo pole tied with a white thread of cotton with flowers and a Risa around it. As usual ochai conducts the rituals and sacrifices he-goat, cock and eggs to the deity. The other ingredients of the Lord Goria consist of the fruits, wine and rice near.
Around 3 . 30 pm the symbolic representation of the deity is carried to the selected houses scheduled village. The companions of the Goria are received by the head of the family earnestly. They move from house to house with symbol of the deity while the drum is beaten rhythmically along with the song and dance of young boys and girls. For the happy ness of the family in the following next year, the householder pays offerings of chicken, eggs, or fowls etc. to the group visiting the house. This type of the joyful rituals continues for seven days. On the last day of the festival the holy symbolic bamboo deity is immersed in the near by river or stream.
There are many opinions about the origin of Murasing clan of Tripura. Some of the accepted are as follows. The police of the royal fore while collecting the house tax found that some villages of Tripura are full of animal heads with the horns. These heads of different kinds of wild animals were hanged in the houses. The people of this village were till than not named. The royal officials who did not know the name of the clans called them ‘ murasing ' meaning people who hanged horns of dead animals. Other opinion is that the then king of Tripura named these groups of people as the ‘ Murasing' meaning by the horns of the hills. It is found that the Mursings are mostly followers of ‘Baishnabisim' a sect of Hindu, are supposed to held as high esteem like the horn of an animal.
It was Bonomali Jamatia who preached Baishnab sect of Hindu religion among he Murasing clans. After his the death his disciples Bolaichand and Harichand took active role in spreading the Baishnabism among the Murasing clans. Since then they have embraced the Baishnabism discarding traditional Tripuri religion. It was said that the preaching of Horichand influenced the king Birchandra Manikya and he also supported to convert to baishnabism, as a result the many Debbarma had converted.
Occupation, Culture and religious practices: Like any other Tripuri people the Murasings are also mostly agriculturist. In the past they were also involved in the Huk cultivation. But now a days the are cultivating the plain lands only. The educated section are engaged in government service and occupying in high post, a good number of them had been fund in literature also, which is very high compare to their total numbers.
Most of the Murasings are follower of Baishnabism, but now many are diverting to prevailing religious practice of Tripura. The founder father of the Murasing community Harichand had set guidelines for good habit and manners for the Murasing community. They had been following this strictly till the recent past. He had formed an association of Murasing youth, which he named ‘Sikla Motha.' In that association youth people he gave the garland of flower to every youth present there and gave them new a name.
Sikla montha: The senior most of the association was named as ‘ Sikla Misip ' or leader. He is equivalent of the president of an organisation. The next senior is named as ‘ Sikla Rai ' or secretary. The next post was ‘ Twifang ' he is comparable to organizer of an organisation. Next to him was ‘ Sikla Chokdiri ' his duty is to resolve any disputes among the members of the association. One more member of the group was Kaitho ; his work is to keep the relation between the senior of the village and the association. The next person is Dagia ; his duty is to direct any special function, as and when organized, he is similar to the modern day Director. Next to the Dagia is Chamrasi ; his duty is to obey the order of the Chokdiri, to give punishment of according to the rule to any offender of the association.
Like the young men's association the young women has also an association. The senior most of the association is called as Nareng , next to her is the Lupjari , and junior to her is the Bengraj . Next to her is the Yongkhati . Komchikon is junior to the fore most. Toksarangi is the most junior in the hierarchy.
Harichand formulated some rules and regulation for the well-being and guidance of the Murasing youth and for building their character and carrier.
Some of the rules and regulation were as follows:
One has no call to some one in the new nickname given in the Sikla motha. He should not be called by his real name. If some one calls by the social name of that person than the calling member of the association shall be fined.
Whenever any member of the association got marriage he shall be removed from the association. While leaving the association he shall pay some thing to the members of the association.
No one shall be allowed to be slang or use obscene language while so in the association.
If most of the members of the association got married then the association shall be dissolved and new will be formed.
The association has all the power to adjudicate and punish any member of the society for his wrongful act.
If any disputes or differences could not resolved by the youths association then the matter shall be referred to the village committee.
No member of the association can enter to any young girls home alone with out permission of any of the senior member of the association. He shall do so accompanying the Twifang of the organizer of the association.
No young men from out side is allowed enter in to the house of any young girl with out taking permission from senior members of the association. If he does so, then the association has all the power to punish such person.
All the rules and regulation of the association shall be in conformity with the Baishnabism and the ochai shall guide in finding the family life.
The Rupini is one of the clan of Tripuri People whose mother tongue is Kokborok that is Tripuri or Tiprakok. It is presumed that the initial habitation of Rupini people was at the site of the origin of Twi Rupini, which is supposedly situated at present Asom state. When other clans of the Tripuri migrated towards the present Tripura state, they also migrated along with other clans. It needs to be mentioned that like all other Tripuri peoples clans, they are also part of the great Borok/Bodo race. The Rupini river is still flowing in the state.
The mother tongue of Rupini is Kokborok like all other Tripuri people, but for an unknown reason the Rupini had been included in the group of ‘Halam’ in the census and in many historical documents of Tripura. This is illogical and unfounded by the historical linguistic and anthropological facts. With out verifying these facts, the government of India had also included in the list of ‘Halam’ when they were given the status of Scheduled Tribe under the constitution of India. The inclusion of Rupini in the Halam group must be removed and included in the list of kokborok speakers Tripuri people.
The first ancestors of the Rupini was Ramni Chapia. While he was taking a dip in Twi Rupini river he got a stone, which he threw away only to find again. This stone told the ancestor that he is the god of Twirupini river, his name is ‘Tanfangrai’ and they should worship him, and they shall be known as “Rupini sa”. Even today this Rupini god is worshipped every year by all the Rupini in community level as well as individual level.
Sub clans of Rupini:
Rupini are divided into four sub clans viz. 1) Kwcham Rasti 2) Kwtal Rasti 3) Thaithak 4) Paithak. Among them the Kwcham Rasti and Thaithak are the majority. The head of each of these sub clans are called ‘Rai’
Each sub clans is devided into twelve Panchi or Panji that is family line. These are 1) Kajari 2) Tiyol 3) Fungchau 4) Kerjang 5) Farute 6) Muria 7) Sutar 8) Paithokra 9) Sotoboroisa 10) Chuan mochomsa 11) Swmjang 12) Mwrfangsa. This division had been made during the time of king Sibrai, the Greatest of Tripura kings.
The work distribution of the Panjis
1) Kajari: They are descendant of the head of the clan. They are engaged in the rituals of worshiping of all festivals. Some time they were asked to provide human of sacrifice to gods.
2) Tiyol: they are the one who are responsible for controlling the society. They are also engaged for enforcement of law and order of the society.
3) Fungchau: the are the informant of the king. They are also a assigned to collect funds for any social function and rituals.
4) Kerjang: they are holder of umbrella of the king. Along side they also have the responsibility to protect the society and go for war and provide solder for the warfare as and when directed by the Tripura kings.
5) Farute: they are the priest clans. The performs all sorts of puja or worshipping and rituals of community and family level.
6) Muria: they are the music player in the occasion of the puja, rituals, any ceremony and functions.
7) Sutar: they are experts in handicrafts, specially the bamboo based products. The supply all sorts of furniture and family article to the king of Tripura.
8) Paithokra: they are guard of the kings. They also guard the temple of kings and used to clean and maintain the temples.
9) Sutoboroisa: they are assigned to fetch water for the king in any royal festivals and ceremony of kings.
10) Chuan mochomsa: their job was to prepare and arrange wine and rice beer for the king and the royal festivals.
11) Swmjang: they are assistant in helping out the in the kitchen.
12) Mwrfangsa: they are assigned to collect vegetables and all other kitchen requirement of the king and at times of royal festivals.
Physical structure: Like any other Tripuri people they are also yellowish complexion, average tall, eyes are small, nose is short, mustaches and beards are sparse, jet black hair that is al the feature of borok race or mongoloid race.
Economy: Like all other Tripuri people they are also agrarians. Earlier days they used to do the shifting cultivation in the hillock and slopes. Then they also trained to plan land farming. Now many Rupini are employed in government as well as in private jobs. Many Rupinis are highly educated and found in medical engineering profession also.
Food habit: The main staple diet of Rupini is rice like all other clans of the Tripuri people. Meat is the most fabourite dish, among them the pork and the chicken are the most sought after. In heydays they used to go for hunting of deer, yak, wild pigs, boars, etc. like most other Tripuri people. Apart from the meat they also love to take the fish both dry and fresh one. The fermented fish, berma typical of Tripuri dish is also a must to Rupini. Apart from this they are also fond of taking drinks, both rice beer and the home distilled wine.
Religious belief: The religious belief of Rupini clan is same like rest of Tripuri people with little bit of variations. The concept of god and spiritual belief are simple like their own life. They have the faith on the almighty god, also on the evil spirit. Like the other clans of Tripuri people, their ultimate and greatest god is Sibrai or Subrai. Other gods are also similar to those of other community. These are Thupnairau/Thumnairok, Bonirau/Boonirok, Burasa, Noksupma /Noksuma Goria, Khulumgma, etc. apart from these there are like gods of sun, water or Twibukma, and fire etc are being worshipped.
Festivals: The Rupini also celebrates all the festival those are celebrated by other Tripuri people. These are Buisu or last day of the year, Sena or Goria, Hojagiri, Ker, Hangrai etc. There is hardly any difference in celebration of the festivals, other than minor variation in the procedure and steps. On these festival the pancake is the must item. Young and old, men and women all enjoy during these festival with their full heart content and dance drink and song were used to be integral parts of its. So only the culture of Rupini people also developed.
Sena: This festival starts on the first day of the Tripura new year, and last for seven days. On the last day Goria is worshipped. On the puja fowl, goat etc are sacrificed, different types of cakes, delicious dishes, and sweets are prepared in every home. The neighbours and the relatives are invited in dine in the feasts. The younger people pay tributes and respects by touching the feet og the elder in presence of burning lamps and insence sticks.
Mainungma khulum mung or Hojagiri: On this day the mailuma mutai or the goddess of paddy is worshipped. When the new paddy just arrives from the jhum, it is time to celebrate the hojagiri on the full moon day of aswin or kartik of Tripura calendar or the October-November month. It is generally given in the evening when the full moon rises in the sky. Some how it coincides with the Hindu kojagiri laxmi puja, which probably might have been influenced by Tripuri hojagiri. Pot full of rice new harvest is symbolized as goddess of paddy or laxmi. Generally a hen or she goat is sacrificed for the mailuma. Now a day rice flakes, banana, and other sweets are also offered.
Kermwn or Kerpuja: Like other clan of Tripuri people this rituals is performed collectively at the community level among Rupini clans. Generally whole of the village is brought under the coverage of the ker, that is purification of villages. Generally in the moth of November-December this festival is performed. To prevent any unto wards incidence like death, births etc, which is considered as non-suspicious, pregnant ladies, patients etc are taken out side of the village to a secure place. The road coming to and going from the villages are blocked, till the puja is over, which may run for days together. On this it is the Lampra which is worshipped; a pair of fowl is sacrificed on the occasion.
Hangrai: This festival coincides with the sankranti of the Hindu, held o the last day of the Pous month which is generally 14th of January. On this day the remains of the deceased parents or the relatives are immersed in the sacred water which is generally in the confluence of two streams, or any flowing river. Lots of cakes, sweets, delicious dishes of meats of different kind, of fishes are prepared by every family, here is also no llimit of rice beer on this day. The younger people pay tributes and respects by touching the feet og the elder in presence of burning lamps and insence sticks.
Cultural activities: The Rupini are very fond of folktales, which is called Kerang kautoma. These are inherited from mouth to ear generation by generation till today. As found in most parts of the world the grand parents used to tell the stories to their grand children. Some of the stories like ‘jokhangfa ni kreang koutwma’, ‘achu thengkangsani’, ‘nowaisani’ ‘chubusani’, ‘soknarwisani’, ‘pengramsani’, ‘mwsasani’, ‘randijwkmani’ are very popular among the Rupinis.
The song like are mostly based on huk or jhoom cultivation, called as ‘tangblani rwchabmung’ where as some are sang o the festivals these are called ‘pandani rwchabmung’
Dances: Some of the cultural dances are 1) Goria mwsamung, 2) Tangblani mwsamung 3) Pandani mwsamung 4) Mamita mwsamung 5) Batolmwn mwsamung etc.
Some of the musical instruments that are used during these dances are Khamma, sumul, dangdu, chongpreng, sranda etc. these are same as those of rest of the Tripuri people. The tune of these instrument are very sweet, sonorous, and melodious.
Social structure and the Community Administration:
To administer the law and order of the community in the villages of Rupini, they have developed a systematic social or community assembly called ‘Lok’ which is equivalent to Hoda of Jamatia clan. The member are elected by selection cum election within the community. The highest of the hierarchy is the Rai, previously ‘Kamchakau’ used to be the highest in order. They are selected for five years beginning with the lowest rank of the ‘Lok’. The village assembly is assigned to settle disputes of minor crimes, like theft, disputes of property, land, and unaccepted relation ship between men and women. The punishments given are in terms fine of money, of rice beer and wine and public beating, either or both.