The Apa Tanis and Their Neighbours: A Primitive Civilization of the Eastern Himalayas

The Apa Tanis and Their Neighbours: A Primitive Civilization of the Eastern Himalayas

The Apa Tanis and Their Neighbours: A Primitive Civilization of the Eastern Himalayas

The Apa Tanis and Their Neighbours: A Primitive Civilization of the Eastern Himalayas

Excerpt

The tangle of wooded hill-ranges which enclose, horse-shoe like, the fertile plains of Assam is the home of tribal populations distinct in language, race and culture from the Hindu and Muslim peasantry of the Brahmaputra valley. The Nagas of the mountainous country extending between Assam and Burma, the Mishmis of the Lohit valley, and the Abors of the hills to both sides of the Dihang River are all tribes that until recently had remained untouched by the historic civilizations dominating the cultural pattern of the rest of Assam. Unaffected by Hinduism and Islam no less than by the Buddhism of the neighbouring areas of Burma and Tibet, they persisted in archaic forms of economy, social organization, ritual and belief, and in the seclusion of hill-regions, separated one from the other by formidable natural barriers, they developed a great number of variations on a common cultural theme.

The wealth of social and cultural configurations found among the hill-tribes in the borderlands of Assam has not escaped the attention of anthropologists and ethnographically interested administrators. At a time when the anthropological studies of aboriginal tribes of Peninsular India could be counted on the fingers of one hand, a series of monographs published under the auspices of the Government of Assam provided full and accurate information on several of the Naga tribes, the Lushei-Kuki tribes, the Garos . . .

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