The term Bodo, derived from Bhotia (i.e.
people from Bhot - another name for Tibet) serves to describe several
Trans-Himalayan tribes, including the Monpas, Daflas and Mishmis of
Pradesh , group in the Cachar hills of
Tripura and the
Garos of Meghalaya
. The Bodo's are also known as Boro-Kachari's who ruled the northeastern
region of India since the days of the Ramayana developed a distinct
civilization, which thrived, till the later part of the 18th century. The
Boro-Kachari people are a section of the Indo Chinesetice of the Mongoloid
stock whose original habitant had been somewhere between the upper waters
of the Yangtse-Kiang and the Hoang-Ho.
Customs, Traditions & Religious Beliefs
Marriage by negotiation is generally practiced by the Bodo tribe. Boro-Kachari youth can still earn a bride by serving in her family. Such a form of marriage is presumed to originate the practice of matri-local residence amongst the Boro-Kacharis. They generally follow exogamy.
The Boro-Kacharis believe their origin to be totemistic. They have a number of clan names indicating their origin from animals and plants such as Massahari: Massa-Tiger, Hari-clan; Goyari: Gay-betelnut, Hari-clan; Owari: Oqwa-bamboo, Hari-clan.
Cleromancy, an art of divination is commonly practised amongst the Boro-Kacharis. To find out the particular God who has brought a particular disaster to the family or to find out the whereabouts of a missing domestic animal, common folk approach the village Ojha (oracle) who advises them through cleromancy. Deodhani is a dancing oracle. He dances during the Kherai festival and seems to practise necromancy, another form of divination to speak out the happenings of the times to come.
The Bodo People
The Boro-Kachari mainly seen in isolated pockets mainly in the districts of Goalpara, Kamrup and a portion of Darrang and in the two hills districts, where they are known as Dimasas. Some scholars believe that the Boro-Cacharis are the first Agricultural Nomad to have entered this part of the globe. They were the first to introduce irrigation system and to teach how to domicile themselves with the plants. They are also the first one's to use the art of silk culture. Agriculture is the main stay of the village economy and they mainly do wet cultivation.
The Village And Household
The Boro-Kachari village is a self-sufficient unit. They are merchants, goldsmiths, blacksmiths, coppersmiths and carpenters and every woman is a weaver. It is said that India had received the technique of weaving and embroidery from the Indo-Mongoloid. In Assam, the Boro-Kacharies were decidedly the pioneers in this respect and they were fine craftsmen too.