Introduction TheKarbis are one of the major tribal community inhabiting the hills and plains ofthe north-eastern state of Assam. It is regarded that the Karbis are raciallyIndo-Mongoloid and linguistically Tibeto Burman1. They are theprincipal tribal community of the Karbi Anglong district of Assam. BesidesKarbi-Anglong district the Karbi inhabited areas include North Cachar hills,Kamrup, Marigaon district, Nagaon, Golaghat, Karimganj and Sonitpur districtsof Assam. Though in the constitution orders of the government of India, thistribe is mentioned as the Mikir, but they prefer to call themselves Karbi andsometimes Arleng2meaning man.
The Karbis are divided in to fivemain clans-Engle, Ingti, Timung, Terang and Teron. They are again subdividedinto several sub clans. The Karbis believe that the members of a particularsclan and its sub clans are descendants of a common ancestor. Guwahatiis the major city in the North Eastern India. It is considered as the gatewayto the North East Region of the country. It is the largest city within theregion. The Karbis are scattered in various parts of Guwahati. They are foundespecially in Hengrabari, Borbari, Mainakhorong, Pamohi, Bhollukachuk (NarikalBosti), Japorigog of the Guwahati city.
In Guwahati there are still somevillages with heterogeneous populations which were formally purely tribalvillages. It is seen that people from different parts of the state have nowsettled in these areas permanently. Rapid expansion of the Guwahati citybegan from 19603 and living in Guwahati become complex andexpensive. Impact of this fell on the Karbi people also. So they began to selltheir land to Non-Karbi people with high prices. They went to outside areas insearching of farm land in some remote interior places where life was easy andsimple for their people.
This is a result of the expansion of the Guwahaticity. The Karbis have rich culturalheritage. They have their own language and culture. But it is seen that most ofthe Karbis living in Guwahati do not know Karbi language, except the old andaged people. They use the Assamese language both at home and outside with somedifference in pronunciation. The people have a very simple way oflife. They are mainly agriculturists. In religious beliefs they are very rigid.
The Karbis perform several festivals such as Chojun or Swarak Puja,Chomkan or Chomangkan, Rongher, Botor kekup, Hacha Kekan etc. The karbi villageis looked after by the Rong akesar or gaonbura. They have a tendency to shiftthe villages from one place to another. The families are closely interlinkedwith one another by a strong social and economic bond.
They have their owntraditional way of judgment. Christian missionaries came andworked in India prior to the arrival of the East India Company. Thereactivities were mostly confined to the propagation of Christianity in India,although they opened some educational institution for the realization of theirobjectives.
But their educational activities were of very minor nature andcontributed little to the building of the modern system of education in India.East India Company was also involved in the education of the people of India,but it did not want to take any official responsibility for the education ofthe people of India as a whole. When the charter Act of East India Company wasrenewed in 1813, the educational clause of the Act compelled the company toaccept responsibility for the education of the Indian people since theeducational clause of the charter Act made it obligatory on the part of theEast India Company to spread education in India. It laid the foundation of astate system of education in India (Saikia, 1998:).Assamcame under the East India Company in 1826 according to the treaty of Yandabo.Some indigenous educational institution like the pathsala for the Hindus andthe maktabs for the muslims and the tols for the higher caste Hindus was existat that time.
Besides these, Assam had another type of institution namely, thesatras for the vaishnavs. David Scott, the agent of the EastIndia Company, tried to improve the traditional school after his arrival in1826 by taking various measures. In 1938, the collector of Guwahati prepared ascheme of village education by remodelling and increasing the indigenous schoolstarted by David Scott and by establishing an anglo-vernacular school atKamrup. Thus modern education was introduced in Guwahati. The first secondaryschool in Assam was established in Guwahati on the 15th June, 1835((Das 1990: ). It was then known as the Guwahati Seminary, which is at presentthe Cotton Collegiate School.
In May 1866, the intermediate section was openedin the Guwahati Seminary, but as a result of the poor performance in theintermediate examination of the Calcutta University, the college classes wereabolished after ten years. In 1874, Assam was separated from the BengalPresidency. Then a separate Department of Education was created and anInspector of schools was placed in charge of the department till theappointment of a Director of public Instruction in 1909, college education inAssam had its beginning in 1866.
The first year arts classes were instituted inthe Guwahati Seminary. Cotton College was established in Guwahati in 1901. Thefirst University, the Guwahati University was established in Guwahati on 26thJanuary, 1948 and shifted to Jalukbari in 1954. After the various educationalinstitute was established in Guwahati at different level of education. Prior to independence almost all thepeople of Karbis were illiterate.
The parents had not very much interested tosend to send their children to school. After independence also most of the boysof the school going age did not go to school. But by 1960 due to the impact ofthe urbanization some people felt the need of education among their children.
However,even now most of the people are illiterate. The Karbi people have now realizedthe value of education and all of them are sending their children to primaryschools. Now it is seen that almost all the children have completed theirprimary education. Most of them have completed their secondary education. Veryfew of the students have entered in collage level and have completed theireducation. It also observes that modern technologies have entered in the lifeof the Karbis.
Due the expansion of Guwahati cityand impact of modern education the Karbi people of Guwahati has lost manyfeatures of their traditional knowledge. Many of them have switched over togovernment service and business for their livelihood. Moreover, the newgeneration has been lacking a interest in their traditional life and lore.Further the electronic devices have attracted this generation to the modernworld. In the study an attempt will be made to assess the impact of moderneducation on the life and lore of the Karbis of Greater Guwahati area. 0.1 Objectives The are the objectives of the study-I.
To study the traditional life of theKarbis in Greater Guwahati area.II. To study the traditional knowledge ofthe Karbis still exist to certain extent.III. To study the influence of moderneducation on the life of the Karbis in greater Guwahatiarea.IV.
To study the changing life style ofKarbis in the modern days. 0.2 Area andScope of the study The present investigation studiedthe impact of modern education in the traditional life of the Karbi people. Thestudy concentrated in the various parts of greater Guwahati area where Karbipeople inhabit such as Hengrabari, Borbari, Mainakhorong, Pamohi, Bhollukachuk(Narikal Basti), Japorigog, etc. The investigation covered the various aspectof the traditional life of the Karbis.
Education plays an important role inpreservation and transmission of cultural heritage from one generation to nextgeneration. Education also regarded as an instrument of social progress. The studydiscussed about various aspect of education and their impact on the life styleof Karbi people.
It studied the various levels of education and its impact on PlainsKarbi people. 0.3 Significance of the study Education plays a significant rolein the progress of a society, community and a nation. The study revealed therelationship between education and development of a community. This study aimedto focus the rich cultural heritage of the Karbi community. It highlighted theinfluence of modern education in the various aspects of Karbi’s primitive life.
In recent years, there had been some social changes as a result of the spreadof education in Karbi community. The changes are highlighted through thisstudy. 0.4 Statement of the Problem The study under consideration reads as “IMPACTOF MODERN EDUCATION ON THE TRADITIONAL LIFE AND LORE OF KARBIS IN GREATERGUWAHATI AREA” 0.5 Review ofLiterature Anumber of works has been done on the Karbis in general Lyall’s monograph The Mikirs is the pioneer in thus field.After Lyall’s work many other scholar and writer have written and researched onthe community.
But no methodological work so far has been done of the impact ofmodern education on the Karbi people inhabited in the greater Guwahati area.Deb (1979)4conducted a study on the physical measurements of hill and plains Karbis basedon the physical traits. There is no significant variation on somatometricmeasurements between the two tribes. A sample of 39 somatometric measurementswas examined from which thirteen indices were derived. Out of the thirty ninemetric characters, only in respect of 10, significant differences could beobserved. Similarly, out of the thirteen indices, only in respect of 5, thedifferences were found significant. From this he concluded that somatometricmeasurements do not show any significant variation. He observed that, betweenboth hill and plains Karbis, ‘B’ blood group is more frequent than ‘A’.
In thefrequency distribution of ABO blood group, the two sets of populations aresimilar. But in respect of some somatoscopic characters, such as, skin colour,eye fold, nasal depression, prognathism and chin form, both the sections differsignificantly. Deb has not specifically explained as to what could be thereasons for such variations although he raised the issue of habitat andenvironment as the reasons. Deb’s study, on the whole remained indeterminate insaying whether the samples he used belong to same stock of population or not. Teron(2008) Hi:ì and Arnam — roughly translated tomean ‘demon’ and ‘deity’ — enjoy equal status in Karbi folk rituals. Thepresence of dozens of deities and their ‘negative counterparts’ in Karbirituals reveal the inherent duality and unity in the folk religion of thetribe. The expression ‘Hi:ì-Arnam’ is a phrase coined by the Karbi ancestorsand it is never juxtaposed or uttered in reverse.
Hi:ì therefore is not the parallel of the ‘demon’ of the established religions. The unity and dualityof the ‘negative’ and ‘positive’ forces and the ‘balance’ between them are whatconstitute the philosophical basis of the Karbi folk religion. Ancestors areworshipped and Karbi souls travel through predestined paths back to the’village of the ancestors’, which neither is neither hell nor heaven. Karbifunerary ritual is a celebration of death as much as it is a celebration oflife.Swami(2013) The Karbi tribe, formerly known as Mikirs, represents one of the majortribe of North-East India, and possesses rich traditions and culture uniquefrom other tribes of the region. In the present paper, a sincere attempt hasbeen made to analyze the ‘Marriage System’ of the Karbis and the correspondingkinship terminologies.
The Karbi society, as a whole, is divided into clans,sub-clans, and lineages, whose members reckon their presumed kinship and commonancestry through the paternal line only. The Karbis have five primarypatrilineal sections or patri-clans called “Kur” viz. Lijang (Ingti),Hanjang (Terang), Ejang (Enghi/Inghi), Kronjang (Teron), and Tungjang (Timung).Each of the five clans has a number of patrilinages or sub-clans. Since timeimmemorial, the Karbis follow marriage circle rule: Terang —> Ingti —>Timung —> Enghi —> Teron —> Terang. They are custom bound to followand observed it.
A Terang and all its sub-clan should, by custom, marry anIngti girl. A Teron should marry a Terang girl. A Timung should marry an Enghigirl and an Ingti should marry a Timung girl. Any valid and legal marriageamong the Karbis is a marriage according to the marriage circle.
This marriagecircle is a must among the Karbis till recently. Any violation of this circlewas considered as a crime. But by now, the violation ofthe marriage circle custom is veryfrequent. And it seems that the Karbi society itself has under gone aremarkable change.
The only prohibition which is adhered to till today is themarriage within the same clan. Violation of this customary law obviously leadsto excommunication and social boycott of the couple involved.Chonzik & Killingpi (2014) in their paper highlightsthat through the ages, there had been inroadsinto the sociocultural aspects of the Karbi society by way of modernization andwesternization. A comparative educational attainment and inroads of modernityare observable after Indias independence in Karbi society. The present papertraced the changes that had pervaded into Karbi society and identify thefactors leading to such changes and the persistence of certain cultural traitsin the face of forces of change. While many changes have happened within theKarbi society due to the coming of various new religions and adapting to modernways of life, the Karbis were able to continue to persist some of theircultural practices. Continuity in Karbi traditional practices can be largelyattributed to their political awakening, which necessitated preservation ofidentity and hence cultural markers of identity. The Karbis could not cling totheir age old traditional beliefs and practices altogether and the society hasundergone transformation and changes.
Modernization has detribalized manyKarbis, especially those living in the towns by making use of civic amenitiesand the infrastructural facilities brought about by modernization whichincludes education, transport and communication, dress, diet, etc.Thaparia (2016) citedthat growth of population among the Karbis according to the earlier Census of1891-1901 was slow. The negative variation shown in 1901 Census was chiefly dueto the effect of natural calamities such as the outbreak of black fever andother epidemic which had done ravages to the most Karbi inhabited areas. Thenegative variation in 1951-1961was due to the government notification on theconstitution of the autonomous district Council under the provision of thesixth schedule to the constitution the excluded all Karbi population livingoutside the autonomous district of United Mikir and North Cachar Hills.
By1971, the Karbi population showed a considerable upward schedule to theconstitution the excluded all Karbi population living outside the autonomousdistrict of United Mikir and North Cachar Hills. By 1971, the Karbi populationshowed a considerable upward trend. This has happened due to migration of theKarbi from plains districts to the autonomous district of Karbi Anglong.However, it is observed that in all Censuses, the growth male population morethan that of the females. 0.
6 Methodology The present investigation isdescriptive based. The study depends upon both the primary and the secondarysources. The secondary source includes written materials in the form of books,published, unpublished works, etc. For collection of data and other informationobservation and interview methods are applied. Further questionnaire method isalso adopted to collect primary data from the field.To fulfill the objectives, primary data have been collectedfrom households belonging to the selected places of greater Guwahati area inthe form of random sample technique.
The data obtained from primary sourceshave been processed and analyzed meaningfully. Statistical techniques are usedwherever essential. To begin with, a smallpilot survey was conducted on greater Guwahati area to get an idea about thepresent settlement of the plain Karbis in the area. The survey was carried outin selected 13 numbers of different places. 0.6.
1 Research Design:The study is descriptive in nature.0.6.2 Population of the study Plain Karbis are scattered in variouslocalities in the greater Guwahati area. The population of the present studycomprised of all the households of Plain Karbi people inhabited in differentlocalities of greater Guwahati area.0.6.3 Sample of the study In the present study simple randomsampling technique is applied for identifying the sample.
The study isconducted by collection of information from 444 numbers of households as shown in table 1.Table1 Distribution of households accordingto places Place No. of Households BHOLLUKACHUK 23 BORBARI 52 CHACHAL 11 CHAKARDO 68 DEUCHOTAL 52 HENGRABARI 20 JAPORIGOG 55 KHALIPARA (PATHARQUARY) 26 MAINAKHORONG 20 PAMOHI 52 RONG KIMI 25 UPPER HENGRABARI 40 Total- 444 0.6.4 ToolThe tool comprised of aSchedule (Appendix – I) consisting of 66 numbers of items.
The items includedwere drawn from the readings of review of literature and from differentsecondary sources. The Schedule is put on pre-try out in three selectedlocations. A peculiarity exists with this place is that though there are threedifferent localities, for all these three there is only one Gaonburah/Bangthe and for this reason itis considered as one area (table 2). Table 2 No. of samplehouseholds Households Place Number % DUMBARI 22 33.9 GHULIGAON 19 30.6 KENDUGURI 21 35.
5 Total 62 100.0 This Schedule isfurther subjected to content validity as such this was offered to two numbersof experts for their comments. As such the Schedule items are distributedaccording to the content of chapters as depicted in table 3. Table 3 Distribution of items Chapter No.
Items Total No. of Items II ii, iii, v, vi, x (a, f, g), xi 2, 17, 18, 19, 20, 33, 34, 35, 42, 43, 44, 45, 46 18.5 III vii, viii, ix 16, 36, 37, 38, 39, 40, 41, 49, 50, 51, 52, 53, 54 16 IV iv 1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 48 23 V x (b, c, d, e), 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 47, 55, 56 8.5 Total- 66 0.7 Procedure of Data CollectionIn this studyrequired information is collected by the investigator in the form of door todoor visit.
All the identified households are visited and necessary informationis collected by approaching the head/senior member of the households. 0.8 Analyses of the Data Chapterwise analysis is carried out as per the distribution of items vide Table3. WorksCited:1Chapter 2 The Karbis and their Folk life p 15 shodhganga.inflibnet.ac.
in/bitstream/10603/48797/10/10%20chapter%207.pdf(accessed on June 02, 2016) 6.10 p.m.
2Karbi(then referred to as ‘Mikir’) was included in the Linguistic Survey of India(LSI) by Grierson and Konow in the early 20thcentury (Grierson 1903)3Khanikar,Debjani The impact of Urbanisation on the traditional life and culture of thetribal population in and around Guwahati. Unpublished PhD thesis submitted toGauhati University, 1992 4Deb (1979) referred in Chapter III Plain Karbis of Assam : An Account shodhganga.inflibnet.ac.in/bitstream/10603/66418/9/09_chapter%203.pdf(accessedon August 22, 2016), p 99.