North-East Indian Culture and ArtifactsPayal Sisodia
North-East Indian Culture and Artifacts
The Indian Culture of northeastern states is characterized by the diverse ethnic groups settled in the region. Each tribe has its distinct custom, cuisine, attire, and dialect. One of these tribes is the Konyak, the last remaining headhunter clans of the region.
For the first time, the age of artifacts from the Neolithic era recovered from two important sites in Northeast India has been unraveled. Indian scientists have found the age using the latest technique of optically stimulated luminescence dating.
“It is now confirmed that the corded pottery and polished stone tools which were recovered during excavations in Daojali Hading in Dima Haso district of Assam in 1961 are 2,700 years old and those recovered from Gawak Abri in Garo Hills of Meghalaya in 1999 are 2,300 years old
Northeast has been hosting several fairs and festivals for decades. Some traditional festivals that are hosted annually are BihuFestival, Nongkrem Dance Festival, Chapchar Kut, Wangala Festival, Kang China, etc. Bihu is an important festival in Assam. BohagBihu is the most popular one celebrated in Assam. Different parts of the region celebrate this festival with much zeal and enthusiasm. The Nongkrem dance festival is a way of celebrating the harvest of the Khasi tribe of the region. Chapchar puja is a festival celebrated in Mizoram in March. There are several music festivals such as NH 7 weekender, Ziro festival, etc are hosted every year. The Northeast book fair is held every year in Assam. Film festivals are also an important part of Northeast’s fairs and festivals. The state of Sikkim hosts an international flower show every year.
3. Art and Craft
The tradition of art and craft culture is quite rich in the region with every state having its unique craftsmanship qualities. Arunachal and Mizoram’s craftsmanship abilities are evident from astonishing carpet making, cane crafts, masks, painted wood vessels, bamboo and, weaving, woodcarvings, hand-made pottery, brass cutting, silver works, etc. Assam is dominant in agriculture coupled with handloom weaving, cane and bamboo works, etc. Besides other woodwork, Meghalaya’s specialties include crafting musical instruments. For the rest of the states, weaving and wooden works are a specialty including jewelry and ornaments crafting, hunting, etc.
Northeast is home to numerous national parks and wildlife sanctuaries blessed with exotic species of flora and fauna. Arunachal Pradesh is home to the third national park in India – Namdapha National Park popular for its endemic Namdapha flying squirrel. The one-horned rhino in Kaziranga, Assam is another exotic and endangered wildlife animal. Keibul Lamjao National Park in Manipur is the world’s only floating national park with the only natural habitat of the dancing deer, Sangai. Sirohi National Park in Manipur is home to the beautiful terrestrial lily, the Shirui lily found nowhere else in the world. Manas National Park in Assam is a project tiger and elephant reserve added to the UNESCO Natural World Heritage Site. The entire northeast region is home to around 22 national parks and wildlife reserves.
In the Indian culture subcontinent, the Northeast constitutes about 220 languages. Assamese is an Indo-Aryan language that is spoken mostly in the Brahmaputra Valley of Assam and is the mother tongue of many communities. Other languages such as Nagamese and Nefamese are Assamese-based pidgin spoken in Nagaland and Arunachal respectively. Khasi, Jaintia, and War are the language of the Austro-Asiatic family. Some Tai–Kadai languages include Ahom, Tai Phake, Khamti, etc. Other languages that have origins in the Sino-Tibetan region are Bodo, Deori, Missing, Rabha, Karbi, Tiwa, Bite Garo, Hajong, Angami, Lotha, Mizo, Chakma Tanee, Nisi, Adi, Abor, Apatani, Misumi, etc. Bengali is also widely spoken in lower Assam and Tripura as the majority constitutes illegal immigrants from Bangladesh. Nepali is widely spoken in Sikkim.
Most of the ethnic groups of the hilly regions have their origins in Myanmar, China, and Thailand which were also the earliest settlers. The plain area consisted of people from the Ahom kingdom. According to the 2001 Census, a total of 38 million people have been recorded. Around 160 Scheduled Tribes have been listed in the Sixth Schedule of the Indian Constitution.
In the Northeast, the Seven Sisters states have prolific cultures and traditional dances. The northeast itself probably has the highest range of variety in its folk dances that reflect the tribal and traditional culture of the region. like, Bardo Chham, Ponung, Wancho Dance, Bihu, Bagurumba, Ka Shad Suk Mynsiem, Dhol Cholom, Cheraw Dance, etc
Northeast Indian food—the cuisines of the frontier states of Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Sikkim, and Tripura. So I’ll start with the very items that, for most of us, define Indian food: oil and masala. Northeastern food will have none of it. Bland, but also hot; pungent, but also aromatic; healthy, but also fatty—these antithetical adjectives can all be used to describe a meal from the Northeast, which is incomplete without a steaming platter of rice and various green vegetables. Poultry (duck, geese, chicken), beef, pork, and freshwater fish provide the protein, but the most defining aspect of northeastern cuisine is the minimal use of spice. A chilli or two (enough to spark the fire), ginger, garlic, occasionally sesame and a few local herbs are all it takes to get that distinctive flavour
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