CHRISTIAN MISSIONARY WORKS ON MISING LANGUAGE

CHRISTIAN MISSIONARY WORKS ON MISING LANGUAGE
The study of Mising language was initiated by the foreign Christian Missionaries in the early nineteenth century and also, in the same time, by the officials of the colonial regime, who took up the subject of their academic interest in linguistic matters. Some officers had obviously felt necessary to learn the language for administrative merit while others had perhaps moulded their tongue as a result of close contact with the community for long. However, the prime intention of missionaries was to communicate the good news of the Gospel to the people in local dialects.
The eminent personalities noted below were a few amongst many others who had mastered over the dialect and in the process, laid a solid foundation for further study of the Mising Language.
(1) William Robinson: Rev. Robinson was one of the American Baptist Missionaries and frontline academicians of the nineteenth century, a period of Assam’s transition to mass education, who stationed at Guwahati as the Principal of “Gowahati Government Seminary” in 1841 and later he became the Inspector of Schools, Assam. Besides ethics and education, the study of language was his forte. He mastered over the Mising Language and unbelievably happened to be authority of Dafla language also. Robinson was the first man to attempt to grammarise the Mising Language for institutional use. His “A short outline of Miri (Mising) grammar ” was published the March issue of “Journal of Asiatic Society of Bengal” , in 1849. (Vol, 18, part 1, page 224). He was also the author of “Notes on the Daflas and the peculiarities of their language”.
(2) Joseph Francis Needham: Mr. Needham was the assistant political officer at sadiya from 1882 to 1905. During his twenty three years of service career there, he travelled far and wide, visited places high and low and met people known and unknown. With captain Molesworty he went far across the Indian border to discover a mountainous route to Tibet through the lofty range of Mishimi Hills in 1886.
He made himself the Mising language his own tongue . in 1886, Mr Needham published a grammar of the Mising language, spoken mainly in and around Sadiya- titled “Outline grammar of the Shaiyang Miri Language as spoken by the miris of that clan residing the neighbourhood of Sadiya”. In 1986 he rendered the all time popular story of “prodigal son” from the Bible into Mising language. He also wrote a story in 1899 based on an episode prevailing in the village courts (Do:lung Kcbang). Later these two stories were published in the Linguistic survey of India as the specimen paragraph of the Mising language by Sir George Abraham Grierson.
3. James Herbert Lorrain: Rev. Lorrain was a clergyman with amazing personality. Amazing in the sense that he learned and became authority over the Mising language within a time span of only two and half years during practicable for ordinary person to pick up a foreign tongue within such short spell of time, that too a language which had got no printed literatures in any discipline, except however, Needham’s grammar Mr. Lorrain was posted to sadiya in june 1900 and then suddenly transferred to Lushai Hills in February 1903.
He complete the first ever dictionary of the Mising language 1906 called “A dictionary of the Abor-Miri language” and the same was published from shillong in 1910. Later rev. Lorrain had prepared a dictionary for the Lushai Language,- titled “A Dictionary of the lushai Language” and published in 1940. Two other works of Rev. Lorrain in Mising language were: “ Isorke Doyinge in 1902” and “Jisuke Doyinge in 1902”. The latter was the summery translation of his own work “the story of the true God”. In missionary colleague Rev. Frederick W. Savidge who was also stationed at Sadiya.
4. Rev. LWB Jackman: Rev. Jackman succeeded Mr. Lorrain at sadiya in 1903. Like his predecessor he also picked up the dialect of the region very quickly and gained complete command over the language Mrs. Mary M.Clark, an American missionary, once aluded, “The Miris (of sadiya) are asking more schools, and teachers for this new opening must be trained. With building and other manifold labour mr. Jackman has worked steadily upon the language of the Abor-Miri people and has already several manuscript ready for press.” (A Corner of India , New York, 1907)
Rev. LWB Jackman Authored three books on Episcopal literature in Mising Language, the names of which are: “ Keyum kero Kitab (1914)”, “Rom Kiding kela Korintian Doying (1916)” and “Mathike Annam Baibal (1917)”. All were published in the local press sodiya.
5. Captain W Hore: Capt. Hore, an intelligent Officer, was commanding the 120th Rajputana Infantry, who had otain a favourable notice from major general Hamilton Bower for his dependable service during Abor Expedition of 1911. He mastered over the Mising Language during his stay in the border areas. Hamilton Angus, the author of “In Abor Jungle” quoted him as “an exceptionally good knowledge of the Abor and Miri language and was of the great assistant.”
6. Mr. J.H.F.Williams: Mr. Williams of the Indian Police was the Assistant Political Officer at Pasighat, who looked after the affairs of the country-north towards the Mcmahan line and west towards the subansiri. He was one of the British subjects who made Adi-Mising language as his for a brief Christmas holiday and he crossed the river to pasighat. Mr. Reid met him and made a small profile as this: “Young and able, who had masterd the Abor-Miri language, toured wide and knw the tribes habits.” (years of change in Bangal and Assam, by Robert Reid, London, 1966)
7. Bible Society of India: the gospel of St. Mark st. Hohn were translated into Mising language by the Baptist Missionaries. As usual, the names of individuals who transcripted the two books of the gospel were not mentioned. Gospel of st. John called “Joanke atnam tatporyune doyinge” which runs 52 pages was printed in 1932 and the Gospel of st. Mark titled “marke atnam tatporune doyinge”. Page 38 published in 1935, both by the British and foreign Bible Society, Calcutta.
The copies of the these two “doying books” are now completely out of stock. However, the British Museum has preserved these publications as rare archives with the identifying library catalogue numbers “8-14180 pp 30” for johns and “8-14180 pp31” for Marks ” (Ref. British Museum subject index of Modern books acquired between 1946 to 1950. Trustees of the British Museum, London, 1961)
8. Sir George Abraham Grierson: Dr. Grierson did not know Mising Language for mass communication but in the linguistic survey of India he had recorded grammatical discipline of the language most exhaustively with illustrative examples. He had aided in his field works by Prof. Conrady and Dr. Stenkonow who were entrusted to go into the grammatical details of the language.Sir Grierson made reference to the grammars written by Robinson and Needham.
9. Sir WW Hunter and Sir George Cambell: although these two public servants of Indian Civil Service had been fully conversant with the Mising language yet their studies were overly broad based Mising language had just found a place in their agenda. Vocabulary of the Mising language had been included in Sir hunter’s “A Comparative Dictionary of Language of India and High Asia” and Sir Combell’s “Specimen of language of India”.

AUTONOMY MOVEMENT OF THE MISING

AUTONOMY MOVEMENT OF THE MISING
The North East Region of the India is the land of thousand mutiny mostly inhabited by more than 209 indigenous tribal groups recognized by Government of India as Scheduled Tribes. Not a single indigenous/ tribal peoples group of North East region are at pea at present. Almost all groups are involved in struggle, either armed or peaceful, for one or the other form of self-determination. The Misings, one of the major tribes of the plains of Assam, also have a long history of struggle for Autonomy.
HISTORICAL BACKGROUND:

The Misings, a major tribe of the North Assam branch of Tibeto-Burman family, first discovered the vast fertile plains land in the foot hills of Arunachal and along the course of river Subonsiri and Brahmaputra up to Kazironga on the south bank and river Jia Bhoroli on the north. They remained a free people with their own self governing system till the advent of British colonial force. Even during the rule of 600 years of Ahom dynasty in plains of Assam, the Misings enjoyed a great degree of Autonomy and the Ahom rulers hardly interfered into the internal affairs of the Misings in order to avoid clash.
Though the plains os Assam went under British colonial rule in 1826, the major portion of Mising territory, particularly the Murkongselek and Sadiya area, had remained free from British occupation till 1911, when a British Expedition conquered this area along with adjoining Adi territory.
The colonial rulers, only for their colonial interest, grouped and regrouped, bifurcated and joined the tribal peoples and their territories and thus played with the geography, demography and everything in a mess, which remains to be undone till date.
As per suggestion of the Montagu-Chelmsfort Reports, 1918, section 52-A was inserted in Govt. Of India Act, 1935 as a consequence of which the following territories of the then province of assam in British India were declared as backward tracts;
a. The Garo hills district,
b. The British portion of Khasi and Jaintia Hills district (other than the shillong Municipality and cantonment)
c. Mikir hills (in Nagaon and Sibsagar districts).
d. The north Cachar Hills (Cachar Districts)
e. The Naga Hills district.
f. The Lushai Hills Districts
g. The Sadiya Frontier tract,
h. The Balipara Frontier tract and
i. The Lakhimpur Frontier Tract.
The traditional Mising territory was divided and parts of the territory were placed in Sadiya, balipara and Lakhimpur backward tracts while the rest were kept under the provisional administration of British Assam. Again, in 1936, backward tracts were categorised as “Excluded and partially Excluded areas” after such recommendation was made by the India Statuary Commission, 1930 (popularly known as Simon Commission), by an order of 1936, the Govt. Of British India regrouped the backward tracts as follows:
A. Excluded Areas:

1. North-east Frontier (Sadiya, Balipara and Lakhimpur tracts),
2. The Naga Hills Districts,
3. The Lushai Hills Districts,
4. The Norh Cachar Hills sub division of Cachar district.
B. Partially Excluded Areas:
1. The Garo Hills Districts,
2. The Mikir Hills in Nagaon and sibsagar districts and
3. The British portion of Khasi and Jaintia Hills District (Other than the Shillong Municipality and the Cantonment).

Thus, a large area of the Mising territory were grouped with NEFA and separated from the rest. These areas were exempted from the power of provincial legislature. The Excluded areas were administered by the Governor himself and the partially Excluded areas were his special responsibly. This provision of the Government of India act, 1935 were, by and large, retained by the Indian (Provisional Constitutional) order, 1947 when India Became independent.
After independence, a committee named Bordoli committee was appointed for determination of the future of these excluded and partially excluded areas. The committee submitted its reports to the advisory committee on fundamental Rights, Minorities and Tribal and excluded Areas for the consideration of the constituent assembly. The recommendation of the Bordoloi Committee were incorporated into the Sixth Schedule of the Indian Constitution and under section 19 of the sixth schedule the Governor was to ensure creation of autonomous district councils for each of the following areas:
1. The United Khasi and Jaintia Hills.
2. The Garo Hills.
3. The Lushai Hills.
4. The Naga Hills
5. The North Cachar Hills
6. The Mikir Hills
7. North East Frontier Tracts including Balipara Frontier Tract, Abor Hills and Mishimi Hills Districts
8. The Naga Tribal Areas.
The committee recommended incorporation of the sixth Schedule to the constitution of India providing Autonomy to the Excluded and partially excluded areas by creating autonomous districts councils. But, the committee, most probably, moved by the objective of assimilating the plains tribals of Assam into the mainstream Assamese nationality, did not strongly recommend for providing autonomy to the Mising and other plains tribal areas in line with other hill areas; rather, with some ambiguous observation, it recommended separation of the plains tribal areas (mostly Mising territory) and amalgamation with the general areas of Assam without providing any constitutional mechanism.
The important portion of the Reports of the sub-committee is as follows:
“the population of the plains tribals, which is being gradually assimilated to the population of the plains, should for all purpose be treated as minority. Measures for protection of their lands are also in our view of necessary action. We have kept in mind the possibility of their being certain areas inhabited by tribals in the plains or the foot of the hills whom it may be necessary to provide in the same manner.”
With more reports, the sub-committee stated that-
“we have also provided that administration of the areas to be brought under the provincial administration in future should also be similar to that of the existing hill districts. We also conclude from the evidence collected at sadiya that the Saikhowaghat portion of the excluded area south of the lohit river and possibly the whole of the sadiya plains portion upto the inner line could be included in regular administration; but feel that the question needs more detailed investigation and recommend that it should be undertaken by the government”
Following the report of the sub-committee, the provincial Government of Assam separated the plains tribal areas from NEFA and amalgamated them with other advanced areas of Assam in 1951 and declared these areas as ‘Transferred Areas’ (Vide Notification No. TAD, 25/50/109, dated 13th February, 1951) and appointed asstt. Political officers at Charduar, balipara, Murkongselek and sadiya (vide notification no. TAD 35/50/154, dated 8th may,1951).

QUIRK OF HISTORY:
The constitution of independent India for two schedule in the constitution for administration of the tribal areas. These are the Fifth schedule and the sixth schedule. The sixth schedule provides for formation of autonomous district councils in the tribal areas of the north east and fifth schedule provides for formation of tribes advisory councils in all other states of the country. But the vast tribal areas in the plains of Assam and the hills of Manipur have been left out these two schedules. Dr. Bhupinder Singh committee or the three member experts committee on plains tribals of Assam constituted by Govt. Of India in the wake of Bodoland movement has strongly criticised this lapse and describe it as a “quirk of history”. This ‘quirk of history’ remains the root cause of tribal agitation in Assam.
THE FIRST RESOLUTIONS:
The first resolution to raise the demand for separate autonomy for the Misings and allied groups was North East frontier Miri-Abor sonmilon. The sonmilon, during its first session held on 20/05/1947 at Murkongselek with Mr.Howard William, the then political Officer of Sadiya on the chair adopted the following resolutions. These are the first resolutions adopted by Mising people demanding Autonomy.
Resolution 1: The sonmilon resolve to extend thanks to the British Govt. On its decision to create independent provincial administration for Assam on its declaration of 20th February, 1947 and farther resolve to supports the proposal for separating Assam from East Pakistan.
Resolution 2: Resolved that we, the Miris (with Miris of provincial administration) abors, daflas and charak communities firmly and unitedly move today to create an autonomous unit for these tribes as per specific boundary given hereinafter as the said tribes are the uniformity in language, religion, culture and manners. Formation of autonomous unit preserve the oneness of assam in general.
Boundary:
North: Tibet.
South: The Brahmaputra River.
East: The Nizemghat (Sadiya).
West: Subonsiri river towards Baginodi in a straight line to meet the Aka hills.
Resolution 3: The autonomous unit shall be consisting of one district legislative council represented by those tribes with their elected representatives. All administrative functions shall be confined within the indigenous Assamese people shall be treated as minority community with their right to vote and shall deserve right of citizenship.
Resolution 4: The council shall elect four representatives to the legislative council of the states.
Resolution 5: All revenues including land revenue shall be remained with district council with the approval of the legislative assembly, if necessary.
Resolution 6: No outside non tribal shall have the right to settle or claim land property to be there, no business be allowed to run by them without the prior permission of council.
Resolution 7: In case of distribution of land amongst the plains Miri-Abors and Hill-Miri-Abors, the existing inner line shall be treated as the boundary for hills and plains and there shall be equal right to settle in hills and plains for the people of hills and plains and vice versa.

THE SECOND PHASE OF THE MOVEMENT:
Though denied their right of self rule, the Misings were also carried away by the euphoria of end of British Colonial rule and hoped for better treatment under independent India. The extended full supports to the congress. They hoped that their territories would be restored, their right over their ancestral land and forest would be back and they would again be free to unite their community and territory and would be able to live as a distinct people with pride. With such hopes and dreams they kept their autonomy demand in the cold storage for almost two decades. But their hopes and dreams got shatterd very last. The Mising people exhibited their first aspiration to live as one people by forming “Misings Agom Kcbang (Mising Language Society)” in 1972 and launching a movement for preservation, development and recognition of their language.

The Mising educated youths and students played a leading rule in organising the Mising community. Till this time,There was no common Mising students organisation covering the whole of Mising inhabited areas. The first missing Student body was formed in 1933 named as Asom Miri Chatro Sonmilon. This was renamed as North Bank Mising Students Union after independence. In 1951, Murkongselek Mising Students Union was formed and 1959 saw formation of South Bank Mising Students Union. All these groups were united in 1971 by forming Assam NEFA Miri Chatro Sonmilon. In 1974, this sonmilon was renamed as Assam Arunachal Mising Students Union. The next session of the union was held in 1978 at Dergaon and the name was again changed to All Assam Mising Students union. The next session was held in September,1982 at All Assam Miri High School, Matmora, Dhakuakhana and it was in this session that an unanimous resolution was passed to demand autonomy for the Misings under the provision of the Sixth Schedule of the constitution. Finally, in the session held on 22, 23 and 24 February, 1985 at Jengraimukh, majuli the union was permanently named as “Takam Mising Porin Kcbang (all missing students union)” and a popular mass movement was launched on the Autonomy demand.
THIRD PHASE OF THE MOVEMENT:
As the autonomy movement grew stronger and popular, a new batch of young political leaders emerged out of the community and they soon developed differences with the existing old generation leadership of “Mising bane Kcbang”, the so-called parent body of the community. Most of the leaders of ‘Mising Bane Kcbang’ belonged to the rulling political partys and therefore, they did not supports the autonomy movement. In this political polarisation of the community, all other missing organisations took the side of pro-autonomy movement and walked out of the 31st general conference of the ‘mising bane kcbang’ held at bodoti in lakhimpur district in 1992. All the organisations jointly announced ‘social boycott’ of ‘Mising Bane Kcbang’ and a convening committee was formed immediately to form a new broad platform to organise the Mising people in supports of Autonomy demand. Later, in February, 1993, ‘Mising Mimag kcbang (Mising Action Committee) was formed at a Mising National Convention held at Jonai in Dhemaji district. Democratic agitational programmes, such as Bandh, picketing, mass mobilisation started.
Considering the growing popularity of the Autonomy movement, the Govt. Of Assam led by late Hiteswar Saikia announced grant of autonomy to the Misings and invite Takam Mising porin Kcbang (TMPK) and Mising Mimag Kcbang (MMK) for negotiation. The Govt. Gave a written proposal to create an autonomous council named as Mising Autonomous Council (MAC), which said that:
1. There shall not be any definite boundary and compact area for the MAC.
2. Revenue village having 50% or more Mising population would be identified and included unto the MAC.
3. The MAC will not have any legislative power; it will have only executive powers on 34 subjects enlisted under 11th schedule of the constitution of India incorporated after the 73rd amendment.
4. Fund to the MAC would be provided only from the tribal sub-plan of the state.
5. The MAC would be created under a state Act and not under any provision of the constitution.
Nine rounds of discussion were held between the Government of Assam and the leadership of TMPK and MMK. The TMPK-MMK insisted that ‘autonomy without boundary’ was an absurd proposition and was not acceptable. They also objected to the creation of 50% Mising population in a revenue village for identification and inclusion into proposed MAC. The TMPK-MMK strongly demanded that the existing ‘tribal belt & Blocks’ and the tribal sub-plan areas in Mising dominated areas should be included into MAC and that the MAC should be provided with powers and function similar to Bodoland Autonomous Council. But, the Assam Govt of congress-I party refused to concede to divide the Mising people. Overnight, a fake organisation named ‘Mising Autonomous deemed Committee (MADC)’ was launched with full patronisation of the Govt and put into dirty fight against the TMPK-MMK. Simultaneously, the Congress-I took up a plan to revive the ‘Mising Bane Kcbang (MBK)’ to use it against the struggling missing people. The MBK and MADC agreed to accept the boundaryless farce Mising autonomous council and organised the 32nd general conference of the Mising bane Kcbang on 21, 22, and 23 april , 1995 at bilmukh under dhakuakhana PS and invited the chief Minister of Assam for formal declaration of the council. This move sparked strong resentment among the Misings and TMPK-MMK vowed to resist the conference. A 60 hour Bandh was called. On the first day of the conference,about five thousand Mising people took out a heroic protest march at Bilmukh and when the procession was advancing towards the venue of the conference to register their protest , CRPF and Assam Police opened indiscriminate fire killing two person namely martyr Mahananda (Boga) Medok and Martyr Noresh Taid. Hundreds were injured. As the 60 hour Bandh continued, police atrocities started in almost every Mising inhabited areas. Thousand people came out to the streets to protest. At Gogamukh in dhemaji district, police brutally lathicharged on hundreds of woman picketers and a young girl named Anjana Pegu was wounded by bayonet. She later succumbed to her injury. The Band turned violent. Roads were blocked by felling trees, bridge were burnt down and markets were ablaze. Amidst such wide spread and strong protest, late Hiteswar Saikia, the then chief Minister of Assam came to Bilmukh by a chopper and addressed a very thinly attended meeting. He however, could not venture to announce his boundaryless autonomy.
Police repression continued and more than 500 activists of TMPK-MMK including all the top leaders were jailed and when most of the TMPK-MMK leaders were in jail, the Govt signed a so called Mising Accord on 14 july, 1995 with MADC and MBK. Later, the Govt. Constituted and interim Mising Autonomous Council headed by a person named Laxminath Pangging known for his closeness to the Chief Minister. After some month, he was replaced by one Mr. Doneswar Modi, a Congress-I leader from Jonai.
The TMPK-MMK continued their democratic agitation against the farce boundaryless Mising Autonomous Council and successfully prevented the leaders of MADC and MBK from entering into Mising Villages. The Mising villagers gave punishment to many persons involve with MADC and MBK by imposing social boycott, shaving of head and parading through village. At many places, violent clashes took places between supports of TMPK-MMK and MADC-MBK.
MISING AUTONOMY DEMAND AND ELECTION:
The Mising people, for the first time in their history, participated in the general election of 1996 with the demand for Autonomy. The MMK fielded candidate in Jonai, dhemaji, dhakuakhana, majuli, lakhimpur and bokakhat assembly constituency and in Lakhimpur parliamentary constituency. However, it could not win a single seat. The Mising people are not in majority in these constituencies excepting Jonai. As they contested the election under the banner of MMK, a Mising-non-Mising polarisation took place resulting in defeat of the minority Misings. The MMK polled more than one lac votes in these constituencies.
ANOTHER PHASE OF NEGOTIATION:
After the 1996 election, Asom gono parishad came to power in Assam defeating Congress-I. The TMPK-MMK, with the strength of one lac peoples supports, demanded immediate dissolution of the interim MAC and holding a fresh talk for a permanent solution of the autonomy issue. But AGP failed to recognize the democratic aspiration of the missing people and neglected issue. Meanwhile, the matter of dissolution of the interim council got mired in a legal battle in guwahati high court. Finally, on 10,march, 1998, the guwahati high court vacated a stay order issued earlier against dissolution and Assam govt dissolve the interim MAC on 11 march, 1998 following which negotiation started with TMPK-MMK for an acceptable solution. After a series of discussion, the TMPK-MMK along with TMMK have signed a memorandum of understanding with Assam govt on 28 april, 1998. The MoU, describes the previous MAC as farce, ineffective and defective. The major points of agreement are:

1. The govt of assam will freshly review the whole MAC act by constituting a high power review committee and the committee will submit its reports within three months.
2. the MAC act will be soon amended after submission of the reports.
3. all the police cases pending against TMPK-MMK members relating to the autonomy agitation will examined for withdrawal.
4. charges of corruption and misappropriation of public money by the functionaries of the previous council will be investigated and action would be taken against those found guilty.
5. election to the Mising autonomous council will be held within five months after review and amendment of the act.

*HISTORY OF ORIGIN OF THE TANIS OR THE AMIS: PART ONE

History of origin:

The Tanis or the Amis are one of the early, if not the earliest, groups of human races migrating to north-eastern region of India sometimes in the past. The Tanis or the Amis are variously known to other people as the Misings, Mishimis, Pa:dams, Minyongs, Galongs, daflas, Hill Miris, Apa-tanis etc. The language, culture and traditions of these tribes are one and the same. According to ethnologists, the Akas and daflas are one in race with each other, and with the tribes of Abors and Miris inhabiting the hills coming no doubt originally from the same habitats, they are still alike in all material respects as to warrant us in calling them the earlier and later migrations of the same tribe, the abors as the last comers, retaining more of their pristine savagery and hardihood, while the Miris have been to some extent influenced by free association with theplains and the settled habits of civilization. The intercourse between Abors and Miris is still nevertheless constant and intimate. Ethnologist group them into one unit under common appellation of North assam brance although the collectively identify themselves as Tani or Ami, meaning “man”. Scholars of various academics disciplines have unanimously held that they belong to the great Mongoloid race of mankind whose ancient civilization flourished in the upper course of the Yangtse-Kiang and the Hoang-Ho-river-valleys of north-west China. They have close connections with various human races from time immemorial and contributed to the evolution of common culture. They have however no written historical traditios of their own except some disconnected oral traditions which furnish authentic facts of their early history. The history of their early period is, there fore, obscure for us to know owing to dearth of reliable historical materials. This is also mainly owing ot the deficiencies of reliable historical source, but largely to the lack of painstaking academic pursuits. It appears that the true historical period of the tanis or the Amis begins only from the time they are referred to in the historical chronicles called BURANJIS and the Vaisnavite literature of medieval Assam.

The history of origin and migration of the Tanis can be traced with the available historical materials so as to arrive at a definite conclusion on the subject. The most important source is the Greek and Roman classical literature, notably, Pliny’s Natural History, Ptolemy’s Geography and the Periplus of Erythrian Sea, compiled before and after the christen era. The Greek and Roman classical literature refer to the tribes and their habitats as “Meridionales”, “Meridiem”, “Asmira”, “Abarimon”, “Abali”, “Orxulao” etc. Which are identified by the authorities with the names of Abors, Miris, Mishimis, Akas of the north-eastern region of India. It is held on the basis of such identification that century A.D. if not earlier. In Indian classical literature holds that different branches of the great Sini-indian speaking people which had their base near the head waters of the Yangtse-Kiang and the Hoang-he rivers to the north-west china pushed south and west, probably from 2000B.C. the north-Assam tribes of the Abors and Akas, daflas and Miris, and Mishimis, appears to come later and to have established themselves in the mountains to the north of the Brahmaputra plains already in occupation of the Bodos. The classical literatures are therefore evident that the Indo-Chinese people of India have already settles in India since 2000BC and the north Assam tribes have also settled in their present habitats since the beginning of the Christian era.

The study of language has also an important bearing on the origin and migration of the people. Some linguist (Dr. GA Grierson) studied the language spoken by the Mishimis, Adi, Misings, daflas, Apatanis and Akas in some details. He classified their language under the common appellation of North-Assam brance of the Tibeto_Burman group of the Indo-Chinese language family. Grierson, on the basis of his linguistic study observe that the North-Assam brance language is a connecting link of the Tibetan and the Himalayan dialects with that of the Kuki-Chin, Bodo, Naga and Kachin groups. He therefore concluded that the home of the North-Assam tribes may be considered as a kind of backwater. The eddies of the various waves of Tibeto-Burman immigration have swept over it and left their stamps on the dialects. The impression on the North-Assam tribes was probably left before or in the course of their migration to their present habitats. The above instance indicates that the North-Assam tribes intermixed with various branches of the Tibeto-Burman language speakers, and also migrated to their present habitats later than many other groups of these language speakers. Dr. Grierson, traces, on the basis of his linguistic analysis, the migration of the Tibeto-Chinese language speakers in three successive waves; the first batch migrated during the pre-historic times; secondly, the Tibeto-Burmans migrated to Tibet and then to India, the period of which is unknown; thirdly, the Tai branch of the Siamese-Chinese group migrated in about in recent times. Apparently, the above list of migration indicates that the North-Assam tribes are included in the second wave of migration which took place between the period of prehistory and the sixth century A.D. it is therefore, certain that the North-Assam tribes have already migrated and settled in their present habitates since the beginning of the Christian era.

Archaeological evidences also point out the early history of the North-Assam tribes. Some Neolithic cultureal tools such as Jadeite, gneiss and dolerite made of local rocks, limestone and bone have been discovered at Sadiya, Abor-hills and the Mishimi-hills. These Neolithic culture tools are said to be associated with the cultivator of agriculture, slaying of animals etc. some historian has contended on the basis of these cultural materials, that “ the facetted tool has the closet link with the types of tools known from yunnan….the prolific use of jadeite further strengthens the link with Yunnan, in fact, with the discovery of a specimen in the Mishimi Hill the cultural contact of this region with Yunnan can hardly be doubted. Indeed the main tools types of Yunnan and the Sadiya Frontier zone are identical and the use of the common material, jadeite, firmly established the identity. The analysis of tools suggests that the Neolithic culture in Assam, as represented by these stone tools, are of late origin. The earliest possible date is linked us with the chronology of the developed neoliths in the countries of south-east-asia and south-china. The late origin of the Neolithic cultural materials, as concluded by historians, suggested that the North-Assam tribes have lately migrated from the Chinese province of Yunnan etc. and settled in their present habitats. Apart from this, the Tezpur rock Inscription of Harjaravana (GE=510=829/830 AD) also refers to the term Abara-Parbata which the autorities have held to be referred to the present Abor-Hills. The reference to the word ‘Abor’ in this rock inscription of 829/830 A.D. confirms that the North-Assam Tribes have settled in their present habitats since the beginning of this Christian era.

*THE MISING:A COLORFUL TRIBE OF THE BRAHMAPUTRA VALLEY

The Misings officially recorded as MIRI in the list of scheduled tribes of India under constitution order 1950, are originally a hill tribe of the Himalayan region of North eastern India. Either for their better wisdom or in their necessity of cultivable land, they migrated down along the Siyang river in several small groups in different period of history. It is believed that the first group of Misings landed in the upper region of the valley sometime between 13th and 14th century A.D., when the area around Sadiya was ruled by the Chutia kings.

The Mising belongs in general to the Tibeto-Burman family of the great Mongoloid race.

Here in the Brahmaputra valley amidst the alien communities and faith. The Misings had to adapt themselves to the new environment and changed social circumstance, and thus there grew up a new social order along the courses of the Brahmaputra, subonsiri , Ronganadi, Buroi, and Bhoroli river in the northern side and the confluence of Dibru, Dihing, Disang, Dikhow and Dhansiri river in the south. The name ‘MIRI’ was given to them, evidently by the plains people, but the always preferred to be known by their own name “MISING”.

By faith. The Misings are worshippers of ‘DO:NYI’ (Sun) and ‘PO:LO’ (Moon), but they cannot be possibly called “animist” either, in the general meaning of the term. It is noteworthy that they refer ‘DO:NYI’ as ‘Ane-Donyi’ (Mother Sun) and ‘PO:LO’ as ‘Abu-Po:lo’ (Father Moon) meaning thereby the Sun is the female cosmic principle and the moon the male cosmic principle comparable to ‘Prakriti’ and ‘Purush’ of Vedantic Philosophy. After creation of this earth, air, water etc. ‘Sedi-melo’-the supreme power, created ‘Do:nyi’ and ‘Po:lo’ and man. And then they stood apart leaving ‘Do:nyi’ and ‘Po:lo’ to take care of mankind. Hence, the Misings worship ‘Do:nyi-Po:lo’ as their supreme deities and consider them above all other lesser gods-“Uii”. Illness and misfortunes are attributed to these lesser gods ‘Uii’ which have to be kept appeased by offering pork, chicken and ‘Apong’ time to time.

However, after long sojourn in the plains, their beliefs and thoughts have been influence largely by the teaching of Hinduism. Besides, the epic stories of Mahabharata and Ramayana are so ingrained in their minds that no other religion other than Hinduism could find a better ground to flourish. Nevertheless, the caste system, the very root of Hinduism is alien to there social system that had come down from hoary past. As a result, in spite of their constant exposure to various religious institutions of the valley, they have their firm anchorage in the age old beliefs and traditions.
No doubt there are many ardent devotees of various religious institutions of the valley also. But old beliefs die hard and pork, chicken and Apong are freely used in all functions like “Midang”,”Ali-aye-ligang” and ‘Po:rag’ etc. it is a must in some religious rites like ‘Urom’, ‘Dodgang’,’Dobur’,’Kusag’ etc. of the many cultural functions.

The Misings have distinctive Mongoloid features like yellow skin, somewhat flat nose, prominent cheekbone, scanty beared, etc. they are thickly built sturdy people with jovial disposition. Though they have somewhat resilient nature capable of adapting themselves to any circumstances; but they stick to their decision with much tenacity. After long exposure to the subtropical sun in the valley, their skins have now sunburn-brown color, but faces with very fair complexion is not a rarity, particularly among the younger age group.

They are lovers of music and dance and the Mising girls dance somewhat sexual bihu dance with great spirit, and they have a dance of theirs own which is quite free from this sensuality.
The banks of the Subansiri and Brahamaputra reverberate with melodious ‘ Oi-nitom’ and ‘Kaban’. The ‘Kaban’ has a melancholic expression, mostly related to love-lost, an air of dejection blended into its melody and as such they are rightly called ‘Kaban’(Lamentation) example:

Pckv toma:nc, Pctta toma:nc,
Alab toma:nc, lapla toma:nc
Oi-nom Ka:lvngko ka:la toma:nc-

Meaning- I could not be a dove, nor, I posses the wings of birds, neither I could fly nor I could see my beloved. This invariably reminds the listeners the same feeling of dissolutaness.

On the other hand, Oi-nitom‘ is popular for its rhythmic beauty and colorful similes, compossed on anything that inspires their imaginations, ranging from expression of deep sorrows of separation to lighthearted satires.
Example:

Sagvvlai kapiyen, miksidvlai kapiyen
Mc:nam oimc pa:ma:mvl turradu:lai kapiyen?

Meaning: what for these sighs, what for these tears, what worth this life even, if I cannot have the sweet company my beloved.

The ‘a:bangs’ are a class by itself, comparable only to the slokas of Sanskrit literature. It exists in the memory of a special class of people called ‘Mibu’ in Misings. The ‘A:bangs’
Narrate the stories of distanr past.
According to an ‘A:bang’, the discovery of fire is attributed to “SIDANG” and “DASHING” the forefathers of Misings”

siding kolokkc, dashing kolokkc,
Sori mctkiyem tvkkang kvtoncm
Mctpu pudorc dorgc kane…..

Meaning: it was in the days of ‘sidang’ and ‘Dashing’, the fire sparked off from dry piece of wood when spurned with a rope.

Some ‘a:bangs’ narrate even the beginning of this Universe. According to them, in the beginning there was nothing but a state of being or not being. It says:

Mi kamangai, miming kamangai
Do:nyi kamangai, po:lo kamangai,
Vmmc kamangai, assc kamangai
Sedibabu bottcbv cdcm ru:lentonc

Meaning: no man was there, nor any matter was there; no sun nor moon was there, there was no fire, nor water. But ‘sedibabu’ the great lord created them all.