*MISING MARRIAGE SYSTEM

The following are the recognized system (types) of marriage:

1. DA:RO MIDANG :- this is form of marriage is settled by the parents or guardians according to social system.
2. DUGLA LA:NAM:- this is a form of marriage by elopement at the consent of the bride.
3. KUMNA SOLA LA:NAM:- this is also a types of settled marriage, but the performance is not gorgeously done. It is performed only after receiving consent from both the parents or guardians of the bride and bridegroom.

LAWS OF MARRIAGE

Marriage by negotiation is the prevailing practice although marriage by capture is also present. But such a marriage is to be regularized sooner or later.

Child marriage is absolutely contraindicated among them. From the view point of marriage the follow monogamy. But there is no bar to polygamy. Hence is not treated as a break of marriage rules, provided can afford to maintain such a big family. According to their convenience, the other wives can live in the same house or in a separate house. The following criteria are in marriage.

UNFAVORABLE CONDITIONS:

1. Marriage of any kind is strictly prohibited within the same clan or families because they are thought to be originated from the same ‘GUMVN SO:YIN (forefathers). In the same way marriage is usually contraindicated within the sub-clan as seen in mising society.
2. The offspring of a mother with that of her own or closely related sisters are regarded as brothers and sisters. Hence marriage is contraindicated.
3. Intercaste marriage is not advocated though not totally absent. But this marriage is subjected to purification ceremony and approval from society.
4. Marriage of a woman without prior divorce is contraindicated.

FAVORABLE CONDITIONS:

1. Usually, a bride must attain atleast 18 years of age and bridegroom must be at least 20 years in age.
2. Marriageable girl from a ‘MITUR’ (From favorable condition)family can be offered to a marriageable boy.
3. Widow re-marriage is advocated. She can marry with an unmarried youth, a married man or a widower.
4. Polygamy is prevalent but polyandry is an absolute contraindication or totally absent.
5. Father is the guardian of marriage. In his absence his sons, in order of age are entitled to act as guardian in marriage of younger brothers and sisters.
6. In absence of father and son, paternal uncle and his sons are authorized to act as guardian.
7. Once a girl is married, she belongs to her husband’s family and the children born of their marriage, in all cases, bear the surname of their father.

PERFORMANCE OF DA:RO MIDANG:

The parents or guardians of a marriageable bachelor, at first send the proposal to the bride’s family on a day fixed already for the purpose. This is known a ‘YAMNC TADNAM’. Sometimes, the proposal come from the bride’s family side, directly or indirectly, and then in may be conveyed through some of their family members or close relatives. After the confirmation of the date and time, which may be many month later according to their convenience, the respective family convene the ‘DO:LUNG KCBANG’ and “MVMBVR YA:MC” for co-coordinated performance of the formal marriage “MIDANG”. The actual marriage is performed in traditional way with some modification of hindu culture. The BHOKOTS, the elder members of the village usually take the upper hand in the ceremony. Finally, the bride is offered by the father or guardian and is taken away on the same day to the grooms place.

The ancient system of ‘MAGBO DUGNAM’ the perspective bride-groom stays and renders manual labour in the would-be father-in-laws house for one or two years which may be extended to more in some families. Marriage is granted only after the probationary period and that also depends upon the satisfaction of the guardian. The impact of education has brought many alternations in the social life of the misings. It is an example of such and absolute system.

The ancient system of “MAGBO DUGNAM” has almost abandoned in the Mising society. Bride price known as “ALVG LA:NAM’ is prevalent in Mising Society. There is no fixed bride price. It may vary according to the status of the grooms family. Formerly, it was paid in terms of goods and animals. At present, don’t insist on the payment of the bride price. It is now seen only in “DUGLA LA:NAM” system.

“GANDHARVA” system of marriage is the widely prevalent form in the Mising society where the couple should be from the families of acceptable of marriage laid down by laws requiring social approval later. The formal marriage system “MIDANG” requires long drawn formalities and huge amount of expenditure. DUGLA LA:NAM is the outcome of love at first when they apprehend doubt about their parents consent to the formal marriage. The socio-culture occasions provide ample scope to the youth to develop love at first sight or meeting.

This is a love marriage in which the lover takes away his beloved in a stipulated night. Next morning, the lover’s relative approach the girl’s parents and if terms and conditions laid by the parents of the girl are agreeable to the parents of the boy then the parents of the girl give consent to the marriage.

DIVORCE:

It has been observed that divorce occurs seldom in Mising society. It occurs under some special circumstances. The initiation process may be unilateral from either side. Ultimately, it requires approval from the ‘DO:LUNG KCBANG’

The following conditions are considered valid and responsible for divorce.
1. if both husband and wife are mutually willing to end their marital connection. Then the ‘Do:lung Kcbang’ can give approval for divorce. No question of compensation arises in this regard.
2. if husband can not affords maintenance then the wife can leave him or divorce him.
3. if husband marries more than one wife then one of the wives may leave her husband.
4. if husband is indifferent to wife and of loose character, wife can divorce him.
5. if wife is disobedient, dishonest and unfaithful as well as licentious and if she does anything that may bad to physical or mental injury of husband, divorce from husband’s side is considered legal and reasonable.

As mentioned earlier, the matter of divorce should be brought to the notice of DO:LUNG KCBANG. No written documents are needed for the divorce.

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*MISING: VILLAGE ORGANIZATION

MISING: VILLAGE ORGANIZATION

I. MURONG
II. DO:LUNG KCBANG
III. MVMBVR YA:MC
IV. RVGBO GVNAM and ABVR GVNAM

MURONG:

Murong is the most important and useful traditional socio-cultural institution of Mising people. It is comparable with the dormitory system prevailing in other tribes. But many of the traditional functions of MURONG as were in the past, such as to guard the village by the youth from enemies etc. have gradually abandoned. Only on some important festive events such as for celebrating PORAG the concept of MURONG come to the Mising people. The youths and village people gather in the MURONG also to chalk out the programmes and to take social decisions.

DO:LUNG KCBANG

It is the supreme social body of a village. It is constituted by the elderly people of the village who assemble in the MURONG under the village headman on specific occasions. The village body also takes all important social decisions of the village concerned and settle disputes of social importance. It delivers judgment and punish the offenders. There is no system of hereditary chief in Mising village. The headman of village is supreme in his own village only.
Memberships to DO:LUNG KCBANG are open to all people of the village. If the village people are not satisfied with the work of particular member of the kcbang, he may be removed with a substitution. There is specific assignment for each office bearer of the kcbang. No women will join the kcbang, she can make her voice heard or is invited when her opinion is felt by the kcbang.
Punishment are given by the kcbang after hearing the complaints. Which range from imposition of fine in money or excommunication (YODNAM). Yodnam is considerd as the severest form of punishment the village can conflict upon any villager for a serious crime. A man who rebels against custom will be isolated and considered outcaste. This is a sort of social boycott.
No physical torture is prevalent in Mising people whatever the offence may be. The immoral acts and major offence dealt with severity. In such cases fine is imposed and purification rites are imperative.

MVMBVR YA:MC

It is a benevolent youth organization of the village. The unmarried boys and girls are the members of this social organization. From functional point of view, this is the most important and powerful organization in rendering social services to the village people. Whenever a family wants manpower to construct a house, to transplant and harvest paddy or to conduct a feast in a festive occasion like a marriage, death ceremony etc. the headman of a family formally invites the “Mvmbvr Ya:me”. This organization stands as organization cum caretaker in the whole circumstance of the activities of the village. In murong during PO:RAG festival, ali aye ligang, bihu etc.. there are some office bearers in “Mvmbvr Ya:me who organize a meeting for such an invitation when formally made by co-village.
Co-operation and fellow feelings are some of the salient features of the Mising. Mvmbvr Ya:me service rendered to the village people is an example of such social integration. Another very important aspect of this organization is the responsibility of their members towards Dolung Kcbang. Moreover an important fact is that the first loyality of the Mising youth is always towards the Mvmbvr Ya:mc.
When family invites the Mvmbvr Ya:mc for particular work. The family has to offer only APONG and other eatables, preferably cooked rice and vegetables with some amount of meat. If the family is poor, the youth are satisfied with APONG only. Sometimes money is paid to them, the earnings from these sources are deposited into their fund and utilized at the time of feast as in DOPAN TV:PAN.

ABVR GVNAM

‘Abvr Gvnam’ ia a means of rendering physical labour on invitation of co-villager who cant otherwise get things done by his efforts. A woman reaper can extend an invitation to her colleagues in reaping her harvest. It is means which fosters mutual understanding of individual problem as well as paves way for fellow feelings. This system helps the people for social integration at the village level.

*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.