People and Culture of Dima Hasao District
Dima Hasao district is famous for having the diversity of various tribes and races in population. They use to maintain their own culture, usages, customs and the dialects. There is a significant population of non-tribes in this state too. But mostly they are traders or the government employees who live in urban or semi-urban areas. The serene and the small villages shelter the great people – fascinating and warm – most importantly, as colorful as the nature here. Among the tribes in this place, the most prominent are –
• The Dimasa Kacharis: The Kacharis are not only considered as the most prominent tribe in this district, but in whole of northeast India. According to the legend, they are the earliest inhabitants of Brahmaputra River valley. The Kacharis are believed to belong to the Kirata or Indo-Mongoloid group that includes the Bodos and all other allied tribes. Actually, they have prominent Mongoloid anatomical features like the slit eyes, scant beard, very little body hair and high cheek bones. They call themselves the sons of the river or Dimasa in the N C Hills. This tribe is prominent majorly in the northern section of the district along with the ravines of the valley Jatinga and its adjoining tracts.
• The Zeme Nagas: Anthropologists classify them as one of the Kacha Nagas sub-tribe. In fact, the Zeme Nagas are found distributed in whole Nagaland and the Manipur states. Their concentration in the population in of Dima Hasao is quite high.
• The Hmars: The Hmars are known to be migrated from the country of china and they settled first in the Burma. Later they scattered around Mizoram, Manipur, and Assam including the state Dima Hasao. They also have the Mongoloid blood in veins. This tribe is very famous as they don’t encourage the exogamy. They prefer both arranged and love marriages.
• The Hrongkhols: Ethnographers describe them as Hrongkhol or Hrongkhol or Hrangkawal. They are believed to be a branch of the Kuki tribe. They live in the district Dima Hasao in a scattered manner. This tribe mainly belongs to the agricultural family and many of them practice the Jhum cultivation. They are very good in building houses with wooden slit and bamboo.
• The Kukis: Kukis are not considered as a pure tribe, but it is a generic term for those groups of people who have travelled through Burma to India from the central Asia. Whereas they are known as Chin in Burma, in the frontier states in India, they are known as the Kukis.
• The Biates: They are believed to represent the Lushai-Kuki-Chin group of people. They travelled to India from central China and settled at Mizoram mainly. Later they migrated to Dima Hasao district during the early 19th century.
The primary festival of this district is Bishu or Bushu. As the natives of this district are from agrarian families primarily, their festivals are agrarian based too. They celebrate those festivals at different times and in different ways. Dimasa tribes of N C Hills and Karbi Anglong successfully preserve their traditional religious practices and the beliefs through celebrating their festivals since a long. Some of them are fused with the Hinduism and they are continued to be celebrated.
The festivals in this district are categorized in local and community festivals. In case of the local festivals, it is organized by a particular village and the participation of other villages are restricted in those festivals. The prime community festivals of this district are Bishu and Misengba. Some of the important local festivals of this district are Khorongfang Gerba, Rajini Gerba, Maisalai Gerba, and Hor-ni Gerba etc.
Dimasa, Hrangkhol, zeme, Khasi, and Kuki are considered as the major languages in the district of Dima Hasao. Actually, it will be better to call them dialects instead of Languages. As it was already mentioned that people living in this district are primarily tribes, the number of dialects used by the natives are quite high. Apart from the major languages like Bengali and Assamese you will find people using the tribal languages like Biate, karbi, Hmar, Khelma and few other Indo-Aryan languages like Haflong Hindi. Haflong Hindi is a local speech form of Hindi language.