CULTURE - THE PEOPLE OF MAJULI
Majuli boasts of a multiplicity of ethnic tribes, which have contributed immensely to its rich and colourful cultural heritage. The population of Majuli is a medley of the Brahmins, Kalitas, Kochs, Naths, Koibartas, Mishings, Deori, Sonowol Kacharis, Ahoms. Chutiyas, Suts, Nepalis, Bengalis. Mataks and a sprinkling of Marwaris and Muslims.
With a population of 63, 572, constituting about 42 per cent of the total population of Majuli (according to the 2001 census), the Mishings, who belong to the Burmese branch of the Mongoloids are the most important tribal community of Majuli.
A Deori couple
According to the 2001 census, 1,071 people of this community are in Majuli. Most of them reside in the Sonowal Kachari villages which is about 3 km to the east of Natun Bazar in upper Majuli. This community was engaged in the collection of gold out of the sands of the Subansiri and other rivers of Assam during the reign of the Chutiya and Ahom kings. Haidang, Hagro and Bohua are the main dance forms of the Sonowol Kacharis.
The Mataks belong to the historic Moamaria community. In Assamese, 'mat' means decision and 'ek' means one and thus the word 'Matak' means unanimity in decision-making, which was exhibited by this community during the Ahom rule and hence, they came to be called Mataks. Shri Shri Aniruddha Deva is their spiritual leader. In Majuli, people of this community are mainly found in the villages of Dekasensawa and Burhasensowa, Ashok guri etc., which are located 3 km to the north of Rawanapar. The Mataks are also famous for their exposition of the Mridanga, a musical instrument.