Majuli Cultural Landscape Management Authority
...Promoting and preserving the rich heritage of Majuli

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.

MISHING:
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.

DEORI:

A Deori couple

The Deori, believed to be the priestly class of the Chutiyas, who originated from the Tibeto Burmese branch of the Mongoloids have a population of 3,498 in Majuli, constituting 3 per cent of the total population of Majuli (according to the 2001 census). Their homes, farms, village economy and marriage ceremonies are very similar to those of the Mishings. Keeping their own dialect and culture intact, the Deori of Majuli celebrate Bihu, apart from their own Hurairangali, a dance form. They are mainly concentrated in the two villages of Major Deori and Sriram Deori. Major Deori is at a distance of 6 km to the east of Jengraimukh while Sriram Deori is located 7 km to the south-east of Jengraimukh.

SONOWAL KACHARIS:
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.

MATAKS:
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.