Tribal nationalism: An approach through integral music
 Source : News Bharati English  Date : 18-Aug-2015

Tribal nationalism: An approach through integral music

Nation, nationalism and motherland is not a prerogative of a community—urban or rural or tribal. In fact, in many countries tribal warriors have exemplified themselves in bravery and defended the frontiers of the nations. However, it is not the battlefields alone where the tribal citizens have excelled in their might; they are seen to have excelled in the field of literature, poetry, patriotic songs and music as well. The tribal poets and singers have done very well in arousing nationalistic and patriotic sentiments among their brotherhood.

In the North East Indian frontier based States also known as ‘seven sisters states’ viz., Assam, Arunachal, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Manipur and Tripura,   nationalistic feelings and patriotic  urges have found space  in the literary creations of the natives there. The tribal belt of the North East India i.e. ‘poorvanchal’ has been the abode of several tribes with ancient heritage and references of the personalities in its history esp. since the Mahabharat  period. Historically the peoples in these areas have been connected culturally well with the culture of the rest of India. Manipuri art exalts with ‘Mathura-Vrundavan’s Krishna Bhakti. Tripura   is not behind in ‘Devi-pooja’ and nrutya tradition. The delicate rhythmical body movements of the ‘Hoza Giri’ dance of Riyang tribals in Tripura besides the ‘Manasa Mangal’ or ‘Kirtan’ tradition of the people of Tripura have made a rich contribution to the Indian music.  Sankardeo’s rich tradition of ‘satriya’ dance traditions accompanied by ‘bargeet’ singing style and culture in Assam has made India proud of it.  Nagas have a long tradition of dance compatible with  its natural  beauty. Bodo dance style of Bagurumba produces immense joy and leaves behind a long tradition.

There are several tribes in ‘poorvanchal’ prominent being Bodo , Khasi , Karbi, Coch , Hajang, Mising , Rabha, Garo , Zemenaga , Naga ,Nishi , Adi, Galo , Khamti, Nocte, Lalung, Dhimasa, Sadri, Tiuwa , Meitei , Chakma , Riyang , Bhutiya and Deavri. Some tribal languages have scripts, and some others do not have. However, most of the tribal population speaks Sino-Tibetian and Austro-Asiatic languages. It is also believed that in the ancient times many tribes descended from Chinese region and settled. However, history signals that these people merged into the Indian culture and society. In the early eighteenth century (1813), a few European Christian missionaries with the help of the British colonial rule in India reached the thick forest areas and led them to Christianity.

A few references to select modern patriotic poems constructed by some tribal poets would throw light on their patriotic sentiments. A Garo poem describes how our motherland serves our day to day life and that is the reason why we should remain grateful to our ‘Bharat Mata’. Another Manipuri poet expresses and offers pranam (salute) to the motherland Bharat Mata. A  Sadri tribal poet appeals his fellow tribes-men to arouse and awake and serve our Bharat Mata. A  Zemenaga poet has glorified their staunch Naga freedom fighter Rani  Guidengue.

There are several more poems exalting India and her ancient culture. Most of the poets have expressed their solidarity   and inseparable bond with ‘Bharat Mata’.

(A  glimpse :  Around 100 poems are collected from these tribal languages  mentioned above . A musical MP3 CD of these poems is produced in an album)


Tribal music, nationalism, Dr. Sharad Khare, Nagaland, Assam, Meghalaya, Manipur, Arunachal Pradesh, Tripura, Naga freedom fighter Rani  Guidengue, North East Indian, Bodo , Khasi , Karbi, Coch , Hajang, Mising , Rabha, Garo , Zemenaga , Naga ,Nishi , Adi, Galo , Khamti, Nocte, Lalung, Dhimasa, Sadri, Tiuwa , Meitei , Chakma , Riyang , Bhutiya and Deavri