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"A brief of Bodo people"

A brief history of Bodo people

            The Bodo people are the aboriginal people of North Eastern India among the Mongoloid group. They bear the common features of a Mongolian. Generally, they are of medium height and well-built stature. They have flat nose, small eyes, black-spiky hair and high cheekbones. Their skin color is yellowish brown. By nature, their behavior is very amiable ever ready to befriend even a stranger.

Since the historically untraced ages, the Bodos in North Eastern part of India had developed strong political, legal & socio cultural entity. According to Dr Kameswar Brahma, “The Bodos are a race of the Mongaolian people who are described to be the inhabitants of a country north of the Himalayas and west of China. The land is known as Bod. The word Bod is supposed to mean a homeland”. According to S. K. Chatterjee, “The Bodo who spread over the whole of the Brahmaputra valley and North Bengal as well as East Bengal forming a solid block in North Eastern India were the most important Indo-Mongoloid people in Eastern India and they form one of the main bases of the present day population of these tracts”. The Bodos ruled throughout the Brahmaputra and Barak valleys, with extension in Cachar Hills of Assam and Tripura and in some parts of West Bengal, Bihar, Nepal and Bangladesh. The Borok, Dimasa, Garo, Koch, Chutiya, Moran, Sonowal, Lalung, Tengial, Rabha, Mech, and Hajong are historically, ethnically and linguistically of same ancestor. Though scattered, today the majority of Bodos live on the foothills of the Himalayan Ranges in the north bank of the Brahmaputra River or river Dilao.

The Bodo language is the Tibeto-Burman or Indo-Mongoloid linguistic stock. G.A. Grierson in his “The Linguistic Survey of India -1903” has given a table of tribes that shows inclusion of a large number of tribes of this language group of which the Bodo and the Dimasa of Assam and the Boroks of Tripura are the major components. The date of migration from their original abode, namely, North Western China, to this part of present India is debated and needs further research. However, scholars agree that the Bodo people settled in this region much before the Aryans. The first mentioned king of Pragjyotishpur (ancient name of Assam) was Mairong Raja (Sanskritised as Mahiranga) of Asura Dynasty. Several kings of the Asura Dynasty ruled Pragjyotishpur. The Asura kings and their subjects were none but the Bodos. From Kirata Dynasty, Narkhw (Narakasura) and Fogdongza (Bhagadatta) were two famous kings of this dynasty. Scholars have identified the ‘Kiratas’ of ancient Assam, who took part in the Mahabharata war, with the Bodos. Sanskrit literature of the ‘Epic Era’ have immensely mentioned about the ‘Eastern Kiratas’.  Particularly, the Kingdom of Tripura has been mentioned as the ‘Kiratadesha’ of the North East in ancient times. The Epics i. e., the Ramanaya and the Mahabharata are dated to have been written between “2500 to 3000” B.C. This proves that the Bodo people had powerful kings and kingdoms even before 3000B.C. in the eastern part of present India at the time while the Aryans were confined to beyond the present Indus valley.

           The extension of Aryan culture and their settlement in this region began only in the last part of the first century of the Christian era. This amply speaks about the historicity of the Bodos being the original inhabitants of this part of present India. From mythological to historical period hundreds of Bodo kings ruled under different dynasties. The Asura Dynasty, the Kirata Dynasty, the Mecha Dynasty, the Varman Dynasty, the Sala Stambha Dynasty, the Pralambha Dynasty, the Pala Dynasty, the Khena Dynasty, the Koch Dynasty, the Kachari Dynasty and the Borok or Tripuri Dynasty ruled before the British came. Even under the British Empire Koch Bihar and Tripura remained independent princely states. The princely states – the Koch Bihar and the Tripura came under India on August 28 and October 15, 1949 respectively.

- U.C. Kachari  

Reference:   'Thengphakhri'