Thursday, October 14, 2010
RELIGIOUS AFFINITY TO HINDUISM OF NORTHEASTERN INDIAN TRIBES
Such extraordinary local variations of religious practices not withstanding, the animistic religion of the hill-tribes have the common feature of having strong affinity to Hinduism. They all believe in a Supreme Being (e.g. the Pathian of the Lushais and Tatara Rabunga of the Garos), subordinate to whom there are numerous gods and spirits who have to be propitiated with sacrifices of animals and birds for warding off evil and calamities. From these beliefs and practices it would be safe to assume that the Tantrik form of Hinduism, which originated in the plains of Assam around the temple of Kamakhya, greatly influenced the tribal religions. To put it in another way, this form of Hinduism contains features which are tribal and which were probably adopted by Brahmin priests for winning over their tribal neighbors, the most characteristic feature of Hinduism having been throughout the ages assimilation rather than conversion. There never was on the part of Hindus any overt effort at any time to convert others to their faith. There is little doubt that but for the advent of the British, and in their wake that of Christian missionaries, all the tribes would have been assimilated into the Assamese Hindu fold like numerous other tribes before them, who came and settled in Assam, the Kacharis and the Ahoms being the most notable examples.