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Friday, January 21, 2011


THE GAROS inhabit the Garo Hills District on the western extremity of Assam adjoining the Mymensingh District of Bangladesh. Besides, there are large groups of Garos in the contiguous plains areas of the Districts of Goalpara
and Kamrup in Assam. A sizeable population also lives in the Mymensingh District of Bangladesh. About a lakh of these Mymensingh plains Garos— mostly Christians—migrated to Assam in the beginning of 1964 due to systematic persecution in Pakistan. Some thousands of these unfortunate people, deprived suddenly of their hearth and home, have been rehabilitated in the Garo Hills and thousands are still awaiting rehabilitation in a huge refugee camp at a place called Matia in the Goalpara District of Assam. The Garo Hills District has an area of three thousand square miles.
The Garos call themselves achik-mande (achik = hill; mande = man) just as the Lushais (another hill-tribe of Assam) call them selves Mizos (Mi = man, zo =hill). The original home of the Garos is not known. They themselves believe that their original homeland was in Tibet.
A legend to this effect has persisted amongst the Garos for generations. In his monograph on the Garos, Major Playfair points out certain linguistic resemblances between the Tibetan and the Garo tongues and also refers to the reverence which the Garos, like the Tibetans have for gongs and the value they attach to the Yak’s tail, although the animal never inhabited these hills. But such scrappy pieces of evidence are not sufficient for establishing a historical connection of the Garos with Tibet. It is more probable that like most of the plains tribals of Assam, the Garos moved into their present habitat through the north-eastern routes from China and Upper Burma. This movement was part of a great Mongolian influx into this part of India in prehistoric times. It is not merely possible, but very probable, that the movement started originally from Tibet and other parts of the Western China.

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