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Monday, January 24, 2011


As regards their physical features, the following picturesque description given by Colonel Dalton in his 'Descriptive Ethnology of Bengal' could not perhaps be improved upon. "Their fates are round and short. The forehead is not receding, but projects very little beyond the eye, which is small, on a level with the face, very dark and obliquely set. The want of prominence in the nose is remarkable. The whole face has the appearance of being flattened out, the mouth sharing in the compressed appearance and not at all prognathous." The average height of the male would be just above five feet and that of the female 4-3/4 ft.A few more characteristics added by Major Playfair would make the description complete:
"The women are not beautiful, especially when they pass middle age, but when young they are buxom and healthy in appearance and their good natured smiling faces are far from unattractive. A great disfigurement is the distension of their ears by the weight of enormous ear-rings, which often break the lobes in two. The men rarely have hair on their faces though some grow apologies for beards. If a moustache is worn, it usually consists of a few hairs on either side of the upper lip, owing to the custom of pulling out the rest."

This description of physical features would apply with equal aptness to most of the tribals inhabiting the plains of Assam, particularly the Kacharis.

"garos" From Dalton's Descriptive Ethnology of Bengal 1872, engravings with modern hand coloring

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