(Last Updated on : 03/04/2014)
Meghalaya, one of the smallest states in India, occupies the plateau and rolling hills between Assam
and Bangladesh. It is the home of tribes who were influenced by the Hindu culture. They established the tribal district council and the tradition they followed were the kingship. The Tribes who inhabited here were the Khasis, Jaintias, Garo, Mikirs and the Cacharis. These tribes is said to have evolved from the migrants who belonged to the Indo-Chinese linguistic family, the Tibeto-Burman and the Mon-Khmer. The sub- families of the Tibeto-Burman`s were the Naga, Kukichin and Bodo
. The Bodos were divided into small groups as Garo, Kachari, Mechs, Dimasa, Tippea, Lalung, Rabha, Chutiyas. The Garo Hills
were occupied by the British in 1872. These tribes had their own kingdoms, until they came under the British administration. The state has a high literacy rate along with mostly English medium teaching.
History of Meghalaya
The British authority in Meghalaya was a blessing in disguise as it led to the improvement of the landscape and the development of roads. The British included Meghalaya into Assam in 1835. Thus the region enjoyed a semi-independent status by virtue of the Treaty relationship with the British crown. Before attaining full state hood, Meghalaya was given a semi-autonomous status. When Lord Curzon
partitioned Bengal on 16 October 1905, Megahlaya became a part of the province of ` Assam and East Bengal`. When the partition was reversed in 1912, Meghalaya became a part of Assam. At the time of Independence of the country in 1947, Meghalaya consisted of two districts of Assam and enjoyed limited independence.
Meghalaya attained statehood on 21 January 1972. Meghalaya was evolved in 21 January 1972 by the carving of two districts of the state of Assam evolved Meghalaya.
Geography of Meghalaya
The word `Meghalaya` means the abode of clouds. Meghalaya is about 300 km long in the east west and 100km wide with a total area of about 22,429 km square. Meghalaya is a hilly strip in the eastern part of the country. It is most covered with lush forest area and rich orchid plantations. The forests are notable for their biodiversity of animals, birds and plants. Among the Blue hills are the intriguing traditional sacred forests that are steeped in spiritual belief and held in great veneration. These forests represent the ancient eco-system. The state is bounded by Assam on the North and Bangladesh on the South.
Demographics of Meghalaya
The total population of Meghalaya is 2,964,007as per 2011 Census. Unlike the other parts of India, there is no special preference for a male child in Meghalaya. Total literacy of the State increased to 75.48%. The Khasis are the largest group, followed by the Garos. Other groups include the Jaintias, Koch, Hajong, Dimasa
, Kuki, Lakhar, Mikir
Culture of Meghalaya
The tribes who belong to Meghalaya are the Jaintias, the Khasis and the Garos. An important feature of the State is that it follows a matrilineal system. A matrilineal society is one where lineage and inheritance are traced through women. The tribal people of Meghalaya are the world`s largest surviving matrilineal culture. The Khasi and Jaintia tribesmen follow the traditional matrilineal norm, wherein the youngest daughter or "Ka Khadduh" inherits all the property and she acts as the caretaker of her aged parents and siblings who are unmarried. Meghalaya is the only state where parents have the least interest to have a male child. The most important festivals celebrated by the people of Meghalaya are Wangala or the Hundred Drum Festival, Doregata Dance Festival, Chambil Mesara or Pomelo Dance.
Administration of Meghalaya
Meghalaya has a unicameral legislature. In the State Legislative Assembly there are 60 members. Meghalaya has two representatives in the Lok Sabha; one each from Shillong and Tura. It also has one representative in the Rajya Sabha. The head of the State is the Governor who is appointed by the Government of India
. The real executive powers are held by the Chief Minister.
Meghalaya has seven districts. They are: East Garo Hills, East Khasi Hills, Jaintia Hills, Ri-Bhoi, South Garo Hills, West Garo Hills and the West Khasi Hills. The East Garo Hills district was formed in 1976 and covers an area of 2603 square metres. Its district headquarters are located at Williamnagar. The East Khasi Hills district was carved out of the Khasi Hills. The headquarters of this district are located in Shillong. The Jaintia Hills district has a total geographical area of 3819 square kilometres. The district headquarters are located at Jowai. This district is the largest producer of coal and coal mines can be seen all over the district. The Ri-Bhoi district was formed by the division of East Khasi Hills district
. The district headquarters are located at Nongpoh. Large part of the area is covered with forests. The Ri-Bhoi district is the largest producer of pinapples in the state. The district headquarters are located at Baghmara. The district headquarters are located at Tura. The West Khasi Hills district is the largest district in the state with a geographical area of 5247 square kilometres. The district was carved out of Khasi Hills District. Its district headquarters is located at Nongstoin.
Economy of Meghalaya
Ten percent of the total area of Megahlaya is under cultivation. Meghalaya is important for fruit cultivation. Fruits include pineapples, oranges, bananas etc. The mandarin orange grown in Meghalaya is considered to be of very high quality. In addition to this, a large variety of vegetables are grown in the state including cauliflower, cabbage and radish. The important yields of the state are potato, rice, maize, pineapple, banana etc. Other crops include jute, ginger, mustard, sugarcane and chilly. Food grains are the most important crop in Meghalaya. They occupy nearly 60% of the state`s cultivated area. The climatic conditions of Meghalaya allow the growth of a large variety of horticulture crops as fruits, vegetables, flowers, spices and medicinal plants. Meghalaya is rich in minerals as coal, limestone, silimanite, kaolin and granite. The low level of industrialization and the poor infrastructure base acts as a barrier to the interest of the state`s economy.