(Last Updated on : 30/06/2010)
The Mikir tribes are distributed in several parts of Assam and several parts of Golaghat subdivision of the Sibsagar district, Khasi Hills, Kamrup, North Cachar Hills and Nowgong. Some of the people of the whole of the Indian subcontinent even refer them as Mikiri, Manchati and Karbi. As per the provision of the Indian constitution, this Mikir tribal community is one of the Scheduled tribe of Indian Territory. Moreover, the Mikir tribal community has been referred as Karbi. Even they themselves also like to be identified as Arleng.
One can spot some of this Mikir tribal community in different districts of the Assam valley. Apart from residing in different places of Assam
, this Mikir tribal community is found in other places of India like Meghalaya
etc. The alternative names of the Mikir tribal community are Karbi Karbak, Manchati, Arleng Alam, Puta, Mikiri, Nihang. These Mikir tribes have identifiable body features. The complexion of the people of Mikir tribal community is generally yellowish brown. However there are quite few who have got quite fair complexion. The physical stature of this tribal community is quite noticeable. Maximum of males of these Mikir tribes have got tall height. Dresses too are quite exquisite to look at. Like many of the tribal communities of Indian subcontinent, both Mikir males and females have their own set of apparels, which are really very stylish. The Mikir male wear an elongated stripy coat, better known as 'choi'. A choi generally does not have any sleeves and is full with 'fringes' that covers the lower part of his body that goes up to his knees.
The costumes of the Mikir tribes are quite exclusive. These Mikir males also wear a small 'dhoti' which is popularly known as Rikong. Usually these are made up of silk. On the head they put on a 'pagri' or 'pohu'. Special sets of clothes are there for the Mikir males to beat the cold of the winter season. During this time, these Mikir tribes wrap themselves with a wrapper or 'bor-kapor' of 'eri-silk' which keep them hot and warm. The Mikir tribes from other Assamese people have adapted this typical style. Also a Mikir woman dress in a petticoat .It is called 'pini' which has been tied around the waist with a beautiful ornamental belt, better known as 'vankok'. The upper part of the body is enclosed with 'jisso'. It is a wrapper which passes below the arms and drawn tight over the breasts. Both Mikir males and females keep their hair in the back, which is united in a knot above the 'nape'.
Jewelries are considered as an important part of the costumes and dressing of the Mikir tribal people. gold and silver metals are used for making jewelleries. The Mikir women put in a silver tube in the ear lobes. Ear rings of gold and silver are perched from the upper part of their ears. Necklaces, rings, bracelets of gold and silver are frequently worn by these Mikir tribal women. Especially during the festive season, feathers of the hornbill embellish the head of both Mikir male and female.
Housing of these Mikir tribes too are exclusive. In fact the Mikir tribes build their houses on the floor quite a few feet above the ground. Typical house of a Mikir tribe is made up of spilt and is compacted with bamboo. Also the roof of a Mikir house is thatched with sun grass.
The house of the Mikir tribal community can be divided into individual 'compartments'. The furniture of the house by and large constitutes of an elevated 'platform' of spilt canes which functions as a bed, a chunk of wood corresponding to the Assamese pira or low bench. There are also some of the Mikir members amongst the tribal community where baskets of bamboo serve up the purpose of wardrobes, in which paddy, domestic goods and garments are kept. Joints of bamboo are utilized as water containers and also for keeping jewelries and other treasure of the family.
Moreover, the language of the Mikir tribal community is known as Mikir language. Some of the Mikir tribes also develop fluency in a beautiful dialect of the Mikir language, which is popularly known as Amri. Apart from these, only a handful of Mikir tribal community speaks in Assamese language. This Mikir language has a belonging to the famous Tibeto-Burman language group.
Just like tribal communities of the whole of the Indian subcontinent, this Mikir tribal community practices various activities related to cultivation and farming. Main crops that this Mikir tribal community produces on a daily basis include wet rice.
These Mikir tribes too have got orientation towards religion and also spiritual beliefs. Popular religions that this Mikir tribal community fetes in great exuberance include Hinduism
etc. To add to it, these Mikir tribes also have developed their own sets of indigenous beliefs and also customs. This has enabled to make the culture and tradition of the whole of the state so enriched and ennobled.