Bodo tribe of Assam
Bodos are the ethnic tribe of Assam and were among the early settlers of Assam. They are the majority tribe in Assam with 1.2 million people according to 1991 census and they constitute 5.3 percent of Assam's population. The Bodos belong to a larger ethnic group known as Bodo kachari.
The Bodos mainly inhabit the Kokrajhar and Udalguri areas of Assam.
The Bodo Kachari people
The Bodo Kachari people are settled in most states of nort east India and some parts of Nepal. The Kachari group has 18 sub groups and Bodos constitute the majority of the group. The word 'Bodo' actually means a male clan of the Royal dimasa kachari people. However the exact history of Bodos hasn't been confirmed and there are several irregular disciplinaries on the same. Also the Bodos do not display any tribal culture and do not perform any primitive ritual.
The Bodos speak the Bodo language and presently close to 1 million people speak this language.
The Bodos used to write in Assamese and Roman script. However recently they have adopted the Devnagiri script.
Bodos were one of the earliest in northeast to employ cultivation of food grains, poultry farming, tea plantation and silk production. The staple food of the Bodo people is rice with fish and other non vegetarian food like chicken and pork.
Weaving is another feature of Bodo culture. Bodo people are skilled weavers and every house has one loom and they weave their own shawls and Dokhnas(the traditional dress of Bodo people). They also rear silk worm in their homes which they use to produce silk.
Religious beliefs of Bodo people
The Bodo people believe in worshipping their forefathers known as Bathouism. Ba means five and thou means deep in Bodo language. The number five is considered lucky and is a significant number in Bodo religion.
Nowadays the Bodos have started to follow other religions like Hinduism and Christianity.
The Bodos and the demand for Bodoland
The Bodos although been categorised as ST by the Government of India had very educational opportunities as most of the educational institutes were located in far off cities like Guwahati and very few Bodos could manage to get into them. Also most of the offices in Assam were filled with the main land people and hence they had very less job opportunities too. This led to several agitations and hence claiming of a separate state called Bodoland. The Bodoland in demand consists of districts of Kokrajhar, Baksa, Chirang and Udalguri in the state of Assam. Many underground organisations have been formed for the demand for the same. Also there has been rising concern over poaching of endangered animals in the Manas national park due to poaching by these underground outfits in the recent times.
Festivals of Bodos
Baishagu is the most famous festival of the Bodos. It marks the advent of new year and is celebrated by dancing and singing.