The TRIPURA

The Tripura or tipra is one of the ancient ethnic groups living in the Indian subcontinent. They live throughout the whole of the CHT in a scatter manner. The word 'Tripra' originate from the word Top (the sanskrit meaning is river ) and 'Pra' (which means the confluence). So the total meaning stands the people who lived in the confluence of rivers. They are medium statured and belong to the Mongoloid group (CDRB 1992).

Because of geographical location and boundary a significant number of Tripuras acquired citizenship of Bangladesh after the subcontinent divided in 1947. and they took part in the liberation war in 1971 spontaneously. The Tripuras are Mongoloid in respect of racial origin. They are divided in to various communities which they call 'Dafar. As many as 36 dafar have been identified (CDRB 1992). Of the 36 dafas 16 are in Bangladesh (Rahman 2008).

Religion

Tripuras are mainly the followers of Hinduism but their beliefs and religious practices are different from the caste Hindus in many ways. Difference have been found in performing their puja and many other socio-religious festival than pure Hinduism. Some of them believe in Animism/Sanaton Dharma (the eternal religion). Some convert to Chistinanity. They worship fourteen god and goddnesses. (Tripura 2007). 'Bishu' is their national festival known as 'Biha' in Assam. Like Hindus, Tripuras believe in life hereafter and consider that those who have done good work will live in ease and comfort in the next life but that wrong doers will face ceaseless toil and constant harassment.

Indigenous Communities - The Tripura The Tripura Dance. All Rights Reserved.

Language

The Tripura has a verbal language called 'Hillam' (Kagbarak/Kokborok) but no alphabet (CDRB 1992). This language is called Cork-Bork in the Indian sub-continent. According to the anthropologists, the Tripuras are Indo-Mongoloid in racial origin and they have Mongolian characteristic among themselves with some distinctiveness. But it is no sure that their language would be mongoloid though they are Indo-Mongoloid by birth. It is seen in the research that Cork-Bork is a Tibeto-Burmese oriented language in the attached work named 'words of Tripura language' by Smart in Revenue belong to 'Lusai' language (Smart 1860).

Habitation and Population

Indigenous Communities - The Tripura The Tripura Couple. All Rights Reserved.

More than a hundred thousand Tripuras are living in CHT. Besides about fifty thousand have been scattered in Chittagong, Noakhali, Comilla, Sylhet, Faridpur and Dhaka (Tripura 2007). The number of Tripuras in the CHT area was 79,772 in1991. This figure accounts for 6.6% of the total Indigenous population in the CHT.

Dresses

The Tipra wears simple clothes which they weaved themselves. The men wear a turban called 'Khaban' and 'Dhuti'. The women have 'Pinons' leke Chakma. A dress called 'Ring-nai' and Khadi for wearing around the breast. 'Rinai' and 'Risa' are the national clothes of the Tripura women. Rimtai and Kubai are the national dress of Tripura men. Rimati is weared for the Tripura cultured of clothes is a sign of their nationality. The Tripura women wear distinctive ornaments.

Social structure, Marriage and Rituals

The social structure of Tripuras is patriarchal. Father is the head of a family and vested to him. According to the norms, the eldest son of a family can inherit all his father's property but the other sons/daughters do not get any share at all. However, the right of the eldest son to inherit any property is forfeited if he separates himself from the parent's family when the father is still alive. In some class, daughters introduced themselves by her matrilineal line and become the owner of her mother's property.

Indigenous Communities - The Tripura The Tripura Playing Flute. All Rights Reserved.

Tripuras follow a custom of arranged marriage, which is traditionally not allowed within one's own group. There is no bar in marrying outside the tribe. Generally there are three types of marriage among the Tripuars. They are:

  1. Knijalal kwchang or projapati Marriage
  2. Kaijalai Bochong (love-marriage without any ceremony)
  3. Kaijalai kasur or Asur Marriage.

Formalities and procedures are completed in two ways in the Tripura marriage.

  1. Tantrik (Pursuing the rites prescribed in the Tantras of shaktas) way
  2. Vedic way.

The invitation culture is divided into two parts in this community. 'Pana' a dinner party where there are joys, happiness, hilarity, inspiration, impetus and welfare e.g. marriage others is 'samwng' where there are sorrows, pains, grict, separation and 'tritap' (three kinds of afflication-spritual, material and super natural). e.g. Death anniversaries.

As the Tripuras are rich both historically and culturally and being a ruling community, they have multidimensional festivals and rituals. Their national festival is Bwisu. Some other festival of them are Haribwisu, Bishume, Haba, Kharchi Worship, Shibrai Worship, Raj punnyah, Chumlai etc.

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