Saturday, June 3, 2023

The People

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Meghalaya is dominated by three principal groups of people. The Garo in the east and west Garo hills, the Khasi-Pnar in the east and west Khasi hills and the Jaintia hills. They follow primarily a matrilineal system. The Khasi group belongs to the Mon-Khemar sub-family of the Austro group of people. The Garo group is a part of the greater Bodo Kacheri family both by ethnic group and language.

Their present location enabled them to maintain many of their traits and characteristics.

The Khasi-Pnar group indicated two prominent sub-groups of the Khasi and the Pnar. The former occupied the central highlands or the Khasi hills and the latter towards east, the Jaintia hills. The groups living in the northern and southern part of the main central highland, section were known by the terms of 'The Bhoi and War'. They are divided into number of clans and are essentially differentiated from each other by their location and function they perform. 

Within the four districts of the combined Khasi and Jaintia hills there are number of dialects. Based on the dialects, the community is generally divided into five groups namely the Khasis of the central plateau, the Pnars or Jaintia in the east, the Wars in the south, the Lyngams in the west and the Bhois in the north.

The Meghalaya plateau is inhabited by three dominant tribes. These are: 

  1.  The Garos in the western section of the plateau

  2.  The Khasis in the central section of the plateau

  3.  The Jaintia in the eastern section of the plateau