Khasis are known by different names according to the tracts they occupy. Those
who inhabit the northern lowlands and foothills are collectively called Bhois,
those who live in southern tracts are called Wars. While those inhabiting
the tracts adjoining Garo hill are called Lyngngams or Dkos but
Khasi is the general name. The Khasi name for the people of the plains is Dkhar
usually contracted to Khar. The Khasis which enumerates the exogamous clans of
Khyrem Syiemship alone will show that a good proportion of the clans is made up
of those descended from original ancesters from the plains. These clans or sects
is called Kurs in Khasi. These Kurs are invariably exogamous. Marriage within
the Kur is unthinkable to a Khasi. Ostracism is the least form of punishment.
Society can inflict on those who contravene the law, the ultimate punishment.
people of the Jaintia Hills belong to the same race as those who live in the
Khasi hills to their west. They share some traditions of origin and with some
understandable local variations, same customs, beliefs and habits. These
language is variant of the standard Khasi language.
people of the Jaintia hills have various names given by various anthropological
authorities such as Jayantias, Syntengs. The people commonly refer to themselves
Khasi and Jaintia tribal groups include :
Khynriam in the central upland
Pnar of the Jaintia hills. They are also called as the Jaintia and Syntang
War in the southern parts.
Bhoi in the northern parts.
Besides these, there are Mikirs in the north, Lalung, Viate, Vaiphe and Hmass in
the Jaintia hills, Rabhas and Garos in the north and the Ayongs or Hajongs found
scattered in the southern parts.
inhabitants of this area trace their origin to Austro-Asiatic family and have
migrated from the south-east Asia. They came from the east and settled in groups
to form scattered village settlements in the hilly terrain. The Khasis were
shifting cultivators and widely practiced jhum cultivation.