Significance of Bailwng in the Traditional Belief and Customs of the Bodos in Assam

Journal of the Anthropological Survey of India, 66(1-2) : (277-295), 2017

Significance of Bailwng in the Traditional Belief and Customs of the Bodos in Assam

Somenath Bhattacharjee and Franky Boro
1 Department of Anthropology, Assam University, Diphu Campus,Diphu, Karbi Anglong, Assam
2 Departments of Anthropology, North-Eastern Hill University, Shillong, Assam

Abstract
Bodo is a major indigenous group of North East India. They have a rich multi faceted and distinct culture of their own. Their agricultural practices, food habits and traditional belief systems have made them distinct and unique amongst the various tribes of the said region. Their traditions, myths and numerous folklores are intimately associated with different ritualistic practices and performances which are transmitted orally throughout the generations. It has framed the belief system and customary practices in the livelihood of the concerned people. Their traditional knowledge, ceremonies and customs are practiced with religious beliefs which also involve the worship of souls, spirits and other supernatural agencies. The Bailwng or village priest has an immensely important role in the traditional belief system of the Bodos. They perform certain rituals, pray, worship and chants to appease the benevolent deities and for their blessings during the festival. Without these religious specialists the concerned people cannot conduct any rituals and religious ceremonies. In this paper an attempt has been made to study the significance of the Bailwng or village priest in practicing rites and rituals of Bodo people dwelling in Darrang district of Assam. The paper also attempts to study oral traditions, myth, legends and folktales prevailed among them and simultaneously to find out the probable ways of their documentation to revitalize the rich oral traditions of this indigenous group. The paper has been prepared through primary data collected from fieldwork by applying anthropological research methods.

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