It’s weird but interesting!
India is a melange of diverse cultures which combines visions of modernity with age-old traditions. Each of its 29 states and 7 union territories has a distinct culture that governs the lifestyle of its people. While some communities have embraced the modern times, the cultural ethos exhibited by the tribal groups is a sneak peak to a secluded world. Unscathed by commercialization, their lifestyle is a unique facet of Indian culture and enriches the layers of its diversity. The uniqueness of these tribal customs weaves another aspect of Incredible India and intrigues every admirer of this wonderful nation.
So, read below to discover the untouched reality of these tribal worlds forming one of the tides in India’s sea of wonders.
Tagged as one of the most private tribes in this world, the Sentinelese tribe of Andamans are keepers of the old worldly ways. Their lifestyle discards the ways of civilization and any attempt of contact from the outside world results in dangerous and violent attacks of defence that maintains their belief of Live and Let Live. Their culture provides a sneak peek into the primitive era as the Sentinelese tribe refrains from everything that is civilizational. This is reflected in their attires made of leaves and fibre strings in addition to their weapons that are made from stones and animal bones.
Various contact expeditions from the outside world included visits whereby gifts such coconuts were left on the shore to please the islanders but all resulted in a shoot-out of arrows and spears. Weird but true, the Sentinelese Tribe of Andamans still connects the world with the days of its origin.
Residents of the north-eastern state of Meghalaya, Khasi tribe get their name from the language that they speak. Living in a society controlled by Women Power, they follow a matrilineal system where a woman heads the family and the girl child inherits the ancestral property.
Forward in their thoughts and actions, their set of rituals puts the hypocrisy of the modern world in a fit of shame. One of them is their unique ritual of divorce. During the Khasi process of divorce, the husband needs to give his wife five paise. His wife adds another five paise of her own, and hands over the total amount to the elder member of the family who throws the money away. This complete the process and the couple is now happily divorced!
An indigenous tribe inhabiting the Silent Valley National Park lying in Kerala, the Cholanaikkans are one of the last existing hunter-gatherer tribe of this area. Following the standards of Stone Age, they prefer solitude and prevent any kind of interaction with the outside world. However, unlike other tribes, they have come a bit forward with time as they wear clothes and use household articles and tools. As animists, they venerate spirits and reject idolised worship. For them, nature is their religion and trees are the only icons of divinity.
Providing a realistic vision of a partly utopic world, the Chenchus can be the most progressive tribe residing in Andhra Pradesh. Liberal in their thoughts, they preserve a society having no rigid rules for divorce and widow remarriage. Everyone has the freedom to marry whoever he/she desires without any parental pressure. Their whole clan is divided into Gotras (like our caste system) and generally marriage within the same gotra is not allowed. Progressive in their social traditions, Chenchus ways of living might possibly form useful lessons for our sometimes unyielding society.
Much like the rest in the list, the Jarawas of Andamans too boasts of a bundle of intriguing customs governing their lifestyle. One of them is the tradition of renaming their children when they reach the stage of puberty. A moment of celebration, this ritual is marked by a grand ceremony. During this, a boy needs to hunt a pig and offers the kill to the elderly. On the other hand, the girl is smeared in oil, clay and gum to mark her teens. After this, the entire village rejoices in the happiness of giving their children new identities. Also, even though the Jarawas are strictly non-vegetarians they don’t hunt deers which are abundant in their region. Such different customs make this tribe unique and evoke a sense of wonder in every explorer.
So, have you yet got a chance to explore this unveiled part of India? Tell us more in the comments below.