Social Scientist. v 9, no. 101-02 (Dec-Jan 1899) p. 44.


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The Reangs of Tripura: Socio-Cidtural and Agro-Economic Changes

TRIPURA is a real amalgam of cultures. It is here that the Bodo culture still blooms meaningfully amidst the sophisticated songs of Tagore that one hears so often. A lar^e majority of the people arc Bengalis, refugees from East Bengal (Bangladesh). The tribals cannot be easily classified, for they overlap each other. For the sake of facility, if for no other reason, they have been classified as the tribes of the Kuki-Gbin language group, the Tripuri group, and the other tribes.1

The percentage of tribal community to the total population of Tripura, as per the 1971 Census, was 28.95—Tripura/Trippra 16.08 percent, Reangs 4.15 percent, Jamatias 2.19 percent, Ghakma 1.84 percent and Halam 1.22 percent respectively. These tribal communities were the major constituents of the total tribal population of Tripura (Table I).

It is said that in the olden days the Reangs lived in the Maiyanithlang area of Lushai Hills, bordering on and stretching into the Arakans in Burma. It is probable they spoke a tongue closely related to the Austro-Asiatic ^family of languages. In that case they must be close kins of the Kuki-Ghins. They must have been the lower caste among these clans and due to heavy demands made on them, they migrated to the Karnaphuli valley of Chitta-gong hill tracts where they set up small settlements during the reign of Ratna Manikya in the fourteenth century. Later, when the Kukis too followed them there and sought to reassert their authority over them, they fled to Hill Tipperah (now Tripura). Starting from Amarpur, they spread gradually over the whole state. The feeling of master and slave that must have existed in the past between the tribes of the Kuki-Ghin group and the Reangs is still evident today wherever these tribes have 'come in contact. In the Jampui Hills of Tripura the more numerous Reangs are nothing more than serfs of the Mizos, a position which the Lushais claim



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