Fact Box: Garo Tribe of Meghalaya
Garo Hills State Movement Committee (GHSMC) submitted a memorandum to Prime Minister Narendra Modi demanding creation of Garoland for the Garo Tribe, to be carved out of tribal Garo inhabited areas in Meghalaya and Assam.
The Garo Hills State Movement Committee (GHSMC) on 3 August 2017 submitted a memorandum to Prime Minister Narendra Modi demanding creation of Garoland for the Garo Tribe, to be carved out of tribal Garo inhabited areas in Meghalaya and Assam.
The demand of GHSMC is in line with the States Reorganisations Act, 1956. GHSMC is the conglomeration of several Garo organisations, including the Garo National Council (GNC), a regional political party.
• Garo is a hilly tribe of North-eastern India, mainly of Meghalaya, with a tradition of shifting hill cultivation.
• They are also inhabited in Kamrup, Goalpara and Khasi hill regions of Assam, Mymensingh district of Bangladesh and in Jalpaiguri, Cooch-Behar districts of West Bengal.
• They are the second-largest tribe in Meghalaya after the Khasi and comprise about one third of the local population.
• Garo people speak Bodo–Garo branch of the Tibeto-Burman language family.
• The economic life of the Garo tribes revolves around agriculture and farming. Garo hills are suitable for cultivation where paddy, cotton, maize, millet, pulses are grown.
• In Garo tribes, women are the owners of property, making Garo a matrilineal society.
• There is a custom where the youngest daughter inherits the property from her mother and son shifts to his wife's place after getting married.
• The tribe is an endogamous unit; marriage with a non-Garo is not socially approved.
• A large part of the Garo community follow Christianity, with some rural pockets still following traditional animist religion known as Songsarek.
• Their greatest festival is the Wangala, usually celebrated in October or November to honour Saljong, the god who provides mankind with nature’s bounties and ensures their prosperity.
• It is believed that Garos migrated to Meghalaya about 400 years ago from Tibet under the leadership of ‘Garu’, their leader cum guide.