Chong-Kedam : A traditional Karbi Shield & Sword Dance

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Chong-Kedam a traditional Karbi shield and sword dance performed during elephant festival at Kaziranga National Park, Assam.

The Karbis, mentioned as the Mikir in the Constitution Order of the Government of India, are one of the major ethnic groups in North-east India and especially in the hill areas of Assam. The great artist-scholar Bishnu Prasad Rabha used to refer to them as the Columbus of Assam. They prefer to call themselves Karbi, and sometimes Arleng (literally "man" in the Karbi language). The term Mikir is now not preferred and is considered to be derogatory. The closest meaning of mikir could said to be derived from "Mekar".

The Karbis linguistically belong to the Tibeto-Burman group. The original home of the various people speaking Tibeto-Burman languages was in western China near the Yang-Tee-Kiang and the Howang-ho rivers and from these places they went down the courses of the Brahmaputra, the Chindwin and the Irrawaddy and entered India and Burma. The Karbis, along with others entered Assam from Central Asia in one of the waves of migrations.

The folk-lores of the Karbis, however, indicate that during the long past, once they used to live on the banks of the rivers the Kalang and the Klopli and the entire Kajiranga area, the famous National Park situated in Assam, was within their habitation. During the reigns of the Dimasa Kachari kings, they were driven to the hills and some of them entered into Jaintia hills, the erstwhile Jaintia Kingdom and lived under Jaintia suzerainty.

While a section of the Karbis remained in the Jaintia kingdom, others moved towards north-east by crossing the river Barapani, a tributary of the Klopli and entered into the Rongkhang Ranges. There they established their capital at a place called Socheng. The Karbis who migrated to the Ahom Kingdom had to face the Burmese invasion.

The Burmese who invaded Assam perpetrated inhumane oppression on the people. The Karbis took refuge in the deep jungles and high hills leaving their hearth and home in the sub-mountainous regions. In order to save themselves from the greedy eyes of the Burmese invaders, the young Karbi girls started to use a black line from the forehead to the chin which is known a "DUK" with a view to making them ugly looking. While some of the Karbis migrated to Western Assam, some had crossed the Brahmaputra and settled in the north bank.


Source :- Wikipedia

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Posted 5 years ago in travel
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