Rabha (also Rava) are the plain tribal people of the Indian states of Assam, Meghalaya and West Bengal. The language/dialect spoken by the Rabha people are many as there are sub divisions among the Rabha tribe itself . In Assam, the Rabhas live mostly in Goalpara and Kamrup districts. In Meghalaya, Rabhas are mostly found in Garo Hills districts. In West Bengal, Rabha people mainly live in Jalpaiguri district and Cooch Behar district. Moreover, almost, 70 percent of them live in Jalpaiguri district. The whole area of Eastern and Western Dooars, may be termed as the cradle land of the Rabhas. The Rabhas refer to themselves as Koch and assert a connection to the historical Koch Kingdom in part of West Bengal.
Rabha:a Tibeto Burman languageEdit
Rabha,which has hardly received any scholarly attention till today is a member of the Tibeto-Burman (TB) language family which “encompasses a great deal of linguistic diversity and the geographical area over which the languages are spoken does not coincide with any conveniently designated geographical or political area“ The two long-established and widely cited classification of TB are that of shafer and that of Banedict besides that of Grierson,Egerod and voegelin-Voegelin. With additional data available about several languages David Bradley proposes a revised scheme.A very general statement that can be made about the place given to Rabha is that at the lowest level all texonomies place it along with Garos and it’s dialects.
Religion and cultureEdit
The Ancient Rabha people traditionally practiced a few animistic rituals. However, today they more often follow a faith, which is a blend of some Hindu and a few animistic rituals But also there are Christian Rabhas who follows Christianity. There are considerable differences in ritual practices among forest Rabhas who still live in the forest villages and the Rabhas that live in the villages as cultivators. The forest Rabhas follow traditional animistic practices tinged with some rituals of mainstream Hinduism. On the other hand, village Rabhas have merged with local Hindus and Christians as far as their religious practices are concerned.[clarification needed]
The ancient Rabha people's religious world is pervaded with various spirits and natural objects. The main deity of the Rabhas is called Rishi. Rishi, for the forest Rabhas as well as village Rabhas, is a male deity. He is also known as Mahakal. Forest Rabhas worship him in all important social and religious ceremonies.[clarification needed]
- Rabha language
- Rabha Hasong Autonomous Council
- Bishnuprasad Rabha
- Assamese language
- Himalayan Languages Project
- Mitra, A. (1953), West Bengal: District Handbooks: Jalpaiguri, Govt. of West Bengal
- Saha, Rebatimohon (1987) "Jalpaiguri Jelar Koch-Rabha Samaj" (in Bengali) published in Ananda Gopal Ghosh edited Madhuparni, Special issue on Jalpaiguri District.
- Raha, M.K. (1974) "The Rabhas of Western Duars: Structural Analysis of a Changing Matrilineal Society", Bulletin of the Cultural Research Institute, Vol. 10 (1 & 2).
- Ghosh, Saumitra (1990) "Vanbasi Rabhara" (in Bengali) Desh, Vol 57 (12), January 20.
- Roy Choudhury, B. (1970) "Social Mobility Movement among the Rabhas of North Bengal", Man in India, Vol 50 (1).
- Gupta, Pabitra Kumar (1977) "Uttarbanger Rahba Samaj O Dharmasanskar Aandolon", (in Bengali) in Madhuparni: Special North Bengal Issue, 1977.