ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Demand for Scheduled Tribe Status by Koch-Rajbongshis

In the pre-independence period, the detribalisation process seemed to be a means for tribes to get rid of social exclusion. But, in post-independence India, there have been continuous demands by various communities for retribalisation. In the politics of Assam, the Koch-Rajbongshi community along with five other communities, namely Tai-Ahom, Moran, Matak, Chutia, and Adivasi (Tea-Tribe) is demanding the Scheduled Tribe status. The authenticity of the Koch-Rajbongshi community’s demand is analysed.

Identity and recognition both are interdependent. Identity needs recognition for its presence. Without recognition, identity has no meaning. On the other hand, if there is no identity then what to recognise. The Koch-Rajbongshi community is facing a similar problem in Assam. Originally, they are a tribe, but due to lack of recognition they are not identified as a tribe. The lack of recognition is due to a paucity of proper evidence of their original tribal identity. It has been argued by a section that Koch” and “Rajbongshi” are different from each other while another section of people argues that these two constitute a single community. Among these, a few argue that only the “Koches are tribe but not the “Rajbongshis,” hence increasing the degree of confusion to a greater extent.

Presently, the Koch-Rajbongshi are inhabiting mainly in Assam, West Bengal, Meghalaya, and Bihar, and some parts of Nepal and Bangladesh. In West Bengal and Bihar, they are known as “Rajbongshi,” in Assam as “Koch,” “Rajbongshi,” and “Koch-Rajbongshi,” and in Meghalaya mainly as “Koch.” Though the community is known by diverse names in different states, their origin is the same, that is, “Koch.” They come from the Mongoloid race who migrated from the Tibetan region (Choudhury 2013).

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Updated On : 6th Nov, 2018

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