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Unrecognized South Asia: An introduction to the Tripuri people

Posted by Eric Brightwell, August 25, 2014 11:47am | Post a Comment
India is home to over 1.21 billion people, roughly 18% of entire human population. Indians speak Austroasiatic, Dravidian, Indo-European, and Tibeto-Burman languages (as well as two language isolates) and there are over 2,000 ethnic groups in the vast country. India's considerable diversity, however, tends to be simplified or overlooked in the west, where Hindi language Bollywood cinema becomes metonymic for the entire Indian film industry and North Indian cooking (rather than being subdivided into Awadhi, Bihari, Bhojpuri, Kumauni, Kashmiri, Punjabi, Rajasthani, or Uttarpradeshi) becomes shorthand for the cuisine of an entire subcontinent.


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THE TRIPURI

One of the less-widely recognized or discussed ethnic groups in India are the Tripuri (also known as the Tipra or Tipperah). They are believed to have migrated from somewhere in Western China to the Brahmaputra Valley at least 2,000 years ago -- which may sound like a long time ago but is relatively recent in a subcontinent believed to have been first settled by humans at least 70,000 years ago and another hominid species, Homo heidelbergensis, perhaps as many as 800,000 years before them. 


 
Members of the Debbarma Tribe of Tripuri (image source: Northeast Indian People) and
Tripuri refugees of interethnic conflict (image source:
Intercontinental Cry)


Exactly when the Tripuri Kingdom arose is an unresolved question. The Rajmala -- a chronicle of Tripuri kings -- was written in the 15th Century and lists 179 rulers but the accuracy of its claims is in question. At various times, the borders of the Tripuri Kingdom reached south to the Bay of Bengal, north to the boundary of the Kamarupa Kingdom in Assam; and east to Burma. Muslim invasions occurred from the 13th century onward and exerted considerable influence on the Tripuri government. During Britain's occupation of India, Tripura became a princely state. In the 19th Century, still under the British, the capital was moved to Agartala.


The kings of the Tripura princely state had long encouraged Bengali immigration -- which contributed to improved agricultural techniques, an englarged administrative sphere, and a linguistic shift in courtly literature. However, after the Tripuri kingdom joined the newly independent India in 1949, Bengali immigration increased and the Tripuri became a minoriy in their own homeland, which unfortunately contributed to a rise in interethnic violence. Today Bengalis represent roughly 69% of Tripuri's population whereas the Tripuri make up just 17%. The modern state is the third-smallest state in the India. In the past there have been organizations who've sought to restore Tripuri's independence including the Tripura National Volunteers (TNV), the National Liberation Front of Tripura, the All Tripura Tiger Force and at least nine others.


The Tibeto-Burman language of the Tripuri is sometimes known as Tripuri but more often as Kókborok. Kókborok was recognized as an official language of Tipura state in 1979. Religiously speaking, most Tripuri are Hindu and believe in a patron goddess, Tripureshwari. Several regionally-observed festivals represent confluence of several tribal traditions, such as Ganga puja, Garia puja, Kharchi puja, and the Ker puja, which honors the guardian deity of Vastu Devata, "Ker."


The traditional cuisine of Tripura is known as mui borok. Rice is the staple food. A key ingredient in many dishes is berma, a type of dried and fermented fish. Vegetarianism is actually rather rare and in addition to fishchickens, cows, crabs, frogs, pigs, sheep, shrimp, and turtles are all likely to be found on the menu. Popular dishes include chatang (a millet or sorghum flour mush) and mosodeng (a dish prepared with chiles, berma, meat, and vegetables). A popular drink is chuak, a sort of rice beer. 




As mentioned earlier, it is inaccurate to equate Mumbai's Hindi Language musicals – Bollywood – with Indian Cinema. Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, Gujarat, Haryana, Jammu and Kashmir, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Kerala, Manipur, Odisha, Punjab, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Uttar Pradesh, and West Bengal all have their own cinematic cultures. Despite a rich theater tradition, Tripura has not yet emerged as major film-producing center. It has produced at least one filmmaker who's garnered a degree of international recognition though, Father Joseph Pulinthanath. In 2004 he completed Mathia (The Bangle), which was well-received at home. Yarwng (Roots), completed in 2008, concerned the displacement of large numbers of Tripuri by the construction of a dam and played in cities in Asia, Europe, North America, and Oceania and was honored with several awards. Both were released by Sampari Pictures.

There have been a few Tripuri who've gained exposure within the Indian entertainment industry. Mandakranta Debbarma was a contestant on MTV Splitsvilla, an Indian reality show modeled after Flavor of Love




The folk music of the Tripuri uses a variety of indigenous instruments including the chongpreng, dangdu, kham, sarinda (a lute-like instrument played with a bow), summi (a bamboo flute), and cymbals.  



One musician, Hemanta Jamatia, gained attention in 1979 when he used his musical talents to compose and perform the revolutionary soundtrack to the separatist struggle of the TNV, with which he was then affiliated. He renounced violence in 1983 but continued to fight for the Tripuris right to self-determination through his songs, which number over 200 in number. In 1996 he became the first Tripuri folk musician to be honored by India's Sangeet Natak Academy.





In 2009, Tripuri singer 
Sourabhee Debbarma (born 1985 in Agartala, Tripura) became the first female contestant to win on Indian Idol.


Tripuri musician Borkung Hrangkhawl (born 1987 in Kamlacherra), performs his raps as BK. His father is president of the Indigenous Nationalist Party of Twipra.

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As always, I welcome any corrections and will happily consider making relevant additions. If you can make a visit to Tripuri happen for me, that would be even better. 


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New World Music Releases on LP!!!

Posted by Gomez Comes Alive!, November 14, 2011 12:28am | Post a Comment


There has been an amazing amount of new World Music releases on LP over the last three months. It has become so overwhelming that I thought I’d better call attention to it. Whether you like reissues of obscure World Music albums, hits collections, compilations, or new music, we have plenty of recent arrivals for your turntable. Not only do we have lots of new releases, but at the Hollywood store we have plenty of used LPs and two rows of collector LPs on the wall just above the Country/Bluegrass section. Listed below are some of my favorite new releases, broken down by geographical regions. 




Africa:

La Grande Cantatrice Malienne Vol 3 (plus download) - 
Na Hawa Doumbia
Danger - 
Lijadu Sisters
Wake Up Your Mind - 
Joni Haastrup
Give The Beggar A Chance & Dawn Of Awareness - 
Monomono
Jealousy/ No Discrimination / No Accommodation For Lagos  / Progress - 
Tony Allen
Bambara Mystic Soul – The Raw Sound Of Burkina Faso 1974 to 1979 V/A
S/T El Rego
Obi Agye Me Dofo Vis-A-Vis




Latin America:

Revolucion Psicofasica En Bolivia 1969 to 1975
  - V/A
Dreaming - Sabrina Malheiros
Original Sound Of Cumbia – History Of Colombian Cumbia & Porro As Told By The Phonograph 1948 to 1979 – Compiled By Quantic -  V/A
Constelacion Los Destellos
Rhythms Of Black Peru V/A



Europe:

Roses Rouge Sang / Electro Rapide 
Jean Claude Vannier
Movimento Perpetuo / Guitarra Portuguesa Carlos Paredes



Asia/South Asia:

Beautiful Rivers And Mountains – The Psychedelic Rock Sound Of South Korea's Shin Joong Hyun 1958 to 1974 - Shin Joong Hyun
Nippon Guitars – Instrumental Surf, Eleki, & Tsugaru Rock 1966 to 1974 - Takeshi Terauchi
Bollywood Bloodbath – The B-Music Of The Indian Horror Film IndustryV/A
Life Is Dance – Plugged In Sounds Of Wonder At The Pakistani Picture House V/A



Middle East/Turkey/Afghanistan:

Hip 70s Afghan Beats Ahmad Zahir
Istanbul 70 – Psych, Disco, Folk Classics V/A
Mechul – Singles & Rarities Erkin Koray


  Can't make it to our store or find it at Amoeba.com? You could always use our mail order!

A Look at Baloch Arts and Culture and an Urgent Appeal to Prevent the Execution of a Child

Posted by Eric Brightwell, July 28, 2010 01:48pm | Post a Comment


Balochistan (بلوچستان) is a UNPO member nation that lies along the division between the Middle East and South Asia. It is currently divided between Iran, Pakistan and Afghanistan.


Mehrgarh

The area was first settled c. 7000-6000 BCE by the Dravidian ancestors of the modern day Brahui. The ruins of the Neolithic Mehghar reveal it to be one of the earliest sites with evidence of farming and herding in South Asia.

From the first to third centuries, AD, the area was ruled by Indo-Scythian or Indo-Parthian kings, the Pāratarājas. During the Arab Conquest in the 700s, Islam and Arabic culture arrived. In the 1000s, fleeing the Seljuk Turks, and in the 1200s, fleeing the Khagan of the Mongol Empire, numerous Aryan tribes arrived. All found the harsh, arid and mountainous ideally isolated and today, Baloch people's DNA reveals a rich genetic mix with varying degrees of Arab, Aryan, Dravidian, Greek, Kurdish and Turk ancestry.

Continue reading...

Obscure and Unrecognized South Asia & Indian Ocean

Posted by Eric Brightwell, May 30, 2010 11:30am | Post a Comment


South Asia
is the most populous and densely populated region in the planet's most populous continent. Not surprisingly, therefore, it's home to many culturally rich nationalities who still struggle in the post-Colonial world for recognition, equality and self-determination.

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(If interested, there are similar entries about Caucasia, Eastern Europe and North Asia.)

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Assam


Assamese dancers (photo by Ramesh Lalwani)

The earliest known settlers in Assam are believed to be the Khasi and Synteng people of southeast Asia. The were later marginalized by the arrival of the Tibeto-Burman language speaking Monpas, Sherdukpens, Bhutan, Mishings, Deuris and Bodo-Kachari. The last major wave of immigrants seems to have been the Hindus around 500 BCE, although small numbers of many other groups have arrived since. As such, Assam today is a highly hybridized place that nonetheless is struggling for autonomy.


Assamese Music
Ankiya Nat
(Onkeeya Naat) is a traditional Vaishnav musical theatre dating back to the 1400s. Borgeet are popular Vaishnav songs dating back from the same era. There's also a significant folk music tradition that shares many characteristics with Burmese, Chinese and Thai music and is a significant influence on the popular music of artists like Anima Choudhury, Bhupen Hazarika, Javanta Hazarika, Jitul Sonowal, Khagen Mahanta, Luit Konwar Rudra Baruah, Nirmalendu Choudhury, Parvati Prasad Baruva, Utpalendu Choudhury and Zubeen Garg.

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Balochistan


The Dravidian-speaking Brahui of Balochistan are thought to be a remnant of the Dravidian migration to India thousands of years earlier. After the area was ruled by several people, the Iranian Baloch people first settled the arid desert of Balochistan about 1,000 years ago after fleeing the Seljuq Turks. Today, Balochi are widely believed to have assimilated varying degrees of Arab, Greek and Turkish ancestry. Today Balochistan is a member of UNPO.


Music of Balochistan
The music of Balochistan incorporates various influences from Iran and Pakistan and includes Sepad, Shabtagi and Vazbad (various types of hymns), and melancholic Zayirak. Famous performers and composers include Ali Reza Askani, Aref Baloch, Asim Baloch, Bakshi Baloch, Saeed Borhanzahi, Shah Jaan Dawoodi and Abdul Sattar Baloch.

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Bangabhumi


Human rights activist and Hindu Bangladeshi Taslima Nasreen

The Hindu Republic of Bangabhumi declared independence from Bangladesh in 2003. The movement was founded in 1973 in India soon after Bangladeshi independence to support the Hindu refugees from Bangladesh, who were targeted by the Pakistani army in the 1971 Bangladesh atrocities.


Music of Hindus in Bangladesh
Many Hindus in Bangladesh have achieved fame either as musicians (Subir Nandi, Tapan Chowdhury, Shuvro Dev, Rathindranath Roy, Aroti Dhar and Shefali Gosh) or composers (Ajit Roy, Subal Das and Subhash Datta). However, with the dwindling, persecuted Hindu minority spread throughout the country, there's no reason to think all of these artists identify with Bangabhumi.

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Bodoland


Bodo dancers

The early history of Bodos is largely unknown. Cultural assimilation with Assamese was not productive. By the end of 70's it became clear that Bodos had a little or no influence in the Indian political process. The official Bodoland Movement[1] for an independent state of Bodoland started on March 2, 1987 under the leadership of Upendranath Brahma of the All Bodo Students' Union (ABSU).


Music of Bodoland
The Bodos traditionally dance the Bagurumba. Their traditional music is played on local instruments including the Siphung, the Serja, the Tarkha, the Kham and the Khawang.

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Gilgit Baltistan


First mentioned by the Chinese in the 700s, according to the GBUM, the region enjoyed a brief period of independence between November 1, 1947, when the suzerainty of the Dogra rulers of the Kashmir princely state ceased to exist, and November 16, 1947, when the local inhabitants liberated their region and opted to join Pakistan. The territory is part of the larger disputed territory of Kashmir and has been in dispute between India, Pakistan, and China since 1947. On 29 August 2009, the Gilgit-Baltistan Empowerment and Self-Governance Order 2009 was passed by the Pakistani cabinet and later signed by the President. They are a member of UNPO.


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Chagos Archipelago


The Chagos Archipelago is a group of seven atolls comprising more than 60 individual tropical islands roughly in the centre of the Indian Ocean. The Chagossian people's ancestry is mostly of African heritage, particularly coming from Madagascar, Mozambique and Mauritius. There is also a significant proportion of Indian ancestry. The French brought them over as slaves from Mauritius in 1786. The Chagos were home to the Chagossians for more than a century and a half until the United Kingdom and the United States expelled them in the 1960s in order to allow the US to build a military base on Diego Garcia, the largest of the Chagos Islands. Many have fought for their right to return, only to be stymied by the British government.



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Chittagong Hill Tracts


The indigenous peoples, collectively known as the Jumma, include the Chakma, Marma, Tripura, Tenchungya, Chak, Pankho, Mru, Murung, Bawm, Lushai, Khyang, Gurkha, Assam, Santal and Khumi. The early history of the Chittagong Hill Tracts is a record of constantly recurring raids on the part of the eastern hill tribes, and of the operations undertaken to repress them. The earliest mention of these raids is to be found in a letter from the Chief of Chittagong to Warren Hastings, the Governor-General, dated April 1777, in which he complains of the violence and aggressions of a mountaineer named Ramu Khan, the leader of a band of Kukis or Lushais. The Chittagong Hill Tracts, combining three hilly districts of Bangladesh, were once known as Korpos Mohol, the name used until 1860. In 1860 it was annexed by the British and was made an administrative district of Bangladesh and a member of UNPO.



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Dimasaland


Dimasa women sorting snails

In the Mahabharata there is mention of the foothill dwellers of the Great Himalayas called Kiratas, which some suspect is a reference to the Kacharis. One of the tribes of the Kacharis is the Dimasa.
Originally established in the Brahmaputra valley, the Dimasa resettled in Sadiya and Assam and established the Dimapur Kingdom in the thirteenth century. In 2009, after years of fighting to regain independence, the Dima Halim Daoga stopped fighting.


Music of the Dimasa
The traditional dance forms of the Dimasa Kacharis are largely instrumental and played on the khram (drum) and muri (a wind blown instrument).

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Garo

 

Garo musicians

The Garo are a people who call themselves A·chik Mande ("hill people"). They appeared in Meghalaya, according to tradition, from Tibet, around 400 BCE. Originally they settled in the valleys but other groups persecuted them until the headed for the hills. In 1872, the British army, armed with guns and cannons, subjugated the Garo, who relied on swords and spears in their attempted defense.

Music of Garo
There are several traditional musical forms among the Garo, including Nangorere, Serejing, Pandu Dolong. Instruments include Kakwa, Nanggilsi, Guridomik, Kamaljakmora, gongs, Rangkilding, Rangbong, Nogri, Adil, Singga, Sanai, Kal, Bolbijak, Illep (or Illip), Olongna, Tarabeng, Imbanggi, Akok (or Dakok), Bangsi rosi, Tilara or Taragaku, Bangsi mande, Otekra, Wa·pepe or Wa·pek, Dotrong, Sarenda, Chigring, Dimchrang (or Kimjim), Gongmima (or Gonggina), Am·beng Dama, Chisak Dama, Atong Dama, Garaganching Dama, Ruga and Chibok Dama, Dual-Matchi Dama, Nagra and the popular Kram... to name a few.
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Gondwana


(photo by Ramesh Lalwani)

Gondwana is homeland of the Gondi people. Numerous kingdoms were established there in the past, including in 1398, when Narsingh Rai, is said by Ferishta to have ruled all the hills of Gondwana. Between the 14th and the 18th centuries, three main Gond kingdoms flourished: Garha-Mandla, Deogarh-Nagpur and Chanda-Sirpur. They were conquered by the Maratha and subsequently, the British and now, India. The Gondi's main voice of change is the Gondwana Ganatantra Party, founded in 1991 in Madhya Pradesh.

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Gorkhaland


Gurkha dancers

The Nepali-speaking Gurkha claim descent from the Hindu Rajputs of Northern India, who entered modern Nepal from the west. They were long used, after the subjugation of South Asia, by the British to do their military dirty work. Since 2007, some of the Nepali-speaking Gurkha (led by  Bimal Gurung) have struggled for independence. The political arm of the movement is Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJMM).



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Jharkhand

During the Mughal period, Jharkhand was known as Kukara. The principle peoples of Kukara were the Asur, Baiga, Banjara, Bathudi, Bedia, Binjhia, Birhor, Birjia, Chero, Chick-Baraik, Gond, Gorait, Ho, Karmali, Kharia, Kharwar, Khond, Kisan, Kora, Korwa, Lohra, Mahli, Mal-Paharia, Munda, Oraon, Parhaiya, Santal, Sauria-Paharia, Savar, Bhumij, Kol and Kanwar. In 1765 it was conquered by the British and renamed Jharkhand. Revolts against the colonizer were common until 1900. Finally, in 2000, the disenchanted Jharkhandi were given a modicum of recognition.


Music of Jharkhand
I'm sure there's an indigenous musical tradition in Jharkhand but it seems that Jhumar, a dance/music form from Balochistan, is the most popular.

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Kashmir


In the ninth century, Kashmir Shaivism arose, replacing the previously popular Buddhism and Hinduism. In 1349, Shah Mir introduced Islam to the region. Muslims ruled until 1751 until they were toppled by the Afghan Durrani Empire, whose reign ended when Ranjit Singh conquered it for the Sikhs. Today, it's still hotly contested by rival parties including India, China and Pakistan.


Music of Kashmir
The traditional music of Kashmir reflects its cultural and geographic location at the crossroads of Central, East and South Asia. Chakri is one of the most popular forms. Sufiana Kalam is the local classical form, having arrived from Persia in the 1400s.

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Kamatapur


Kamatapur is the ancient name of the Koch-ruled kingdom, whose lands included parts of Assam, Biher, Nepal, Bhutan and Bangladesh. The Kamatapuri have claimed persecution at the hands of India and Kamtapur Peoples Party (KPP) was founded in January 1996 by Atul Roy.

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Karbi-Anglong


The Karbis are a people who speak a Tibeto-Burman language and who were among the first to settle the hills of Assam long ago. Karbi Anglong is currently an autonomous state within Assam although some residents are campaigning for full independence.

 

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Khālistān


Khālistān is a proposed Punjabi Sikh state, meant to revive the Sikh Empire of the 1700s. The movement to establish the nation peaked in 1970s and 1980s and has since grown much quieter.


Well known Punjabi Sikh performers include Kuldeep Manak, Daler Mehndi, Jaspinder Narula, Shingara Singh and Sukhbir.