"The people of Tripura are said to belong to the
same origin as the Katcharis; the similarities in their religion, customs and
appearance make this probable. It may be added that the Rajas of both countries,
Tipperah and Katchar, have formally acknowledged the connection."
Quoting Major Fisher from his Memoirs of Sylhet, Dalton
observes: "The physiognomy of some of the Tripuris is like that of the Manipuris. But the
greater part bears more resemblance to the Khasias (now called Khasis), having
strongly marked Mongolian features with flat faces. and thick lips. They are not
shorter in stature than Bengalis and far more muscular and strongly made. Many
of them have fair complexion slightly darker than a swarthy European."
The original tribes of Tripura are
Tripuri, who used to be known as "PANCHA TRIPURA" that is five Tripuris during
Manikya Monarchy, till its merger with Indian Union.
The five branches are
Old Tipra, new Tipra or Noatia, Jamatia, Reang, Halam. Within these five main
branches of Tripuris there are smaller sub-branches like-Murasing, Uchui, Rupini,
and Kolois etc. These branches have their many branches, that are having their
little characteristics. Although before Independence they formed the majority,
the ratio of Tripuris population to the total population has declined since the
'fifties. In 1951, the percentage of Tripuis population was 37; in 1961, 1971
and in 1981 it declined to 31.5, 28.9 and, 28.4 respectively. In absolute
figures, however the Tripuri population of the state increased from about
257,000 in 1941 to 583,920 in 1981. The principal reason for the relative
decline in the Tripuis population of the state is that the socio-economic
conditions and geographical contiguity attracted people in the territory from
East Bengal which almost encircles it. During pre-partition days, thousands of
Bengalis were in fact the inhabitants of Chakla Roshanabad, the biggest
zamindari estate of the Maharajas. With partition of the country, that area went
to the then East Pakistan, and a large number of Hindus migrated to the state.
Besides, the royal family wanted to maintain a close contact with Bengal for
fostering education, trade and commerce in the State. This apart, administrative
personnel of various sorts were also recruited from Bengal. Lastly, the
partition of the country forced several hundred thousands of Hindu Bengali
people from the erstwhile East Pakistan's neighbouring districts to come and
settle in Tripura. The influx of a vast number of refugees from what is now
Bangladesh, unlike the north-western part of the country, has not been a
one-time affair in the eastern part of the country. The influx remained a
continuous current with ebbs and flows, but never completely stopped. However,
as a result of a very close contact between the Bengalis and the different
Tripuris of Tripura, the refugees could be absorbed in the main body of society.
The Tripuris population in the urban area or in its vicinity is mostly
It cannot be denied that the
economy of the state had lo undergo sufficient stress and strain as a result of
an unprecedented rise in population in the state during the 'fifties and
'sixties. The density of population is now 262 per sq. km. the second highest
among the north-eastern les after Assam. The density of population in Manipur is
82.78 per sq.km. in Meghalaya, 73 in Nagaland and only 33 in Mizoram. In Tripura
the large concentration of the plain people from the contiguous districts has
not been an unmitigated evil.
For example, agricultural
production has increased significantly, road communication developed
substantially and education extended to the remotest villages. One may trace the
diverse ethnic elements among the people of Tripura. There are two racial
elements namely Indo-mongoloid, the indigenous and the Indo-Aryan language
speakers, a largely migrant group from erstwhile East Pakistan. Among the
Indo-mongoloid are the original inhabitant and the royal race Tripuris which
includes Old Tripuri, New Tripuri, Jamatia, Reang, and Halams and the other
indigenous Indo-mongoloid groups are Moh, Kukis and Chakma. They all had been
granted as 'Scheduled Tribe' under the constitution of India. The other major
racial elements, namely, the Indo-Aryans language speakers represented by
majority the Hindu Bengalis, minority Muslim Bengali.
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Old Tripuris (also called as Tripuras or Tipras), who uses surname of Debbarma, are among the original inhabitants of the state, constitute about a
little over 16 per cent of the total and 57 per cent of the Tripuris population
of the state. The former rulers of the land emerged from this community which is
believed to be the descendants of the Chandra Vamsha (Lunar Dynasty)
Kshatriyas. In course of time, a section of this community came into close
contact with the Bengali settlers, and was much influenced by their language,
culture and custom. Marital, contacts followed, and the result was the emergence
of a new community now known as Natun (new) Tripuris, a sort of breakaway
group of the original (puran) Tripuris. In fact, there has been an
all-round metamorphosis in the socio-economic condition of Tripura. This is not
to minimise the problems that confront the state. One may trace a diverse ethnic
element among the people of Tripura and the Indo-Mongoloids, the original
inhabitant of the state are represented by communities like the Old Tripuris, the Reangs, the Jamatis, the Noatias, the
Halams, the Chakma, the Mogh the Kukis and the Lushai.
According to 1971 Census out of
19 Tribal communities in Tripura, the total Old Tripuris population is 2,50382.
Within the entire tribal population of Tripura the percentage of the Old
Tripuris population stands as 55.57 %. The pocket areas 0f the Old Tripuris
population are in Kamalpur sub-division (under North Tripura District), Khowai
and Sadar Sub-division (under West Tripura District). Besides these areas they
are found to live scatteredly in small groups in other places also. The Deshi
Old Tripuris and the Noatia community are not accounted here as they have
separate identity. The common surname of the Puratan Tripura, Old Tripuris or
Tipperah is Deb Barman or Deb Barma. The 'Thakur' and Karta sub-group are within
the Puratan Tripura community. They belong to the royal family of Tripura. The
Puratan Tripuras were sub-divided generally into different groups according to
their assignment in the
royal court. The sub-divisions are as :-
(1) Bachal, (2) Siuk, (3) Kuatia, (4) Daityasingh, (5)
Hujuria, (6) Siltia, (7) Apaia, (8) Chatratuia or chatradharia, (9) Deurai, (10)
Subenarayan, (11) Sena, (12) Julai. Their duties in the royal court were as
Bachal :-The Bachal group of the Old Tripuris Community bad to discharge the
following works in the royal court.
(a) In the royal court or at the time of expedition of the king, they held the
betel leaf and panja.
(b) They made the structure for the images of the gods and goddesses with bamboo
and worship-dias at the time of worship in the royal palace. They also carried
the water which was to be required for the worship.
c) At the time of marriage of some member of the royal family they performed the
task of planting the bamboo along with branches and leaves on all sides of the
d) 'The very next day of 'Bijoya Dasami' a feast named 'Hasam' was arranged by
the king. Far this occasion it was their duty to make a lamp-stand with bamboo.
2. Siuk :-Siuk' means hunter. For royal purpose, their duty was to hunt animals
and birds. During the title giving ceremony in the royal court their duty was to
hold the pot of sandal wood paste. When a marriage took place in the royal
family the Siuks shouldered the collection of married women for performing the
auspicious deeds. Besides they carried the water for the brides party.
3. Kuatia :-In Tripuri language, Kuai means betel nut, Kuatia meant who carried
betel leaf and nut. They had other assignment in the royal court as :-
(a) At the time of title-giving ceremony in the royal court they used to give
flower garland, (b) To give incense and light daily in the throne house was
their duty. Moreover in the case of special worship they polished the royal
(c) The 'Prasad' of worship observed in the royal court was also distributed by
the Kuatia' group.
(d) It was their duty to arrange the place and bed for the families of the
Maharaja and Thakurs during the time of worship observed in the palace.
(e) At the time of marriage the 'Kuatia' performed the task of carrying water
for the bridegroom's party.
(f) During the marriage ceremony they took part in decorating the marriage
pulpit with the Siuks.
4. Daityasiugh or Duising :- They were the bearers of the royal flag. During
war, Darbar, expedition of the king and worship they bore the white flag.
Besides these they made the structure for the image of the god and dressed the
meat for the 'Hasam feast'.
5. Hujuria and Chiltia :-They were two branches of the same group (hoda). They
remained present all the time in the royal court. That was why they were called
'Hujuria'. They did various types of deeds according to the necessity. One of
the main duties was to carry articles of prasad and different birds and animals
for sacrifice from the royal palace to the temple or worship area.
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6. Apaia :-Apaia meant fish purchaser. They performed the deed of purchasing
fish for king and his family. Besides they collected firewood for the royal
7. Chatra Tuia or Chakok Tuia :-(Chatra Dharaja) The word Chatra Tuia meant
umbrella hearer. During Raj Darbar they held the royal symbol named Chandraban,
Suryaban, Muhimurat, Chatra, Arangi etc.
8. Deorai or Galim:- They were Priest of god worshippers. They were priest at 'Kharchi'
and 'Kerpuja.' They performed the puja of the fourteen gods.
9. Subenarayan : On the occasion of worship and 'Hasam' feast they remain
engaged in dressing the fish.
10. Sena :- Among the foregoing ten groups if anybody did any adulterous deed
the society then excommunicated him from the society with the order of the
Darbar. The offenders of this class got their identity in 'Sena' group. Their
sons enjoyed the advantage to re-enter in their own respective caste after
offering feast to their caste. The Senas performed the duties of making oven for
cooking 'Hasam' feast. Even more they washed the utensils and cleared the offal
rejected by the Thakurs. They invited the invitees by heating large kettle drum
when the cooking of 'Hasam' feast was over. During 'Kharchi' puja also drum
beating was their duty.
11. Julai :- The Julai group was engaged to discharge all sorts of works for the
queen and the members of the royal family. They were as slaves. The poverty
stricken people who took shelter of others for food and clothes were also called
Julai in course of time. They performed their duties in their master's house and
lived there with their family. They departed from their master's house only when
their family members increased in number.
According to the division of labour a number of sub groups were also formed
within the Julai group. The sub-groups were as :-(a) Daspaia, Vegetable seller
(b) Manarai-Mayna bird collector and protector. (c) Totaray :- Parrot bird
collector and protector. (d) Mami plukcha-Mami (a kind of paddy) collector. (e)
Maisa plukcha-Maisa (Jhum paddy) collector. (f) Gulchari-Planters of young plant
of black pepper. (g) Challengrai -Maker of soda water.) (h) Mosorai: Chilly
The aforesaid sub-groups of the Old Tripuris community have
assimilated each other generally. On the basis of linguistic characteristic and
socio-economic and cultural distinctiveness the Old Tripuris population can also
be sub divided into three groups. These groups are generally known as Beri,
Dona and Daspa.
The Beri groups are
mainly concentrated in the entire Kamalpur subdivision including north eastern
part of Khowai sub-division, the revenue villages of Behala Bari, Basai Bari and
Asharam bari areas i.e. across the Atharamura range up to the eastern bank of
The Daspa groups are
inhabiting the rest of the Khowai sub-division including the revenue villages of Sadar sub.division under the Mohanpur and Jirania Blocks.
The Dona's are mainly concentrated in the revenue
villages under Bishalgarh Block area specially in the southern part of Sadar
Some specific cultural
distinctiveness of the aforesaid three groups are also found. These are as
follows :- The Beris are expert in weaving while the Daspas are famous for their
skill in handicrafts. The Donas possess closer affinity with the royal family of
Among the three groups some
distinct regional characteristics in pronunciation of colloquial dialect are
Some specific characteristics in Beri pronunciation :-"w" pronounced as "o" Twi→(Toi)=
Water. "R" pronounced as "L" & vice-versa (Ri) → (Li)=cloth (Rituku) →(Lituku)
etc. Khwlai → Khorai (what do you do) Addition of swarai at the ending of
sentences. Nung Aro Tamo khowlai→ Nung Aro tamo khwrai swarai? (What are you
The Donas are generally using 'Ba' in place
of 'Swarai'. Nung Aro tama khawlai tong ba? (What are you doing there?). Some
other specific wordings used by Donas are:- Gorge-(Lunga) →(Dhung) (Masi-Aunt is
(Toi)→ (Moi), Grand Father is (Dabura,)→(Thagur) etc. Besides the aforesaid
distinctive characteristics there are differences in style of' folk songs,
design in handloom and weaving of costumes etc.
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There are many opinions about
the origin of Murasing clan of
Tripura. Some of the accepted theories are as
The police of the royal
fore while collecting the house tax
found that some villages of Tripura
are full of animal heads with the
horns. These heads of different kinds
of wild animals were hanged in the
houses. The people of this village
were till than not named. The royal
officials who did not know the name of
the clans called them 'murasing'
meaning people who hanged horns of
dead animals. Other opinion is that
the then king of Tripura named these
groups of people as the 'Murasing' meaning by the horns
of the hills. It is found that the Mursings are
mostly followers of 'Vaishnavism' a sect
of Hindu, are supposed to held as high esteem
like the horn of an animal.
Banamali Jamatia who preached Baishnab sect of
Hindu religion among the Murasingh clans. After
his the death his disciples Balaichand and
Harichand took active role in spreading the
Vaishnabism among the Murasingh clans. Since
then they have embraced the
discarding traditional Tripuri religion. It was
said that the preaching of Harichand influenced
the king Birchandra Manikya
and he also supported to convert to
Vaishnabism, as a result many Old
Tripuri or Debbarma also got
converted Vaishnavism in those days.
Occupation, Culture and religious
practices: Like any other Tripuri
people the Murasinghs are also mostly
agriculturist. In the past they were also
involved in the Huk cultivation. But now a days
the are cultivating the plain lands only. The
educated section are engaged in government
service and occupying in high post, a good
number of them had been fund in literature
also, which is very high compare to their total
Most of the
Murasinghs are follower of Vaishnabism, but now
many are diverting to prevailing religious
practice of Tripura. The founder father of the
Murasing community Harichand had set guidelines
for good habit and manners for the Murasing
community. They had been following this
strictly till the recent past. He had formed an
association of Murasing youth, which he named
'Sikla Motha.' In that association youth
people he gave the garland of flower to every
youth present there and gave them new a
Sikla montha: The
senior most of the association was
named as 'Sikla Misip' or leader. He is
equivalent of the president of an organisation.
The next senior is named as 'Sikla Rai'
or secretary. The next post was 'Twifang' he is comparable to organizer of an
organisation. Next to him was
'Sikla Chokdiri' his duty is
to resolve any disputes among the members of
the association. One more member of the group
was Kaitho ; his work is to
keep the relation between the senior of the
village and the association. The next person is
Dagia ; his duty is to direct
any special function, as and when organized, he
is similar to the modern day Director. Next to
the Dagia is Chamrasi ; his
duty is to obey the order of the Chokdiri, to
give punishment of according to the rule to any
offender of the association.
young men's association the young women has
also an association. The senior most of the
association is called as
Nareng , next to her is the
Lupjari , and junior to her is
the Bengraj . Next to her is
the Yongkhati .
Komchikon is junior to the
fore most. Toksarangi is the
most junior in the hierarchy.
Harichand formulated some
rules and regulation for the well-being and
guidance of the Murasing youth and for building
their character and carrier.
of the rules and regulation were as
• One has no call to some one in
the new nickname given in the Sikla motha. He
should not be called by his real name. If some
one calls by the social name of that person
than the calling member of the association
shall be fined.
• Whenever any member of the
association got marriage he shall be removed
from the association. While leaving the
association he shall pay some thing to the
members of the association.
• No one shall be allowed to be
slang or use obscene language while so in the
• If most of the members of the
association got married then the association
shall be dissolved and new will be formed.
• The association has all the power
to adjudicate and punish any member of the
society for his wrongful act.
• If any disputes or differences
could not resolved by the youths association
then the matter shall be referred to the
• No member of the association can
enter to any young girls home alone with out
permission of any of the senior member of the
association. He shall do so accompanying the
Twifang of the organizer of the
• No young men from out side is
allowed enter in to the house of any young girl
with out taking permission from senior members
of the association. If he does so, then the
association has all the power to punish such
• All the rules and regulation of
the association shall be in conformity with the
Baishnavism and the ochai shall guide in
finding the family life.
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