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Nature volume 135, pages 311312 (23 February 1935) | Download Citation



Dual Organisation in Assam. A study of social organisation in Assam by Mr. J. K. Bose (J. Dept. Letters, Calcutta University, 25) is based in part on a review of existing literature, in part on the results of field-work in the period 1931-34 among the Anals, the Aimols, the Lamgangs, the Mantaks, the Marrings and the Memis. It is thought that the dual organisation may throw light on the origin of the caste system. Among the Aimols, a very primitive tribe, there are two moieties, one superior and the other inferior, each having two phratries and each phratry two patrilineal clans; but the system is in process of disintegration owing to decreasing numbers and the scattered situation of the villages. Hence restriction in marriage is slackened; but in social and religious matters the dual organisation is strictly observed. Thus the social status of the superior moiety is recognised in all the important offices in the villages. The headman, assistant headman and priest all come from the superior moiety. The two moieties are also apart in the festivals they observe. The Anals, primitive hunter-agriculturists spread over sixteen villages in Manipur, have a typical dual organisation, while the Mantaks, a dwindling group, though in process of disintegration, retain a superior and an inferior moiety, but inferior officers are now drawn from the inferior moiety. The Lamgangs, a remote hill-people, show two moieties with only four clans each. Here there is evidence of the tendency to arrange the superior moiety in a hierarchy. Among the Marrings the dual organisation is of unique type, being based on territorial distribution. The Marring villages are grouped into a set of seven and a second set of five. This grouping has taken over the marital functions of the kinship groupings. It is clear that in Assam there are definite forms of dual or tripartite organisation of various types and in various stages of disintegration. Assam is, therefore, likely to prove as interesting for the study of early stages of society as Australia or Melanesia.

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