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Encyclopedia > Garo (tribe)

The Garos are a tribe in Meghalaya, India, and Mymensingh, Bangladesh, who call themselves Achik. They are the second-largest tribe in Meghalaya after the Khasi and comprise about a third of the local population. The majority of Garos are Christian. There are a large number of Baptists and Roman Catholics. There is also a sprinkling of Seventh-day Adventists, Anglicans and others belonging to some new denominations. Much like the Mizos, there were very few Garos who still follow their traditional Animist-Hindu beliefs. Meghalaya   is a small state in north-eastern India. ... Mymensingh (Bengali: ) is one of the districts of Dhaka division, Bangladesh, and is bordered on the north by Meghalaya state of India and Garo Hills, on the south by Gazipur district, on the east by districts of Netrokona and Kishoreganj, and on the west by districts of Sherpur, Jamalpur and... The Khasi are a tribe in Meghalaya, India and in parts of Bangladesh, who call themselves Hynniew trep (which means the seven huts in the Khasi language). ... Baptist churches are part of a Christian movement often regarded as an Evangelical, Protestant denomination. ... The Roman Catholic Church, most often spoken of simply as the Catholic Church, is the largest Christian church, with over one billion members. ... The Seventh-day Adventist Church (SDA), colloquially referred to as the Adventists, is an evangelical Protestant Christian denomination that grew out of the prophetic Millerite movement in the United States during the middle part of the 19th century. ... The term Anglican describes those people and churches following the religious traditions of the Church of England, especially following the Reformation. ...


Geographical distribution

They are mainly distributed over the Kamrup, Goalpara and Karbi Anglong Districts of Assam, Garo Hills in Meghalaya, and substantial numbers, about 200,000 are found in Mymensingh district of Bangladesh. Kamrup was the mighty Kingdom ruled by Narayana Dynasty before the British broke the Kingdom into two big districts. ... Goalpara is an administrative district in the state of Assam in India. ... Karbi Anglong is an administrative district in the state of Assam in India. ... Assam   (Assamese: অসম Ôxôm) is a north eastern state of India with its capital at Dispur, a part of Guwahati. ... The Garo Hills are part of the Garo-Khasi range in Meghalaya, India. ... Mymensingh is one of the districts of Dhaka division, Bangladesh, and is bordered on the north by Meghalaya state of India and Garo Hills, on the south by Gazipur district, on the east by districts of Netrokona and Kishoreganj, and on the west by districts of Sherpur, Jamalpur and Tangail. ...


The Garo language belongs to the Bodo branch of the Bodo-Naga-Kachin family of the Sino-Tibetan phylum. As the Garo language is not traditionally written down, customs, traditions, and beliefs are handed down orally. Garo is the language of the majority of the people of the Hills which bear their name in the state of Meghalaya of India. ... Bodo is a Tibeto-Burman language spoken by the Bodo people of north-eastern India and Nepal. ... Current distribution of Human Language Families A language family is a group of related languages said to have descended from a common proto-language. ... Sino-Tibetan languages form a language family of about 250 languages of East Asia, in number of speakers worldwide second only to Indo-European. ... Oral tradition or oral culture is a way of transmitting history, literature or law from one generation to the next in a civilization without a writing system. ...

Historical accounts

According to one such oral tradition, the Garos first came to Meghalaya from Tibet about 400 years ago, crossing the Brahmaputra River and tentatively settling in the river valley. It is said that they were later driven up into the hills by other groups in and around the Brahmaputra River. Various records of the tribe by invading Mughal armies and by British observers in what is now Bangladesh wrote of the brutality of the people. Tibet (see Name section below for other spellings) is a plateau region in Central Asia and the indigenous home to the Tibetan people. ... Brahmaputra A dugout with pilot in Chitwan. ... The Mughal Empire (alternative spelling Mogul, which is the origin of the word Mogul) of India was founded by Babur in 1526, when he defeated Ibrahim Lodi, the last of the Delhi Sultans at the First Battle of Panipat. ...

The earliest written records about the Garo dates from around 1800. They "...were looked upon as bloodthirsty savages, who inhabited a tract of hills covered with almost impenetrable jungle, the climate of which was considered so deadly as to make it impossible for a white man to live there" (Playfair 1909: 76-77). The Garo had the reputation of being headhunters. Headhunter can refer to: Headhunter: a person who takes someones life in order to take their head. ...

In December 1872, the British sent out battalions to Garo Hills to establish their control in the region. The attack was conducted from three sides – south, east and west. The Garo warriors confronted them at Rongrenggiri with their spears, swords and shields. The battle that ensured was unmatched, as the Garos did not have guns or mortars like the British Army.

Togan Sangma, a young man was in command of the valiant Garo warriors. He fell fighting with unmatched heroism and courage in December 1872.


The Garos are one of the few remaining matrilineal societies in the world. The individuals take their clan titles from their mothers. The youngest daughter (nakma) inherits the property from her mother. Sons leave the parents' house at puberty, and are trained in the village bachelor dormitory (nokpante). After getting married, the man lives in his wife's house. Matrilineality is a system in which one belongs to ones mothers lineage; it may also involve the inheritance of property or titles through the female line. ...

External links

  • Garo people
  • Vedamsbooks

  Results from FactBites:
Garo Hills - LoveToKnow 1911 (290 words)
GARO HILLS, a district of British India, in the hills division of Eastern Bengal and Assam.
The Garos are probably a section of the great Bodo tribe, which at one time occupied a large part of Assam.
In 1852 raids by the Garos were followed by a blockade of the hills, but in 1856 they were again in revolt.
Garo Summary (483 words)
The Garo have uxorilocal households; that is, a man usually finds himself living with his wife, her parents, her sisters, and all their children.
Garo (tribe) is a tribe in India and Bangladesh
Garo, Ethiopia is a former kingdom in southern Ethiopia
  More results at FactBites »



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