Brill’s Encyclopedia of the Religions of the Indigenous People of South Asia Online

Get access Subject: Asian Studies

Edited by:
Marine Carrin (Editor-in-Chief), University of Toulouse Jean Jaurès, and Michel Boivin, Centre for South Asian Studies (CNRS-EHESS), Gérard Toffin, Centre d’Études Himalayennes, Paul Hockings, University of Illinois at Chicago, Raphaël Rousseleau, Université de Lausanne, Tanka Subba, North-Eastern Hill University, Harald Lambs-Tyche, University of de Picardie-Jules Verne (Section Editors)

Help us improve our service

Brill’s Encyclopedia of the Religions of the Indigenous People of South Asia strives to reflect the diversity of indigenous cultures of South Asia with its many language groups and religious traditions. Shaped by their own mythologies, these tribal religions differ in form and content from Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, Islam, Sikhism, and Christianity, though variants of the latter traditions have been adopted by some indigenous people. Religion is taken in a broad sense and includes aspects of morality, symbolism, identity formation, environmental concerns, and art. Far from being simple survivals of an earlier stage, these religions often show remarkable capacity for adaptation and change. The approach is contemporary rather than a reconstruction of an anterior state, though it does not overlook relevant historical processes.

More information:

Gadaba: Fact Sheet

(1,313 words)

Author(s): Berger, Peter
The Gadaba are often included in the generic and rather vague category of Poraja (“Subject”), which refers to a number of indigenous communities of south Odisha. Another term used for and by the indigenous people of the Koraput district of Odisha, among them the Gadaba, is Desia (“People of the Land”). In a more specific sense, the Gadaba include two communities, the Ollar Gadaba speaking Ollari and the Gutob Gadaba speaking Gutob. Gutob is an Austroasiatic language of the southern Munda branch …
Date: 2019-11-02

Gadaba: Society on the Menu

(3,936 words)

Author(s): Berger, Peter
Social StructureA fundamental feature of the social structure, with wide-ranging implications and repercussions as to how the Gadaba perceive their own society and even their “natural” environment, is the division into “clans,” more specifically, totemic exogamous patrilineal descent categories called bonso. The Gutob Gadaba make use of four of the eight categories common in the region (cobra ( hantal), tiger ( killo), sun ( kora), and monkey ( golori)), whereas the Ollar Gadaba employ all eight (in addition: fish [ macho], cow [ goru], hawk [ pangi], and bear [ kimdu]). These catego…
Date: 2019-11-02

Garo: Fact Sheet

(602 words)

Author(s): de Maaker, Erik
The Garo are an ethnolinguistic community resident in the Garo Hills (Meghalaya), in neighboring parts of Goalpara (Assam), and in Mymensingh (Bangladesh). In addition, Garo are a minority community in Khasi Hills (Meghalaya), and in the northeastern Indian states of Nagaland and Tripura. Shillong – the administrative, political, and educational center of Meghalaya – also has a significant Garo population. According to the 2011 census, Meghalaya had a population of just over 800,000 Garo speaker…
Date: 2019-11-02

Garo: The Garo Ethnic Community

(6,000 words)

Author(s): de Maaker, Erik
Traditionally, upland Garo have practiced shifting cultivation, and in many ways “Garoness” continues to be associated with that mode of agriculture. Shifting cultivation is closely tied up with the traditional Garo community religion since it requires the negotiation of relationships with innumerable deities ( mitdes) who are considered a primordial presence. Songsareks, as the followers of this community religion are known, have come to be perceived as archetypical Garo. In recent decades Garo agricultural practices have changed. Garo f…
Date: 2019-11-02

General Abbreviations

(295 words)

app. appendix approx. approximately Arab. Arabic arch. archeological Ardh. Ardhamagadhi Ass. Assamese astr. astronomical Aves. Avestan b. born Bad. Badaga Bah. Bahasa Indonesia Bal. Balinese BCE before the Common Era Beng. Bengali bot. botanical Braj. Brajbhasha Burm. Burmese c. circa CE Common Era cent./cents. century/centuries ch./chs. chapter/chapters Chn. Chinese cit. cited by comm. commentary crit. ed. critical edition d. died dir. director diss. dissertation Drav. Dravidian ed./eds. editor, edited by/editors ET English translation et al. and others etym. etymology f.…
Date: 2019-11-02