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Bodo people

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Bodo dance.jpg
Bagurumba, the traditional Bodo dance
Total population
c. 1.5 million[1]
Bodo language
Related ethnic groups
Bodo-Kachari, Kachari people, Hajong people, Garo people,

The Bodos (pronounced [boːɽoː]) are an ethnolinguistic group of northwest Assam in the northeast part of India. They are part of the Bodo-Kachari ethnolinguistic groups found today in Nepal, Bangladesh and clustered more strongly in Assam in India. They speak the Bodo language, which is recognized as one of twenty-two scheduled languages in the Indian Constitution. This group is politically active and is dominant in the BTAD districts of Assam, which is a group of autonomous districts under Bodo Territorial Council.

Tibeto-Burman languages, to which Bodo belongs, is the second linguistic group that entered Assam, after the Austroasiatic.[2] The Bodo-Kachari people are the first to cultivate rice and rear silkworms in Assam. The word 'Bodo' has been derived from the word 'Bod' which means Tibet.

They are recognized as a plains tribe in the Sixth Schedule of the Indian Constitution. Udalguri, Chirang, Baksa, Sonitpur, Goalpara, Dhemaji, Lakhimpur, Kokrajhar of Assam are considered the centre of the Bodo People. The Bodos living in West Bengal, Nepal are called Mech (pronounced 'meche' in Nepal). The Bodos use the term Bodosa (which is pronounced as Borosa meaning son of Bodo) to describe themselves.


The Boro language is one of the languages of the Sino-Tibetan or Tibeto-Chinese speech family. It belongs to the Boro, Naga group of the Assam-Burmese branch of the Sino Tibetan family.


Religion among Bodos[3]
Religion Percent

Bodos traditionally practise Bathouism, which is the worshiping of forefathers, known as Obonglaoree. The shijou plant (Euphorbia genus) is taken as the symbol of Bathou and worshiped. It is also claimed as the supreme god. In Bodo language, Ba means five and thou means deep. As Bodos believe in five mighty elements of God, which are Land, Water, Air, Fire and Sky, five has become a significant number in the Bathou religion.

The Shijou tree is encircled with eighteen pairs of designed bamboo sticks and five pairs of ring of bamboo. In front of Shijou within encircled bamboo ring there is a 'Dove Heart'.[4]

According to the concept of Bathouism, before the creation of universe, there was simply a great void, in which the supreme being 'Aham Guru', Anan Binan Gosai or Obonglaoree existed formlessly. The supreme god Aham guru became tired of living formless existence and desired to live in flesh and blood. He descended on this great void with all human characteristics. Thereafter he created the universe.[5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "2011 Estimates as per Census report 2001" (PDF).
  2. ^ "The first group of migrants to settle in this part of the country is perhaps the Austro-Asiatic language speaking people who came here from South-East Asia a few millennia before Christ. The second group of migrants came to Assam from the north, north-east and east. They are mostly the Tibeto-Burman language speaking people. From about the fifth century before Christ, there started a trickle of migration of the people speaking Indo-Aryan language from the Gangetic plain." (Taher 2001, p. 12)
  3. ^ Census of India - Socio-cultural aspects, Table ST-14, Government of India, Ministry of Home Affairs, 2001
  4. ^ "HOME". Retrieved 2017-04-02.
  5. ^ Basumatary, Dhuparam. Boro Kachari Sonskritir Kinchit Abhas. pp. 2–3.


  • Pulloppillil, Thomas & Aluckal, Jacob (1997) The Bodos: Children of the Bhullumbutter
  • Mushahary, Moniram (1981) Bodo–English Dictionary
  • Taher, M (2001), "Assam: An Introduction", in Bhagawati, A K, Geography of Assam, New Delhi: Rajesh Publications, pp. 1–17