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Bagurumba, the traditional Bodo dance
|c. 1.5 million|
The Bodos (pronounced [boːɽoː]) are an ethnic and linguistic aboriginal group of the Brahmaputra valley in the northeast part of India. 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 Bodo people belong to the Bodo-Kachari community which were the first inhabitants of the Brahmaputra Valley as said by E.A Gait and Rev. Sidney Endle. Their language belongs to the Tibeto-Burman language family.
The Bodo language is a Sino-Tibetan language officially written using Devanagari script. It was written using Latin Script and Assamese script in the past. Some scholars suggest the language used to have now lost script known as Deodhai.
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'.
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. Aham guru at his first appearance in the universe in the form of a man called himself "Sri Borai", "Jiw Borai", or "Ziw Borai". He then created his consort "Sri Buroi" and then created "Dari Muba" and "Singri Coba", a couple for the propagation of the human population on earth. "Jiw Borai" or Siw Borai" is also popularly known as the "Bathou Bwrai". They are broadly divided into household Gods and village Gods. The household Gods are worshipped in the homestead, while the later by the whole village collectively outside in a selected place called "Thansali".
Bathouism is based on five moral and spiritual messages, namely messages on holy realization, messages on holy practice, messages on love, messages on truth and messages on hatred.
The messages of holy realization includes of Bathou as the supreme God. The realization of one's own soul is the part of Bathou and realization of the need of good in this world. The message on holy practice emphasis’s on meditation for God, conversation on religion and spiritual matters charitable donations to the poor. The message on love includes love for God, love for fellow being, love for family and love for all living beings. The messages on truth emphasises on leading a truthful life and the messages on hatred urges one to abstain from committing sins like stealing, telling lies, adultery, murder and association with bad company.
Bathouism has thus a religious philosophy, which defines the basic of a religion, and it is therefore far from being animistic.
- Census of India - Socio-cultural aspects, Table ST-14, Government of India, Ministry of Home Affairs, 2001
- "HOME". udalguri.gov.in. Retrieved 2017-04-02.
- Basumatary, Dhuparam. Boro Kachari Sonskritir Kinchit Abhas. pp. 2–3.
- Basumatary, Ramdas (1980). Some Idea on Bathou in Bodosa Souvenir of The Boro Sahitya Sabha. p. 27.
- Pulloppillil, Thomas and Aluckal, Jacob (1997) The Bodos: Children of the Bhullumbutter,
- Mushahary, Moniram (1981) Bodo–English Dictionary,
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