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Jalia Kaibarta (Keot) (or Jaliya Kaibartta (Keot) ), is an aboriginal tribe which was later converted into a Hindu caste or community by Sanskritisation, traditionally engaged in the occupation of fishing and originally belongs to Assam, North Bengal, Odisha and eastern Bihar along with Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan and other Southeast Asian countries. The Kaibartas were initially considered a single tribe divided into two groups, Jaliya and Haliya in Bengal. Jaliya Kaibartas are categorized as a Scheduled Caste, though the Haliya Kaibartas are not.In Assam the Kaibartta/Keots are the aboriginal Austric-Mongoloid tribal people of the region and are probably one of the earliest aboriginal primitive people of the region. In the course of time, they have mixed with various ethnic groups particularly the Mongoloid groups of Assam forming a composite Austric-Mongoloid appearance that they currently possess. In Assam they are also known as the Keots, and are considered a single tribe. They are recognized as Schedule Caste in Assam under the name Jal Keot or Kaibartta/Kaivartta. The Kaivartta or Keots of Assam as they are commonly known are totally different from the Jaliya Kaibarta of Bengal.
The Kaibartta/Kaivartta of Assam are predominantly present in Lower Assam. They differ from the Doms or Nadiyals of Upper Assam, though both of them are included in the Kaibartta fold(as both practice fishing as their occupation combined with agriculture) as the physiognamy as well as the physical appearance of both of them are different. The Kaibartta/Keot originally belong to the Austric-Mongoloid stock mixed with various ethnic Mongoloid groups while the Doms or Nadiyals are actually Dravidians mixed with ethnic Mongoloid groups. The Kaivartta/Keots of Assam no longer speak the Austro-Asiatic language and have adopted Kamrupi Assamese as their mother tongue in Lower Assam, but some of the words of their own language are still present in the Assamese language. For example : the word "nangal" which means plough is actually an Austro-Asiatic word, but now is also a part of the Assamese language. Similarly, the word Kamakhya literally is an Austro-Asiatic derived word as Ka means: feminine gender, Mai means: Mother, Kha means: to give birth (Ka-Mai-Kha) in the Austro-Asiatic language (previously spoken by the Kaivartta or Keots of Lower Assam) is now a part of the Assamese language and culture.
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