This article needs additional citations for verification. (February 2015) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)
The Bodo tribe (known also as Mech and being one of the scheduled tribes of India) belongs to Kachari tribal grouping. Mech is the name given to the Bodo tribe by others. They speak mainly the Bodo language, which, although a Tibeto-Burman dialect, has been influenced by the Indo-European Assamese language.[page needed]
Meches also known as Bodos migrated into India through Patkai Hills between India and Burma and gradually spread themselves into the whole of Assam, North Bengal and parts of East Bengal. It is said that, during their migration to India, they marched towards different directions.one group went along the river Brahmaputra and established themselves in the whole of Assam up to Goalpara district and parts of Jalpaiguri district and Cooch Behar district under the name of Bodo or Bara. Another group went towards the West along the foot of the Himalayas up to the river Mechi, bordering India and Nepal and settled on the North bank of the river known as Mech or Mechia. Later they spread to Darjeeling Terai, Baikanthpur in Jalpaiguri district again marched further East and settled in the Dooars. It is said that, a group of Mech people, again moved further East, crossed the Sankosh River, and went towards Goalpara in Assam. Due to repeated floods in Dooars and eastern bank of Teesta river, a large number of families migrated towards Assam.[page needed]
Sanyal (1973)[full citation needed] narrates a mythical story about the origin of Mech people. It says Mech and Limbu used to live together. They were driven out from the north-eastern corner of India, Burma and Tibet. They fled along the foot of the Himalayas and came to the low lands of the present Darjeeling district in the midst of thick forests. They lived there temporarily. The Limbus did not want to stay back there. They started towards the hills making the way by cutting trees. The Meches started a few days later. They tried to follow the track but lost the way and came upon the river Mechi between Darjeeling and Nepal. Some of them preferred to live on the banks of river Mechi. They called themselves Meches or Mechias. Thus, it is believed that the Limbus of Nepal and the Meches of India belong to the same tribal group.
More than a century ago the Meches used to practice ‘jhum’ cultivation, that is cutting and burning the jungles and then sowing different seeds in each hole made by dibblers and sowers. Short-staple cotton was their cash crop. They had no idea of cultivation with bullocks and the plough.[page needed]
- Ghosh, G.K. (2008). Bamboo: The Wonderful Grass. APH Publishing. ISBN 978-81-313-0369-6.
- Sanyal, Charu Chandra (1973). The Meches and the Totos: two sub-Himalayan tribes of North Bengal. University of North Bengal.
- Hodgson, B.H. (2001). Miscellaneous Essays Relating to Indian Subjects, Vol. 1. Routledge. ISBN 978-0-415-24505-0.
- "Census of India - Socio-cultural aspects, Table ST-14" (compact disc). Government of India, Ministry of Home Affairs. 2001.