Pnar people

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Pnar (Jaintia or Synteng)
Total population
300,000 (2011)
Regions with significant populations
Meghalaya, India271,650 (2011)
Presbyterianism Presbyterian Roman Catholic Niamtre.
Related ethnic groups
Khasi people

The Pnar, also known as Jaintia, are a group of Khasi Tribe in Meghalaya, India.[1] The Pnar people are matrilineal. They speak the Pnar Language which belong to Austro-Asiatic language family and have a very similar to Khasi Language . Pnar people lives in West Jaintia Hills and East Jaintia Hills District of Meghalaya, India. They called themselves as Ki Hynniew Trep (7-hut ). Their main festival is The Shad Behdeinkhlam, Shad Sukra, Shad Pastieh and Laho Dance .


The name "Pnar" are for a group of tribes living in Jaintia Hills, while "Jaintia" are the group of brahmin hindus in Nartiang and Jowai, as they claimed, living in urban Jowai and other Bangladeshi border villages.[1] The word "Jaintia" is derived from the name of a former kingdom, the Jaintia Kingdom, whose rulers were Bangladeshi Hindu non-tribals. One theory says that the word "Jaintia" is ultimately derived from the name of the shrine of Jayanti Devi or Jainteswari, an incarnation of the Hindu goddess Durga. Another theory says that in the kingdom Sutnga, there was a fight for finding the ruler among the Pnar locals, so they decided to choose the king, who was a Hindu-Bengali, who was living in Jaintiapur; the myth of Jayanti Devi was probably changed the Sutnga kingdom to Jaintia kingdom.[1]


Like always in the Hynniewtrep tribe the Pnar sub-tribals too have no recorded history of their own. However, they are mentioned in the Buranji chronicles of Assam and the British records.[2]

Like all the other sub-tribes of the Khasi tribe, the Pnar people also descended from Ki Hynniew Trep (seven mothers or seven families) .The rulers of the medieval Jaintia Kingdom belonged to the Synteng community.[1] The Kingdom was annexed by the British East India Company in 1835, and merged into the Assam province. The Jaintia Hills district was established in the region after the establishment of the Meghalaya state in independent India, in 1972. There are Pnar people in the Jaintapur upazila, Sylhet, Bangladesh.<re


The original tribal religion of the Jaintias is known as Niamtre.[3] The Jaintia tribals believe that their religion is God-given (not founded by man) and comes to this world by God's decree. The three cardinal principles dictated by God are kamai yei hok, tipbru tipblai and tipkur tipkha. They signify right living and practice based on right livelihood; fulfillment of duties towards fellow men to reach God; and showing respect to the members of one's father's and mother's clans. Therefore, Niamtre stresses equal weight to be given to fellow humans to attain God realisation.


  1. ^ a b c d Soumen Sen (2004). Khasi-Jaintia folklore: context, discourse, and history. NFSC. p. 56. ISBN 978-81-901481-3-9. Retrieved 2 December 2011.
  2. ^ Hamlet Bareh. Encyclopaedia of North-East India: Meghalaya. Mittal Publications. p. 307. ISBN 978-81-7099-791-7.
  3. ^ Kumar Suresh Singh; Anthropological Survey of India (1994). People of India: Meghalaya. Anthropological Survey of India. p. 12. ISBN 978-81-7046-123-4.