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Banai - The Tribe of India[edit]

The Banai is originally a sub-tribe of the Koches, a tribe of India, finds mention in the Census Report of 1891 which states about

the sub-communities of the Koches as follows. (of the Koch Garo Hills) Six sections are recorded namely Harigaya, Satparia, Dasgaya or Banai, Chapra, Wanang, Tintekiya which rank in order in which named. The first five are said to be named after the places where they formerly resided, and the last, or Tintekiya, from the dress of the women, who wear one cloth round the waist, another over the body and the third on the head. (Source: Statement 235, CENSUS OF INDIA 1891 Assam)


It is worth mentioning here that the term Dasgaya actually refer to the areas on the southern tract of Garo Hills of Meghalaya and includes the village Batabari, Kapasipara, Gasuapara, Jatrakona, Makkabaripara etc. which are inhabited by the Banai since time immemorial and these areas are still referred to as Daskaniya or Dasgaya by the oldest living people of the area.

Linguist par excellence, Dr. G. A. Grierson, also mentioned about the six sections of the Koches of Garo Hills as Harigaya, Satparia, Dasgaya or Banai, Chapra, Wanang and Tintekiya. Dr. Grierson further went on to state that these six sections of the Koches used to be considered to be the only pure Koches in existence. (Source: Grierson, G. A. : LINGUISTIC SURVEY OF INDIA, Vol. III, Part II, 1903, Calcutta, Page-95,96)

B. C. Allen recorded three divisions of the Koches of Garo Hills viz. Dasgaya, Harigaya and Anang. (Source: Allen, B. C. : Gazetters of the Khasi Jaintia Hills, Garo Hills, Lushai Hills, 1960: Page 30).

Here the term Dasgaya may be presumed to be the Banai.

The People of India Project carried out by the Anthropological Survey of India (ASI) on the basis of a comprehensive survey of the state of Meghalaya have also included the "Banai" as a sub-tribe of Koches of Meghalaya in the "KOCH" chapter. (Source: Bhattacharya, S: People of India-Meghalaya, Vol. XXXIII (Ed) K. S. Singh, Calcutta: 1994 Page-141)

S. N. Koch, who championed the cause of the Koches for their inclusion in the Scheduled Tribe list of Meghalaya states about the divisions of the Koches as follows. The groups or divisions of the Koches of Garo Hills as we find them now are Wanang, Harigaya or Sanga, Satparia, Chapra or Dasgaya or Margan, Tintikiya, Banai and Sankar Koch. (Source: Koch, S. N. : Garo Hills Land the People, New Delhi, 1984: Page-178)

The Banais refer to their clans as "Nikini" just like the Koches do. The list of Banai clans is as follows: 1) Ampabni 2) Dewa 3) Banai 4) Dasu 5) Dusa 6) Dhiru 7) Wanang 8) Bel 9) Dao 10) Ditla 11) Bakla 12) Dankhin 13) Balihata 14) Chapra 15) Chandigaia 16) Sati 17) hari 18) Noksi 19) tong 20) Nakola 21) Kendlai 22) Kamoli 23) Lamuk 24) Langka 25) Raba 26) Pakhra 27) Simsang 28) Manda 29) Luga 30) Danggo 31) Moah 32) Thekao 33) Chamru 34) Kangkala 35) Kangklai 36) Lebera 37) Lalung 38) Hasang 39) Khagra 40) Khenda-gaia 41) Maji 42) Miri 43) Chulta 44) Pachwa 45) Gasa-Musi 46) Pira. (Source: Banai, D: Megashree, Souvenir, Assamese Socio-Cultural Association, Tura, 1998. Page-27)

A comparative study of Banai and Koch clans reveals a great degree of similarity as is shown below:

Banai Clans Community in which the corresponding clan is found

1.Banai - Harigaya Koch

2.Dewa - Chapra Koch

3.Dasu - Chapra Koch

4.Dusa - Chapra Koch

5.Dhiru - Satpari Koch

6.Wanang - Wanang, Chapra, Tintikiya, Harigaya Koch

7.Dao - Chapra Koch

8.Ditla/ Ditila - Harigaya Koch

9.Dankhin - Chapra Koch

10.Balihata - Chapra Koch

11.Chapra - Chapra, Satpari Koch

12.Chandigaia - Satpari Koch

13.Hari - Harigaya, Satpari Koch

14.Noksi - A Koch Village near Dalu, Garo Hills

15.Nakola - Chapra Koch

16.Kendlai - Chapra Koch

17.Lamuk/ Lamok - Chapra, Satpari Koch

18.Langka/ Langsa - Harigaya Koch

19.Raba - Name of a tribe

20.Pakhra - Harigaya Koch

21.Simsang/ Sumsang - Harigaya, Tintikiya Koch

22.Manda - Chapra, harigaya Koch

23.Luga - Chapra Koch

24.Denggo / Danggo - Tintikiya Koch

25.Moah/ Noah - Tintikiya Koch

26.Thekao - Tintikiya Koch

27.Kangkala - Harigaya, Satpari Koch

28.Kanglai / Tangklai - Harigaya Koch, Satpari Koch

29.Lebera / Leba - Harigaya Koch

30.Hasang - Chapra Koch

31.Khagra - Chapra Koch

32.Khenda-gaia - Satpari Koch

33.Maji - Wanang, Chapra, Harigaya Koch

34.Pachwa/ Pajo - Tintikiya Koch

35.Pira - Wanang, Chapra, Tintikiya Koch

Such a close affinity of clans lends strong credence to the fact that the Banais are actually Koches and not a separate entity as they are made out to be.

The Banai clans as cited above are matrilineal and strictly exogamous, similar to the Koch clans. In view of the existence of such clans, Dr. Basu remarked, "It is significant that the Banai have a clan organization in which descent is traced through the mother" (Source: Basu, Dr. A: People of India Meghalaya, Vol XXXIII, 1994: Page-126)

It is further worth mentioning here that the Banai was never classified as Scheduled Tribe (ST) Scheduled Caste (SC), Other Backward Class (OBC), Backward Class (BC) or More Other Backward Class (MOBC) either in Meghalaya or in any of the states of India at any stage of their existence till date which conclusively proves that the Banai was never a separate entity by itself. But due to their mode of habitation, separated by hills and valleys, they lost track of communication with the parent Koch tribe and held themselves differently and thus were also viewed differently by others. But past records available (eg. Census Report 1891) show that it is a sub-tribe of the Koch tribe and the Koches consider the Banai as their own folk.

March 2011[edit]

Your addition to Ampati has been removed, as it appears to have added copyrighted material to Wikipedia without permission from the copyright holder. For legal reasons, we cannot accept copyrighted text or images borrowed from other websites or printed material; such additions will be deleted. You may use external websites or publications as a source of information, but not as a source of article content such as sentences or images. Wikipedia takes copyright violations very seriously and persistent violators will be blocked from editing. It looks like you've copied the text from http://ampatisubdivision.blogspot.com/ Minimac (talk) 06:53, 9 March 2011 (UTC)