Showcasing the Rich Tribal Culture of the North-East
The Northeastern region of India, synonymous for its rich and diverse culture and geography, comprises of the States of Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Tripura and Sikkim. The North East is home to over 220 ethnic and linguistic groups, mainly Indo-Mongoloid and the main tribes are Khasi, Jaintia, Bodo to name a few. The Bodi tribals form the largest ethnic group. Adding to this is the special topography of the region, where the hills, mountains and the hilly plains have dictated every sphere of these tribal people. These 220 groups form a major part of the 619 Scheduled Tribes recognized by the Constitution.
This area is characterized by a rich cultural heritage and natural wealth. The North-East tribes have a rich crafts tradition of their own, which reflect their innate natural simplicity, earthiness and identity. Their art, culture, and lifestyle is predominantly influenced by their lifestyle – hunting, fishing and agriculture. Nature finds a special place in their art forms, textiles, craft, and even music. The Northeast is rich in the textiles, weaving, painting, pottery, masks, dolls, wood, cane and bamboo industry. Silk from Assam is known through the country for its quality.
Not surprisingly this area has witnessed low levels of social, economic and technological development; due to which it has been a special focus of TRIFED and its developmental plans. TRIFED through its Tribes India network of retail outlets, has been sourcing the superior handicrafts and handcrafted items from this region and providing them a platform; thereby contributing to their economic independence and empowerment.
Be it superior Bodo weaves made of cotton or Eri; the famed silk textiles, the warm cups and woven shawls from Nagaland and Manipur; or the beautiful bamboo work from Assam, in the form of baskets, cane chairs, and pen and lamp stands, or the rich organic natural produce which act as excellent immunity boosters such as honey, spices, and herbs; everything can be found at the Tribes India stores and website.
The Bodo women weavers, considered among the finest weavers in the region, are known for their resplendent weaves; while earlier limited to running fabrics and dokhona, now their product range has expanded. The Bodo women weavers make kurtas, dresses, or stoles, shawls, wrap-around skits, tops and kurtis and other accessories. Saris made of moga silk, mekhala chador, pretty embroidered blouses from Assam; knitted caps, booties for kids, and pouches from Sikkim and Manipur are also available.
The tribals of the North-East still produce weaves using the older back-strap loom and you can get pretty, handcrafted, vibrant bags, pillow covers, pouches made in this way. The weaves have designs clearly inspired by nature and are classy, sustainable and comfortable.
Another highlight is the pottery items made in the exceptional village of Longpi by the Thankul Naga tribes of Manipur. The characteristic grey-black pots, kettles, mugs, bowls and trays stand out and are quite popular. What is exceptional about these is that they aren’t made using the potter’s wheel; instead shaping is done with the hand using some moulds.
Blessed by nature, the quality of produce from this region is of very high-quality. Hence their organic food products such rice varieties, such as Joha rice from Assam; the black rice from Manipur; pulses, spices such as large cardamom from Sikkim, cinnamon from Meghalaya, the famous Lakadong turmeric from Meghalaya and the well-known Naga chilis have gained in popularity. Tribes India sources these and many other products from the tribals of the Northeast and showcases them and provides them with a vast platform, both national and international.
Do check out your nearest Tribes India outlets and the Tribes India website to get a glimpse of the rich handicrafts and items from the Northeast.