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Jamatia is one of the 21 scheduled tribes of Tripura And it is the only tribe of Tripura with its own Customary Law in Practice. They mainly dwell in the West Tripura and the South Tripura districts. They speak the language Kokborok which is of Tibeto-Burmese origin. There were 74,949 Jamatia people as of the 2001 Census.
Origin of the clan
The Jamatia clan is the third largest sub-tribe of among indigenous Tripuris, after the Tripuris (Debbarma) and the Reang sub-tribe in Tripura. The origin of the word Jamatia, in one opinion, had derived from the word jamat, which means 'collection' or 'union of peoples'. This later on turned to Jamatia. The people of this clan live in unity and concentrated in any particular place even today.
According to other opinion, Jamatia is conjugation of two Kokborok words: jama means 'tax' and twiya means 'no need to pay'. The men of this clan engaged in the Tripura royal force as soldiers by the kings of Tripura during the Manikya Dynasty. So the peoples of Jamatia clan were exempted to pay any tax by the king for their loyalty, service and sacrifice for the regime. Later on, the people of this clan became known as Jamatia.
The Jamatias are physically very strong, stout, and courageous, muscular as a whole. This led to induct them to royal force during kings' regime. It was evidently proved by the mighty rebel leader like Porikshit Jamatia who fought against the unjust oppression by king's corrupt officials.
Economy and livelihood
The economic condition and financial condition of Jamatia clan is same as rest of the indigenous Tripuris. Nowadays many youths are getting educations and being employed in state and central government offices.
The Jamatia are followers of traditional Tripuri religion like the rest of the clans of Tripura. They worship Goria mwtai the most, which is worshiped by all other clans. Goria celebration of the Jamatias needs special mention and shall be dealt separately. Besides this, they worship the Mwtai Kotor, twima, and 14 other gods. The Jamatias were agitated after the armed rebellion under the leadership of Porkshit Jamatia was brutally curved out.
The Jamatias left the state en masse and migrated to neighbouring state. They were motivated to convert to Vaishnavism; since then, they had feeling of superiority and did not allow other clans to enter to their kitchen.
Social structure of the "Hoda"
The Jamatia clan had three-tier social structures for smooth interaction and social order:
Hoda means the apex body of the Jamatia society. It is headed by the Okra who is the supreme of the clan.
The head of the hoda, which is the hoda okra, is selected unanimously by the village chokdiris and moyal panchais at the annual conference for five years. There are two hoda okras at the apex body at present.
The supreme authority to govern the society is vested collectively with the two hoda okras. They are assisted by a four-member Advisory Board, possessing sound knowledge and experience of traditional religion, cultural affairs, administrative rule, and Jamatia customary law.
There are 10 priests appointed by hoda okras and accountable to okras. There is a Hoda Working Committee consisting of 33 members which function under the direct supervision of hoda okras. One third of the board members have to be women. Hoda have an audit board with five members, who are selected by the hoda members for three years. All the income and expenditure are audited by this board once in every year, to maintain the financial regularity of the hoda. The hoda has 321 villages that are governed by the above social system.
The hoda is very strong and influential among the Jamatia clan, and that is why the traditional social life and the customary laws are still strictly practiced by the Jomatia clan of indigenous Tripuri.
Duties of hoda okras
- The twin Hoda Okras shall not do or follow opposite or contradictory policy.
- They should ensure that the Hoda rules and regulations are adhered in performing social occasions and worshiping different gods.
- The first and the foremost duty of the Okras is to implement the resolutions and decisions of the Hoda.
- The hoda Okras should protect any person who is assaulted while protecting the society's rules and regulation.
- Whenever there are disputes or conflicts among the members of the clan the Okras shall do the conciliation independently and impartially.
- The okras should hold the responsibility for five years. But if they indulge in any unfair and corrupt practice, they may be removed before the expiry of the terms. Such expulsion from the post can be done only by 2/3 majority of the advisory board and 2/3 majority of the Hoda working committee. There should be a majority support for the removal by the moyal Panchais also.
- The Okras can resign from the post by giving appropriate reasons. They should do so jointly as they were elected.
- If any okra dies or any of their wives dies the two okras shall resign from the post and the emergency meeting of the Hoda shall be convened and new Okras selected unanimously.
The moyal consists of five to thirty-two villages, where two panchais are selected in each moyal by the region's Chokdiri and prominent persons of the village for five years.
The whole of the Jamatia population is divided into 16 regions called moyals. The head of the moyal is known as panchai.
Duties and powers of the panchai
- The prime and primary function of the panchais is to peace and discipline of the Moyal.
- They shall solve all the disputes among the members by the help of working committee.
- They should implement the programs of the Okras.
- They shall keep contact with the Okras to maintain peace and tranquility at the region.
- They should tale any such step to maintain the harmony and discipline of the society with the approval of Okras.
- They should collect he subscription for the welfare of the society.
- They should preside over any working committee of the moyal.
- They can arbitrate in any problems related to women, theft, dacoity, burglary etc. and punish the accused accordingly.
The luku is a group of people in a village whose chief is called chokdiri.
The chokdiri is selected unanimously by the head of each family of the village every five years.