A Vulnerable tribal group of Tripura

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If you belong to the North East, you must have heard of a tribal group called Reang. It is one of the last tribal groups in Tripura fighting to exist because the younger generation seems a bit coy about keeping it alive. Reang is a group located not more than 100 kilometers from Agartala, in Dhalai district. Women are spotted wearing lukoih or beaded jewelry and rangbauh, a necklace made of coins.

The Reang tribe survives mainly on cultivation, ploughing and even settled cultivation. Shifting cultivation is only practiced by 14 percent of the members and settled agriculture is practiced by roughly 35% of the members. In terms of cultivation, the tribe still needs to progress but they’re slowly accepting change.

The fact that the tribe’s men and women are generally very shy and timid means they avoid contact with the real world or other communities. However, thanks to little exposure to documentary filmmakers and researchers, they are open to them documenting them and help them grow their tribe while at the same time learning better and advanced ways of keeping their tradition(s) alive and earning themselves a better lifestyle.

 

What is the group known for?

It’s known for its pre-agricultural level of technology and low level of literacy. According to a researcher from Tripura University, the low level of literacy is quite shocking.  Almost 80 percent children of this tribe do not go to school and aren’t helping in developing the tribe. The number of illiterate children has seen a sharp increase, leading to concern for the community.

What is being done to keep the tribe’s traditions from going extinct?

According to Manindra Reang, the State Minister for Tribal Welfare, a museum is being set up to display their language in Roman and Bengali scripts, their ornaments, attires, rituals, and dance will also be preserved in the museum. Their dance performance is mostly aimed at welcoming the harvest season.