Bodos are the true ethnic Tribal Community of Assam – the sub branch of the Bodo – Kachari Clan. The Bodos are the largest among the Bodo – Kachari Clan. They are also the most progressive. Bodos reside in the Brahamaputra valley and are considered to be largest ethnic and linguistic group of tribes. The Bodos speak Tibeto – Burmese language. Nowadays the Bodos have accepted the Devnagari Language. Bodos have a language of their own called Deodahi.
Earlier the Bodos were cut off from other parts of the Country due to their geographical area and weather conditions. This lead to the their lack in education and economy. This was one of the reasons of the arousal of the Bodoland Movement. The movement took its wings in the late 80’s under the leadership of Upendra Nath Brahma who is now regarded as the Father of Bodos. A Bodoland Territorial Council was formed to save the Culture, language and identity of Bodos. It was headed by All Bodo Students Union (ABSU) and an armed militant group called the Bodo Liberation Tigers (BLT). Following the movement a settlement was reached between the Government and the Bodos. A land was given to the Bodos which came to be known as Bodoland.
In 2006, the former BLT members, formed an alliance with Indian National Congress under the leadership of Hagrama Mohilary and came into power in Dispur District Of Assam. Still in Assam, illegal immigrants occupy tribal belts.
One of the major income sources, the Bodos turn to working in tea estates. The women working in assam tea estates are mostly bodos.
Silk rearing, the Bodos take special interest in this work. Not only it is a source of livelihood, it is also one of the best means to know about the best quality silk.
The Culture of Bodos
Bodos in their ancient years used to pray their forefathers. Today they have changed significantly – they have accepted Hinduism as their main religion. They practice a Culture known as Bathouism. The plant Siju is taken for the worship as a symbol of Bathou Symbol. For the worship, a clean ground near the home or the courtyard of the home is taken. One pair of Betelnut called Goi betel leaf called pathwi is used as offering. The offering includes rice, milk and sugar. For the Kherai Puja which also happens to be the most important of all Pujas, an altar is placed in the rice field. The Bodos do not practice dowry and caste system as per their rules of Brahma Dharma.
The main work of Bodos is tea plantation, silk worm rearing, weaving, pig and poultry farming. They are also good bamboo craftsman. The main festivals of Bodos include Kherai – the colorful function which includes, drumming, singing and dancing (Bagurumba) to the rythmn of the drums. Garja, Hapsa Hatarnai, Awnkham Gwrlwi Janai, Bwisagu and Domashi are the other important festivals. The main cuisines of the Bodos include Narzi, Onla and Oma Bedor.