What is Jamatia Hoda

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Jamatia Hoda, what is jamatia hoda, Hoda, hoda okra
       

           Jamatia hoda is a social organisation that looks after the rights and safeguard of the culture of the Jamatia community. The Jamatia community is one of the nineteen tribes of Tripura, the North Eastern state of India. The traditional administrative system of the Jamatia is democratic in nature. The mechanism of social control is so well organised that the violation of Jamatia customary law is seldom found in Jamatia community. Any kind of difficulty or problem is met with joint decision taken by them. The whole Jamatia community is socially controlled by Hoda (the supreme council).

    For the decentralisation of the power of the Hoda, it is divided into three distinct separate units. These are :-

1. Luku (village level council)
2. Moyal (regional level council)
3. Hoda (community level supreme council)

     Besides these three tier system of administration there is an Advisory committee.

    The village Council (Luku) :- The village Council mainly consists of one headman called Chakdiri and two or more assistants called Khandols. Usually Chakdiri is directly elected by the senior male members of the Luku. The essential qualifications for the post of the Chakdiri is that he should be a married person with wife and children and should be economically sound. He is the formal spokesman of the village.
   
     The village Council deals only with the minor socio-economic disputes of the village. Justice is done according to the traditional rule. In case of any dispute, the Chakdiri takes the help of the old and influential members of the village who constitute the jury. The Chakdiri maintains good relation with the Moyal panchay (the headman of the regional level Council) and the Hoda Okra (the headman of the supreme Council). The Chakdiri participates or sends two representatives in the annual supreme Council meeting. He supervises all sorts of social functions like marriage, death or any other rituals and looks after the welfare of the village.

    Regional Council (Moyal) :- The Moyal is the next higher level administrative organisation to the Luku. A regional Council consists of 20 to 30 village councils of a compact geographical area. There are two headmen called Moyal Panchay in each regional Council. They are elected by the Adongs (representative members of the Luku Chakdiri) under that particular Moyal.
   
     The Moyal Panchay maintains law and order and the welfare of the region. They are empowered to decide all kinds of inter-village disputes of the region with the help of the Chakdiris. But his judgement is not final. He may send a case to Hoda Okra for final judgement.

       Supreme Council (Hoda):- Hoda is the Supreme Council of the Jamatia community. The head of the Hoda is called Hoda Okra. There are two Hoda okras in Jamatia community. They are selected by the Adongs of each village Council in the annual conference which is held in the month of Agrahayana (November). The Okras are generally elected for a period of five years.
  As regards the qualifications for the post of an Okra, he must be well-known personality with adequate experience of the functions of the traditional administrative organisations and customary laws.

      Hoda okra is the formal spokesman of the entire Jamatia community. His verdict is final. The function of the Hoda is to arrange some festivals like Garia Puja, Balangsuamani, Ganga puja etc. for the welfare of the entire Jamatia community. All kinds of cases like divorce, adultery, kidnapping, anti-social activities and complicated cases which could not be solved by the village Council and Regional Council are dealt with by the Okra.
 
   The Advisory Council:- Besides the three-tier system of administration of the Jamatia, there is an advisory Council. The aim regarding the creation of this Advisory Committee is to give an opportunity to the young and educated Jamatias to enter this Committee and to reflect their modern and scientific out look in Jamatia community. This Council also acts as a check on the dictatorial tendencies of the Okras.




    The Origin of the Word Jamatia

     According to present Jamatia Hoda Okras, Jamatia is derived from two kokborok words; 'Jama' and 'Twiya'. Jama means 'Tax' and Twiya means 'no need to pay'. Jamatia clan did not require to pay 'Tax' to the king during the Manikya Dynasty. The people of this clan were recruited as special royal force by the kings of Tripura during Manikya Dynasty. Jamatias were considered physically very strong and courageous by the kings. So, the people of Jamatia were exempted from paying any tax for their loyalty, service and sacrifice.  Jamatias showed their bravery and courage in the battlefield many times during the Manikya Dynasty. Later on, the people of 
this clan became known as Jamatia.
   Jamatia is one of the 19 scheduled tribes of Tripura. Jamatia clan are the third largest tribe in Tripura after the Debbarma and Reang. The language of Jamatia is Kokborok. Two Hoda Okras are the head of Jamatia clan. They have power to look after to preserve social, custom and religion of Jamatia community. All sorts of social and criminal disputes in between the community members are solved by the Jamatia Hoda.



    Garia Puja

 Garia is considered to be a benevolent male deity and fulfiller of the desires of his worshippers. Every year, Garia puja starts from the last day of the Bengali month of Chaitra(March - April) and continues for seven days and seven nights. 

   
     There is no fixed place for the puja. The puja is performed in an open courtyard. From time to time the venue of the puja is changed with the consent of the villages changing over and taking over the puja. The place of the puja is declared formally in the annual conference of the Hoda. There are two images of Garia deity—Biyak gwnang and Biyak kwrwi Garia
    The officials required for this puja are selected during the annual conference of the Hoda. These officials are—
    1. Kherphang :It is a hereditary post. The two Kherphangs for the two images of Garia are selected by the Jamatia hoda. The annual puja is held in the Kherphang's house. 
2. Ochai:The main priest of the Hoda. The hoda Ochai is selected in the annual conference of the Hoda. 
3. Mwtai Balnay: The bearer of the image of Garia deity. 
4. Doriya: He is the drum beater of the Garia. 
5. Bogla:Companions of the Garia. 
  The image of Garia is made of Bamboo and decorated with hand-woven risa, dhuti etc. Buffalo and he-goat are sacrificed in the Garia puja. 
    After the performance of the puja, they start to carry Garia to the scheduled villages. In cases of impurity in any village, Garia is not taken to that particular village. 
   The villagers welcome the followers of image of Garia in its movement cordially. The owner of the house tries his level best to satisfy them. In this way they go from house to house, from village to village with the image of Garia dancing for five to ten minutes in each house and then bless the owner of the house. This continues for seven days and seven nights. 
    The role of the Baglas, who are regarded as companions of Garia is very significant. They accompany the image of Garia during its movement. They make jokes with the spectators and the followers. The leader of the Baglas is called Mahanta. If any spectator requests the Mahanta to cure him/her of an ailment, he takes a little water and chants some Mantras on it and gives the patient. It is believed that sometimes he simply tells the patient "Ta-Wanadi" (don't worry) and then the patient gets cured.
      At the end of the seven days and seven nights, the image is again taken to the Kherphang's house. Then certain religious functions are done. Lastly the Mwtai Balnay asks all to immerse the image of Garia.

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