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High Dropout Rates And Rising Drug Abuse Pose Huge Challenge For This Tripuri Community

Jamatias are one of the 19 tribes of Tripura. Together they form the Jamatia Hoda or Community which still relies on customary laws to manage their day-to-day activities. Every year the heads of each Moyal meet to discuss the challenges faced by the people of the community.

A villager washes the feet of guests as a sign of respect

This year the focus was on the growing education inequality and the rampant drug use among the youth. Each Moyal prepared a list of dropouts from their regions to highlight this. They also said that use of drugs has increased among the youth due to its easy availability. The members, all men, decided that the youth must return to their roots if they are to be empowered. In other words, the youth needs to interact more with community members, follow the teachings of the elders, and be model citizens.

The meet, held on October 26, started with lighting a lamp in the name of their community deity, Baba Garia. Hoda Okra (Community leader) Padha Lila Jamatia and Pulindra Jamatia, (Kherfang) Upadeshta Jamatia, (Pachai Asol) Hari Jamatia and Bipad Mangal Jamatia, President of Baba Garia Mission Tripur Jamatia, all village heads under Moyal and members of Dharma Committee of the Hoda Puspa Kumar Jamatia, Ratna Jamatia and others participated in this meet at the residence of Kanai Lal Jamatia, a village head of Mayung Twisa no.2 of Maradi Moyal. Everyone offered prayers to Baba Garia to keep the Jamatia Hoda strong. Everyone was given an opportunity to speak up their views on how they can bring positive change and harmony through this movement for peace.

A private meeting being held inside one of the homes

Puspa Kumar Jamatia said, if we want to live peacefully we have to follow Baba Garia’s rules. He emphasised on keeping watch upon wrongdoings in the society and acting against it. He also called upon the youth to preserve their cultural identity. He said, “If we could bring the youth on the path of Dharma, their addiction habits will be addressed. He emphasised upon following rules that the village priests preach to follow because village priests play a significant role in preserving the culture.”


The head of each Moyal discussed how the villages under them are increasingly witnessing young people spiral into drugs. They said that illicit drug trade is going on in many places which is ruining the lives of people.


Ratna Sadhan Jamatia of Mayungtwisa village spoke about the challenges that the community is facing in his area. He said that the youth is distancing itself from the teachings of elders and are forgetting their culture. He emphasized upon the importance of having knowledge about the Hoda which has been functioning for 430 years. "If youngsters know about their history they can be proud of it can can be dissuaded from leaving their schools," he said. He also mentioned village priests or Ochai play an important role in holding traditions which is why he urged them to be honest with their duties. He discussed how the community was formed during the reign of Maharaja Amar Manikya Bahadur’s son Rajdhar Manikya in 1589-1600 AD. He pointed out the loyalty of the Jamatias and hoped the new generation would also educate themselves about their history and stay away from indulging into addiction.

The entrance is decorated with bamboo

I personally think more such meetings with every village and every Moyal should be organised at least once a year for the welfare of the people. The Jamatia Hoda (Hoda stands for Community in Jamatia language) has altogether 18 Moyal, among which Marandi Moyal refers to the people of Maharani area in Gomati district.


This article has been created as a part of the Adivasi Awaaz project, with the support of Misereor and Prayog Samaj Sevi Sanstha.

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