Meghalaya a matriarchal society

Meghalaya a matriarchal society

 

Meghalaya literally means “The Abode of Clouds” in Sanskrit and other Indic languages. Meghalaya is a hilly strip in the eastern part of the country about 300 km long (east-west) and 100 km wide, with a total area of about 8,700 sq mi (22,720 km²). The population numbered 2,175,000 in 2000. The state is bounded on the north by Assam and by Bangladesh on the south. The capital is Shillong, which has a population of 260,000. About one third of the state is forested.

Tribal people make up the majority of Meghalaya’s population. The Khasis are the largest group, followed by the Garos. Other groups include the Jaintias, the Koch and the Hajong, Dimasa, Hmar, Kuki, Lakhar, Mikir, Rabha,Nepali etc.. Tribes historically had their own kingdoms. These tribes traditionally had relatively higher sex ratio in the state was 975 females per thousand males which was much better than the national average of 933. One of the unique features of the State is that a majority of the tribal population in Meghalaya follows a matrilineal system where lineage and inheritance are traced through women.

Meghalaya has two representatives in the Lok Sabha, the lower house of the Parliament of India; one each from Shillong and Tura. It also has one representative in the Rajya Sabha, the upper house of the Parliament.

Meghalaya has a Christian majority with 70.3% of the population.26% of the population follows Hinduism with a sizeable minority of 11.5% living as tribals. Muslims make up 4.3% of the population as well.

Meghalayan tribes were brought under the British administration in the 19th century. Later, the British incorporated Meghalaya into Assam in 1835. Meghalaya was formed by carving out the two districts of the state of Assam: the United Khasi and Jaintia Hills, and the Garo Hills on 21 January 1972. Prior to attaining full statehood, Meghalaya was given a semi-autonomous status in 1970.

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