|262,413 (2011 Census)|
|Regions with significant populations|
|India (Assam)||142,961 (2011, Dimasa-Kachari,in hill districts of Assam only)|
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|Culture of Assam|
The Dimasa people (local pronunciation: [dimāsā]) are an ethnolinguistic community presently inhabiting in Assam and Nagaland states in Northeastern India. They speak Dimasa, a Tibeto-Burman language. This community is fairly homogeneous and exclusive, with members required to draw from both parents' separate clans. Dimasa kingdom, one of many early states in Assam following the downfall of Kamarupa kingdom, was established by these people. The Dimasas were till recently agricultural, centering on shifting agriculture; but in recent times this has changed with profound changes in the community. Following political problems in the 18th century, the Dimasa ruler moved further south in the plains of Cachar and there took place a division among them–with the hills Dimasa maintaining their traditional living and political exclusiveness, the plains Dimasas have made no attempt to assert themselves.
Ancient Dimasa tradition maintains that sixty thousand (60,000) Moon months (Lunar months) ago, they left their ancestral land when it suffered a severe drought. After long wandering, they settled at Di-laobra Sangibra, the confluence of the Brahmaputra and Sangi or Di-tsang, where they held a great assembly.
The Dimasas form a "sealed" society—every member drawing his or her patriarchal lineage from one of the forty two male clans (sengphong—"holder of the sword") and the matriarchal lineage from one of the forty-two female clans (jalik or julu). These clans are distributed among twelve territorial "sacred groves" called daikhos. The Dimasas are one of the oldest inhabitants of the Northeastern part of India and is one of the many Kachari tribes. They live mostly in Dima Hasao District, an administrative autonomous district of the Indian state of Assam that includes the ravines of the Jatinga Valley and Dhansiri Valley, Diphu City and Howraghat region of Karbi Anglong district (East), West Karbi Anglong, Kampur region of Nagaon district, Hojai district, Cachar district, Hailakandi district, Karimganj district of Assam and Dimapur district of Nagaland and parts in Jiribam district of Manipur respectively.
It stands for Di-ma-sa meaning sons of big waters referring to Brahmaputra river (known as Dilao in Dimasa). Kacharis appear to be one of the earliest indigenous ethnic groups of northeastern India. They are a part of the greater Bodo-Kachari family of ethnolinguistic groups of Northeast India which includes Boro, Tripuri, Rabha, Garo, Tiwa, Koch, Moran etc. peoples of northeast india. They speak Dimasa language a Boro-Garo language of the Tibeto-Burman family.
Dimasa men are divided into 40 patriarchal clans. These are:
According to the 2011 Census of India, more than 99% of all Dimasa living in Assam are Hindu.
The traditional village headman, who is at the top of the village administration, is a Khunang. He has both executive and judiciary powers. He is assisted by another official called the Dillik (Assistant Headman). Next to him is Daulathu who occupies the third place. Next to the Daulathu is the Haphaisgao, who holds office for two years. Other village officials include Phrai, Montri, Hangsbukhu, and Jalairao.
Since 1994 as per the decision of Dimasa community of Dima Hasao, the Autonomous Council of Dima Hasao had officially declared 27 January as Busu festival day.
The male Dimasa use only two types of ornaments namely Yaocher and Kharik.
The dance forms of the Dimasa Kachari are complex in character.
Any Dimasa dance is called Baidima ( Bai-means dance, Dima-means Dimasa).
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