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Shadap-Sen, Namita Catherine (1969) The origin and early history of the Khasi-Synteng people. PhD thesis. SOAS University of London.

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Abstract

This work consists of survey of the evidence on the origin of the Khasi-Synteng people and a review of their history, as far as it can be reconstructed, down to the latter part of the eighteenth century. This is followed by a review of their traditional culture, as it was before the opening up of the Khasi and Jaintia Hills. The work is thus divided into two main parts, preceded by an introduction discussing geography, sources and previous work on the subject, and ending with a conclusion, summarizing the contents of the thesis and briefly surveying the later history of the Khasi-Syntengs down to the present day. In the first part, Chapter II reviews the ethnology of the Khasi-Syntengs, and considers their connections with other ethnic groups in India and South-east Asia. This chapter also considers the evidence of the few Neolithic artifacts found in the region. The third chapter deals with the evidence of the megalithic structures in the Khasi and Jaintia Hills, and discusses possible relationship with other megalithic cultures. In the fourth chapter linguistic evidence is considered, from various points of view, and it is suggested from the evidence of loan-words that the earliest contact of the Khasis with Indo-Aryan speakers may have been later than previously supposed. The following three chapters cover the history of the Jaintia Kingdom, much of which can be traced in considerable detail from the early sixteenth century onwards, chiefly through the Assamese chronicles. The accounts of these are often conflicting in points of detail, and the thesis attempts to solve these conflicts of evidence wherever possible, and to present the most probable interpretation of the data. Little can be discovered about the history of the hill Khasis, but certain documents of the East India Company throw some light on their relations with the plains at the end of our period. These are considered in the eighth chapter. The second part of the thesis begins with a review of the system of government of the Khasi-Syntengs (Chapter IX). In the following chapter (X) the social institutions of the Khasi-Synteng tribes are dealt with, including the matrilineal of the Khasi-Synteng tribes are dealt with, including the matrilineal (but not matriarchal) family system, the tribal and clan structure, and the system of inheritance. Chapter XI, on religion, commences with a consideration of the Khasi high god, and it is shown that he is not bisexual, as believed by some anthropologists. The chapter rites, ideas of the belief in lesser gods and demons, sacrificial rites, ideas of the after-life and the practice of ancesding the complex megalithic rites in honour of the ancestors of the clan. In the twelfth chapter aspects of the trade, industry and agriculture of the Khasis are discussed. The thirteenth chapter, entitled 'Everyday Life' review various aspects of the life of the Khasi-Syntengs, such as houses and furniture, food and drink, dress, literature and music, games and sports, astronomy and medicine. The thesis concludes with appendices on the Jaintia king-list and the Assamese months.

Item Type: Theses (PhD)
SOAS Departments & Centres: SOAS Research Theses > Proquest
Date Deposited: 16 Oct 2018 15:22
URI: http://eprints.soas.ac.uk/id/eprint/29645

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