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Glimpses of Moran culture


Glimpses of Moran Culture :

 

The Morans a distinct ethnic groups of Assam mostly residing in the Dibrugarh and Tinsukia Districts of Upper Assam have not come into focus of social and cultural studies in the light of composite Assamese social matrix, in spite of their monumental contribution. Diverse events and forces of history have practically pushed them to a forbidden corner and allowed them a lot to suffer socially and culturally. There is a perception on the part of the Moran people of injustices on socio-intellectual level meted out towards them by the mainland Assamese leaders and many Moran youths have been displaying serious reservation against such things. The Morans who have sacrificed a lot through the ages of history of Assam, have however braved the curse of history and safeguarded their socio cultural and religious identity and continuing to do so. Sri Sri Anirudhadev, one of the apostles of the Sankardeva, one of the 15th Century Vaishnava saint and preacher of Assam, with his benevolent and humanitarian messages reaching out as the rallying point. Shri Shri Anirudhadeva had a path breaking impact on the socially backward communities of Upper Assam and brought to the Vaishnava fold of the Sankardeva order with the liberal teachings of the saint preacher.

Srimanta Foundation :

for Culture and Society organized a one day programme to highlight the contributions of Sri Sri Anirudhadeva and its impact on social and cultural life of Assam , in collaboration with the Assam Moran Samaj and all Assam Moran students Union at Guwahati . On October 17, 2004. While inaugurating the programme. Dr. Birendranath Dutta, eminent folklorist and the then President Assam Sahitya Sabha lauded the initiatives of the Srimanta Foundation towards the enrichment of integration and harmony in the society through various meaningful programmes. He particularly referred to the rich Mayamara traditions and Moran Culture as an important component of social and cultural life of Assam . Dr. K.D. Goswami, President of the Foundation presided over the inaugural session in which Dr. B.K. Gohain , Commissioner, Home and Political Affairs, Assam released a publication or Moral Culture brought out to mark the occasion.
 
The Inaugural Ceremony was followed by a Seminar on SriSri Anirudhadev under the Chairmanship of Shri Ranjit Kumar Dev Goswami, noted scholar, Professor and Head, Dept. of English, Guwahati University. Dr.Nagen Saikia eminent scholar and Editor, Amor Asom, Dr.(Smt) Swarualata Baruah, Professor in the Sri Sri Anirudhadev Chair , Dibrugarh University, Dr. Dambarudhar Nath, Professor Dept. of History, Dibrugarh University and Sri Sushil Gogoi, noted writer participated in the Seminar highlighting on diverse facts of Sri Sri Anirudhadeva's life and works.
The large contingent of artists of this distinctive ethnic group pouring in the city form various parts of Upper Assam bade a tearful adieu to the President and other Trustees of the Srimanta Foundation after the successful and touching completion of the celebration and complemented the Foundation for its bold initiative in bringing the Moran life and culture into new focus .

ANIRUDHADEV & RELIGION OF MATAKS & MORANS :

During the medieval time, Hinduism underwent a transformation so great that it is compared to that wrought in western Christianity. There is an extensive resentment against the prevailing religion within the country. Bloody sacrifices, esoteric rites and class distinction were eventually giving a way to the new cult, which is popularly called the Bhakti movement. Prior to the Vaishnav cult the Mataks worship a primordial male deity and female deity. And all of them were animist.

The religion condition of Assam is akin as in the other parts of India. It is during this period a great change took place in the socio-cultural history of Assam in the form of Vaishnavite movement. The movement was initiated by Sri Sri Sankardev who belief in brotherhood and equality before the Lord. It not only changed the spiritual and moral outlook of Assam, but also prepared a ground for the establishment of a new society.The Vaishnana cult proved to be an epoch making phenomenon in the religious and the social history of Assam.

As the Assamese people owe their origin to Shankar Dev, the Mataks owe their origin to Aniruddhadeva, a prominent exponent of the Bhakti movement and one of the successors of Sankar Deva. The Mataks who formed a distinct community by themselves, developing certain traits and pattern of social behavior under the Vaishnava reformers, form one of the most important elements. Aniruddhadeva started propagating the neo-Vaishnav cult in the late 16th century. Aniruddhadeva traveled many places to spread his teaching before making Nahar Ati Satra the main centre of his activities. He however stayed for a short period in Majuli. Amongst the tribes the morans were the first to be converted into this new cult, which was later, followed by the Kacharis, Chutiyas, Barahis and Ahoms. Aniruddhadeva followers were known as Moamoriyans, after the name of the satra at Majuli.
Equality of human being is not only taught but is also practiced in the Mayamaria Satras. The Guru. didn't consider himself superior to the community of disciples. The Mayamara satra never has any idol worship, which is continued till today. The ojapali and other dances, which is an integral part of the other satras, are never given importance by the followers of Aniruddhadeva. Bhoana (religious play), which is an integral part of the other Vaishnav sect is never practiced in the Mayamara Satra.

Moamoria Rebellion :

A great change took place in the history of Assam in 16th century in the form of Neo-Vaishnavism initiated by Sankardev. The movement not only changed the moral and spiritual outlook of Assam but also created a feeling of "Universal Brotherhood." The movement is in direct contrast with the principles of despotism and rigid social distinction. A conflict between these two ideologies culminated which is popularly called the moamoria rebellion.
The Moamoria who were considered by the Ahom government as the people of the low caste gradually shun away their earlier ideologies and started adopting the Neo-Vaishnav cult based on universal brotherhood. The moamoria people were the followers of this Vaishnanva cult which was introduced by Aniruddhadeva, another follower of Shankar Dev. With the increase in the number of disciple there was an increase in wealth which in turn acts as a threat to the Ahom government. The existing government considered the Vaishnav movement as a danger, as the teachings of this movement stood in contrast to the principles on which the Ahom state rested. As a result these Satras invited the wrath of the Ahom monarch. Consequently several moamorias became the wrath of their king which resulted in wide spread bloodshed among the Mataks and the Ahom. Thus started the first phase of the rebellion against the Ahom Monarchy which is popularly called at the Moamoria rebellion.

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