8 Unique Facts on Ancient and Modern History of Meghalaya: Meghalaya is one of the most beautiful states in Northeast India. It is adjoined by Assam in the north and east and by Bangladesh in the south. The River Brahmaputra (or Luit as called locally) forms the border in the west. Most of the state is embraced by vast expanses of tropical primary forests and flourishing with a biodiversity of plants, mammals, reptiles, birds, and insects. Some of the little pockets of forests are known as ‘sacred groves’ which have been protected since ancient times by local communities due to religious and cultural significances. Endowed with natural beauty, this state holds an eventful past.
So, let’s explore 8 unique facts on Ancient and Modern History of Meghalaya one by one:
1. The name Meghalaya is derived from the Sanskrit word which means; The abode of clouds.
Meghalaya- The abode of clouds is a combination of two words: Megham meaning clouds and alayam meaning abode. Hence, in its entirety, Meghalaya means abode of the clouds. The state’s rightful claim as being the wettest place on the earth. This land is bestowed with exquisite scenic beauty, crystal clear waterfalls and highland plateaus. The term Meghalaya was given by Professor SP Chatterjee.
2. Have the People Of Meghalaya lived there since the Neolithic era?
Yes, you read it right! Meghalaya has always remained an archaeological interest and it is believed that people of Meghalaya have lived since the Neolithic Era. It is the period when cereal cultivation and animal domestication was introduced. So, we can say that the people of Meghalaya were practising farming for ages. The term Neolithic or New Stone Age is generally used in connection with agriculture. It is truly stated because; about 80% of the Meghalaya population still depends entirely on agriculture for their livelihood. Even today, neolithic style jhum or shifting cultivation is practised in Meghalaya.
3. The homeland of many tribes but three ancient tribes inhabited the land. Who were they?
Meghalaya has been a homeland of many tribes, but three ancient tribes occupied the land of Meghalaya. They were Garo, Khasi, and Jaintia. They had their independent rule in separate territories of Meghalaya and live an independent lifestyle which allows their practices to be preserved.
4. Control of the British Empire On Meghalaya.
Garo, Khasi, and Jaintia had their own kingdoms and were running their territories independently until the arrival of the Britishers. It changed the political scenario of India as well as changed the situation of these tribal communities. Meghalaya became a counterpart of the British Empire in India during the 19th century. During the British Raj, Meghalaya was taken over by the British Empire.
5. How Does Meghalaya become the part Of Assam?
In 1835, Meghalaya became a part of Assam. The Britishers incorporated Meghalaya in the territory of Assam. Yet, Meghalaya relished a semi-independent status due to the treaty relationship that was signed between Meghalaya and the British Crown.
Do you Know: Shillong was the capital of Assam until the creation of the new state of Meghalaya on 21 January 1972.
6. Meghalaya is known as “Scotland of East”
Surprised, right! Meghalaya is also known as Scotland of East in India. The British imperial authorities nicknamed Meghalaya as Scotland Of East because of the rolling hills, similar climate, and geographic features, around the town reminded the European settlers of Scotland.
7. Meghalaya follows the Matrilineal Society.
Unlike many Indian states, the cultures of Meghalaya has historically followed a matrilineal society where inheritance and lineage are passed on to women. The youngest daughter receives all wealth and she also takes care of her parents. After marriage, husbands live in the mother-in-law’s home. The mother’s surname is taken by kids.
At a point, when no daughter destined to a couple, they adopt a little girl and pass their privileges to the property to her. The birth of a girl is celebrated more than the birth of a son. There is no social stigma connected to a woman remarrying or giving birth out of wedlock as the “Khasi Social Custom of Lineage Act” gives security to them. The women who relish all the rights live an independent life, attend church, dress well, and many prefer not to get married. They enjoy total security, unlike in the rest of the country where female infanticide (killing girl child) is still practised. Meghalaya state sets an example of how girls should be treated and welcomed.
8. Meghalaya’s Official Language. Can You Guess?
Can you guess what can be the official language of Meghalaya? If you are thinking that it can be a tribal language like Khasi or Garo, then you are not thinking it right. The official language of Meghalaya is English. Khasi and Garo are the prominent languages of Meghalaya and declared as associated official languages under the Meghalaya State Language Act, 2005.
8 Unique Facts on Ancient and Modern History of Meghalaya: From the above historical facts on Meghalaya, we can conclude that this land holds eventful historical significance in terms of communal tribes to matrilineal society to rise of Meghalaya as an autonomous state.
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