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Indian Subcontinent >> India >> Meghalaya >> People of Meghalaya

People of Meghalaya

The people of Meghalaya are cheerful, sociable and hardworking and have exemplary dignity of labour. Physically, they are short, muscular and robust with fair complexions. Predominantly Christian, their society is casteless. They are devout and practice their faith with fervour. On Sundays, the cities, towns and villages wear a festive look as hordes turn up in church in their Sunday best.

The Garo, Jaintia and Khasi tribes who inhabit Meghalaya have a matrilineal society. That is, the inheritance goes to the women of the house. It also means that the men are married into the women's families. They come to live in their wife’s home and the children bear the surnames of their mothers.

The Garos are of Tibetan stock; Khasis are related to the Jaintias who, in turn, are related to the Shaan tribesmen of Myanmar. The Garos live in western Meghalaya, the Khasis in central Meghalaya, and the Jaintias in eastern Meghalaya. They are said to be one of the earliest ethnic group of settlers in the Indian sub-continent, belonging to the Proto Austroloid Monkhmer race. The Garo Hills is predominantly inhabited by the Garos, belonging to the Bodo family of the Tibeto-Burman race, said to have migrated from Tibet. The Garos prefer to call themselves as Achiks, and the land they inhabit as the Achik-land.

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