Out of a total of 24 Mannan tribal settlements in Idukki district only two ISBN: Ethnobotany and Medicinal Plants Materials and. ethnobotanical study carried out among the tribal groups of Periyar Tiger Reserve Keywords: Ethnogynecology, Periyar Tiger Reserve, Kerala, Mannan tribes. Fardous Mohammad Safiul Azam, Anup Biswas, Abdul Mannan, Nusrat Anik . G. J. Martin, Ethnobotany: A “People and Plants” Conservation.
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Assam is very rich in plant biodiversity as well as in ethnic diversity and has a great traditional knowledge base in plant resources. It is inhabited by the largest number of tribes and they lead an intricate life totally dependent on forest plants. The Mising is the major section and second largest tribal community of Assam and have a rich tradition of religion and culture. Their religious practices and beliefs are based on ethnbotany.
A study of the plants related ehnobotany magico religious beliefs in Dobur Uie of Mising is carried out. The results revealed the use of 30 ethnpbotany belonging to 23 families.
All plant species are used both in religious purpose as well as in the treatment of different ailments. Details of the uses of plants and conservational practices employed in Dobur Uie are provided. Our findings on the use of plants in Dobur Uie ritual reflect that some plants are facing problems for survival and they need urgent conservation before their mannanz. Because this elimination may threat the rich tradition of Eghnobotany culture. Most of the plants that are domesticated for different rituals are almost same in all Mising populated areas.
Plants are used in many ways including worshipping gods and goddesses for the protection and betterment of human life. In every human society worship is performed with traditional rituals for well-being. Many tribal communities preserve this tradition through folklore and worship their deities right from the occasion of birth to mourning death.
They perform specific worship with pressie offerings. In India various gods and goddesses are worshipped in different religions throughout the country. Various plant parts like bark, twigs, leaves flowers, fruits and seeds are offered to gods. There are many plants grown near the different religious ehhnobotany are regarded as sacred plants by different mnnans groups of the country. They preserve the plants by all means which are used in different rituals.
At a time when ecological degradation and deforestation have been taking place at an alarming rate throughout the globe, in India thousands of pockets of natural vegetation scattered throughout the country are preserved almost in pristine condition [ 1 – 5 ].
Almost all the religious communities and tribal societies consider some plants as holy in origin and essential in religious functions.
Tribal folklore is rich in magico-religious beliefs and taboos. They believe that some gods and deities reside on the trees in the forest. If they do not show mark respect to them their full clan will be destroyed. So they preserve the plants which they regard sacred for social, cultural and religious purposes. Their taboos, festivals, rituals and other cultural aspects are closely associated with the surrounding vegetation preserved on religious ground.
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The fear of getting attacked by the forest spirits or getting cursed by the deities eventually makes the ethnbootany communities to resort to worship the spirits and making sacrifices and offerings to pacify them. Although the taboos, self imposed restricted and extra care exhibited by the community have significantly contributed in preserving the religious plants intact and in good shape thereby conserving a whole range of biodiversity that is housed in it. There is an inextricable link between indigenous and biological diversity.
All over the world the indigenous people have protected the biodiversity with which they have symbiotic relationship [ 6 ]. It has been an undeniable fact that the knowledge of indigenous people is invaluable in the present day context of biological diversity conservation and its sustainable utilization [ 78 ].
The use of plants in different religious practices is possibly the earliest and most prevalent form of religion. Since the birth of humanity populations have derived from nature aesthetic or spiritual sustenance and used it for creative ends [ 9 ]. Plants have a special role in religious and social ceremonies of every rural society [ 10 mannxns.
Various religious and supernatural beliefs and folklores help fthnobotany the prevention of destruction of plants. There are several examples of trees worship tradition in many parts of the world under all religions and beliefs.
The objective behind plant worship or plants used in religious festivals has always been their conservation and utilization in the most sustainable manner [ 716 ]. Plant worship as part of nature worship is generally believed to have begun in the initial stage of human society.
However its origin and evolution are still an unfathomable enigma [ 17 ]. Many ethnic people have their tradition to worship different trees in different occasion.
On the way if they come across the sacred tree they stop and tie a thread around the trunk of the tree or put flags near the tree [ 18 ]. Many religious plants ethnobotzny the culture and belief of the communities imbibed are seriously under threat and an urgent attention is therefore needed to preserve these plants.
India with its rich floristic diversity is also inhabited by the largest number of tribes and they lead an intricate life totally dependent on the forest plants. Overall tribal population of this region accounts for more than 57 percent of the total population. In Assam alone the percentage of tribal population is More than 25 communities, mostly tribal and mainly depending on plant resources for their day to day life inhabit in the different parts of the state. They have close association with and good knowledge about plant resources of their surroundings which form an integral part of their material and spiritual cultures.
Assam has enormous ethno botanical wealth hand in hand with a rich cultural heritage but work on such aspects is very rare. From the different literatures so far published from this region it is known that there is a very little work done on the tribal people of Assam.
However some experts [ 19 – 26 ] have few works on different problems of some tribal people of Assam. There is no specific work done so far on the plants used by the tribal people of Assam in different religious and cultural practices. It is in this background that the present study has been undertaken, which is aimed at the documentation of the plants related with religious and cultural practices in the Dobur Uie ritual of Mising people of Assam ethnobohany their conservational practices.
The Misings are one of the tribal communities of Assam. They claim ethnnobotany as the sons of nature [ 232728 ].
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They perform number of religious practices in their life. The practices are comprised of various rites and rituals with prayer, offerings and sacrifices.
They believe that after death of human beings their spirits which they call ‘Uie’ roam invisibly around them and these Uies are always hostile to human beings. Dobur Uie causes all natural calamities like flood, erosion, drought, death etc. The types of ritual and offering are determined according to the nature of the spirits or ‘Uie’.
Generally the spirits causing the troubles are diagnosed by the ‘Mibu’ Mising priest. To pacify the spirits the Misings perform different rituals by offering drinks Apong- a kind of rice beer and animals like chickens and pigs. Apong is inseparably associated with Mising culture. Without Apong no any ritual can be observed. In Dobur Uie it is sprinkled over the altar and also to the performers like the Mibus and other elderly persons sitting around the altar of the Dobur Uie to purify them.
Apong is prepared in every household. About 10 – 15 plants are used in the preparation of Apong now a days. This number varies from place to place depending upon the availability of the plants. All plants used in Apong preparation have certain medicinal properties. Previously this number was 50 but it was alarmingly reduced to less than half number which is becoming a serious concern now a days.
No any research work has been done on this aspect in this region. There are many plants used by the Mising people in different rituals. In this paper an attempt has been made to discuss the plants used in Dobur Uie.
Many plants used by them in ritual purposes have medicinal properties. Studies on such plants used for worshipping gods and goddesses are carried out by different workers [ 629 – 36 ]. Mising healers giving demonstration about the medicinal herbs and praying Dony-Polo.
Dobur Uie is observed in the month of May. People believe that the general welfare and prosperity of a village community depend on the blessings of Dobur Uie. It is observed at the outskirts of the village concerned so as to keep away the malevolent spirits from the village. A day is fixed Generally Wednesday for Dobur ritual considering all relevant aspects and ethnobotxny.
In early morning of the ‘Dobur day’ some selected male folks proceed to the main entry points of the village. There they erect some structure specially designed braided leaves of ‘Piro’ plant Phragmites karkaa kind of wild reed, its stems and bamboo to indicate prohibition against the entry of the outsiders into the village.
After the completion of the prohibitory indicators at the entry points they come back to the village and they form a group consisting of 20 members approximately and start visiting the house holds of the village.
Usually the visit starts from the eastern corner of the village. The members of the visiting group carry rods, sticks etc. On entering they shout “Ajenge! Bilangka” pay your fine eethnobotany penalty and at the same time they strike the platforms, walls etc of the house with rods and sticks.
In this way they visit every household of the village. They believe that beating the platforms or walls of the house will drive away the evil spirits from that house and eventually from the village They carry the collected materials to the bank of the river or stream.
The ritual is performed by the Mibu Mising priest. A temporary altar is prepared on the raised ground with specially designed sticks of Piro grass and bamboo and many other sacred plant leaves. First prayer is offered to their deities ‘Dony – Polo’. Two symbolic idols simulating a snake swallowing an egg are made from ‘Ruktak’ plant Thelypteris angustifolia – a type of wild fern, a ‘Tabong’ Imperata cylindrica – a sharp grass and a split bamboo are placed on etunobotany altar facing the rising sun.
Then the sacrifices of the animals like pigs and fowls are done. Rice, Apong, and other collected eatables are served among the members taking part in the ritual.
These areas of Assam rich with traditional knowledge and a good vegetation cover were selected based on mopping up surveys during The potential Mising areas were selected based on whether they still practice own social customs, beliefs, religious rites, taboos, totems, food habits, medicinal and agricultural practices, as it was observed that the utilization and conservation practices of the Mising tribes are intertwined with these.
Also this kind of life style has created a proper understanding between them and nature, which has resulted in enormous amount of knowledge available with them. Exploration trips were conducted periodically and data ethnobotny religious and conservation practices revealing information about their informal innovation were recorded ethnobotzny details.
Initially, ethobotany stay in Mising areas was shorter periods, as the initial trips were aimed at establishing rapport with the Mising people.