Bhuiya - Sociopolitical Organization



Social Organization. Three most important components of the Pauri Bhuiya social organization are family, descent group (khilli), and village. People relate to each other in a network based on consanguinity and affinity. They also differentiate themselves in many other ways. The eldest male member of the family functions as its head and exercises Control and authority, commanding respect from all other Members. The control and authority passes down to one's eldest son. The head enjoys special status both in his family and in the village, as other elders do. A number of smaller lineages constitute a khilli. The lineage members are obliged to help each other in social, economic, and ritual pursuits. Marriage is prohibited between boys and girls of the same khilli and also within the same village. Every Pauri village has a definite territory with a boundary and is a well-knit social entity. Village cohesiveness continues in spite of the recent introduction of private property in land in the plains area. Established intervillage relationships for performing various sociopolitical functions are common among the tribe.

Political Organization. When occasional disputes arise within and between villages, the council of elders decides the course of action. Intravillage disputes are settled by the elders, including the sacerdotal head ( dihuri ), under the chairmanship of the village headman ( naik ). Intervillage disputes either are decided by the elders of disputing villages or are referred to the larger territorial organization. Everyone participates in decision making until a consensus is reached. The political organization, in conformity with the value system of Pauri society, regulates the behavior pattern of the disputants and transgressors. The office of village head is hereditary. The village panchayat, a new statutory body, has recently been introduced side by side with the traditional council of elders, primarily for village welfare activities. The waves of national party politics have not reached Pauri country.

Social Control. Several recent changes in interpersonal Relationships are the result of a change in the social setting from ethnic homogeneity and village exogamy to ethnic heterogeneity and village endogamy. The common ownership of land under swidden cultivation and private ownership of valley land for cultivation are acknowledged. Common ritual practices bind Pauri society into a single entity. The organic Control of community life is guided by an egalitarian outlook of the people.

Conflict. Except for conflicts of a minor nature, harmonious relations between persons and also between social groups are maintained. Still, when disputes over land control, incestuous relations, adultery, divorce, or homicide do arise, the village council of elders and the larger territorial council—for intravillage and intervillage disputes, respectively—decide the issues through deliberation.


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