Bondo - Sociopolitical Organization

Social Organization. Bondo life is centered on a cycle of yearly agricultural activities. Stratification by age or other categories does not obtain. Although it is likely that some method exists for achieving status within the community, Elwin has not devoted much attention to it. Instead, he has characterized Bondo society as one in which freedom and independence act as leveling forces that reduce the importance of the hierarchical ranking of individuals in the social order. One important Bondo social institution, that of the moitur/mahaprasad friendship, must be noted. This is a ceremonial alliance established for mutual support.

Political Organization. The autonomous village is the most basic of Bondo political units. Village officials include the naiko (headman), bariko (village watchman), and the sisa (village priest). The headman is assisted by a council of elders. Officials in a Bondo village, according to Elwin, encounter certain difficulties in the carrying out of their duties because of the emphasis placed on the rights of the individual in Bondo society. Officials are appointed by the populace on an annual basis. Provision is also made for their removal from office should their work prove unsatisfactory to the electorate.

Social Control. In addition to the means usually employed by the state to maintain order and to discourage antisocial behavior (e.g., legal prosecution and imprisonment), Bondo cosmology uses the potential retribution of supernaturals for offenses against tribal customs (e.g., customs relating to exogamy, incest, and marital fidelity) as an additional means of social control.

Conflict. External relations are stable, though historically tensions have been noted between the Bondo and both the Didayis (whose villages were at one time targets of Bondo raids) and the Doms (upon whom Bondo robbers formerly preyed). Antagonism toward the Doms may have been caused, at least in part, by Dom attempts to force the Bondo to adopt Hinduism and abandon aspects of their traditional culture.

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