Mikir - Sociopolitical Organization

Social Organization. Mikir life is focused on the agricultural cycle. The young men's association plays an important part in this (e.g., by assisting in land cultivation) and in the maintenance of Mikir customs (e.g., in music and dance). There is no apparent evidence of a rigidly stratified social structure (e.g., by age, class, occupation, etc.); neither does there appear to be a ranked hierarchy of kur.

Political Organization. The autonomous village, headed by a gaonbura or sar-the (headman), is the central administrative unit. Village affairs are supervised by the headman and the members of the me (village council), made up of all male householders. The me mediates in disputes and has the power to levy fines. Villages belong to larger administrative districts called mauzas, which are administered by a m e-pi (great council), membership in which is limited to gaonburas. A me-pi is headed by a mauzadar (head gaonbura). This body addresses issues having effects that extend beyond village boundaries.

Social Control. While vendettas (between families) are said to have been an element of prior Mikir history, the Present state of internal cultural affairs is characterized by stability and order. Disputes are mediated by the me (village Council) , which is presided over by the gaonbura (village chief). The organizational structure of the young men's organization within a village is itself a mechanism of maintaining order. Oaths, corporal punishment, fines, and voluntary separation from the community are among the means used to maintain social control.

Conflict. Traditionally, the Mikir have not made armed conflict with their non-Mikir neighbors a priority. Furthermore, internal strife (e.g., between Mikir villages) has been absent historically. Periodic conflict between the Mikir and other neighboring peoples (e.g., Nagas, Kukis, and Khasis) may be noted, but it has not been a result of Mikir instigation.

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