Influence of the Evil Figure, Tisso Jonding on the Socio-religio- cultural Life of Karbis

Robindra Teron


Tisso Jonding is one of the most feared evil figures among Karbis. Karbi traditional
drummers called Dohuidi consider Tisso as their kuru (teacher) and always offer
hor (rice beer) and seek their blessings before they take part in any ritual. In
the past, Tisso even came down the hills and helped Karbis during their socio-
religio-cultural occasions such as Chojun, Chomkan and other important occasions.
However, all Tisso return to their habitat (i.e., forests) at dawn and this specific
period is popularly referred as Tisso Rongdam (rong: village; dam: to return). The
tradition of guarding dead bodies among Karbis is inherited from Tisso, who
in the past were reported to feed on the corpse. Origin of Tisso subclan of
Karbis is inherently associated with Tisso. Hanso ke-et (Zingiber casumunar Roxb.;
Zingiberaceae) is taboo to Tisso and touching the plant is reported to make them
unholy forever, lose divinity and become excommunicated from the grand
Tisso family.

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