Religious beliefs and practices of the Pnars of Nangbah village in Jaintia Hills district, Meghalaya
Although religion takes, sometimes radically, different forms in different societies it can be said that all cultures known to man foster a belief in the supernatural. Thus religious beliefs and practices are believed to be present all over the world and in this paper I will look into the religious beliefs and practices among the matrilineal society of Jaintias, specifically in Nangbah village, which is one of the oldest settlements and also the biggest village in the Jaintia Hills district of Meghalaya. What makes this location particularly interesting for the study of religious beliefs and practices is the presence of both Christianity and Traditional religion, called Niamtre. Christianity, in turn, is further divided into different denominations present in the village. Indeed in this village, I find relatively large numbers of villagers practicing different rituals and fostering different religious beliefs yet living together in the same geographical area. The issue which I will address in this paper is the diversity of religious beliefs within the village and the different rituals and religious practices which are performed by different groups of people. The second issue of this paper is based on the fact that over the past hundred years Christianity has replaced the local religion, which is called Niamtre, the dominant religion in the research area and with this background an attempt has been made to look into the forces of change and continuity. Or in other words, what kind of changes in society, culture and customs have come together with the advent of Christianity in the region. In this study, Researcher also makes an endeavour to study on the mutual relations between them in the village.