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Pnar people

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Title: Pnar people  
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Subject: Pnar language, Tribes of Meghalaya, Jowai, Lodha people, Bonda people
Collection: Scheduled Tribes of India, Tribes of Meghalaya
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Pnar people

Pnar (Jaintia or Synteng)
Regions with significant populations
Niamtre (tribal religion), Hinduism

The Pnar, also known as Jaintia or Synteng, are a tribal group in Meghalaya, India.[1] The Jaintias are matrilineal.


  • Etymology 1
  • History 2
  • Religion 3
  • References 4


The name "Pnar" is an endonym, while "Jaintia" and "Synteng" are exonyms (used by the outsiders).[1] The word "Jaintia" is derived from the name of a former kingdom, the Jaintia Kingdom, whose rulers were Syntengs. One theory says that the word "Jaintia" is ultimately derived from the name of the shrine of Jayanti Devi or Jainteswari, an incarnation of the Hindu goddess Durga. Another theory says that the name is derived via Synteng from Sutnuga, a former settlement; the myth of Jayanti Devi was probably created after the Hinduisation of the Jaintia kingdom.[1]


The Pnar tribals have no recorded history of their own. However, they are mentioned in the Buranji chronicles of Assam and the British records.[2]

Like the Khasi tribe, the Jaintia people claim descent from Ki Hynniew Trep (seven mothers or seven families).[1]

The rulers of the medieval Jaintia Kingdom belonged to the Synteng community.[1] The Kingdom was annexed by the British East India Company in 1835, and merged into the Assam province. The Jaintia Hills district was established in the region after the establishment of the Meghalaya state in independent India, in 1972.


Hinduism was not widespread among the Jaintias, although the royals and the nobles had adopted Hinduism.[3]

The original tribal religion of the Jaintias is known as Niamtre.[4] The Jaintia tribals believe that their religion is God-given (not founded by man) and comes to this world by God's decree. The three cardinal principles dictated by God are kamai yei hok, tipbru tipblai and tipkur tipkha. They signify right living and practice based on right livelihood; fulfillment of duties toward fellow men to reach God; and showing respect to the members of one's father's and mother's clans. Therefore, Niamtre stresses equal weight to be given to fellow humans to attain God realisation.


  1. ^ a b c d e Soumen Sen (2004). Khasi-Jaintia folklore: context, discourse, and history. NFSC. p. 56.  
  2. ^ Hamlet Bareh. Encyclopaedia of North-East India: Meghalaya. Mittal Publications. p. 307.  
  3. ^ Colonel Ved Prakash (2007). Encyclopedia of North-East India. Atlantic Publishers & Dist. pp. 1615–.  
  4. ^ Kumar Suresh Singh; Anthropological Survey of India (1994). People of India: Meghalaya.  
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