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West Jaintia HillsDistrict

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About the West Jaintia Hills district

Brief About Jaintia Hills District
Jaintia Hills District is a part of the erstwhile Jaintia Kingdom which is also known as Sutnga Kingdom prior to the dawn of legends and chronicles in the annals of history. At present Jaintia is the name of the district which was created on the 22nd February 1972, a month after the State of Meghalaya was accorded the status of statehood, carved out from the existing state of Assam in the North Eastern part of India. It constitutes the eastern most part of Meghalaya with a residuary geographical area of 3819 Sq. Km. The area lies between east longitude 91.59 deg. and 92.45 deg. and between north latitude 25.3 deg. and 25.45 deg. It is bounded on the north and east by the state of Assam, on the south by Bangladesh and on the west by the East Khasi Hills District of Meghalaya. The Jaintia Hills District lies between Latitudes 20degrees 58minutes and 26degrees 3 minutes North and Longitudes 91degrees 59minutes and 92degrees 51minutes East The present day Jaintia Hills District is but a remnant of the erstwhile Jaintia Kingdom which had been subjected to repeated divisions and partitions since the advent of the British in the North Eastern region and immediately after India's Independence. Being one of the oldest states in the region, it was mentioned in the Puranic and Tantrik literature. It was computed by scholars that U Chyngklein Am, the eldest son of KA Li Dakha and U Luh Ryndi, ruled the Jaintia state in the 3rd century B.C. This district has one of the largest collections of ancient monolith, menhirs and tomb stones. After Meghalaya became a full-fledged state in 1972, the Khasi and the Jaintia Hills were constituted under one administrative unit but later it was change. The District Council was introduced in the hill areas in 1952. Khasi and Jaintia Hills were put together but a separate District Council was created for each of these tribal groups

History
In Jaintia Hills society, it is found that villages which clustered around a particular area recognize themselves as the components of a single political entity. Villages then appears as 'elaka ' (province) of a single settlement which is unitary in type. The Chief of this elaka is called Doloi and he is the territorial ruler and he represents the Rajship of his elaka. Doloi can be elected from the seniority clan which is strictly maintained, and a Doloi can be removed from his office by his people, for his misrule or corruption. Dolois also performs certain ritual functions and so generally, the Doloi should be of traditional religion, but nowadays there are exceptions also. And in this case, when the Doloi is not of traditional religion, a Doloi 'niam' should be there side by side for the performance of the rituals.  The aggregation of elakas which differs in sizes  formed the Jaintia Syiemship (kingship). Sutnga Syiemship is regarded as a mother Syiemship. There is a difference between the administration of the paramount chief (Raja) and the administration of the Doloi in Jaintia Hills. Dolois represent the people  of their respective elaka  in the Raja's Durbar. This kind of administrative set up is the foremost administrative unit in Jaintia Hills. This old political system  of government still continues to exist till date except for the Raja.  The Doloi has his own durbar as well as the Rajah. There are durbars of different denominations, like village durbar, Elaka Durbar, Syiem Durbar. The power of the Rajah and the Doloi were checked by the durbars of their respective areas. The durbars provide opportunities to people to participate in their own affairs. The Durbar checks the functionaries of the government. Therefore, consent is the basis of political authority.   Jaintia Hills was originally known in the local parlance as 'Ka Ri Khadar Doloi' or ' The Land of the Twelve Tribal Chiefs'. Because in those ancient days, Jaintia Hills was ruled by the twelve Dolois who had their own Elakas, boundaries, power to govern and a sizeable population.  

population
The population of the district as per the 1991 census is 2,20,473 out of which 1,99,872 are the ruralites and 20601 are the urbanites. The population of Scheduled Tribes is 2,10,558 whereas the number of persons belonging to Scheduled Castes is only 747 and others is 9168. The population of male and female is 111753 and 108720 respectively. The demographic figures depicting the occupational structure in the District according to 1991 census is 99,848 out of which 59,114 are cultivators, 15,159 are Agril. laborers and 25,575 other workers. The Total number of Marginal workers is 2538. The density of population as per 1991 Census is 58 persons per 1km square and the population for Jowai conglomeration is 20601 souls.

Geography
 The general Geological formation of the District is characterized by the presence of rocks belonging to the age group of Achaean and tertiary. The plateau is composed of granites, phyllite, genesis, sandstone and limestone. This is more or less identical with the other parts of Meghalaya plateau. Climate :-Although Jaintia Hills, like Khasi Hills is enjoying a remarkably pleasant climate, yet rainfall profile is very high during the South -West monsoon, which usually starts from the middle of May and declines towards the last part of September. Jowai town experienced a rainfall of 1854.20mm in the month of June during the year 2000. The intensity of rainfall in the District during the last few years has registered a rising trend, due to the untimely vagary of monsoon coupled by the existence of fogs, mists and nimbus clouds which loom large during the rainy season, the indiscriminate felling down of trees, jhuming, unscientific extraction of coal and other ecology degrading factors. This phenomenon has brought about high percolation rate which resulted in soil erosion. The minimum and maximum temperature recorded at Jowai town during 2000 is 14 degree centigrade and 24 degree centigrade respectively. The Percentage of relative humidity in Jowai is 85% in the month of October and 30% in the month of February 1999

Physiography
Jaintia Hills being a component of the Meghalaya Plateau has its physiographical features almost similar to that of Khasi Hills. The only difference is that Jaintia Hills has comparably more flat topography with a mild gradient. The Hills gently slope towards Brahmaputra valley of Assam in the North and overlook the gentle plains of Bangladesh in the South. The Marangksih peak on the Eastern plateau of Jaintia Hills stands majestically at the elevation of 1631 meters from the mean sea level of Karachi and is the highest peak in the entire District. The main elevation of the District ranges between 1050m to 1350m with Jowai which was established in the year 1972 as its Headquarter lies on the central plateau. In general, the whole District is full of rugged and undulating terrains with the exception of the deep gorges, steep precipice and narrow valleys carved out by the rivers of Umngot, Myntdu, Lukha, Myntang and a good number of other turbulent streams that drain out all over the District. The Jaintia Hills is richly endowed with natural resources and in the by gone days was endowed with rich flora and fauna. But gradually, the harmony and quintessence of this remarkable eco-system have been disturbed and degraded by various ecological and alike physical factors viz. unscientific mining operation, deforestation, jhuming, soil erosion etc. etc coupled with population pressure. However, with the moratorium recently imposed by the Supreme Court of India on the felling down of trees for commercial purposes such renewable forest resources are being replenished and the fading scenery is being rejuvenated and restored to its pristine glory and nature making the land fit for god to live in.

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