The indigenous Tripuri people comprises hill communities, each with its own elementary social and administrative organisation starting from the village level and up to the chieftainship of the whole tribe.
These indigenous communities enjoy their traditional freedom based on the concept of self-determination. The relation between the king and the subject communities was as Maharaja (king) of Tripura-Missip or liaison officer Roy or headman of the community – Sardar of chief of the village – the individual. Earlier, only the Debbarma or Tipra ethnic group was included in the Tripuri Kshatriya group. Later, the Raja included other groups like Reang, Jamatia and Noatia as well, in an attempt to foster a sense of kindness among the people under his region.
The Tripuri people have a rich historical, social and cultural heritage which is totally distinct from that of the mainland Indians. Their distinctive culture – as reflected in their dance, music, festivals, management of community affairs, dress and food habits – has a strong base. Kokborok, the lingua franca of the 12 largest linguistic groups of the indigenous Tripuris and other dialects spoken in Tripura are of the Tibeto-Burman group and distinct from those spoken in India. There is no influence from those spoken by other peoples in the north-eastern region.
The main indigenous Tripuri communities are:
- Reang or Bru
People here follow Hinduism, Animism, Christianity etc. According to the 2011 census, 92.50% of the Tripuri people are Hindus.
The Tripuri people mainly speak dialects of Kokborok, the language which comprises the standard dialects of Debbarma, Tripura, Murasing, Jamatia, Noatia, Reang(Bru), Koloi, Uchoi, and Rupini Halam spoken across the state and mostly in TTAADC areas, and it is the second official language of Tripura. There are estimated to be more than one million speakers of the dialects of Tripuri in Tripura, and additional speakers in Mizoram and Assam in India, and in Nepal, as well as Sylhet and the Chittagong Hill Tracts in Bangladesh.
Tripuris are the native people of Tripura having its own unique and distinct rich culture, tradition, history and much more. They were able to expand their influence as far south as Chittagong, as far west as Comilla and Noakhali (known during the British period as 'plains Tipperah')and as far north as Sylhet (all in present Bangladesh). In the year 1512 the Tipperas were at the height of their supremacy when they defeated the Mughals. The ruling dynasty passed through several periods of history and ruled Tripura for several centuries till 18th century, after which Plain Tippera became a colony of Britain and Hill Tippera remains Independent Princely State. On 14 October 1949, Hill Tippera was merged into the newly independent India as Tripura State.