North- eastern region as one of the far off places of the country remained almost inaccessible for many years. This forced its native tribal and non tribal communities to develop their own ways of communication synchronizing with their life. A wide range and variety of folk drums used across the region by these communities are the live example of such efforts. However, very less is known to the world about this amazing communication device of very indigenous nature developed with locally available material. It is a very simple yet very technical in use performing multiple functions of communication. It was an exploratory study carried out using in depth interviews and discussions on key issues from the identified respondents belonging to tribal and non tribal communities of seven out of eight North â€“ eastern States of the country. This paper is an attempt to identify varied types of drums with the major objective â€œTo analyse various communication functions and significance of communicating through different types of folk drums in the socio - cultural lives of the identified tribal and non - tribal communities from the selected States of North east Indiaâ€. As many as five interesting broader communication functions were found to be existing with many sub - functions under each category. These drums are made differently, played differently and even kept and preserved differently for different communication function. Need for preserving it as intangible heritage and carrying out more intensive studies in the areas has been suggested.
Keyword: North - East India; Folk Drums; Tribal Communication; Socio - cultural Communication;