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History - Land & Types of Tribes

Adi tribal dance, Arunachal ParadeshArunachal Pradesh is sited on the north eastern tip of India, bordering Bhutan on the west, Tibet/China on the north, Burma (Myanmar) on the east and the Indian state of Assam to the south. It is shaped like a horse shoe, with the arms pointing west, the central area of the shoe being the wide Bramaputra valley flowing out west. It covers 84,000 sq. km, its climate varying from sub tropical to alpine. Some 80% of the state is covered by natural forest, with plentiful streams, rivers, deep gorges, mountains and hundreds of species of flora and fauna. A pictorial and hilly region, Arunachal Pradesh is criss-crossed by inestimable rivers and rivulets. The heights of the mountain peaks range from 11,000 ft (1,829 m) to 21,000 ft (6,400 m), with the highest peak at 23,255 ft (7,090 m) in Tawang District. There are five major rivers - Kameng, Subansiri, Siang, Lohit and Tirap which drain into the Brahmaputra River.

There is an immense multiplicity of vegetation, ranging from climbers to an abundance of cane, bamboo and orchids. Arunachal Pradesh is known for a rich occurrence of orchids at varying latitudinal zones - from the foothills to the peaks. There are about 450 species of orchids.

Arunachal Pradesh had been inhabited since the dawn of Indian civilization. There are transitory references to the area in the Puranas (sacred Hindu texts). However, it is in the 16th century that its history gained in coherence from legend and tradition. At that time, it came under the rule of the Ahom rulers of Assam. The year 1838 saw the establishment of British dominance over the area. Before the Indian independence, the state was known as the North East Frontier Agency (NEFA). Later, in post-independent India, it was made a Union Territory. In 1971, the name NEFA was changed to Arunachal Pradesh.

In 1826, the British exercised their control in Assam after the treaty .Before 1962; Arunachal was popularly called North Eastern Frontier Agency and was constitutionally a part of Assam. It was administered by the Ministry of External Affairs until 1965 and subsequently by the Ministry of Home Affairs. On 20th February in 1987, it became the 24th state of the Indian Union. 

The first ancestors of the tribal groups migrated from Tibet during the prehistoric period, and were joined by Thai-Burmese counterparts later. The Adi tribe had legendary knowledge of the history. Northwestern parts of this area came under the control of the Monapa kingdom of Monyul, which flourished between 500 B.C. and 600 A.D. This region then came under the loose control of Tibet and Bhutan, especially in the Northern areas. The remaining parts of the state, especially those bordering Myanmar, came under the control of the Ahom and the Assamese.

Arunachal Pradesh is colonized by people of tribal origin. These groups had distinct culture. In the16th century the Ahom Kings influenced the region. The populations were of Tibetan-Burmese linguistic origin. The tribe consisted of the Daflas, Bangnis, the Monpas and they were predisposed by Buddhist standards. The Miri along with the Daflas and Tagin lived in the hills. The Apatanis were believed to be more sophisticated. They are agriculturists. Besides this the Abor who called themselves as Adi lived in the valley of Arunachal Pradesh. The Membas, Ramos and Boris formed minor groups. The Mishmis exists as Idus, Taraons, and Kamans. They excelled in handicrafts.

The zone belongs to the Buddhist or near-Buddhist groups of the westernmost parts, other small tribes along the northern frontier, and the Khamtis and the Singphos in the foothills of the eastern parts. These Buddhist groups have elements of civilization considerably influenced by Tibet and Burma. The Monpas and the Serdukpens are followers of Tibetan Buddhism while the Khamptis and Singphos, who are Buddhists of Burmese affiliation, have migrated from the Irrawady valley in comparatively recent times and lived in close proximity to the plains of Assam.

It has been found that the tribes of Arunachal are integrated into groups’ independent of each other, living their separate lives. The common denominators are that the mold of lifestyle of each is the same and those they follow the same occupation; the societies are casteless; the societies are governed by chiefs and the adults were grouped according to their age for distinct social functions. The young are organized around dormitory institutions to follow the instructions of the older generation.



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