Tattooing in Arunachal Pradesh- the culture of tribal tattooing

Tattooing in Arunachal Pradesh- the culture of tribal tattooing:

Many tribes of Arunachal Pradesh used to tattoo different parts of the body as a means of personal decoration and in some cases, certain religious or social taboos were there behind the tattooing. The most famous tribes known for tattooing are the Noctes and Wanchos of Tirap district. Nocte men generally did not tattoo their faces or bodies except for a few cases where men were tattooed on the face and the chest. Tattooing of women was common in all Nocte villages. Women were generally tattoed on the arms and the back and the common design was normally big stars with cross lines joining the ends. In some of the areas, girls were tattooed after puberty and in some other cases it was done by the maternal uncle of the girl. Faces of the small girls were tattooed on chin with a diamond and line through it. Besides face tattooing, other parts of the body such as the chest, naval, thighs and calfs were also tattooed with lines and dots.

Amongst the Wanchos, both men and women heavily tattooed their bodies. Tattooing in fact had a very special significance for the Wanchos. Besides being a personal decoration, it had both social and ritual importance. Apart from the rank and social status of a person, different designs of tattooing on different parts of the body signifies the attainment of different stages in life, particularly in case of women. A man from the chief’s family had very elaborate designs all over body, while the tattooing was rather simple in other cases. They had beautiful designs on the neck, throat, chest, arms, back and the stomach and even round the eyes. A head-hunter had special designs on the face and body as marks of bravest parts of their bodies such as chest, arms, back, umbilicus, thighs and calfs were tattooed. Tattooing was a part of the marriage ritual. The first tattooing was done over the umbilicus at the age of 6 or 7 years. Calves were tattooed when the girls attained puberty. When the girls left the house of the parents after marriage, third tattooing was done on the thighs. The last and the fourth tattooing was done above the breasts during the seventh month of pregnancy, or in some cases, after the first child was born. The girls of the chiefs family also got their forearms tattooed. Tattooing of the different parts of the body had different names; that on the different parts of the body had different names; that on the face was called thun hu, on the chest kha hu, on the neck dino hu, on the back tock hu, on the thighs batan hu and so on.

Amongst the Nishis, the art of tattooing was to be found amongst few people of joram area where a perpendicular line was drawn in the middle of the chin, crossed by two horizontal lines, and one line on each cheek connecting the corners of the lips to the ears. Otherwise, tattooing was not done in the Nishi society.

 The Apatanis, a close neighbour of the Nishis, both men and women, used to tattoo their faces, which distinguished them from their neighbours. The men tattooed the face below the mouth. This was of ‘T’ shape on the middle on the lower chin. The tattooing of the women were perpendicular from the forehead to the tip of the nose and five lines on the lower chin vertically done and one horizontal line on the upper portion of the lower chin. All the children were tattooed at the age of 7-8 years.

The Shingpho men used to tattoo their limbs slightly, and the married women were tattooed on both legs from the ankles to the knees in parallel bands.

Amongst the Akas, the art of tattooing was quite common. The women tattooed their faces in a pattern of straight lines running from below the forehead to the chin where it bifurcated into two directions. Other parts of the body were not tattooed. Tattooing was done generally in the early years of girlhood and always before puberty. Men were generally not tattooed.

Amongst the Adis, though tattooing was not common, some tattoo marks could be found amongst some tribes on the forehead or on the nose. The design of these tattoos was usually a cross having a single or double horizontal beam, the vertical line running from the forehead down to the tip of the nose.

PROCESS OF TATTOOING:

The process of tattooing amongst the tribe was a very painful one and demanded great patience and endurance on the part of the person upon whom it was done. Normally, tattooing was done only on a special day fixed by divination which signified its ritual importance. Designs were first drawn with black paint made from the soot over the body and they were picked by thorns of cane. Then the juice of a particular plant mixed with blue colour was applied over the designs or in some case, the colour made from ashes of straws was smeared over the pricked portions. The juice of the plant believed to have healing effects on the wounds. The wounds sometimes became serious, and usually confined the person who could hardly move about for a few days. No medicine was applied but hot fermentation was given for a few days. The persons who performed the tattooing operations, mostly male but in some cases female were considered to be experts in this art; they were mostly paid in kind such as rice, rice beer and meat. Nowadays, the custom of tattooing has almost been given up by the various tribes of Arunachal Pradesh, probably realising the futility of such painful operations and also because of the impact of the outside world.

Shri Dangaria Baba Mandir, Pasighat

Shri Dangaria Baba Mandir

Shri Dangaria Baba Mandir, Pasighat

 

 

Shri Dangaria Baba Mandir, Pasighat

THE DONYI-POLO CULT OF ADI’s in ARUNACHAL PRADESH

In analysing the religion of the tribal people of arunachal pradesh, it is found that Donyi-Poloism is a channel, through which human aspiration and faith which traditionally cultivated by the Adis, is expressed.

like anybody else they have to face the realities of life, make sense of their exixtance as well as of the nature. in search of the answers to their questions and in an effort to find coherence of the total existance, they have discovered the profoundity of Donyi-Polo. The supreme qualities of Donyi-Polo are expressed through natural symbols such as the Sun and the Moon. the qualities of which are easily understood and realised. Day in and day out they perform their tasks enabling creatures to make their existance possible. the qualities on which these two powerful symbols are based have to be immutable and universally acceptable.

thus, traditionally, Donyi or the Sun is considered to be the principal guide of truth and polo or the Moon symbolises love, kindness, sympathy and compassion. the Adis attempt to accomplies perfection through truth, wisdom and compassion and thus realise Donyi-Polo. Donyi-Polo can therefore, be considered as a philosophy of humanistic faith that is based on natural traditions, ideology of which has evolved out of the belief and practices of the generations of the tribes.

in Donyi_Poloism, the flow of thought is maintained uninterruptedly through direct, personal contacts in which knowledge is believed to be complete and genuine.

It is seen that the Adis are awakening up to their pride in being Adi. They are also trying to rediscover the religion of the Nature. they are interpreting their relationship to the world on the basis of the hermeneutical principles. Thus they cling to the divine universal symbol of the Sun and Moon, which helps to maintain their original identity of the natural religion. as such, a new social order is opening up based on the hierarchy of valyes of which they apparantly had comprehension before.

The strategies adopted for organisation of the tribal oral religion has been to give a call to eliminate all alien beliefs and practices, to revitalise the traditional ritual practices and to produce a new theology.

All these are problematic. The call to eliminate the alien beliefs and practices has no doubt a populist dimension. It is aimed to gather support from within and as well as across groups. the call readily appeals to the emotions of the people and help in mobilisation. In practical terms the call is a kind of reaction to what has been going on in the region. attempts to proselytization at one time may have brought a glorified status but that does not work anymore in the changed political circumstances. Moreover, they realise that proselytizedtion does not fit into their way of life and also undermines. Proselytization can be shunned but what about modernisation which is creeping in. all theis resulted in their search for a coherent order of values which would be capable of conferring meaning and unity in the society. This they found in Donyi-Poloism. Donyi_poloism thus became a symbol of their religion and cultural identity. Not that they have been able to resolve all the problems and oppositions, They confront them and as a result of which Donyi-Poloism is continuously evolving itself.

Rituals make the religious faith visible. But in tribal soceity they are much more than that. Rituals are very closely related with their economic activities, with their social relations and the maintenance of reciprocal behaviour. besides, the ritual reflect their conception of nature, supernatural and also their values.
The elites of the Donyi-Polo faith represent only a small section of the ethnic groups of the state, namely, the Adis, Some twenty years back the ethnic composition of this group officially included just two major tribes, The Gallong and the Minyong from the erstwhile Siang District. Today the group Adi represent other tribal groups which were once sub-tribes of either of the major groups-Gallong and Minyong.

The Adi theologian Always deny their tie with any other religions (like Christiannity, Buddhism etc.), they remain grounded in these religious thoughts. In interpreting the indigenous belief of the Adis, they are looking for the similarities with Semitic religioun, Donyi-Polo has been endowed with such attributes as ‘creator’, ‘almighty’, ‘omnipresent’, ‘omniscient’, etc. The minority but dominant group even succeded in getting a bill enacted in the year 1978, providing legal protection to the indigenous faith.

Mopin: The festival of Galo Tribe

HISTORICAL MYTH
The tribes that have been thriving inside the premises of the state of Arunachal Pradesh, celebrate virtually all sorts of festivals which bears the potential to absolutely dazzle you. One of the festivals is regarded as Mopin which is confined to the individuals who belong to the tribe, Galo. The members of this tribe have established their primary thriving spot in the Gallong community that exists in the state of Arunachal Pradesh.

The primary objective that lies behind this spectacular festival called Mopin is to drive away evil spirits who bring bad luck with them and pose a lot of obstacle. The local folks pray during the festival known as Mopin in Arunachal Pradesh so that even the cursed shadow of any devastating natural calamity does not hit them and they can lead their lives peacefully and prosperously

Popir Dance

 

THE RITUALS
The Mopin festival is an important festival of Galo Adi tribe of Arunachal Pradesh which is celebrated in the month of lumi (April) everyyear. It is celebrated with much gaiety for wealth, good health and universal happiness. As a matter of fact, festivals are mirror of people’s culture. Such festival are celebrated at a large scale for thanking gods for their providence and for a bumper crops. During the Mopin festival ,smearing rice powder in each other faces marks the beginning of the festival and animal sacrifices are the ritual of the Mopin festival. Mithun is a very auspicious animal and used in animal sacrifice ritual.

Another feature of the Mopin festival is that a dance known as Popir is performed in a very elegant way. They dance on their best traditonal costumes and adorn themselves with multi-colored beaded ornaments. During this festival rice wine (apong) is served, prepared by the women of galo community. Variety of meals are served, made of rice which is known as Aamin, meat and bambooshoot

Old cultures and portraits::Tribes of Arunachal Pradesh.

 

Below are the very rare portraits of the ancient Indigenous Tribes of Arunachal Pradesh.
All the pictures were taken when before Arunachal Pradesh was an full fledged state. So, the below picture depicts the History of Arunachalee people, when they first came to the consciousness about the world wide civilization.

Group of Hill Miris ( now called Nyishi's )

Group of Hill Miris ( now called Nyishi’s ) , Arunachal Pradesh

These Hill Miris are from the Kamla River valley, possibly from the settlement of Bidak or another Hill Miri settlement in the lower valley. Their earrings, machete, pipe, animal-skin bag, cane-belt, wrist guard (left arm of the central man) and general hair style are common throughout much of the Subansiri region…. However, the leaf head cover, heavy cane-work arm guard (central man’s right arm), cloth penis cover (man far left in background), grass penis cover (half visible on the far right) and textile (almost a coat, with narrow, dark borders on the central man) were more typical of the Kamla River area. (1945).

Portrait of a Digaru Mishmi woman


Portrait of a Digaru Mishmi woman, Arunachal Pradesh

 

This Digaru Mishmi woman is standing in the plains of Assam, probably near the town of Sadiya. She wears typical Digaru textiles, headband and ornaments, especially the earrings and the necklace of metal discs. She also wears a pair of jungle cat teeth and a key, hanging from her necklaces. (1937).

Sherdukpen dancer

 

Sherdukpen dancer, Arunachal Pradesh, India

This Sherdukpen dancer with a wooden mask is a figure in a version of a yak dance performed widely across the Tibetan Buddhist world. The dance tells the story of three sons, one of whom is dispossessed but is helped by a yak. He is performing for J. P. Mills, Adviser to the Governor of Assam for Tribal Areas. Mills came to meet the Sherdukpen Sat Rajas (‘Seven Kings’) at their winter camp on the Belsiri River, east of Charduar in Assam, where they presented him with an honorary scarf. Each year Sherdukpens (and other Arunachal tribes) came to Charduar to receive annual payments from the government. Charduar was the headquarters of the Balipara Frontier Tract, which included most of the eastern districts of present-day Arunachal Pradesh, where Sherdukpens (Akas, Mijis, Monpas and Buguns) live. Charduar (‘Four-Door/Gate’) was one of several duars along the base of the eastern Himalayas where hill tribes came to transact business with the rulers of the plains. Many tribes received an annual payment (posa) in goods and/or cash in return for not raiding villages in the plains. For some tribes, these payments continued for several years even after 1947. (1944)

Apatani boy during a ritual procession

 

Apatani boy during a ritual procession

This Apatani boy, standing in the paddy fields, is part of a longer procession led by a shaman during a large feast. He carries a brass plate and a bamboo stick, wrapped in cloth, with which to strike it (the only musical instrument used by Apatanis). He also wears a necklace… of expensive conch-shell beads, a man’s hair knot with skewer, a string of metal beads on the hair line and cane rings below the knee. Each year, several Apatani families celebrate this three-week long feast, involving mithun and cow sacrifice, public chanting by the shaman and complex gift-giving between the feast sponsor and various kin and ceremonial friends. During the procession, which takes place more than a week after the large animal sacrifice on the first day, the shaman leads a long line of young boys and men belonging to the sponsor’s clan. Dressed in ceremonial finery, they walk through the entire Apatani valley (only 8 kilometres long and 4 across), visiting all nine villages and each ritual platform in each village. At every platform, they perform a simple dance and are given food and drink.

Leader of Sherdukpen Sat Rajas

 

Leader of Sherdukpen Sat Rajas

This Sherdukpen man is the leader of the Sat Rajas (‘Seven Kings’), the representatives of a few Sherdukpen villages who came to the plains to transact business with the government. (1944) He wears ceremonial clothes and a hat influenced by eastern Bhutanese and Tibetan traditions. J. P. Mills, Adviser to the Governor of Assam for Tribal Areas, met the Sherdukpens at their winter camp on the Belsiri River, east of Charduar, where they presented him with an honorary scarf. Each year Sherdukpens (and other Arunachal tribes) came to Charduar, in Assam, to receive annual payments from the government. Charduar was the headquarters of the Balipara Frontier Tract, which included most of the eastern districts of present-day Arunachal Pradesh, where Sherdukpens (Akas, Mijis, Monpas and Buguns) live. Charduar (‘Four-Door/Gate’) was one of several duars along the base of the eastern Himalayas where hill tribes came to transact business with the rulers of the plains. Many tribes received an annual payment (posa) in goods and/or cash in return for not raiding villages in the plains. For some tribes, these payments continued for several years even after 1947.

Portrait of a Wancho Naga man

 

Portrait of a Wancho Naga man

 This photograph was taken by the anthropologist Christoph von Fürer-Haimendorf in 1962 in Mintong, Arunachal Pradesh, Tirap district, India.

Portrait of the Wancho girl(1962)

Portrait of the Wancho girl
Above is an portrait of an Wancho girl (1962)

Portrait of an Apatani man 1962

 Portrait of an Apatani man
Above is an portrait of an Apatani man surrounded with children and having his first click. (1962)

Portrait of a Mingyon Adi man 1937

 

Portrait of a Mingyon Adi man

This Minyong Adi man wears a cotton tunic with a rough texture, the result of the fact that the fibres were roughly spun. He also wears the short hair cut that was distinctive of Adis. He may be the headman of the village. This photograph was taken in Pangin village, Arunachal Pradesh, East Siang District, India in 1937.

Portrait of a Minyong Adi woman 1937

 

Portrait of a Minyong Adi woman

This Minyong Adi woman is standing in the plains of Assam, probably near the town of Sadiya. She wears typical Minyong jewellery, especially the earrings and broad metal ornament. A bamboo comb is also visible. (1937).

Portrait of a Mingyong Adi woman and child

Portrait of a Mingyong Adi woman and child

This photograph, taken in Rengin village, Arunachal Pradesh, East Siang District, India, shows a Minyong woman carrying a child on her back. She wears the high hair line, typical for Minyong men and women. (1937)

Portrait of Minyong Adi Shaman

Portrait of Minyong Adi Shaman

This woman is a shaman among the Minyong Adis in the Siang river area. Anthropologist Christoph von Fürer-Haimendorf met her as he and his party were trekking near Yamung village. In addition to her earrings, with tassels, and elaborate jewellery, some of it silver, she wears dried bird skins. Women still practice as shamans among the Minyong Adis, although this is somewhat unusual among other groups in central Arunachal Pradesh. (1937)

Portrait of a Minyong Adi man

Portrait of a Minyong Adi man

The Minyong Adi man in this photograph (taken in Rengin village, Arunachal Pradesh, East Siang District, India) is smoking a pipe with a metal stem and bowl. He wears a handwoven jacket that was typical among Adis.

Mingyong Adi shaman

Mingyon Adi shaman

The Minyong Adi man in this photograph (taken in Arunachal Pradesh, East Siang District, India) is a shaman, as indicated by his elaborate jewellery and hair dress. Minyong Adis have both male and female shamans, who wear similar costumes. (1937)

Untitled at Si Donyi fest

Untitled at Si Donyi fest

Linkages between Bio-Resources and Human Livelihood: A Case Study of Adi Tribes of Mirem-Arunachal Pradesh (India)

Linkages between Bio-Resources and Human Livelihood:

 A Case Study of Adi Tribes of Mirem-

Arunachal Pradesh (India)

Abstract

The living of man in all societies is largely guided by the availability or otherwise of natural bio-resources. However, the tribal people who are regarded as in the primitive stage and experiencing slow pace of development have a high degree of dependence on the natural resources for their livelihood. Bio – resources consist of all biotic components of environment, which have utility and function in satisfying the individual wants as well as social wants of man. Recently, the importance of the study on man and nature relationship has gained momentum globally and has emerged as main concern for both the developed and developing nations worldwide. As such, the tribal dominated areas by virtue of having the higher percentage of forest cover have become prime area for research in the world context for sustainable use of bio-resources. The State of Forest Report, 2003 has placed Arunachal Pradesh second after Mizoram in terms of forest coverage with 68, 019 sq. km. under forest cover. An analysis of the linkages between the bio – resources and human livelihoods may prove significant and helpful in attaining the first rank in the total coverage of forests in the country. The Adi tribe is a major tribal group of Arunachal Pradesh who mostly inhabit East, West and Upper Siang districts. An assessment of linkages of human livelihood and the bioresources in the Adi inhabited area proved to be helpful in the sustainable management of natural resources. A household survey with the help of suitable structured questionnaire was conducted for Mirem village. Personal interview with the village elders was an important tool for the final analysis. The study finds that these people are forest lovers and they are strongly abated with their existing forests. The traditional folk tales, festivities and myths are strongly linked with nature and deeply influenced by the forest ecology and environment. Economic activities, material culture, food habits, house-building materials, ritual performances and herbal medicine all are collected from the forests. The study found that these people are highly dependent on the bio-resources for their livelihood even in this age of scientific and technological development.

Introduction

From the beginning of human civilization, primitive human ancestors used to live in the deep jungle and were amiably nurtured by the nature. The degree of their association with the nature signifies the status of change from a rural to urban society. Tribal people form an important component of the natural ecosystem in which they are in a multiplex relationship among population of organisms for sustaining their livelihood within their habitat. The history of human development starts from their intimate association with the natural resources since time immemorial. The bio-resources which forms a major component of the natural resource, occupy a central position in tribal culture and economy. The tribal way of life is very much dictated by the nature right from the birth to death. The nature is not only their home, but also they always like and live in harmony with nature. Most of the tribes living in forests, hills, and mountains are practicing simple mode of production and have socio-political structure and religious system of their own which revolves round the surrounding natural ecosystem. The Adi tribes are a major collective tribe living in the Himalayan hills of Arunachal Pradesh (in northeastern India), and they are found in the temperate and sub-tropical regions within
the districts of West Siang, East Siang, Upper Siang, Upper Subansiri and Dibang Valley. The literary meaning of “Adi” is the Hill or mountain dwellers. The tribe consists of number of sub tribes viz. Padam, Minyong, Pasi, Bori, Bokar, Karko, Milang, Ramo, Pangi, Shimong, Ashing, Tangam, etc. They speak a language belonging to the Tibeto-Burman family. They
are believed to be the descendants of the Abo-Tani (Abo- Father; Tani- Man). The major festivals of these people are Aran, Solung, Etor and Yakjong. Like many other tribal groups, the Adi tribes also largely depend on the bio-resources for their livelihood. The living of the people is intimately linked with the bio-resources. They are dependent on the nearby forest for their daily uses. Various types of timbers, bamboos, canes, roots, leaves and fruits of medicinal value and the bark of trees are commonly used. They have faiths and beliefs linked with these resources. However, in the recent days marked changes have been seen in the relationship of people and bio-resources. The social, cultural and religious life of the Adi tribe of Arunachal Pradesh is largely determined by the environmental conditions. The social customs, beliefs, faith, tradition, culture, etc. reflect the imprint of the nearby forest resources.

Study Area

 The study area is just 22 Km away from Pasighat, the district headquarters of East Siang district. The latitudinal and longitudinal extension of the village is roughly in between 270 56′ 06″ N to 270 57′ 43″ N and 950 11′ 44″ E to 950 12′ 43″ E. It is one of the important villages under Bilat circle of East Siang District, Arunachal Pradesh. It has the largest number of households and total population as per the Census of 2001. The village was shifted from Mishing (former) to Mirem (present) in the year 1948. The name of the village Mirem has been derived from two Adi terms ASI-MIREM, Asi meaning water and Mirem meaning rich. As the name suggests the village has number of natural source of drinking water in its vicinity. According to the household survey conducted in the year 2008, the village consists of 253 households (household size of 6.3). Out of the total households the Adi Minyong sub tribe has 86.6% household, Gallong sub tribe occupies 5.06% household, Adi Pasi sub tribe has 4.08% household and 3.7% households are occupied by the Adi Pangi sub tribe. Majority of the people believe in Donyi – Poloism, which is a type of animism. About 57.6% of the households believe in the traditional Donyi-Polo religion, 26.3 % beliefs in Christianity and rest of 16% believes in other religions. As per 2001 census the total population of the village is 1605, out of which male constitutes 822 and female 783. The sex ratio is 953 female per thousand male which is higher than the sex ratio of the district, i.e. 937. The total scheduled tribe population of the village is 1473 (91.8 %) 132 others (labourers, nepalis, employees, etc.) and no scheduled caste population. The literacy rate is 68.3%, which is higher than the literacy rates of East Siang district (61.22%) and the state (54.74%) as per 2001 census. The male literacy rate of

76.1 % is higher than the female literacy rate of 60.4 %. However, the gender gap in literacy rate is only 15.7 % which is less in comparison to other parts of the state.

 Objectives

 The basic objective of present investigation is to study the linkages between bio – resources and the livelihood of Adi tribes of Mirem village, Arunachal Pradesh (India). It would also highlight the significance of bio-resources in the economy, material culture, food habits, ethnomedicine and other socio-religious requirements of the people.

 Observation/Finding

Bio-resources and economic activity

 The economy of tribal people is largely based on the bio-resources. Their economic conditions mainly depend on the form of agriculture that they practice. Agriculture contributes an important share in the economy of these people. The nature of the terrain has forced them to follow both Jhum/shifting cultivation and Wet Rice Cultivation. Jhum fields lies away from the villages within a radius of 2-3 km on the convenient slopes of the hills. Nowadays a tendency to move towards lower areas is remarkably observed because of modern facilities and scope for terracing and irrigation. But, still Jhum is the common agriculture system practiced by the people. Wet rice cultivation is mostly found in the lower reaches of the area where there is almost flat surface. The important crops grown in the jhum field and wet rice field are Rice, Maize, Millets, Oilseeds, Potato, Ginger, etc. The agricultural productivity in the area is low, which can be attributed to the old traditional way of agricultural practice with indigenous implements. Collection of forest products, fishing and hunting also form a part of their economy. Shifting cultivation is an integral part of tribal culture. Shifting cultivation grows out of a particular mental outlook of the tribal people and affects all the other spheres of their cultural life. Shifting cultivation is firmly rooted in the religion and mythology of tribal people. They largely depend on shifting cultivation, which has a strong utilization linkage with the natural resources. Food gathering is a supplementary source of livelihood for the people. They depend on the forests for the requirements of vegetables, fruits, barks, edible plants and leaves, etc. Some of the forest products are collected throughout the year while some others are collected for six months only. Collection of edible food items from the forest is done to supplement the shortage of food requirements. Collection of leafy vegetables, mushrooms and other edible items are mainly done by the woman, which is accompanied by their children. Women are considered as the most efficient in collection of vegetables. They have an instinct to locate the place where an edible tuber is available or from where they can get some vegetables. The collection of fruits, roots and nuts are done by both male and female. Fruits are collected in particular seasons. Hunting is one of the important aspects of their food quest. Hunting is mostly done when they are free from engagements in their fields. The animals hunted are Deer, Bear, Monkey, Wild boars, Elephant, Tiger, etc. The thick forest around the settlements compel them to pass through deep jungle and the urge for self defence mechanism against the wild life had made them to become good archers. As such hunting became part of their life and through this they supplement their shortage of food supply. Fishing is also an important part of their economy. Fish form an important item of their diet. Fishing is done either by the community as a whole or by individuals. The rivers or streams of the area are endowed with varieties of fresh water fishes. Besides, fish farming in the ponds provides gainful employment to the people and contributes in the generation of income.

 Bio-resources and material culture

 The material culture of the village is largely dependent on the surrounding natural bio-resources. The climatic condition and edaphic conditions of the area facilitate luxuriant growth of different species of Bamboo, cane and reed that provides raw materials for construction of their house as well as other essential articles of their daily use like basket, bag, cap, etc. The materials are collected from the surrounding forest. The neighbouring jungle and forests provide the materials for construction of house such as bamboo, cane, thatch / hay, palm leaves, wood, etc. except few cemented buildings. The houses are made with the help of wood beam and bamboo structures. Wood is used in the form of posts for which tall, straight trees are cut and the branches and barks are removed. Different varieties of bamboo are used for different purposes. Cane is used to tie the pieces of bamboo and timber together. The roof is thatched with dry tek anne (Livistona jenkinsiana) and ammung (Erianthus sp.) The whole house is a work of bamboo and wood, bamboo sheets forming the floor and the wall and the wooden logs serving as the main pillars over which the structure of the house is raised. Almost all houses are made in rectangular form having two or three doors according to the individual will and fashion. The doors have wooden ladder leading to the ground. The most important feature is the fire place (meram). Over the fire hearth (perap) hangs a square-shaped bamboo shelf used to dry meat, fish, etc. Meram is prepared with the help of bamboo, wood, soil and cane. Some of the varieties of bamboos viz. Dendocalamus hamiltonii, Arundinaria sp., Bambusa tulda, and B. pallida are used for wall, floor and ropes for binding the poles. House is decorated with skulls of Mithuns, jaws of Pigs and wild boars on the wall. The regum (pigsty) is separated by a small platform outside the house. The regum is also constructed with the help of bamboo,wood, cane, and palm leaves. The space between the floor and ground is used to keep Pigs. Granaries (kumsung) are constructed few meters (10-15 m) away from the main village for protection against fire. Present investigation has revealed that all the houses are constructed with the help of natural bio-resources which are collected from nearby forests. Details of the various bio-resources used in the construction of house are given in table 1.

 Table 1: Different species of Bamboo, Cane and Wood used for House Construction

 The various species of bamboo mentioned in the table 1 are used for floor and wall of the house. It is also sliced into small pieces to tie the roof of the house. Rattan species are used as rope to tie the roof and poles. Sometimes the leaves are used as thatching material. The trunks of the trees are used for pillars and poles of the house. Nowadays wooden planks are used for both wall and floor. There are many household articles, which are made of wood, leaves, bamboo, cane, animal bones and skin, etc. These items are collected or gathered from the forest resources. The household materials like handicraft, utensils etc. used by the people are given in Table 2.

 Table 2: Various Forest Products used by Adis in sustaining their Domestic Livelihood System.

 The Agriculture implements of the people, according to their functions and purpose, may be divided into two categories – (i) Implements and equipments associated with shifting cultivation and (ii) Implements and equipments associated with the wet rice cultivation. The implements associated with shifting cultivation are:

 Egin:- This is a big cylindrical basket made of Bamboo split and cane.

Ik:- A loop of Bamboo used for scraping up small weeds.

Lolom:- It is a stick made from bamboo used for scraping up big weeds.

Sokyap: It is small basket for carrying rich seeds at the time of sowing or dibbling. It is made of bamboo           and cane.

Petkok:- Made of small branches of tree and used during clearing of debris.

Eyok-Sobuk: It is made of bamboo or cane used during clearing and felling of trees.

 On the other hand the important implements of wet rice cultivation are Plough (Na-ngol) made of wood, Moi-Nernana, generally used for leveling the soil and clearing the debris. It is made of bamboo and cane. Besides, all the indigenous baskets like egin, epo, epu, ebong, papur are considered very essential during wet cultivation that are made of wood, bamboo and cane.

For hunting and catching animals and birds, people usually used different kind of implements made by them from Bio-resources, like Bamboo, wood, cane, etc. The Hunting implement of the people consists of gun, bow and arrow and other trappers.

 Eyyi (Bow): Bow is made of Bamboo and the string is made of a cane.

Epuk (Arrow): Arrow is made of slender Bamboo split with a pointed end.

 Yokmo: is another kind of Arrow used for killing wild big animals like Boars, Bear, Tiger, and Elephant etc. Its pointed end is fitted with a triangular piece of iron which is smeared with poison called emo (aconite) made from the roots of kinds of herbs.

 Etku: Etku is the most common implements of hunting. This is generally used for catching rat, squirrels, birds and other small animals only. The etku is prepared from Bamboo; string is especially made from ‘tabum’ (other type of Bamboo) species. Besides all these there are innumerable devices for trapping birds and animals such as eda, songkit, egum, etpeng, komang,etc.

 Bio-resources also play vital role in fishing activities of the people. For fishing they are using varieties of traps made of Bamboo, cane, wood, which are locally known as edir, porang, churi, etkong, kodong, tari. Edir is a trapping implement which is made of Bamboo splinted and tied with the help of cane. Porang is also a trapping tool. Porang is prepared from Bamboo.The upside end of the one meter length Bamboo is splinted into many but the other end kept intact. Then the splinted portion is prepared with the help of splinted tabum (other kind of Bamboo species) in such a way that it expands and make an easy passage for the fish to enter in the Porang. The shape of Ponang is conical. Huri is bigger type of Porang which is

prepared from Bamboo. Tari is one form of Porang. It is prepared by inserting thorny plant leaves so that when fishes enter the Porang the thorny leaves / plants obstruct the fishes from coming out of it. Kodong is a conical shape trappers made of Bamboo and cane used by women folk. Bokong is angling stick extracted from forest i.e. from a Bamboo species known a homing (Arundinaria sp.). During sibok (river diversion) lots of hardwood and leaves of plants and plantains (kolung) are collected for diverting the river. After diverting the river, if the river is not completely dried-up, then the leaves, barks and fruits of plants (mostly the roots of Derris scandens Benth & bark of Aesculus assamica Griff.) are used to poison the fish locally known as Tamu. Here barks of poisonous plants are used to poison the fishes for easy

catch. There are many poisonous plants, the bark of which are used in this method namely- Tanir, Taki-sidik, Ripik, Reliom, etc. There are also many toxic plants namely- Marshang (Spilanthes oleracea), Diku-Tamu (Amphineuron opulentum (Kaulf) Holttum, Onger (Zanthoxylum rhetsa), Muyum, etc. used for fish poison.

Bio-resources as food and ethnomedicine

Other than the traditional food items of modern man, like the rice, wheat, millets, etc they have a treasure house of knowledge about potential food plants from the surrounding forests. These includes leaves, stems, bark, roots, fruits of wild plants and a number of animals and insects gathered as food items. The area is very rich in various types of edible and non-edible items found abundantly in the nearby jungles. Nature has provided plenty of edible plants from which leaves, roots, fruits, flowers, seeds, tuber, etc. are taken as food. They collect those edible plants for their own consumption and other uses. If there is any excess quantity of collected materials, they sell those in the market or exchange with some other essential items of daily needs. The various edible vegetables collected from the forests are bamboo shoot

 Dendrocalamus hamiltonii Ness & Arn. ex. Munro), wild banana flowers (Musa balbisiana L.A Colla), Onger (Zanthoxyllum rhetsa DC.), Oyik (Pouzolzia benettiana Weight), Ongin (Clerodendrom colebrookianum Walp.), Rori (Piper pedicellatum C.DC.), Enge (Colocasia esculenta (L) Schott.), etc. Mushroom (Termitomyces sp. Cantherallus sp. Schizophylum sp., pleurotus Pulmonarius, Auricularia sp.) locally known as Tatar are seasonally collected and many more edible plants which are available but scientifically not known. They also eat number of fruits that are collected from the forest such as Tagung (Magnifera sylvatica Roxb.) Tapir (Phoebe sp.), Anke (Unidentified), Hillum (Canarium strictum Roxb.), Tadar (Myristica fragrans Houtt.), Tak-api (palm fruits), etc. Forest is the only source for hunting animals and birds. But hunting is never considered as an occupation. On the other hand it gets more importance as an obligatory recreation especially during some rituals and festivals, when it is performed collectively. Forest of the area provides wide range of animals of different species. Some animals such as Tiger, Wolf and Fox are not killed and consumed. These animals are killed only when they cause danger to the human beings and domesticated animals. Sometimes, these animals kill mithun (Bos fontalis), cattle and pig, etc. The other species of animals commonly eaten by the people includes Deer, Bear, Wild Boar, Monkey, Squirrel, Rat, Porcupine, Pangolin, Rabbit, Elephant, etc. Besides, there are many domesticated animals which supplement the meat requirements of the people like Mithun, Pig, Buffalo, Cow, Goat, etc.

 Table 3: Wild animals eaten by people.

Birds are elegant creatures for the Tribal societies. They hunt birds for various purposes such as to supplement diet with flesh, to procure beaks for decoration in the headgear and to test and develop hunting skills. In fact, hunting birds is a fascination to them. They are predominantly meat eaters and for procuring their meat, they largely rely on hunting. Birds are one of the major attractions to the people for hunting. Various birds eaten by them are wild fowls, hornbills, parrots (small size) (peke), Bulbul, Pigeon, Myna, Dove, etc. Birds like vulture, Sparrow, Crow, Owl are restricted for consumption to the people.

 Table 4: Some common bird species eaten by the Adi tribes.

Fish are beautiful aquatic creatures that form an important part of human diet due to richness in protein, vitamins and essential oils. Fishes are found in a variety of water bodies ranging from stagnant ponds to flowing rivers or streams. The area has diversity in different species of fishes. Different species of fishes eaten by the people are locally known as Talu, Ngopi, Tageng, kadang, Horche, Ribi, Tasum, take, etc. As per the fishery department the following species of fishes are found in the area Rohu (Labeo rohita), Labeo pangsu, Labeo sp. Glyptothrox sp., Garra sp., Abriricthes sp., Psyudochenies sp., Psilorhynchoides sp.nob, eel (Anguilla japonica), prawn (Panoles sp.), crab (Cancer sp.), etc. The surrounding forest provides various species of insects for consumption. Fish resource is declining in the village and adjoining areas since it is felt that there were more fishes in the past than now. Decline in fishes are because of rise in human population and unscientific fishing by blasting & poisoning streams with chemicals such as bleaching powder and use of generator. Besides all these the people also eat different kinds of insects seasonally. During winter season people collect Tari (Stinkbug) (Poisonous Maculiventris) from the banks of rivers. The other insects like grasshoppers, red-ant, etc. are eaten occasionally mentioned food items reveals that bio-resources form an important part of their  diet.Therefore, it can be said that they are very much dependent on the bio-resources. These edible items are important for their livelihood and also for their very existence.

Ethnomedicines

 Ethnomedicine is the belief and practice relating to health and diseases, which are products of indigenous cultural knowledge of the particular communities. Some notable progress has been made in the field of ethnomedicinal research on the tribes of Arunachal Pradesh by various scholars during last two decades and still many tribes are awaited to be explored ethno biologically in the eastern Himalayan region. The Adis of Siang region use their traditional knowledge in health care system where herbs, plants and roots of some trees and plants locally available are used for curing the ailment. They have indigenous method of treatment for different kinds of diseases with the help of local herbal medicines. They also use body parts of animals such as antelopes, bear, etc. for curing diseases of orthopedic, stomach, and liver pain etc. The common diseases what occuring in the village are dysentery, fever, malaria, jaundice, cough, fracture, etc. Villagers of the remote localities are still relaying their traditional medicines for the alleviation of the local ailments. They mostly use herbals and sometime an admixture of plants, animal and mineral substances coupled with local rituals. Some important medicinal plants used by the Adis for curing different diseases are given in the table 5.

Socio-religious life and bio-resources

There is a close relationship between forest and the religious practice of the people. They believe that there is some super natural power in everything. The natural object like mountains, hills, rivers, ponds, the sun, the moon, the earth, etc. are possessed by spirits. Donyi-Polo (The God Sun and Moon) are the main religion followed by the community of the area. Maximum numbers of people are the followers of Donyi-Polo. Besides, there are people who believe in other religion. According to the myths of the Adis, there are many deities or God to control the various parts of universe, such as Sedi-Melo-God of earth and sky, Tusin-Rodong– God of forests and Rivers, etc. The living things like trees, plants, bushes, birds, animals, etc. are all around the village situated amidst forest. The people are god-fearing and they believe that every event in their life is guided and controlled by different kinds of spirits. In present study area there are some specific plants, such as tatkeng, tapi, ta-ok, tuduk raksak, tan, etc. which plays significant role in their religious life. Similarly, ridin a creeper also plays significant role in their socio-religious life. In every religious ceremony they utilize this creeper to protect themselves from the attack of evil spirits. According to their traditional belief all the unwanted spirit are afraid of ridin and kekir (ginger sp.).

The Adis being tribal people depend on the bio-resources for socio-religious life. They depend nature for their fortunes and misfortunes. To avert misfortunes and to bring prosperity to every individual, families and to the society as a whole people celebrate many seasonal festivals like solung, etor, unying-aran, tapu, mopun, etting etc. In order to celebrate these seasonal festivals to appease the God and Goddess they use bio-resources such as plants, leaves, stems, etc. to make altars for the deities. Among the forest resources or produce, the tan, ekkam, toti, kapyum, dibang, tapi, taking, tuduk, raksak are collected and used. To erect sacrificial altar for Mithun and Pig, the trunk of tuduk, sirang, rami trees are collected. Again to prepare the altars for sacrifice or for offering, bamboo species like tabum, eyom, e-e are collected from the forest and useas rope to bind the altars. Sometimes ogik a climber is also used as rope. There are also other plant species such as noki, bumlo, Taje, the skin of which are used as rope. To make the offerings some animals are also used like keka, libo (squirrels), bungka (Rat) etc. The above mentioned Bio-resources are used in the celebration of festivals to bring prosperity to the individual, families and also to the whole community. In the socio-religious life of the people some performers namely-kebang abu (The kebang man), solung, ponung or ettor delong, the narrator of human evolution, origin of plants, animals, mankind, soil, air, water, etc and last one is Ayit-Miri (Priest) which is considered to have super natural power to heal the human sufferings. Kebang is the traditional village council of the Adi community. The role of Kebang is significant in the biodiversity conservation. Uses of bio-resources are under the purview of the Kebang. Illegal extraction of wild bamboo is prohibited by the village council for the sustainable utilization. Modern means of fishing (Blasting, Chemical poison, electric current, etc.) is not allowed as per the norms of the Kebang and violations of these norms are imposed penalty of Rs. 5000 to 10000. For the sustainable use of these resources community extraction once in a year is done under the strict vigilance of the Kebang and equally distributed to all the households of the village. During illness or suffering, the Ayit-Miri is called and the priest sings whole night and while singing he/she tells the cause of suffering and also the plants and animals to be used for making altar or for sacrifices to be made. In such illness or sufferings many different or varied leaves of plants are used according to the nature of illness and sufferings. Wild bamboo (Nyomrang e-e) and plant species locally known as talo, tapi, takeng, singkang, tatkeng, sirang, tan, takang etc. are gathered in enormous amount and used during rituals and festivals. Rodents locally known as keka, libo, bungka, kosung, etc. are used in various rituals. These plant and animal species are used for erection of altar for offering to the deities, so that they may not inflict or cause any illness to the human being. It is believed that sometimes when a person is sick just after returning from hunting or fishing, it is the evil deed of Tusin-Rodong (God of Forests and Rivers). To treat the patient and to cure, the priest (Miri) offers or performs a ritual with some special or necessary plants / bamboo extracted from the jungles. The Miri and some senior persons/experts in the community direct the person who collects the required plants and bamboos for the ritual to perform. Accordingly, the person enters the forests and collects the materials as recommended by the priest. Then the ritual is performed and finally the sick person recovers from the illness. Besides there are many more rituals performed with many other product of forest for different types of illness considered to be caused by different deities of the universe.

 Discussion

The Adi tribes of Arunachal Pradesh largely depend on the bio-resources for their economic life. People’s bio-cultural knowledge about the bio-resources has made them sustain their living through the ages. Agriculture is the main occupation of the people. Both wet rice cultivation and shifting cultivation are practiced for their livelihood. The use of indigenous implements and traditional techniques has resulted in lesser agricultural output. However, wet rice cultivation is becoming significant due to better yield in the recent days. Shifting cultivation is still practiced by the people on large scale to meet their day to day requirements. The staple food of the people that includes rice, maize, millet, vegetables, etc. is grown in the fields for self consumption and commercial purpose. But such a linkage with the forest ecology had led to the degradation of forest resources to a larger extent. There is a need strong realization through awareness campaigns to immediately check the alarming rate of deforestation in the tribal inhabited areas worldwide. Better alternatives in the form of horticulture, terrace cultivation, agro-based industries can be introduced by taking the ethnic communities in confidence to reduce the rate of deforestation. Apart from the agricultural practices these people depend on the supplementary source of livelihood for substenance such as food gathering, fishing and hunting. During the shortage of food supply from the agricultural fields they collect fruits, yams, vegetables, edible mushrooms, roots/rhizomes, stems, barks, etc. to supplement it. However, the process of food gathering is becoming a threat to the loss of important plant species. The indigenous way of forest product in not eco-friendly as some people cut the whole tree to collect fruits. Hunting is another supplementary source of sustenance. Deer, Bear, Monkey, Wild boars, Elephant, Tiger, Birds, Rodents, etc. are the important faunal species hunted by these people. Both individual and community hunting are done by them. During festivals deer, wild boar and rodents are hunted on a large scale for the celebration. As a result such species became rare and endangered in the recent decades. Fish is an important diet of the people. People use different indigenous techniques for fishing such as Sibok petnam, porang tonam, edir tonam, etc. which are eco-friendly. But, due to use of chemical poisons and blasting the population of fish has become less in the area. Very recently a new method of fishing in the form use of electric current in the rivers and streams has further decreased the fish population. The material culture of the people is largely built out of the product of natural bio-resources.wood, bamboo, palm leaves, cane, etc. It is observed in about 95% households the various items are directly collected from the natural bio-resources such as basket, mat, stool, spoon, mug & jug, bow & arrow, hunting trap, fishing tools, etc. They also have knowledge of ethnomedicines for curing various diseases. Different parts of plants and animals are used to cure various ailments such as stomachache, headache, joint / fractures, cough / flu, jaundice, dysentery / diarrhea, orthopaedic, eye infection, snake bites, etc. Bio-resources form an important part of the religious life of the people. They worship the nature viz. hills, mountains, rivers, sun, moon, etc as these provide the various requirements of the people. Such old age have led to the preservation of natural resources to a greater extent in the past. But, due to influx of modernization they are converting to different organized religions which are fading the ethnic belief systems associated with the nature. The indigenous knowledge system can be utilized through active participation of Government and Non-governmental agencies in checking the emerging harsh linkages with the nature. Such an effort can ensure the availability of resources in their vicinity for a longer period of time.

 Conclusion

The study of linkages between bio-resources and human livelihood is significant in understanding the pattern of interaction between the people and their surrounding forests. It is observed that most of the tribal people of Arunachal Pradesh prefer to live in forest environment and for their sustenance they utilize bio-resources of their immediate surrounding with their age-old traditional knowledge and technique. The way of life of the Adi tribes is closely associated with physical environment which form an inseparable component in the ecosystem and thus maintain inseparable relationship with the natural resources. The whole discussion is mostly related to the people and their dependence on the bio-resources for economic, material, social and ritual sustenance. They practice jhum/shifting cultivation for requirement of food and during the food shortage they collect various edible plant parts from the forest to supplement it. The women folk play significant role in collection of such edible fruits, roots and tubers, leaves, etc. Besides, hunting and fishing are the other supplementary source of livelihood.They have knowledge of traditional herbal medicine to cure and prevent diseases. Their traditional healing practices are largely dependent on different plants and animal species which are mostly used by few practitioners of the village who have specialized knowledge in ethnomedicines. In addition to the use of bio-resources in material culture, food, medicine and socio-religious life of the people, they conserve bio-resources in their natural habitat through clean forest management system. They narrate myths and legends about certain rare and endangered species of plants and animals at home and in public gathering to educate the younger generation for the conservation and sustainable utilization of biodiversity wealth of their concerned area. They use bamboo, cane, wood, palm leaves, vegetables, etc. for commercial purposes. For instance, bamboo shoots, baskets & mats, firewood, etc. are being sold in the local market in exchange of money. Forest products had been the articles of barter trade of the people in their neighbouring areas during the past which lost its significance at present due to emergence of market economy.

 The present study reveals that for the sake of survival in the area, people use their old age indigenous knowledge where natural bio-resources as well as natural phenomena play an important role in shaping their life and culture. Due to the increase in population leading to the knowledge of market economy the linkages between the people and the bio-resources is gearing up remarkably. Such a study in the tribal inhabited area is essential to create awareness and realization among the forest dwellers about the harsh linkages emerging out of higher level of interaction with the forest ecology. Hence, the paper is significant for the forest dwellers to asses the level of bio-resource utilization and framing strategies for sustainableutilization of forest resources in future continuum.

Article by Gibji Nimachow, Tahong Taga, Hui Tag  & Oyi Dai

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