The Origin and Migration of Adi Tribe Part I- Compensated by the oral tradition of the people in the form of Legends, Myths, Folklores and Sayings etc.

The Origin

The Adis do not have any historical records in the want of a language; but this is compensated by the oral traditions of the people in the form of legends, myths, folklores, proverbs and sayings etc. These oral traditions are reflected in Abangs, Ponungs, Abes etc. The oral religious literature of the Adis is mainly represented by rhapsodies known a Abangs, relating to the mythe of creation, origin of social institutions and history of the people. The Ponungs are nothing but legthy ballads, drawing their themes from Abangs, highlighting the origin of different things including the Adis race itself. The Abes may be considered as the political literature of the people and the term is used to mean the introductory speeches given by the Kebang. An elderly person gifted with powers of good oratory is called the Kebang Abu, who traces the origin and migration of the people of the central zone of Arunachal from Uli, Usha and kumting in Tibet in a poetic language. There are dozens of myths currents among the Adis which talk about their origin and migration. The task of tracing the origin and migration of the Adis was taken over by various foreign scholars in the 19th and the early part of the 20th century.

William Robinson was the first European scholar to draw a connected account of the tribes and, as quoted, the difficulty in lifting up “ the dark veil which conceals the origin of the tribes”. John Butler thinks the Adis,“to be the descendents of the tortar race” by observing their physical features. Father Kreek believe that the Padams stood midway between mongoloid and Caucasian race and referred to a popular tradition about the origin of the padam people. He recollected a story that when the earth was full of mud, God came down from heaven and made two brothers and sisters with a handful of mud. The padams descended from the elder and the Miris from the younger brother. E.T. Dalton also tried to trace the origin of the Padams from an older son of a woman in the beginning of the earth. G.W. Beresford believes that all the Adis acknowledge a common origin from the Bor Abors. G.D.S. Dundar has also tried to trace the traditional origin of the tribes. R.C.R. Gumming refers that all the Adis claim their origin form some race tribes settled a Killing in Bomo-janbo country. According to a popular version,” in the beginning there was only darkness, and out of the union of the sky(Melo) and the earth(Sedi) things were born. Pedong nane who descended from Sedi-Melo were married to Yidum Bole and out of their union was born Donyi, the first man”. Dr. Verrier Elwin has collected some myths referring to Donyi or Tani as the first man on the earth.

Different branches of the Adi families however, have their own myths and traditions regarding their origin and migration. The Padam Minyong myths refer that keyum was the first in the line of creation. After a few generations came sedi who is believed to be the creator of the world. Pedong nane was the sixth generation of Sedi who gave birth to different gods, goddesses, spirits and animals and Donyi or tani was the youngest issues of Pedong Nane. This group of the adis regard Donyi or Tani as the common ancestor of the Adis. It is also believed that Pedong’s son was Dobir who had a son named Dirbo, and he had a number of sons. One of the sons of Dirbo was Bome from whom the Padams descended and the other was Banyo from whom the Minyongs descended. This myth of origin is also prevalent amongs Pasis, Panggis, karkos, Shimongs, Milangs and the Eastyern Adi groups.

 The myths of the Galo group of   Adis trace their origin from Sichi. They believed that after a few generations from Sichi, Tani, the first man was born and it was from him that all the sub-tribes of the Galo groups like the Pailibos, Bokars, Ramos etc.., came into being. The Pailibos claims to be the descendents of Sichi, the mother earth and recounts the story of the creation of different clans of the Pailibos from the descendents of Sichi or Sichang. The Bokars claims their descent from the first man Abo Tani and belives that one of the off-spring of Abo Tani was Dungume from whom runs the direct line of descent of the present day Bokars. The ramos attribute their origin to the union of Medoang (the sky) and Seaching(the earth) and consider Donyi (the sun) and Polo(the moon) as their first issues. As per their oral tradition, Donyi and Polo have gone to stay with medong(the sky) but the ramos have stayed back with their mother Seaching(the earth). It is also held that Jomso was the common forefather of the Ramos, Bokars and Pailibos. In the Galo mythology, Jimi is the creator who created Mrdo(the sky) and sichi(the earth) and from their union started the human race. The first child was Sibuk and one of his descendant was Tusi whose son was Rimi or Tani, the father of the man. Tani is the common father of man, as acknowledged by the Galos.



NOTE: forgive me if I am wrong or if there is any kind of spelling mistakes, please.
 HELLO! Folks:  today I am going to write a little brief on ADI history and facts that u may or may not be familiar;
             Long time back people of Adis where called as ABHOR; especially during the colonial period, and also during the reign of the AHOM EMPIRES, the term deliberately denotes barbarous or which is also kind of uncontrolled.
   ADIS where very well good warriors during its history all the time, specially the minyong, milang and padam where known to be very furious.
 Many pictures of  ADI/ABHOR; was taken  by the British  almost during  1912-1940s. But I would like to inform you that  NEFA(now Arunachal Pradesh) had its colonial  touch even before 1900s, Colonial expedition  began almost back  in 18th century too but since there is not must evidence left from those period the history can’t be traceable.  You during those time photographs were not much developed and well processed, British man Simpson took many photographs of east India tribes(NEFA), those were all back in the days of 1820s and was not well developed and not clear, so  the colonial British India had its better photography after 1990s, as Christopher pintey and john falconer  Two British man had shown  with the new technology of photography , the expedition to the hill tribes and photography of NEFA ethnics  and also classifying them and gather the information of  the subcontinent   started. And that’s the time when British came increasingly towards NEFA, although even they had to face many obstacles.
          But to tell you, I have already foretold that the expedition to the hill tribes began  long back in 1800s so i hope now you got it.

Here I will be discussing only about  ABHORS/ADIS,  even though britishers were engaged even with some other tribes.  It was in 1900s  the British was on the move of the expedition towards ADI/ABHOR region, I wont say whole the story but for your knowledge I will give in brief. I am going to the year 1905, Noel Williamson  a  British servant was posted in Sadiya as an   Assistant  political offcer , he had many guides during the expedition, if somewhere Tibetans somewhere ABHOR itself which serve as his guides and potters to the deep jungles  and mountain tracks,  there was many incident breaking out those days like British annihilate the tribal area and its people, case of Apatani incident broke out too before 1905 , well it was in the year 1905 when Political officer  Sir. Noel Williamson had gathered many valuable information from the local people, that in the  1850s there was a furious was between the ADI and British who was led  under  sergeant  Major Carter.  Now it was 1911 that officer Noel Williamson was returning from his travel from upper siang and reached Kebang village very safely and that was the 1st ever successful attempt made by the British to enter into that village since Carter’s time back in 1850s.

  So what happen is that, political officer Williamson was heading to meet the leaders of kebang village, he also knew that ADIs where looking at him very furiously, because he was aware of the war held in past years. He tried to ask permission to enter farther region of ADI/ABHORS, but couldn’t persuade them to give him permission. Very interesting happen this time is that while Williamson was in kebang , the leaders (Minyong people)from Rima village described Williamson as a “war minister”  and told the ADIS that war minister has arrived and was speaking at Kebang, He was tall had round cap made of deer skin, he had attendants too !! so tall like him, had long fur coat of Tibetan texture. He (Williamson) had a moustache; held a spear in his left hand gesticulating  from his right hand”


Noel Williamson was told to move back , the area was too dangerous for him to enter farther. It was n 1911 when noel Williamson was not even near Kebang, and his rations where seemed missing  so he directly accused the ADI  porters who where his guides too, the ADIS already wanted to kill him direct on the spot itself but didn’t. Very big misunderstanding evolved out due to Williamson in that situation, as he sent the MIRI’S (adi-padams) carriers to go back and bring more rations he also gave them letters e to give it to the post office on the way. T he carrier however reportedly showed the official red and black envelopes  to ADIS  and “boasted” that there was an order to punish the villagers of kebang and rotung,rima. The ADI porters who ran away from Williamsons order narrated orally “that Williamson had slapped them and accused” .  By that time 5 ADI attacked Williamson, and it was during this year 1911, political officer Noel Williamson and his partner Dr. Gregoerson was killed.

* ANGLO-ADI WAR-1   :1850s( seargeant  major carter’s period)

*ANGLO-ADI  WAR-2  : 1911 (after murder of noel wiliamson-dr.Gresgoerson)


 A force of nearly 1000 soldiers, military police was sent to find the murderers of Noel Williamson and his attendants. This was a massive response from the British to ABHORS and it can  be remembered as a brutal war between the colonial and ADI people in  history. According to me this war was more deliberate in compare to Anglo-adi war in 1850s under Major Carter.

Abhors/ADIs in a camp -riga village- seeing the british officer major Bower and his troops approaching

On 18th December  the britishers camped at yambung village not very far from kebang village. On that day ADIS headmen from komsing and riu village came to the camp with a friendly manner and told the Britishers major Bower that the incident was of innocence act, this was termed by the britishers as the courage of ADI people to come and approach the British. This story was published by a British journalist at Calcutta , and  was also told that major genera Bower  believed the story narrated by  the ADI headman. But as I told before the Britishers had to catch the culprits, so there was an incident  that the British army burned down the kebang village, knowing the attack the ADIS  came down from rima-ruksin to repel the attack but they couldn’t  succeed.




ADIS WHO KILLED NOEL WILLIAMSON AND DR. GREGOERSON- picture showing the murderers captured and chained by the british. Matmur Jamoh accused with the other porters who where involved in killing dr.gregoerson.

Adi HISTORY BY john pebi tato

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