Monpa, Dirang in India

Joshua Project has identified the Monpa, Dirang only in India

Population

8,430

Christian

0.07%

Evangelical

0.00%

Largest Religion

Main Language

Progress


Profile Source: Copyright © Peoples of the Buddhist World, Paul Hattaway


Identity

The Dirang Monpa have been granted status in India as a Scheduled Tribe. Their population in the 1981 census was 3,599 (1,742 males and 1,857 females). This increased to 5,050 in the 1991 census. One of the alternate names for the Dirang Monpa is Sangla, which suggests that they may be related to the large Tsangla ethnic group of Bhutan, China and India, which numbers more than 250,000 people. More research needs to be done to determine the relationship between the Dirang Monpa and Tsangla languages.


History

The Dirang Monpa live in the Dirang Circle in the West Kameng District of Arunachal Pradesh in north-east India. The Dirang Monpa claim that they were the first inhabitants of the Dirang area. Some of their elders say their forefathers originated in eastern Bhutan, before migrating to their present location in India.


Customs

The diet of the Dirang Monpa consists of 'cereals, fish, meat, vegetables and chhung (local drink brewed from maize, rice, millet, wheat and buckwheat). Maize is the staple food item. They eat beef, pork, mutton, fowls, yaks, mithuns and deer. The fruits consumed are apples, peaches, bananas, pomegranates and oranges.'

Marriage in Dirang Monpa society is a simple procedure. A lama is hired to consult the horoscopes to determine the most auspicious time and day for a wedding to take place. Family members and friends gather at the bride's home. The lama simply places a white scarf, called a katha, around the necks of the bride and groom, blesses the couple, and they are married. A huge feast is held at which all the people, including children, often become intoxicated by consuming copious amounts of strong rice whisky.

The lamas perform many other roles in the community as well, in keeping with the important role that Tibetan Buddhism plays in the daily lives of Dirang Monpa society. After a baby is delivered, the mother is not allowed to leave the room for seven days. She is considered in a state of spiritual and physical pollution and nobody can visit her. When the baby is three days old, a lama is invited to name the child. 'After saying a prayer, he prepares a horoscope for the baby. The horoscope is consulted to choose a name for the child.'

Not only is the Buddhist lama present at birth, but he also officiates at funerals. When there is a death, 'the body is carried to a nearby river and thrown into the water after being cut into 108 pieces [Tibetan Buddhists consider 108 to be an auspicious number]. If a person dies in an accident his or her body is buried. When a lama or an influential person dies, the body is cremated. On the seventh day after the death a prayer is performed by the lama and a festoon is erected in front of the house of the deceased to satisfy the soul. On the ninth day, the last day of the mourning period, a feast is given.'


Religion

Tibetan Buddhism has a strong grip on the lives of the Dirang Monpa. At the time of the 1981 census, 99.69 per cent of the Dirang Monpa stated that they believed in Buddhism, 0.25 per cent were Hindus, and just one individual claimed to be a Christian. The previous Indian census, in 1971, had returned 100 per cent of the Dirang Monpa as Buddhists.


Profile Source: Peoples of the Buddhist World, Paul Hattaway Copyrighted ©: Yes Used with permission

People Name General Monpa, Dirang
People Name in Country Monpa, Dirang
Population in India 8,430
Progress Scale 1.1
Least-Reached Yes
Unengaged or Unknown Yes
Indigenous Yes
Alternate Names Menba, Monba, Sangla
Affinity Bloc Tibetan-Himalayan Peoples
People Cluster South Himalaya
People Name General Monpa, Dirang
Ethnic Code MSY50z
Country India
Continent Asia
Region South Asia
10/40 Window Yes
Location in Country The Dirang Monpa live in the Dirang Circle in the West Kameng District of Arunachal Pradesh.

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Ethnolinguistic map from University of Texas or other map

Languages & Dialects (speakers if known) - up to 20 shown
Monpa, Tawang (7,900) Hindi (200) Adi (30) Tibetan, Central (Unknown)
Nepali (Unknown) Nyishi (Unknown) Naga, Nocte (Unknown) Santhali (Unknown)
Naga, Mao (Unknown) Miju-Mishmi (Unknown) Kharia (Unknown) English (Unknown)
Mundari (Unknown)
Languages & Dialects (speakers if known) - up to 20 shown
Monpa, Tawang 7,900 Hindi 200
Adi 30 Tibetan, Central 10
Nepali 10 Nyishi 10
Naga, Nocte 0 Santhali 0
Naga, Mao 0 Miju-Mishmi 0
Kharia 0 English 0
Mundari 0
Bible Translation Status  (Years)
Bible Portions No
New Testament No
Complete Bible No
Category Resource
Audio Recordings Global Recordings
Audio Recordings Global Recordings
Largest Religion Buddhism
Buddhism
84.31%
Christianity
0.07%    ( Evangelical  0.00% )
Ethnic Religions
0.00%
Hinduism
15.08%
Islam
0.00%
Non-Religious
0.00%
Other / Small
0.00%
Unknown
0.54%
Photo Source: Peoples of the Buddhist World, Paul Hattaway © Copyrighted Used with permission
Profile Source:
Data Sources: Data is compiled from various sources. Read more
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