Introduction / History
The neighbouring community of the Puroik, the Bangnis, gave them the name"Sulung", which means "slave". The ancient belief is that the forefathers of the present day Puroik borrowed money from the Bangnis and failed to repay it. As compensation, the Puroik were forced to work for the Bangnis. This practice gradually took the shape of a social institution, in which the Bangnis assumed the role of masters while the Puroik became their slaves. The Puroik largely depend on their masters for survival. Even now, when a Puroik man cannot afford the high bride-price to get a wife for himself, he borrows money from his master. As a result, the newly married wife and their future children also become his slaves.
The Puroik live in 53 villages along the Par river of Arunachal Pradesh in North East India. The region is hilly and is situated at a high altitude. The area is characterised by forest cover, low humidity, and lots of rain or snow. Most Puroik farm small pieces of land they own and collect forest produce, barely making a living. Most Puroik settlements are in mountainous regions that are often affected by flash floods due to heavy rains, being in the catchment areas of the River Kameng. In addition these settlements do not have amenities such as an electricity supply, roads, or postal facilities.
The Puroik are easy to identify. Their hair is usually tied in a bun on their head and they always carry a long chopping knife with them. Their men wear a cloth across their chest, passing below the arm and reaching the thigh. Women usually wear a knee-length skirt with green or blue borders. Most of the Puroik are animistic in faith, while the rest follow other religions. There are a few churches in the region. Much effort is needed before the Good News will have an impact among the Puroik.
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