Bangni in India

The Bangni have only been reported in India
Main Language
Largest Religion
Progress Gauge
* From latest India census data.
Current Christian values may substantially differ.

Introduction / History

The Bangni (also known as the Dafla or the Nishi) inhabit the hills of northern India, mainly in the states of Assam and Arunachal Pradesh. Their native language, Nisi, belongs to the Tibeto-Burman language family. The term nisi is derived from the word ni, or "man." Because of their extensive trade relations in the Assam plains, many of the Bangni are also fluent in Assamese.

In times past, the Bangni were feared because they did not allow the Apatani or other tribes to trade in the Assam valley. However, the past three decades have brought drastic changes to the Bangni. Due to the establishment of Indian administrative control, peace and order have now replaced the feuds, kidnappings, murders, and cattle thefts of their history. Once known as tough, independent, "born hunters," the Bangni are now seen as a happy-go-lucky people, no longer terrorizing the weaker tribes. Unfortunately, these changes have left the Bangni feeling unstable and insecure.

What Are Their Lives Like?

The Bangni are mainly farmers. They clear the forests on hill slopes at altitudes of 1,000 to 6,000 feet, where they raise dry rice, millet, maize, and sweet potatoes. In times past, the Bangni's system of land tenure did not include individual rights, so the farmers were free to cultivate wherever they wanted. In recent years, however, the government has introduced the Bangni to rice cultivation using terraces and permanently irrigated fields. These new methods have yielded both economic and social changes for the Bangni. A majority of the farmers have adopted a settled lifestyle, although some have continued to practice shifting cultivation.

In addition to farming, some of the Bangni run small shops. Others have become expert weavers, and some have learned to prepare fiber from tree bark. The more remote Bangni in eastern Kameng depend mostly on trades such as blacksmithing.

The Bangni men wear their hair tied in knots above their foreheads and the women wear large wooden nose clips. They live in small scattered hill villages. Traditionally, they lived as extended families in "long houses." As many as 40 family members lived together in a long house. When there was no tribal organization to maintain law and order, each long house was a self-governing unit. Without authority or any form of social control, armed raids commonly occurred. Today, most of the Bangni still live in long houses, but the houses are not autonomous. Polygamy (having multiple spouses) is common.

The Bangni believe that they are the descendants of one mythical ancestor named Takr. It is said that Takr's sons are the forefathers of the three branches of the Bangni tribe. Each branch is divided into phratries, or units, which are sub-divided into clans. In some areas, the clans have developed a judicial system with a council of elders.

Trade with the neighboring tribes in the plains of Assam has boosted the economy of the Bangni. In exchange for cotton, they usually purchase rice and cloth from the Apatani. In recent years, education has been the most important social change for the Bangni. They have progressed exceptionally well and are now represented in the legislative assembly.

What Are Their Beliefs?

Almost all of the Bangni practice their traditional ethnic religion. Unfortunately, some of the ethnic religionists regard Christianity as a threat to their traditional culture. Sadly, some of the Bangni children who attended a Christian mission school returned to their villages with little tact or tolerance for their friends and families. The Bagni's main complaint is that Christianity deliberately disrupts the harmony of community life. Some reported that Christian converts even physically attacked priests as they invoked the traditional gods.

What Are Their Needs?

The Bangni need a revelation of who Jesus Christ is. They cannot understand why the new converts do not want to participate in their tribal rituals, celebrations, or idolatry. The Bangni Christians need prayer for encouragement, favor, and wisdom so that they might effectively share the Gospel with their people.

Prayer Points

Pray that God will call people who are willing to go to India and share Christ with the Bangni.
Ask the Lord to grant wisdom and favor to missions agencies working among this people group.
Pray that God will encourage Bangni believers as they mature in Christ and learn how to tactfully share the Gospel with their own people.
Ask the Holy Spirit to soften the hearts of the Bangni towards Christians so that they will be receptive to the Gospel.
Pray that God will raise up teams of intercessors to faithfully stand in the gap for these precious people.

Scripture Prayers for the Bangni in India.

Profile Source:   Bethany World Prayer Center  

People Name General Bangni
People Name in Country Bangni
Alternate Names Nishi Bangni; बँगनी
Population this Country 900
Population all Countries 900
Total Countries 1
Indigenous Yes
Progress Scale 2
Unreached No
Frontier People Group No
GSEC 5  (per
Pioneer Workers Needed
People ID 16390
ROP3 Code 111534
Country India
Region Asia, South
Continent Asia
10/40 Window Yes
National Bible Society Website
Persecution Rank 11  (Open Doors top 50 rank, 1 = highest persecution ranking)
Districts Interactive map, listing and data download
Specialized Website South Asia Peoples
Country India
Region Asia, South
Continent Asia
10/40 Window Yes
National Bible Society Website
Persecution Rank 11  (Open Doors top 50 rank, 1 = highest persecution ranking)
Total States 1
  Arunachal Pradesh 800
Website South Asia Peoples
Primary Religion: Christianity
Major Religion Percent *
0.69 %
Christianity  (Evangelical Unknown)
45.01 %
Ethnic Religions
0.00 %
24.65 %
0.55 %
0.00 %
Other / Small
0.00 %
29.09 %
* From latest India census data.
Current Christian values may substantially differ.
Primary Language Nyishi (500 speakers)
Language Code njz   Ethnologue Listing
Language Written Yes   ScriptSource Listing
Total Languages 2
Secondary Languages
Primary Language Nyishi (500 speakers)
Language Code njz   Ethnologue Listing
Total Languages 2
Secondary Languages
  Adi 300
People Groups Speaking Nyishi

Primary Language:  Nyishi

Bible Translation Status  (Years)
Bible-Portions Yes  (1957-1982)
Bible-New Testament Yes  (2002)
Bible-Complete Yes  (2016)
Possible Print Bibles
World Bibles
Forum Bible Agencies
National Bible Societies
World Bible Finder
Virtual Storehouse
Resource Type Resource Name Source
Audio Recordings Audio Bible teaching Global Recordings Network
Audio Recordings Story of Jesus audio Jesus Film Project
Film / Video Jesus Film: view in Nyishi Jesus Film Project
Film / Video World Christian Videos World Christian Videos
General Gospel resources links Scripture Earth
General YouVersion Bible versions in text and/or audio YouVersion Bibles
Mobile App Android Bible app: Nyishi YouVersion Bibles
Mobile App iOS Bible app: Nyishi YouVersion Bibles
Text / Printed Matter Literacy primer for Nyishi Literacy & Evangelism International
Photo Source Diganta Talukdar - Flickr  Creative Commons 
Map Source People Group data: Omid. Map geography: UNESCO / GMI. Map Design: Joshua Project.  
Profile Source Bethany World Prayer Center 
Data Sources Data is compiled from various sources. Learn more.