Introduction / History
The Monpas live in the regions of Tawang and West Kameng in Arunachal Pradesh in India. The word Tawang means a place blessed by a horse. Tawang has also been called Monyul and the people who live here are called Monpas.
What Are Their Beliefs?
Agriculture is their main work. They also trade and also breed yaks and other cattle. They are cultivators. The Monpa grow potatoes. The foundation seeds are brought from Himachal Pradesh and are grown by the Monpa to give certified seeds. Then they are sold to farmers in other regions of Arunachal Pradesh.
Horticulture in the region has only happened more lately. Tawang is suitable for growing oranges, apples and nuts for example. Some parts are suitable for some crops and other parts of the region are suitable for growing other crops.
The Monpas live in two story houses made of stone and with planks for floors. The Monpas are artistic. They make carpets, utensils from bamboo and wooden items. They have made a name for themselves with their paintings and with making paper.
Monogamy is usual in marriages but polygamy is also allowed. Usually marriages take place after discussion. Cross cousin marriage is the favorite way of marriage. Divorce is allowed and so is the marrying again of widows too.
The Monpa celebrate festivals. Their language is Tibeto-Burman but different from that of East Tibet. They are ruled by the Trukdri which has six ministers. Some of their other crops are barley, rice, maize and wheat for example.
The Monpas are Mongaloid in descent. They are Buddhists. The Tawang monastery is the mainstay of their life spiritually. They used to be in the Bon faith which incorporates spirit worship and animal sacrifices. They are influenced by Buddha and are a friendly and hardworking people.
* It may be good to pray that Christians with artistic talents could make friends with them and give them the gospel message.