Unexplored Shades of Monpa

Author: Ankita Karmakar (Central Institute of Indian Languages, Mysore)
Speaker: Ankita Karmakar
Topic: Language revitalization
The (SCOPUS / ISI) SOAS GLOCAL CALA 2019 General Session


The present paper unfolds handful of unexplored interesting aspects about the different and unique traditional practises of Dirang Monpa community. The Monpa tribe is one of the most populous and major tribal community in Arunachal Pradesh. The Dirang Monpa lives in the Dirang Circle in the West Kameng district of Arunachal Pradesh in north-east India. The Dirang Monpa claims that they were the first inhabitants of the Dirang area. Some of their elders say their forefathers originated from eastern Bhutan, before migrating to their present location in India. They belong to Tibeto-Burman language family. They came in contact with the Tibetans in the north and adopted Mahayana from the Buddhist faith. The paper will mostly concentrate how the culture is reflected in the language. The people are losing their special knowledge system day by day, by the impact of dominant languages. So, this is an attempt to illustrate the undocumented items of the language community.

In this paper the following aspects will be discussed. The unique style of making of kʰərpʰei (traditional Monpa house) structure, indigenous harvesting festival or tʃʰoskor ceremony, typical Monpa marriage (ŋʲen) rituals, shamanism (ŋakmuna) or magico-religious practices, ethnic medicine, gestation period (during pregnancy), story of ʃiŋka (traditional dress), death practices, usage of watermill etc.

Most of their literature remains oral till date so this is an initial try to preserve the language through culture of the community. Some initial effort can be made by encouraging the community to write their own stories, recitation of folklores, creating pictures related to their surroundings/neighbourhood (e.g. hill, tree, river, story of bravery) and history.


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Keywords: evitalization, Dirang Monpa, Ethnolinguistics