Arunachal Pradesh is a thinly populated hilly tract lying on the north-east extremity of India comprising roughly 83,573 square kilometers. The Pradesh is known to be rich in flora, fauna, power and mineral potential. Previously this region was known as the North East Frontier Agency (NEFA) and constituted a part of the state of Assam. Arunachal Pradesh became an independent state on 20th February 1987. It is bounded by independent countries on the three sides and by Assam and Nagaland in the south. The long international border comprises of Bhutan on its west (160 km), the Tibet region of China on its northern and north east border (1080 km) and Myanmar (formerly Burma (440km) on the eastern border.
The history of pre-modern Arunachal Pradesh remains shrouded in mystery. Oral histories possessed to this day by many Arunachali tribes of Tibeto-Burman stock are much richer and point unambiguously to a northern origin in modern-day Tibet. Again corroboration remains difficult. From the point of view of material culture it is clear that most indigenous Arunachali groups align with Burma-area hill tribals, a fact that could either be explainable in terms of a northern Burmese origin or from westward cultural diffusion.
From the same perspective the most unusual Arunachali group by far is the Puroik/Sulung, whose traditional staple food is sago palm and whose primary traditional productive strategy is foraging. While speculatively considered to be a Tibeto-Burman population, the uniqueness of Puroik culture and language may well represent a tenuous reflection of a distant and all but unknown pre-Tibeto-Burman, Tai and Indo-Aryan past.
According to the Arunachal Pradesh Government, the region was mentioned in the Hindu texts Kalika Purana and Mahabharata, and is attested to be the Prabhu Mountains of the Puranas, and was where sage Parashuram washed away sins, the sage Vyasa meditated, King Bhishmaka founded his kingdom and Lord Krishna married his consort Rukmini.
Recorded history from an outside perspective only became available in the Ahom chronicles of the 16th century. The Monpa and Sherdukpen do keep historical records of the existence of local chiefdoms in the northwest as well. Northwestern parts of this area came under the control of the Monpa kingdom of Monyul, which flourished between 500 B.C. and 600 A.D. This region then came under the loose control of Tibet and Bhutan, especially in the Northern areas. The remaining parts of the state, especially those bordering Myanmar, came under the titular control of the Ahom and the Assamese until the annexation of India by the British in 1858. However, most Arunachali tribes remained in practice largely autonomous up until Indian independence and the formalization of indigenous administration in 1947.
Recent excavations of ruins of Hindu temples such as the 14th century Malinithan at the foot of the Siang hills in West Siang are somewhat automatically associated with the ancient history of Arunachal Pradesh, inasmuch as they fall within its modern-day political borders. However, such temples are generally south-facing, never occur more than a few kilometers from the Assam plains area, and are perhaps more likely to have been associated with Assam plains-based rather than indigenous Arunachali populations. Another notable heritage site, Bhismaknagar, has led to suggestions that the Idu (Mishmi) had an advanced culture and administration in pre-historical times. Again, however, no evidence directly associates Bhismaknagar with this or any other known culture. The third heritage site, the 400-year-old Tawang Monastery in the extreme north-west of the state, provides some historical evidence of the Buddhist tribal people.The sixth Dalai Lama Tsangyang Gyatso was born in Tawang.
Country : India
Continent : Asia