Barely being able to catch my breath I asked the bus driver “Aalo?” , swift came the reply “han han baitho”. I managed to get myself a seat and was fast asleep. This was in Silapathar,the place from where I had to board the bus to Arunachal Pradesh and which I luckily did.
After a moment which was actually 10-11 hours but because I had been very much tired so I slept all along the journey which was why everything seemed to move at a pace that was recognizably fast. Now I was being called up on repeatedly and now the conductor was standing over my head saying “Aalo aa gaya”. So finally I had reached.
The house of my host, Karry , was 2 kilometers uphill from there.I reached the place at around 05:00. I chose to rest that whole day but on the next day Karry took me to her village , a remote village in the West Siang district of Arunachal Pradesh , a village away from the Facebook world.
Karry acquainted me with her grandparents , I found grandma very sweet as she used to offer me the famous rice beer twice a day even with my denying for it. Karry and the other villagers belong to the Galo tribe,one of the 16 major and many minor tribes of Arunanchal Pradesh. In the coming days of my visit I was introduced with the traditions and culture of the Tribe , of the sacrificing of Mithun at Nida(Marriage) , of the divisions of property , of doing the fishing in the traditional way that saved the nature and fed the humans. The tribesmen believed in Animism ,they used to believe in spirits , and worshipped the spirits of mountains , rivers , sun and the moon. They called them Doni-Polo (Sun-Moon). As a practicing Atheist , the religion was strikingly fascinating to me but the bone of contention was that ,as I traveled other parts of the state too (Itanagar,Tawang,Bomdila) it was very surprising to see “Vivekananda Kendra’s” in each and every district and also Karry informed me of how these institutions got the support from the mainland .On the eastern Frontier of the state the Christian Missionaries were following the same path.
As soon as I realized of what was going on , I was in full rage but the question was “what can I do?”. I was reminded of Nadeem Hasnain’s book on Indian Anthropology which I used to enjoy reading in my second year of college which talked of the fading away of tribal culture by the forces of religion in the name of civilization. Then I realized that my rage was not enough for these forces to stop.
The worrying aspect of it all was that even grandma liked going to temple (recently built) which recently had introduced the sculptures of Doni-Polo exclusively imported from manufacturers in Guwahati.