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Monpa Dirang in India

Monpa Dirang

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Map source: Omid / Joshua Project
Population [2] Language Religion % Christian % Evangl Online NT Jesus Film Progress
7,100 Tshangla Buddhism 0.77 % Unknown No   

Monpa Dirang in India

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The Dirang Monpa have been granted status in India as a Scheduled Tribe. Their population in the 1981 census was 3,599 (1,742 males and 1,857 females). This increased to 5,050 in the 1991 census. One of the alternate names for the Dirang Monpa is Sangla, which suggests that they may be related to the large Tsangla ethnic group of Bhutan, China and India, which numbers more than 250,000 people. More research needs to be done to determine the relationship between the Dirang Monpa and Tsangla languages.

The Dirang Monpa live in the Dirang Circle in the West Kameng District of Arunachal Pradesh in north-east India. The Dirang Monpa claim that they were the first inhabitants of the Dirang area. Some of their elders say their forefathers originated in eastern Bhutan, before migrating to their present location in India.

The diet of the Dirang Monpa consists of 'cereals, fish, meat, vegetables and chhung (local drink brewed from maize, rice, millet, wheat and buckwheat). Maize is the staple food item. They eat beef, pork, mutton, fowls, yaks, mithuns and deer. The fruits consumed are apples, peaches, bananas, pomegranates and oranges.'

Marriage in Dirang Monpa society is a simple procedure. A lama is hired to consult the horoscopes to determine the most auspicious time and day for a wedding to take place. Family members and friends gather at the bride's home. The lama simply places a white scarf, called a katha, around the necks of the bride and groom, blesses the couple, and they are married. A huge feast is held at which all the people, including children, often become intoxicated by consuming copious amounts of strong rice whisky.

The lamas perform many other roles in the community as well, in keeping with the important role that Tibetan Buddhism plays in the daily lives of Dirang Monpa society. After a baby is delivered, the mother is not allowed to leave the room for seven days. She is considered in a state of spiritual and physical pollution and nobody can visit her. When the baby is three days old, a lama is invited to name the child. 'After saying a prayer, he prepares a horoscope for the baby. The horoscope is consulted to choose a name for the child.'

Not only is the Buddhist lama present at birth, but he also officiates at funerals. When there is a death, 'the body is carried to a nearby river and thrown into the water after being cut into 108 pieces [Tibetan Buddhists consider 108 to be an auspicious number]. If a person dies in an accident his or her body is buried. When a lama or an influential person dies, the body is cremated. On the seventh day after the death a prayer is performed by the lama and a festoon is erected in front of the house of the deceased to satisfy the soul. On the ninth day, the last day of the mourning period, a feast is given.'

Tibetan Buddhism has a strong grip on the lives of the Dirang Monpa. At the time of the 1981 census, 99.69 per cent of the Dirang Monpa stated that they believed in Buddhism, 0.25 per cent were Hindus, and just one individual claimed to be a Christian. The previous Indian census, in 1971, had returned 100 per cent of the Dirang Monpa as Buddhists.

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Country: India
Continent: Asia
Region: Asia, South
Persecution Rank:10 (Only top 50 ranked, 1 = highest persecution ranking)
10/40 Window: Yes
Population in Country:7,100
Largest States:
Arunachal Pradesh (7,100)
Location in Country:The Dirang Monpa live in the Dirang Circle in the West Kameng District of Arunachal Pradesh.
(Source: Peoples of the Buddhist World, 2004)
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Ethnolinguistic Map:University of Texas or other map
  Peoples [3]
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People Name in Country: Monpa Dirang
People Name General: Monpa Dirang
Alternate People Names:
Sanglaमोनपा, दिरांग
ROP3 Code: 111965
Joshua Project People ID: 16724
Indigenous: Yes
Population in Country: 7,100
Population all Countries: 7,300
Least-Reached: Yes
Affinity Bloc: South Asian Peoples
People Cluster: South Asia Tribal - other
People Name General: Monpa Dirang
Ethnic Code: CNN25
Ethnic Relationships: Affinity Bloc -> People Cluster -> Peoples Ethnicity Tree
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Primary Language: Tshangla (7,100 Speakers)
Language Code (ISO): tsj    Ethnologue Listing
Primary Dialect:Dirang
Dialect Code:14202
Secondary Languages:
Hindi (60)Naga, Mao (Unknown)
Adi (Unknown)English (Unknown)
Nepali (Unknown)Tibetan, Central (Unknown)
Digaro-Mishmi (Unknown)Kharia (Unknown)
Mundari (Unknown)Santhali (Unknown)
Total Languages: 11
Religion [4]
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Primary Religion: Buddhism
Major Religions:
Buddhism97.74 % 
Christianity0.77 %(Evangelical: Data not available)
Ethnic Religions0.00 % 
Hinduism0.82 % 
Islam0.20 % 
Non-Religious0.00 % 
Other / Small0.15 % 
Unknown0.32 % 
Christianity Segments:
Anglican0.00 %
Independent0.00 %
Protestant0.00 %
Orthodox0.00 %
Other Christian0.00 %
Roman Catholic0.00 %
(Evangelicals distributed across Christianity segments)
Progress Indicators [5]
Progress Scale[6]   Few evangelicals and few who claim to be Christians. Little, if any, history of Christianity.
Least-Reached: Yes
Bible Translation Status
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Bible Portions: 2000
New Testament:
Complete Bible: None Reported
Possible Bible Sources: Forum of Bible Agencies
 World Bible Finder
 World Christian Resource Directory
 Gospel Go
Ministry Resources [7]
Audio RecordingsMegaVoice Audio Bible and Stories
Audio RecordingsAudio Bible teaching (GRN)
Audio RecordingsOral Bible stories in Tshangla
Audio RecordingsStory of Jesus audio (Jesus Film Project ...
Film / VideoGod's Story Video
Film / VideoJesus Film: view in Tshangla
Film / VideoMy Last Day (Jesus Film Project Anime)
Text / Printed MatterOnline Bible text (Scripture Earth)
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Data Notes
Data Sources

Monpa Dirang in India

Global                 Global
  Affinity Bloc             Global  
People Cluster
    South Asia Tribal - other     Asia, South    
      Monpa Dirang India    
            People-by-Country (Profile)          
            Monpa Dirang in India          
      Religion Language  
      Buddhism     Tshangla  
    All Religions                              

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