Memba tribal community is reckoned as the third largest tribal community among the six Buddhist tribes of Arunachal Pradesh. Most of these tribal communities are scattered around the Eastern parts of Siang District, Arunachal Pradesh.
The people of Memba tribal community are the followers of Buddhism
. Their social, religious, cultural and ritualistic life is governed by the rules and regulations of Buddhism. Moreover, they also have faith in animism. Their religious beliefs in deities and spirits reside side by side with their practice of Buddhism. Their supreme deity is Lord Buddha
and apart from paying reverence to him, they also believe in other gods and goddesses like Lhakarpo, Choijegepu, Lhasangpha Jajin, Denakpo Chenji, Chen and Lu.
Society is following the norms and practices of a tribal community just like any other tribes of Arunachal Pradesh
. Polygamy is prevalent where mainly women can have more than one husband. That the women can choose their spouses is quite explicit from the above fact. Festivals and fairs bring colour and joy to the simple life of Memba tribes.
The people of the Memba tribal community are agrarian people and paddy is their major crop. They mainly practice Jhum cultivation. They also cultivate millet, maize, vegetables, cotton etc. Their staples are millets, wheat and maze. Several cash crops are being produced mainly by a quite handful of rich farmers. Cotton and barley are some of them. Apart from cultivation, some of the people of this group also engaged in the occupation of blacksmiths and carpenters. Moreover, the Memba people are adept in carpet weaving.
The Memba people are fond of music and dance. Some of the instruments of the people of this group include conch shells, cymbals, trumpets and drums. These are accompanied with songs, pantomimes and dances. Among the people of this community, `Brah` is a famous dance and this is performed without accompaniment of any musical instrument. In festive occasions like Lhasoeba, Lossar
, house warming ceremonies, marriage and some of their major occasions, `Brah` is performed. This dance form includes ten different types of movements. Another very popular form of art among this tribal community is Bardo pantomime whish is performed during the festival named Bardo. The monk chooses the leader (`Chaupion`) of this dance drama from the adept dancers. This drama is performed in the courtyard of the Buddhist monastery. The performers of the drama are ethnically dressed in masks and silken garments. They represent deities like Choije gepu, Chenji, Denapko et al.
The costumes of these Memba tribes include a ceremonial Buddhist dress. The costumes of the males comprises vest, trousers, full sleeved cloaks, full sleeved shirts and trousers. The women wear skirts and blouses, sleeveless gowns that come to the ankle. They are fond of jewelleries and their jewelleries are made of silver, bead etc. Bracelets, earrings, necklaces etc are some of their favourites.