(Last Updated on : 11/04/2014)
Abor tribes of Arunachal Pradesh are mainly found in the temperate; and sub-tropical regions within the districts of West Siang, Upper Subansiri, East Siang, Upper Siang and Dibang Valley. It is also known as the Adi. The term, Abor has been derived from ancient Assamese language of Abor, which means 'those who cannot be controlled'. Another name of this tribe, Adi is the connotation of 'uncivilized and rude people', and 'hill or mountain'. The language spoken by this tribal Abor community is Adi. Some people also identify it with other alternative names like Louba, Lhoba, Abor, etc. Beautiful dialects have been branched out from it including Ashing, Bori, Karko, Bokar (Boga'er Luoba), Komkar, Milang, Minyong, Padam (Standard Adi), Pailibo, Pangi, Pasi, Ramo, Tangam, Shimong. In fact some renowned Assamese writers have produced few significant literary works in this Adi language.
The Abor tribal community is divided in two major groups namely the Bogums and Bomis. Each group contains a number of sub groups. According to some scholars, the Abor tribes are descendants of the Tatars and Abo-Teni.
Abor tribes are also quite enriched in the cultural aspects. Due to rugged terrain, the land remains undisturbed from any kind of invasions both from external forces as well as from indigenous rulers. Traditional elements of culture that this Abor inherited have rightly been preserved in their originality. Roads and railways have been constructed; metal roofed houses are also built. Dormitories are a significant part of the Abor tribal community. Strict rules are observed so that no one violates the mark of decency.
Abor tribes adopt a special type of attires and costumes. It consists of one multi-purpose cloth, popularly known as the 'galae. Both men and women wear these clothes, which are tied around the 'loins', falling down in 'loose strips'. According to the customs of the region, the male folks often wear helmets that are prepared from cane, bear and deerskin.
It becomes customary for the aged women of Abor tribes to wear yellow necklaces and spiral earrings. Tattooing is popular among the older women. Spinsters wear a 'beyop'. It is special type of ornament consisting of five to six brass plates rightly fixed under their petticoats. Abor tribe also fulfills the ritual of maintaining a gaur, known as 'Tadok' or 'Mithun' as a mark of wealth of a traditional family household.
The Abor tribes have excelled in organizing their village council, known as 'Kebang' among the people of this group. Though polygamy is prohibited, they practice polygamy in case of marriage. The females of this tribal community are very enthusiastic and are excellent weavers.
Wet rice cultivation is practiced by the people of this tribal community and they possess a significant agricultural economy. The staple food of this tribal group includes wheat and rice. They add meat in their diet. Trapping and hunting, are widely practiced. Various dishes of rat that they kill during the hunting are being prepared including raw pieces in a cake.
Festivals are part and parcel of the community life of Abor tribes. The Adi or the Abor tribes fete a number of festivals. The most significant of the festivals is 'Solung', held between June and July for nine days. To seek huge growth of crops in forth coming years, this harvest festival of Solung has been joyfully celebrated after the seed sowing and transplanting. Ponung songs and dances are performed during the festival. In the ninth and the final day of the festival, throne and 'desi' arms are exhibited in every household passage. They believe that these protective weapons can be used against attacks of evil spirits. Some of their dance forms include Tapu War Dance, Yakjong dance that are highly famous among the people of the group. Popir is said to be the indigenous dance form of this tribal community.
Abor tribes are very pious and they are the ardent followers of 'animist Donyi-Polo religion', worshipping the sun, the moon. Their ancestral gods are Abo-Teni and also the female god Shaman. Other deities of Abor communities include Kine Nane, Doying Bote, Gumin Soyin and Pedong Nane. Each deity has significant role in protecting Abor or Adi tribes from various natural calamities that might occur at any time of the year. A few people of this tribal group have developed inclination to Christianity
. Some of the Abor tribes, residing in Tibet, have adopted Tibetan Buddhism
Abor tribes are quite eloquent in culture and religious customs, widely ennobling the heritage of the region as a whole. On the other hand, their strict administrative acumen is maintained in the traditional rules and regulations that they have structured.