Change is all around us. And it is permeating even the remote and lesser developed regions of the world. If you are going to Arunachal Pradesh and expecting its ethnic population to be walking the streets in their traditional tribal dresses and accessories, be prepared to be disappointed.
Most of them are dressed in casual clothes, functional and comfortable. While you may expect to see more of traditional dressing in the interiors (poorly connected by roads), or at their festivals, the village of Hong in Ziro Valley still has some ‘sights’ to offer. It is home to the Apatani tribe. Many of the older women still wear nose plugs and men tie their hair in a knot. Many have tattoos on their faces. [View more images on Facebook even if you are not a member]
The younger lot are different. No tattoos or nose plugs for them. Girls go to beauty parlours. Kids sing songs from the latest Akshay Kumar – Katrina Kaif Bollywood flicks, and beat their bottoms 3 Idiots style. Toddlers have crèches.
What is still unchanged are their homes. They continue to live in houses made the traditional way – on bamboo stilts, with a central fire serving as a kitchen and to keep warm, with few rooms. Pigs stay in the space between the ground and the house floor levels. Bathrooms are just outside the main residential block. And everyone has symbols to keep the spirits away. And their festivals and ceremonies are still as they always were.