Accepted paper:

Donyi-Poloism of the Galos of Arunachal Pradesh


Bina Gandhi Deori (Visva-Bharati University)

Paper short abstract:

The Northeastern states of India is vastly inhabited by a number of tribal population. Majority of the tribal population have their own tribal gods or goddesses which are of independent existence and has to do very little with the mainstream Hindu religion.

Paper long abstract:

Arunachal Pradesh is home to 29 major tribes and several hundred sub-tribes. Of all, the Galo tribe constitutes a major tribe of Arunachal Pradesh. In many of the earlier literatures the term "animist" was used to describe this tribe because of their nature based belief system. The religion of the Galo is called Donyi-Poloism. In Donyi Poloism, the Sun (Donyi) is considered as the female deity and the Moon (Polo) as the male counterpart. The Galos also believe in the existence of a numerous natural spirits or sylvan deities who are associated with forests, big trees, rivers, streams, agricultural fields, high mountains etc. Among the numerous pantheons of spirits, the Sun (Donyi) and the Moon (Polo) are seen as the supreme deities. The spirits are divided into malevolent and benevolent deities who are considered as responsible for bringing prosperity as well as causing misery. A Shaman is consulted to read the omens and perform the appropriate ritual which involves animal sacrifice. The animals are ritually sacrificed in exchange for the soul of the sick person. Taboos are generally observed on food, movement and activities after the rituals.With the advent of time the isolated tribes are brought under the influence of modern ways of life which has considerably moulded their tribal way of life and their belief system. Thus this paper is an attempt to re-evaluate the important and relevance of Donyi-Polo among the tribes of Arunachal Pradesh in the present scenario.

panel WMW02
Religion In contemporary south Asia