Photo courtesy: The Hindu
The Miju Mishmi is also called Kaman or Kammaan. They number 35,000 (Britannica) and are one of the three Mishmi tribes. The tribe primarily lives in Lohit and Anjaw Districts. The Ethnologue said they live in 25 villages.
More specifically the people live in several villages along the Deban to Zero road. An unpublished research report of Samuel Nelson[i] says, “The Miju Mishmis are distributed in the relatively higher altitudes of the eastern part of Lohit district. Their territory includes the upper Lohit and Dau Valleys; the area to the east of the Hayuliang, Billong, and Tilai valleys; and the southern part of Lohit district. Some of them are settled in and around Tezu city.” Wikipedia located the area of Miju between the Lohit and Kambang Rivers right upto the Rima Frontiers.
Their area has several attractive locations. The first is the sacred Hindu site, Parasuramkunda, near Wakro town has attracted thousands of devotees each year. The highway from Chowkham is planned to be extended that worship place. The second is Glow Lake located at the origin of the Kamlang River. Then there is Kamlang Wildlife Sanctuary, now almost reduced to cultivation. And then the Namdapha National Park at the Southern part of their territory.
A good description about the area and notes from bird lovers.
One of the distinctions about the tribe is rearing of Mithuns. Other than Nyishi and Adis in the western and middle of the State, perhaps Mishmis are the only tribe that keeps this State animal. These huge animals are reared mostly in jungle, few in villages. They are expensive and serve primarily for two purposes: bride price and for sacrifice. Over three mithuns are paid for a bride. Depending on the importance of the occasion, mithuns are sacrificed. A short article on Mithuns.
Another limelight is being the largest cardamom producing area in the State. The Economic Times has this statistic “Anjaw produced 150 metric tonnes of the spice with a financial turnover of Rs nearly 12 crore during the financial year 2010-11.” Now this spice plantation extended to almost every Mishmi inhabited village.
Their area is also known for producing large quantities of oranges. Traveling along the Deban to Zero you will lots of huge gardens of oranges. Farmers obtain much of their revenues from this cultivation. A news item reported about the income from oranges and the changes in lifestyle it brought. One person earned as much Rs 45 lakhs per year! The fruit is transported to Karimganj, Bangladesh.
A Major Issue
The major problem seems to be the addiction to opium. One person, Razzeko Dele, wrote at AP Times about its impact in the Mishmi Hills. Few extracts from this article: Opium has become a treat… has been using for 150 years… no wonder users and producers increased… has accepted as part of their culture. Really a big predicament that affected the whole of society in their health and income.
[i] Samuel, Nelson. 2001. The Mishmi of Arunachal Pradesh: a brief survey (Unpublished research report).