Tangsa Tribes

Perhaps, the Tangsa is one of the most complex tribes of Arunachal Pradesh, having several sub-tribes. The Census of India 2001 returned as many as 27 tribes bearing the Tangsa name. So according to the Registrar General of India, there are 27 tribes within the umbrella “Tangsa”. That is quite a long list of names.

Then I came across a simpler classification of tribes by a Tangsa author, Mr. H.K. Morang. According to him, there are five Tangsa clans. Each of these have further sub-divisions.

  1. Tikhak
  2. Lung Chang
  3. Muklom
  4. Pangwa/Pewai
  5. Jungkuk Kato

Tikhak Sub-Clans

The clan is further divided into two main sub-groups:

  1. Tailang includes Wangkang, Chharsa, Tangkhu, Mansang, Lungkhung, Hanglung and Mungkhom.
  2. Maiwang includes Chimai, Mimai, Taichu, Kamba, Taimak, Taidong, Jungchung and Taihu.

It seems that at the last categorization, people use them as surnames. There are marital restrictions. Marriage within the Tailang and Maiwan sub-clans are prohibited. But sub-clans of Tailang can marry from Maiwan and vice versa.

Muklom Sub-Clans

The sub-clans of Muklom includes Tangha, Rekhong, Wangrey, Khimhun, Matcha, Changmi, Yanchang, Tungkhang, Songkhu, Bowa, Techi, Ngemu and Tekhil.

Lungchang Sub-Clans

Sub-clans of Lungchang are Taizu, Zongsam, Kenglang, Mamai, Taidong, Khomrang, Haisa.

Pangwa Clans and Sub-Clans

Under Pangwa clans there are 31 listed: Mungray (Morang), Mossang, Longphi, Chamchang (Kimsing), Sankey, Cholin (Tonglim), Longri, Jowglai (Jugly), Sangwal,, Ngaimong (Ngemu), Hahcheng, Raira (Rongrang), Bongtai, Hallang, Khailah, Khaichier (Khahchar), Kochong, Shohra, Tangkhu, Lahki, Michhi, Dungi, Rasa, Rasi, Sangti, Lochhang, Gaji, Gaja, Tsangfu (Dangku), Gahman, Gahkhi. There are further what the author called “Post Sub-Clans” under each of the sub-clans.

Jungkuk Kato Clans

No details given.

Source: Morang, H.K. 2008. Tangsar Aaina. Namchik Society for Eco-Tourism and Wildlife Conservation, Jairampur. Changlang District, Arunachal Pradesh.

Chronology of Christianity Among the Tangsa

1957: A Khasi Catholic Christian was posted in Nampong as Agriculture Inspector. He succeeded introducing Catholic religion to a person by the name Ringkey Mongru of Khamkhai village (Nampong). Ringkey was sent to Don Bosco School in Dibrugarh.

1964: The Tangsa of Myanmar were already Christians as early as 1950. Christians from across the border used to come to Nampong and sang songs coupled with prayers on Sundays. They spread the Gospel among their brethren in the Changlang District. At that time the people were looking at the ways to get rid of spirit and puja system.

During that time, an Assam Rifle Jawan, from Mizoram John Joina, used to come to Namkai and Khamkhai villages every Sunday. He taught something about Jesus and gave New Testaments to some people.

These introductions stirred the Tangsa to look for ways to receive Christianity. Then they reached out to the Sema tribe of Nagaland with whom there had existing relationships.

1968: Turning point to Christianity began. On 11 June, Shri Kamlong Tikhak and his wife of Kamlow village (near Manmow) took baptism at the hand of Evangelist, Jelebe Sema, at Lal Pahar. Wiken Mungray of Phulbari village followed his example on 20 November.

1969: More baptisms occurred. Mr Ringhat Lungkin of Namkai village and Mr Kengi of Khamkhai village became Christians on 14 February. In the same year, Mr Mit Chin Mungray, Mr Thakna Jugli and friends received baptism on 20 March.

1972: on 2 September a meeting was organized under the banner of Tirap Baptist Church Council (TBCC). This was united under one leadership among them. TBCC was later renamed Tangsa Baptist Church Association (TBCA) which remains to this day.

1990: A misunderstanding developed between the leaders of TBCA and Mossang. Hence, a meeting was organized on 29 June that completely separated themselves from the TBCA and called their group, Hewa Baptist Church (HBC).

1991: Further divisions took place. Christian Revival Church (CRC) was formed out of HBC. And Tangsa Presbyterian Church was developed from TBCA on 27 January under the leadership of Ngaimong Hahcheng and Jugli Samgwal.

1996: Between June and July, revival meetings were organized by the TBCA that created troubles instead of revival. As a result the Church of Christ came into existence among the Tangsa. The villages of New Khamlang, Singmao, Ongman, Nairow, Tikhamlang, Injan, Phinbiro, Chamro, Tengmo, Yanchun, Water Pump, Lekhapani, Mallong, Wahra, Yanam, Nalung left the TBCA.

1999: In March under the leadership of TBCA, Mr. Pater Paul (a Bihari person), came and preached in Nampong, Phulbari, Jairampur, Lakla and Miao and took away some educated persons from TBCA.

Finally, the Catholic Church came preaching in Nampong, Miao, Manmow and Jairampur. Many people joined the Catholic Church. The Catholic Church approached with this philosophy: “We’ll not hamper your past Tangsa culture.”

Source: Tangsar Aaina by H.K. Morang, Page 137-44