They are one of the most important ethnic groups of eastern Himalayas. They have a specific civilization and booming ecological knowledge of natural resources management and conservation, gained over the centuries through informal experimentation.
This has made Ziro Valley an honest example of a living cultural landscape where man and environment have harmoniously existed together in a very state of interdependence even through changing times, such as co-existence being nurtured by the normal customs and spiritual belief systems.
The ‘old Apatani’ women are probably the foremost fascinating and well-known members of the tribe. It’s said that they were considered being the foremost beautiful women of Arunachal Pradesh, in which men from neighboring tribes came to steal them. To disfigure the ladies to shield them from these men from outside the tribe.
This practice then became a rite of passage for ladies at the time of their first menstruation and marked their entry into adulthood. ‘My mother demanded to induce tattooed; she felt it’d be easier for her to search out a husband that way,’ explains a younger Apatani woman, with no tattoos or nose plugs.
They also practiced the forceful abduction of ladies and girls by men who wants to marry them. If the signs were positive, the liver of a sacrificed chicken would be shown to the woman’s family as proof that the wedding was an honest idea. These traditions, however, haven’t been practiced since the 1970s, and tattoos and nose plugs are only visible on older women.
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