\nNested in the Himalayan foothills, almost untouched by my world that is desperately seeking answers to its energy crisis, its financial crisis fuelled by \u2018more & more\u2019 & \u2018growth\u2019, and its societal crisis caused by the breakdown of tested social models, are the tribes of Arunachal Pradesh living in harmony with nature and with each other. Just as their ancestors did.\n\nArunachal is home to 26 major and numerous minor tribes with rich cultural traditions.\nThere are three kinds of religions practised here.\nMonpas and Sherdak Pens in Kameng and Tawang district who came in contact with Tibetan in the north, adopted Lamaism of the Buddhist faith, while the Khamptis in Lohit district practice Mahayana Buddhism.\nThe second group, Noctes and Wanchos in Tirap district, whose long association with the Assamese in the south, converted them to Hinduism.\nThe third group comprises of Adi, Abas, Apatanis, Tagin, Nyishi, etc. \u2013 a large majority of the total population, who maintain their ancient belief and indigenous concepts of nature and worship the Donyi-Polo (The Sun & Moon).\nIt is hard to describe their lives. Pure. Rustic. Simple. In harmony with the universe. Frugal. Bare. Primitive \u2013 not in the sense of \u2018backward\u2019 but in the sense of living along \u2018first principles\u2019. As humans within an ecological system \u2013 not humans trying to control everything they see, as individuals within a harmonious society, not as individuals where each one lives for himself alone.\nPeople in different spots live in mindsets that may take a few centuries to converge. Depending on a point of reference, the \u2018other\u2019 mindset might seem backward or evolved. In a prima facie view from my point of reference,the tribes of Arunachal Pradesh appeared to live an unevolved life. But the more I soaked myself into my fortnight spent among the Noctes, the Galo, the Nyishi, the Tagin and the Apatani people, the more I was convinced that these people are way more evolved than I can ever hope to be in my lifetime, in many ways. That for me and others like me in my world, the way to move forward to the future is to move back to the basic living standards of the past. To move back to the future.\nAn example : One of my guides mentioned the singular difference that makes these people so special: that the tribal people judge each other based on how nice they are and how accomplished they are, on their behavior and on their actions. The worldly possessions and the things they own make no difference to an individual\u2019s reputation or to the his personal power in the equations within a group. Backward thinking or evolved?\nAnother example: When a man needs to build a home, he acquires the material from the forest, gets help from the other villagers and they build it together. Zero material cost. Zero Labour cost. Zero interest. And a house is built. Primitive idea or evolved?\nThey eat what they harvest and hunt and they wear what they weave. The new sunrise does not bring a fresh chase for an unknown utopia. With each new tomorrow they just go on as before. Their future is their past.\nAnd there is contentment in the people.\nThey have the luxury of time. And it has not been traded for the \u2018luxuries\u2019 such as Ferrari, Rolex or Prada.\n***\nLooking back on the journey I realise that the experiences of visiting people living in their daily settings are subtle \u2013 the visuals and the sounds do not jump out at the viewer from a premeditated platform like they do in an organised festival. Therefore it is extremely easy to miss seeing and noticing unique elements of life. Having the luxury of time to go slow and observe details alertly was essential. Secondly the fact that the entire 2000 km stretch was almost entirely a tribal belt helped to remain soaked in the rustic experience without any interruption from urban distractions. In earlier experiences in other places I have stayed in the city and visited tribes on day trips but the impact of those is not as strong as when an extended period is spent only in the villages. The journey is done, but it feels incomplete \u2013 it feels like much more is left to be seen and explored and that I must return someday soon.\nMore about the 2000 km road journey in the Himalayan foothills in the following travelogues soon\u2026\nGlimpses of a contented People\nHunter-Gatherer-Weavers\n\u00a0Innovative housing\n\u00a0A chance encounter with a Shaman Priest during a sacrifice ritual\nThe Gaanv Boodhas or Village Headmen of Arunachal Pradesh\nTribal signatures \u2013 Face Tattoos of the Apatanis\nFierce Nocte Headhunters\nHead Hunting Trophies\n\njm\nDec 2011\nThe post Arunachal Pradesh Diaries appeared first on The Art Blog by WOVENSOULS.COM.