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Homogeneity within Heterogeneity: Insights from the Culture of West Kameng of Arunachal Pradesh

Prasanta Kumar Nayak
Published: 29 November 2020
Space and Culture, India , Volume 8, pp 36-47; doi:10.20896/saci.vi0.998

Abstract: As the world moves faster towards a homogenised culture, the logic of keeping heterogeneous properties of culture seems asynchronous. The liberalisation, privatisation, and globalisation (LPG) model of growth and development of states throw challenges to the indigenous cultures and traditions for a state like India where diverse traditional moorings, cultural systems, religious practices, and ethnic variations stand core to its integrity. In the rat-race for development, indigenous cultures and traditions of a state are enmeshed within ‘accept the global go and lose insularity’ or ‘decline it to stay homogeneous’. In a homogeneous societal culture, the underlying values and beliefs are squarely believed, shared, and practised compared to many different values and beliefs professed by diverse population groups in the case of a heterogeneous one. Arunachal Pradesh with twenty-six major tribes and numerous sub-tribes at its credit stands incredible for its ethnicity, tribal indigenous identities, and cultural homogeneity. As is the number, so is the variation with indigeneity and nuances of culture practised by the tribes. The cultural diversity of the people differs from tribe to tribe even if they reside within the same geographical area. The district West Kameng is abode to six different tribes—Akas, Buguns, Mijis, Monpas, Sajalongs, and Sherdukpens living in close proximity with each other. However, their traditional culture with regards to their religious practices, dress, customs, rituals, languages, dialects, fairs, and festivals is starkly heterogeneous. Most remarkable is the criterion that heterogeneity hardly aberrates homogeneity within themselves. The focus of the present study is to highlight such a homogeneity-heterogeneity aspect of the culture of West Kameng.
Keywords: heterogeneous / model / indigenous / West / homogeneity / tribes / diverse / Kameng / Cultures and Traditions

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