Monday, 8 February 2016

Religion Data of Census 2011: XIII Arunachal Pradesh


Arunachal Pradesh joins the Christian northeast


We are deviating from our planned course to describe the religious demography of Arunachal Pradesh, in view of the sad developments there. The Governor of that strategically crucial State has been constrained to send a report to the President alleging, among other things, communal motivation to the actions of the Chief Minister and the elected Government.

Arunachal Pradesh constitutes one of the main stories of the Religion Data of Census 2011; in the course of the last decade of 2001-11, the proportion of Christians in the population of the State has risen from less than 19 to more than 30 percent, and they now form a majority or near majority of the population in several districts. The share of Christians in the Scheduled Tribes population of the State and the districts is even higher.

Arunachal Pradesh, unlike other hill States of the northeast, had escaped widespread Christianisation until 1981 and, to a large extent, even until 1991. Christian presence in the State began to acquire serious proportions in 2001; the Religion Data of Census 2011 indicates that the State is now well on its way towards nearly complete Christianisation of the Schedule Tribes population as it happened within the first decade or two of Independence in Nagaland, Mizoram and Manipur and, to a significant extent, in Meghalaya.


The communal motivations that the Governor of Arunachal Pradesh has hinted at are related to this organised, systematic, and perhaps not entirely voluntary, upsurge of Christianity in that State. This upsurge has finally defeated the efforts initiated by both Jawaharlal Nehru and Indira Gandhi to keep Arunachal Pradesh away from the evangelical tide that had submerged the other hill States of the northeast in their time. In the following, we try to draw a comprehensive picture of this phenomenon on the basis of the Religion Data of the Censuses since 1971.


Religious Demography of Arunachal Pradesh, 1971-2011

Arunachal Pradesh comprises the former Northeast Frontier Agency (NEFA); it was constituted as the Union Territory of Arunachal Pradesh in 1972 and became a State in 1987. The first Census in Arunachal Pradesh was held only in 1971. In the Table below, we have compiled the religious profile of the population as recorded in that and the subsequent four decennial censuses. The last column of this Table gives the factor by which the population of different communities has multiplied between 1971 and 2011.


‘Others’ in the Table below, include Sikhs, Jains and those counted under the category of Religion Not Stated (RNS). Of 10,706 ‘Others’ in 2011, 3,827 are Sikhs, 771 are Jains and the remaining 6,648 are RNS.

Almost the entire population of Arunachal Pradesh is divided among Other Religions and Persuasions (ORPs), Hindus, Buddhists and Christians. Besides these, there are also 27,045 Muslims in 2011 compared to only 842 in 1971. But, the most remarkable change in these four decades has occurred in the number and proportion of Christians.

Population of different religious communities in Arunachal Pradesh, 1971-2011

1971 1981 1991 2001 2011 MF
Total 4,67,511 6,31,839 8,64,558 10,97,968 13,83,727 2.96
ORP 2,96,674 3,26,000 3,13,118 3,37,399 3,62,553 1.22
Hindu 1,02,832 1,84,732 3,20,212 3,79,935 4,01,876 3.91
Buddhist 61,400 86,483 1,11,372 1,43,028 1,62,815 2.65
Christian 3,684 27,306 89,013 2,05,548 4,18,732 113.66
Muslim 842 5,073 11,922 20,675 27,045 32.12
Others 2,079 2,245 18,921 11,383 10,706 5.15

Growth of Christianity since 1971

In 1971, only 3,864 Christians were counted in Arunachal Pradesh in the total population of 4.67 lakhs. Of the few Christians counted then, only 1,091 were from the Scheduled Tribes, and of these 520 belonged to the Padam tribe. The number of Christians grew substantially in 1981 and 1991, but it still remained low compared to the total population. During the last two decades, their numbers have risen rapidly and now, in 2011, Christians constitute the largest religious community of the State. The figures below graphically show the rapid growth of Christians relative to the other religious communities. Until 1991, they were fewer than even the Buddhists, who are limited to only a few districts of the State; in 2001, they overtook the Buddhists and in 2011, their numbers have surpassed both the Hindus and the ORPs.


Changing share of different communities
Share of different communities, 1971-2011
1971
1981
1991
2001
2011
ORP
63.46
51.60
36.22
30.73
26.20
Hindu
22.00
29.24
37.04
34.60
29.04
Buddhist
13.13
13.69
12.88
13.03
11.77
Christian
0.79
4.32
10.30
18.72
30.26
Muslim
0.18
0.80
1.38
1.88
1.95
Others
0.44
0.36
2.19
1.04
0.77
Another way to appreciate the drastic change that has occurred in the religious profile of Arunachal Pradesh is to look at the share of different religious communities in the total population. As seen in the Table here, Christians had a share of less than one percent of the population in 1971; it has risen to more than 30 percent now and much of this change has happened in the last two decades. The share of ORPs, under which more than 63 percent of the population was classified in 1971, has correspondingly declined to just 26 percent. The share of Buddhists had remained nearly unchanged at around 13 percent up to 2001; in 2011, it has declined to less than 12 percent. The share of Hindus had risen from 22 percent to 37 percent between 1971 and 1991; in the last two decades, they have lost as many as 8 percentage points off this peak value. The share of Muslims in these four decades has increased from 0.18 percent to nearly 2 percent.

Share of Christianity in the Scheduled Tribes Population

Christians have a much higher share in the ST population
Religious Profile of STs, 2001
Religion
Number
%Share
Total
7,05,158
100.00
ORP
3,33,102
47.24
Christian
1,86,617
26.46
Hindu
92,577
13.13
Buddhist
82,634
11.72
Muslim
995
0.14
Others
9,233
1.31
Since Christian evangelical activity is aimed at mainly the Scheduled Tribes (ST), the Christian share among them, rather than in the total population, is a more accurate measure of the spread of Christianity in the State. Unfortunately, separate religious demographic data for the Scheduled Tribes has not been released yet for the Census of 2011. In the Table here, we have compiled the religious profile of the Scheduled Tribes as counted in 2001.

Of the total population of 10.98 lakhs in 2001, 7.05 lakhs belonged to the Scheduled Tribes. Among these, 1.87 lakhs, forming 26.5 percent of the ST population were Christians; this proportion was considerably higher than the share of 18.7 percent that they had in the total population. There were less than 19 thousand Christians in the non-ST population of 3.93 lakhs; their share in this population was only 4.8 percent.


We do have the total number of Scheduled Tribes counted in 2011, though their religious profile is not yet available. In 2011, of the total population of 13.84 lakhs, 9.52 lakhs are from the ST communities. If we conservatively assume that the ST and non-ST Christians have grown at the same rate during 2001-11, then of the 4.19 lakh Christians counted in 2011, at least 3.80 lakhs should be from the ST communities, forming about 40 percent of the ST population. Thus Christianity seems to have spread much deeper among the Scheduled Tribes populations than what is suggested by their share of 30 percent in the total population of the State.

Share of Christians in major Scheduled Tribe communities

The share of Christians in some of the major Scheduled Tribe communities of the State may be much higher than even 40 percent that we have estimated for the total ST population. We do not yet have the data for individual ST communities, but an analysis of the data of the previous Census indicates that many of the major communities may have been fully converted to Christianity now.
 
Census 2001 counts as many as a 100 tribal communities in Arunachal Pradesh. Many of these represent very small groups. As many as 13 of these have less than 10 members, and 3 among them have only one member each. Only 47 of the 100 communities have more than a thousand members; these 47 communities exhaust all but 11 thousand of the total ST population of the State. Dividing the Scheduled Tribe populations into a great multiplicity of micro units is a peculiar feature of the Census in Arunachal Pradesh.


Total Christian %Christian
Total ST 7,05,158 1,86,617 26.46
Wancho 47,788 35,057 73.36
Nyishi* 45,276 24,063 53.15
Nocte 33,680 14,630 43.44
Tangsa 20,962 8,917 42.54
Nissi 87,656 32,259 36.80
Nishang 21,907 7,934 36.22
Adi Padam 11,625 3,002 25.82
Abor 19,927 4,912 24.65
Adi 32,582 7,949 24.40
Adi Gallong 48,126 10,526 21.87
Galong 27,239 5,126 18.82
Adi Minyong 33,984 5,378 15.83
* Census 2001 lists this community as Dafla; that name has been officially changed to Nyishi by a constitutional amendment of March 2008.

There are only 18 larger tribal communities with a population of more than ten thousand each. These eighteen account for 5.91 lakh of the total 7.05 lakh ST population in 2001. Among these, there are 12 in which the share of Christians had reached above 15 percent in 2001. In the Table below, we have compiled the total and Christian population of these 12 communities. Of 1.87 lakh ST Christians counted in 2001, 1.60 lakh were from these communities. Below, we discuss the geographical spread and level of Christianisation of these communities in some detail.

Wancho and Nocte of Tirap

Wancho and Nocte are the two main tribal communities of the eastern district of Tirap. In 2001, there were a total of 47,788 Wancho and 33,680 Nocte in the State; of these 47,086 Wancho and 31,559 Nocte were counted in Tirap alone.

Wancho and Nocte comprised almost the entire ST population of Tirap. Besides them on Tutcha Nocte and Naga Tribes had any significant number. As seen in the Table below, 73.5 percent of the Wancho and 42 percent of Nocte of Tirap had been converted to Christianity in 2001. As a consequence of such large-scale conversion of these two communities, Christians had acquired a share of nearly 59 percent in the Scheduled Tribes and 50 percent in the total population of Tirap.

Tirap, 2001

Total
Christian
%C
Wancho
47,086
34,625
73.54
Nocte
31,559
13,366
42.35
All ST
83,940
49,195
58.61
Total 2001
1,00,326
50,199
50.04
All ST 2011
98,372
na
na
Total 2011
1,11,975
83,361
74.45
In 2011, the share of Christians in Tirap has risen to 74.5 percent. We do not have separate religion data for the Scheduled Tribes yet, but it can be presumed that, as in 2001, 98 percent of the 83.4 thousand Christians counted in the district in 2011, or about 82 thousand of them are from the Scheduled Tribes and they are largely either Wancho or Nocte. The ST population of the district in 2011 is 98.4 thousand. This implies that about 83 percent of the tribal population of the district has now been Christianised. This makes the district similar to the neighbouring districts of Nagaland as far as the spread of Christianity among the tribal communities is concerned. It is widely believed that the conversion of the Wancho and the Nocte has been largely effected by the Church-influenced militant organisations of Nagland. Much of this has happened over the last two decades. In 1981, there were only 6,962 Christians counted in Tirap (which then included Changlang also) and even in 1991 there were only 15.4 thousand Christians there. The number suddenly rose to 50 thousand in 2001 and 83.4 thousand in 2011.

Nyishi, Nissi and Nishang

After Wancho and Nocte, Nyishi, Nissi and Nishang, who are a related group of tribes, had the highest proportion of Christians amongst them in 2001. Nissi is the largest tribal community of the State; Nyishi is the fourth largest after Nissi, Adi Gallong and Wancho.
Nyishi
Nissi
Nishang
All ST
Arunachal P
45,276
87,656
21,907
7,05,158
East Kameng
16,644
15,186
3,664
49,585
Papum Pare
18,192
25,175
5,310
69,007
L. Subansiri
10,230
42,282
11,989
88,512

Nissi, Nyishi and Nishang are mainly domiciled in East Kameng, Papum Pare and Lower Subansiri; the last has now been divided into Lower Subansiri and Kurung Kumey. These four districts lie to the east of the extreme western districts of Tawang and West Kameng  (Map XIII-A). Of the total 45.3 thousand Nyishi in the State, 45.1 thousand were in these three districts; of 87.7 thousands Nissi, 82.6 thousand were in these three districts, there were another 3.9 thousand Nissi in the adjoining Upper Subansiri; and, of 21.9 thousands from the Nishang community, 21 thousand were in these three. Unlike in Tirap, where Wancho and Nocte exhaust nearly the whole population, these three communities are not the only tribal communities in these districts; there are several other relatively smaller tribes that we shall mention while discussing the individual districts of this region.



East Kameng
East Kameng, 2001

Total
Christian
%C
Nyishi
16,644
5,815
34.94
Nissi
15,186
3,422
22.53
Nishang
3,664
1,435
39.16
Miji
1,126
586
52.04
Bangni
7,299
2,046
28.03
In East Kameng, 35 percent of Nyishi, 39 percent of Nishang and 22.5 percent of Nissi were converted in 2001. Besides these three, there were 7.3 thousand Bangni, of whom 28 percent were Christian. Several communities, with relatively smaller population, also had high share of Christians among them. For example, of 1,126 Miji, 52 percent, and of 7,299 Bangni, 28 percent were Christian. Miji and Bangni are part of the Adi group of tribes. There were also significant numbers of Aka and Sulung in East Kameng; level of conversion among them was relatively low.


Total
Christian
%C
ST 2001
49,585
14,301
28.84
Total 2001
57,179
14,550
25.45
ST 2011
72,400
na
na
Total 2011
78,690
37,136
47.19
Of the total 14,550 Christians in the district, 14,301 were from the Scheduled Tribes; they formed 28.8 percent of the ST and 25.5 percent of the total population. In 2011, the number of Christians in the district has risen by 2.55 times to 37,136, and their share in the population has reached 47 percent. If, as in 2001, nearly all of the Christians in the district are from the ST communities, then their proportion in the total ST population of 72.4 thousand would now be above 51 percent; their share among individual tribal communities like Nyishi, Nissi, Nishang, Bangani and Miji is likely to be much higher than 50 percent.

Papum Pare
Papum Pare, 2001

Total
Christian
%Share

Nyishi
18,192
13,762
75.65

Nissi
25,175
13,895
55.19

Nishang
5,310
3,303
62.20

Adi
2,062
1,028
49.85

Adi Gallong
1,790
873
48.77

Galong
2,151
988
45.93

Tagin
1,188
600
50.51

Apatani
6,318
762
12.06

Nyishi, Nissi and Nishang accounted for nearly 49 thousand of the 69 thousand Scheduled Tribes in Papum Pare in 2001. And, more than 75 percent of Nyishi, 55 percent of Nissi and 62 percent of Nishang were already converted then. There were many other similar communities with fairly high share of Christians among them. Thus nearly half of Adi, Adi Gallong, Galong and Tagin were Christians in 2001. Apatani was the only significant community then with a relatively low share of Christians at 12 percent.


Total
Christian
%C
ST 2001
69,007
34,157
49.50
Total 2001
1,22,003
36,574
29.98
ST 2011
1,17,216
-
-
Total 2011
1,76,573
84,397
47.80
Papum Pare hosts the capital city of Itanagar; perhaps because of this, the proportion of non-ST persons in the population is fairly high. In the total population of 1.22 lakh in 2001, only 69 thousand were from ST communities. But of 36.6 thousand Christians in the district, 34.2 thousand were from the ST. The share of Christians among them was already near 50 percent though it was only about 30 percent for the total population. Now in 2011, the share of Christians in the population of the district has risen to about 48 percent. Since more than 90 percent of the 84.4 thousand Christians in 2011 are likely to be from the ST communities, as in 2001, the share of Christians in the ST now should be around 67 percent. Individual tribal communities like the Nyishi, Nissi and Nishang, etc., which had fairly high share of Christians in 2001, may have been now nearly fully converted.

Lower Subansiri and Kurung Kumey
Lower Subansiri (including Karung Kumey)

Total
Christian
%Share
Nyishi
10,230
4,423
43.24
Nissi
42,282
14,373
33.99
Nishang
11,989
2,986
24.91
Apatani
18,233
1,222
6.70
In 2001, Nyishi, Nissi and Nishang accounted for 64.5 thousand of 88.5 thousand Scheduled Tribes in Lower Subansiri, which then included the newly carved district of Karung Kumey. They also accounted for 21.8 thousand of the 23.4 thousand ST Christians in the district. Besides these three, Apatani had a considerable population of 18.2 thousand, but the share of Christians among them was rather low. Hill Miri formed another 2,893 of the ST population; there were only 66 Christians among them. Christian influence was thus largely limited to Nyishi, Nissi and Nishang.


Total
Christian
%Share
ST 2001
88,512
23,392
26.43
Total 2001
98,244
24,078
24.51
ST 2011
1,63,675
na
na
Total 2011
1,75,106
85,591
48.88
In 2001, there were a total of 24,078 Christians in the district, of whom 23,392 were from the Scheduled Tribes, and of these 21,782 were from the Nyishi, Nissi and Nishang communities. In 2011, the total population of Lower Subansiri and Karung Kumey together is 1.75 lakhs; of this, 1.64 lakhs is from the Scheduled Tribes. There are a total of 85.6 thousand Christians, who are likely to be largely from the STs, as in 2001. The share of Christians in the population has now risen to 49 percent; it would be above 50 percent among the Scheduled Tribes.

In case, the greatly enhanced number of Christians in 2011 is mainly from the Nyishi, Nissi and Nishang, as in 2001, then it would imply that these three communities have now been largely converted. Alternately, it would mean that the Apatani, who had largely escaped conversion until 2001, and other smaller groups, might have also succumbed now. In either case, Christianity seems to have entered much deeper into the Scheduled Tribe communities of Lower Subansiri (including Karung Kumey) in 2011.

Upper Subansiri
Upper Subansiri

Total
Christian
%Share
Tagin
36,549
1,774
4.85
Galong
6,490
609
9.38
Nissi
3,889
184
4.73
ST 2001
49,552
2,793
5.64
Total 2001
55,346
3,240
5.85
ST 2011
78,323
na
na
Total 2011
83,448
8,779
10.52
Upper Subansiri had largely escaped large-scale conversion to Christianity in 2001. The major tribal community of the district was Tagin; 36.5 thousand of 49.5 thousand STs were from the Tagin community. The share of Christians in the Tagin was less than 5 percent. Galong and Nissi were the other major communities. The latter two communities had a high share of Christians elsewhere in the State, but in this district, only 4.7 percent of the Nissi and 9.4 percent of the Galong population was Christians.

The share of Christians in the total population of the district was 5.85 percent; in the ST population, their share was somewhat lower at 5.64 percent. In 2011, the proportion of Christians in the total population has nearly doubled to 10.5 percent. We shall know the extent of the spread of Christianity among different tribal communities only when such data becomes available.

Adi Gallong, Adi, Adi Padam, Abor of Siang and Debang region


As seen in the Table of the share of Christian in major tribal communities above, Adi Gallong, Adi, Adi Padam, Abor, etc., are the other communities in which the share of Christians has reached above 15 percent. These communities belong to the Adi group of tribes and are particularly concentrated in West Siang, East Siang, Upper Siang and Dibang Valley, including lower Dibang Valley, districts lying in the central part of the State (Map XIII-A). Almost all of Abor, Adi Minyong and Adi Padam are in these four districts; significant numbers of Adi Gallong, Adi and Galong are domiciled in other districts also; as we have seen above, Upper Subansiri accommodates 6.5 thousand of the Galong community.





Adi Gallong Adi Abor Galong Adi Minyong Adi Padam
Arunachal P 48,126 32,582 19,927 27,239 33,984 11,625
West Siang 39,758 8,613 3,535 14,379 8,247 59
East Siang 4,277 6,579 11,238 2,957 21,544 4,204
Upper Siang 79 9,707 716 160 2,404 1,859
Dibang Valley 471 1,720 3,237 342 804 4,752


In 2001, the share of Christians in all these communities was lower than in Nyishi, Nissi, Nishang and in Wancho and Nocte communities that we have discussed earlier. Consequently, the share of Christians in the population of these districts was considerably lower than in Kameng, Papum Pare and Subansiri region in the west and in Tirap in the east. Within these four districts, the share of Christians became lower as we moved towards the west. Thus there were 19.4 percent Christians in West Siang, 15.3 percent in East Siang, 12.9 percent in Upper Siang and 10.6 percent in Dibang Valley. In 2011, the share of Christians in all these districts has increased and is now 26.7, 18.4, 16.0 and 15.2 percent respectively. During 2001-11, Dibang Valley has been divided into Dibang Valley and Lower Dibang Valley districts; the share of Christians in the two combined is 15.2 percent; their share is much lower at 2.8 percent in the current Dibang Valley district, but the total population of this district is only 8,004. In Lower Dibang Valley, Christians form 17 percent of the total population of 54.1 thousand. Below, we discuss the tribal and religious profile of these districts in greater detail.

West Siang
West Siang, 2001

Total
Christian
%Share

Adi Gallong
39,758
7,581
19.07

Adi
8,613
3,047
35.38

Galong
14,379
2,516
17.50

Abor
3,535
1,282
36.27

Bokar
1,758
1,015
57.74

Bori
2,053
1,492
72.67

Adi Minyong
8,247
920
11.16

In 2001, Adi Gallong, Adi, Galong, Abor, Bokar, Bori and Adi Minyong were the major tribal communities of this district. These accounted for 78.3 thousand of the total 84.9 thousand ST population of the district. The share of Christians was high in the Adi and Abor and much higher in the smaller communities of Bokar and Bori. These 7 communities together accounted for 17.8 thousand of the 19.1 thousand ST Christians in the district.


Total
Christian
%Share
ST 2001
84,922
19,071
22.46
Total 2001
1,03,918
20,122
19.36
ST 2011
92,783
na
na
Total 2011
1,12,274
29,969
26.69
There were a total of 20.1 thousand Christians in the district in 2001; of these, 19.1 thousand were from the STs, they formed 22.5 percent of the ST population compared to their share of 19.4 percent in the total population. In 2011, Christians have a share of 26.7 percent in the total population. In case, nearly all of the 30 thousand Christians in the district are from the ST communities, as in 2001, then their share in the STs would be much above 30 percent.

East Siang
East Siang, 2001

Total
Christian
%Share

Adi Minyong
21,544
3,771
17.50

Abor
11,238
1,985
17.66

Adi
6,579
1,527
23.21

Adi Gallong
4,277
2,039
47.67

Galong
2,957
1,234
41.73

Adi Padam
4,204
590
14.03

Adi Pasi
1,480
239
16.15

Adi Minyong, Abor and Adi were the major tribal communities of East Siang in 2001. There were also smaller numbers of Adi Gallong, Galong, Adi Padam and Adi Pasi. The share of Christians was very high in the Adi Gallong and Galong and relatively high in the Adi. These seven formed 54.6 thousand of the total ST population of 60.4 thousand; 11.5 thousand of the 12.5 thousand ST Christians were from these communities.


Total
Christian
%Share
ST 2001
60,420
12,507
20.70
Total 2001
87,397
13,406
15.34
ST 2011
69,979
na
na
Total 2011
99,214
18,254
18.40
In 2001, there were a total of 13.4 thousand Christians in the district; of these 12.5 thousand were from the STs. Christians formed 15.3 percent of the total and 20.7 percent of the ST population of the district. In 2011, proportion of Christians in the total population has risen to 18.4 percent. If most of the 18.2 thousand Christians counted in 2011 are from the ST communities, as in 2001, then they would form more than a quarter of about 70 thousand STs now.

Upper Siang
Upper Siang, 2001

Total
Christian
%Share

Adi
9,707
1,138
11.72

Adi Minyong
2,404
234
9.73

Adi Padam
1,859
191
10.27

Adi Pasi
1,306
146
11.18

Pangi
3,506
1,103
31.46

Galong
160
46
28.75

Adis were the major tribal community of Upper Siang in 2001; the share of Christians among them was relatively low at below 12 percent. Share of Christians was low also in the Adi Minyong, Adi Padam and Adi Pasi. There were 3,506 of Pangi in the district; share of Christians among them was much higher at 31.5 percent. Incidentally, there were only 4,385 Pangi in the State, and of them 31.7 percent were Christian. There were a few Galong; share of Christians among them was very high. These 6 communities accounted for 18.9 thousand of 26.1 thousand STs in the district and 2,858 of 3,573 ST Christians in the district.


Total
Christian
%Share
ST 2001
26,094
3,573
13.69
Total 2001
33,363
4,291
12.86
ST 2011
28,468
na
na
Total 2011
35,320
5,643
15.98
There were only 4,291 Christians in the district in 2001; they formed 12.9 percent of the population. Of these, 3,573 were from the ST communities; their share in the ST population was 13.7 percent. In 2011, the share of Christians in the total population of the district has gone up to 16 percent. Their share in the ST population would be somewhat higher, as in 2001.

Dibang Valley (including Lower Dibang Valley)
Dibang Valley (including Lower Dibang), 2001

Total
Christian
%Share

Abor
3,237
1,290
39.85

Adi
1,720
663
38.55

Adi Gallong
471
181
38.43

Galong
342
166
48.54

Adi Minyong
804
291
36.19

Adi Padam
4,752
2,006
42.21

Idu/C. Mishmi
9,076
90
0.99

Mishing/Miri
3,233
162
5.01

Mishmi
1,903
67
3.52

Idu/Chulikata Mishmi is the largest tribal community of Dibang Valley. There are almost no Christians among them. Share of Christians is low in Mishing/Miri and Mishmi also; these communities have a considerable share of Hindus. The share of Christians is high in Adi Padam, Abor, Adi Minyong, Adi, Adi Gallong and Galong communities of Dibang Valley. The communities we have listed account for 25.5 thousand of the ST population of 26.8 thousand and 4,916 of 5,266 ST Christians in the district in 2001.


Total
Christian
%Share
ST 2001
26,832
5,266
19.63
Total 2001
57,720
6,134
10.63
ST 2011
31,675
na
na
Total 2011
62,084
9,436
15.20
There were 6,134 Christians in the district in 2001; they formed 10.6 percent of the population. Of these, 5,266 were from the ST communities; their share in the ST population was 19.6 percent. Dibang Valley has considerable non-ST population; in the total population of 57.7 thousand there were only 26.8 thousand STs; in 2011 also, of the total population of 62.1 thousand just about half are STs. In 2011, proportion of Christians in the total population has gone up to 15.20 percent; their share in the ST population is likely to have gone up to above 30 percent. This would mean that Christianisation has reached much deeper into several ST communities of Dibang Valley that already had about or more than 40 percent of Christians in 2001.

Tangsa and others of Changlang

In the Table of major tribal communities with high share of Christians, we are now left with only the Tangsa. This community is domiciled almost entirely in Changlang. Of 20,962 Tangsa in Arunachal Pradesh 20,431 are in this eastern district. The district has several other Tangsa communities also, including Mossang Tangsa, Rongrang Tangsa, Haisa Tangsa, Hotan Tangsa, etc. Most of these, except the first two, have only a few members; but all of the Tangsa communities have a high presence of Christians.

Changlang, 2001

Total
Christian
%Share

Tangsa
20,431
8,750
42.83

Mossang Tangsa
2,702
1,977
73.17

Rongrang Tangsa
754
695
92.18

Yobin
2,100
2,086
99.33

Nocte
1,348
949
70.40

Naga
3,940
810
20.56

In the Table here, we have listed only those of the ST communities of Changlang that have a significant share of Christians. Hindus and Buddhists have a considerable presence in the STs of this district. We shall discuss them separately. The six communities listed here account for 15,267 of 18,077 ST Christians in 2001; and, for 31 thousand of 45 thousand Scheduled Tribes of the district. The remaining Christians are spread in small numbers over several communities. It is remarkable that the share of Christians is very high, already in 2001, in five of these six communities.


Total
Christian
%Share
ST 2001
45,351
18,077
39.86
Total 2001
1,25,422
21,931
17.49
ST 2011
53,878
na
na
Total 2011
1,48,226
35,969
24.27
Changlang is one of the districts with a high share of non-ST population, among whom there are considerable numbers of Hindus and Buddhists. But Christians are largely from the Scheduled Tribes; of a total of 21.9 thousand Christians in 2001, 18.1 thousand were from the STs. Proportion of Christians in the total population was 17.5 percent; in the ST population, it was much higher at about 40 percent. In 2011, the proportion of Christians in the total population has increased to 24.3 percent. If, as in 2001, about 80 percent of 36 thousand Christians counted in 2011 are from the STs, then their share in the ST population of 2011 works out to be around 55 percent. This means that many of the communities that had a very high presence of Christians already in 2001 may have become entirely Christian now.

Non-Christian Districts of Tawang and Lohit

Tawang in the west is predominantly Buddhist; it also has a considerable presence of Hindus. There are only a few Christians in that district. In 2011, Christians there have grown faster than others, yet only 776 Christians have been counted in a population of nearly 50 thousand.

Lohit, including Anjaw that has been carved out of it during 2001-11, lies on the north of Changlang. This district is largely Hindu and Buddhist; and, its population is predominantly from non-Scheduled Tribe communities. There are 10,955 Christian counted there in 2011, forming 6.6 percent of the population. In 2001, there were 8,253 Christians, of whom 2,616 were from the Scheduled Tribes, and about half of them from the Adi group of communities, which have some presence in Lohit. The Christians then had a share of 5.8 percent in the total and 4.8 percent in the ST population of the district.

Summing up

Share of Christians in the total population has reached 30.26 percent and it may have reached 40 percent among the Scheduled Tribes.
a)     Share of Christians in the population of Arunachal Pradesh has increased substantially from 18.72 percent in 2001 to 30.26 in 2011.
b)    Detailed data for the religious profile of the Scheduled Tribes in the State is not yet available. In 2001, 90.79 percent of 2.06 lakh Christians in the State were from the Scheduled Tribes; and, share of Christians in the ST population was 26.47 percent.
c)     If we assume that the same about 91 percent of the 4.19 lakh Christians counted in the State in 2011 are from the Scheduled Tribes, than the share of Christians in the Scheduled Tribes now turns out to be around 40 percent.
d)    Share of Christians in many of the individual tribes is much higher and is reaching the level of nearly complete Christianisation.

Wancho and Nocte of Tirap are likely to have been almost entirely Christianised.
a)     Share of Christians in Wancho and Nocte of Tirap district had reached 73.54 and 42.35 percent, respectively, in 2001, when Christian share in the total population was 50 percent.
b)    In 2011, share of Christians in the district has increased to 74.45 percent and their share in the ST population is likely to have reached 83 percent.

Nyishi, Nissi and Nishang of East Kameng, Papum Pare and Lower Subansiri also seem to be reaching the level of almost full Christianisation.
a)     After Tirap, the highest presence of Christians in the western districts of East Kameng, Papum Pare, Lower Subansiri and Karung Kumey. In 2011, they have a share of 47.19, 47.18, 41.43 and 55.59 percent, respectively. In 2001, the Christian share was 25.45 and 29.98 percent in East Kameng and Papum Pare, respectively, and it was only 24.51 percent in Lower Subansiri, which then included Karung Kumey.
b)    Share of Christians in the ST population of these districts in 2001 was somewhat higher at 28.84 and 26.43 percent, respectively, in East Kameng and undivided Lower Subansiri; and, it was much higher at 49.50 percent in Papum Pare.
c)    The substantial increase in the proportion of Christians in the total population since 2001 indicates that their share in the ST population is likely to have increased to above 50 percent in in East Kameng and Lower Subansiri and to around 67 percent in Papum Pare.
d)    The main Scheduled Tribes communities in these districts are from the Nissi group, and are listed under the heads of Nyishi, Nissi and Nishang in the Census of 2001. Our analysis indicates that these communities may have now been fully Christianised, at least in these three districts.

Many of the tribes of the Adi group in West Siang, East Siang and Dibang Valley are likey to have been fully Christianised.
a)   In the central districts of West Siang, East Siang and Dibang Valley (including Lower Dibang Valley), the presence of Christians in 2011 is relatively low at 26.69, 18.40 and 15.20 percent, respectively. But, in 2001, they had a much smaller share of 19.36, 15.34 and 10.63 percent, respectively.
b)    In the ST population of these districts, the share of Christians in 2011 is likely to be even higher at around 35, 20 and 25 percent, respectively.
c)   The main Scheduled Tribes communities of these central districts are from the Adi group. In 2001, the proportion of Christians in some of these communities, especially among Adi, Abor, Bokar and Bori in West Siang; among Adi Gallong and Galong in East Siang; and, among, Adi, Abor, Adi Gallong, Galong, Adi Minyong and Adi Padam in Dibang Valley was much higher than the average of all STs. In many of these communities, the share of Christians in 2001 was already above 40 percent and in some it was even above 70 percent. With the considerably increased share of Christians in these districts, many of these communities are likely to have been fully Christianised by 2011.

Many of the smaller tribes of the Tangsa group in Changlang have been fully Christianised and Christians may have reached overwhelming majority in the main Tangsa community.
a)     Share of Christians in the population of Changlang in 2001 was 17.49 percent; it has risen to 24.27 percent.
b)    The share of Christians among the Scheduled Tribes of Changlang was much higher at 39.86 percent; it is likely to have increased to around 55 percent in 2011.
c)     The share of Christians in the main Tangsa community of Changlang was already 42.83 percent and it was much higher at above 77 percent in the relatively smaller communities of Mossang Tangsa and Nocte, above 90 percent in Rongrang Tangsa and nearly 100 percent in the Yobin. With the considerably increased presence of Christians in the population of the district in 2011, many of these communities of Changlang are likely to have been fully Christianised and, in the main Tangsa community, they are likely to have acquired an overwhelming majority.

Tawang and West Kameng in the west and Lohit in the east seem to have largely escaped Christianisation.
a)    West Tawang and West Kameng districts in the west and Lohit lying to the west of Tirap and Changlang in the east continue to have a considerable presence of Hindus and Buddhists. We shall describe the demographic spread and growth of Hindus and Buddhist in Arunachal Pradesh in a separate post.

b)    Other Religions and Persuasions are a significant part of the religious demography of this State; we shall discuss their composition, distribution and growth also in the following post.


The map below gives a graphic representation of the intensity and distribution of Christianity in different districts and sub-districts of Arunachal Pradesh.




Conclusion

In conclusion, Christianity seems to have made deep inroads in the eastern Tirap district and in the western and central Kameng, Siang and Dibang regions, especially in the former two. Many of the major tribal communities inhabiting these regions namely, Nocte, Wancho, Nyishi, Nissi, Adi, Tangsa, etc.—had acquired a considerable share of Christians already in 2001. During 2001-11, the proportion of Christians in the total population of Arunachal Pradesh has risen considerably from 18.7 to 30.3 percent. The increase is much more marked in the regions of Christian dominance that we have mentioned. Though religion data for the individual tribal communities has not been published till now, yet it seems that many of the communities that had been substantially Christianised in 2001, may have become entirely or predominantly Christian now.

Some of the tribal communities and regions of Arunachal Pradesh are pre-dominantly Hindu or Buddhist. The religious profile of these regions and communities is unlikely to change in a hurry. The remaining communities and regions of Arunachal Pradesh seem to have now succumbed to Christian evangelisation as comprehensively as in Nagaland, Mizoram, Manipur and Meghalaya.

Religion data of Census 2011 seems to mark a historical milestone in the religious demography of Arunachal Pradesh, and of the Northeast in general. From the time of Jawaharlal Nehru and Indira Gandhi, the Indian State and Society had made a conscious attempt to keep Arunachal Pradesh away from the evangelical tide that had swept the hill States of the Northeast. That effort, it seems, has failed and Arunachal Pradesh has now been submerged.

To understand the story of Christianisation of Arunachal Pradesh, it is also important to look at the place of Hindus, Buddhists and ORPs, especially the last, in the religious demography of the States. We shall take this up in our next post.

Postscript
A prominent journalist, commenting on the recent events in Arunachal Pradesh and especially on the issue of communalism raised by the Governor, has said that the disposed Chief Minister of Arunachal Pradesh, “Mr (Nabam) Tuki, though a Nyishi, is that rare Arunachali convert to Christianity”. The data seems to suggest that it may be the non-Christian who has become a rare phenomenon in many of the major tribal communities, especially among the Nyishi, of Arunachal Pradesh.