What is the exact number of Tanii villages on Ziro plateau ?
At first sight it seems easy to answer this question : Tanii villages are not numerous ; they are also very compact and therefore easily distinguishable from one another.
Many people assume that there are 7 Tanii villages or lemba, namely Bulla (Biila), Hari, Hong, Hija, Dutta, Mudang-Tage and Michi-Bamin, to which many now also add old Ziro. Those villages are clearly separated from one another by paddy-fields or bamboo groves, and each form a distinct geographical unit as well as a continuous area of habitation. When asked “Which village are you from ?”, most people will answer by the name of one of them only. And for organizing Myoko every year, the grouping of villages is also made according to this seven-fold division.
However, according to the 2001 Census there are not 7, but no less than…. 33 Apatani villages on the plateau...
Apatani villages according to the 2001 Census
|N°||Name||Houses in 1991||Houses in 2001||Situation, date of foundation, origin of settlement|
|1||Abuya||?||58||along the road between Hapoli and Michi-Bamin. Mainly inhabited by people from Michi-Bamin|
|2||Bamin||47||47||part of Michi-Bamin, original village. Situated between Hapoli and Old Ziro.|
|3||Bree||11||11||situated between Hong, Mudang-Tage and Hapoli in the southern part of the valley. Already listed as separate village in the 1971 Census.|
|4||Bolya||46||?||founded before the 70s, 10 houses in 1971|
|7||Diko-Pita||22||?||situated in a valley watered by the Kele river (south of Hong). Founded by families from Hong in 1966.|
|8||Dutta||40||114||original village, close to Hija|
|11||Hija||372||381||original village. Situated on the north-western rim of the valley|
|12||Hong||472||503||original village. Situated on the south-eastern rim of the valley|
|13||Kalong||96||97||part of Bulla, original village|
|14||Keiliya (Keinlya)||6||3||close to Hija|
|17||Lempia||108||134||separated from Bulla only by a small stream (Tajang Kiile). Founded by families of Tajang.|
|19||Michi||60||43||part of Michi-Bamin, original village. Situated between Hapoli and Old Ziro, close to Hija.|
|21||Mudang-Tage||17 (?)||184||original village, close to Hija.|
|22||Nenchaliya (Nenchangyang)||161||183||close to Old Ziro, along the air-field. Founded around 1970. Mixed settlement from Dutta and Hija.|
|23||Old Ziro||369||394||established in the early 1950s|
|25||Reru||223||297||part of Bulla, original village|
|26||Sibe||26||84||between Hong and Michi-Bamin. Founded by 160 families from Michi-Bamin|
|27||Sibu||?||3||close to Hija. Founded by families from Hija who had first extended their cultivation there in 1950-51.|
|28||Siiro||27||100||situated in a valley watered by the Kele river (south of Hong). Founded by families from Hong in 1966.|
|30||Tajang||131||131||part of Bulla, original village|
|31||Talley Valley||1||?||situated south-east of the Ziro Valley, at higher altitude.|
|32||Taring||16||5||situated beyong Siiro and Diko-Pita|
Apparently the geographical, administrative, and sociological definitions of the village do not coincide in Ziro … How can this be explained ?
The administrative conception of village is mostly geographical : a cluster of houses with locally recognized boundaries. The problem arises from the fact that a Tanii village is also a grouping of quarters or wards, each having definite boundaries, and each being inhabited by a specific clan (halu). Moreover, there does not seem to be any specific word in Tanii language to differentiate a quarter from a village : both are called "lemba". Thus Michi-Bamin is a lemba, but Michi alone, where members of the Michi clan reside is also a lemba, and so is Bamin, where members of the Bamin clan originally lived. Similarly but on a larger scale, Reru, Tajang and Kalong each constitutes one lemba, but so is the continuous conglomeration of houses that they form altogether, which is known as Bulla lemba. In addition, different quarters are often, though not always, separated one from another by lanes, streams bamboo groves or even fields.
Therefore, both villages and quarters are good candidates for being recognized by the administration as "villages", as soon as they are visibly separated one from another... This way a village and one of its peripheral quarters are often considered as constituting two separate entities. That is also why very small hamlets often appear in the Census (for eg. Tarin with only 5 houses) along with big villages of several hundreds houses such as Hong and Hari, all of them being listed as "villages".