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Arunachal Pradesh, the land of the Dawn Mountains, is the North-Eastern tip of India, comprising five mountainous districts totaling 83,578 square kilometers. Formerly known as the North-East Frontier Agency (NEFA) it was ushered in as a full-fledged Union Territory in the Indian Union in 1975 and forms our international border with Bhutan, China and Burma. It is inhabited by 467,511 people living in some 2,500 villages (Census, 1971). The population is composed of a large number of tribes speaking some fifty different languages. The whole area is covered with the offshoots of the Eastern Himalayas with the exception of the long and narrow alluvial valley of the Brahmaputra at the foothills.

Lohit, with an area of 29,427 square kilometers is the largest district in Arunachal Pradesh and is named after the principal river which flows through it. The topography of the district is a continuous chain of mountains ranging in altitude from 500’ to 17,172’ save the lower belts. The total population is 62,865 living in altogether 424 villages. The district is the home land of the Mishmi, Padam, Khamti, Singpho, Zakhring and Meyer tribes besides some

expatriate Deori and Nepali refugees. There are 69 schools and adult education centers catering to 4,976 students*. English is the State language, first language and the medium of instrumentation. Recently, however, the administrative has accepted, in principle, both Hindi and English as State languages. The schools are patterned on the Central School system.

Major languages in this district are Mishmi spoken by nearly 22,561 people and Khamti, a Tai-Chinese language (Census, 1971). Mishmi has three principal dialects : Idu spoken in the Dibang Valley and Digaru and Miju spoken in the Lohit valley.

(NOTE : Subsequently, during the reorganizations of districts in 1981,

Dibang valley was carved out of Lohit as a new district).

Mishmi belongs to the `Tibeto-Burman’ family of languages. This family, considered by many to be a branch of a larger Sino-Tibetan family, is, in terms of number of languages, the largest of any spoken in South Asia. These languages cover a vast territory ranging from Jammu and Kashmir in the West to Assam, Indo






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