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Apatanis are a tribal group inhabiting the Ziro Valley in Lower Subansiri district of Arunachal Pradesh. They are recognised for their peculiar nose plugs and tattoos adorned by the older generations of the Apatanis.

They mainly engage in wet paddy cultivation in the fertile Ziro valley. According to UNESCO, the valley is “extremely high in productivity” and Apatanis have a “unique way of preserving the ecology”.

In 2015, the National Geographic had released a documentary featuring the lives of the older generations in the Apatani tribal group. The documentary had dealt with the decline of their culture in modern times. The older generation is visibly saddened by the gradual fall of the Apatani culture into oblivion.

An Apatani tribeswomen is concerned by the lack of enthusiasm among the younger generation to follow the Apatani customs. They don’t have any interest in spotting the unique nose plugs and tattoos and they wear modern dresses instead of handmade ones. The Apatanis are gradually integrating into the mainstream.

It is true that we yearn for development in every society but it is also saddening to see the death of some of the world’s most unique cultures.

Image Courtesy: National Geographic

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