Religion in Arunachal Pradesh
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Religion in Arunachal Pradesh

Religion in Arunachal Pradesh (2011)[1]

  Christianity (30.26%)
  Hinduism (29.04%)
  Donyi-Polo (26.2%)
  Buddhism (11.76%)
  Islam (1.9%)
  Other (0.84%)

Owing to its ethnic and cultural diversity, religion in Arunachal Pradesh has been a spot for the syncretism of different traditional religions. Much of the native Tani populations follow an indigenous belief which has been systematised under the banner "Donyi-Polo" (Sun-Moon) since the spread of Christianity in the region by Christian missionaries in the second half of the 20th century. The province is also home to a substantial Tibetan Buddhist population in the north and northwest who follow Tibetan Buddhism, of ethnic groups who subscribe to Hinduism,[2] and other religious populations. Christianity is followed by over 30% of the population, mostly by natives.


  • Christian: 418,732 (30.26%)
  • Hindu: 401,876 (29.04%)
  • Others (mostly Donyi-Polo): 362,553 (26.2%)
  • Buddhist: 162,815 (11.76%)
  • Muslim: 27,045 (1.9%)
  • Sikh: 1,865 (0.1%)
  • Jain: 216 (<0.1%)
  • Hindu: 379,935 (34.6%)
  • Others (mostly Donyi-Polo): 337,399 (30.7%)
  • Christian: 205,548 (18.7%)
  • Buddhist: 143,028 (13.0%)
  • Muslim: 20,675 (1.9%)
  • Sikh: 1,865 (0.1%)
  • Jain: 216 (<0.1%)

Hindu influence on Donyi Poloism

Ever since the founding of the Donyi Polo religion by Daadi Botté Talom Rukbo, the indigenous religious movement has been heavily influenced by Hinduism.[4][5] Donyi Poloism, along with other ancient religions,such as Hinduism, share a common belief on nature and the philosophy of maintaining the balance of nature. There was a fear among the followers in the early days of the movement that the religion would be incorporated into Hinduism as a result. This was refuted by Daadi Botté Talom Rukbo himself in a religious conference [6] when he established similarites between Donyi Polo and Bön, ancient Maya religion, Egyptian Ra Sun Worship, Tengri Worship & Japanese Shinto religion; and as such, all the world's ancient religions share a singular philosophy and are a part of a world community of nature worshippers and thus, asserted the need for a more independent approach.[7] A prominent Donyi Polo worship place in Aalo town is reminiscent of a Hindu temple. External influence upon the local indigenous religious traditions has been met with increasing opposition and severity among the Tani intellectuals.[1]

However, a large number of the Donyi Polo followers still identify themselves as Hindu in the Census because the poll does not recognise the indigenous religion and thus, avoid selecting the "others" option.[5]

Introduction of Christianity

Christianity now represents about one-third of the total population. Christians account for about 30.26% in 2011. According to the Swarajya magazine, the conversion of the population has been carried out through "allurements, blandishments, blatant bribery and even by force"[8]

Prior to the 1980s, Jawaharlal Nehru and his daughter Indira Gandhi affirmed that it was strategically important that Arunachal Pradesh populations were not coaxed into Christianity, so that in 1978 a law against forced conversion was passed but did not come into effect. Donyi-Poloism emerged as a self-conscious organised movement during the same years, with the aim to systematise the indigenous religions in order to prevent the takeover of Christianity as well as Hinduism, whose spread is of equal, if not greater concern to the demography in Arunachal Pradesh. [8]

Migration and the incoming of Islam

Migration of illegal Bangladeshi too has been playing a major role in the changing of the religious demography of Arunachal Pradesh. The coming of Muslim populations in search of jobs and better livelihood has contributed to the growth of an Islamic community. Islamic population is growing rapidly.


  1. ^ a b "Population by religious community - 2011". 2011 Census of India. Office of the Registrar General & Census Commissioner. Archived from the original on 25 August 2015. Retrieved 2015.
  2. ^ "How churches in Arunachal Pradesh are facing resistance over conversion of tribals".
  3. ^ 2001 Indian census' religion statistics
  4. ^ "RSS turns Arunachal tribals towards Hinduism". Business Standard. Retrieved .
  5. ^ a b "Target northeast: How RSS plans to make region saffron". 2014-12-13. Retrieved .
  6. ^ Kumar, Dr N. Dilip (2014-03-20). On Top of the Old Tak. Dorrance Publishing. ISBN 9781480906518.
  7. ^ "Donyi-Poloism taking roots in Arunachal Pradesh | Arunachal Observer". Arunachal Observer. 2017-06-19. Retrieved .
  8. ^ a b Jaideep Mazumdar (2017). "Arunachal's Tribal Culture Fades As Fervent Proselytisation Fuels Christianity". Swarajya, 30 June 2017. Archived on 11 July 2017.

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



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