5th Apr 2017 09:04:PM Editorials
Eastern Sentinel Arunachal News

The Mithun holds a very important place in the indigenous tribal way of life. Apart from adding to a person’s social status, they are a must in marriages, as it is the only medium of payment of bride price. Moreover, these bovines are considered sacred and sacrifice is compulsory in all festivals and ceremonial rituals.

Arunachal accounts for 82 per cent of India’s Bos Frontalis population according to the All India Livestock Census of 2007. Not just here but Bos Frontalis or popularly known as Mithun or Gayal (a large bovine) has a very significant role to play in the lives of the tribal communities of the North East. Often referred to as ‘the cattle of the mountains’ and ‘ship of the highland’, this bovine has come under serious threat due to many of the socio-cultural rituals and practices. 

This animal which is raised on free-range areas are under serious threat as grazing with cattle has increased chances of crossbreeding, leading to a gradual loss of “species uniqueness” and fitness traits. Coupled with people’s vanity to show off their social clout, scores of Mithuns or Gayals are sacrificed wantonly. Further, the latest trend of slaughtering for meat all headed to the commercial market is making matters worse.

It indeed is welcome news that the Centre is willing to give all possible help for 'Mithun’ conservation but practically speaking that alone would not suffice to save this precious animal species. The local administration and community based organizations must also work together to check the number of sacrifices/slaughtering during marriage, festivals etc.

It is noteworthy to mention that various tribal bodies especially amongst the Nyishi, Apatani, Galo, Tagin and Adi communities have attempted to regulate the sacrificing rituals without much success.

The rich and influential figures in society have nonchalantly flouted the regulatory norms and have expressed their desire to pay the penalty rather than to forego their ego massaging sacrifices.  

Therefore, besides “affirmative action”, some deterrent factors also must be put in place, if success in scientific endeavours is to be achieved.


Kenter Joya Riba

(Managing Editor)
      She is a graduate in Science with post graduation in Sociology from University of Pune. She has been in the media industry for nearly a decade. Before turning to print business, she has been associated with radio and television.
Email: kenterjoyaz@easternsentinel.in / editoreasternsentinel@gmail.com
Phone: 0360-2212313

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