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Sajolang (Miji)
A young Miji man
Total population
37000 (approx.)
Regions with significant populations
West Kameng, East Kameng & Kurung Kumey districts of Arunachal Pradesh in India and Longzi County, Shannan Prefecture in China
Miji, Bengru, Sajolang,Damai
Christianity, Animism, Shamanism
Related ethnic groups
Abotani, Tani people

The Miji, (or Sajolang) are a social group of Arunachal Pradesh, India. They are located in various districts of Arunachal Pradesh including the West Kameng, East Kameng and Kurung Kumey.Their population of 37,000 are found near the lower parts of the sub-Himalayan hills bordering Assam; they speak the Sajalong language.


The two separate terms Mai, which means fire, and Ji, which signifies giver, are combined to form the word Miji. The word/name came into being after the Hrusso community regarded the Sajolang/Dammai people for their gracious help during the past (pre-historic period).


A young Miji girl from East Kameng
Miji women

The traditional costume of Miji women consists of an ankle-length white garment with a beautifully decorated red jacket. Unlike the majority of other tribes of Arunachal Pradesh, India; the Miji people wear silver ornaments, and glass/brass based necklaces.[1] Indigenous cosmetics are made from pine resin and coal ( specially during marriage ceremonies). The traditional dress of Miji community constitute of (1)_Grii za (cotton cloth), (2)_ornamental beads, (3)_silver/Bamboo crown, (4)_Gichin thay ( long cotton cloth, red in colour, which serves as a belt), (5)_waichin ( sword ), (6)_Lai lo (cotton cloth to cover lower portion of legs), (7)_Lai Drangk (ornamental beads to keep Lai lo intact), and other ornaments including necklaces, bangles and ear tops.


Most Miji are adherents of Animism, although a few have adopted Christianity. The Mijis practise a distinct religion which rely entirely on nature and god ( nature- being the replica of god); Mijis believe that god prevail in every aspects of nature, such as trees, water tributaries and even stones. Chindang, marked every 15 October, is considered the main festival of the Mijis, inhabiting the Lada circle of the East Kameng district, Sarli region of the Kurung Kumey district and Nafra and Bomdila Sub-Division of the West Kameng district with a few of them also found in the Assam-Arunachal border towns of Sessa and Bhalukpong who settled down there some time ago because of better access to facilities. Culturally and linguistically, the Miji and Hrusso Akas form a cognate group. Their ancestors are called Bor(Robo),or the brother of Tanis, like the Nyishis, Apatanis, Tagins, Galos and the Adis which share common features but are also distinct in themselves. Robo being the elder brother and Nyibo (tani) being younger are actual brothers, who belonged to same father.

There is some Buddhist influence as a result of long-standing cultural contacts with Buddhist tribes to the west, and the celebration of Losar as well as the usage of prayer flags are some indicators of this.[2]


The Mijis or the Sajolangs are classified under three categories :

Western Miji

The Mijis inhabiting the Bomdila-Nafra division in West Kameng district are recognized as the Western Miji.

Eastern Miji

Occupying the Lada-Bana tract in the East Kameng district, one can find a sizeable amount of the group well adjusted with the Akas, their very brethren tribe and the comparatively larger tribe Nyishi. The eastern Mijis shares little contrast in terms of language vocabulary with their western counterparts and together they institute the broader Sajolang group.

Northern Miji

The third is the most debilitated and ambiguous group known as Bangru, also known as Bengru in China. Not very much studies have been done on this group and the tribe lives in acute isolation. These groups are mainly found in Sarli circle and the numerous adjacent villages in Kurung Kumey district. Researchers have also claimed that this same people are also found in Longzi County, Shannan Prefecture in China where they are categorised under the wider Lhoba ethnicity.

A sacrificial altar of the Bengru tribe


  1. ^ Oppi Untracht (1997). Traditional Jewelry of India. Harry N. Abrams, Inc. p. 139. ISBN 0-8109-3886-3.
  2. ^ Tanka Bahadur Subba, G. C. Ghosh (2003). The Anthropology of North-East India: A Textbook. Orient Longman. p. 289. ISBN 81-250-2335-6.

Further reading