Talom Rukbo and the Donyipolo Yelam Kebang. Restructuring Adi Religious Practices in Arunachal Pradesh

  • Claire S. Scheid (Author)

Identifiers (Article)


This article outlines the structural changes applied by Adi community activists to the indigenous faith of Donyipolo from the mid-1980s to the present. These new methods of worship, designed and implemented following the establishment of a religious governing body known as the Donyipolo Yelam Kebang, comprise processes that constitute a “formalization” or “institutionalization”: the Adi have consciously formatted their faith to mirror the composition of more mainstream religions in an attempt to preserve their heritage and to protect against conversion initiatives. The revival has served as a radical reconstitution of Donyipolo via the introduction of tangible religious representations (the canonization and printing of prayer texts; the introduction of iconographical depictions of deities; and the construction of prayer halls) into a traditionally oral religious landscape that was significantly more fluid. The movement stands as an example of indigenous creativity and adaptation, stemming from a focused community initiative.