The Memba are a tribal population of 3,500 is centered around Tuting and Geling, near the Siang river in the West Siang and Upper Siang district of Arunachal Pradesh in India not very far from the Tibetan border. They are a subgroup of the Tibetan people, and speak the Tshangla language. A sizeable population can be found in the nearby Yargab-Chu valley in Mechuka (West Siang), where the population is around 4000 to 5000 and as well as Medog county in Tibet. The religious life of the Memba revolves around the Mechuka Gompa, similar to the Monpa of West Kameng and Tawang. Local genealogies suggested that they came from Tawang and settled in the region several centuries back.
The Memba are agriculturalists and grow cash crops in the terraced fields, and crops like rice, maize, millet, potato, cereals and paddy. Boiled rice & millet flour is their staple diet.
In every village, watermills are installed by making a fall of 15 to 20 feet, and the water is made to rush through the grooved wooden channels which below rotate the blade of the shaft which is attached to the grinder of the mill. Their homes, like most of the other Tibetan Buddhist tribes, are made of stone and wood. The house is raised above the ground and the floor and walls are made of wooden planks. Corrugated aluminum has replaced wood as aroofing material in recent years.
The Membas follow Nyingmapa Tibetan Buddhism and have their own script, Hikor, which is derived from the Tibetan script. In every village, there is a small Gompa presided by a Buddhist Lama. As devout Buddhists, they follow all the intricate details of rituals of Buddhist puja, hoisting at least a Buddhist prayer flag or a string of small Buddhist prayer flags in front of every household. Festivals that are celebrated by the Memba include Losar and Choskar.
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