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Named after ‘Donyi Polo’, deity revered by indigenous communities of state

Named after ‘Donyi Polo’, deity revered by indigenous communities of state

Arunachal Pradesh’s first greenfield airport, ‘Donyi Polo Airport’, will be inaugurated today by Prime Minister Narendra Modi at Holangi in Itanagar. Donyi Polo airport is located in Hollongi and when it comes online it will boost connectivity, trade and tourism in the mountainous northeastern state, authorities said.

What is Donyi Polo

The name of the airport reflects the traditions and rich cultural heritage of Arunachal Pradesh and its ancient indigenous reverence for the Sun (“Donyi”) and the Moon (“Polo”).

Donyi-Polo is the name given to the indigenous religion, of the animist and shamanic type, of the Tani and other Tibetan-Burman peoples of Arunachal Pradesh and Assam.

“Donyi-Polo” is the epitome of wisdom, enlightenment, right conscience, truthfulness and selflessness. Conscious people are called “Donyi Polo Ome”, which means “sons of truth”. The elders are considered as “Donyi-Polo Abu”, and “representatives of the truth”.

Arunachal Pradesh is home to 29 main tribes and several hundred sub-tribes. The name “DonyiPolo” means “Sun-Moon”, and was chosen for the religion in the process of revitalization and institutionalization begun in the 1970s in response to the advances of Christianity and the possibility of absorption into Hinduism.

Religion has developed a congregational system; hymns to be sung, composed in the Tani ritual language of the shamans; a formalized philosophy-theology; and iconography of the gods and temples. The pioneer of the revival was Talom Rukbo.

Rukbo, known as the father of donyi-poloism for the institutionalization of Tibeto-Burmese folk religion, believed that the main reason for the easy erosion of traditional culture was that it lacked written literature. Thus, prayers and hymns were composed to recover and revitalize rituals in danger of extinction.

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