VI Demography

A. Number of Speakers

Number of Wancho speakers in India according to 2001 census is 49,072. The following table shows the mother tongue speakers of Wancho language.

WANCHO 49,072
Wancho 49,072

1. Main Habitat

The main habitat of Wancho speakers are found in Arunachal Pradesh.

a. Male/Female

The following table shows the Male/Female distribution of Wancho speakers in the states and union territories of India according to 2001 census

India/State/Union Territory Total Male Female
India 49,072 24,962 24,110
Arunachal Pradesh 48,544 24,674 23,870
Assam 472 240 232
Nagaland 16 13 3
West Bengal 12 9 3
Meghalaya 8 8 0
Sikkim 7 7 0
Jammu & Kashmir 3 3 0
Delhi# 3 3 0
Punjab 2 1 1
Maharashtra 2 1 1
Chandigarh# 1 1 0
Haryana 1 1 0
Orissa 1 1 0

b. Rural/Urban

The following table shows the Rural/Urban distribution of Wancho speakers according to 2001 census

India/State/Union Territory Total Male Female
India 49,072 47,818 1,254
Arunachal Pradesh 48,544 47,337 1,207
Assam 472 444 28
Nagaland 16 14 2
West Bengal 12 6 6
Meghalaya 8 7 1
Sikkim 7 7 0
Jammu & Kashmir 3 0 3
Delhi# 3 1 2
Punjab 2 0 2
Maharashtra 2 0 2
Chandigarh# 1 0 1
Haryana 1 1 0
Orissa 1 1 0

2. Decennial Growth

The following table shows the decennial growth of Wancho speakers in 4 consecutive census.

Year Wancho Speakers Decadal Percentage Increase
1971 28,649 -
1981 32,442 13.24
1991 39,600 22.06
2001 49,072 23.92

B. Settlement Pattern

The following table shows the male-female and rural-urban distribution of Wancho speakers according to 2001 census.

Total Male Female
Total 49,072 24,962 24,110
Rural 47,818 24,312 23,506
Urban 1,254 650 604



(a) Rate:

Literacy rate is low among the Wancho speech community of Arunachal Pradesh. According to the 2001 census, the literacy rate in Wancho was 23.14% where in according to 1991 and 1981 was 12.89% and 6.37%.

The male and female literacy rate is presented in the following table:

Decades Male Female
1981 9.78 2.03
1991 52.25 47.74
2001 31.78 13.82


Both government as well as non-governmental organizations are involved in the field of education and literacy. In the earlier days, missionaries also played an important role for the promotion of literacy and education in Wancho speech community areas.

In the field of promotion of literacy some of the notable government departments and organization that can be mentioned are –

	1.  Department of School Education, Itanagar, Govt. of Arunachal Pradesh 
	2.  National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT), Sri Aurobindo Marg, New Delhi. 
	3.  Central Board of Secondary Education, Preet Vihar, Delhi.

The names of the non-governmental organization that can be summed up are 1. Vivekananda Kendra Vidyalaya, Nyao-sa, Kanyakumari. 2. Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan, New Delhi. 3. Rang School, Longing, Arunachal Pradesh. 4. Zanlo School, Longing, Arunachal Pradesh. 5. Don Bosco School, Tinsukia, Dibrugarh, Assam. 6. Babu School, Pongchau, New Delhi. 7. Dannyan School, Kanubari, Arunachal Pradesh. Apart from these, there are many NGOs which work for the promotion of literacy as a part of their wider field of Social activities.



The impact on general community is productive. As a result of the promotion activities of both governmental and non-governmental agencies the literacy rate compared to that of 1981 and 1991 census, has increased considerably in 2001 census in Tirap district of Arunachal Pradesh in general. As already mentioned the literacy rate in Wancho community of Arunachal Pradesh as a whole is 23.14%, according to the 2001 census report (provisional).

There has been considerable development in the field of literacy and education which has led to the formation of 63 schools in Wancho area according to the 2001-2002 report provided by the Education Department of the Government of Arunachal Pradesh. Out of these 63 schools, 49 are primary schools, 1 primary School, 2 higher secondary schools, 3 Secondary Schools, 8 Middle Schools. This has resulted in the growth of literacy rate from 6.37% (1981) to 12.89% (1991) and 23.14% according to the 2001 census in general.

The social awareness that has been promoted through audio-visual media, print media, local administration, health organizations, etc. has motivated the all categories of men and women to become literate. Attending schools has been initiated by the government by providing free books and papers, free lunch and such other incentives.


Like other society of India, Wancho being a tribal society of egaliteranian nature, status of women is high. The women too have equal liberty to pursue their studies. Their ability has been never undermined. Only economic pressures do deprive them from further studies which is universal issue. The literacy rate of women in Wancho community of Arunachal Pradesh is 13.82% where as in case of men it is 31.78% (according to the 2001 census).


The adult folk of Wancho also motivated through the introduction of adult education system. It is undertaken by the State Resource centre, Arunachal Pradesh, Naharlagun as per the guidelines of Improved Pace and Contents of learning (I.P.C.L) norms and direction of D.A.E., New Delhi to achieve adult literacy. This education system has helped to increase the literacy rate of adult folk. The adult literacy rate record is not yet maintained. Probably it would be below 12% according to the authentic oral source.



Formal education in Wancho speech community of Arunachal Pradesh is imparted through schools and various other vocational institutions. Such formal institutions are governmental, government sponsored, private and missionary.


The programme of non formal education or social education in Wancho speech community of Arunachal Pradesh includes literacy, political and economic, health education, leisure education etc. Their own unique traditional institution system of the main sources for imparting practical training is required for livelihood. The non-formal education in Wancho community is for boys. means sacred male youths institution. Female member is not allowed to enter in this institution. The male youths are taught telling the folktales story, singing folk song, fighting skills, moral education, sharpening of dao, making of handicraft, tolerances etc. Every activity of the young girls is taught in their own dormitory. The girls dormitory is called Jeepham and both are educated through the eitho. Eitho means a traditional system of working together in the field or any social activities. They have their own traditional system of imparting practical training required for livelihood which can be said to be age old. Association, imitation, demonstration and advice are the four basic methods through which the traditional practical training is imparted. While the pã are the venue for giving such training to the boys, the girls receive it in the house and at the paddy field. The society transmitted their traditions in the way from generation to generation by words of mouth and practical demonstration. And thus it thrived and continuity maintained. In the pã the young boys join together in the evening after the day’s toil. Near the fire place all sit together, where an old person relate various traditional, myths, etc. Some elder members make baskets, mats and other articles of crafts. The young generation learns the crafts from the elders; hear various myths and traditions of the society. During other times they follow the elders in the various pursuits such as forest cutting or clearing, fishing, hunting, dancing and so on. Thus they get practical training.

Similarly the girls have their mothers in all household activities, in agricultural works, in making baskets, in making beads garland, in cooking and feeding their pigs or fowls and the like, and thereby learn the works to be performed when they attain adulthood.

Although regular institution is not there, the training received by the younger generation of the Wanchos is adequate for training a smooth family life in later stage. The surrounding nature, and the house, the pã, the paddy or millets field, are the natural institution for training out the younger generation.

Social norms and etiquettes are learnt by the children from elders as and when they pass different stages of life. This is universal in all human societies.

The government institutions are giving modern education along with their traditional activities. In the Junior Basic Schools, besides teaching the modern way, training is also given in agricultural work, efforts to develop education among the Wanchos. Adult literacy program in Wancho speech community has been integrated with community development scheme through rural night schools, mass media centers, documentary film shows, library, etc. Training center for the training of adult education for teachers and social workers have been introduced which impart training in agriculture, crafts, poultry, co-operative, health etc. The agencies that have been involved in the promotion of non-formal education in Wancho speech community of Arunachal Pradesh are gram Panchayat, co-operative societies, professional unions and organization e.g. Vivekananda Kendra Vidyalaya (V.K.V), Wancho Cultural Society (W.C.S), Wancho Student Union (WSU) etc. The formation of the State Adult Education Board under National Adult Education Board has led to the promotion of non-formal education and integrated education.


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