The Buguns or Khowa, are one of the earliest recognised schedule tribe (Earlier known as Khowa) of India, inhabiting Singchung Sub-Division of West Kameng District of Arunachal Pradesh. Their total Population as on 2014 are approximately 2000. The notable features of Buguns are reflected in their simple life and warm hospitality. Buguns are composed into several exogamous clans. Traditionally, the predominant occupation is agriculture supported with additional allied activities like fishing and hunting, cattle rearing etc. Buguns have their own folklores, songs, dances, music and rituals. A rare bird, the Bugun liocichla, was named after the tribe.
Religion of Buguns are traditionally animism. But early twentieth century witnessed the gradual penetration of a few dominant religions like Buddhism (Mahayana) and Hinduism. Recently, a good number of Buguns are converted to Christianity. But still large portion of Bugun (Khowa) population are following their tradition way of animistic rituals and priesthood.
Pham-Kho (a harvesting festival) is a popular festival of the Bugun people which is now celebrated on 10 September every year. Pham-Kho literally means "mountain" (pham) and "river" or "water" (kho), which are considered vital component required for human survival. The benevolent gods manifest in the form of the mountain and river, giving life to the people. Therefore, the Pham-Kho festival is a harvesting festival celebrated by Bugun (Khowa) community of Arunachal Pradesh. Other Important festival of Buguns are Kshyat-Sowai and Dihing-Kho.
Traditionally, Buguns have their own socio-politico-admimistrative decision making system to regulate their society. The traditional village council of the Bugun (Khowa) is known as Nimiyang (Council of Elders), which looks after every aspect of village life, might it be decision-making, utilisation of local resources, conflict resolution or regulating the society. Each family is represented in the Nimiang sessions by its head male member. The traditional village council of buguns are headed by Thap-Bahow (Chief). The Thap-Bakhow is an accepted leader and selected unanimously and not hereditary. There is no strict criterion for selection of the Thap-Bakhow, but a person with economic affluence, social stature, knowledge of customary laws, sound mentality, physical strength and generosity are taken into consideration. He presides over the meetings and sittings of the Nimiyang session. It is customary that only male member possessing above qualities can become Thap-Bakhow. Womenfolk is just a passive spectator and witnesses the proceedings of the Nimiyang sessions only. Notwithstanding a female member is allowed to represent if its male member is absent.
Migration of Buguns to its present location are unknown. Notwithstanding their mythology reveals that they have probably migrated from Tibet via East Kameng (Cheyang Tajo) along with Puroiks.(Buguns are subdivided into sections according to their specific locality known by different names:-Hakhongdua, Hajidua, Braidua, Khuchundua, Hayindua).
Some of the Bugun Villages are:-
- Bichom (a Model Village which partially included people from Lichini,Ramu, Chitu,Sachida,).
- Tenga Market under Singchung and Nag Mandir of Kaspi are main market places for them.
Buguns relation with neighbouring tribes
- Buguns of Wanghoo and Dikhiyang had quite close affinity with Monpa (Especially, Bhut Monpa/Sartang). Even Inter-Marriage among most of the clans of both the tribes are tabooed. Irrespective of their tribes they considered them as their own brothers.
- Buguns of Singchung village have maintained quite good relations with Sherdukpens after from the time immemorial. Like Buguns of Wanghoo/Dikhiyang intermarriages among a few of the clans irrespective of their tribes are restricted as they consider them as their brothers and sisters. Even in religious aspects most of the Buguns of Singchung areas are influenced by Sherdukpen's Mahayana cult of Buddhism.
- Further Buguns of Lichini, Ramu,Chitu and Kaspi area have quite close brotherly relations with Akas (Hrusso)during early days.
- And Buguns bordering Miji (Sajalong) territories have additionally maintained good rapport with them like Buguns of Ditching and Bichom valley.
Active organisations working for the community
- ABS- All Bugun (Khowa) Society. An apex (Socio-Cultural) decision making body of Bugun Society. Formerly known as ABYA-All Bugun Youth Association.
- ABSU- All Bugun (Khowa) Students Union. A community based student's organization.
Besides these, we will find a large number of additional NGOs working actively in a few specific areas within Bugun territory like:- BWS- Bugun Welfare Society, Mt. Siphang Society etc.
1. Oye (Audio).
2. Guiteh Bugundua (Audio).