THE ADI TRIBE OF ARUNACHAL PRADESH IN INDIA- A GENERAL DISCOURSE ON ROLES OF MUSUP KOO

INTRODUCTION

The Adis–the hill people heroically standing as one of the major tribe of the Arunachal Pradesh in India inhabiting in Upper Siang, West Siang, East Siang, Lower Dibang Valley and part of Lohit districts of Arunachal Pradesh and also in upper fringe of the Assam. The Adis map out their origin from Tani-the man whose ancestral mother was Pedong Nane; the great granddaughter of Sedi Melo (the creator). The rainbow of the Adi tribe is the culmination of different colorful sub-tribes viz, Padam, Minyongs, Pasis, Panggis, Milangs, Karkos, Shimongs, Tangams, Ashings, Boris, Pailibos, Ramos, Bokars and Adisamoa who are divided on the basis of slender differences in hair dress, material culture, and social institutions etc. However, akin to one another, they speak an almost same dialect, claim a common origin and also perform and celebrate same rituals and festivals. Community hall popularly known as Musup or Dere is the essence of every Adi villages that act as a solid rock for carrying out strategic social, political, and cultural activities of the each village ranging from declaration of war to foe to Mibo Yamrik . The mythology of the Adis says that Gumin Soyin used to inhabit in Musup or Dere. Captivatingly, The Adis is well known for a unique youth institution called-The Musup Yame means dormitory boys (also identified as Dere Yame or Duar koo in different belts of Adi tribe) are the caretaker of the Musup or Dere. Infact, Musup or Dere and Musup Yame are two ends of a balancing rod that determine the economic, political, social, ethical and cultural development of a village in particular and Adi populace in general. It is almost difficult to understand the concept of Musup Yame without being assimilated with dynamism of Musup or Dere of the Adi society. No wonder, in every Adi villages every young male at attaining approximately the age between 14-20 years becomes the caretaker of Dere or Musup who are usually appointed through Kebang or by the village headman as dormitory boys for the time span of 3 to 5 years. However, the age to deem fit as Musup Yame keeps on varying from region to region or sub-tribe to sub-tribe. Earlier some sub-tribes of Adis even practiced Royup system- a training ground for pre-dormitory boys where, the boys gather every evening to discuss about the day-to-day happenings of village and other socio-cultural issues with elderly unmarried male members of the village in a particular tent house of each clan called as Royup. Interestingly, in Adi community completion of the period of Dere Yame marks the attainment of physical as well as mental maturity who can directly participate in race of social, economic, political, and, cultural sustenance and development of the village and community. The period of Dere Yame, happen to be a realistic Training ground to learn, analyze, understand, and application of socio-cultural heritage, ethos, belief, taboos, and practices by the dormitory boys. In actual, Musup or Dere Yame are responsible to attend in Dere or Musup in almost every evening after being taken dinner. Basically, they are to carry a bundle of firewood to ablaze every hearth of Musup or Dere followed by a series of discussion about the economical, socio-political, administrative, and developmental issues of the village. Every youth must go through and take bath with very experiences of Musup Yame. Infact, there is a special time in one’s life in Adi community to declare a youth as mature and complete man- that is the completion of the stage of Musup Yame or Dere Yame.

STATEGIC ROLES OF MUSUP YAME IN ADI SOCIETY

Musup or Dere Yame plays a very important role in bringing all round development of the village who keeps alive the strength; the beauty; and uniqueness of the high and mighty Musup and Kebang system of the Adi community. They play multifaceted roles; as a protector to messenger of Adi village. Dere Yame or Musup Yame has occupied a strategic position in Adi community that is beyond one’s positive reception. Musup Yame acts as the policemen or security guards of the village. They always keep stand and ready to enforce law and order made through Kebang or some elderly people of Adi village. They are entrusted to implement or make people to obey the law and order framed through Kebang. In case of breakdown of law and order or declaration of war or any other problems threatening the very safety and security of the village, the Musup Yame have to stand at first to defend the village. In short, Kebang is the lawmaker and Musup Yame- the enforcer. Musup Yame is the real messenger of the villagers. If the Kebang or elderly people fix time and date of any developmental or community work, community hunting and fishing, festivals, rituals or any taboo for the coming days then, it is the exclusive duty of Musup Yame to convey the message to the villagers. Generally, the message is conveyed at twilight in the form of Googging in every nook and corner of the village. In this regard, their special services to public in the form of informing the death of a person have been appreciated since the time immemorial. Musup Yame are also being delegated the responsibility to act as a collector to collect indemnity, fines etc, from those villagers who remain absent from the Kebang or community work, community hunting and fishing, festivals, rituals or any taboo. Conducting Ponung and Delong in any Gidi is inevitable without the initiative and active involvement of Musup Yame. In addition to this, they always take a driver’s seat in Mibo Yamrik of guest or dignitaries in the Dere or Musup. It is fascinating to learn that, almost every Adi villages are encircled with a Dolung Etor , which is constructed and taken care jointly by the villagers. This fence helps in protection of agricultural field from domesticated animals as domesticate animals of the villagers are kept strayed within the community fence and it also marks the beginning of agricultural field thereby, completion of the very settlement area of a particular village. In construction and maintenance of this community fencing system, Musup Yame render exceptional service right from Googging to collection of fines from the public who kept absent from the construction or maintenance work of the same. Kirum Ruknam has been one great pieces of attraction of the Adi people. It is either in the form of hunting or fishing. In this noble job, they flaunt high degree of leadership to the public up right conveying message to collection of fine from the public who remain absent. Moreover, they also provide yeoman services to the public and bereaved family in case of Taleng Simang Lanam and Nyipong Simang Ago Papo . In some case, even they devote more than 4 days to probe a missing fellow being that might have been drown, committed suicide, gone missing etc. in this situation, they are being trained to put up lion’s heart and fox’s brain.

PRESENT PICTURE OF MUSUP YAME

The role and functions of the Musup Yame has directly or indirectly been affected with the coming of modern educational system, science and technology, influence of various religious ideal, belief, and philosophy and due to negligence and individualistic nature of younger generations and parents. As regard to their socio-cultural practices, costumes and traditions, the quantum of knowledge that the younger generation have is ever diminishing by every day. Some young people cannot speak well or pronounce properly their own dialects and getting on theoretical or practical knowledge on the role and responsibility of Musup Yame becomes a distance cry. Therefore, it is obvious that, the importance of Musup Yame is losing ground day by day. Modern education system has tremendous impact on the role and responsibility of Musup Yame. Local youths who have taken admission in schools, colleges, and universities hardly have time to serve the society with full strength, time, sincerity, and commitment as a Musup Yame. Even, traditional Googging has been replaced by announcement or dissemination of information via T.V, radio, newspaper, circular and audio devices like, micro phone, amplifier etc, in modernized Adi villages. Now a day Musup Yame as security guard of an Adi village is also losing its social implication as police and other security personnel have virtually replaced them. Miracle of religious propagations, teachings, and conversion also deserve special mention. As almost 40% of Adi population have been converted from indigenous faith & culture to Christianity that clearly gives gesticulation that, the role and responsibility of Musup Yame has reduced by 40% too. Even though the Musup exists in every Adi villages yet, the dormitory boys, unlike earlier days, do not visit Musup daily, rather they pay visit to Musup whenever situation demand; their duties have also been trim down to a few responsibilities like delivering Googging, collection of fines and very rarely have to act as security guards or policemen. In some of the urbanized Adi villages, the youth dormitory system has almost wiped out. Only in remote and interior Adi villages, the role and functions of dormitory are really practiced to full strength and spirit. Consequently, the youth from remote and interior villages have better command over knowledge and experience of Musup Yame in comparison to the youth from more advanced villages. No wonder, we have to adjust ourselves with the changing times and if we resist, we will be fossilized. It does happen in Adi society with noteworthy socio-political and cultural transformation going around, as changes are natural with the evolution of men and their mind.

However, the concept and significance of Musup Yame can never be overlooked as it is one of most unique and interesting socio-cultural identity of the Adi Society -an ideal and multipurpose training ground for the youths- the gateway of learning basics of oratorical skills, arbitrary and customary laws, mythology, folktales, dances, crafts-making, rituals etc. The need of hour is to restore it and to bring about changes in its contents and spirit in accordance with what situation demands if, it has to travel deep into the future!

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