Paradise on earth is Ziro Part II- words and image by Dani Sulu

One of the sweetest moments of our life is home coming experience. Wherever one may be, his home and her native land and neighbourhood is closest to her heart, however ugly or dirty the home and native town may be, it remains perched in the green land of our memory, forever lovely and refreshing. Coming back to Ziro, my home town, is tantalisingly romantic. It still gives me goose bumps when we start to ascend the hills from Yazali. As one drives through hairpin bends, cool breeze is felt smooching your cheeks and gently weaving through your hair as if mother is running her loving fingers through hair while we are asleep in her bossom. One can smell the pine trees and feel freshness of mountain air coursing down your lungs.

          There hardly is a rest period for the people of Apatani Plateau. As the autumn gives way to winter, Apatanis start preparing their field for next agriculture seaon with repair of bunds and irrigation channels. Even on a chilly winter day, when the sun hides behind the clouds from biting winter wind of Ziro Valley, you will find farmers in the fields cleaning and caressing their fields as would a painter feel his canvass before the start of a master piece. Here I post winter scenes of Ziro giving way to Spring…

Nursery bed to sow paddy seedlings is being prepared. After the Myoko, in the month of April, paddy sapplings will be transplanted.

Elsewhere, paddy fields are treated with crystal clear water….

And the flowering of takung apu..announces arrival of Myoko Piilo.

Here is a closer look of flowers of peach…

Looking through the wide fields one can view Ziro blossoming into youthful beauty..of flowers….

Another of visual Vista.

Flower blossom in a far off place is seen from the ground which has borne the winter brunt of Ziro. Grass has turned brown because of cold.

Flowers deck the bamboo gardens and pine groves.

Closer view of the blossoming Ziro.

Care to take a walk with me?

This is a bird’s eye view of Ziro during Winter.

My dear friends, you might delight youselves in the depthness of winter, when the cold becomes unbearable with these poetic sentence.”When winter comes, can spring be far behind?” But I ask you,” If winter be skipped for it’s severity, would spring have appeared so young and beautiful?” The beauty of winter is, that ,it gives spring a backdrop to appreciate it’s magic. On the rugged surface of winter, beauty of spring is painted. Thus Sulu muses.

Paradise on earth is ziro…Part I- words and image by Dani Sulu

Well, of heaven in the sky, a promising paradise after death…I really am not very sure. But place where your heart and soul remains on this earth is paradise to our living being. Loveliest places are one’s with which you identify yourselves.  My hometown Ziro, where I grew up and where I go to live back my childhood is dearest to my heart. Here, I am posting some of the pictures  of  Ziro, where a small patch of my rice fields lies. These pictures were taken during last summer  and also during the visit to my beloved valley I made during October 2005, before I left for Afghanistan. It was a gala harvesting time.

Ziro

As I go to my field, I have to pass through LEYU,(Leyu is a passage through the bamboo groves which one must take to leave village for any work .. including field work.) Here I take nenting leyu, which is a way to upper Hija village’s fields and forests.

As soon as I leave Leyu, this is the vista my eyes are blessed with.

 Another eye feasting vista as you view the Myoko( Open space beyond village area) beyond your village.

Here, I turn to my right and find the fields swaying to the music of the winds playing with instruments nature provided in abundance in the open fields. What symphony can compete with nature’s sweet music. huh!!!!

Moving with steps that are confident of grounds beneath, of the paths that I grew up with, I find the lush green fields swaying with a blush of young heads of rice as the wind blows gently.

I take a detour and take picture of my field from afar, where my father was laid to rest last year. A patch of raised land is called Nendu Nenchang – a public burial ground. My dad, rests not there, but where I stand and take these snaps. Small hut you see is Myole Piinyi, where the apatani priests perform rituals to propitiate the spirits. White bamboo structures are burial memorials.

This is another picture – my eyes are never tired of such visual feast of greenery, freshness, beauty and tenderness that was all along.

 When you see something, and find it beautifull, you behold it. Nature takes its tolls, and you look again, and wonder, where is that which I beheld with such awe? How has it withered with time and age? Where do I find such beauty, such love, which neither time nor age will leave it untouched. And you wonder!!!!!! 

       Suddenly, a whiff of fresh memories, not fresh in a sense it is new, but fresh because of its essence, … the memories of childhood, of neighbours and surroundnings that looks so unpalatable to the foreigners, whispers, here I am. And, you know you have found true beauty. It grows with age, and as the seasons change, it reveals its beaty in phases. 

      What is beauty? Is it skin deep? Is it limited to the pereiod when you are young and fresh? Where does the beauty fade away when the age catches up with it?

             Haaa Haa haa…. ha ha ha. Like most people, I am usually confused between youth and beauty. That loveliness that we see usually are the youths in bloom, not the beauty in its true colour. True beauty is deeper and unfathomable. Like a good old wine, it becomes better with age. So is Ziro. You thought, green and beautiful Ziro will give way to old and withering autumn and winter? No way. These are some of the pictures I took during the harvest season in October’2005, before, I left for Afghanistan.

As Ziro matures from spring to summer and to autumn, it turns golden in its look and its content. Whole of Ziro valley is carpeted with golden crops of ricewith a far away blue mountains as a back ground. This is the time when gangs of male and females( Patangs), as per their age, band together and have maximum fun and frolick harvesting the rice fields and getting drowned in its celebration. Those of you, who have never experienced abandoned gay and joy, come during the harvest time to Ziro and join one of the patangs to drink the last drop of joy that lifes gives us. I assure you, you would have squeezed out the nectar, the honey that life has never blessed anywhere else.

This is a view from Siilang Diiting of Siilang, Boppii, Tbyo and Piisa pu putu. I took this scenary while proceeding to my fields beyond those blue mountains with my wife and children.

Just as I cross a small stream to enter my field, I see this view. The fenced field is others. Beyond that, in a far off hirizon where lies the blue mountains is our clan’s naring morey and katu morey.( Morey refers to forest, here clan forest.) To the left is Aifu Puttu(AAifu Hillock) and to the right is Piisa Pu Puttu.

This is another shot of fraction of my field and beyond as described above. It looks surreal. Doesnt it?

The  picture at the top is of my son Dingyang performing pabung banni, which means carrying the threshed rice grains to a place called intii pere. Usually children are tasked with pabung banni while the young and grown up females reap the rice stalks and young and grown upmales thresh the rice. It is one of the most beautiful moments of any childhood who have grown up in a typical Apatani Village life.)

Well, Ziro is covered under goldend carpets all around during the months of September and October

THANKS TO MR. DANI SULU Sire for allowing me to upload his Words and Images over pasighat Blog…

Ziro Festival of Music, Arunachal Pradesh

Ziro Festival of Music

The Lineup

Ziro Festival of Music-the poster

Ziro Festival of Music-the poster

Ziro Festival of Music-the vanue

Ziro Festival of Music-the vanue

Music[/caption]

THE LINE UP:
Arunachal gets a new music festival this September in Ziro, a scenic town close to the state capital Itanagar. To be held between September 14th and 16th, 2012, Ziro festival includes bands from Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata besides several upcoming bands from the North East.

Here’s the three-day lineup

Friday, September 14th, 2012

3 pm Frisky Pints, Delhi

4.15 pm SPACE, Kolkata

5.30 pm Omak Komut Collectives, Itanagar

6.45 pm OFF, Kohima

8 pm Bombay Bassment, Mumbai

9.15 pm Teddy Boy Kill, Delhi

Saturday, September 15th, 2012

2.15 pm Alisha Batth, Mumbai

3.15 pm Lucid Recess. Guwahati

4.15 pm Aftertaste, Mumbai

5.30 pm The Vinyl Records, Delhi

6.34 pm Blek, Mumbai

8 pm Peter Cat Recording Co, Delhi

9.15 pm Menwhopause, Delhi

Sunday, September 16th, 2012

2.15 pm Dayglocrazie, Guwahati

3 pm Tritha Electric, Kolkata

4.15 pm The Dirty Strikes, Imphal

5.30 pm Street Stories, Shillong

6.45 pm Digital Suicide, Guwahati

8 pm Sky Rabbit, Mumbai

9.15 Lou Majaw & Friends, Shillong

The tales of Ami Dori : Oral tradition and culture in the Apatani Valley

The tales of Ami Dori : Oral tradition and culture in the Apatani Valley

There was a young girl called Ami Dori. She was an extremely good person, who spoke kindly and never ever had a bad word for anyone. She was also very beautiful, of incomparable beauty. She was as lovely as the rising sun and the shining moon, a girl of good speech, thought and action. Because she was so perfect she was considered the elder sister of the god iipyo wi.
But her brother’s wife became jealous of her perfection and began to slander her. ”Everyone says that your sister, Ami Dori, is good but she’s not. She’s evil. Do you know what she’s done? She had illicit sex with Tadu and with Bume – that’s what they say, she’s done bad things with them.” When he heard all this about Ami Dori, her brother believed his wife and then he, too, began to speak ill of her. And when their parents heard what the brother had to say, they also started to call her names. Hearing what the parents said, others outside the family began to talk ill of Ami Dori.
When she heard all that was said about her, all this horrible talk, Ami Dori felt terrible, very bad inside, and said to herself: ”At first everyone praised me and said I was a good person, but now they say I’m bad.” That’s how she felt. ”I am the sister of iipyo wi and so I’ve never had a bad thought in my heart, never done a bad thing. Not in the past, not even in childhood, not in the present and not in the future would I ever do anything bad. I never had and never will even entertain bad thoughts. You [her family] have prevented me from living my life as I wished.”
Full of sorrow and pain, Ami Dori left her parents’ house then went to a grove where she made the takun tree her mother and the sangko bacho tree her father. Why did she do that? You might ask. Well, her sister-in-law had slandered her, her brother had slandered her, her mother and father had slandered her, the whole village had slandered her. She was devastated and began to think: ”If my mother doesn’t act like a mother, and if I can’t consider her my mother; if she can’t think of me as her daughter, if my father can’t think of me as his daughter, if my brother can’t think of me as his sister, if my sister-in-law can’t treat me as a sister-in-law, if everyone calls me an evil person, then I don’t know how I can live on this earth.”
Then she said to the creator god, ”Since my birth, until this very day, I have done nothing wrong. I did nothing with Biilyi Tado and Bume Tah; I never even looked at them. To say I had illicit sex with them is idle gossip. God, you know everything – the stars, sun and moon, all the gods, souls, including the malevolent giirii wi; you created all the creatures, from spirits to humans and animals, all the insects and reptiles, the flora and fauna, trees, everything little and big. Everything and everyone is your creation. So you know me, what I’ve done and what I’ve said and who I am. I also know and because I know I can no longer live among people. I’m going to leave this earth. They say that I had sex with Biilyi Tado and Bume Tah and I am humiliated/disgraced.”
With these sad words and thoughts, she tied a cane-rope to a branch of the takun tree and then around her neck and committed suicide. There, in that takun grove, she took her own life and left this earth. After her death, her maternal uncle [and his brothers ?] came and said, ”Ami Dori was always a good person. How could you speak about such a good person in such a terrible way? Because she felt disgraced, she killed herself.” [They thought that she died because she felt disgraced?]
Ami Dori’s family replied, ”We all believed what the others said, that she was bad. We believed what her sister-in-law said about her, what her own brother and her own parents said. Asking more and more questions, the maternal uncle found out that her brother and his wife had first said that she was bad, that she had sex with Biilyi Tadu and Bume Tah. He also learned that they were not humans, but snakes, who became humans who turned back into snakes. Ami Dori had played with those snakes. They explained this to the maternal uncle and his brothers. [When they heard all this] the maternal uncle and his relatives spoke directly to Ami Dori, ”You are sister of iipyo wi, the good Ami Dori, but they said that you were bad. But we, in our hearts, do not believe them. All those people accused you of doing evil, but you have said that you did nothing wrong with Biilyi Tado and Bume Tah, that you have been wronged, that you are blameless. But instead of taking revenge, we will bury you. Then you must show us that you are pure and not evil; give us a sign from your grave that you led a good life.”
On the next day, in the early morning, her family and her sister-in-law’s family [?] went to her grave and saw a small shoot growing, no taller than a snake’s fang. On the second morning it was the size of a lizard’s leg. And on the third day a full tree had grown over her grave mound, a big, thick tree with many branches. From her grave, through the power of god, spiritual power, she showed that she really had committed no evil. Different flowers blossomed on the many branches of that tree – a red flower, a white flower, a green flower and a dark flower [this is in nyibo language]. And the tree was called the ”Dori” tree and the necklace tree because different coloured necklaces hung from those branches – the domin, doku, rite, tado, sampyo, santer, ahing paming, and lebu – all these necklaces grew on the tree.
”One person watches and one makes a hole [in the bead]; one person rolls the thread and one puts it through the hole; and plucks the beads from the tree.” [In the same way ?] everyone now knew that Ami Dori was a good woman, that she had done no wrong; that god had made her a pure being. They knew that she had done nothing wrong with Biilyi Tadu and Bume Tah, that everyone had unjustly slandered her. The necklace tree appeared to show this to everyone. When the tree had demonstrated Ami Dori’s goodness to the maternal uncle, the others – her brother and sister-in-law, and her parents stood accused.
In order to show the rest of the world that she was innocent, her uncles took the necklaces [from the tree?] and set out to sell them. This is said to have been the ”first business”. In our miji language we have the saying: ”Tado must go and sell; Haley must go and sell”. [Tado-Haley refers to a generic trader] These two men set out to sell these necklaces, which were created by the creator of all we see [the stars, sun, moon, etc.] They went to sell those necklaces to show the world that Ami Dori was innocent.
They went to the house of Nyime Payang Radhe [a ruler from Tibet?], to try to sell them to his daughters. But they rejected them, saying they weren’t up to the mark. So the uncles took the necklaces and wandered from place to place, trying to sell them, explaining that they were expensive because they were the ornaments of Ami Dori. North and south they went, here and there and everywhere, until they reached the house of Pan Pachi Tari [some kind of title]; to his women folk they said, ”Here are fine necklaces; look at them and see how nice they are.” Then Pan Pachi Tari bought them for his daughters, saying, ”I’ll buy them with my lands.” And so it was that because Ami Dori was a virtuous person, of excellent character, kind thoughts and gentle speech – because she was the best person on earth her sister-in-law, her brother and her parents spoke ill of her, and others did until the whole world slandered her. God made her pure and through the power of meping wi, the necklace tree grew and showed the world [that she was innocent].

Local Markets Of Arunachal Pradesh

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Rats and chillis for sale Ziro market Arunachal Pradesh
Rats and chillis for sale Ziro market Arunachal Pradesh
   
Rats n pepper on the market in Ziro

Rats n pepper on the market in ZiroDried Rat at Pasighat Market

Apatani woman Ziro Arunachal Pradesh

 

Apatani woman Ziro Arunachal Pradesh

Apatani woman Ziro Arunachal Pradesh

 The Apatani tribe live in central Arunachal Pradesh in and around the beautiful, fertile, and for Arunachal fairly flat, Ziro valley. Historically famous for their beauty, Apatani women were all too often kidnapped by warriors of the neighbouring Nishi tribes. As a ‘defence’, Apatani girls were deliberately defaced. They were given facial tattoos, like graffitied beards scribbled onto living Mona Lisa paintings, and extraordinary nose plugs known as dat fitted into holes cut in their upper nostrils. Some men also have tattoos. Peace with the Nishis in the 1960s meant the end to that brutal practice, but many older women still wear that.

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