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.

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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…

Tattooing in Arunachal Pradesh- the culture of tribal tattooing

Tattooing in Arunachal Pradesh- the culture of tribal tattooing:

Many tribes of Arunachal Pradesh used to tattoo different parts of the body as a means of personal decoration and in some cases, certain religious or social taboos were there behind the tattooing. The most famous tribes known for tattooing are the Noctes and Wanchos of Tirap district. Nocte men generally did not tattoo their faces or bodies except for a few cases where men were tattooed on the face and the chest. Tattooing of women was common in all Nocte villages. Women were generally tattoed on the arms and the back and the common design was normally big stars with cross lines joining the ends. In some of the areas, girls were tattooed after puberty and in some other cases it was done by the maternal uncle of the girl. Faces of the small girls were tattooed on chin with a diamond and line through it. Besides face tattooing, other parts of the body such as the chest, naval, thighs and calfs were also tattooed with lines and dots.

Amongst the Wanchos, both men and women heavily tattooed their bodies. Tattooing in fact had a very special significance for the Wanchos. Besides being a personal decoration, it had both social and ritual importance. Apart from the rank and social status of a person, different designs of tattooing on different parts of the body signifies the attainment of different stages in life, particularly in case of women. A man from the chief’s family had very elaborate designs all over body, while the tattooing was rather simple in other cases. They had beautiful designs on the neck, throat, chest, arms, back and the stomach and even round the eyes. A head-hunter had special designs on the face and body as marks of bravest parts of their bodies such as chest, arms, back, umbilicus, thighs and calfs were tattooed. Tattooing was a part of the marriage ritual. The first tattooing was done over the umbilicus at the age of 6 or 7 years. Calves were tattooed when the girls attained puberty. When the girls left the house of the parents after marriage, third tattooing was done on the thighs. The last and the fourth tattooing was done above the breasts during the seventh month of pregnancy, or in some cases, after the first child was born. The girls of the chiefs family also got their forearms tattooed. Tattooing of the different parts of the body had different names; that on the different parts of the body had different names; that on the face was called thun hu, on the chest kha hu, on the neck dino hu, on the back tock hu, on the thighs batan hu and so on.

Amongst the Nishis, the art of tattooing was to be found amongst few people of joram area where a perpendicular line was drawn in the middle of the chin, crossed by two horizontal lines, and one line on each cheek connecting the corners of the lips to the ears. Otherwise, tattooing was not done in the Nishi society.

 The Apatanis, a close neighbour of the Nishis, both men and women, used to tattoo their faces, which distinguished them from their neighbours. The men tattooed the face below the mouth. This was of ‘T’ shape on the middle on the lower chin. The tattooing of the women were perpendicular from the forehead to the tip of the nose and five lines on the lower chin vertically done and one horizontal line on the upper portion of the lower chin. All the children were tattooed at the age of 7-8 years.

The Shingpho men used to tattoo their limbs slightly, and the married women were tattooed on both legs from the ankles to the knees in parallel bands.

Amongst the Akas, the art of tattooing was quite common. The women tattooed their faces in a pattern of straight lines running from below the forehead to the chin where it bifurcated into two directions. Other parts of the body were not tattooed. Tattooing was done generally in the early years of girlhood and always before puberty. Men were generally not tattooed.

Amongst the Adis, though tattooing was not common, some tattoo marks could be found amongst some tribes on the forehead or on the nose. The design of these tattoos was usually a cross having a single or double horizontal beam, the vertical line running from the forehead down to the tip of the nose.

PROCESS OF TATTOOING:

The process of tattooing amongst the tribe was a very painful one and demanded great patience and endurance on the part of the person upon whom it was done. Normally, tattooing was done only on a special day fixed by divination which signified its ritual importance. Designs were first drawn with black paint made from the soot over the body and they were picked by thorns of cane. Then the juice of a particular plant mixed with blue colour was applied over the designs or in some case, the colour made from ashes of straws was smeared over the pricked portions. The juice of the plant believed to have healing effects on the wounds. The wounds sometimes became serious, and usually confined the person who could hardly move about for a few days. No medicine was applied but hot fermentation was given for a few days. The persons who performed the tattooing operations, mostly male but in some cases female were considered to be experts in this art; they were mostly paid in kind such as rice, rice beer and meat. Nowadays, the custom of tattooing has almost been given up by the various tribes of Arunachal Pradesh, probably realising the futility of such painful operations and also because of the impact of the outside world.

Myth and origin of the tribes Arunachal Pradesh-THE APATANIS

Apatani Tribe

 THE APATANIS

The Apatanis are settled in the lower Subansiri district of Arunachal and are one of the most advancing tribes of the state. There are no literary sources regarding the origin and migration of the Apatanis and the archaeological evidences are too meagre  to throw however, the Apatanis have preserved different myths and traditions, which throw welcome light on all aspects of their life including their origin and migration.

The Kolyung, Kolo, Wachi and Lipyo are considered as the earlier myths of the Apatanis which deal with the creation of the Universe. These myiths reveal that Abotani was the first ancestors of the Apatanis as well as of the world, who was first transformed into a perfect shape of human being on the earth. It is stated in the myths that the earth and the sky mingled with the rays of the Sun and the water and gave birth to gods, called Chatung and chanbha. These two gods mingled with goddess Chankangrima and Dokarimang who gave birth to Tani (Abutani) and Toro. As per the version of the Apatani priests, a series of Tanis were born and the last tani was known as Neha Tani. The priests furthure narrate that these were three forefathers, namely Kibo-Riba, Bani-Baro and Nichi-Nicha, who formed the paternal lines of Abo Tani. As per the Apatani myths, these three forfathers were generated at a mythical place of Apatanis called Mudo Suppung, which believed to be the present Tibet.

The oral sacred literature of the Apatanis reveals that Wuhi and Iipya Supungs were the earliest mythical places of Apa Tani where various tribes were generated. This if followed by another mythical place called Muddo Supung, where the present Tani tribe generated. The Wuhi and Iipyu Supungs are believed to be located somewhere in the belt of China and Mongolia. From Muddo Supung the Apatanis are said to have migrated to their present habitat at different times. The priests chant the mythical migration routes of the Aptanis during prayer from the border areas of Tibet and China, in the north of Subansiri and Siang district of Arunachal, specifically from the present Tunga, Lassa and Shoka passes. Afterwards, the Apa Tanis are believed to have crossed the rivers Kuru and Kime (Kamala), which flows near the Tsaaipo valley and later on reached the present valley where the ancestors of Apa Tanis settled for few generations. Then they crossed Gyayu and Supu rivers and migrated to the present valley. It is also told that after crossing Kuru and Kime rivers, the original Apatanis splits into three groups, each of which took a different route to the Apatani country. The stages on these routes refer to  some localities in the Nishi and the Miri Hills, north of the Apa Tani country. Each of these three groups of immigrants is believed to be responsible for the foundation of different Apatani Villages.

The folk stories of the Apatanis and the Nishis also reveals that the Apatanis came down from the extreme north of Subansiri and Siang districts of arunachal. According to scholars:’ though local tradition speak of an immigration of the tribes ancestors from a northern direction, these memories can only relate to the last stages of a population movement which may well have changed its course more than once.’

Myth and origin of the tribes Arunachal Pradesh-THE AKAS

The Akas

THE AKAS

The Akas are a small tribal group inhabiting the sub-Himalayan regions of India towards the southern area of the Kemeng district of Arunachal, and they call themselves as Hursso. In fact, the name Aka has been given to them by the people of the plains in Assam, which means a painted, may be because of their custom of painting their faces profusely. Nothing concrete is known about the origin and migration of the Aka Tribe. As per a Hursso tradition, recorded by Dr. Elwin,  long ago there was a man called Awa, who got married to Jusam, the beautiful daughter of the Sun, and out their union were born one son and daughter named Sibji Sao and Sibjim-Sam and they are regarded as parents of all mankind. An Other scholar Sesselmayer remarks that, the Hursso (Akas) do not pretend to be the native inhabitants of the country which they now occupy, and have been unable to account for their real home. He argues that the Akas believe themselves to be the inhabitants of the plains of Assam and that their ancestors were driven out from Partalgose on the banks of the Ghiladhari river, north of bisnath by Krishna and Baral, the famous characters of Mahabharata.

An Other scholar gives another version regarding the original home of the Akas, quoting from an Aka legend that long-long ago all men descended from heaven to earth by means of ladders. While the Assamese and the Akas of the royal blood came down by a golden ladder, the remaining Akas used a silver ladder, besides, the Monpas and the Tibetans were given an iron ladder, while the Nishis and the Adis had to be satisfied with a bamboo ladder. All these people came to the  earth on the Longkapur Hill in the Lohit valley and then scattered in search of land. The akas spent so much time resting and drinking that others got the best of the land and the Akas had to accept what was left. They at first settled at Bhalukpung where on the right bank of the Bhorali river, their two chiefs Natapura and Bayu built their respective capitals. Bayu demanded the beautiful wife of Natapura as a sort of tribute and after a number of adventures the lady with a newly born child arrived at Bayu’s palace. The child Arima grew up to become a great warrior and finally killed his own father by mistake. Overcome by remorse, he migrated to the present country of the Akas and it is from his children that the present day Akas have descended.

It may be noted here that unlike many other tribes of Arunachal, the Aka legends points out that the migration of this tribe followed from south to north. i.e. from the plains of Assam to the Hills.

The Origin and Migration of Adi Tribe Part I- Compensated by the oral tradition of the people in the form of Legends, Myths, Folklores and Sayings etc.

The Origin

The Adis do not have any historical records in the want of a language; but this is compensated by the oral traditions of the people in the form of legends, myths, folklores, proverbs and sayings etc. These oral traditions are reflected in Abangs, Ponungs, Abes etc. The oral religious literature of the Adis is mainly represented by rhapsodies known a Abangs, relating to the mythe of creation, origin of social institutions and history of the people. The Ponungs are nothing but legthy ballads, drawing their themes from Abangs, highlighting the origin of different things including the Adis race itself. The Abes may be considered as the political literature of the people and the term is used to mean the introductory speeches given by the Kebang. An elderly person gifted with powers of good oratory is called the Kebang Abu, who traces the origin and migration of the people of the central zone of Arunachal from Uli, Usha and kumting in Tibet in a poetic language. There are dozens of myths currents among the Adis which talk about their origin and migration. The task of tracing the origin and migration of the Adis was taken over by various foreign scholars in the 19th and the early part of the 20th century.

William Robinson was the first European scholar to draw a connected account of the tribes and, as quoted, the difficulty in lifting up “ the dark veil which conceals the origin of the tribes”. John Butler thinks the Adis,“to be the descendents of the tortar race” by observing their physical features. Father Kreek believe that the Padams stood midway between mongoloid and Caucasian race and referred to a popular tradition about the origin of the padam people. He recollected a story that when the earth was full of mud, God came down from heaven and made two brothers and sisters with a handful of mud. The padams descended from the elder and the Miris from the younger brother. E.T. Dalton also tried to trace the origin of the Padams from an older son of a woman in the beginning of the earth. G.W. Beresford believes that all the Adis acknowledge a common origin from the Bor Abors. G.D.S. Dundar has also tried to trace the traditional origin of the tribes. R.C.R. Gumming refers that all the Adis claim their origin form some race tribes settled a Killing in Bomo-janbo country. According to a popular version,” in the beginning there was only darkness, and out of the union of the sky(Melo) and the earth(Sedi) things were born. Pedong nane who descended from Sedi-Melo were married to Yidum Bole and out of their union was born Donyi, the first man”. Dr. Verrier Elwin has collected some myths referring to Donyi or Tani as the first man on the earth.

Different branches of the Adi families however, have their own myths and traditions regarding their origin and migration. The Padam Minyong myths refer that keyum was the first in the line of creation. After a few generations came sedi who is believed to be the creator of the world. Pedong nane was the sixth generation of Sedi who gave birth to different gods, goddesses, spirits and animals and Donyi or tani was the youngest issues of Pedong Nane. This group of the adis regard Donyi or Tani as the common ancestor of the Adis. It is also believed that Pedong’s son was Dobir who had a son named Dirbo, and he had a number of sons. One of the sons of Dirbo was Bome from whom the Padams descended and the other was Banyo from whom the Minyongs descended. This myth of origin is also prevalent amongs Pasis, Panggis, karkos, Shimongs, Milangs and the Eastyern Adi groups.

 The myths of the Galo group of   Adis trace their origin from Sichi. They believed that after a few generations from Sichi, Tani, the first man was born and it was from him that all the sub-tribes of the Galo groups like the Pailibos, Bokars, Ramos etc.., came into being. The Pailibos claims to be the descendents of Sichi, the mother earth and recounts the story of the creation of different clans of the Pailibos from the descendents of Sichi or Sichang. The Bokars claims their descent from the first man Abo Tani and belives that one of the off-spring of Abo Tani was Dungume from whom runs the direct line of descent of the present day Bokars. The ramos attribute their origin to the union of Medoang (the sky) and Seaching(the earth) and consider Donyi (the sun) and Polo(the moon) as their first issues. As per their oral tradition, Donyi and Polo have gone to stay with medong(the sky) but the ramos have stayed back with their mother Seaching(the earth). It is also held that Jomso was the common forefather of the Ramos, Bokars and Pailibos. In the Galo mythology, Jimi is the creator who created Mrdo(the sky) and sichi(the earth) and from their union started the human race. The first child was Sibuk and one of his descendant was Tusi whose son was Rimi or Tani, the father of the man. Tani is the common father of man, as acknowledged by the Galos.

 

Village Houses Of Arunachal Pradesh

Village House

 

 

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