Sunday, December 18, 2011

The Midnight Call of Spirits:The Strange Story of Pegu Siyeng of Arunachal Pradesh

 Lake of Spirits :The Pegu Siyeng near Yingkiong,Arunachal Pradesh Photo:Dinesh Pegu /TPOK
                  The Pegu Siyeng is consider as once an inhabited place of the Pegu clans of the present day Mising tribe,most of whom are living in to-day's Assam,India.Siyeng literally means lake in Tani language,so it got its name from Pegus who were once in the side of the lake.The beautiful lake of  Pegu Siyeng is located near Yingkiong,the head quarter town of Upper Siang district of present day Arunachal Pradesh.The Siyeng consisted of two lakes previously but it is said that one of the lake was developed for agricultural farming by an influential resident.When Omak Apang ,son of Gegong Apang,the former chief minister of Arunachal,once became an union minister in the centre,there was a bid to develop it a hotspot tourist destination.Elder Pegu clan members told this blogger that the minister efforts led to construction of houses to facilitate lodging for tourists near the lake.
          The surroundings of Pegu Siyeng was improvised from its bare natural state to replenish a better look.However,the houses were soon abandoned for some strange but serious reasons after few years.A caretaker,who was in charge of the newly constructed buildings and living in one the houses by the side of the Siyeng,woke up every midnight from his deep slumber.The reason:the caretaker was awakened by nightmare from none other than the spirits of the Pegu Siyeng.The horrible dreams of midnight due to the call of spirits led to abandoned of  the houses,since then. By teleological assumption,we must called it as a sacred place.May be a customary rites and rituals by Pegu clan will  make free the lake from spirits!Well ,it can be Amarnath or Haridwar for Pegu clan!

             The story about Pegu Siyeng find mentioned in one of Arunachal's former top bureaucrat's autobiography.Rajani Kanta Patir ,who rose to become the chief secretary of the young state of Arunachal during Gegong Apang's tenure,vividly describe in his memoir ''Dawn in the East" the existence of this abode of Pegu clan in this part of Siang belt.Patir hailed from Moukhuwa in Assam's Lakhimpur district and was a cousin of Kaziranga National Park's pioneer Mahi Chandra (Patir)Miri.Patir was a Mising tribe man,the largest group of Tani people.Patir also helped in running the Donyi Polo Vidya Bhawan schools of Arunachal Pradesh.

Note:Pegu is a surname of Mising>Mishing>Miching>Miri> Tani tribe of Northeast India.It is interesting to note that the Pegu surname holders have formed an association called Takam Pegu Opín Kébang(TPOK) few years back to  deal with the aspect of origin and history of the clan.In 2010,the TPOK even hold a mammoth meeting at Akajan near Silapathar in Upper Assam.I'd the opportunity to talk with one of the office bearer of the TPOK once while I was travelling to Pasighat in a night service bus.TPOK men told me that together with Megu,the blood brothers of Pegus on Arunachal side,are making efforts to develop the Pegu Siyeng as protected heritage site with the help of government as well as clan members.This blogger is grateful to Mg Dinesh Pegu and Mg Juwel Pegu for their valuable inputs on Pegu Siyeng.





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