Saturday, February 25, 2012

In where villages are known by clans:Ligang experience from Mising villages of Dhakuakhana

This year I enjoyed the initial Ali-Aye Ligang festival on the banks of Charikaria river in where there are number of Mising villages in Dhakuakhana subdivision of Lakhimpur district of Assam.The villages where I visited used to be my ancestral place.If you go towards northeast facing Machkhowa(Dhemaji) from Dhakuakhana,you'll find number of Mising villages along the banks of Charikaria river.Dhakin Chapori in Thekeraguri area is the first Mising village you find on this route which is just around 8 kms from Dhakuakhana town.One interesting fact about Mising villages here is that barring Dakhin Chapori,the villages here,are known by the name of the clans of the Tani people.The roadside village near Thekeraguri is known as Oyan,another there is Delu to the east of Dakhin Chapori,and Padam to the southeast.If you're wondering that Padams are only in Arunachal Pradesh or in the Siang Valley,you're wrong.What I'm writing is nothing new but I must say it is unknown to many that Padams are there among Mising tribe,not just in the Adi tribe among Tani people.Although the Misings called the villages by their clans' name,I don't know what they are named by the non-Mising.It is said that they have another name for their villages.

On February 15,on the first day of Ligang,I along with a cousin witnessed two sites of celebration of the festival in Dhakin Chapori village.What I found there was surprising,people built just a prototype Mising stilt house made of banana coats and an small ploughing ground to initialize the sowing of seeds with sipag,piro and white yarn that was tight round on it.I was looking a different kind of celebration in my life for the first time that was different from Jonai villages,where I grew up.Elders asked for suggestion and assistance from me to look after the event in this particular village.(They said that I should tell them that the kinds that are done in Ligang as in Jonai.)It was too late here at that moment to add more clouts to stick to Ligang norms like that of Jonai.I helped them in initialization of sowing seeds particularly the chantings during Liggod.Things were not all under my control.Elderly women picked up the microphone during the Gumrag dance after sowing.Again,no one was singing Lo:le rhythm.I wanted them to help out but I restrained myself since they were elderly women.The ceremony passed like this where I also blasted some oi nitoms upon request from elders.I was treated with apong in brass bowl and purang apin,the boiled rice in wild cardamom leaves.I thought myself really there are many things to improved among the people even on the issue of national festival.I could sensed the diversity among the same people.How things are different from Jonai?Later ,I told the elders what actually we have seen in Jonai ,and not here.I told them to build at least three prototype houses for the Ligang celebration-the dwelling house,the granary,and the po-yub,i.e.house generally build in the agriculture field.After that I left the spot to look out for more Ligang celebration.We walked on the sand filled road to see the end site village celebration.The same structure was followed here too where both olds and youngs were the revellers.Here,I didn't had the opportunity to add or suggest something because it was the time for feast when I was reaching the celebration site.I found men singing oi nitoms on the mike and women folks dancing to the beats of drums(dum dum) and cymbals(lu-pi).The site was filled with sand layered with green grass on top on the ground that was very beautiful by the side of the Charikaria river.If Misings are portrayed as riparian people,I think this place would be an ideal place that match the words in the literatures.

On the night,we visited the Oyan village.The time was half passed nine.We reached a courtyard where Lotta So:man,the Ligang dance, was on full swing.Beautfully clad Mising damsels were dancing to some male's voice folk song,the oi nitom.We joined the So:man.I found a childhood friend from my village of Jonai who has married a girl from the same place.My friend said,"Pegubhai,as you see there are many things to improve here.Let's help them".At that time,someone from the middle caught my hand and said,"O Magbo,no oi-ni:tom mopa:ye!"(Magbo,actually means son-in-law or an elder who is married to someone's younger sister,you have to sing oi nitom!).I responded the courtesy positively ,and lend my voice to a common oi nitom where all the young boys join in rhythm.The beautifully dressed damsels were dancing as the gas light help the boys to glance the face and the moves of their dear ones.The Oyans here peacefully co-exists with Assamese speaking communities,also maintaining the distinct dialect too.(To be continued.)
Post a Comment

Citizenship questions and inter-ethnic relations in Assam in context of Silapathar incident

Source: Tani Agom Ésar, Guwahati, Mising-Assamese Bilingual fortnightly, June 1, 2017. Language: Mising/ Tani To read the pdf version ...