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, 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.)

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Northeast India's gateway to witness Mising tribe festival on open field

To set forth the rich culture of the Mising people to the world stage ,the chief festival of the tribe Ali-A:yé Lígang has been planned to celebrate with two-day long programmes in the city of Guwahati,the gateway of northeastern region of India.The Ali-A:yé Lígang is basically an agriculture based festival of the Mising Tani tribe of the region. The All Guwahati Mising Kébang(AGMK) ,the organization of the Mising people of the city ,which is organizing the mega event with this objective in mind is planning various programmes to focus the rich cultural aspects of the tribe.Although the festival falls on the first Wednesday of Phagun,observed according to Assamese calendar ,this year the organization has deferred the date of celebration in Guwahati in order to attract more people to the festival cutting across cultural lines.For the first time ever,the city of Guwahati would be witnessing two day event of Ali-A:yé Lígang at the College of Veterinary Science (C.V.Sc)ground in Khanapara on 18 and 19 February,2012.Earlier,the festival was celebrated in the premises of Murong Okum located at Japorigog in the city.The Ali-A:yé Lígang is also seen as an spring festival as it coincides with the season.This is likely to be the biggest ever Ali-A:yé Lígang festival celebrated in Guwahati so far.

Attires,recipes and apong stalls on the venue!
Sources in the AGMK told,the two-day event is all set to shine the Mising tribe's culture, lifestyle and to keep on the spirit of the festival in such an open space of the city.There will be stalls on Mising attires,recipes and drinks as well.Various cultural troupes will perform Mising dances like Gumrag,Léréli,Sélloya in this two-day event.The Mising tribe's love song, popularly known as Oi Ni:tom,will fill the atmosphere of Ali-A:yé Lígang festival.A fashion show with Mising attires will also be organized on 19th February.It is expected that huge number of stalls will precipitate in this spring festival.One Mising youth of the city excitedly told MO that he along with friends are very interested in opening apong(beer) and adin(meat) stalls and they have already asked some women to make stuffs ready for apong during the festival.

AGMK to dedicate cultural function to Oi Appun and Bhupenda
In the two-day programmes,the first and the second night of cultural functions are set to dedicate to Oi Appun Gonesh Pegu and Dr Bhupen Hazarika respectively.Ms Bobita Sharma of 'Bideshot Apun Manuh' fame and chairperson of Assam State Film( Finance and Development) Corporation Limited will inaugurate the first night of cultural event ;and noted writer and editor of Assamese daily ''Amar Asom'' Mr Homen Borgohain will inaugurate the second night.It is to be noted here that the organizer of Ali-A:yé Lígang,the AGMK ,is one of the oldest organization working for Mising people especially in Guwahati.The AGMK was formed in 1968 with the initiatives of noted educationist Prof Tabu Taid ,writer and scholar Late Bhrigumani Kagyung and linguist Prof Nahendra Padun.The AGMK is regarded as the precursor to Mising Agom Kébang(MAK) that came into existence later in 1972 at Dísangmukh,Sivasagar.