The Golden Casket

Melban Lyngdoh
The Golden Casket
Bloom of a new light,
Gold - as precious as diamond.
Box full of new mystery.
Open it and you will be swallowed,
Ignore it and you will be chased.
Wonders that were never seen
Time and day will fail to cease.
Dark as the starry sky you see,
Feelings that were never heard or felt to spell
You may see it but fail to be felt
You cannot get out until you answer it,
You cannot hear it until you question it.
Once you answer it day will come
You will forget it all, and it will vanish.
You won’t find it,
You won’t see it.
The secret will be revealed for once and forever,
Days will start again from where it stopped.


Manphika Surong
She hides herself, when she’s most beautiful.
She clothes herself, with luminous grace.
Her lustrous desires never ceases,
As she peeks on every face.
She hears the young ones cry,
And the soft moans of the sky.
To her,
Every secret is known.
Every pain unveiled.
She sees the wounds of the little women;
The romantic dates of young lovers.
Some days, it’s murderous attempts.
She can save, not a single soul.
She hears the silence of the city,
And the roar of a man’s heart.
To her,
Every desire is revealed.
Every soul is uncovered.
As she clothes herself with luminous grace.

मुझे बोनसाई नहीं होना

राजकुमार जैन ‘राजन’, चित्तौड़

उस रास्ते की तलाश है
जो बचा सके
संस्कारों की दरकती हुई
सीमा रेखा को
और जो याद दिलाए
लोगों को
क्षणभंगुर अस्तित्व की
मुझे अपनी जिंदगी से
बहुत उम्मीदें हैं
अपने मन की
अबोध शाखाओं में उगे
बड़े-बड़े सपनों को
सच होते देखना चाहता हूँ
मुझमें है उद्भट संघर्षशीलता
उन्मुक्त जिजीविषा
और हिलोरें मारता जुनून
पता नहीं जीवन क्रम
कहाँ टूट जाये
मैं अपने
हिमालयी अहसासों के साथ
देश व समाज के लिए
कांटों से खुद को बचाते हुए
मेहनत के खूब फूल
उगाना चाहता हूँ
सिरहाने पड़े ख्वाबों को
श्रम-मंत्र बनाकर
सफलता का स्वर्णिम
प्रकाश फैलाने के लिए
हमारे सपनों के
पेड़ों की टहनियाँं
छोटी होगी
तो बेवक्त सूख जायेगी
पतझड़ रचने लगेंगे षड्यंत्र
हमारा अपना होने का अर्थ
मिट जाएगा
क्योंकि सत्य सदा सत्य है
बौने सपने देखकर
मुझे बोनसाई नहीं होना!

आजादी अमृत महोत्सव

मुझे बोनसाई नहीं होना



आजादी अमृत महोत्सव


हेमलता गोलछा, गुवाहाटी
आजादी की उमंग दिलों में जगाने को
नव स्वर्णिम युग का उत्थान हुआ।
बिगुल बजा विकास का भारत में
चहुँमुखी उन्नति का सूत्रपात हुआ।
तोड़ पराधीनता की बेड़ियों को
जीवंत लोकतंत्र का निर्माण हुआ।
ग्रामीण विकास योजना की नींव रखी
संविधान के आदर्श स्वरूप का निर्माण हुआ।
शिक्षा को मिला आधार स्तंभ
‘बेटी बचाओ, बेटी पढ़ाओ’ की धारा का प्रवाह हुआ।
खंड खंड में बंटे भारत को अखंड बना
370 धारा का सफाया कश्मीर से हुआ।
आतंकी हमलों का मुँहतोड़ जवाब दिया
सर्जिकल स्ट्राइक का कीर्तिमान नाम हुआ।
मिटाने को भ्रष्टाचार उठाए ठोस कदम
नोट, वोट और खोट में नव चमत्कार हुआ।
सैन्य का सीना चौड़ा, महाशक्ति मिसाइल से
अंतरिक्ष में छलांग से प्रगति क्षेत्र को मकाम मिला।
स्वच्छ भारत अभियान है जोरों पर
‘नमामि गंगे’ से नदियों का जीर्णोद्धार हुआ।
देश विनिर्माण में कड़ियाँ जोड़ दी लाखों
आत्मनिर्भर भारत के स्वप्न का संचार हुआ।
पारदर्शिता है चुनौतिशील है राष्ट्रीय नायक
तीन तलाक मिटा ‘सर्वे भवन्तु सुखिनः’ का आग़ाज़ हुआ।

आजादी अमृत महोत्सव

मुझे बोनसाई नहीं होना



What makes the Lightning

In the early days of the world, when the animals fraternised with mankind, they tried to emulate the manners and customs of men, and they spoke their language.

Illustrations: Agniv Das, Class 7, Heritage Academy High School, Howrah

Mankind held a great festival every thirteen moons, where the strongest men and the handsomest youths danced “sword dances” and contested in archery and other noble games, such as befitted their race and their tribe as men of the Hills and the Forests—the oldest and the noblest of all the tribes.

The animals used to attend these festivals and enjoyed watching the games and the dances. Some of the younger and more enterprising among them even clamoured for a similar carnival for the animals, to which, after a time, the elders agreed; so it was decided that the animals should appoint a day to hold a great feast.

After a period of practising dances and learning games, U Pyrthat, the thunder giant, was sent out with his big drum to summon all the world to the festival. The drum of U Pyrthat was the biggest and the loudest of all drums, and could be heard from the most remote corner of the forest; consequently a very large multitude came together, such as had never before been seen at any festival.

The animals were all very smartly arrayed, each one after his or her own taste and fashion, and each one carrying some weapon of warfare or a musical instrument, according to the part he intended to play in the festival. There was much amusement when the squirrel came up, beating on a little drum as he marched; in his wake came the little bird Shakyllia, playing on a flute, followed by the porcupine marching to the rhythm of a pair of small cymbals.

Illustrations: Agniv Das, Class 7, Heritage Academy High School, Howrah

Every one was exceedingly merry—they joked and poked fun at one another, in great glee: some of the animals laughed so much on that feast day that they have never been able to laugh since. The mole was there, and on looking up he saw the owl trying to dance, swaying as if she were drunk, and tumbling against all sorts of obstacles, as she could not see where she was going, at which he laughed so heartily that his eyes became narrow slits and have remained so to this day.

When the merriment was at its height U Kui, the lynx, arrived on the scene, displaying a very handsome silver sword which he had procured at great expense to make a show at the festival. When he began to dance and to brandish the silver sword, everybody applauded. He really danced very gracefully, but so much approbation turned his head, and he became very uplifted, and began to think himself better than all his neighbours.

Just then U Pyrthat, the thunder giant, happened to look round, and he saw the performance of the lynx and admired the beauty of the silver sword, and he asked to have the handling of it for a short time, as a favour, saying that he would like to dance a little, but had brought no instrument except his big drum.

Illustrations: Agniv Das, Class 7, Heritage Academy High School, Howrah

This was not at all to U Kui’s liking, for he did not want any one but himself to handle his fine weapon; but all the animals began to shout as if with one voice, saying “Shame! ” for showing such discourtesy to a guest, and especially to the guest by whose kindly offices the assembly had been summoned together; so U Kui was driven to yield up his silver sword.

Illustrations: Agniv Das, Class 7, Heritage Academy High School, Howrah

As soon as U Pyrthat got possession of the sword he began to wield it with such rapidity and force that it flashed like leaping flame, till all eyes were dazzled almost to blindness, and at the same time he started to beat on his big drum with such violence that the earth shook and trembled and the animals fled in terror to hide in the jungle.

Illustrations: Agniv Das, Class 7, Heritage Academy High School, Howrah

During the confusion U Pyrthat leaped to the sky, taking the lynx’s silver sword with him, and he is frequently seen brandishing it wildly there and beating loudly on his drum. In many countries people call these manifestations “thunder” and “lightning, ” but the Ancient Khasis who were present at the festival knew them to be the stolen sword of the lynx.

Illustrations: Agniv Das, Class 7, Heritage Academy High School, Howrah

U Kui was very disconsolate, and has never grown reconciled to his loss. It is said of him that he has never wandered far from home since then, in order to live near a mound he is trying to raise, which he hopes will one day reach the sky. He hopes to climb to the top of it, to overtake the giant U Pyrthat, and to seize once more his silver sword.

Agniv Das of Class 7 at Heritage Academy High school at Howrah, West Bengal is a budding artist. He loves to paint, sculpt and is attracted to all forms of visual Art.
He took up online painting classes conducted by Ramakrishna Mission Vivekananda Cultural Centre to hone his talent.

U Swami Vivekananda: U ‘Riewshlur jong ka ri India

Artists of Ramakrishna Mission Vivekananda Cultural Centre, depicting the visit of Swami Vivekananda in Shillong

Ha ka 12 tarik, u kyllalyngkot, 1863, la kha ïa uwei u khyllung bad la khot kyrteng ia u, u Narendranath. Hadien ynda u la rangbah la tip ïa uta u khyllung haka pyrthei da ka kyrteng u Swami Vivekanada u kpa jong u, U Vishwanath Datta bad ka kmie jong u ka Bhuvaneswari- Devi, ki shong ha Calcutta. Ki bahaiing ha sem jong u ki long ki ba riewspah, badonburom bad ba don ka mynsiem isynei ïaki baduk-bashitom. U kpa jong u, u Vishwanath Datta, u long u Nongiasaid ba pawkhmat ha iing Kashari heh ha Calcutta. U Vishwanath, u long u briew u ban ang ban pule ïaka ktien Persian bad English. U ju bang ban pule ïa ki jingrwai ba la thoh u Hafiz. U ju sngewtynnad ruh ban pule ïa ka Bible bad ki kot niam Hindu ba la thoh ha ka ktien Sanskrit. Ka Bhanuveswari Devi, ka kmie u Vivekananda ka long ka briew kaba riewblei katta katta. Dei na kine ki jinglong ha ïing hasem kiba btin lynti ïa ka jinglong khraw u Vivekananda hadien habud.
Kumba ju long lem ki para khynnah, u long u bym lah shah ka kti ka kjat. U bang eh tang ban ïaleh kai bad leh sngewbha. Hynrei, wat la katta ruh kiei kiei kiba kynja mynsiem ki ju ring ïa ki jingmut jingpyrkhat jong u, khamtam ha ki jingpyrkhat ba jylliew ba kynja niam. Ki jingiathuhkhana, na ka Ramayana bad Mahabharata kiba la ïathuh da ka kmie jong u, ki ngam jylliew na ka jingmut jingpyrkhat jong u. Ki kam shlur, ki jingisynei ia ki ba rangli, bad ka jingshahshitom jong kito kiba wad ïa U Blei, ki shoh jingmut bha ïa u wat la u dang long tang u khynnah.
Kum u khynnah samla, u Narendranath, u long u babha briew ha ka dur ka dar, ka rynïeng rynñiot, ka sur ba sngewthiang bad u don ka jabieng ba proh. Haba u dang pule ha College, u ju sngewtynnad ban pule ia ki rukom pyrkhat ki nongsepngi. Kane ka la pynlong ïa u ba un long u ba da tohkit bniah bha ïa kiei kiei baroh; bad ban pynshongñia ïaki katkum ki daw ba paw shabar. Hapoh ka mynsiem jong u, kine kiei kiei ki ju ïai khih kynting kum ki dew jong ka duriaw. U ju ïalang bad bun ki riewsaid niam ban pynshisha ïa ka jingdon jong u Blei. Hynrei kane kam pynhun eiei ïa ka mynsiem ba thrang jong u. Kita ki jingiasaid, jingtohkit jong u kim lah ban pynshai ïa u ba “U Blei u long aiu?” Khatduh, u la kynmaw ïa ki ktien jong uwei u nonghikai jong u, u Profesor William Hastie, ba don uwei u Riewkhuid ha shnong Dakshineswar, harud nong ka sor Calcutta. Ha ka snem 1881, U bakha jong u, u Rama Chandra Datta u la pynshlur ïa u Narendranath ban leit ïakynduh ïa une u Riewkhuid, uta u dei u Sri Ramakrishna. Haba u Narendranath u la ïakynduh, u la kylli, “Kynrad, phi la ju ïohi ïa u Blei?” U Sri Ramakrishna u la jubab, “Haoid, Nga la ïohi ïa u kumjuh kumba nga iohi ïa phi mynta, hynrei tang ba kham shynna. ” Ki jingartatien jong u Narendranath mynta baroh ki la jah noh. U la pynkhreh ïalade ban long noh u nongbud jong u Sri Ramakrishna.
Haba u Narendranath u la long u nogbud nongsynran ïa u Sri Ramakrishna, u Sri Ramkrishna u la tynjuh bunsien ïaki jingmut jingpyrkhat u Narendranath. Kumjuh ruh u Narendranath u ju tynjuh ïa ka bor mynsiem u kynrad jong u. Suki-suki u Narendranath u la aiti lut met bad mynsiem ha la u Kynrad. U Sri Ramakrishna u la pynthanda jai ïa ka mynsiem ba phaloh jong u nongbud ba khynnah jong u. U la ïalam na ka jingartatien sha ka jingshisha. Nalor kine kiei kiei baroh kiba u Ramakrishna u la leh na ka bynta u Narendranath; hynrei dei ka jingieit jong u Kynrad kaba la lah ban jop ïa u Narendranath bad ma u ruh kumjuh u la siew kylliang da ka jingieit.

Yn dang bteng

Ka Sarada Devi: Ka Kmie Bakhuid

Ka ba bteng

Haba ka Sarada ka la dap khadphra snem ka rta ka la kwah ban leit jngoh ïa u lok jong ka u ba don ha Dakshineshwar. Ka la bna ba u Sri Ramakrishna u la lamwir bad kumta ka la kwah ban ïakynduh ïa u da lade hi; bad kumta ka la leit ryngkat bad u kpa jong ka bad ki para lok de da ka kjat ha u bnai Lber jong ka snem 1872.
Kumta ka la poi ka aïom ka ba Ka Sarada, lane ka Kmie Bakhuid kumba ngi khot, ka la sah ha Dakshineshwar kumba khadlaisnem bad kumta ka la san na ka jinglong khynnah sha ka jinglong rangbah bha ha ka liang ka met bad kumjuh ruh ha ka liang ka jingmut jingpyrkhat. Ka ïoh ïa ka jinglong mynsiem ka ba khraw bad ba paka bha bad dei ïa kane ba ngi kwah ban thoh ha kane ka kot. Ka bor mynsiem ka kham ïar bad kham jylliew ban ïa ka bor pyrkhat, kumba ka sngi ka pynshai ïa kiei kiei baroh pynban ka don jngai na ki bad kumta ruh ki jingpyrkhat jong ki riewkhuid ki long ki ba jylliew katta katta. Ka jingnang jingstad jong u, lah ban ïohi ha ka jingim ba man la ka sngi hynrei haka juh ka por ym lah ban shemphang ïa ki, bad dei nakane ba ïa ka jingim jong ka Kmie Bakhuid ruh ym lah ban batai.
Ka tang shu poi ha Dakshineshwar ka Kmie Bakhuid ka la shem ba wat u Sri Ramakrishna, u ba lah long u ‘riewblei ba shisha pynban u dang ïai kynmaw ïeit hi ïa ka kumba ki dang shong ha Kamarpukur ha ki saw snem mynshuwa. Ki jinglehraiñ jong ka baroh ki la duh bad ka la sdang ban leh shitom ban pynïoh ïa ki jingdonkam jong u ha ka liang ka met, bad ban ïoh pdiang pat na u ïa ka spah ba kynja mynsiem ba u la lum lyngba ki snem ba la leit baroh.
Shi por ka la shong la sah ryngkat bad u ha kajuh ka kamra bad ka la thiah ha kajuh ka jingthiah, hynrei pynban kine shijur ki ïai long sotti hi kum kiwei kiwei ki ‘riewkhuid bapawnam ki ba shong ha ki krem, lane kum ki khyllung ha ka pneh ka kmie. Ha kaba nyngkong u Sri Ramakrishna u la kylli ïa ka ‘Hato phi kwah ban ring ïa nga sha ka jinglong ba kynja pyrthei?’ Em! Ka la jubab, Nga la wan ban long tang kum ka nongïarap bad ka paralok ha ka jingim ba kynja mynsiem jong phi. ’ Bad ka la kylli biang pat sa maka ïa u, ‘Kumno phi sngew ïa nga? U la ong, ‘Ka Kmie ïa kaba la shonshap ha ka ïingmane, Ka Kmie ka ba kha ïa nga bad phi lang ha kajuh ka por. ’ U Sri Ramakrishna u sngewthuh bha ïa ka jinglong badonburom bad u la ong shaphang jong ka ‘Lada kan nym long kaba bha bad kaba khuid, mano ban tip ba nga lah ban duh ïa la ka jong ka bor ïaishah ha ka jinglong lok bad ka?’
U Sri Ramakrishna u lah ong shuh shuh ba ka jingshong kurim ka mut ka jingïatylli kawei ka mynsiem. Ha u Jylliew jong ka snem 1872 ha ka sngi mane ïa ka Blei Phalaharini Kali, u la pynlong ka jingmane ïa ka kmie ba riewblei ha la ka kamra lajong. Ka la dei ha ka por khyndai baje mynmiet. U la phah ïa ka Kmie Bakhuid ban shong haka jaka hakaba la buh ïa ka dur blei. Nangta ryngkat bad ka jingkñia u la mane ïa ka kum ka kmie jong kiei kiei baroh. Shen shen ka Kmie Bakhuid ka la ïohi ïa ki jingmaia ba kynja blei bad kane ka la pynlong ïa ka ban klet noh shisyndon ïa ka pyrthei bad ïa kiei kiei ki ba don ha ka, haba ka dohnud bad ka mynsiem jong ka ki la leit tang ha kaba pyrkhat ïa u Blei. U Sri Ramakrishna u buhti ïa la ki jong ki jingkñia jingkhriam ha ka Kmie Bakhuid bad kane ka la pynlong ïa u ban kheit ïakita ki soh ka jingsngew shitylli bad u Blei. Kane ka jingleh jong ki ka la pynlong ïa ka pyrthei ban khmih bha ïa ka jingshakri ïa u Blei dei ban aiti ym tang da ki ktien bad jingduwai hynrei ryngkat bad ki kam kiba ngi ngi leh ha la ka sngi. Kane ka dei ka lynti ka ba khraw ka ban pynsah jingkynmaw ha ka pyrthei ïa ki jingleh ba la pruid lynti da u Sri Ramakrishna bad ka Kmie Bakhuid.
Da ki spah snem ki kynthei jong ka Mei-ri India ki dei ban shah shibun kiei kiei, kum kaba duh ïa ka jingnang jingstad, ka jingshah ban beiñ ha ka liang ka ïmlang sahlang bad kane ka la khang lad shibun ïa ïa ki ban roi ban san shaphrang bad ban pynpaw ïa kiei kiei kiba don ha ki.
Ngim lah ban len ba u Sri Ramakrishna u long u ba sngewthuh bha ïa kane ka jingkhanglad. Dei na kane ka daw ba u shah shitom bad kit khia bha naka bynta ki kynthei, bad dei kane kaba la pynpyrkhat ïa ngi ba haba u mane ïa ka Kmie Bakhuid, bad ba u ai ki jingainguh thang, ym namar ba ka long ka kmie ba kynja blei hynrei lyngba jong ka u mut khamtam eh ïa ki kynthei jong ka ri India bad jong ka pyrthei hi baroh kawei. Kum u soh jong kane ngi ïohi ba shibun na ki kynthei jong ka ri India ki la kyndit bynriew, bad ngi bad ngi kyrmen ba kane ka jingkyndit jingmut kan pynlah ïa ki ban kit khlieh ïa ki kam ym kiba dei tang ha ïing ha sem hynrei ha ka jingim ba ïa dei bad ka pyrthei hi baroh kawei; bad da ka bud ïa ki dienjat jong ka Kmie Bakhuid kin lah ban long ki kmie jong ka jaidbynriew.
U Sri Ramakrishna u la pyni shibun kiei kiei ïa ka Kmie Bakhuid shaphang ka jingim ba kynja niam, bad dei da ka jingïalam lynti jong u, ka la lah ban leh ïa kiei kiei ki ba kynja mynsiem bad ban pynlut ïa ki por mynstep bad janmiet ruh ha kaba duwai. Ka ju khie thiah ha ka por lai baje mynstep bad ka leit sum sha ka wah Ganga bad nangta ka pynlut ïa ka por mynstep baroh ha kaba duwai bad teng teng ka ju klet ïa ka pyrthei. Ka la ong, ‘Ha ka por ba shai bnai nga ju phai ïa la ki khmat sha u bnai ban duwai arti arjat’, “Ah Trai, ka don ka jingthoh dak ha u bnai hynrei wat ai ban don ka jingthoh dak ha ka jingmut jong nga”. Ka la ong ruh, ‘Lada mano mano ruh kin aiti lut ha kaba duwai, kin lah ban ïohi ïa u Blei ha la ka dohnud bad ban ïohsngew ïa ka jingsawa jong u’.
Ka jingim jong ka ha baroh ki liang ka long kaba ïtynnad bad shida. Ka long kaba lehraiñ bad ba leh khia thew, bad ka im jar jar ha la i kamra rit bad bunsien ki briew kim ju da kham tip ïa ka ba don ha ïingmane. Ïa ka jingbam jong ka la buh ha kajuh ka kamra, bad ka leh ïing shetja artad hangta. Ïa ka baranda ka ba don sawdong ka kamra, la ker da ki jingker kiba jrong kiba la shna da u siej. Hangne ka shong ka sah, ka thiah ka dem, ka trei ka ktah, ka mane bad duwai. Ki kynthei ki ba riewspah jong ka Calcutta kim ju rung ha ka kamra jong ka. Ki shu khangoid bad ong, ‘Katno i long i kamra i babit na ka bynta i khynnah rit ba bha. Ka i kumba ka im ka jingim ba la shah pynryngkang par kum ïa ka Sita’.
Ka Kmie Bakhuid ka ju phikir bha ïa ka jingdonkam jong u Sri Ramakrishna ha ka liang ka met kum ba ki ju leh ki kynthei Hindu ïa la ki lok. Da lade hi ka shet bad ai jingbam ïa u kum ïa i khyllung rit. Ka shakri hok ïa la ka kiaw tymmen bad ka ïa leh katba lah ban pynhun ïa ka. Hadien pat ka lah hap ban shet na ka bynta kin nongbud ruh bad bunsien ka hap ban leh ha ka por ka ba la dier. Ka hap ban shet ruh shibun ki jingbam bad ban khylliap tympew. Ka hap shet slem ïa ka dud namar ba u Sri Ramakrishna u bang ïa kaba la ih bha. Kam ju pynsyrwa ei ïa ka por bad ka hap ban leh laiphew jait ki jait kam, kum kaba ñiad lanten, kaba ai khubor ïa ki nongbud haba u Sri Ramakrishna um don bad ka shna tyllai na u sai nalia ban wah ïa ki khiew.

Yn dang bteng

Ki Kyntien Ba Kyntang U Ramakrishna

Image: Bijayananda Biswal

Ka ba bteng

Kynrad bad u Nongbud
Rymphang 1882
U la kren ïa kine ki ktien khamtam shaphang u khynnah samla ba 19 snem ba la tip kyrteng kum u Narendranath 4. Uba hadien la tip ha ka pyrthei baroh kum u Swami Vivekananda, uba la pule college bad uba la nang la sngewthuh bha ïa ki jinghikai ka niam Brahmo Samaj. Ki khmat jong u ki long kiba phyrnai, ki ktien jong u ki long kiba dap mynsiem bad u don ka dur kaba i-shongkun ha ka jingthrang kum u nongwad ïa ka jingieid jong u Blei.
M: u la tharai ba ka jingïatainia ka la long shaphang ka jinglong riewpyrthei, kiba ñiewpoh ïa kito kiba sliang ïa kiei kiei kiba kynja mynsiem. U Kynrad u la ïathuh khana shaphang bun bah ki jaitbynriew ba kum kita ha pyrthei, bad shaphang kumno ban pynsngewthuh ïa ki.
Kynrad (ha u Narendra): “Kumno phi sngew shaphang jong ka? Ki riew pyrthei ki kren laiphew jait shaphang ki briew kiba im ka jingim ba kynja mynsiem. Hynrei khmih shane! Haba u hati u ïaid shilynter ka surok, ki ksew ne ki mrad barit ki wiar bad kyrkait ha la ki sur nadien jong u, hynrei u hati um patiaw ei ei ïa ki. Lada ki briew ki kren sniew ïa phi, kumno phin ong ïa ki?”
Narendra: “Ngan shu mutdur ba ki ksew ki wiar ïa nga. ”
Kynrad (phuh samrkhie): “Oh, em! Phim dei ban pyrkhat jngai katta katta, ko khun jong nga (ki ïarkhie). U Blei u don ha ki jingthaw baroh. Hynrei phi lah ban ïa lok tang bad ki briew kiba bha, phi dei ban kiar na ki ‘riew bymman. U Blei u don ruh ha u khla, hynrei phim lah ban kdup ïa u khla (kren ia rkhie). Phi lah ban kylli, Balei phi phet ïap na u Khla, uba long ruh u jingpynpaw jong u Blei? Ka jubab ka long, “Kito kiba kyntu ïa phi to phet krad ki dei ki juh ki jingthaw ne jingpynpaw jong u Blei – te balei phin shahshkor ïa ki?”
“To ngan ïathuh ïa phi kawei ka khana. Ha kawei ka khlaw la shong uwei u riewkhuid uba la don bun bah ki nongbud. Ha kawei ka sngi u la hikai ïa ki ban shem ïa u Blei ha ki jingthaw baroh bad da kaba sngewthuh ïa kane, ban nguh ngon ïa ki baroh. U wei u nongbud u la leit ha kawei ka khlaw ban lum diengïap na ka bynta ka jinglehniam da ka ding bakyntang. Kyndit u la ïohsngew ïa ka jinglynniar. Phet kloi sharud! U hati lamwir u la wan. Baroh lait noh uta u nongbud jong uta u riewkhuid ki la mareh pynstet. U la pyni daw ba u hati ruh u long u Blei ha la ka jong ka dur. Te, balei ban phet krad na u? U la ïeng hajuh khlem khih, u la dem ha khmat jong uta u mrad bad u la sdang ban rwai ïaroh ïa u. U mahut u la pyrta: “Phet sharud! Phet sharud! Hynrei u nongbud um shym la khih. Uta u mrad u la patrong ïa u da u luta, u bret ïa u sharud bad u la ïaid la ka jong ka lynti. Ba la shah pynmynsaw bad pynmong ha u hati, u nongbud u la thiah ha madan khlem tipbriew shuh. Tang shu ïohsngew ïa kaei kaba la jia, u nonghikai jong u bad ki para-nongbud jong u ki la wan mareh sha u bad rah ïa u sha ïingtrep bashong uta u riewkhuid. Da ka jingïarap jong ki dawai shen u la tip-briew pat. La don ba kylli ïa u. Haba phi la tip ba u hati u la wan – te balei phim phet noh na kata ka jaka? ‘Hynrei, u la ong, ’ u nonghikai jongngi u la ïathuh ïa ngi ba u Blei da lade hi u lah ban kylla ïalade ha kino kino ki dur kumba long ki briew. Namarkata, da kaba pyrkhat ba u Blei ha ka dur u hati u la wan shata. Ngam shym la phet satia. Ha kaba kum kane, u nonghikai u la ong; “Hooid, ko khun jong nga, ka long kaba shisha ba u Blei-hati u la wan, hynrei u Blei-mahut u la mai tyngeh ïa phi ban ïeng hangta. Baroh ki long ki jingthaw ne jingpynlong jong u Blei, te balei phim shym la shaniah ïa ki ktien jong u mahut? Phi la dei ban sngapthuh ïa ki ktien jong u Blei-mahut (ïarkhie).
La ong ruh ha ki jingthoh bakyntang ba ka um ka long ka dur jong u Blei. Hynrei khyndiat eh ka um ka biang ban pyndonkam ha kaba leh jingduwai, don ka um na ka bynta ban bta khmat, don tang ban pyndonkam haba sait ba khlieng ne ban sait ki jaiñ ba jakhlia. Kane ka jait um ba khatduh ym lah ban pyndonkam haba dih ne na bynta ki kam bakyntang. Ha kajuh ka rukom, khlem artatien u Blei u don ha ki mynsiem baroh – kiba khuid bad ki bym khuid, kiba hok bad ki bym hok, ki bym khuid, kiba dakaid bad kiba tngit. Um dei ban ïajuh ïajan bad ki. Katto katne na ki, u lah ban ïa kylliang ktien, hynrei bad kiwei pat um dei ban pynïajan. U dei ban kiar na kum kita ki jait briew.
U Nongbud: “Babu; Lada u riew-dakaid u don jingmut ban leh sniew, ne u leh shisha kumta, te ngi dei ban shu sngap pat de?’
U Kynrad: “U briew uba im ha ka imlang-sahlang u dei ban pyni ïa ka bor jingsngew-pyrshah ban ïada ïalade na ki riew bymman. Hynrei um dei pat ban pynmong-pynmynsaw ïano ïano ne khmih lynti ba un don jingthmu basniew ba u mut ban leh ïa u.
“Shahshkor ïa kane ka jingïathuh khana. Don katto katne na ki khynnah ap masi kiba ju ialam pynbam phlang la ki masi ha kawei ka jaka ba shong uwei u bseiñ ba don ka bih basniew tam. Man la u khynnah u la phikir bha ïalade namar ba ki tieng ïa u. Ha kawei ka sngi uwei u riew wad blei katba u dang ïaid hangta ha madan phlang. Ki khynnah ki la mareh sha u bad ki la ong, ‘Babu badonburom, sngewbha wat leit sha kato ka lynti. U bseiñ ba khlaiñ bih tam u shong hangto. To, kan lei, ko ki khun baieid jong nga? La phai ktien uta u riewwad blei (brahmachari). Ngam ju tieng ïa u bseiñ. Nga nang katto katne ki ‘tien jadu. Da kaba ong kumta, u la ïaid la ka lynti ha kata ka madan phlang. Hynrei kita ki khynnah ap masi, ba ki tieng eh, kim shym la bud lang ïa u. Hamar kata, ka por u bseiñ u la wan mareh shaphang jong u da kaba pynieng la u ryndang. Mar iawan hajan, u la khlei ki ‘tien jadu bad u bseiñ u la dem ha ki kjat jong u kum u wieh. U riew wadblei(brahmachari) u la ong, khmih shane, balei ba phi mlien ban lehsniew ïa kiwei? Ale hangne, ngan ai iaphi ki ‘tien kyntang. Da kaba iai kynnoh ïa kita phin nang ban ieid ïa u Blei. Da kaba leh kumta, phin sngewthuh ïa U bad kumta phin lait na ka jingbitar. ” Da kaba ong kumta, u la hikai ïa u bseiñ ïa ki ‘tien bakyntang bad u la kyrkhu ïa u ha ka jingim bakynja mynsiem. U bseiñ u la dem-nguh ha khmat u nonghikai bad u la ong. ‘Ko nonghikai badonburom, kumno ngan pyrshang ïa ki lynti bakynja mynsiem, ‘Ïai ong ïa ki kyntien bakyntang, la ong u nonghikai, ‘bad wat pynmong-pynmynsaw ïano ïano. Ha shuwa ba un leit noh u riew wadblei (brahmachari) u la ong. “Ngan sa wan ïa kynduh biang ïa phi. ”
“Hadien katto katne sngi, ki khynnah ap masi ki la ïohi ba u bseiñ um puh shuh. Ki la ïa kawang maw ïa u. Um pyn-i jingdom ei ei, u leh ïalade kumba u dei u wieh pynban. Ha kawei ka sngi uwei na ki khynnah u la leit hajan uta u bseiñ, u la bat ïa u na u tdong, bad u la pynking ïa u sawdong sawdong, lympat bunsien ha madan bad u la bret ïa u. U bseiñ u la prie snam bad u la ïapler. U la eh tnen. Um lah khih shuh. Ba kumta ki la pyrkhat ba u la ïap. Ki khynnah ki la leit noh la ka jong ka lynti.
“Slem slem ynda la miet u bseiñ u la khie im na kaba ïapler. Suki suki bad da ka jingshitom kaba jur u la lah ban par ïalade haduh ban da poi hapoh la ka thliew, ki shyieng jong u ki la kheiñ bad ba um lah khih ne par bha shuh. Bun bun sngi ka la ïaid. U bseiñ u la ring raikhoh bad sah sa tang ka snep. Hateng-hateng por mynmiet u mih shabar ban wad jingbam. Namar ba u tieng ïa ki khynnah ap masi, um ju mih shuh na la thliew ha ka por mynsngi. Naduh ba u la ïohpdiang ïa ki kyntien bakyntang na la u nonghikai, u la sangeh na kaba pynmynsaw ïa kiwei pat. Ban pynim ïalade u la bam da ki jaboh-jabaiñ, ki sla-dieng, da ki soh ba hap nalor dieng.
“ Hadien kumba shisnem ei ei, uta u riew wadblei (brahmachari) u la wan ïaid biang na kata kajuh ka lynti bad u la kylli shaphang u bseiñ. Ki khynnah ap masi ki la ïathuh ïa u ba u la ïap. Hynrei um shym la ngeit ïa ki. U latip ba u bseiñ un ym pat ïap khlem ïoh kheit ïa u soh jong ki kyntien bakyntang kiba u la kyrkhu ïa u. U la lap ïa ka lynti kaba ïalam sha ka jaka ba u shong bad da kaba wad shitom shane shatai, pyrta ïa ka kyrteng jong u ba u la jer ïa u. Da kaba ïohsngew ïa ka sur ktien u nonghikai lajong, u la mih shabar na la ka thliew bad u la nguh-dem ha khmat jong u da ka jingsngew burom. “ Kumno phi long? La kylli u riew wadblei (brahmachari). Nga khlaiñ babu, la jubab u bseiñ. Hynrei u nonghikai u la kylli, ‘balei phi ring raikhoh katne katne? ‘U bseiñ u la jubab, “Babu badonburom, phi la hukum ïa nga ban ym pyn-mynsaw ïano ïano ruh. Kumta, nga la im tang da ki sla-dieng bad ki soh. Lehse ka la pynlong ïa nga ban kham raikhoh. ”
“U bseiñ u la imsngi ha ka jingim bakhuid, um lah shuh kumno ban dom ïano ïano ruh. U lah klet lut nadong shadong ba ki khynnah ap masi ki la jan pynïap ïa u.
“U riew-wadblei (brahmachari) u la ong, ‘kam lah ban long ba tang na ka daw ka bam ba phin raikhoh haduh katne. Dei ban don da kawei pat ka daw ruh. Pynleit jingmut khyndiat, ‘Nangta, u bseiñ u la kynmaw ba ki khynnah ki la pyn-sahngoh ïa u ha khyndew, u la ong. Hooid, babu ba donburom, mynta nga la kynmaw. Ki khynnah ha kawei ka sngi ki la lympat tyngeh ïa nga ha khyndew. Ki dang bieit ki bapli. Kim shym la poi pyrkhat ba haduh katno nga la kylla ka jingmut-jingpyrkhat. Kumno ki lah ban tip ba ngan ym puh ne pynmynsaw ïano ïano? U riew-wadblei (brahmachari) u la shla. Khlemraiñ ïaphi. Phi la bieit haduh katta katta? Phim tip kumno ban ïada ïalade? Nga la ong ïa phi ba phim dei ban puh, hynrei nga khlem khang ne mana ïa phi ban pyrsad-pyntieng. Balei ba phim pyntieng ïa ki da kaba pyrsad?.
“Te, phi dei ban pyrsad-pyntieng ïa ki riewsniew. Phi dei ban pyntieng ïa ki lym kumta kin pyn-mynsaw ïa phi. Hynrei phim dei ban puh pyn-mynsaw ïa ki, ym dei ban puh pyn-mynsaw ïa kiwei pat. ”

yn dang bteng

Singpho Royal Family of Bisagaon

Dr. Srutimala Duara

Margherita, a small town in Upper Asom, where tea-gardens roll up and down spreading lush greenery, takes one’s breath away. Hiten Bora, the then SDO had a lovely bungalow, in the midst of a tea-garden. We were there on his invitation, enjoying his hospitality, when he asked us if we were interested in going to a Singpho village. I jumped at the chance of visiting a tribal village. I have this fascination for villages, meeting different people, perhaps it’s the blood of my anthropologist father in me. 

Bisagaon is a Singpho village. I had heard about tribal villages from my father, Bhuban Mohan Das. I was translating my father’s articles to be compiled into a book “The Diary of an Anthropologist” and in its process I got to know about different villages and different communities. I had also gathered some second hand knowledge about the Singphos. So, when I got the chance to visit a Singpho village, I was thrilled.

Just opposite Ledo coal mines a narrow path ran down. Our car followed that track. A big tea-garden loomed ahead. We steered along the passage through the green tea shrubs. Wherever we cast our eyes there were just green tea bushes, the looming sirish trees and the smell of the tea leaves. A never-ending field of tea bushes, as if we were lost amidst the greenery. At one point of time the car halted. A narrow river blocked our path. We got down from the car. We found some men waiting for us on the opposite bank of the river. The Singpho king was informed of our visit and so he had sent men to guide us. One of them was the Gaonburha, the village head of Bisagaon. We crossed the river on a boat. Two men walked ahead leading us to the royal palace while Gaonburha walked behind us. We were to cover some distance on foot to the royal house. The fields were bare with only the stubbles sticking out of what were at one time green meadows. Harvest been over the crops were now stored safe in the granaries. Walking over the barren ground for some time we reached the king’s house.

A big chang-ghar, a house on bamboo stilts greeted us. A wide green field with ranges of hills all around and in front of us the big chang-ghar. The house seemed to merge in that natural surrounding. We walked up the wooden ladder. The verandah was made of dried leaves. Bare-footed we walked into a big room. The floor was of wood. Horns of a deer adorned the wall. The house seemed to speak of a past history. But modern possessions too were accommodatef. At one corner of the room was a television set.

We walked into another room. A long mattress was laid on the floor. Covering it was a Jaipuri bed sheet.  We sat on it. A dwarfed table was laid before us and before each seat was a brass pot, a flat bowl and an empty glass. The pot was filled with water. We could pour water from the pot and wash our hands and faces into the big flat bowl. 

The king sat opposite us. There was no mattress under him, only a rectangular piece of cloth. Above him was a rack on the wall where some English books found their place of importance. 

When we asked him about his children he said he had five sons and seven daughters of which two were dead. 

The king spoke about a lot of things. He was not a king now. There was no kingdom, hence no king too. But his grandfather was the king of that region called Bisagaon. They were Singpho people, their original home being Burma. To this date there were still relatives and friends in Burma. At one point of time there were no boundaries between Burma and India. They crossed hills and valleys and entered India from Burma to settle in Bisagaon. Till the days of his grandfather there were constant visits to and from Burma. But no one needed any pass to visit Burma, he said somewhat regretfully. “We may live in the plains, but we all are people of the hills. No matter how long one cuts ways to make roads, it will lead to the hills.” The king said philosophically, “There is no other way. Hence, it’s no use showing our backs to the hills.”

“Have you noticed one thing?” the king asked with a twinkle in his eyes. “There is no crow in this area.”

True, this place had no crows. It was only when the king pointed out that we realised that there were no crows. He gave the reason too. “Tipam mountains are very powerful. If any crow crosses that hill then it is sure to fall sick and die. The mountain God does not allow any crow to cross the range.”

They seemed to have a kind of fear and respect for the mountains. 

“If you happen to show the rice filled bamboos towards the mountain god he gets very angry. He sends down rain and thunder in his fury.” He meant the bamboos that were being used to steam rice.

When we discussed the problem of drugs among the present generation, and asked if his youths were falling into such troubles, the king smiled and said, “There is a story here too. There was a king. He had a daughter. She was Kani, i.e. blind. So, no youth came forth to marry her. She was very sad and cursed before dying – ‘No one was attracted towards me when I was alive, but after my death every one will fall for me. No one will be able to resist me.’ When Kani died, she turned into a beautiful flower. Whosoever gets attracted towards her can never leave her.”

Poppy flowers are called Kani in Assamese. We couldn’t help laughing at the way he narrated the story in reply to our curiosity regarding the youths of Bisagaon and their attraction towards drugs. It was quite a diplomatic response too.

Meanwhile, his daughters came out and put before each of us a bottle of Xaspani, i.e. home-made liquor, and a plate of pork. The king said, “This white xaspani is not at all strong. Very good for health.” We were given some chutney to have with the pork. This cuts down the adverse effects of the pork fats. 

The Singhphos eat their food before sunrise and after sunset. “There is a reason behind this,” said one of the king’s men. He went on to explain the reason. Long time ago, when people used to live a different kind of a life, when they were more intent in gaining territories for themselves and their clan, at that time whenever they would cook and the smoke was seen from far, the enemies would get to know that there were settlers in that area and they would invade. In order that the enemies could not see from far the smoke rising out from the chang-ghar, they never cooked anything when there was light. This tradition continued to date.

It was time for our lunch. The girls put two bundles of rice wrapped in leaves on each of our plates. Then came the small bowls for each of us with chicken curry, fish curry, mashed fish, three or four types of vegetables.  On opening the leafy bundles an appetizing aroma arose. However, one bundle contained so much of rice that we couldn’t even finish it. How were we to eat two bundles? When I said that one bundle would have been more than enough one of the girls said, “We are not supposed to serve just one pack. Even if you don’t eat from the other pack we have to serve two. This is our custom.”

The girls who served us wore cloths tightly round their heads so as to cover their hair. One of the girls said, “When we cook and also when we serve we have to tie our head in this manner so that no hair falls into the food.” 

After lunch I went to see their kitchen. It was a big room with a cooking fireplace in the middle. A very big chang, i.e. a hanging platform, was over the fireplace with provisions to store things on it. A wooden staircase ran down from one side of the kitchen to a neat vegetable plot.  Till the eyes could go there was a stretch of paddy field, now only with the stubbles sticking out. 

When we were about to take our leave I stood below the house staring at the structure. A beautifully built large chang-ghar. At one time the king had ruled his kingdom from this very place. The king came out with his wife and said that she did everything, right from cooking to working in the paddy fields. My mind clouded as I looked at the queen. She did all her work silently. But she was the queen, even though there was no kingdom today. She was in the same position as the queen of yesteryears. Then why did she have to work so hard? When I voiced my thoughts, the king said, “I brought her with my money. I have paid for her. I have not brought her empty-handed. If I had brought her without giving anything I would be damned in hell. I have bought her and so she is mine. She has to work.”

I thought of the dowry system in the other parts of India. There is no dowry system in Asom and the rest of the northeast, at least it was not heard of till recent times when people got to know about the system through media. Even then there are just stray cases in this region. But in the rest of India the bride’s family has to pay quite a lot to the groom’s family as dowry. When one ponders over what the Singpho king had said, then the boy actually belongs to the girl’s family, being bought with money. So, the boy should work under the girl. But things do not happen that way.

Once again we walked along the stubble field. This time the king, one of his daughters, two sons, Gaonburha and the two men who had come to fetch us from the riverside walked with us. 

At a distance was a temple. The daughter pointed at it and said, “It’s a Buddhist temple. During Bihu festival, the idol of Buddha is taken out and put on a high place. The people pour water over the idol and also throw water on each other. Hence, this Bihu is known as Pani (Water) Bihu. There’s a lot of merry-making on this occasion.”

The Singphos are Buddhist. Though they eat meat they do not kill any animal themselves. But the son informed us that at one time down history an elephant was sacrificed every year from the royal house. During the passage of time the elephant was replaced by a lamb and finally by a hen. While talking about hen, they said that the head of the hen should always be offered to the most respectable person. And for the Singphos their maternal uncle was the most highly regarded person. During feasts the heads of the chicken should be given to the maternal uncle of the family.

The king’s daughter told me that girls and boys worked equally hard in the fields as well as in the house. I asked, “Can your brothers cook?” to which the daughter said, “My brothers have to work in the kitchen in the same way as we the girls of the house do.”

Today, we are talking about the equality of men and women, demanding that men should do the same work as the women do in the house. But the Singpho men and women have been working hand in hand in every field of life through centuries. The sons of the king were studying in English medium schools, getting their education like their counterparts in the rest of the country. Yet they had not forgotten their customs, their tradition. They talked with us in Assamese without any flaw. But among themselves they talked in their own Singpho language. 

Pointing toward the distant mountain range, the king’s son said, “Through the passes of those mountains our forefathers had walked to Burma. At night they used to take shelter in the villages. The villagers offered all kinds of hospitality. They took days to reach Burma. Who can walk for such long distances today? It’s no point even if one can. You must have some kind of permit to enter.”

It appeared that the youth of today too felt sad that the link between the mountains and the valleys had snapped. One cannot cross the political boundaries. These people still mourned their lost relationship due to the political rules. 

Another interesting fact was revealed to me as I walked along with the king’s son and daughter. They did not take any food in some houses though they are on friendly terms with the family members. The reason was that their forefather had some quarrel with those families in the long past and had vowed by touching the dao (sword) that they would never take any food or water in their houses. The following generations kept that vow and the king’s family did not eat in some houses in order to stick to the pledge of their forefathers. 

The history of the Singphos is not to be found in a written form. Their history had come down orally from one generation to the next.  The king enlightened us with the story that their history was written on a piece of leather. But one day they were very hungry and could not find anything to eat; they made smoked leather out of the piece and ate it up. History went into their tummies. But the Singphos had to know their family tree up to the seventh generation. If they happened to visit another village they must be able to recount the names of their seven forefathers; if they couldn’t they were not allowed to enter the village or was not allowed to meet the person they were looking for. In the past when they had to travel to Burma, it was very essential that they knew the names of their forefathers up to the seventh generation. If they couldn’t, they were not permitted to stay in the village for the night. Even today the Singphos know the names of their forefathers to the seventh generation; the custom is still prevalent. It’s a nice custom; at least the people know their roots.

Once again we crossed the river by boat. I looked back at the Bisagaon we had left behind. I could never forget the people who still clung to their traditional beliefs and customs and took pride in working hand in hand, be it the royal family or the commoner of the Singpho community.