Sunday, January 27, 2008

Tanii beliefs about earthquakes

Earthquake (MYOBU-HUNIING)
Scientifically speaking earthquakes are nothing but the tectonic movements of the earth crust which lead to a sudden (sometime violent) shaking of ground. Arunachal Pradesh as a whole and Ziro in particular are located in the earthquake prone zone of the country, we can see it from the figure given below (taken from Wikipedia).

In Apatani folklore we got different stories to hear about earthquakes. In olden days people generally used to believe that earthquakes occurred due to the shaking of Ear of CHAMBO SIIBO (Big Mithun) which is said to be lying beneath the earth crust. The movement of ear of CHAMBO SIIBO is very rare and occurs once in a while. This shaking of ear leads to the Myobu-Huniing (Earthquake). It is believed that whenever a prominent person in the society dies, the soul of person intends to visit CHAMBO SIIBO and hits its ear with a divine stick as a signal of his arrival at NELI (World where human souls live after death), and CHAMBO SIIBO shakes its ear and this leads to the earthquake.


All prominent persons in the society can not hit the CHAMBO SIIBO, for this purpose the man or woman should be born with a great thought and good morality, in another words one has to be blessed with good characters. As a child, I can still remember the shaking of earth occurring while some great person died from the society and used to believe the story of CHAMBO SIIBO narrated by folks at home. Now this story sounds unbelievable as we learn more about the reasons for occurrence of earthquakes. Fact is that our region is lying in the most earthquake prone zone of India which is due to tectonic movements of the faults between Indian plate and Eurasian plate. This naturally occurring phenomenon (i.e. MYOBU-HUNIING) is unavoidable, thus for the safety purpose we have to take great care while building our dwelling places, structures should built strong enough to resist the tremors due to earthquakes ranking high on Richter’s scale.

Sources:Ranth-Pigeh,Short Story by Er. Hage Pilliya.


Saturday, January 26, 2008

Ngiika Ane (My mother)

video




NGIIKA ANE (MY MOTHER)

Lakhii lyi hoka yamu pahu giinii,
Haya lyi hoka pila khiibii nii;
Khelyi hoka myanii,
Ngarkalyi ho ka api-ara pikin nii;
Ngiimi ka sangii nii, ngiimi ka lyangii nii,
Ngiimi ka dirii–hulo bulyin giinii;
Ngiika ANE-Chantu ane.


Aji hokii tasin babi bo hii,
Yolu hokii tanyi babi bo hii;
Myoko hoka kaji khiibi bo hii,
Dree hoka taku babi bo hii-
Ngiimi ka sangii nii, ngiimi ka lyangii nii,
Ngiimi ka dirii–hulo bulying giinii;
Ngiika ANE-Chantu ane.

Miikhalyi ho ka ganii,
Henkhalyi ho ka tonser nii;
Hadiilyi ho ka yanii,
Tumalyi ho ka yalo nii;
Ngiimi ka sangii nii, ngiimi ka lyangii nii,
Ngiimi ka dirii –hulo bulying giinii;
Ngiika ANE-Chantu ane.

Ane kapu hokii kapama,
Ane hempu hokii hempama,
Ane niimi ngo kalyu lakinma,
Ane niimi ngo helyu lakingma.
Ngiimi ka sangii nii, ngiimi ka lyangii nii,
Ngiimi ka dirii–hulo bulyin giinii;
Ngiika ANE-Chantu ane.



Wednesday, January 23, 2008

What future for Apatani agriculture ?

Most of the time, when Apatanis as a people are mentioned in newspapers, magazines, academic papers or travel brochures, it is for praising their age-old agricultural practices and their dexterity in having managed to use every inch of cultivable space in a sustainable way. Two years ago UNESCO was so impressed by the "rare farming and conservation techniques" of the Apatanis that the UN agency decided to nominate Ziro Plateau in order to make it a World Heritage Site. The image of Arunachal's “green valley’ or “rice bowl” has now become so evidently associated to them that, at least seen from outside, it is assumed by all that this agricultural system “in harmony with nature” is bound to last forever.

I'm not sure, however, whether this enchanting image displayed by medias corresponds to the present social realities. My attention was drawn to this issue by reading a passage from anthropologist Fürer-Haimendorf who has witnessed some of the major changes having taken place in the Valley between 1944 and 1980 :

“In the 1940s one could see throughout March April and early May fairly large patang [agricultural labour teams], usually consisting of equal numbers of young boys and girls working on the fields, repairing dams and channels, levelling terrace fields, puddling the mud and finally transplanting rice-seedlings. (…) In 1978 I did not see a single large patang. Much of the work on the field was done by middle-aged women and a few middle-aged men. There were some groups of girls, usually not more than five or six, engaged in digging over fields, but the number of boys and young men working on the land seemed very small. (…)
At the time when work on the fields was done mainly by women and girls, and a few middled-aged men, one could see in the bazaar of Hapoli large number of able-bodied young men, often smartly dressed in western clothes, filling the tea stalls and gossiping with their friends. Numerous were also the boys riding on bicycles on the road between their villages and Hapoli. When I commented on the apparent imbalance of the sexes among the workers on the fields in conversation with some of my Apatani friends, they admitted that many of the young men were not pulling their weight, and that boys who had been to high-school rarely did much work on the fields although they expected to be fed by their parents.

That was 30 years ago ...... and the trend seems to have continued since. By becoming increasingly educated in schools, young boys and girls have also become more and more reluctant to engage in agriculture or other traditional tasks. Today the contrast is best expressed through these figures : the literacy rate among Apatanis ranks among the highest in AP (70.6 % according to 2001 Census, with 86 % of the children attending schools in the 5-14 age group), which of course is a very good thing. But at the same time the number of people engaged in agriculture is the lowest among all Arunachal ST. As someone commenting these figures of the Census has noted : “It is, however, interesting that Apatani – the famous terrace cultivators of Arunachal Pradesh – have registered only 39.1 per cent cultivators.” And judging from recent photographs showing Apatani farmers, especially the beautiful collection by A. Siddiqui, it seems obvious that this population is gradually but inexorably ageing.

The present paradox goes as follows : in future, the Apatani Valley may be among the very few world's man-made landscapes to be declared by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. But who, then, will be still cultivating the land ?

P. Bouchery

Monday, January 21, 2008

Folktale-I


Simi nunu chinsu du ha????
Billo anyan ho siisi ka niti dro-yasi si Tanii lemba ho nyimatii. Hiika anyan ho, miyu ka alo mi miikhiisiilyi ho lemba daka yapa atan hii puwa ka asi mi rutenyatii. Puwa asi kapalyi ho, hiiko hoka puwa ajan donii mi latu lala molu ka ale/ali mi tatu tela hiira pakii lyi asi ho atii tiiku biku ko, lonye-lohin ka hiiba ho puwa asi ho dro chikan bate-bala pai kapu hokii puwa lu bolii bii yuke. Hiika pai kapu dro mi alo miikhii siinin ka ayo ho nelii siiko ho ano nyibya lada hemiyo ku yuke. Siika pai chikan dri simi ngunu Tanii miyu lu si ludu nii-puwa yapun ago hokii bolii bii yuke. Hiimii miyu ami lo kapa lama.

Do you know this ???
In olden days the modern medical facilities were not available in the vicinity of Ziro. During those days when a person got injured or fractured a bone, people resorted to hunting a crow's nest. On finding one newly hatched offspring of crow they used to injure its legs and wings, and then left it in the nest. After four-five days, the paste of "medicine" which was found in the nest was collected and applied on the injured portion of the patient's body, who used to get cured thereof. But it was not known from where those paste (medicine) was collected by crows. It was believed that that the birds flew high above the sky beyond the sight of human eye and collected it from there. Doesn't this sound interesting ????

Source : RANTH-PIGEH, Short story-I, by Er. Hage Pilliya, B.E.(CIVIL)

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Apatani naming system


In Apatani tradition we have got two distinct sets of first names for males and females. Most of our names don't bear any meaning, and we also use them only for the sake of naming human beings :)
Many times people asked me : "What does your name mean ???" Huh !!! Luckily my name has got a meaning so I can tell them what it is, but actually most of them don't have any.
While trying to sort out the typical Apatani names I realised that most are very specific to us, and it seems that we don't share a common naming system with other decendants of Abotani such as Nyishis, Adis, Galos, Tagins etc. (anyway I'm sure that we must have a few names in common). In Apatani we prefer to rename the newborn babies with the names of some of our ancestors (close paternal relatives only), with this restriction that two living persons of the same clan should not share the same ancestor's name. That undoubtely encourages the use of a wide array of names. In case of untime death of a man whose son was still in the mother's womb it is preferable to rename the son with the name of his father (this is a rare case). Also, there are few common names which can be used for both sexes, e.g. Sai, Kameng and Yarang. In this post I have tried my best to recall the names we use in Apatani. They are as follows :

Male names

1
APA
46
JILE92
PUNU138
TALING
2
APO47
KACHO93
PUSSANG139
TALLEY
3
ATO48
KAGO94
RADHE140
TALLO
4
BAARO49
KAMENG95
RAMBO141
TALYANG
5
BAAKU
50
KANI96
RANKA
142
TAM
6
BAATH51
KANO97
RAVIN143
TAMA
7
BAKHANG
52
KARA98
RAYO144
TAMANG
8
BIDA
53
KECHI99
RIBYA145
TAMER
9
BUDDA
54
KHODA100
RICHO146
TAMING
10
BUKER
55
KHOKHUNG101
RIKA147
TAMO
11
BUTANG
56
KOJI (KOJEE)102
RIKU148
TANGU
12
BYAI57
KOJING103
RISSANG149
TANHA
13
CHADA58
KOYANG104
RONYA150
TANI
14
CHALO
59
LAAI105
RUJA151
TANYANG
15
CHAMA60
LALI106
SAI152
TANYO
16
CHATUNG61
LALING107
SALA153
TANYUNG
17
CHILYANG
62
LALYANG108
SALU154
TAPA
18
CHOBING63
LAMPUNG109
SAMA155
TAPING
19
DELYANG
64
LASA110
SAMBYO156
TAPU
20
DEMPYO65
LAJI (LAZHEE)111
SIIRA157
TARA
21
DIIBO66
LENTO112
SHAH158
TARE
22
DODUNG67
LODER113
TAAMU159
TARANG
23
DOLANG68
LOMA114
TABING160
TARI
24
DOLLEY
69
MAILYANG115
TABYO161
TARO
25
DOLO70
MAJI116
TACHA162
TAARUN
26
DOLYANG71
MALI117
TACHANG163
TASSANG
27
DONYI72
MILLO118
TACHO164
TASSER
28
DUKHUNG73
MIMA119
TADA165
TATH
29
DURI
74
MOBING120
TADEY166
TATU
30
DUYU75
MODA121
TADII167
TATUNG
31
EKHA
76
MUDO122
TADO168
TAYO
32
GAMBO77
NAKU123
TADUH169
TAYU
33
GRAYU
78
NAPA124
TAGIA170
TAYUNG
34
GYATI
79
NEHA125
TAGIO171
TIINI
35
GYUTHE80
NYIKANG126
TAGLANG172
TUPE
36
HAARE81
NYIME127
TAGO173
UMA GURO
37
HABUNG82
NYIPA128
TAGUR174
YAAPA
32
HACHANG83
OBING129
TAI175
YADO
38
HADU84
OMMO130
TAJANG176
YARANG
39
HAGIO85
PADA131
TAJO177
YUBE
40
HAILYANG86
PAI132
TAKER

41
HALLEY87
PALANG
133
TAKHA

42
HASSANG88
PAYANG134
TAKKE

43
HINDA89
PIILO135
TAKI

44
JARBO90
PILYA136
TAKU

45
JARJO91
PUMBO137
TAKUNG


Female names

1
AMER
32
MODII64
RINYA95
YALO
2
AMPI33
MONYA65
RINYO96
YALU
3
AMUNG34
MOPE66
RIPA97
YALUNG
4
ANKHA35
MUMPA67
SAI98
YALYO
5
BUNE (BIINE)
36
MUNNE68
SHANTII99
YAM
6
BUNYI
37
MUNYA69
SIRI100
YAMA
7
CHAJANG38
MURPING70
SOKI101
YAMANG
8
CHOKU
39
MURYANG71
SOLI102
YAMI
9
CHOZER40
NAAPI72
SUMPA103
YAMII
10
DIMING41
NAMPI73
SUMPI104
YANA
11
DISUNG42
NYIMUNG74
SUNKA105
YAMING
12
DUMI43
ODII75
SUNKU106
YAMUNG
13
JALYANG44
OMANG76
SUNYA107
YANI
14
JAYO45
ONYA77
TAACHI108
YANKA
15
KAKU46
OPYUNG
78
TANE109
YANKU
16
KAMENG47
OTUNG79
TAADO110
YANYA
17
KAMPU48
PABO80
UNYII111
YANYO
18
KANYA49
PAMPI81
YAAJE112
YANYUN
19
KARI50
PAMUNG
82
YAAMI113
YAPA
20
KIIMER51
PANE83
YABII114
YAPII
21
KOLYANG
52
PAPI84
YABO115
YAPYANG
22
KONYA54
PAPU85
YABYANG

116
YARANG
23
KUPU55
PIIRA86
YADI117
YARI
24
MADO56
PUBYANG
87
YADII118
YARING
25
MAMUNG
57
PUMING88
YAGUNG119
YASE
26
MANDI
58
PUYANG89
YAJA120
YASSING
27
MANGKA59
PUNYA90
YAJI121
YASSUNG
28
MANU60
RALYI91
YAKE122
YATUNG
29
MAYU61
REEMU92
YAKANG123
YAYING
30
MENII62
RIJA93
YAKHA

31
MIDU63
RILUNG94
YAKU




Tanii parents generally like to select "rhyming pairs" for naming their sons and daughters, e.g. Chada-Chama for two brothers and Rinyo-Rinya for two sisters. Pairs such as Kojing-Pussang or Dumi-Yami are also said to be "rhyming".
Addressing people by their names is considered as polite among us. But whenever we adress others, depending upon certain factors such as sex/age/relation etc., we also care to address them in a very gentle way. Thus there is a certain decorum for addressing people. For example if a person's name is Rinyo (i.e. female name), we can address her as Anyo, Nanyo, Kanyo.
Similarly for :
Rilung
(female) => Alung, Ilung.
Yanku => Anku,Nanku
Tajo => Ajo
Tatu => Natu
Tai (male) => here we prefer to add prefixes such as Nama => Nama Tai.
Tallo => Lallo, Pallo.
Puming (female) can be sometimes addressed as Ampi
Pubyang (female) can be addressed as Otung

Note*** : Ajo, Ampi, Nama, Nanku and Otung can be used as separate names as well.
Note****Dear Tanii readers, please do not hesitate to point out the missing names from the lists. I might have missed some names and needed your contribution.



Sunday, January 6, 2008

Counting in Tanii... Apatani numeral system 1

Counting in Tanii is not easy… It may be useful here to sum up the basic features of the Apatani numeral system, although I’m not too sure to understand it fully. Differences are often subtle, and there may exist several ways to express the same number. Moreover, though originally there are only 7 Apatani villages, some dialectal variations occur which can easily lead to confusion. Therefore, as usual, corrections and comments from Tanii readers are welcome...
In this post I am only considering numbers when they are used without any reference to an object. In a next post I shall deal with numbers when they are associated with particular objects, animals, humans, etc.

1°) The numeral system is a simple decimal system

The main units are 10 and multiples of 10, 100 and multiples of 100, 1000 and multiples of 1000.



photographer: Christa Neuenhofer

2°) numbers from 1 to 10 are unique forms

1
ako or kone
2
anye or anyi
3
hinge
4
piilye
5
yango
6
khiiye
7
kanu
8
pinye
9
kowa
10
alyan

3°) Numbers from 11 to 19 are compound words, of the form : ‘ten + unit’.

Units 2, 4, 5 appearing in compound forms are shortened; unique and compound forms for 1 are different; units 3, 6, 7, 8, 9 remain unchanged. The correspondence is given below for the main dialect :


Appearing in unique form
Appearing in compound form
1
ako-kun or -he
2
anye/anyi-nyi
3
hin-hin
4
piilye-pii/-pe/-pyi
5
yango-ngo
6
khiiye-khii
7
kanu-kanu
8
pinye/pinyi-pinye/-pinyi
9
kowa-kowa

A particle, LE (or HELA), which can be roughly translated as ‘and’, is inserted between ‘ten’ and the unit. The difference between LE and HELA corresponds to 2 ways of counting, which are equivalent :

  1. ‘ten + HELA + unit (as appearing in unique form)
  2. ‘ten + LE + unit (as appearing in compound form)

Thus 11 is ‘alyan hela ako’ or alyan-le-kung. Both literally mean "ten and one" and can be used indiscriminately.



10 + HELA + unit10 + LE + unit
11alyan hela akoalyan le-kun
12
alyan hela anyealyan le-nye/nyi
13
alyan hela hingealyan le-hin
14
alyan hela piilyealyan le-phe/pi
15
alyan hela yangoalyan le-ngo
16
alyan hela khiiyealyan le-khii/khe
17
alyan hela kanualyan le-kanu
18
alyan hela pinye/pinyialyan le-pinye/nyi
19
alyan hela kowaalyan le-kowa

4°) Multiples of ten are compound forms. Compoundings are made either of the form :

  1. number of tens + KHAN’ : for 20, 30, 70, 80, 90.
  2. ten + number of tens’ : for 40, 50, 60
Thus :

20
lyikhan
30
hikhan
40
alyan-piilye
50
alyan-yango
60
alyan-khiiye
70
kanu-khange
80
pinyi-khange
90
kowa-khange

* Note that the prefixes used for 20 and 30 are respectively LYI- and HI-, different from the shortened forms -NYI- and –HING used as suffixes.

* Note also the difference between :

14 (alyan-hela-piilye) and 40 (alyan-piilye)

15 (alyan-hela-yango) and 50 (alyan-yango)

16 (alyan-hela-khiiye) and 60 (alyan-khiiye)

It seems confusing at first sight, but after all no more than English 'fourteen' and 'fourty, 'fifteen' and 'fifty', 'sixteen' and 'sixty'....

5°) multiples of hundred take the form ‘hundred + numeral, i.e. LANG- + numeral except for 200 and 300 where the compound form of the numeral is prefixed by LA- only. Note also that LANG becomes LAM before the consonant p)

100
lan(h)e
200lanye/lanyi
300
lahin
400
lampii/lampyi
500
lango
600
lankhii
700
lankanu
800
lampinye/lampinyi
900
lankowa

6°) Multiples of thousand take the form
'thousand (LALYAN) + numeral' :

lalyan ako = 1000
lalyan anye = 2000
lalyan ahin = 3000
etc.

However in recent years a new compound form including the Hindi word for 'thousand' (JAR) tends to replace it. It takes the form 'thousand (JAR) + numeral (contracted)'
1000
jar(h)e
2000
jarnye/jarnyi
3000
jarhin
4000
jarpii/jarpyi
5000
jarngo
6000
jarkhii
7000
jarkanu
8000
jarpinye/jarpinyi
9000
jarkowa

7°) Expressing any number above 10 is made by combining thousands, hundreds, tens and units and separating each category by the particle ‘LA’ (or HELA/LE between tens and units)

Example :

Jarnyi la lahin la alyan hela ako : 2311

P. Bouchery

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Apatani medicine in former times

Bloodletting in one of the oldest medical practices in the world. In this historical document shot by anthropologist Fürer-Haimendorf in 1944-45 and made available online by Digital Himalaya, the bloodletting devices used by Apatanis are small bamboo tubes called take-birii. A female traditional healer applies them to face, nose and leg of a number of women of different ages who have come to her for bloodletting. They submit their affected parts to the suction of the bamboo tubes. The blood oozes into the tube and the healer then comes round to collect it - she sucks it out and spits it into a bowl.



It is interesting to remember that in Europe, for centuries fever was commonly relieved by removing an excess of blood up to the late 19th century : suction cups, pumps, and leeches were used to suck out the infected blood. Medieval medicine in particular was based on a theory that human activity was regulated by a balance of four elemental fluids resident in the human body-blood, phlegm, yellow bile, and black bile. When the fluids were in balance, the person was healthy physically and psychically. Any overabundance of a fluid produced characteristic symptoms that could be controlled medically by releasing the superfluous fluid; consequently, a fever was relieved by removing an excess of blood… Although today it is well established than bloodletting has no or very little beneficial effect on health, it would be interesting to know the set of ideas that were underlying this practice among Apatanis.
P. Bouchery