Sunday, June 29, 2008

Ziro, my Zimin Ziro!

As I was driving on the Old Ziro-Hapoli road, I expected some flooding of the rice paddies as it had been raining heavily the night before, but hordes of anglers lining the river rather surprised me. I immediately understood, however. The fishes so hopefully reared in the paddy fields had been flooded out and anybody could try his hand at getting some. Some fields were being flooded but I could not see any broken bunds as in the previous occasions like this as the river banks are all concrete and stone now. The breach this year was in one of the most unexpected places – the bridge over Tabyu kiile on the Rake Lembo.

Ziro was cut off suddenly on June 14. Many friends, who had come from Itanagar and other places were stranded. Some were happy at being stranded at their own homes for a change, but they realized the gravity of the situation soon enough. Many desperately tried to get out of Ziro – some by Pawan Hans which never came to the town except on 14th, and some walked for miles together after driving down some distance. I followd suit on 19th. We were more fortunate as we had to walk only four kilometers.

It was during this walk that I discovered why the services of BSNL at Ziro is so poor. The telephone cable, which was supposed to be underground decorates the Hoj road all along.

I knew that mobile service is not working at Ziro and even the services of the landlines are very poor. I was shocked to see the empty streets of Ziro when I returned on 25th. It was like a ghost town compared to the normal hustle and bustle of the market area. The petrol was costing a hundred rupees and diesel around sixty in the black market. Many vehicles were off-road. Food commodities were getting scarce. Many school hostels were on the verge of closing down. The local students in the hostels were being sent home.

This was not my dream of Zimin Ziro.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Abode of Buru

Inter-tribal conflict was commonplace those days. Once all the tribes surrounding the Ziro valley made a plan to exterminate the inhabitants of the valley. Accordingly on the appointed day, the warriors converged on the valley from all sides. When they reached the ridge, one of them looked down into the valley and found it already flooded.

“The flood has done our job,” he announced.

“Let us return to our villages and celebrate,” the other said.

So, the news went around the ridge and the warriors returned to their villages. The mists in the valley which till today makes the Ziro valley look like a lake had helped avoid a potentially bloody battle!

The place we know today as Ziro valley was the home of many animals including a prehistoric reptile locally called buru. When the Apatanis settled down in the Ziro valley, a conflict ensued. The last of the burus was killed by a talo, now known as myamya not very long ago. When the talo returned home after killing the buru, the owner of the talo was still busy pounding rice powder (yatang) to smear the talo. Enraged at not having been received properly after such heroic feat, the talo cut the child of the owner, who was sleeping in the house, into two. In revenge, the owner threw her pestle – hunyi, at the talo, breaking it. The talo with its wound, is preserved in Kalung village to this day.

Buru had captured the imagination of adventurers around the world. Just before India attained independence, Lord Mountbatten dispatched an expedition to locate the buru under the aegis of London Daily Mail, but the reptile remained hidden in the mists of legends. The expedition is recorded in Ralph Izzard’s “The Hunt for the Buru”. The book recalls in vivid detail the treks through hazardous swamplands filled with snakes and leeches, thumbnail-sized ticks and wild boar.

The video above is from Dusu Katu, 9.5 km from Hari village one of the ridges which gives an excellent view of Hapoli township, Siiro village and Maniipolyang on a clear day. It is, of course, a ‘lake’ in the morning.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Ziro - An Aerial View

Driving up the serpentine road from Kimin, one hardly expects so placid a plateau as Ziro is. Not so long ago, Ziro could be reached after seven days of trekking from Kimin through pestilential forests. Imagine the joy and satisfaction one would have had once they were looking down at the valley from the surrounding hills.

Yonder across the hills is the road to Kurung Kumey district. One can have a good view of Tadu Dobi, the legendary place of romance. The Ziro Putu, the landmark of the whole area stands prominently in the middle of the valley.

New ZPMs of Ziro-I

I was curious about the results of Panchayat election, the counting of which was taking place yesterday. I called a friend and found out the following result for Zilla Parishad Members:
Diibo- Bamin Siri (bt Michi Shalla)
Hari - Hage Shalla Yassung (bt Hage Tara Asha)
Hija - Nada Dumi bt (Dani Dumi)
Kalung-Reru - Nani Tani (bt Subu Kojee, Subu Lento and Kuru Tai)
Hong Nichii - Hibu Uma (bt Punyo Kathe)
Niiti - Tilling Dolley (bt Tilling Tadii)

Monday, June 2, 2008

Those Days!

Daminda is the hallmark of Apatani dances. Though this art form has been modified to a great extent to meet the changing tastes of the audiences, the dance still retains its original charm. This is one of the rare pictures taken during early forties.

Apart from hiirii, there is conspicuous lack of performing arts by male members of the community. The picture shown here looks like an enacted one, may be of ropi ritual.