Monday, July 12, 2010

Tayiñ Lañpii - Leprosy Isolation Settlement

Leprosy has always tormented humans and has been feared and misunderstood. The disease has been considered a curse and a punishment from God. Leprosy patients, therefore, have been stigmatized and shunned. Leprosy isolation settlements had, thus, sprouted throughout the world.

Tayiñ Lañpii in the grazing grounds of Reru village was such an isolation settlement catering to leprosy patients in the area.

The name Tayiñ Lañpii itself inspired awe and mystery in the past. It still do to some extent. A pile of huge rocks, forming innumerable interconnecting caves. It was scary exploring the caves when I visited the place some thirty years back. This is a view from inside the main lañpii.

The Tayiñ Lañpii area now forms the vague boundary of two bamboo gardens. The stones and the caves still retain the feeling of grandeur they give to the explorers.

Apart from its historical significance as the only known isolation settlement for leprosy patients in the area, Tayiñ Lañpii is unique in itself. Welcome and explore it!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Kiwi Hill

As the traditional agriculture struggles to survive, various commercial farmings have been started at Ziro these days. One of them is kiwifruit, introduced a few years back. Not that the fruit is entirely new; its wild variety has been savored by the local people as long as they can remember.

The picture above is one of the many fairly large scale cultivations started at Ziro. This is located at Tajang Myolyañ, just two kilometers ahead of Pine Grove.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Dree Story - 2: Sustaining Agriculture

Life was good. Abotani had good harvests every year from his aji at Liiha Poñtañ.

One year, however, Abotani noted that the yield had decreased. It decreased further the next year. As usual, Abotani turned to Aba Liibo and Ane Donii for advice.

Aba Liibo and Ane Donii examined the field. Their faces became gloomy.

“What’s the matter, my Lord?” Abotani asked with a worried expression.

“Dree is eating up your crops,” they said. “That is why your harvest is low.”

“Who is this Dree?” Abotani asked, perplexed.

“This is Dree,” Aba Liibo said, pointing to a tiny pest nibbling away at a paddy sapling.

“And this too,” said Ane Donii, picking up a worm which was eating the root of another sapling.

“Dree, in the form of these pests, insects and worms are destroying your crops,” they told.

“What should I do now?” asked Abotani looking up at Aba Liibo and Ane Donii with hope.

“Alas! We have no clue,” they said, sadly.

Abotani could not sleep that night. As soon as he heard the first crow of the cocks, he went to Anii Niinii and Punu Ninii.

“What brings you here, Tani?” they asked.

“I have been working very hard,” Abotani said. “But Dree is eating up the fruits of my labor. I have come here to seek your wise counsel.”

“Ah! Dree!!” they cried. “You need to propitiate Dree.”

Abotani started thinking quickly, “Who can help me propitiate Dree?”

He then remembered Changu Mitu (Poñkha Sah) and Dogu Misi (Pongu Mitu). “There is no greater priest than they,” he told himself. With hope flickering, he approached Changu Mitu and Dogu Misi.

“Dree has been eating my crops,” Abotani told the priests. “Anii Niinii and Punu Niinii have advised me to propitiate Him. Pray, help me.”

“Why not, son,” said the priests. “We will be happy to help mankind.”

So, Changu Mitu and Dogu Misi set working. First they collected a cup each of rice or millet from each household as Dree myiihii. Then they constructed the Dree pogyañ (altar) at Liiha Poñtañ. With offerings of hens and eggs, they then called upon Danyi-Piilo, Sii-Myoro, Siipiñ-Myome, Siitêr-Korlañ and Harnyañ-Pubyañ to prevent Dree from destroying the crops.

This was the first Dree! Thus the cultivation of food to feed mankind was sustained.

Welcome to Dree festival being celebrated by the descendants of Abotani every year!