Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Custodian of Ranii Akhii

Dree this year has been celebrated all over the country in the most visible way, thanks to the internet and social networking sites.

Some of the most significant events, however, take place silently. Such an event has been the passing away of Tabyu Karlung, who inherited Ranii Akhii from his brother Tabyu Tabin and has been responsible for initiating the process of Dree ritual every year. He quietly passed away on June 25, 2011 just a week ahead of the Dree.

Ranii Akhii remains one of the most sacred and mysterious artefacts in Apatani culture. As per the oral history, the comb was brought from a mythological place called Wiipyo Ranii by a war expedition. "Wiipyo Ranii gañda ho nyibo pachala, Tanii Dree miinii naniipa, Ranii Akhii mi pagiitii," so goes the narration.
The tale of the akhii, which resembles some designs of Chinese hairpin, has always been baffling. During a major fire accident in Tajang village decades back, Tabyu Tabin, who was its custodian at the time, thought it has been burnt along with his house. To his amazement, however, the akhii returned unscathed a day after he re-constructed his house! Now, however, extra care has to be taken as one of its legs is broken and may not be able to run away in such crisis on its own.

Ranii Akhii has always been kept away from ordinary people, especially children, as it would harm them in various ways if disturbed. If its curse causes, for example, skin diseases, that could be cured by propitiating the akhii in appropriate ways. It was only during occasions like Dree that the sacred akhii could be freely seen by anybody. Did you see it this Dree?

Even as the custodian of the Ranii Akhii quietly passed away, Dree has been celebrated with pomp and gaiety, praying for the well being of humankind. The world goes on.


  1. Very interesting aku, Sisi Ranii Akhii huko na doku nii ?

  2. thanks. the akhii is still with the family members of tabyu karlung.

  3. Indeed interesting, hope to see the Akhii some day. Hope, more such interesting fact would be upload