Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Our Ziro

This can be seen here as well.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

The Legendary Bwrw

February 15, 1897. A large group of people was gathered at Bwrw. Some unusual people had come from the plains. A white man was leading a big group of armed soldiers. Their intentions were not friendly. With caution, some prominent Apatanis had set up a negotiations with them at Bwrw.

In the winter of 1896, the District Commissioner of North Lakhimpur received a report that a group of Apatanis raided a house, killing two persons and taking away four others as hostages. The owner worked with a British tea planter named H. M. Crowe and so, the Apatanis had violated the laws of the British government. Therefore, the prestige of the colonial administration was at stake.

The Chief Commissioner of Assam, based in Shillong, ordered a punitive expedition to the Apatani country with a force of two hundred soldiers.  The army, however, decided to march with three hundred soldiers and four hundred porters. And so, the expedition started under the leadership of R.B. McCabe (ICS), Inspector-General of Police and Jails in Assam.

After trekking through thick forests and steep hills for eighteen days, the group reached Ziro on February 14, 1897 with only 120 soldiers. Several groups had stayed behind at different stages on the way.

The Apatanis tried to stop the team outside Hong village, but ultimately gave way. Negotiations took place between the the Apatanis and the British government at Bwrw the next day. It was only about ten years back in 1889 that the Apatanis had seen a white man when H. M. Crowe, the tea planter came to their country, for the first time. This was their second contact with any white person.

Bwrw, even more than a hundred years back, was a beautiful place. Lots have happened in a century, but mother nature has changed little. One can still see the outlines of the pine trees that could be seen a hundred years back. The mythical Dolo-Mañdo still stands as firm as it always used to.

The landscape of Bwrw has changed a lot, though. A lively village is springing up here. Tourist lodges and other commercial buildings are coming up.  It is only befitting, one could argue,  that Bwrw where once all the Apatanis celebrated Myoko together becomes a villages again.  

(To read this post in Apatani, click here).

Friday, December 9, 2011

The Celestial Mortar

There are very few open spaces left at Ziro now. The Ziro Putu, which after 1972 Bangladesh war and subsequent departure of the defense personnel, had become symbolic of Ziro, is now dotted with buildings of different shapes and sizes. Dutta Papii, which hosted the legendary Laliñ Yalu is equally congested. The mythical and beautiful Tadu Dobi is now occupied by concrete school buildings.

Dogiñ Nanw, however, still retains its old charm of open space. We, as children, used to pass through this grazing ground with awe during Penw processions of Muruñ. As in the past, this space still serves as the grazing ground for cows.

The focal point of Dogiñ Nanw is the Yapuñ Yapvr a collection of huge stones at the periphery of the field. It is difficult to elicit any story behind these stones, but children were discouraged from going too near them lest the Yapuñ, the Sky God would be offended.

Whatever the true fact, Dogiñ Nanii and Yapuñ Yaper are important landmarks of Ziro.

(To read this post in Apatani, click here.)

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Nyime Pembu

The name Nyime Pembu or Lali Gyochi has the status of a mythology among the Apatanis. It is rarely seen from Ziro, where they live and one rarely gets a chance to see it even in photography. This year, however, the weather has been kind and the mysterious mountain revealed itself in full glory (photo below by Hage Gumto).
This snow-covered mountain range is said to be a part of the Gorichen, the highest peak in Arunachal Pradesh and the headwaters of the great Kameng river. More about this peak can be seen here.

The name Nyime Pembu features in the migration story of the Apatanis. They are said to have crossed this range while coming from the Wui Supuñ and Wiipyo Supuñ to Anii Supuñ, their present habitat.

The mountain range is best seen from the Eastern Ring Road near Diib of Hari village. The view of the Ziro valley in the morning is similar to one from Dusu Katu - a lake. The surrounding higher hills get lit up by the rising sun, sparkling up the whites of the snow covering the Nyime Pembu. Welcome to another excellent view point at Ziro!