DOBES Archive

Cholim - Collection of Animal Stories
Two recordings in which Lukam Tonglum tells 6 stories about animals and spirits, which explain the behaviour and role of some animals in Cholim society., Five of these stories were included in a First Cholim Story Book, that was presented to the community of Kharang Kong at the Wihu Kuq festival on 5th January 2009. This consists of the following sound files: SDM12-2008Tascam-136.wav; length 8'13";recorded on 25/1/208 SDM12-2008Tascam-137.wav; length 22'27";recorded on 25/1/208 The contents of the recordings are as follows: SDM12-2008Tascam-136.wav: Collection of animal stories, Part 1 0’00” Koko ngi Nye Moenphoen “Story of the Dog and the Buffalo part 1 - Dog” 7’36” Koko ngi Nye Moenphoen “Story of the Dog and the Buffalo part 2 - Buffalo” SDM12-2008Tascam-136.wav: Collection of animal stories, Part 2 0’00” Koko ngi Nye Moenphoen “Story of the Dog and the Buffalo part 2 - Buffalo” continued 3’42” Koko ngi Mimi Moenphoen “Story of the Dog and the Cat” 8’28” Koko ngi Khikho Moenphoen “Story of the Dog and the Goat” 11’13” Benchyoe Moenphoen “Story of the Forest Spirits” (not included in First Cholim Story Book) 14’22” Wak ngi Koko Moenphoen “Story of the Pig and the Dog.”
Lakni (Calendar)
This is a transcription and a set of images of the Lakni book, which details aspects of the Ahom Calendar. The version of the Lakni Book that we are presenting here was copied by Atul Borgohain in the 1980s. The book consists of 23 pages, all of which are numbered on the back side in the Ahom style. Following European Tradition, we will number the front side of each page as 1r (1 recto), and the back side as 1v (1 verso). The copy made by Atul Borgohain is unreadable in part, but with the assistance of Medini Mohan, we were fortunate to obtain photographs of another xerox copy, now held by Chaw Puspa Mohan of Parijat Village, Sibsagar District. When we examined it, this photocopy was bound in such a way that the back side of the first page (the numbered side) was first and the front side (the unnumbered side) was following it; this means that the 2nd page precedes the 1st which is then followed by the 4th page which precedes the 3rd and so on. Nevertheless, between the two copies we have been able to read the entire manuscript. Chau Puspa Mohan informed us that the original book is now at Jojoli, Sibsagar, in the possession of the family of Moniram Mohan. The last page of the text is the numbered side of page 23, and the back side of that page contains some information about the author, which is very difficult to read. The book appears to have been copied, and perhaps composed, by one Juna Phukan, since words which appear to read kau Juna Phukon (kw yUnoa fUkonq “I Juna Phukan”) appear at the end of the 2nd line of the back page. The author identifies himself as the descendent of one Nokumiya Phukon (lukq lnq enakuMmIAa fUkonq). The fact that the name of the ancestor and that of the writer/copyist are both Assamese suggests that the book was written very late in the Ahom kingdom, or perhaps even in the 19th century. The Lakni book is divided into the following sections: 1r1 to 4r5 Me Pi – the table of Lakni, Kham Mvng, Pi Pan and Pi Han 4r5 to 5r3 Twelve year ‘Zodiac’ cycle, and predictions for those years 5r4 to 9v2 Association of Zodiac years and Me Pi and predictions for those years 9v3 to 21r2 Texts A to C of Tai Ahoms and the Stars (Terwiel and Ranoo 1992) 21r3 to 21v2 Predictions on what will happen if it rains on certain days 21v3 to 22r1 Overcoming misfortunes 22r1 to 22v1 Predictions on what will happen if there are eclipses, by Tai days 22v1 to 22v5 Predictions on what will happen if there are eclipses, by Burmese days 22v5 to end Predictions on what will happen if there are eclipses, by time of day The first section lists the Me Pi (perhaps literally ‘mother of the year’), a term that is first encountered on folio 9v4, in the portion translated by Terwiel and Ranoo’s 1992 book Tai Ahoms and the Stars. The Me Pi consists of 60 sentences which names each year of the Lakni cycle and their correspondences with three other cycles – Kham Mvng, Pi Pan and Pi Han (which can also be read as Pi Kan). The exact meaning of these three last terms is not known. The second section contains 12 sentences that associate the years of the Lakni cycle with a twelve year Zodiac cycle. Since there are 60 years in the Lakni cycle and only 12 in the Zodiac, there are five Lakni years corresponding to each Zodiac year. The Zodiac is parallel to the 12 year cycles found in China, Thailand and various other parts of South East Asia and discussed in some depth by Terwiel (1981). This section also includes predictions for what will happen in the particular years The third section of 60 sentences associates each one of the Lakni years with both the Zodiac cycle and the full set of cycles that make up the Me Pi. For each of these years, there is a prediction given. Having established the regular calendrical cycles, there follow three sections relating to the ceremonies that need to be undertaken in times of trouble. These three section forms Texts A to C of Tai Ahoms and the Stars (Terwiel and Ranoo 1992). The last five sections of the Lakni book relate to predictions in the event of rain, misfortunes and eclipses. In the appended .pdf and Toolbox (.txt) files, only the first and last line of the first section have been transcribed in full
Cholim - Traditional Cholim Songs 2
A series of 6 recordings on 8th and 9th January 2008 in which Lukam Tonglum sings and talks about several Cholim songs. Jürgen Schöpf and Palash Nath were present for these recordings. This consists of the following sound files: SDM12-2008Tascam-104.wav; Duration 14'50"; recorded on 8/1/2008 SDM12-2008Tascam-105.wav; Duration 26'55"; recorded on 8/1/2008 SDM12-2008Tascam-108.wav; Duration 2'04"; recorded on 8/1/2008 SDM12-2008Tascam-109.wav; Duration 12'06"; recorded on 8/1/2008 SDM12-2008Tascam-112.wav; Duration 0'32"; recorded on 8/1/2008 SDM12-2008Tascam-113.wav; Duration 0'34"; recorded on 8/1/2008 In detail, these recordings consist of the following: SDM12-2008Tascam-104.wav Several Songs; with some discussions; the beginning of the tape is preparation; 1’24” Discussion starts; 2’36” First Lullaby (no chhoen xyoe) 7’54” End of first song and some discussion; 8’20” Lungsong (Tangsa variety Lullaby this song finishes with some speaking – the meaning of this is to say to the Gods and demons that there is nothing to eat in the house, so please don’t come to the house. This is done because if the demons come the child might get sick – this prayer was recorded in full below at SDM12-2008Tascam-107; 9’47” Discussion; 11’31” – Ju phuq tăwang xyoe; song for chasing away rats. It ends with a shout to send the rat away. 13’55” Discussion SDM12-2008Tascam-105.wav Several Songs; with some discussions. Starts with discussion continued from SDM12-2008Tascam-104; 0’44” Mulon xyoe; revenge song; 2’47” Further discussion; 4’43” A song related to wihu kuq, when it is observed by killing 100 buffaloes, the singer names everything from the floor to the roof – he speaks out the names of the different things in the house. This is discussed in SDM12-2008Tascam-109; 10’28” Discussion; 12’41” Wihu xyoe; 19’46” Discussion; 22’38” War song - Rai ke rai lung xyoe. This last song was much interrupted by the arriving visitors. SDM12-2008Tascam-108.wav About the tune in the song for chasing away rats, see above SDM12-2008Tascam-104, at 11’31” SDM12-2008Tascam-109.wav About the wihu xoe, explained in Assamese; the song was recorded at SDM12-2008Tascam-105 4’43” SDM12-2008Tascam-112.wav Sung and spoken versions of line (17) of SDM12-2008Tascam-104 (first song) SDM12-2008Tascam-113.wav Sung and spoken versions of line (17) of SDM12-2008Tascam-104 (first song)
Cholim - Naga Story
This is a creation story, termed by Lukam Tonglum (Loekyam Cholim) as the Naga Story The story begins with a battle between the great snake (Naga) and the great eagle, which the eagle wins, killing the Naga, which is regarded as the ancestor of the Naga people. The story tells of the revenge wreaked against the eagle by the two sons of the Naga and a mountain spirit. This story was told by Lukam Tonglum (Loekyam Cholim) over several nights between 12/12/20097and 10/1/2008. The entire story is contained in the following recordings Part 1 - SDM12-2008Tascam-055.wav Part 2 - SDM12-2008Tascam-056.wav Part 3 - SDM12-2008Tascam-058.wav Part 4 - SDM12-2008Tascam-060.wav Part 5 - SDM12-2008Tascam-062.wav Part 6 - SDM12-2008Tascam-065.wav Part 7 - SDM12-2008Tascam-067.wav Part 8 - SDM12-2008Tascam-069.wav Part 9 - SDM12-2008Tascam-074.wav Part 10 - SDM12-2008Tascam-075.wav Part 11 - SDM12-2008Tascam-101.wav Part 12 - SDM12-2008Tascam-115.wav Part 13 - SDM12-2008Tascam-116.wav Several sections were translated by Lukam Tonglum into Singpho, as: Part 3 - SDM12-2008Tascam-059.wav Part 4 - SDM12-2008Tascam-061.wav Part 5 - SDM12-2008Tascam-063.wav and SDM12-2008Tascam-064.wav Part 6 - SDM12-2008Tascam-066.wav Part 7 - SDM12-2008Tascam-068.wav
Ming Mvng Lung Phai
A Manuscript, in the possession of Tileswar Mohan, Parijat village, Sibsagar District, Assam. According to Chaw Junaram Sangbun Phukan, the senior Ahom priest, this manuscript is called Ming Mvng Lung Phai, literally 'the tutelary spirit of the country comes down moving.' The manuscript would have been performed at ceremonies held to 'call back the spirit of the country', ceremonies that would have been held in times of trouble, violence, famine and so on; times which in the belief of the Tai people indicate that the spirit of the country (khon in Tai Ahom) had gone away. The contents of the manuscript are as follows: 1r1 to 1r8 Introduction; The priest explains why the spirit is being called and how powerful the country is 1r8 to 2v5 About the richness of the kingdom. This section of the manuscript consists of a repeated phrase 'up to today it is better', in between text about the bounty of the kingdom is presented 2v5 to 5v8 About the holy chickens; Describing the chickens clearing the skies of rain clouds, coming down to earth, bearing chicks that go on to be the ancestors of the different occupations within Tai society and provide riches for the country 5v8 to 7v5 Calling the tutelary spirit of the country; A pair of these holy chickens are used in this ceremony; this section consists of many sections in which the possible location of the missing spirit is given. These sections are preceded by the phrase 'You spirit of my king, go and live there!' and conclude with 'You come, please come, Lord!'. As each possible location is mentioned, the spirit is called back from there 7v5 to 9r3 The spirit comes down;This section describes how the spirit comes down and brings great riches to the country Whilst both Ahom priests Tileswar Mohan and Junaram Sangbun Phukan, our principle aids in the translation of these manuscripts, had a good idea of the overall meaning of the manuscript, neither is able to give an accurate word-by-word literal translation. For this work, it was necessary to build a team consisting of Chaichuen Khamdaengyodtai, an expert in reading Tai manuscripts and an expert in Tai literaure, working together with Stephen Morey, and the Ahom priests, assisted by the younger Ahom priest Medini Mohan, and several students from Gauhati University, Zeenat Tabassum and Karabi Mazumder. We were also greatly aided in this translation by revising each of thes manuscripts with the help of Nabin Shyam Phalung, a retired officer from the Tai Section of the Department of Historical and Antiquarian Studies, Guwahati, a native speaker of Tai Aiton and an expert in reading Tai manuscripts of Assam.
Malikha Lit
The book entitled Ma Likha Lit, also called Ma Likha Phura, belongs to Medini Madhab Mohan, Parijat village, Sibsagar District, Assam. We first saw the book in November 2007, when Medini Mohan kindly allowed us to photograph it. At that time, the research team consisting of Dr. Stephen Morey, Chaichuen Khamdaengyodtai, Zeenat Tabassum, Karabi Mazumder and Palash Nath were all staying together in Parijat. Taking advantage of Medini’s presence and the expert knowledge of Chaichuen Khamdaengyodtai, we began the work of translating the manuscript. We were also much helped by the Ahom pandits, Chaw Junaram Sangbun Phukan and Chaw Tileswar Mohan. In October 2008, the translation was completely revised by Stephen Morey, Chaichuen Khamdaengyodtai, Zeenat Tabassum and Nabin Shyam. We are now confident that the translation presented here is correct; although alternative readings of some words and passages is possible. The version of Ma Likha Lit we have translated was copied by one Bhetaram Gogoi, whose son is named as Jonomi in the manuscript. The manuscript identifies him as a Mo Pong (Bailung), an Ahom priest. His home was at Halodhibari, now in Dibrugarh district. The book was copied in the Ahom year Rai Singa, which we believe corresponds to 1810 of the common era. The Ahom calendar has a sixty year cycle, so it is possible it was written down in 1750, but we think that the later date is more likely as the names of places and the persons who wrote it are given in Assamese. The scribe also says the book was completed on a Friday, and that it was written in the fourth month (around March). At times it may seem that events related in the story are out of order. For example page 17 finishes with the prince being installed into a new palace, and page 18 finds him alone in the dark forest. It may well be that at some time in the past the order of pages was re-arranged. In our translation, however, we have followed the order of the pages as they are numbered in the manuscript we were working from. In Ahom books, all pages are numbered with Ahom numerals on the back side of the page. The story of Ma Likha Lit The story of Ma Likha Lit, which means ‘horse child book’, is a story that has some parallels both with the story of Lord Ram, and also with some of the previous lives, Jataka, of the Lord Buddha. It also contains many cultural aspects of everyday life of the Ahom people. The story begins in a very rich country, where the king has many possessions and all the people are living happily. However the king has no son, and such a son is only born after the Ahom priest, Mo Sang Pha, consults the sacred books and gives a medicine in the form of a golden plum, for the queen to eat. A son is born, and at the same time, a magic horse is born from the afterbirth, a horse that can fly. When this son, the prince, grows up, he is betrothed to a lady, but he does not marry her, rather he elopes with a princess from the sky. They escape on the flying horse, but face many difficulties. The horse is caught by a giant and locked up; the prince and princess escape with the help of some river traders, but are separated after a storm. Eventually they find each other again and set up a house in the forest. When the king, the father of the prince, dies, the people of that country are without a king and they set out to search for the prince in the forest. The story ends with the people asking for the return of the prince.
Cholim - Birth Customs and Naming of Children
A text of 13'51" in which Lukam Tonglum talks about birth customs and the naming of children This consists of the following sound file: SDM12-2008Tascam-102 recorded on 2/1/2008
Tangsa Song Language Dictionary
A toolbox file containing the Champang dictionary
Lochhang Dictionary
A toolbox file containing the Champang dictionary
Loekyam Cholim – History of the Tangsa
One recording in which Lukam Tonglum speaks about the History of the Tangsa . This consists of the following media file: SDM12-20091226-02_SM_T_History.wav The details of this recording are as follows: SDM12-20091226-02_SM_T_History.wav:Duration 23’02”:A history of the Tangsa people, starting from Mongolia, proceeding through Tibet, China, Yunnan, various parts of Burma, such as Khamti and on into India. Lukam requested Lukam requested that the recording be cut at 14’29”, because it contains some information about the history of the Singpho that Lukam suggested the Singphos would not wish to hear.
Chamchang Dictionary
A toolbox file containing the Champang dictionary
Cholim - Wihu song and discussion I
Three short recordings in which Lukam Tonglum talks about the Wihu song, a style of song performed at the festival of Wihu Kuq This consists of the following sound files: SDM12-2008Tascam-117.wav, length 4'00"; recorded on 9/1/2008 SDM12-2008Tascam-118.wav, length 3'29"; recorded on 9/1/2008 SDM12-2008Tascam-119.wav, length 2'07"; recorded on 9/1/2008 The contents of each recording are as follows SDM12-2008Tascam-117.wav, Singing the Wihu song already performed by the girls of Kharang Kong in SDM12-20071215-01-1178_GirlsDancingGroup 2'40". This recording includes some discussion SDM12-2008Tascam-118.wav, Further discussion of song styles, with relation to SDM12-20071215-01-1178_GirlsDancingGroup 2'40", singing the dance style as well as the Wihu Kuq style SDM12-2008Tascam-119.wav, Further discussion of song styles, with relation to SDM12-20071215-01-1178_GirlsDancingGroup 2'40"; includes discussion about how the children learned the songs
Ngaimong Dictionary
A toolbox file containing the Champang dictionary