Advisor Dr. Gaganendra Nath Dash
Advisor Dr. Rabi Narayan Dash
Concept Dr. Birendra Kumar Nayak
Editor Dr. Supriya K. Ghoshmaulik
Executive Editor Soumya Dev
Editorial Assistance Jogendra Kumar Behera


News Clippings

Pride of Bondas
India’s Africa connections
Veerapans will come to stay if Tribals are displaced
38% quota in education

Pride of Bondas: Metriculates from Bonda Hills

The Statesman 28th May 2005

Sambad 29th May 2005

38% quota in education

(Source: The Statesman,11th June 2005.)

   BHUBANESWAR, June 10 — The state government will reserve 38 percent seats for SC and ST students in all government-run plus two and degree colleges in order to promote education among the educationally-backward communities and strictly enforce it.

    A decision to this effect was taken at the meeting of the State SC Welfare Board, chaired by Mr. Naveen Patnaik at the state secretariat here today.

    The SC and ST population constitutes 38 per cent of the state's total population. However, the literacy rate of ST and SC people continues to be low in comparison to the general people. The chief minister expressed satisfaction over the growth of literacy rate of SC people from 36.78 per cent to 55.53 per cent and stressed the need for development of educational infrastructure in scheduled areas.

    Proposals for inclusion of six sub-castes (Chik/Chik Bodaik, Tiar, Radhi/Niari/Ghani, Jhara, Girgira and Mahara) in the SC list were considered. A committee was constituted comprising three seniors SC MLA — Mr. Jaydev Jena, Mr. Sanatan Bisi and Mr. Bimbadhar Kuanr — to examine the proposal relating to the inclusion of Chik/Chik Bodaik. The committee was asked to submit its report within a month.

    Similarly, the proposals relating to the other sub-castes were referred to the Nabakrushna Choudhury Institute for the study of social status of the said communities.

    The other major decision taken at today's meeting was increase in financial incentive for inter-caste marriage from Rs, 4,000 to 10,000. According to an estimate, on an average 30 to 40 inter-caste marriages take place every year in the state. Several members expressed resentment over the holding of State SC Welfare Advisory Board meeting in an irregular manner. The last meeting was held in October 2002, they pointed out. In this context, it was decided that the Board meeting would be convened at regular intervals and preferably in November every year. The meeting also reviewed the disposal of pending cases of atrocities on SC people. It was revealed from the review that 7,216 cases were pending up to 2004. Subsequently, another 873 cases were registered out of which 671 were disposed of. Thus the number of pending cases of atrocity on SC presently stood at 7,418.

    The chief minister said stem actions were being initiated to check the growing incidence of atrocities on SC people and ex gratia for the victims of such atrocity had been revised. — SNS

India’s Africa connections
(Source: The Statesman, 13th June 2005.)

    Great Andamanese and Onge tribes of Andaman and Nicobar Islands are direct descendants of modern humans who evolved in East Africa some 150,000 years ago, claims the researchers from cenre for cellular and molecular Biology (CCMB), Hydrabad. According to Dr. Lalji Singh, the Director of CCMB, "Ancient genetic mutations found in these groups make them closure to Africa than any other populations that survive today". These tribes are Nigritos (similar to African Pygmies) whereas Nicobarese are Mongoloid (similar to chinese and Malays). It is conclusively established that Nicobarese tribals shared a genetic resemblance with populations in southeast Asia and they arrived in the Andaman Island s some 18,000 years ago./ on the contrary the great Andamanese and Onge tribals arrived in the Andaman Islands some 65,000 years ago; modern humans are believed to have started moving out of Africa about 70,000 years ago.

Veerapans will come to stay if Tribals are displaced
(The Dharitri Bureau, 18th Jun, 2005 Bhubaneswar)

    The tribals living inside reserve forests be allowed rights on the land - demands the Orissa Government before the Center. To enable it, it is suggested that the forest where tribals live, should be declared as unreserved forest. The Orissa Government has informed in Center that if tribals are displaced from the forests they are living in, people like Veerapan come to stay and will expand their empire.


Photographs : 

References :

Sacred Worldview in Tribal Memory

Dr. Mahendra Kumar Mishra

Let’s imagine a tribal habitation where there was no road. No jeep or truck was reaching there. No forest contractors, forest officers were in the forest. People had the worldview that the forest is as eternal as the earth and the universe. Huge forest resource was lying in the forest with out any body’s greed. There was no dearth of natural resources for daily sustenance. People were believing in" to day is to day," not "tomorrow is tomorrow". There was no authority over jungle except the forest goddess and hill gods. All the jungles have female goddesses and the hills and mountains, as male gods.

No cart was even seen in Kalahandi jungle before 1830.The liquor vendors attracted towards mahua tree came to Orissa from Ganjam, and Kalars from Chhatishgarh to Nuapada. Hand made liquor was not plenty- it was like medicine. But manufacture of liquor other than by the tribal people gave a new economic disorder- that is give me your labour, I will give you liquor! Then it turned in to the proverb, Give me your mahul tree, I will give you liquor and money. Then third one is give me your land, I will give you money. With that money you can live happily with liquor. Thousands of tribal people gave their land either to keep the word of truth, or the written paper in which they have given their thumb impression. They are afraid, how dangerous and powerful the writing is, which can turn your life upside down.

Nature and indigenous people are inseparable. Nature has given them a worldview, which is naturalistic worldview. Both the nature and animals are the spit/ or the left over food of the Earth mother Goddess. She is the mother and tree and man, animals are her sons and daughters dependent to each other. Earth mother goddess takes care of her creation by providing all facilities that is available in the earth, air, water, and forest. The supernatural is present both in animate and inanimate. The indigenous people acquired their knowledge from their close association and interdependence with nature. Their experiential knowledge has given them the skill of adapting themselves with the natural environment. The earth, and the forest, the river and the hills, the birds and animals constitute the life of the tribal people and depending on them they construct their knowledge, personality and create folklore.

With the changing of time the tribals have also fallen a prey to the change. They do not plan this change. Others "Diku" changed them. This change is just like a new road made to the forest and a jeep or a truck appeared. They appeared to exploit and not to understand the naturalistic worldview. When they destroyed the forest, they did not know that they are cutting the tree in which the goddess is sleeping. They did not care that the hill they blast was the legendary seat of Lord Rama or Sita. They also did not know that the forest, and the land have a social history, attached to the race memory, glory, and creativity of the community. Before people begin to understand that they are being exploited, they were exploited. They lost their land, trees, displaced, rehabilitated, and lost their identity.

Then they were adjusted to the truck drivers, contractors, foresters and guards, revenue officers, and many more development planners. Some could understand their values and worldviews, but could not do any thing. Some did not understand them and followed the orders and finished their targets. Tribal people became the instrument in changing disorder.

Truck Driver is more powerful than the contractor. He has the ability to run such a huge truck. Males were exploited in wage labour, but both nature and women were exploited physically. Forest lost its chastity. Greed replaced the need.

Till the forest was abundant, there was no threat for survival, so there was no plan for tomorrow. There is blame to the tribal people that, if a tribal has earned for today he will not think for tomorrow. But, in the reverse, his planning of living his life is more flexible than the people who make five years or ten years plan. His attitude to nature has given him how to plan for a day or a season, and not for future. Individual plan is closely associated with community plan. It is inbuilt with nature and environment.

Most insecure people plan for future. But man of nature plan with nature. People in need never hoard, but people in greed plan for grabbing. The difference can be compared to the two worldviews. Tribal people living in the village and forest can’t understand the politics of using natural resources. Tribal worldview, unfortunately, has given space to the people who want to exploit them with out understanding their life and culture.

Tribal people can speak of the earth, water and forest, and forest animals. Their knowledge on their own habitat is full of information, which signifies their close relationship with nature, also their relationship with nature and supernatural being.

My concern here is to focus on some examples and events, which signifies the symbiotic relation of tribal people with natural resources. As a folklore fellow, I would like to present some items of oral tradition, rituals, and that represents the integrated worldview of the tribal people in relation to the nature and its resources. It is the folklore of the people, which represents the collective knowledge, and experience of the people in their socio-cultural context. Religion and religious practices is ingrained in their physical world, mental texts and supernatural world.

The myths, legends, tales, oral epics, caste genealogies, proverbs, riddles, rites and rituals represent the sacred worldview of the tribal people. Each item of folklore, may it be verbal or non-verbal, have purpose and meaning in its socio-cultural context. The function of traditional knowledge in sustenance is highly structured, repetitive and communal. Everybody share the knowledge and practice it in their life, which is inbuilt in their subsistence.

Use of space in the mental text of tribal people can be visualized in following order:

  1. Supernatural spirits, local gods and goddesses are originated in the forest. Then they search for a priest who is a tribal. After that the deities are installed in the town (Manikeswari, Raktambari, Duarsani)

  2. Goddesses named after a tree: Mahulgachien, Pendragadien, Kenduguchhen

  3. Goddesses in the name of river: Indradi (Indra) Sindradi (sunder) Udanti

  4. Hill God: Guru Donger, Chaura Donger, Nagesh Donger, (Khariar) Devagiri, mahendra giri Ramgiri, (Gajapati) Balisugri Pahad (Bonda hills) Pahar Bhandar, Char Chourasi (four, eightyfour)

  5. Forest Goddess: Vanadurga, Vanadevi

  6. First progenitor/ First worshipper: Budharaja, Budha Deo, Baburai, Dulha Deo

  7. Jungle with mythic significance: Patdarah Jungle: Ramayana, Maraguda Jungle with Allah Uddal and heroes of mahabharata

  8. Huge stones, / foot prints/water origin: deeds of Bhima/ demons/demigods

  9. Land: Mahadeo/Shiva the first cultivator, Bhima the first ploughman

  10. Jungle associated with mythic/ historic/legendary heroes: Ramud Jungle for Ramai Deo, founder of Chauhan dynasty in western Orissa

  11. Land and Jungle associated with a tribe/ ethnic group: Bonda/Juang/ Bhunjia/Saora/Kondh etc.

  12. Abode of God: kadli jharia (Mahadeo use to live here with Parvati/ or Kadlivan for Gorekhnath)

  13. Water god Bhima, and water goddess Kondhen (union of spirit and woman)

  14. Prohibited jungle: Small, full of spiritual deeds (prohibited area)

  15. Sacred grooves. Burial space.

  16. Jungle of Saints/Jogi: Jogi math/Risipiti/Bamhan Devta/ Bankhandi risi/Parsuram, Gurubudha famous for penance and magical results.

Jungle is sacred, and it purifies the sin. In Bhunjia community, when a girl attains her puberty before the Kanabora ritual is instituted, the community consider it a sin and takes the girl to the nearby forest, tie up her in a tree, and her uncle rescue the girl. Then the girl is allowed to come to the village.

The original Shakti-power of goddess Manikeswari is a jungle. During Dasahara festival, original Shakti is brought through a ritual to the main temple for ten days and again it is returned to the Jungle after the festival is over. Same thing is happened for Duiarsani, Durga, Raktambari and many other goddesses. Being asked, the priest reply that, spirit of pure goddess always remains in her origin place. Installation of the Goddess in a human habitation is for common people. Association of human in the temple is full of pollution and therefore. The Shakti, which is eternally pure, must be brought from her origin place.

The origin myth of tribal community represent for earth, land, water, tree, vegetation, interdependence of man and animal. They learn from the ritual and myth.

The tribal priest is responsible for community harmony.

The mantras chanted in the worship of Earth mother Goddess is based on an integrated worldview. The meaning of the mantra is

Oh Earth mother,
We the creatures,
Is your spit, your left over food,
Worship you, save us from all dangers
Let the rain appear,
Let the forest be evergreen
Let there be no danger from tiger and snakes,
Let there be abundant harvest
Let a piece of rice be plenty let the issue less beget child
Let the raij- country be bright
Let the earth be healthy.

It is a festival of vegetation. The philosophical ideas in the mind of the paraja priest can be imagined. The priest says,

O mother,
As inside the earth pit,
Covered by a big stone, the offering is secured
This Earth is a great pit
This sky the cover and
We the nature and creature s are inside
O mother, save us likewise.

In the Dharnikhal- earth pit where the sacrifice is offered, to the earth goddess, a stone is covered to protect it. Comparing the greater earth as a great sacrifice pit and the animals and nature in side the earth covered by the sky like the stone- the jani recites the invocation the meaning of which is for the security of the earth and the universe. We can equally consider the global scientist speaking in global environmental conference; we have only one earth Lets save it. The Jani and the scientist – both pray for saving the world from disaster. One is through his pseudo-scientific belief, and the other is on scientific truth.

The inbuilt strength of a responsible priest, having strong faith in supernaturalism, helps the natural habitat to see always green. It is the imbalance of animal (including man), nature and supernaturalism that created a shift from natural world to exploitative world.

The function of myth and ritual is to validate the mind and action of the people for their association of animate with in animate and past with present. Therefore the space used by the tribal people bare vast experience in combining environmental hardship and leading sustainable livelihood. Any word, any action has a purpose and meaning. It is shared, enjoyed, distributed and socialized. Nothing is private in people’s knowledge. The water harvesting techniques, utilisation of forest herbs as source of medicine, metrological assessment, knowledge about the characteristics of birds and animals, knowing the concept of time, using the space as they perceive, are some of the most important aspect which is determined by the experiential knowledge and it is experimented, useful for the people’s welfare with universally agreed values, not imposed, by the community.

Oral epics and narratives found among the tribal community of Orissa bear the rich knowledge on their subsistence. The discovery and inventions, shift from one occupation area to the other, water harvesting, leveling the soil, inventing ploughing technology etc. are found described in the oral narratives. Invention of iron and liquor, categories of trees and birds, and animals, kinds of land and forest, association of sacred birds and animals, trees and land as the clan totem, clan based distribution of land and territory etc are vividly narrated in the oral tradition, more particularly in myths and oral epics, and caste genealogies. This reveals the importance of local knowledge perpetuated in their oral performance. In oral epics of Kalahandi it is found that, there is a gradual change from primitive to agrarian society. There is a gradual change from food gathering practice to food producing occupation. Mahadeo is the first cultivator, and inventor of plough. Bhima is the first helper to Mahadeo in cultivation. He is also the inventor of liquor and rainmaker. Bull and buffaloes are the first animals used in the cultivation. Getting rainwater through rituals is another aspect in folklore of Kalahandi. In almost all narratives, water, and land is narrated as most necessary component in tribal life.

A Kondh belief about a sacred land for human settlement consists of three symbols.

Kondh kurmel matir dub.

Jenne basle sethan subh.

i.e. a land is considered auspicious, if you see a Kondh has settled there, or the kurmel mouse found there or the grass (dub) is sprouted on that land. It signifies the fertility of land.

Selection of a land to dig a pond by the community is based on some experience.

Senior people select the land after several testing of soil, and select the land for digging a pond. But the diggers of Mahabandha don’t apply the indigenous knowledge, but dig the pond where the wasteland or government land is available. Relation of land with water is to be explored to know how the natural phenomena regulate the universe of human existence.

An African proverb therefore, runs that "those who have uninitiated can not understand us." Similarly, another proverb runs that when an old man in our village dies, a rich library is lost. Both the proverb signifies the importance of local knowledge. Tribal people have never tried to popularize their ideas, or knowledge, except obeying the rules and practices. They have also never discarded the new development order in a new given situation. But there is a gap. The gaps are:

    1. Does the indigenous knowledge matter for the development planners for the tribal people?
    2. Do our implementers believe that indigenous culture, and traditional wisdom are the treasures of human experience and if yes, have the planners and implementers used those local knowledge for the development of tribal people?
    3. Have the tribal planners tried to assimilate and integrate the tribal wisdom in development planning, or it is a one-way process?
    4. What is the strength inherent in tribal space and community life that can be helpful for sustaining the natural and cultural resources?
    5. Can the non-tribal people as a model for human development adopt the best practices of tribal wisdom? Do we have those examples?

The cultural attitude of tribal people in relation to their land, water, forest, family, society, greater human society and the universe as an integrated whole, therefore, need to be understood. Now, rapid deforestation, new economic order, new development plans in which tribal people serve not as a master, but as a slave, have forced the tribal people to forget their traditional wisdom. With the natural loss, cultural loss also goes hand in hand. Obsession with the past, perception of tribal people, psychologically, may be in a state of mind, unable to cope up with current development mechanism, and thereby a maladjustment. Or it may be possible that the tribal people having been beholden to the primary westernization have abandoned their traditional wisdom. Many tribal people feel that their language is inferior in comparison to the state language or foreign language. Culture of community dance is stopped considering it as social evil. Similarly, oral tradition tales, myths, legends with lots of local history and social history is lost, and loosing its relevance with the introduction of written knowledge.

It is seen that being affected by the mainstream culture, many educated tribal people have given up their language, culture and never thought of their traditional wisdom. Now, when we attach importance to the indigenous knowledge and traditional wisdom, they will/ may regenerate their knowledge.

In Search of Cultural Action:

Natural world takes shape in to a cultural world through human experience, imagination, reasoning and memory, as they feel necessary. Nature is perceived, as the mankind understands it. Tribal world have recreated the cultural world through its collective memory, which is drawn from natural world. Human resource and natural resource have symbiotic relationship. Culture is created in the context of nature. Human being construct belief, knowledge and attitude from the life experience. This helps them creating folklore which is experiential. Folklore as the vehicle of communication and transformation of knowledge plays the role of perpetuating knowledge. It also changes with changing situation.

In order to sustain natural resources, people’s traditional knowledge need to be acknowledged.

This can be made operational through:

  1. People and planners to understand the importance of traditional knowledge.
  2. Adopt and regenerate the best practices by recognizing the collective creation/ technology.
  3. Document the local knowledge to emphasize the value of these knowledge in the society.
  4. Teaching the community with their local knowledge, and to reach the development process
  5. Integrating local knowledge with the development process to strengthen the inbuilt resources
  6. Developing self confidence of people on their local knowledge.
  7. Using local knowledge in primary education and adult literacy, forest and environmental education, health awareness programme, even in economic development programme.
  8. Patronizing the community resource centers for empirical study and action research with and among community partnership in which the people with traditional knowledge can be in front line.
  9. Community sharing of knowledge and dissemination of best practices among others.

Source : Photographs by Dr. Biyotkesh Tripathy
Distillation Photograph: Dr. Ramesh Prasad Mohanty


References :

Music and Musical Instruments of Mayurbhanj Chho Dance

Dr. Basanta Kumar Mohanta

Dance Forms
Musical Instruments


Music is a wonderful creation. It has no specific language. It expresses a common language. According to late Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, "Music itself is not merely sound, it is color and live, it is movement, it is pattern and design. It awakens feeling and at the same time has the capacity of express emotion... The religious person turns to music to evoke the right atmosphere for worship. The soldier needs a martial tune to dispel the fatigue of dreary marches. Old folk seek it as soothing balm for their nerves and the young to soak in their energy to cloak their shyness or to speak their love", (Menon 1994: Forward). Chho (Chhow) – essentially a ritual dance of Siva Gajan or Choitra Parav. It is exclusively found in some parts of eastern India, i.e. Saraikala-Kharsuan, East Singhbhum and West Singhbhum districts of Jharkhand, Purulia district of West Bengal and Mayurbhanj district of Orissa.

Though the use of vocal music is very rare in Chho dance, Jhumura folk song of the area has played an important and effective role to heighten the emotional impact of the dance (Mohapatra 1995:144-45). Jhumar songs inspire most of the tunes played on Mahuri in different stages of Chho dance. According to the Sirish Chandra Mohanta (1994-95), Jhumar is the heart beat of Mayurbhanj Chho dance and the Chho dance is the modern edition of Jhumar culture. To describe the interrelation between Jhumar and Chho dance Mahato (1991:35) writes, "Chhou dance and its music is very highly indebted to Jhumar for its over-whelming popularity". Similarly, to express the closeness of Jhumar and Chho dance Wallenstiner (1993:163) opines that "One strophe of a Jhumar is sung, but the noise around is tremendous. No sooner the Jhumar singer has finished his task Sahanai takes over the tune and modulates it in different ways."

From the above discussion it is clear that the Jhumar plays an important role in Chho dance. Various types of Jhumar music are composed for different types of dance items. Based on the styles of composition of these music items, Chho dance is broadly divided into following four groups.


Folk And Tribal Form:
Some of the dance items like Dhwajatal, Kalachakra, Tamundia Krushna etc. Chho dance is purely based on the folk and tribal forms of music of the area.

(b) Traditional Form:

The dance items like Dandi, Kelakeluni, Madhurmilan; Nithurkalia, Odiya, Rasala etc. are basically composed on traditional oriya music like Odissi and Champu. Besides these traditional forms of oriya music, the application of oriya and folk music (mainly Jhumar) of Orissa and West Bengal in a hybrid form is also noticed in some (BalKrushna, Mahadev, Nataraj etc.) of the dance items.

(c) Classical Form:

Ragas and Ragini of classical Hindusthani music play an important role in Mayurbhanj Chho dance. Many dance items like Kailashlila, Natraj, Geeta, Kirat, Arjun, Goruda, Holi etc. are composed on it. The Ragas like Malkhous, Bhairon, Sdarang, Bhageshree, Lait Vairabi, Jogiyaa, Kamaj, Bhinpalas, Desh, Ashobari etc. are basically used in the Chho dance.

(d) Mixture Form:

A mixture form of music from India and West is also presently noticed in the Chho dance. This mixture type of music is simultaneously used in some of the dance items like Taasa Nrutya and Desh Bidesh etc.

Besides, there is a special type of music - 'affect music’ composed for some specific dance items, which are inspired by the nature and the surrounding animal kingdom. This affect music is mainly based on the habits and habitats of animals.

Musical Instruments:

Like the two sides of a coin, Chho dance and musical instruments are interrelated to each other and therefore, the study of their relationship is fascinating and worth attempting. Without the presence of these typical folk musical instruments, simply one cannot be able to think or imagine about the Chho dance. Though modernization causes the introduction of Western musical instruments into the territory of Chho dance, it cannot be able to over-lap the traditional folk musical instruments like Dhumsa, Dhole, Mandal etc. Use of modern musical instruments in Mayurbhanj Chho dance as a subsidiary form is very sporadic and as a subsidiary form. To show the originality and to maintain the purity of Chho dance, the traditional folk musical instruments are being used by the Mayurbhanj Chho dancer rather than the modern Western musical instruments like Brass band, Western Drum, Trumpet, Keyboard, Cornet, Clarinet, Baritone, Saxophone and Piccolo etc. Depending upon the shape, size, material used and the technique of playing, these traditional musical instruments are divided into two categories namely, Anaddha (Percussion instrument) and Susuri (Wind instrument).

(a) Dhumsa:

Dhumsa is on unifacial and almost conical shaped kettledrum possessing a narrow bottom and a very wide mouth at its top. Body of this musical instrument is prepared by connecting some pieces of thin iron sheets, which are of different sizes. The wide mouth portion of this musical instrument is covered either with a cow or a buffalo hide. The hide is hold taut by making a Pagri (plait) around its circumference and passing leather thongs through a set of holes made below the Pagri to the bottom of the drum. Technologically speaking, direct fixing of the leather to the body as said above and the plainness of the surface detracts from the instrument good musical and tonal values. (Prasad 1985:94)

On the basis of the size of the Dhumsa, it can be divided into two types, namely big and small. Both of these types are used for Chho dance. Generally, the bigger sized Dhumsa is kept on a Mancha, a four legged-wooden platform. Because of its huge size sometimes it is also placed on an open bullock cart for smooth playing. The smaller- sized Dhumsa is usually placed on the ground with the help of a small pedestal and as per convenience sometimes it also hangs from the neck of the musician. This typical musical instrument is always played with a set of long blunted sticks. Prior to beginning of Chho dance the player used to smash oil on the skin cover and warm it up by burning paddy stems for producing deep and attractive sound.

(b) Dhole:

It is a principal and very popular accompanying musical instrument of Dhumsa. It produces both voluminous and delicate sound. It has a big cylindrical shaped hollow wooden body. Both the sides of this wooden body are covered with skins of cow. These skin covers are inter-connected and tighten with a long leather thread. This leather thread is coiled all around the wooden body of the Dhole and passes through a set of metallic rings. These rings are pushed towards the middle portion of wooden body to tighten its skin covers at its two heads and for stabilizing the produced sound. It hangs from the neck and placed on the waist or belly sidewise or straight of the player for smooth playing. Sometimes, player keeps it on the surface or on a small pedestal made out of paddy stems or cotton. One side of this Dhole is played with palm and fingers of left hand. The other side of the Dhole, which is covered comparatively with a thicker skin, is simultaneously beaten with an eight - ten inches hockey type stick having a blunted end held in his right hand. In special cases to produce a typical tune, player used to beat the wooden stick lightly along with the fingers of his left hand on the left-hand side of the Dhole.

(c) Mandal:

It is such type of musical instrument, which can be able to produce different tunes for Jhumar music played for Chho dance. It hangs over the left shoulder of the player and is beaten with the hands. It has a bifacial cylindrical earthen body. One end of this earthen body is slightly broader than its opposite end. A variety of sounds and tunes can be produced from different ports of these skin covers. For example, the center portion of the skin cover produces a different sound from its periphery. Except the special cases, the Mandalia (player of the Mandal) played the broader end with left and narrower end with his right hand. Like the Dhole, it also hangs from the neck of the player with some skin strips for smooth playing. Sometimes, a decorated colour piece of cloth or a towel is used to cover the upper half portion of the rounded body. The covers for its both ends are prepared either from the skin of cow, goat or monkey. Both the skin covers at its two ends are tightened and joined to each other with a long leather strip. The center portion of the skin cover at its narrower end possesses a rounded black coating Kharan. The Kharan is made from an Amalgam of grinded iron slag or brittle block stones and boiled rice etc. This Kharan at its broader end is prepared with a paste of grinded white stones and boiled rice.

(d) Chadchadi:

This musical instrument possesses a short cylindrical body and is covered with a thin skin. Player hangs it on his shoulder in a semi-horizontal position and plays with the help of two lean sticks.

(e) Sahanai:

Like the Dhole, Sahanai is also one of the principal accompanying musical instruments of Dhomsa, without blowing of which Chho dance can not be performed. Most of the tunes of Chho music are initiated on Sahanai and accompanied by Dhole, Chadchadi and Dhumsa. This Susuri group of wind musical instrument possesses a tubular shaped wooden body, a funnel, a hook, reed and a needle. The usual length of a full fitted Sahanai ranges between one to two feet. The body of the Sahanai is usually made from a lightweight fine dark black wood, which is slightly widened at its one end. It consists of six finer holes for six fingers (i.e. the fore, middle and ring fingers of both of the hands). By regular closing and opening of these holes with fingers, player controls the pressure of air inside the tube and produces different types of tunes. The funnel of the Sahanai is basically made from a bell metal or brass. The length of this funnel is about 1/3 to the total length of the Sahanai. The narrower end of the funnel is fitted with the broader end of the wooden body. The flared featureless rim of the funnel is served as an end of the Sahanai. This flared end of funnel is generally decorated with one to three regular incised marks on both of its internal and external surfaces. Two sets of reeds made from palm leaf along with a wooden needle are attached to the narrow blowing end of the Sahanai with small thread. Out of these two sets of reed, one set is fixed at the blowing end of the Sahanai and is adjusted with the wooden needles. Other set of reed is kept for emergency use.

(f) Vamsi:

Vamsi is also one type of susuri group of musical instrument played for Chho dance. It is made from a long Baunsa / Vamsa (bamboo) having a thin wall, big cross-section and a long space between two nodes. Though the size and number of holes varies from Vaimsi to Vamsi, but the maximum number of Vamsi possesses seven holes. Out of these, six are meant for six fingers of two hands. These holes are drilled at one side of the Vamsi maintaining a regular distance between each of the holes. The rest one hole is blow hole, drilled on the same surface but on the opposite end of the finger holes. All these holes of a Vamsi are uniform in size. Like the Sahanai, Bansuria (player of Vamsi) uses his six fingers to produce different types of tunes for different stages of Chho dance.

Photographs : By the Author

Illustrations : Flute and Dhole by S. K. Ghoshmaulik

References :


  • Mahato B, 1991 Jhumar through the ages. Presented at a 4 day seminar on Planning for Department and Social Justice in Jharkhand. Organisied by Jharkhand Buddhijibi Manch Jamsedpur, at the Tata Auditorium, 26th – 29th Decmber, 1991.
  • Menon V.K. Narayana, 1994 – The Language of Music, New Delhi, Publication Division.
  • Mohanta S.C. 1995 – Mayurbhanj Chhow Nrutya re ‘Jhumar’ re prayag (in oriya). In Ranga Bhumi (7th issue) pp. 91 – 100, edited by Dr. (Smt) Sudha Mishra, Sangeeta Nataka Academy, Bhubaneswar, Orissa.
  • Mahapatra S., 1995 Mayurbhanj Chhow Dance Music – A Critical Study. In Ranga Bhumi (7th issue) pp. 139 – 148, edited by Dr. (Smt) Sudha Mishra, Sangeeta Nataka Academy, Bhubaneswar, Orissa.
  • Prasad O., 1985 Santal Music: A Study in pattern and process of cultural persistence, New Delhi; Inter – India publications.
  • Wallensteiner M.E., 1993 Chhau – In modern times: a study of the present situation of the Chhou dance of Purulia: Journal of the Anthropological Survey of India, 42:157-170.



Dr. Biyotkesh Tripathy

Teller: Srikanta Biswal 

[M 30. Tribe: Bathudi. Village: Debrajpur, Udala, Mayurbhanj. Date: April 14, 2000. Interviewer: Fani B. Puthal. Cassette No. 224, Side B. O. Tr. Pp.: 10,565-10,603. F.N: Mbj 4. Transcriber: Fanibhusan Puthal. Status: As told (minor editing & emendations; editorial explanations and additions in square brackets). Type: Tale]
Translator: Biswabandita Guru.


    A king had five sons. Once he suffered from a long disease. He did not get well even after seeing doctors. He called all his sons one day and asked them to get a Mallibati flower, a very potent medicine, without which he couldn’t get well. All of them decided, to bring the medicinal flower on smelling which their father would get cured.
    They arranged money and all of them went together to collect the medicine. When the king would smell the medicine, he would be all right. They took money and left their house, but did not return; even after 5-10 years, they did not return. At home the youngest son was there.
    The youngest son then said to his father, ‘All my brothers went, but I could not as I was very young. My brothers went but did not return. I’m grown up now. I’m going. After bringing the medicine, you will be all right.’
    Then he left. He borrowed money from his mother. His mother sold out all her ornaments and gave him money. Then he went. He got a flying horse prepared for him by their carpenter. He asked the carpenter how much money he’d take. The carpenter said, ‘Five thousand.’ He gave him five thousand rupees and took the flying horse from him. By twisting its right ear, it could be made to fly up, and by twisting the left ear it could be made to come down to land.

    Then he got on the horse and twisted its right ear. The horse started flying then. It landed in a kingdom. That kingdom was of the wild boar. He made the horse stand there and he himself sat down. The daughter of the king of that wild boar kingdom came and saw a very handsome young man. She thought he must be a prince. She decided to marry him. She reached her home and slept on her bed turning her head down. When she did like this her mother came and asked her, ‘Why are you sleeping dear? Get up and dry your clothes. You have taken your bath, but you haven’t dried your clothes yet. Why are you sleeping with your face down? Get up.’

    The daughter said, ‘You promise first that you will give me in marriage to the young man sitting by the side of the river. Then I’ll get up and eat. Otherwise I won’t touch the food nor water.’

    ‘Ok, you get up,’ said the mother.

    Then the princess said, ‘I won’t get up till you promise.’ Then her mother promised to tell her father about her marriage to that young man.

    Then the king sent the minister along with other servants to fetch the young man and got him married to his daughter. After the marriage was over, he stayed there.

    Then, one day, he told the princess to stay there, as he had to bring the "Mallibati" medicine for his father. His father would be cured on smelling the flower. After saying like this he took his horse and flew away. This time he reached the pigeon king’s kingdom. Just as he landed there [by the side of a river], the princess of that kingdom arrived there to take bath. She saw the prince and decided to marry him. She went back to her house. She also slept with her face down. At that time her mother came and said, ‘Get up and have your food dear. You took bath, why are you not drying the clothes?’

    She replied, ‘I won’t dry my clothes, won’t get up and won’t touch even water. I’ll sleep and die, but never touch food or water. You first promise to do what I tell you, after that we’ll talk.’

    The mother said, ‘What promise between mother and daughter?’

    The daughter said, ‘Solemnize my marriage with the young man sitting on the road by the river. After that only I’ll touch the food or water.’

    The mother said, ‘Of which caste he might be? Will you marry such a man?’

    She replied, ‘He is a prince. If you won’t perform my marriage with him, I’ll die like this without touching food or water.’

    Then the king was forced to order his soldiers to go and bring that young man. His soldiers caught him and brought him to the king. The prince refused to marry her as he had left home to get medicine for his father. But forcibly they solemnized his marriage to the princess. He stayed there for some days.

    Then, one day, he said he had to bring medicine for his father so that he’d be cured. Saying this he took his flying horse and flew away. This time he reached the tiger king’s kingdom. The tiger king’s daughter then saw him and thought, ‘What a handsome young man. I must marry him.’

    She also came home buried her face in the bed and slept on. Her mother said, ‘What has happened dear? Everyday you used to take bath and eat. Why are you sleeping like this sulking today? Get up and eat.’

    She replied, ‘I won’t eat, till I marry that young man. I’ll die like this.’

    The king sent his soldiers to find that young man. Then all his bodyguards and watchmen brought him to the king. Then they solemnized the marriage. Then again he remained there for 2-3 days like this.

    Then, one day, he said, ‘I’m going to Mallipur to bring medicines. Oh princess, you remain here. While returning I’ll take you with me.’

    Saying like this he left. Then he reached the pig king’s kingdom. The princess of that kingdom saw him, went back home and slept burying her face in her pillow. She had seen the prince by the side of the pond and thought in her heart, ‘Such a handsome prince he is? I must marry him.’ She did not take bath, came home, turned her face down and slept.

    Her mother asked her, ‘You went to take bath, why are you sleeping here turning your face down?’

    She said to her mother, ‘Till you promise to do what I ask you to do for me, I won’t take bath, won’t take food. I’ll die, but won’t touch food.’

    ‘What is this promise business between mother and daughter?’

    The princess said, ‘By the side of the pond I saw a young man when I went for taking bath. I saw him sitting there. If you solemnize my marriage with him, then only I’ll take bath and eat, otherwise not.’

    They then went to call that young man. The king also went there himself. He called his ministers and soldiers also there. They performed their marriage. He stayed there for some days.

    Then, one day, he told the princess, ‘Oh princess, you stay here. I’m leaving this place for some work. At the time of coming back, I’ll take you home with me.’ Saying this he got ready to go to the Mallibati kingdom.

    Then the princess asked him, ‘Will you go to Mallibati kingdom?’

    He said, ‘Yes, I’m going there. After I come back, I’ll take you with me.’

    Then the prince went to the elephant king’s kingdom. When he reached there, the princess of that kingdom also saw that he was a handsome young man. She had come to take bath. She thought, ‘So nice this young man is.’ She decided to marry that prince. She went and lay down on her bed with her face down.

    Then her father and mother said, ‘Why are you sleeping with your face down?’

    She replied, ‘I won’t accept food or water till you get me married to that young man.’ The king again sent his soldiers to him. They brought him. They solemnized her marriage with that prince. Then he stayed there for a few days.

    Then he said, ‘I’m going to bring the Malli flower. On my way back I’ll take you home.’ Then he twisted the ear of the flying horse and started off.

    Then he flew on and reached the kingdom of king Yama, the god of death. When he reached that kingdom, the daughter of the king saw him.

    She said to herself, ‘Bloody hell, what a handsome man! I must surely marry him.’ Then she asked him, ‘Why have you come here?’

    ‘I have come to take the Malli flower.’

    ‘You marry me. Then I’ll tell you how to get that flower and you can go get it. Otherwise you cannot bring it.’

    Then he agreed to marry her. Yamaraja did not know all this. His daughter told him, ‘Father! I’ve chosen this young man to marry.’ Then she got married to him. They remained there after marrying. One day the princess said, ‘you are supposed to bring the Malli flower? Okay, I’m showing you the path.’

    Then the prince followed the directions and reached the giant’s kingdom. When he reached there, he thought, ‘These giants would kill me if they see me.’ Then the princess of that giant kingdom could see him. Giants rarely saw human beings [in their kingdom]. She looked at the young man and said, ‘He is really very handsome.’ She developed greed for him then. When her father and mother went for grazing, [as that was the giants’ kingdom and they might eat this prince if they saw him], she transformed him into a housefly and kept him.

    When her father and mother came after grazing, they asked their daughter, ‘What’s it daughter, today it is smelling like human beings? Where from had come a human being?’

    She said, ‘No mother! Look, there is nothing here in this house.’ Then they went for grazing. Then the two of them talked to each other, the king’s youngest son and the giant’s youngest daughter.

    Then again her mother asked another day, ‘Dear daughter, tell me the truth, why it is smelling like human beings?’

    The daughter said, ‘If I’ll tell you, you’ll eat him.’ She said, they would not kill him if she told them. They would rather solemnize her marriage with him. Then the princess showed them. They then asked the prince why he had come. He replied that had had come to take Malli flower.

    Then the daughter of the giant said, ‘You can’t go to the Mallibati kingdom like this. What I say, you do accordingly. What you should do first is that you bring a goat.’ Then he brought a goat. Then she instructed him to cut off the head of the goat. Then the prince said that he was the king’s son and that he had never cut a goat. He again asked how he could do that as he had never done it before. Then the princess said, ‘No anyhow you have to do it.’ Then he butchered the goat. Then she instructed him to milk the cow. The prince replied again that he had never milked before, so what could he do? Then he milked the cow anyway. Then the princess instructed him to catch a cat. He replied that he couldn’t catch a cat. Anyway he managed to catch a black cat. The cat mewed. Then the princess instructed him to tie that up in a bag. She told him to keep the milk in an earthen pot. She tied the meat [of the goat in a bag]. Then she sent him to Mallibati kingdom.

    Again she told the prince, ‘Mallibati must be sleeping there. What you’ll do? You throw the cat directly into the palace. When the cat will mew, she’ll get up. You’ll also see a tiger while going there. You’ll throw these meat pieces to the tiger. He’ll keep busy in eating the meat. Then you proceed. Then again there will be a snake. Then you’ll keep the bowl full of milk there. The snake will drink the milk. You’ll proceed on your way.’

    Then he left taking all those things. He saw a tiger tied there. Who would feed him? There was no human being present in the Mallibati kingdom. So the tiger was growling. Then he threw the meat. The tiger pounced upon the meat. He had never tasted goat meat before. He started eating after getting the meat. Then the prince proceeded. He saw a snake there. The snake hissed. When it hissed, he kept the milk bowl near him. Then the snake had the milk. He then proceeded onward. Then he threw the cat. The cat mewed.

    Mallibati then woke up and said, ‘She’s broken my 12-year sleep. Where from came this cat?’ She was sleeping there for 12 years. She woke up on hearing the cat’s mew. Then the prince went there and called her name, ‘Mallibati, Mallibati, please get up.’

    She then said, ‘Who called me? I had been sleeping for last 12 years. Who called me today?’ She opened the door and saw that he was a prince. She called him inside. But the prince refused to enter inside. He said he would wait outside. Then princess Maalibati asked him why he had come. He started explaining why he had gone there. She called him inside, made him sit on her bed. He explained what really was the matter. He had gone there to bring the medicine. He asked the princess for the medicine and said that his father would be cured after smelling the medicine.

    Then he stayed in Mallibati’s house. Then he got married to her. After marrying, he brought the flower along with Mallibati. Both of them reached the giant’s kingdom. He brought the giant’s daughter from there. All three of them came walking from there to the Yamaraja’s kingdom. Then Yamaraja asked his daughter what she wanted. She replied that she would not take anything; she just wanted the cosmic calendar from her father. Then the four of them came to the elephant king’s house. After making the three of them stand on the road, the prince went to the elephant king’s daughter. He told her to accompany him.

    While departing her father asked her, ‘What do you want to take dear?’ He offered all her wealth and ornaments to take according to her wish. She told him that she would not take anything except an elephant calf. He told her, ‘Okay, then take that.’ Then she took an elephant calf along and came.

    They became five. Then the five members walked and reached the tiger king’s house. The prince took the tiger king’s daughter along with him. The tiger king’s daughter also brought a tiger cub as dowry. They became six in number. Then all of them came and reached the pigeon king’s kingdom. Like every king, the pigeon king asked his daughter to take whatever things she wanted according to her choice. She said she would not take anything and she would take only a baby pigeon. Then she took her baby pigeon along with her. Including her, they now became seven. Then they again reached the pig king’s kingdom. The pig king’s daughter also said that she would not take anything excepting a piglet. She took the piglet along with her.

    Like this they became eight in number. They came and reached the wild boar king’s kingdom. The wild boar’s daughter said that she would take a wild boar baby. Her parents told her to take that. Then all nine of them came from there walking. Eight queens had married a single young man. All of them came behind him. They addressed each other as sisters and came talking to one another happily. They came and reached the sea beach.

    On this side, the four brothers [who had gone for the flowers but had never returned], where they were before God knows, but they now met their younger brother and wives on the sea beach. The younger brother became very happy after meeting his elder brothers. He made all of them shave and made all of them presentable.

    Then the younger brother explained everything to his brothers. ‘Anyway, I got the Malli flower. So let’s all of us go back home together.’ Then they went together.

    While walking, the younger brother felt thirsty. All the wives were also with them. The elder brothers were their brothers-in-law and they were their sisters-in-law.

    While walking the four brothers decided among them, ‘We have come here for so many years, [all four of them decided], but could not bring the medicine. For that our father will surely kill us. Look at him [indicating the younger brother]; he has got the flower. Also he has also got so many wives. Whatever may happen, let’s marry them in spite of their being our sisters-in-law and let’s kill this younger brother.’

    They were walking. At that time the younger brother felt thirsty. He said, ‘I’m feeling thirsty.’

    Then the elder brothers said, ‘Dear sisters-in-law, please wait here for a while. We are going to make him drink some water.’

    The queens said, ‘We’ll also accompany you.’

    But they said, ‘You stay here. We’ll make him drink water in a short while and come back.’ Saying this they took the younger brother along with them. While he was drinking water, the four brothers rammed him in the mud, broke his legs and buried him under the mud. Then they came back.

    They came and told the sister-in-law, ‘Let’s go.’

    ‘And our husband?’

    ‘He’s gone away. [He’s no more]. You come with us.’

    They then said, ‘You are our brothers-in-law. How could you touch us?’

    ‘We’ll keep you, you come.’

    On their way they asked for the Malli flower from Mallibati. Mallibati reluctantly gave them the flower.

(Continued on C 225 A)

(O. Tr. Pp.: 10,604-630)

    Then all the queens said, ‘Sisters, let’s all go to the pond and search.’ Then all of them went there, stirred the mud and searched for him. When they stirred the mud, the daughter of the God of Death, Yamaraja, got the body. Then all of them took the body out. Then they washed him. The others were crying. The daughter of the Death God told them not to cry, as she would make him well. She consulted the cosmic calendar [she had brought from her father], and made him all right after applying some witchcraft. Then all of them came walking from there. After coming some distance, they said, ‘We’ll live in this jungle and won’t go anywhere else.’

    Then all the queens as well as the prince said, ‘If we are really daughters of kings, then within this night, there will be a palace constructed here.’ In reality, within a night a huge big palace was constructed there. Everybody lived there including the tiger, the boar, the elephant, the horse etc.

    From there led a road to another king’s fort. There was a barber in that kingdom who went to the king’s palace to shave the king everyday. That day, he was going to the fort. While passing by that way, he saw the palace and thought, ‘There was no house here before, who is the king who constructed a house here?’ He also started drooling when he saw the queens.

    He came to his king and said, ‘Oh king! In your kingdom some rascal king has constructed a palace and is living there. What to say about his queens! The face of your queen will not be comparable to their feet. Oh hell, so beautiful the ladies are! You should bloody hell take 3-4 of them and rest you should leave for me.’ He said like this.

    The prince had constructed his palace in the jungle and was living there. After some days he went to his father taking the medicine. He said, ‘Father! The matter is like this. My brothers beat me up and left me for dead. Now, I won’t live here any more.’

    ‘Those rascals beat you to death? They are of such type?’ said the king. The prince then told the king that he would not stay there.

    His father was all right then [after taking the medicine]. He told the prince to live there with him and to bring his wives along to the palace. But he told the king that he would stay there as he had constructed his own house. Then he went back and lived in his palace. The barber passed by that way daily.

    He told his king once, ‘What to do? In your kingdom, this person has constructed his house.’

    Then the king called the new king and said, ‘You have constructed your house inside my kingdom. So, you have to dig a pond here within tonight. If you can’t dig it, then you will be killed by driving the upper bolt and lower bolt through you.’ The prince returned from there after hearing that; his head reeled and he sat there. That day was the turn of pig king’s daughter. That day she was supposed to cook food and serve. She called him, ‘Come and have meal.’

    ‘No, I won’t. That king has told me to dig a pond overnight,’ he said. ‘Why is this rascal king giving us so much pain?’

    She said, ‘He has said that?’

    ‘It’s well and good if I dig the pond, otherwise he’ll kill me with the upper or lower bolts.’

    ‘You are worrying so much about this little matter,’ said the queen. She had a piglet; she sent that to here father. Then all the pigs from her kingdom came that night, dug seven ponds in one night and left the place in the same night.

    The king then came [in the morning] and got astonished after seeing the ponds. He said to the barber, ‘He has dug all this only in one night. We can’t compete with him, you tell me, what to do now?’

    Then the barber said, ‘Tell him to fill those ponds with milk, in one night.’

    That day was the turn of the elephant king’s daughter. She came and asked her husband to take rice. But the prince was sleeping with his back turned to her.

    He said, ‘No I won’t eat.’

    She asked, ‘Why? What happened?’

    ‘The king called me today. He said, if I won’t fill the ponds with milk tonight, then he’ll kill me using upper and lower bolts.’

     Then the elephant king’s daughter sent a letter to her father with the baby elephant she had brought. Elephants came in that night and filled the ponds with their milk.

     The next morning, the prince went to the king’s palace and told him to come and see. The king came and saw that the ponds were filled with milk. He then said, ‘I can’t handle this person any more.’ He told the barber that it was not possible to marry the queens. Again the barber said, ‘No, I should go. What I’ll do. I’ll throw seven baskets of mustard seeds in the fields.’

    Then he threw seven baskets of mustard seeds in the fields. Then they said, ‘If you don’t collect all the mustard seeds and put them in the baskets tonight, then you will be killed.’ The barber came and told him like this.

     What the prince would do then? He came and slept on the bed turning his face down. That day was the turn of pigeon king’s daughter. She said, ‘You eat in everybody’s turn; why don’t you eat during my turn? Come, get up and have your meal.’

    He replied that he wouldn’t take anything. ‘The king had set me an impossible task. If I can’t gather seven baskets of mustard seeds which have been strewn on the fields within this night, then he would kill me by using the upper or lower bolt the tomorrow.’

    ‘Are you worried for such a silly thing?’ the queen said. ‘All the seeds would be gathered.’ She wrote a letter to her father and sent that through the baby pigeon. The baby pigeon reached her father-mother’s kingdom. The king read that letter and said, ‘That rascal king is worrying my daughter so much?’ They ordered, ‘Go all the pigeons of our kingdom and pick up the mustard seeds.’

     The pigeons reached there in large numbers, gathered the mustard seeds, [put them in seven baskets] and went back the same night. The next morning the prince called the king to see that.

    The king saw, the seven baskets were filled with mustard seeds. He thought, ‘Bloody hell, what plan can I devise? It’s really very difficult to stump the prince.’ Then the king again called him and said to him, ‘If you can fill up the seven ponds with tiger milk by tomorrow morning, well and good, otherwise I shall kill you by the upper or lower bolts.’

    Again the prince came, buried his face and slept on the bed. That day was the turn of tiger king’s daughter. She said, ‘Oh dear! You eat properly during everybody’s turn. Why are you angry during my turn and not are not eating. Come, get up and have you rice.’

    He then explained that he had been ordered by the king to fill all the ponds with tiger milk; otherwise he would be killed. The queen then consoled him by asking him not to bother. She said she would arrange to make those ponds full. She told him to eat and assured that the king could not kill him. Then the prince had his food.

    When he finished eating, it became evening. Then the queen wrote a letter and sent that through the tiger cub. The cub reached the tiger kingdom.

    ‘That rascal’s worrying my daughter likes this!’ said the king. ‘Go all the milch tigers to that kingdom.’ Then all the tigers reached there. They gave milk and filled the ponds with tiger milk and then left the place in the same night.

    The next day the king saw the ponds filled with milk. Then he accepted defeat and left everything to the barber to apply his intelligence. The barber advised him to take more chance and to tell that prince to bring a multicoloured bird. If he would bring, then all right, otherwise he would be killed with the upper and lower bolts. The king had become very greedy on seeing such beautiful queens. The barber was also very much greedy. Once he was passing by that road. He entered into the new king’s palace. He came and enquired of the queens where the king was. ‘Ask him to bring a multicoloured bird. Our king has said this. Tell him.’

    ‘Okay. He’s not home at present. When he comes back we’ll tell him.’

    The barber then asked, ‘For what reason all of you are sitting like this?’

    ‘Who’ll take out the rice from the barn; our husband is not there. How we’ll prepare rice and eat without taking it out? That’s why we are sitting idle,’ replied the queens.

    The barber said, ‘I’m a manly person. I’ll take the rice out. Don’t you think I can do that? I’m a manly person.’

    The queens said, ‘Okay then, please take out some for us.’ Then the barber came. His temptation grew on seeing the queens. He inserted his hand into the barn. At that time the king was hiding there. He caught the barber. After catching him, all of them tied him up. Then he told to his queens, ‘Let’s go together to the sea beach. We’ll collect all the feathers of the birds of all colours.’ Then they collected the feathers and came back home.

    That barber was tied up already in a bag. They stitched the bag. They stitched his mouth also. They stitched the feathers on that bag and converted that barber into a multicoloured bird. They tied a belt on his waist and took him to the king.

    They said, ‘Sir! You wanted a multicoloured bird. Please take this.’

    The king said, ‘No, I haven’t told anything. The barber had told. So give it at his house.’

    He took the bird to the barber’s house and asked where the barber was. ‘He has gone to the king’s house,’ his wife replied.

    ‘No he is not there at the king’s palace. We just came from there,’ said the prince.

    The barber’s wife said, ‘He must have gone somewhere else.’

    Then the prince said, ‘Okay, take this. When he comes, please tell him that we have brought a multicoloured bird according to his wish.’

    The barber’s wife asked, ‘What will the bird eat, oh son!’

    ‘No aunty, it’ll not eat anything. Whenever it shakes its body, just give it a beating,’ said the prince.

    Then when the barber-bird shook its body a little, his wife said, ‘What the hell is this blasted bird, it’s always shaking itself.’ She then beat that it with a wooden plate. She was roasting some puffed rice. She said in anger, ‘I’ll roast the puffed rice or take care of this bird?’ Saying like this she beat the bird some more. But how much could she beat? She would roast the rice or thrash the bird? So like this what she did, she put the burning wood of the stove on the mouth of that bag. Then the barber’s mouth opened. The barber said, ‘You killed me, you killed me.’

    ‘You rascal old man? I was beating it thinking it was something else.’ His wife then opened his stitches and cleaned him. Then both of them lived. The discussion is finished. The story remains.



Illustrations: Sarasi Das

ISSN: 2249 3433


The word tribe is variously used in literature to denote a community on the basis of homogeneity. Originally many autochthonous communities who were identified by similar culture, social organisation and governance, living away from the main stream life of a country, were mentioned as tribe by their colonial rulers and Western scholars. Many such communities have moved towards the mainstream lifestyle so that they may no longer be identified as secluded, underdeveloped people with queer customs. This has happened to all areas of the world where tribal communities live. Still, many tribal communities lead their lives in very primitive ways devoid of the techno-economic glamour of contemporary civilization. These communities are labeled as "Primitive Tribal Groups". Indian Government has identified such tribal groups to give special attention to their development, whereas in the Indian Constitution all the tribal groups are recognized as "scheduled tribes".


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