Aum Singye Sings A Story
‘With no supply of electricity, clothes, or food, we lived in darkness before. If it
weren’t for Tarayana Foundation’s generosity, I would have still been living in a hut. People used to work as hard as today but somehow the village never seemed to develop. When I was little I used to wear the traditional Monpa attire of Pagay.
I am worried that the dialect of Monpas is altering and it’s slowly losing prominence. Youths aren’t showing interest in it and there are names of many ancient objects that are losing relevance while newly introduced objects do not have a name in Monpa-kha. Regarding the attire’s shunted popularity, I feel the newly imported clothes are much more comfortable, unlike our traditional dresses.
The community has been advised to preserve its unique customs but the effort is challenging with changing times. I am worried our language, attire, and rituals may perish.
Our traditional ritual usually includes appeasing the local spirits and deities. The traditional ritual is performed twice a year; after harvesting rice in autumn and
harvesting millet in spring. All the community members attend the rituals. The men have to stay with the shaman while the women accompany the script readers. Currently, we have to request a shaman from the neighboring village of Phumzur. The ritual is performed for the Yehla (forest spirits) to prevent incidences of natural disasters or famine. We also believe in Keyla (house spirits).
To preserve and revitalize our culture, Tarayana Foundation has organized ‘Monpa Day’ in 2019 providing us with nettle and nettle materials for the production of Paygay. The celebration was halted because of the pandemic. I would be happy if we could celebrate Monpa Day once again. We also received training on Nettle Weaving in 2020 with about nine trainees which also included high school graduates. These indigenous customs should be preserved and propagated because our children might forget their roots.