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Date of Publish: 2017-03-25

Takliyng Khetri Bay Chibuk Hasikiri

(A Jamatia Folktale)

There was a Mandwy tree in a Chan(thatch) forest. A deer used to visit the place for the ripe friut of the tree. One day a tortoise being attracted by the sweet smell of the fruit appeared there. The tortoise made a lot of noise on the dried leaves as it crawled towards the tree. This frightened the deer and it ran away. The fright of the ddeer amused the tortoise very much. But when the deer found that it was only a tortoise, it came back. The deer told the tortoise to approach quietly. For the noise it made, become the cause of their death. The tortoise said that the sound was due to its short legs and when he moved his chest dragged on the ground.

Then both of them partook of the fruits to their hearts content. The deer then told the tortoise that if he came daily then fruits would be collected by one who arrived earlier and who would also divide the fruits equally between them. The tortoise replied that he did not know how to divide things. Then the deer said the tortoise that they were friends from that day onwards and both of them would live together and come to this place together at the same time. The tortoise agreed to the proposal. Since then the tortoise and the deer stayed together and shared the fruits.

One day, the deer thought of a plan to deceive the tortoise. It decided to kill the tortoise so that it could take the fruits all alone. The tortoise knew nothing of this wicked scheme. One day, while gathering the fruit both of them came near a hole. The deer then proposed that they would plan a new game. The tortoise agreed. The deer told the tortoise to jump over the hole. The tortoise did not agree. “His short legs” it said, “would not carry him over.” But as the deer insisted it agreed at last. As a demonstration, the deer jumped and crossed the hole singing a song;

Kwatal Waswyma Balang:

Kwwlaywanw Naydey

Hang Mwswy Hang

(the stems of the young bamboos are standing like spears)

Then the turn of the tortoise came. It came to jump over the hole singing

Keran Sani Fut Fat.

Mwswy Sani Hang Hang

(Oh deer knowing about the short legs of the tortoise are you requesting to jump over the hole)

Singing, the tortoise jump but it could not cross the hole and fell into it. He requested the deer to lift him up but the deer did not oblige, saying that he would die if he tried to rescue him.

The deer then warned the tortoise to take care of the eggs of the Hasikiri so that they were not broken. The tortoise froze to hear the name of Hasikiri because it had heard the name of this dangerous snake king earlier. It started weeping and appealed the deer again and again to pull him up. He also promised that he would not come to eat Mandwy fruits anymore. The deer melted when he heard that it would not come to share the fruits. He then dropped a creeper into the hole and lifted the tortoise and told him to run away from that place before the arrival of Hasikiri to its hole. Then the tortoise started running for its life. It crossed many streams, forests, hills etc. but still there was in him the perpetual fear of the Hasikiri.

After some time Hasikiri came to the hole and when she saw the condition of its broken eggs, it became furious. She was sure that this was done by the tortoise as it found the footprints of the tortoise in its hole. She resolved to kill the tortoise and began to stalk the tortoise with its gigantic body. All the wild animals hid themselves as they saw the furious Hasikiri. Meanwhile, the tortoise came across a very big boar. Seeing the wretched condition of the poor tortoise, the boar asked why it was crying. The tortoise then told it about the wrath of Hasikiri. The boar told the tortoise to take shelter under its big body. Soon Hasikiri appeared there with a terrific roar. Hearing the gruesome sound made by Hasikiri, the boar told the tortoise immediately to go away. The tortoise started running again.

A Takliyng Khetri (a kind of big bird) was flying nearly. Suddenly it saw the tortoise in a fagged out condition. She asked him why he was crying. The tortoise told her everything. The Takliyng Khetri told him that she would protect him. The tortoise surrendered himself into Takliyng Khetri and took shelter in its nest which was on the top of a very big banyan tree.

After a short while Hasikiri came there in search of the tortoise. Takliyng Khetri replied her that she did not know anything about the tortoise. Takliyng Khetri replied her that she did not know anything about the tortoise. She asked Hasikiri why he was so angry. The tortoise was a gentle creature and could not do any harm to him. Hasikiri then told her that it has broken its eggs, and she meant to kill him. Hasikiri now understood that Takliyng Khetri had hidden the tortoise.

Hasikiri told her to hand her over the tortoise immediately, otherwise she would kill her too along with the tortoise. Takliyng Khetri said that she would not return the tortoise without a fight. They began preparing for a fight. Hasikiri invited all the animals on the earth to side with her. Tigers, lions, elephants and all the animals on earth came to fight for Hasikiri.

Takliyng Khetri decided to call all the birds to help her and asked Takpipi(the tailor bird) to take the news to all the birds. But Takpila, the son of Takpipi was very sick. He called Kuksoma( the grasshopper) to perform the function of the Ochai (the medicine man)and to look after his son. Takpipi then invited all the birds and th einsects to take part in the fight in favour of Takliyng Khetri. All the birds and insects who can fly vultures, kites, the hornbills came to fight. But the problem began with the bat. He was neither a bird nor an animal. So both the parties demanded the bat and ultimately it had to remain neutral.

The fight started with the cock from the bird side and frog from the land creature’s. In this flight frog became victorious. Next, came the owl from the bird’s side and the crab from the land creature’s side. In this fight the crab was defeated. The next fight was with the vulture from the bird side and the monkey from the land creature’s side. In this fight the vulture lifted the monkey in the sky and dropped it to the earth. The vulture became victorious. The monkeys then began to flee from the battle-field out of fear. At last Takliyng Khetri orderd all the birds of her side to attack jointly Hasikiri’s party. Then the party of Hasikiri began to flee from the battle-field. Hasikiri was trying to escape. But Takliyng Khetri arrived specially there and attacked Hasikiri. She defeated Hasikiri but did not kill her. Instead, she let her go away.

The tortoise who was in the nest of Takliyng Khetri at this time suddenly broke an egg of the Takliyng Khetri by accidentally stepping on it. The tortoise began crying out of fear and embarrassment. He thought that Takliyng Khetri was surely kill him. Takliyng Khetri came back to its nest after a tremendous victory. But she was very kind to see the tearful eyes of the tortoise. She asked the tortoise why she was so grief-stricken. The tortoise then told her that it had broken one of her eggs. Takliyng Khetri told the tortoise to eat the egg as he had not eaten anything for the last few days and must be very hungry. Her kind and sympathetic words uplifted the sagging spirit of the tortoise. At last Takliyng Khetri lowered it on the ground. In this way Takliyng Khetri kept her word.

Illustrations - Utpal Talukdar.

(Utpal Talukdar is an illustrator and a cartoonist. He has completed several projects of children literature with National Book Trust of India. He is a reciepient of Parag Kumar Das Journalism Award)

“Jamatias were the major strength of Royal Army of Tripura kingdom for which they were exempted from the house taxes during princely- state. Earlier Jamatias had to live on Jhum Cultivation. But among the tribals of Tripura they accustomed themselves with plough cultivation after the Tripuris. At present most of them depend on plain land cultivation beside allied economic activities.

Jamatias are Hindus and have embraced Sakti cult and Vaishnavism. "Hoda Akra" is their supreme traditional Social Institute, which has power to look after to preserve and promote their every Social taboos, Customs and religion. All sort of social and criminal disputes in between the community members are also sorted by the 'Hoda'.

Jamatias are fond of their traditional folk culture and observance of those components like Drama, Garia festival and other common dances of Kok-Borok speaking tribes. They have special from of Garia dance which denote their Hindu based religious culture. A large numbers among them follows Vaishnavism and observe all events as per tradition”- ( source : http://www.tritripura.in)

This folktale has been picked up from the book titled "Jamatia Folktale- a Sociological Study", which is a research work of Dr. Pradip Nath Bhattacharjee, and published by Tripura State Tribal Cultural Research Institute And Museum.

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