Miscellaneous Arts and Crafts in Tripura
The people of Tripura have a rich store house of folklore. Myths, legends, tales, proverbs, riddles,dreams, belief, songs, ballads and rhymes makes colorful spectrum of folklore. All these are creation of minds, highly inquisitive and imaginative. There is an explanation for every natural phenomenon. A myriad of myths are woven around origin of everything- deities, demons, witches, human beings, flora, fauna, solar system, speech and behaviour of different communities and person, birds and animals. Each community has its cosmogony, which may be a little different from that of others. For instance to some, the sun and the moon are brother and sisters; whereas to some other, they are husband and wife. Earthquakes, the Milky-Way, the sky, thunder, hills, lakes are all subjects of interesting myths and tales. The tales and myths are interesting, instructive and fantastic.
Like all forms of verbal art, the folk songs are generally perpetuated by oral circulation and tradition. The Tribal folk songs in Tripura have flourished with a variety and strength impressive of simple and changing culture. The folk songs represent various aspects of their culture. Love, courtship, marriage, economic activities, rituals, games, natural phenomena, political incidents etc, are the topics of innumerable songs. The history, regional geography, flora and fauna of Tripura are reflected in the folk songs. Most of the songs are sung by individuals simply for enjoyment or as an emotional outburst.
Some Folk songs of the Halams(Rupins)
Nung boroneing anga boroneing
Hobey Putra thansa;
Khulmu lilini dugma bai dugsa,
Japhang moramang thansa
Atuk karoi bai tal bai togoise
Nokha machangoi thango;
Tipra kharni tuisa yormun,
Sikhla mishi toiphang tanguise
Panda machangoi thango
Where do you belong? Where do you belong?
Basically we are one;
Like the dugma and dugsa creepers
We have the same roots.
The stars and the moon
Make the sky beautiful;
All the rivers of Tripura
Flow to the same place.
The leader makes the group beautiful
The group becomes beautiful.
Song No. 2
Khurmusiari rang chakwatai
Adisha krai kotai
Aichuk batawoi harimung-laiya
Changori kroi dekha
Ah oh maikroi dekha.
Haba khkhru tandhouno mano
Kapal tankharno manja
Bharato puthi porenai mano
Kapal Porena manja.
( A few verse missing )
Haphong maikanang hunoi kaimonnai
Toibu aknang hunoi satmonayi
Toibu akroi ungo.
Krai langdhado gangani kulo
It is raining gold in a forest as dense as fog
The whole country has become beautiful:
He who does not get up at first light and take his name
Does not attain Him.
If I criticise my mother and father
I will not get a waist cloth
If I criticise my mother and father
I will never have rice in my stomach.
We can cut the jhum vegetables
But our head we cannot cut
We can read all the books of India
But we cannot read our fate.
With a hope of a good harvest I planted the jhum
But I did not get the rice on the hills
With the hope of catching fish I put a net on the cherra
But when I drained the water I could not get no fish.
I have now fallen into the sea.
But I could not take His name.
Song no -3
Eza borin vuaia lam naw ning,
Tuisia riat pangfui a lo to,
A par e zun ra emaw e lengna
A per zik maw zun va chang ken chuang
Hailen bang tual lai leng tang a ti
If none is cheerful I shall not dance
There is a pangfui( a flowering tree) near the sea
When this tree flowers many birds hover above sucking its juices
Like the little birds we are also flying and enjoying the flowers of
Of the world.
Only lailen(a little bird who cannot fly but hop) will remain on the earth.
It is believed that the earth rests on Kaiching, a big tortoise, who eats human excrement for the collection of which, Khebok, the black carabid beetle is engaged. Sometimes, the beetle, being tired of the work, makes a false report that there is not a single human being on earth. The earth bearing tortoise doubts this and to verify the reports he shakes the earth. The quake terrifies men on earth and women make the ulu sound that reaches the ears of the tortoise who then strikes the beetle with a stone. So the beetle`s head is flat.
The milky way,called kuthai Lamthri, is a path of the dead. It is believed that dead pass this way.
The rainbow known as Chakreng tui ningnai is supposed to be a long serpent who sometimes appears on the horizon to drink water from any pool or lake. Anyone using the water of that pool or lake feels an itching sensation resulting in eruptions curable by propitiation to the serpent. A rainbow in the western horizon is suppose to indicate the death of a great man.
The hailstorm is called kathar. It is believed that deities in the heaven fry them and they drop on earth.
The meteor or shooting star is suppose to be on the visit to its father-in-law`s house. At that moment hair, if pulled, increases in length.
The cyclone is supposed to be feared by those alone who were, in their previous birth, indebted to it.
Formerly, the sky was soft and at a very low level. People used to cut some portion of it for food. Once a woman while husking paddy with a pestle felt inconvenient because she could not sufficiently raise the pestle. She knocked the sky with her pestle and sky went high above.
The thunder storm is believed to fall and strike those spots where devils, demons and evil spirits reside.
Eclipse occur only when a big frog goes to swallow the sun or moon. The frog asks the sun and the moon to report about the human affairs and release them only after being satisfied with the report.
In the past, both man and dog could see the gods. To conceal their movement, the deities smeared black soot on the eyes of man. So he is now unable to see him. The dog fled away as soon as a thin layer of soot was smeared. Therefore dogs can see the gods even today.
Certain trees are the abode of evil spirits. Like tamarind, wild jackfruit tree is not used to make pillars for house-building.
Tradition has it that the Halams and the Tipras are the children of the King Subrai. Though Subrai was the common father, their mothers were different. Subrai had two queens. The Halams are the descendents of the son of the elder queen, while the Tipras are the descendents of the son of the younger queen. The question of the succession arose in his old age. According to the customary laws, the elder son should be the king. But he was too simple to be the king. This being against the tradition, the king put the princes to a test of intelligence. The king asked the princes to ride on an elephant; he said,`whoever can ride first will be the next king.
The elder son at once rushed to the forest to collect bamboos to prepare a ladder to ride on. But the younger son instead of going to the forest, used some code-words usually used by a mahut to make the elephant bent a little. The tame elephant at once followed the direction of the master. The prince rode on. So the younger prince got the selection for the next kingship. The elder prince was not, however, completely deprived of . He was given the eastern part of the territory along the title `Ray’. The younger prince became Raja and got the the western part of the kingdom.
The accumulated wisdom of ages is expressed also by the Tipras in the form of Proverb-Asa da tai phailenghci- There is no end of hope.
A bai ana chao- The fish eats fish.
Ati Khuku thuina lakai to radi- Do not lend thy purse to one who is too sweet- tongued.
Aminagsa khipab tai phapka- Cat always hides it excrement
Kangal sa akra ta ungdi- Never be the eldest son in a poor family.
Khina ekkai bahai phainai- Excrement if stirred, stinks.
Khoomni bahai nagbarna talanga- Air emits the odour of flowers.
Chela kak kurung kami khao- An eloquent man preserves the unity of village.
Sela mai kurai- An idle man gets no rice.
Thenta ha kuroi- A cunning fellow gets no accommodation.
Charmani katar- A sumptuous meal pleases the most.
Char bai char- A thorn removes a thorn.
Char lo hamia-A thorn in the body never becomes a flesh i.e. adopted son-in-law never becomes as one`s own son.
Tal su kiting kurai-There is nothing as round as moon.
Sal su thamchi kurai-There is nothing as strong as sun.
Ma Sukba Kaham Kurai- There is nobody is good as the mother.
Takuk sinin buma achukna- A mother of seven issues gets no seat.
Kai sani buma chaai pala- A mother of a single issue never finds her food-stock empty.
A hump backed person jumps into water – (fishing rod)
A dead person eats a living one- ( bait)
An earthen pitcher that can`t be carried by the waist-(egg)
A dead snake that moves on-(rope)
A boat that floats without water-(Cradle)
A house within a house-(mosquito net)
A child is lulled to sleep in water-(fishing trap)
Two brothers engaged in wrestling-(roofs of a two roofed hut)
Fakir dances in every house-(soot)
You can see a thing but can`t see it-(one`s own head)
You can see a thing but can`t touch it-(sky)
A dead bird flies in the sky- (sky)
The more the mother weeps, the more the sun talks to -(loom)
A tree with only one leaf-(handfan)
A big garden with numerous flowers-(sky)
A single ear of paddy fills the whole granary- (light)