Original in Assamese: Hangmiji Hanse
Translated: Bibekananda Choudhury

We feel worried
On our own existence
We panic

Since the first light of creation
Standing at the entrance of the rock cave
We saw the world
Chatted with
Moon sun nebula and the stars
Made friends with
Sky air woods and forest
Talked with
Animals and birds
That trend has not ended yet

The educated ones say
That it is the definition of tribal

We are inseparable from nature
Gods goddesses ghosts spirits
Are our protectors – destroyer
Brook spring river stream our rinsers
Tall peaks give completeness to our climbs
Chirpings wild birds teaches us music
Wild animals teaches lessons of life-struggle
This is said to be the origin of the tribal culture

Expressed by stalwarts

The four inch loin-cloth exposing the buttocks
The shirt of coarse materials that do not cover shoulder and chest
The methoni that do not cover the comely breasts
One piece mekhela that do not reach the knee
It is not an issue related to ignorance or poverty
A mere sample of tribal weaving art

The pundits say so

The wails of sorrow and pain
The glee of happiness
The fun and frolic of celebration
Drum, flute and horns of inexpert workmanship
Admixture of natural words
These are the base of folk music
Experts opine

Question arise
Are we just for the experts

We would be protected
We would be studied
We would be experimented
We would be made into commodity

We feel worried

About the authorBorn at Arhi Kelok, Gorubat Mouza, Nagaon district on 22nd December, 1964, Hangmiji Hanse hails from Hongkram, West Karbi Anglong district, Assam. After schooling at Diphu he studied at Cotton College, Guwahati and Graduated in Mechanical Engineering from Regional Engineering College (Presently known as National Institute of Technology), Kurukshetra, Haryana.

Hangmiji Hanse is presently serving in the capacity of Executive Engineer in Irrigation Department, Government of Assam.

Further, he is associated with various organisations, such as, Executive Member in Asom Sahitya Sabha; Executive Member in Karbi Sahitya Sabha; Resource Person in ‘Sakshar Bharat’, State Resource Centre, Assam and Resource Person, Project Dictionary, Anandaram Barua Institute of Art & Culture (ABILAC), Guwahati.

Literary and socially active and committed, Hangmiji Hanse has several books to his credit. He composes poems, writes short stories and articles in Karbi, Assamese and English language.

About the translatorBibekananda Choudhury, an electrical engineer by profession, has completed his MS from BITS-Pilani in Systems and Information. He has also earned a diploma in French language from Gauhati University. He has got published works (both original and translated) in Assamese, Bengali & English in popular periodicals and newspapers. His translated poems has been published in 'Indian Literature', ‘Poets International’, Poetry International’, Rupsi Bangla, etc.  'Suryakatha', the Bengali adaptation done by him of the Assamese novelette in verse in the same title by Prayag Saikia was well accepted. His English translated publications include – one short story collection and four poetry collections and one Information Book on Kaziranga, apart from few others in manuscript form. He hails from Bongaigaon and presently stays at Guwahati.

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