The Social Status of Women in the Tribal Society in Arunachal Pradesh, enlightened by Yeshe Dorjee (2)
We try to give an introduction to the Novel and the Novelist:
Name of NOVEL- BISHAKANYAR DESHOT
(In the Land of Poison Women).
Language – Assamese.
Writer – Yeshe Dorjee Thongchi.
Published year – 1st issue, December 2006
Publisher – Jyoti Prakashan, Guwahati
The prominent and popular writer Mr. Yeshe Dorjee Thongchi studied his matriculation level of education at Bomdila in Assamese medium.
In 1954, as per a special provision of Schedule VI of the Indian Constitution. That part was looked after by a political Officer.
It was known as NEFA or North East Frontier Agency and was formed, comprising the territories on the Sino-Indian border towards the North of Assam.
The official language of that part was Assamese. Thonchi got the Master Degree from Guwahati University, Assam. He served as the Deputy Commissioner and the Commissioner in many districts in Arunachal Pradesh.
Now, Yeshe Dorjee Thongchi leaves in Itanagar, the capital of Arunachal Pradesh.
Thongchi has been awarded the Sahitya Academy Award in 2005 for his famous novel ‘Mouna Outh Mukhar Hriday’ (Silent Lips Murmuring Hearts). He got many awards like Magor’s The Assam Valley Literary Award, Sukapha award, Bhupen Hazarika award, etc.
In 2020 he received the highest Indian civilian Award ‘Padmashree’ for his literary works.
The novel, ‘BishKanyar Deshot’ is a story of the superstition and black magic of a Panchen Monpa Woman living in the Panchen area of Arunachal Pradesh.
Going through the story of the novel, the writer narrates that Panchenpa women grow natural poison in their nails and they can kill any person using their natural poison mixed with liquor.
Even they can harm that person by looking at his/her food. They are called Duomo. The meaning of Doumo is a witch.
The story of the novel is started with an Indian Intelligence Bureau officer, Panchenpa youth – Thupten Tachi’s trek to Jimithang on the Indo-China border.
The objective of his posting was – to keep an eye on Chinese troops in the Panchen area of the Indo-China border.
India’s last block on the Chinese border is Khenjamani. Eight kilometers from Brokenthang to Khenjamani. It is surrounded on three sides by Chinese territory.
The only connection to it is the wooden plank on the top of the Namjangchu River in the middle of the deep low land in the mountains.
In 1959, the Dalai Lama, a Tibetan religious leader, fled to India. He was paid a courtesy call on a representative of the Government of India at the Assam Rifles Camp, Chamba, near the Chinese border, some kilometer distance from Brokenthang.
All the SSBs are guarding the Indian border. They hire a junior commissioned officer for six months to collect border information. This is a crucial time for the newcomer.
This is a very unfriendly environment; close to the Chinese bullet.
A Panchenpa Girl -Tachi Yodan was the circle officer of Jimithang. Thupten Tachi went for an official visit to the Jimithang circle office and met Tachi Yodan.
He was accompanied by SSB gourd who requested him not to take tea in front of Tachi Yodan because it no one eats anything in front of her.
This is the main prejudice, deep-rooted but unfounded general strong belief
among the tribes, beautiful charming Panchenpa women can produce poison in their nails and can kill men whenever she wishes.
Every male fears them. Nobody eats from their hands, even nobody eats in front of them. Thus, Panchenpa women are exploited in society. They have no position in their society.
There are many such stories about the poisonous women of the Panchenpa tribe living in the Jimithang area of the undivided Kameng district of Arunachal Pradesh.
Tachi Yodan approached for tea to Thupten in her office. But he asked her to take tea with him. She refused and told,
” Nobody eats anything in front of Panchenpa women.”
There is also a mysterious house built of stone in Brokenthang. On the west bank of the Namjangchu River, a short distance from the SSB and Home Guard camps, there lived an old mysterious couple.
They did not talk to anyone and nobody talked about them. Even while looking at the side of the house, no one eats anything, not even smokes bidi. People are afraid to mention the house and the people living in it.
1. Thongchi, Yeshe Dorjee, BishKanyar Deshot, 2006, p. 15
Dr. R.K Bezbaruah,Tezpur.