14 February 2011

It's Valentine's day O white-livered ones

On account of it being Valentine's day today, I'm going to take time off off my busy schedule to share one of my favorite stories with you. The following is an excerpt from T.H Lewin's book, Wild Races of South-eastern India - that's us if you didn't get it. Anyone belonging to the wild Mizo race should enjoy this story and I hope it reminds us where we came from and what kind of men our forefathers were.

And now let us proceed with the story. This is what Lewin said:

A young man, a Riang Tipperah, who lives in my house, was formerly a slave of Rutton Poi’s (a Lhoosai chief) [Rothangpuia], and I have heard from him many accounts of raids made by his master. He used to accompany the Chief as the bearer of his weapons.

His first raid was in 1860, made on the Bengallee inhabitants of Kundal in Tipperah. They fell upon the villagers at day-dawn, according to custom; and the Bengallee men, with one consent, ran away. The women, however, stood their ground, and abused their grim assailants vociferously for breaking into honest people’s houses.

The Lhoosai laughed at their shrill tongues at first, but later it was found troublesome, and one young woman had to be cut down pour encourager les autres. The Chief confided to my boy’s care two women, captives. All the prisoners were fastened together by a cord through the lobe of the ears, and the Lhoosais set out with their plunder on the return journey.

Now, one of the captive women was young, and not accustomed to walking; so after the first day’s march her feet swelled, and she was unable to go further. The Chief therefore ordered that she should be speared. “Well,” said the narrator, “I took the spear and went towards her, and Rutton Poia said, ‘Do it neatly, I will look on,’ for it was the first time I had ever speared any one.

When the girl saw me take the spear and come towards her, she fell a-weeping, and caught my garments and my hands, and all my heart thumped, and I could not hurt her. It was pitiful!

So the Chief began to laugh at me, and said, ‘O white-livered, and son of a female dog, when we return to the village, I will tell the young maidens of your courage;’ so I shut my eyes and speared her. My stroke was ill-directed, and she did not die; so the Chief finished the work, and he made me lick the spear. The blood of Bengallees is very salty. Since then I have not been afraid to spear any one.”

Among the Lhoosai it is customary for a young warrior to eat a piece of the liver of the first man he kills; this, it is said, strengthens the heart and gives courage.


Wild Races of South-eastern India - T.H Lewin


*Sigh* Don't you just miss those good old days! The days we ate human liver and licked the blood of our enemies off our spears! :-)

Seriously though, Rothangpuia is my favorite Mizo chief. If we were still living in Rothangpuia's time, today instead of spewing Hallmark-y lines to a man and giving him gifts of little bottles of liquid to make him smell like the inside of a shopping mall, celebrating Valentine's day, I would be seeing my man off to battle, and instead of a mushy love poem, I would be telling him "May you be unhurt, and bring home many heads!" What's more romantic I'm not even sure anymore...

And oh, happy Valentine's day O white-livered sons & daughters of female dogs! :P

P.s. You can download or read the book online here, which I strongly recommend you do. The Englishman's patronizing tone can get a bit annoying, but the book makes for a very interesting read otherwise.

26 comments:

Alejendro said...

I am so gonna murder the so-called Cupid. And if St. Valentino was still alive I would murder him myself.

sekibuhchhuak said...

Hello MasterChef ! :-)

Ka lo la chhiarve miah lo, chhiar ve ngei tur anih hi.

Jerusha said...

Alej - what's so bad about it? You can either happily join in the celebrations, or just ignore it :-) But I agree, the excessive amount of red and heart shaped balloons get a bit annoying

Seki - hehe chhiar ve ngei ang che. Tribes dang kha chu chhiar pawh ka chhiar hran lo, Lushai ho a ziahna kha a ngaihnawm ka ti tawp.

illusionaire said...

lolz, this is some scary shit.. :D

caribou said...

Khai aaa.... a va romantic lo ve le... Khang hunlai te khan an lo va che bon thin awm reng reng ve le aw.

Alejandro comment khi a pa rem rem khawp mai.

blackestred said...

"I would be seeing my man off to battle, and instead of a mushy love poem.." I doubt it...
On Valentine's day, some smelly guy with unkempt hair, (including bodily ones) will probably knock you senseless with his club and drag you by your hair back to his cave, where you both will live happily ever after... until that menacing T-Rex from the next valley, high on mushrooms gets the munchies and comes looking for grub.. or was that too far back in the good old days? :P
Hope you had a nice Vday.

Jerusha said...

Kimkims - what's scary about it? Sounds like if you had been in the young man's place you would not have been able to do the job, and "Rutton Poia" would surely mock and laugh at you, and all the young women in the village would learn of your cowardice :D

Caribou - haha romantic post a tam a tam tawh bawk a helamah tlem a dang deuh tih tha in ka hria a :)Alejandro khian fanghmir pawh that ngam lo, a tawng ah hi chuan a pa hle thung lol

Blakest - T-Rex high on mushrooms LOL! Well maybe at the time when 'clubbing' is in, I would probably have enjoyed being clubbed and dragged around by a big hairy smelly man. LOL

ku2 said...

I love this post, though I havta agree with Black. I wouldnt want to be in the days of yore when instead of a red rose (not that I like gettin V-day roses), all Id be getting was a blood spattered hrengpereng to wash. And an unwashed man smelling of days old sweat, blood and ...omg, they never used soap and water back in those days when they poo, do they?

Hats off to Rutton Poi anyway, he sounds wonderfully barbaric, rowr!

Lucy In The Sky said...

LOL.. Liver ei chungchang hi sikulah kan zir awm pawh ka hre lo. Kan pi pel pu te kha lehkhabu vela an inziah ang khawpa bumro leh violet tur ang chuan ka ngaihtuahna in a phak lo. PS: Mizo mipa hi an pa ka ti khawp.

Jerusha said...

Ku - rose tih rem rum reng pawh hiiiiii takna tel lo chuan liver ei ang lek ani hahah Rothangpuia hi chu pa tawp alawm, a star awm tawp.

Luce - Mizo mipa hi keipawh an pa "thin" ka ti khawp mai hehe Hmanlai mipa ho kha chu an pa rorum tunlai chu mi dawih tak tak hi an tam tawh ltk a

mesjay said...

Ohoh, if this is a true story, i'm so not proud of my ancestors' exploits.

PureLeader said...

illusionaire said...
lolz, this is some scary shit.. :D


Mi dawihzep hi chu aww! I va han inhmeh tak - thanks for the Sunday laugh, in-luk-zantinaire :))

Chuan, wonderful post - liver khi a awihawm loh tawp - Cannibalism an practice ngailo wre2. LK-ah discussion atan ka lo post auh? :) (with a link to this post, of course :)

The Piper said...

A nice weird read !!I ain't a mizo, but it looks like ya guys have some very interestin stories to tell.Will be lookin forward to readin more of 'em. glad to see a darker shade of Valentines.M gonna download the book.Thanx for sharing !!!

H.Vangchhia said...

As a pure breed Mizo and my keen interest in knowing my history, i have learned much about my ancestors. This story about our ancestors eating human liver is RIDICULOUS.

Anyways, if there's some truth in this story, we (Mizo's) would know about it.

H.Vangchhia said...

He post hi hnamdang hmuh tam hma in a neitu hian ti bo teh se. Dawh mah nise kan hnam hmingchhiat theihna a nih theih ka ring.

Jerusha said...

Mes - it doesn't bother me. I think the 'refined' English people did many worse things. For the time they were in and the condition they were in, they just did what was necessary :)

Leader - LK comment pawh ka rawn check e. Hemi thu a ka ngaihdan chu Blueberry, Chepa leh Noddy ngaihdan ang vel kha ni keipawh.

Piper - thanks for dropping in. Adn i'm glad you enjoyed the story. I hope you enjoy the entire book :) I

Jerusha said...

Vangchhia - Just because we are humans doesn't mean we know everything there is to know about humans. And as Mizos, there are still so many things about our roots that are veiled in ambiguity.

I'm very proud to be a Mizo. And I am willing to accept all parts of my Mizoness and my history - the good and the bad. I'm not saying I agree with all of Lewin's documentations, but I don't want to trash it just because I don't like the sound of it.

This is what my cousin had to say about this - "lehkha bu kha,ka rilru a rawn lang hmasa ber chu Apocalypto LOL khatiang nen a in ''relate'' thei nih kha ka in ngaisang!"

Liver ei pawh chu huaina a nih tak tak chuan, ei leh tran tawh pawh a ngai anih mai hmel LOL

illusionaire said...

I too wouldn't have believed we Mizos were cannibals once, but then again, looking at PureLeader's face, it's hard to deny this fact because he does look like Hannibal Lecter with his mask on.

:D

H.Vangchhia said...

Zep tlat theih thu a awm lova, pi pute chanchin Lusei e sei love, mihring sa ei thin anga an sawi ka hre ngai tlat lo. Kan pi pu te chanchin hi phuah chawp thlengin kan hre nasa viau. Chuvangin ka awih lo.

Thomas Herbert Lewin hi a ziak hlawhtlin nan dawt a telh niah ka puh.

Ka pu, M.Laldailova (May 14 1890 - May 4 1992) khan kan thlahtu te chanchin hi a ziak mai ni lo vin min hrilh nasa thin. Pu Lloyd pawh khan a rawn ber thin pakhat a ni. Kapu in a hriat phak bakah, a pa Kaka'n a hrilh leh a pu Lalbuanga ten an hrilh Mizo culture leh tradition a awmlo a ni. Chuvangin, lo ti an awm anih pawh in, kan hnam thil chin ni lo vin, tu te emaw lo tih tawh a hre fuh emaw a ni thei. Mahse (again) hnam thil chin ang maia a ziak hi Mizo ka nih vang ni kher lo vin, dawt anih zawk avangin ka hua.

Sangzuala Hmar said...

We do hunt heads, but eating liver and licking blood is an exagerration...

WTF... thoem bloody English too, what were they? Plundering every nation, raping their lands...

The Piper said...

I been followin what your frens havta say about this particular passage.Bein a "non-mizo" I guess I shouldn't really interfere in your affairs but then again the chance to stick my foot in my mouth is way too irresistible.I guess I understand why most of ya seem a lill agitated,Lewin was probably nuts or high but you gotta admit,he doesn't say this is the absolute truth,he mentions he's re-counting what some1else told him...beside it aint as bad as it sounds..we've all read or seen worse about others, yea? Ya know,if sumone had taken the time to write about my people...documented how things were back then,I woulda been pleased..cuz u see...I don't know shit about mine,nobody took the initiative to write about my people...I don't even know my own language,in fact very few of my people do..ain't dat sad? Another few years and my tribe will fade away..like it didn't even exist. You see, you guys are lucky :)...and besides this is literature, poetic license..ya know ? :P So cut crazy Lewin a lill slack...relax..kick back...grab a steamin cup of coffee and read on! Enjoy the stories...they're good ! :)

Jerusha said...

Kims - hehe careful Kim. Pureleader might come after your own liver!

Vangchhia - who knows? Maybe he did add some spice to the story to liven up the book a bit. Nothing is ever an absolute truth.

Jerusha said...

Sangzuala - Agree with the sentiment, and I already mentioned the same thing on my comment above. The English have done their own equivalent of eating human meat and much worse. I hope when we protest such info it's not in the hope of "redeeming" ourselves and our reputation to the world because the rest of the world have done more harm to the world and to their fellow human beings than we Mizo ever did. So no shame, we don't need any redemption.

Jerusha said...

Piper - different strokes for different folks I guess :) I'm glad for the existence of books like these, and I'm glad that someone actually took the time and interest to write them - even if it was a snooty firang. And my point exactly - we've all seen worse :)

Alejendro said...

Yummy, yummy... :-) If I were born those time I wouldn't be a Vegetarian, for they'd call me white-livered son of female dog. :-P Human liver for dinner with the blood to quench my thirst... not bad at all.. balls would make a good salad hahahahaha

zurosurih said...

Another book by the same author is "A Fly On The Wheel, Or, How I Helped To Govern India".

very informative and interesting read; provides an idea of what we used to be just a little more than a hundred years ago. believe it or not!

This books details the coming of the Britishers (the author himself being the first British man to enter the Mizo Hills) in our part of the world.

For many of us who don't even know about things that go beyond a few decades past, this books provide deep insight into our history through the eyes of Captain Lewin.

A must read, I would say.

Good day everyone.