Since Abotani’s birth from the Womb of Mother Earth there is a long story of his struggle for survival to control and rule over this earth and Universe; In Apatani oral folk literature Miji Migun it is dealt in the Chapter of Tani Biidi. The following article is an excerpt from that chapter.
In the beginning of mythical period Iipyo, before the birth of Human being the animal, insects, Spirits and demi Gods Chidu and others were born. And from the bosom of Chidu the Father of Poison, Chinii was born.
When the semen of Charuñ the Lord of wisdom and knowledge fell upon the Chantu Kochuñ, Womb of Mother Earth, the first human being, our fore father, Abotani was born from her bosom. He was gifted with the logic to distinguish light and darkness, right, wrong and capability to comprehend and apprehend.
In early epoch of human evolution, Gods, Demi Gods, spirits and human being were living together as a same community. Abotani was gentle, sober, upright and was gifted with the capability to analysis comprehend and apprehend, which put him in an advantageous position among his contemporaries and reason for their jealousy.
Chinii, being elder than Tani was haughty, egoistic overbearing. He was jealous of Tani’s intelligence and advantageous position. Therefore, he was conspiring and adopting various tricks and strategies to eliminate him but had failed in his every attempt before Tani’s cleverness and intelligence of Tani. This time jealous Chinii adopted another strategy to kill Tani.
One fine day Elder Chinii with a naive and compromising look asked Tani, “Hey, Tani! We had lots of quarrel and conspiracies against each other and am tired off. Let us now be friends, after all we are brothers,”
“All right if you desire so it is duty of the younger to accept & follow the elders suggestions and proposal.” Surprise about changed attitudes of his adversaries; Tani replied to his wily brother.
“Then, let’s go for fishing together at far off jungle and end our enmity by having a treat to our new found friendship with the fishes we shall catch there.” Chinii added
Though Tani was suspicious of his jealous and crafty brother but accepted the proposal to give a chance to end their enmity and make better in their relation. They went together and scour upon the rivers of jungles for fishes; all the while they crossed the River called Lyagi Yashi, climbed the Hill called Khedo Hada and reached to a far place at a River called Miido Kolyang siigang. There they saw fishes mirthfully swimming upstream and downstream and placed their Khonju, fishing traps to catch those fishes at the appropriate place of river.
Next morning, apprehensive Tani discreetly went to the river and gaze into their traps, Takhuns to see what they had caught. He found that Chinii’s Trap had caught the Earth worms and other abominable insects. His Trap had caught full of fish. Now, as agreed upon they were to have Treat by exchanging their catches to seal their new found friendship.
It was decided to filled their catches in a bamboo tube and exchange them as token of friendship. And they cook together at Moreh Lampii, Camp in the Forest and eat together as friendship delicacy. Since Tani knew what elder Chinii had caught in his Trap. He was wondering what to do, neither did he wanted to eat those terrible worms and insects from the Chinii’s Fishing Trap nor dishonor the newly established friendship. Confused Tani was thinking of a way, how to avoid dishonoring their new found friendship. On the other hand, jealous and wily Chinii with a tacit motive to kill Abotani was planning to put in poison secretly into his bamboo tube which he will give it to Tani to cook and eat.
During their pre-cooking preparations, Abotani had observed that Chinii had cut his Bamboo Tube with opening towards Shoot of the Bamboo. So, he cut his Tubes with opening towards the root side of the Bamboo to distinguish his tube from Chinii’s tube of worms. Then they put their Tubes with their catches and exchanged with each other and started cooking in the hearth of the Camp. Tani was in a look out for a chance to re-exchange the bamboo Tubes unaware of Chinii. However, Chinii was watching it attentively with a determined attitude. So, Tani tried a trick to distract his attention and said, “Look, Elder Chinii, Eagles are flying over at the northern sky.”
Without moving his head Chinii replied,” No Eagles ever flew over there, so there cannot be any today.” He did not stop his stare to the bamboo Tubes being cooked in the hearth.
“Look! Elder Chinii there is Eagle flying over the southern sky.”
Without a slightest movement of his head Chinii replied, “That day I did not see any Eagle flying at the southern Sky there cannot be any today.” He continued watching the Tube with more determinedly.
When, Abotani could not distract him from gazing at the Tubes in the hearth, he silently prayed to the God of lightning to distract Chinii with his lights and God of Jungle to send a deer to disturb the hearth and a monkey to exchange the Tubes.
Suddenly, in response to Tani’s prayer a bright lightning came and darkened the eyes of Chinii . A Deer jumped over the hearth caused disturbance, till then Monkey came and unaware of Chinii, changed the Tube with worms which Tani was cooking towards Chinii and Tube with fishes that Chinii was cooking towards Tani.
“Ohoopsss! This lightening! Why at this odd time?” Shocked Chinii asked “It has blinded me” he added.
“Me too.” said Tani and continued, “May be there will be rain later.”
After a while when their eyes got normalized with normal light, Tani observed that the tube has been re-exchanged and recognized his own tube with opening towards root in his side of hearth. But ignorant Chinii did not realize what had happened and continued his gaze upon the tubes in hearth.
When it was cooked they had their treat for their new found friendship. Tani ate his own bamboo tube of Fish and Chinii ate his own bamboo tube of worms and poisons he concealed into it. Later they parted and went their own ways.
On the way, Chinii suffered from the stomach problem due to his self poisoning and wrong food and was vomiting heavily along with heavy loose motion. He was cursing upon Tani and the situation, which had caused him those sufferings.
“I am vomiting profusely with heavy loose motion. I have vomited and upon vegetations, animal and even upon the foods and drinks. I am exhausted and am growing weaker and weaker.” Chinii was murmuring with pain on his way.
On reaching his home Chinii said, “My sons Yami Yama, Amerdila is at northern land Samin Rako, Tortoise at southern land, please somebody call them, please call my son the white snake Chinii Chipu Tarii, the red snake Chilan Borta, and the green snake Chisang Dolyang before I die.” He was crying with pain.
Note: During early epoch of human evolution Abotani was very poor, his elders, spirits and other demi-gods were affluent and more well off than Tani, as they were elder and first born.
Apprehensive Tani wanted to know the condition of Chinii after eating the Tube of worms. He planned to verify and to extract the secret knowledge from him. So, he went to Chinii’s son Koh Ramin and Koh Rako to borrow their dress,
Tani said,“ Koh Ramin, I have to attend an important ceremony and required to adorn myself well, but I don’t have any decent dress.”
And requested, “I would be grateful, if you could kindly lend me your set of priestly dresses Jilang, Abyo, Dinko Ranyi, Rubin-Liiran, Rupu Kobyan, Jikhe Tarii, Elyo Tarin, Pakho Hubyu and Liirin to enable me to attend the ceremony decently dressed.”
On Tani’s request Koh Ramin and Rako Lent their dress and Tani put on their dresses, disguised himself as Koh Ramin and went towards Chinii’s house to verify his condition.
When Tani reached and enter Chinii’s house. He found that Chinii’s whole body was swollen, including his face, and even he could not see the visitor seated close to him. Disguised Tani making his accent similar to that of Koh Ramin’s voice, and asked, “O father what caused you such serious sufferings?”
“Who are you?” asked alerted Chinii.
“I am your son Koh Ramin.”Tani replied.
Suspicious Chinii said, “What happened to your voice? It seems similar to Tani’s voice. I doubt you are Tani pretending my son. So, I will not speak to you and tell anything.”
Carefully imitating the voice of Koh Ramin and coming closer Tani said, “Tani is a poor man even without any decent dress; touch me and my dress and verify, I am your son Koh Ramin.”
Due to inflammation of his face Chinii could not see the person talking to him. So he accepted Tani’s word and touched and verified by spreading his hand from feet to head. While doing so he felt the dress of his son Koh Ramin .
Then he affirmed, “Yes! The dresses are my son’s, I cannot see but can feel it indeed you are my son Koh Ramin .”
Again Tani asked, “Father! O Father, what caused you these suffering? What are your wishes and desires?”
Chinii said,“ I am born in the early period of Iipyo from the Womb of Chidu, and am Elder than him. But my brother, clever Tani is always in the advantageous position in our every venture; I feel he does not regard me as his elder. Therefore, I wanted to eliminate him and had brought the deadliest poison from snow capped mountains of North which I put it into the Tube meant for him during our friendship treaty. However, I don’t know from where Tani did put such a deadly poison into the tube meant for me which has caused me this suffering.”
“O father, how can you be relieved from this suffering and be appeased? Should I appease you with the sacrifice of Mithun, Cow, Pig, Chicken or Eggs to relieve you of suffering from food poisoning?” Tani asked Chinii.
“No! Sacrifice of neither Mithun nor Cow or other animal and fowls will relieve me from this suffering or will I be appeased. I have vomited the poison all over; upon the vegetation, animals, insects, and foods and drinks. Perchance, if somebody eats those vegetables, meats, foods and drinks upon which I have vomited, he will suffer from indigestion and stomach problems. Then take out a Red hot Charcoal from the hearth, pour water upon it and give it to me, I will be appeased.” Chinii revealed.
After listening, what to do when one suffers from stomach ache due to food poisoning and wrong foods from Elder Chinii. Tani went to Koh Ramin and Rako, and while returning back their dress, he thanked them and said, “I have come back from the ceremony, here are your dresses, please check if it is all right”
“All right put it there it must be O.K since you did not take long.” Said Koh Ramin
As soon as Tani returned them they checked their dresses, adorn themselves and went to their Father Chinii’s and found that he was in a seriously condition and was about to die.
“O Father what is the cause of your condition?” They asked.
“Didn’t you listen? Just now I’ve related you the whole episode.” Chinii said with displeasure.
“No! Father, we did arrive just now. We haven’t talked with each other yet.” Innocently Koh Ramin replied.
“Then whom did I told my whole secret knowledge, my desire and way to appease me a little while ago.” Confused Chinii asked.
“Immediately on return of our dresses by Tani, who had borrowed it to attend an important ceremonial function; we have come here as summon by you.” They told their father.
As soon as Chinii heard this, he realized the Tani’s foul play and got angry over his sons ignorance and simplicity. He picked up one of his son Yami-Yama and threw him to the north and other son Samin Rako towards south.
Ultimately, Chinii died from his own self poisoning. Upon the summon of Chinii, who started lately, his Sons the Snakes, Chilang Borta, Chipu Tarii, Chishang Dolyang was coming towards their Father’s house. On the way they found foods vomited by Chinii and ate them unknowingly along with the bees, ants and other insect. Therefore, it is believed that the Reptiles specially Snakes, Bees, Ants, and other animals those who have partaken of those foods vomited by Chinii have become poisonous.
Therefore, whenever somebody suffers from indigestion and stomach ache due to wrong food, we take out a red hot charcoal from the hearth and let it extinguish by spitting water upon it by a sufferer, Thereafter, taking the charcoal we pray if (….Name of a person….) have by mistakenly or unknowingly have partaken of the vegetables, foods or drinks upon which elder Chinii had vomited and is causing the indigestion and ache in the stomach. As told by wise elder Chinii. I am offering you this fresh and flavored Charcoal. Let poisons go away with this charcoal to deep Jungle and near the fresh water of River, where Chinii and Tani had to treat. Saying this we go out to the front Verandah of the house and throw away the Charcoal. And also paint a circle around belly button with the powdered charcoal.
Many times during our childhood, whenever we had indigestion and stomach ache our grandparents and parents use to perform this simple Diipa Mihniiñ rite and painted a circle around our belly button with powdered charcoal. Astonishingly, we use to get relieved of stomach ache after performance of the rite.
Now a day, faith in traditional system has diminished, which used the body’s natural resistance and cleansing system to coup up with minor problem of indigestion. And people gulped on the modern medicines with its side effects. Now a day, this Rite is rarely performed by our brethren, who are unmindful after easy going modern life is pushing this ritual towards oblivion.