Saturday, 28 February 2009

Headhunters’ ball – Reyee Gaye

The ‘Aran’ puja was on this time when I reached Ramsing village. Reyee Gaye dance was the feature that interested me; I reached the place outside the Naamghar (a large hall in the village where all group activities take place) in the evening where the young as well as old experienced men would do the war-dance, a practice continuing for hundreds of years. Bit of background…Adis were headhunters even just a century back, intense conflicts amongst sub-tribes of Adis existed although they are all at peace now. The headhunters would all gather in the Naamghar with their sheaths and knives and leave for the war
As good rock shows and concerts, folks did come out late and the light was low, but I got few pictures; because of the low light it seems like the men are shaking vigorously but they really are on a slow four-by-four beat with “huh huh huh huh” while heavily thumping the ground. You really have to be there to know that this indeed is ‘war’ dance; the air is full of dominance and a display of strength. Notice the camouflage with leaves and bamboo, the knife carried is called Yoxa and the sheath is called Tamkum, though it looks a bit weak, it’s made of bamboo and reinforced with cane knittings and a knife cannot make through it with one stroke. The Yoxa that one of the men carried while dancing was the actual one used many decades back for head-hunting. Now, of course the dance is a cultural event every year and the practice of headhunting has phased out.



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