The Chetibu Kaji, the Sacred Wild Pear tree, is said to be the oldest tree in the history of the Nagas. It is said that once all the Nagas lived at Makhel under the shade of the sacred tree.
Updated 22 Nov 2020, 6:58 am
The warmth of hope it gives
They sway down the ages
Spent solitary nights
That’s the price it’s willing to pay
To keep the legacy alive
To pass on The Heritage
The roots to water the parched children
Bereft of knowledge
Amnesia setting in
Unable to reach their centre anymore
Perfume of the petals
The whisper of supreme silence
Tales of sacred stories of bygone past
To be heard again only by the ones who seek
Put down the mantle of I, Self
Pick up the shawl woven by the community once more
Under the veils of the sacred tree, you’ll find yourself
The sacred tree says
“These are my teardrops you behold
It has turned pale by your hatred of each other
It is in memory of those souls
That could not find their way back to me”
Do we behold of the sacred tree only as a timekeeper?
Walk no longer in the wilderness to find the answer
Breath silently slipped by
The teardrop flowers
The gentle breeze
Whispered to my soul
The stories it had kept close to its bosom
In a language I almost had forgotten
I searched in my roots for the meaning of the words
Have I too gone like the others?
CHETI-BU KAJI: "This tree is known as the oldest tree in the history of the Nagas. It is said that once all the Nagas lived at Makhel. But when population increases all people gathered at the foot of this tree and departed to different directions for new settlements. This tree still stands as a symbol of unity and oneness of the whole Naga tribes. When a branch of the tree is broken, all the Nagas observed genna for a day."
The Cheti-Bu Kaji (Sacred Wild Pear Tree) a tree believed to be as old as the history of the Nagas, under whose shade they lived together and where 'Paichara' the godly woman ascended to heaven with a thread-line has a magical aura that blurs the boundary between the natural and the supernatural. Like the Banyan tree, a branch broken off the tree is accompanied by a genna to be observed by all the Naga tribes.
When I saw the tree for the first time, I thought about the many paths taken, the many lives lived that finally brought us here in Makhel. And as we departed from the foot of the 'Cheti Bu Kaji', I wondered how it must have felt when our Naga ancestors departed from this primaeval site as it is believed in Mao folklore and mentioned in many other tribes’ folklores. Isn’t it time for the ‘offshoots’ to retrospect on what had been done and needed to be done as we go forward?
First published:22 Nov 2020, 6:58 am
nagaspoetrycultureMakhelChetibu KajiWild Pear tree
The author teaches in ARSD College, Delhi University. Some of her poems have been published in Caravan, international journal Setu and other publications
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