Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Pawlmang - a traditional agricultural entertainment show at Sialsuk village

Pawlmang show at Sialsuk village, Pix: Amuana Ralte
Just like carnivals are expected by children with enthusiastic zeal in urban areas we the rural children in Sialsuk village (Mizoram, India)  also keenly awaiting August end in every year that the Pawlmang show will be entertaining us.  In my mind i can still hear those musical sound of gongs played by Pawlmang group and those masked men who ran before them and the joyous moment of our childhood days. In our village Pawlmang show was usually held at August end to mid September, everyone  in our village used to watch the show with great fun. 
Pawlmang show at Sialsuk Village, Pix: Maroa Zadeng
You may not have heard the word 'Pawlmang' before as it is inclusively used and practice only by Sialsuk villagers. It's equivalent word in English is not known and we can define like this "Pawlmang is an amusement show held along when agriculture weeding season is over, it may be understood as clowns who performed at certain occasions. It was usually practiced in Sialsuk when their jhum (agriculture) sites got free from weeding works." It can also said as one kind of celebration done by cultivators when their seasonal weeding works get over and left the jhum sites for harvest season. So, to celebrate their work holiday by the villagers who have jhum sites in same area on the last day of their weeding season they jointly organised a grant amusement with musical instrument and clowns. The show was mostly attended by children and youths in the village. 

Pawlmang Show at Sialsuk, Pix: Amuana Ralte

When the cultivators reach the village from their jhum sites on one of the houses in village outskirt they usually do dressing room for Pawlmang show. When the group is ready for Pawlmang show,  the musicians will beat set of gongs to inform the children and youth who are awaiting outside the house.  Then the masked men with  belmang (lampblack) in their hands come out first (among the masked men there are also some men who dress like women, they usually carry umbrellas), a youth folks follow them with khuallam dance, the musicians with khuang (drum) and darbu (set of gongs) come at last and they have to pass through all the way to the village main road till they reach another end.  In the meanwhile the masked men will run fast to catch those children and youths who run before them, if they catch anyone they will paste belmang (lampblack) to their faces and arms and no one will take this as offensive. At the interval times the Pawlmang group will halt for Chai dance, in these interval times masked men will not disturb their spectators but will dance together peacefully.
Pawlmang show at Sialsuk, Pix: Amuana Ralte
It is difficult to trace back when did Pawlmang was started in Sialsuk. There are some contradicting opinion even among the Sialsuk villagers. Pu Lalzuiliana (Retired Headmaster in Sialsuk) said that the history of Pawlmang can be traced back to 1952 when Sialsuk villagers had cultivation sites at Mualkawi, Sathlur and Tuarhar forests. In that year Zaithangliana S/o. Velthanga was dressed as clown and when they entered in the village he entertained all the village folks with the beat of gongs then Sialsuk villagers continued this show in every year to mark their celebration of holidays right after weeding season is getting over. Pu Lalzuiliana record is contradicted by Pu Hrangliana (son of former Circle Interpreter, Sialsuk), he claimed that Pawlmang was started before 1952. Pu Hrangliana's elder brother Pu Hlunthanga (Presently lived in Lunglei) said that he was working agricultural site in 1948 but Pawlmang was known even before that.  Pu Hrangliana also said that Pawlmang was a popular show when CI Zatluanga and Teacher Liandova were there in Sialsuk.

In Mizo language this weeding holiday celebration is also known as 'lo zo' or "lo zawh ni".  "Pawlmang" has no definite meaning in Mizo language, according to the elders in our village "When the musicians play a set of gongs (darmang or darbu) its beats are sound like 'pawlmang, pawlmang, pawki pawl mang..' then children started saying it's pawlmang sound and the show also called as Pawlmang later on". In some other villages in Mizoram this type of show is also known as 'milem chang' or 'milem chan'.
Pawlmang show at  Sialsuk village, Pix: Amuana Ralte
Due to the influence of modernity and some other factors in Sialsuk village Pawlmang show is gradually discontinued and hardly held for many years. Two/three years back Sialsuk MHIP Branch-I in collaboration with Doordarshan Kendra Aizawl station organised Pawlmang show for documentary footage and the URL link of this video is posted below, i wanna thank the cameraman Pu Lalhmingliana Sailo (Kulikawn Aizawl) for allowing me to upload in youtube. Luckily in this year too Pawlmang show was held again in our village, my brothers -  Thlenga Ralte & Amuana Ralte and uncle Maroa Zadeng took some pictures and i am using it for this post. 


Unknown said...

interesting reuh ve

Zara Ralte said...

Bteii Ralte : i lo chhiar a a lawmawm e, nia Pawlmang hi dangdai ve deuh mai a nia, tun hnuah hian kan khaw lamah pawh sawn an chang ngai mang ta lo a, an rawn thar thawh leh a a chanchin thiam ang angin ka ziak ve ta a lawm le.