The Title of the Theme 'Sawdong ka lyngwiar dpei'
Meaning -'around the hearth'


By Silbi Passah

The Khasis have a noble creative power , he ia an imaginative and a natural philosopher. His theories about the creation of the earth, sun and the moon,etc are very interesting.

The concept of 'Sawdong ka langwiar dpei'(around the hearth) is actually the place where the family members both young and old gather together after a day's hard work. They sit together circulating or around the fire which is right in the center of the room. You would be wondering what is so important sitting beside the fire. But in olden times , when Khasis knew nothing about education, in the modern sense. The Radio, T.V.,Cable and so on were unknown to them. Yet the Khasis have their own way of preserving the heritage of the past and educating their nieces,nephews,sons and daughters,learn our culture and tradition,customs and manners of which we are proud of. Even the religious belief and concept are forged and passed on from father to son and down to great grandson was done 'around the fire hearth' The legendary folk tales and fictitious stories are invented to instill upon the young mind positive and constructive thinking. We can say that from folktales to fairy tales and fables have their origin and evolution started around the fire side.

To entertain themselves , stories are told in the form of songs accompanied with vocal music and one of the most popular instrument is 'Ka duitara' Duitara is different from bow-shaped veena, sawaramandal, Santoor;Eklara;Tambura;Jantra;Rudra veena;Saraswati veena;Vichitra veena;Sarod;Banam and Sarangi. The Duitara is the typical musical instrument of the Khasis and jaintias. Purely home made the Duitara is made of strong hardwood. Hallow in the belly of the main body is covered with dried skin of animals. Its neck which is longer than the main body has its end four hole in which wooden pegs are fixed to hold the string in tune.

Another musical instrument of the Khasis is "Ka Besli". it is also a home made bamboo flute . Generally a happy working cowboy while tending his herd or while resting gaily on the top of the hill would play his favourite flute pouring out beautiful tunes in harmony blending with the nature surrounds him.

Another instrument is 'Ka Mieng' . This instrument is made of bamboo and it is used commonly both by men and women. With this instrument they entertain themselves during their journey in dense forest to overcome the solidarity of the nature.

Can we say that the Khasis are not the lover of the songs and music who are still using their home made instruments?.