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The Identity of the Indus people : Part 2

Author Rajshree Last Updated: Friday, 25 August 2017 (14:05 IST)
The most striking story of the broken tusk
 
The traditions of the Karen clearly indicate that they have not always lived in their present home. They were living with “Thaw Meh Pa," the mythical founder of the Karen race, in some unknown land to the North. Once a great boar ravaged their fields. The patriarch went out and killed the boar, but when his sons went to bring in the carcass, they could find only one tusk which had been broken off in the fray. The old man made a comb out of this, which surprised them all by its power of conferring eternal youth to all who used it. Soon their country became overpopulated, and they set out to seek a new and better land. They traveled together till they came to a river called in Karen "Thi Seh Meh Ywa." The Karen name of the river means the "river flowing with sand."
 
At some point, when they were cooking shellfish for the meal, the old man became impatient, and he went on to clear the path ahead. After the meal, the family followed the clear path a while. They found that the plantain stalks that Pa had cut off, had shot up so high that it seemed impossible to catch up with him. Therefore, they settled down in the vicinity. The patriarch took magic comb with him the which has never been found to this day.
 
One ornament peculiar to a Karen is the boar's tusk comb, just like the one their ancestor, "Thaw Meh Pa," made after he had killed the mythical boar. This is worn behind the ear, hanging down as a sort of an earring. This is made of strips of the outer shell of the bamboo. 
 
The concept of K’la and K’sa
 
The Karen are animistic, nature worshipers. Their day-to-day life is filled with many kind of fears, so they pray and offer sacrifice to appease the divinities, demons and spirits because they believe most of them are malevolent. 
 
The Karen assign a lord (k’sa) to every mountain, river, natural objects and all object around the house. Besides that they believe in a the life principle - K’la. Everyone has it’s own K’la. The K’la is neither good nor bad, but it is what that gives life mortality.

The K’la itself is immortal. It is associated with one's physical existence. It is the force that keeps one alive and well. It existed before birth, comes into the world with birth, remains in the body until death, leaves after death. They believe there are many mortal and immortal evil spirits who can influence humans at various times and places and steal the K’la. The K’la may wander around and the Karen offer many sacrifices to bring their K’la back.

They believe that the seven-fold K’la determine the time and manner of that person's death before birth. The Karen make offerings to delay as long as possible the inevitable end. The people think that a wandering ‘K'la’ may remain invisible or assume the form of the person himself. 
 
They believe in an internal force "pgho." That is defined in the Karen Thesaurus as “A certain more or less unknown force believed to be all about and which can not be overcome. It may reside in certain individuals who, by its aid, are enabled to accomplish unusual tasks. It can be imparted to objects which, by its power, become charms potent for good or ill. The deities are said to possess "pgho" and on that account to be able to do wonderful things.”
 
[ Photo creadit : Biplov Bhuyan / Indus Images ]
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