A•chik A•song- Garo Play on Togan Nengminza
Ruel C. Sangma
‘A•chik A•song’ a garo play which Scripted by Rajeeb Kr Phukan, the play is presented by Dapon-The Mirror, a theatre group of North-Eastern India Odalguri district of Assam. Pabitra Rabha, an alumnus of the National School of Drama, is the director of the play. He is an expert actor as well as director of some Hindi feature films like ‘Tango Charlie’, ‘Mukhbir’, ‘Kayataran’ etc.
The story of play is based on during 1870-1872’s socio-political history of Garo Hills where garo people revolt on the leadership of Togan Nengminza against the British exploitation. That was glorious first and the last arms struggle against the British oppression. The play starts with a grandmother narrating the heroic story of a lost war in Garo mythology. The first national hero and the martyr of the Garo tribe of Meghalaya, Togan Nengminza. It is telling the story of the glorious arms struggle against the British by the Garos.
The first few scenes are about the traditional, cultural and social activities, rituals and beliefs of the remote hilly Garo villager who were still independent and lived happily by their well netted rice socio-cultural and traditional self-rule. The British gradually entered the interior Garo villages.
‘A•chik’ the Garos introduce themselves as A•chik, where ‘A•’ means in Garo soil or land and ‘Chik’ means to bite whereas ‘A•Song’ means village or inhabitance. So, A•chik A•Song’ means the ‘Land of the A•chik is based on the socio-political history of Garo Hills, during 1870-1872. The play is well crafted with history of that time where garos struggled against the british. In that time Togan Nigminza, a garo leader who organised and trained a group of Garo pante or youth and attacked the British camp is the main theme of the play. The Garo villagers were independent and happy until British entered the interior Garo villages under Captain Williamson (locally known as Walma Sahib, who first introduced fire arms in Garo hills ‘Wal’ in Garo means fire). About 50 independent Garo villages revolted against the British policy of invasion. Garo villagers heroically fight with archer, millam spi, selu or spear against well-equipped British army. British Army easily overpowered the ill-equipped Garo freedom fighters. The leader, Togan Nengminza gave up his life for the cause of freedom and became the hero of the motherland. The Garos still remember him with great honour as the 1st National hero and the martyr of the Garos.
Togan the Hero of the Garo community is the main character which represents the heroism and bravery of the Garos. In the drama the love and love torn speeches of Garo youths have been depicted through the characters of Dolchi, Gilchang etc. through them the social consciousness and responsibility of Garo youths have also been focused. On the other hand, the characters in the drama like Khamal- Nokma, Jalimson etc. reveal the evil beliefs, proverbs, religious scriptures and incantations (tantra-mantras), fun making and social customs and consideration that are prevalent in the Garo society.
Togan is a heroic leader and legend in garo society therefore, Garo children today like to disturb their grandmothers urging them to tell tales of heroism of Togan. The drama proceeds on with ‘flashback’ showing how the Garo children of today find themselves lost in self amazement listening to the heroism of their ancestors. Above all the plays concept, setup design, light, costume, background music, and dramatic acting makes the A•chik A•Song play successful. Read more