Achik Narrative Oriented Literature
The A.chiks do not have a rich literary tradition in the written form; neither do they have a script of their own. According to Dewansing Rongmuthu, there exists, however, a belief among some sections of the A.chiks that they possessed literature of their own in their own script and language on rolls of parchment made from the skins of animals. The literature was evolved while they were still in Mandalay, in Upper Burma. But when they left Tibet and wandered towards the plains of India, they faced acute shortage of food, and so they boiled those scrolls of parchments and ate them up (2008, 2). The A.chiks evolved Oral literature which was tenaciously handed down from one generation to another orally due to lack of script. The A.chiks possesses a large number of verses and stories, folktales, myths, songs, prayers etc. that formed the oral literature of the tribe.
The traditional or old A.chik literature consists of historical accounts, legends, myths and tales old in poetry as well as in prose, various kinds of songs sung on different occasions as well as in the sacrificial ceremonies. Since the written script was yet to be developed, the traditional materials remained eventually oral, hence, the traditional literature survives to this day in the interior places where the traditional faith of the A.chiks is still held and old customs and practices persist. This poetry can be defined as the Volkseele of the A.chik through which they narrate the approximation of their soul with their mystic reality.
Various forms of songs and prayers may be said to have constituted the traditional A.chik poetry like the prayers during sacrificial ceremonies connected with jhum cultivation, the song of inaugurating a house, Dani Doka of the Wangala or harvest festival, Ajea which is also an essential feature of the Wangala and funeral wails Grapmang tata or Kabe. The sacrificial songs are solemn prayers to powerful unseen divinities in the A.chik pantheon. They collectively form the grand unwritten mantra-shastra, the sacred hymns or odes of the A.chiks .
For Further Reading.
1.History of Garo Literature, Milton S. Sangma, North-Eastern Hill University, 1983.
2.Garo Literature, Caroline Marak, Sahitya Akademi, 2002.