top of page
  • Writer's pictureSpeak Your Roots

Ka Ramïa



The Khasi word "Ka Ramia" may be described as a dream or a hallucination or an illusion.


The following excerpts are from the Doctoral thesis entitled "Transformation, Tradition, and Lived Realities: Vernacular Belief Worlds of the Khasis of Northeastern India" written by Margaret Lyngdoh, University of Tartu.


**No part of this thesis may be reproduced in any form without the consent of the author. Proper citation should be strictly adhered to when quoting any part of this research. All material for this content has been researched by Margaret Lyngdoh, Ph.D, University of Tartu.



My research findings suggest that the "ramia" is a dream or vision world, which is inhabited by tigermen and women, ancestor spirits and the tiger deity. It is rather difficult to translate the implications of this term in a western context because the word "ramia" is also used by the Khasis to denote a kind of madness, when a person is not in his or her senses, or is not socially or personally aware of his or her surroundings. So, in the case of divine possession, for example, the person's spirit leaves the body, but the physical body remains and does its daily tasks. But if such a body, without its "rngiew", talks with someone else then the speaker does not make sense and is said to "kren ramia" (lit. 'talk ramia').


In the Khasi context, a parallel reality is inhabited by the non--human entities and this may be comprehended only through movement into the dream/ vision state, the "ramia". Reality is not dualistically ordered or perceivable only to humans or to the dead. Reality is multiple, and variegated, dependent upon the beings who inhabit it and the purpose for which they inhabit it. The living environment is social and interactive with humans; moreover there exists a reciprocal, intentioned relationship. Human beings can apprehend alternate realities through the dreamworld ("ramia"), the world of the tigermen, the water realm of the spirit deities and the reality of the ancestors. For this to happen, for a human to access the alternate reality, a transformation is required. This is inclusive not only of the human--animal, but of the natural animal. I use the word human-animal, because in Khasi ontology, specially gifted individuals have the ability to transform into animals and deities.



"Ka Ramïa" is an interesting and important concept of the Khasi worldview. Khublei Shibun @lieng_makaw for your research on this concept! 😄🙏 What we need is to undertake in-depth research of Khasi culture and heritage in order to represent the community in the right light to the world. ✍️📚🏞️ The importance of "searching and researching" cannot be stressed enough for all indigenous communities!

Comments


bottom of page