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Ki Bynta u Dpei or The Parts of Ash



Ki Bynta u Dpei or The Parts of Ash (An excerpt from Dondor Giri Nongkhlaw)


Katkum ba la ïoh lum na ki jaka kyndong ka ri, ki riewhyndai ki batai ba u dpei u don lai bynta bad u kynthup ïa kine - u symphuh, u peisieh bad ka khar ne ka bisi.


According to what has been collected from different parts of the Khasi Hills, our forefathers assert that there are three parts to ash and these are: "u symphuh", "u peisieh" and "ka khar" or ka bisi".


1. U Symphuh


U symphuh u long u bynta ba nalor bad ba sting tam jong u dpei. Une u long rong lieh tdem phup phup. Ki rnga diengjem ki long kiba kham pynmih bun ki symphuh. Ïa u symphuh lah ban ithuh bha ynda la lip ka ding bad u snoh ha ki rnga. Tang shu don lyer malu mala, u khih, u per bad shah rong wut. Ha Khadarshnong la khot u symphuh katba ha Nongkrem la khot u phongrai.

"U symphuh" is the topmost part of ash and it is also the lightest part of ash. "U symphuh" is smokish white in colour with a powdery and puffy texture. The charcoal of soft wood is what makes "u symphuh" and it is seen when the fire has died out and it clings to the charcoal. If there is a slight breeze it moves, floats and is carried away. In Khadarshnong they call this "u symphuh" and in Nongkrem they call it "u phongrai".


2. U Peisieh


Harum jong u symphuh don sa u dpei bani ba la khot u peisieh, uba mut ba la jyrsieh da u dpei paka ha ka jaka thang ding. Une u peisieh u kham bun bad kham khia ban ïa kino kino ki jingmih haba thang ding bad u kham ïaid ïew ha ka rep.

Below "u symphuh" is a very fine ash called "u peisieh" which is the real actual ash from the fire. "Peisieh" is more in amount and heavier than any of the residue when wood is burnt. It is used more in agriculture.


3. Ka Khar ne Ka Bisi


Ka khar ne ka bisi dei u dpei ba shuiñ khyndew ba don ha trai duh jong u peisieh. Ka jingdon ka khar (carbonate of potash) ka leit long na ka jingshah jar ki kynja khleiñ ne umphniang ba la pynmih na ki dieng ha ka por ing. Їa kane ka jingkhleh khleiñ ne kynja umphniang u dpei ba shuiñ khyndew la khot ka khar ne ka bisi. Їa ka nongbah ba nyngkong bad ba la rim jong ka hima Shillong hyndai la ïoh kyrteng na u dpei ka Bisi, ïa kaba ki nong Mylliem ki khot ka Bisei.

"Ka Khar" or "Ka Bisi" is ash that touches the ground and appears at the bottom of "u peisieh". "Ka Khar" is a carbonate of potash and it is there as a result of the oil or fat that is secreted as the wood burns. This mix of oil or fat in the ground ash is called "ka khar" or "ka bisi". The name of the first and the oldest town in Hima Shillong has been derived from ash, that is, "Bisi" or as the people of Mylliem call it "Ka Bisei".


This is another interesting excerpt related to fire from Dr. Dondor Giri Nongkhlaw. Who knew we had names in Khasi for the different parts of ash! 🔥🔥
Dr. Dondor Giri Nongkhlaw is a Geomorphologist who has written several books in Khasi which discuss the elements of the environment and their strong bond with Khasi life and culture.


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