Topics in Vâsi Ethnography

by

Zamân Xân

recorded and translated by

Richard F. Strand


2. Big Men

[RS] mâtâ kša. totbřo nâ_âsa â? io pâmüč ǰeṣṭ buna â? ǰeṣṭ âsa â? [RS] Wait a minute. Regarding the agnates. Is there an elder among them? Is there an elder?
[ZX] ou˜. ǰeṣṭ_âsa. oal' mânša_âsa sâip. [ZX] Yes. There's an elder. There's a big man.
[RS] šo viri to kâi_âsa. [RS] What is it in your language?
[ZX] imo de, mily’âr. [ZX] We [say] mily’âr.
[RS] âska kâa kti ǰeṣ bula buna. [RS] How might he become an elder?
[ZX] pazg’am milyâr. pazg’am; mily’âr. mily’âr månå i·a_âsa; pazg’am a˜ sta ǰeṣṭ. oal. oal mânša. [ZX] pazg’am milyâr. pazg’am; mily’âr. The meaning of mily’âr is this: elder of the pazg’am. A big man.
[RS] totbřo˜ pâmüč ea mânša kâakti ǰeṣṭ kunta. [RS] How does a man become an elder among the agnates?
[ZX] âmna totbřo pâmüč ea, ǰeṣṭa, kâča vâre ǰeṣṭ nâ_âi. âska ǰeṣṭ âska mânša buna sâip_â, nom kuna sâip. oal nom. oal nom kula bi bo; âska oal nom kula bi bo če˜, â·kist☠sâip_â, tâmåmi přâsüa˜, vâsaŋařeati iâš přenta. âska oal nom to sâip_â, âska mânša; nom buna âska mânša. oal nom kâřa·sa kunta. âmna kâabo âmna lâtri nâ_âi â? âmna štrik. nišånâdor XXX_âsa sâip_â. âska âni ste âveti â·ki vik gekti gaṭla bunta sâip_â. ga·ṭala bunta sâip_â. âmŋi, âṣc̣oa˜ to nâ_âi â? âska nom âske sta. âni ea hâlqâ âšana. âni âlqâ âšana sâip. âni e kârmaṭi to sâip_â kâabo âi XXX, čama bomrik nâšonâ bomrik âšana nâi â? âska oal mânša de, âske ŋe kâa nom tenta; kwṭ’e. kwṭ’e. [ZX] Among the agnates, one elder -- there aren't any other elders. That elder would be the man who makes a name for himself. A big name. If he wanted to make a big name, he would gather together all the Přâsü˜ and give them a feast. The man would have a name. They would say that the man had made a big name for himself. You know these things? [pointing] These woven ties. They were symbolic. They would take them from here to there and tie them like this [demonstrating]. They would tie them. And through these -- you know -- these knickers [American meaning, not British], they would insert a ring here for that name. They would insert a ring here. Here in an ear they would insert something, some kind of symbol made from some kind of metal, right? And what name do they give that big man? kwṭ’e. kwṭ’e.
[RS] kâa ŋe_âsa. [RS] What was it for?
[ZX] kwṭ’e âska oal nom kusta bi bo, kwṭ’e mutâbâr_âsa sâip_â. âska ea mutâbâr_âsa; suara mutâbâr de â·ki_âsa de. giti mânša viati âlla bi bo, skol ǰâňista bi bo, vaća iå XXX gekti vâr' gul to gati ǰâňi to. bådur nom tenta. bâd’ür. bâd’ür âni sta ine sta vâtâni râwoč to; bâd’ür. vâtâni istilo to bâd’ür nom tenta. âska oal mânša_âsa sâip_â. [ZX] kwṭ’e, if he had made a name; kwṭ’e is ‘reputable.’ He would be someone reputable. The other kind of reputable person there -- when he would go and hit some people and return, if he had killed many -- twenty or [xxx] -- when he gone like that to some other country and killed, they would give him the name of bådur. bâd’ür. bâd’ür, in the custom of this native land, bâd’ür. They give the name of bâd’ür to one who has ascendency in the native land. He's the big man.
[RS] giǰa bo dü râqâm mânša âi. ea de kwṭ’e_âsa; ea bâd’ür. [RS] If that's it, there are two kinds of persons: a kwṭ’e and a bâd’ür.
[ZX] ou˜, kwṭ’e_âsa. âska iâš přela [?] kwṭ’e bo. ea bâd’ür bo. bâd’ür sâip â·ki ǰeṣ vo mânša nâ bunta â? pâlwâl. âskea bâd’ür kunta sâip. [ZX] Yes, there's the kwṭ’e. The feast giver became a kwṭ’e. One became a bâd’ür. The bâd’ür, sir -- you know, those men with leadership: champions. The call him a bâd’ür.
[RS] âmgi di biliuk âsi â? âni. bâd’ür. [RS] Were there a lot of them? bâd’ürs.
[ZX] ou˜. biliuk ne? bi-ândosâ. ou˜. [ZX] Yes, a lot, right? Innumerable. Yes.
[RS] âmgi kor enâsi. [RS] Where did they used to go?.
[ZX] âmŋi gekti pič bâkul gati; âni e riš sâfit_âsi, ṣâŋe. âskea pič bâkul gati dü vičâ uṣ nâfâr ǰâňi to oa·sa e! [laugh] [ZX] They used to go to the Pech Valley like that. There was a greybeard here, formerly. He went to the Pech Valley and after he killed forty-eight persons, he came back! [laugh]
[RS] be. okuṇia˜ ǰâňanâsi â? [RS] Amazing! Was he killing Afghans?
[ZX] okuṇi, ou˜. [ZX] Afghans, yes.
[RS] vâre kom bulâ, kâta bulâ, vâa bulâ, âmgio˜ di, [RS] What about, for example, the Kom, or the Kâta, or the Vâi? Them, too?
[ZX] âmna eṭa eṭa vor pâc̣an gu bo [?] gekti âmŋio˜ di ǰâňanta. mâgâr âmi·šâ okuṇi to enta sâip, âmgi. [ZX] Occasionally when they went to war, they would kill them like that, too. But they always would go after the Afghans.
[RS] okuṇia˜ to ke enâsi. [RS] Why were they going after the Afghans?
[ZX] daṣ·mâni_âsa nâi â? okuṇi vâňati ḍâkar_âsa, vâňanta sâip âmŋioa˜, âmgi âmatra_âsa kunta, lesta nâ kunta, âmŋioa˜ vina bo mi lesta_âsa; nom buna; nom kummiš. âmŋioa˜ viati oasamiš bo. `de xu·šol bunta kunta. ou˜, gita kunta o. [ZX] It's enmity, isn't it? The saw the Afghan as bad. They would say that they're the big enemy. That they do no good. That it's just better if they're hit. We make a name for ourselves. They would say that if we hit them and returned, the gods would be happy.
[RS] pâmařu di enâsi â? [RS] Were they going to Munjân, too?
[ZX] pâmařu di gati, čândon pâmařu de nâ enta; pâmařu gati mânša vina bo de, âmnXXX di; lâškâr buti, saňi buti âćanta âni imo to. pâmařu di čândon nâ enâsi; eṭa eṭa XXX iâar to gustâi. mâgâr âmni âtrof to niň čaň biliuk, âska bunâsi sâip. biliuk vianâsi. pič giti; âsmor di gati viati sâipâ. kor di. [ZX] Going to Munjân -- they wouldn't go to Munjân much. If they went to Munjân and hit the people, they would raise an army and come at us here. They wouldn't go to Munjân much. A few went over to that side. But there was a lot of this up and down in these remote regions. They would hit them a lot. They would go to Pech or even Âsmâr and hit them -- wherever.
[RS] ṣṭâle˜. [RS] Really!
[ZX] ou˜. ṣâŋe mânša biliuk pâlvol mânša âi o. giti ânnâsi. [ZX] Yes. The old-time people were real athletes! They would go and come back.
[RS] suara totbřo pâmüč de, âska kâa nom_âsa âska ǰeṣṭ. milyâr. âska sa to ǰeṣṭ_âsa â? nâi kâṇe to. [RS] And among agnates, the -- what was the name of that elder?. mily’âr. Was he the elder for a year or for [the duration of] the festival.
[ZX] âska kâṇa kti, am’al vo bi bo. vari vo buti bâra âćti sâip_â âmgio˜ vari pâmüč buti vari vâllâla bi bo; âskea, mily’âr kunta sâip_â. miloy’âr månå i·a bo ča âni âska oal mânša. ou˜ rutbo oal mânša. [ZX] He would put on a festival, and if he had an am’al, if he had a say, he would come out and step into their discussion; and if he would speak, they would call him mily’âr. The meaning of miloy’âr was this, that here he's the big man. Yes, a big, ranking [? rutbo] person.
[RS] â·kiste kâča xâirât kula bi bo; kua c̣o kunta âmgi. âṣṭić mânša âćti bâbo˜ ǰela âi, nâi â? âmgi âṣṭić mânša kâkâča bunâsi. [RS] Then if someone put on a feast, who would they invite? Eighteen men would come and sit, right? Just who would those eighteen men be?
[ZX] imo sta totbřo, i˜ sta totbřo. gâz’amdâr. [ZX] Our agnates; my agnates. gâz’am's Boys.
[RS] tu sta totbřo hâtmân biliuk mânša bâlla, nâi â? âṣṭić ... [RS] Your agnates certainly must have been a lot of people, right? Eighteen ...
[ZX] ou˜. âṣṭić imo sta âsxut kâča âi bo; kuřa bulâ; břo sta âaṭi bulâ; âmgi gita sta âsxut vâsaŋařati âṣṭić bârâbâr kti gâammiš â·ki. [ZX] Yes. Eighteen of our relatives, whoever they would be: a child, a brother's boy. They would gather together, and when they amounted to eighteen, we would take them there.


Previous Topic on Tape | Next Topic on Tape


Topics by Subject: