The Sacred Flower

The Chetibu Kaji, the Sacred Wild Pear tree, is said to be the oldest tree in the history of the Nagas. It is said that once all the Nagas lived at Makhel under the shade of the sacred tree.

The flower of the sacred Chetibu Kaji (Sacred Wild Pear tree) at Makhel, 2019 (Photo By Achingliu Pamei)

Stand out

Stand up

The warmth of hope it gives

They sway down the ages

Spent solitary nights

That’s the price it’s willing to pay

To keep the legacy alive

To pass on The Heritage

The roots to water the parched children

Bereft of knowledge

Amnesia setting in

Unable to reach their centre anymore

Perfume of the petals

The whisper of supreme silence

Tales of sacred stories of bygone past

To be heard again only by the ones who seek

Put down the mantle of I, Self

Pick up the shawl woven by the community once more

Under the veils of the sacred tree, you’ll find yourself


The sacred tree says

“These are my teardrops you behold

It has turned pale by your hatred of each other

It is in memory of those souls

That could not find their way back to me”

Do we behold of the sacred tree only as a timekeeper?

Walk no longer in the wilderness to find the answer


Breath silently slipped by

The teardrop flowers

The gentle breeze

Whispered to my soul

The stories it had kept close to its bosom

In a language I almost had forgotten

I searched in my roots for the meaning of the words

Have I too gone like the others?

CHETI-BU KAJI: "This tree is known as the oldest tree in the history of the Nagas. It is said that once all the Nagas lived at Makhel. But when population increases all people gathered at the foot of this tree and departed to different directions for new settlements. This tree still stands as a symbol of unity and oneness of the whole Naga tribes. When a branch of the tree is broken, all the Nagas observed genna for a day."

The Cheti-Bu Kaji (Sacred Wild Pear Tree) a tree believed to be as old as the history of the Nagas, under whose shade they lived together and where 'Paichara' the godly woman ascended to heaven with a thread-line has a magical aura that blurs the boundary between the natural and the supernatural. Like the Banyan tree, a branch broken off the tree is accompanied by a genna to be observed by all the Naga tribes.

When I saw the tree for the first time, I thought about the many paths taken, the many lives lived that finally brought us here in Makhel.  And as we departed from the foot of the 'Cheti Bu Kaji', I wondered how it must have felt when our Naga ancestors departed from this primaeval site as it is believed in Mao folklore and mentioned in many other tribes’ folklores. Isn’t it time for the ‘offshoots’ to retrospect on what had been done and needed to be done as we go forward?






First Published:Nov. 22, 2020, 12:28 p.m.

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