Besides sealing all boundaries and entry points, some people are also resorting to traditional rituals such as ‘Ali-Ternam’ and ‘Motor’ to contain COVID-19 in Arunachal Pradesh
Besides sealing all boundaries and entry points, some people are also resorting to traditional rituals such as ‘Ali-Ternam’ and ‘Motor’ to contain COVID-19 in Arunachal Pradesh|EastMojo image
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Arunachal tribes perform age-old rituals to ‘stop’ COVID-19 spread

While Galo community observes ‘Ali-Ternam’ to lock down villages for a few days to stop spread of coronavirus pandemic, Adis perform ‘Motor’ to ward off evil spirits

Damien Lepcha

Itanagar: Civil societies and community-based organisations of Arunachal Pradesh are making all-out efforts to prevent the spread of novel coronavirus or Covid-19 in the state. Besides sealing all boundaries and entry points connecting their respective districts, some organisations are also resorting to performing traditional rituals such as ‘Ali-Ternam’ and ‘Motor’.

‘Ali-Ternam’ is a ritual practised by the Galo community since time immemorial during times of epidemic. It is basically a lockdown of a single village or villages which is observed for a few days or weeks in order to stop the spread of the epidemic. The ritual is also performed to ward off evil spirits by the villagers.

Led by Galo Welfare Society (GWS), the apex body of the Galo community, the mass ritual of Ali-Ternam got underway at Aalo, the district headquarters of West Siang on Wednesday.

Local priest Mogi Ori will perform the ritual and chant prayers till Thursday and following its completion, there would be restriction in all kind of movements without exemptions from 5 pm of Thursday until March 28.

All the five different entry points of the district -- Gabu near Logum Jini, Patum near Biru, Piggo near Keak, Hill Geko near Nyorak and Essi Tamen -- would be sealed completely and the people have been urged to cooperate with the society for successful conduct of the ritual.

A similar ritual performed by the Adi community is called ‘Motor’ and the same was performed in several villages of the Siang district on Wednesday. The Adis construct gates at the entrance point of villages as a method of warding off epidemics and evil spirits.

Several other villages were also seen blocking their entry points with tree logs and bamboos while some are reportedly not even allowing their kith and kin, especially those coming from other parts of the country to directly enter the villages unless properly quarantined.

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