Shillong: Mothers at a remote village in Meghalaya call their children not by their names, but by songs assigned to each of them - a tradition handed down through generations.
Children at Kongthong village in Meghalaya?s East Khasi Hill district, 60 km from Shillong, are called by specific `Jingrwai Iawbeis? or lullabies, much like the birds` tweets, assigned to each of them at birth
The headman of Kongthong village, Kyrtaid Majaw, explained to PTI, ?If a family has 10 children, there will be 10 different songs to address them. The duration of the song may vary from one second to two minutes.?
Of course, the children are given regular names, but they are used for purposes other than addressing them. Other persons also use the songs to call them, not necessarily the mothers only.
Rothell Khongsit, a college student, strongly endorsing the practice said, ?We instantly recognise the short songs when we hear them.``
Khongsit has even popularised the `songs of recognition` among his college friends in Shillong, claiming they have taken a great liking to it.
There are at least 500 variations of short songs prevalent in the village which has a matrilineal society like the rest of the state and the song of one household differs from the other.