The Bonga Headman





Sarjomghutu is a village about four miles from Barhait Bazar on

the banks of the Badi river. On the river bank grows a large banyan

tree. This village has no headman or paranic; any headman who is

appointed invariably dies; so they have made a bonga who lives in

the banyan tree their headman.



When any matter has to be decided, the villagers all meet at the banyan

tree, where they have made their manjhi than; they take out a stool

to the tree and invite the invisible headman to sit on it. Then they

discuss the matter and themselves speak the answers which the headman

is supposed to give. This goes on to the present day and there is no

doubt that these same villagers sometimes offer human sacrifices,

but they will never admit it, for it would bring them bad luck to

speak about it.



The villagers get on very well with the bonga. If any of them has

a wedding or a number of visitors at his house, and has not enough

plates and dishes, he goes to the banyan tree and asks the headman

to lend him some. Then he goes back to his house, and returning in a

little while finds the plates and dishes waiting for him under the

tree; and when he has finished with them he cleans them well and

takes them back to the tree.





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