The Namdit’s legacy
THE NAMDIT (OR Namchit) is he who has performed the Peshit (Pachit in the narrative accounts of some foreign writers and missionaries) “grades” viz Teddo, Diima, Ehnem, Gwalo, and Sampulo.
ONCE THE NAMDIT performs the Sampulo, he is adjudged as Ehsayat. (In our Modern terms approximating the following: “reached the Summit”, or “(finally) finished his social obligation”, or simply “graduated”).
THE MOST TELLING Implication is: ‘he has now secured for himself the highest social prestige in the Community and beyond’.
THIS HONOUR AND Distinction is thus imprinted on his name and family, as long as he lives. When he dies, the family is still held in high regard – but at times descendingly, if none among the descendants.. or later ensues, revives nor ‘re-kindles’ the Peshit fire, originally started by their Namdit ancestor.
IF A NAMDIT is not an Ehsayat – or did not ‘graduate the grades’ e.g. he just finished a Teddo or Diima (“grades of three or five”), he and his immediate family members especially, enjoy the social prestige, as long as he too lives. But
WHEN HE DIES – without having moved to the next ‘grade’ yet, the Accord stays there: ‘a Namdit holder of Teddo or Diima, or Ehnem, etc., as the case maybe. But
IF, ONE DAY, one of his children – or grandchildren manifests to perform a Peshit, said child or grandchild has at least two choices: 1) to perform an Aetong, and later a Khasang ni Salaw (lit. “washing the ritual jar”); after which, said [now extended] family can announce their ‘Exemption’ from future ‘pressures’ of re-kindling their past prestige feasts or Peshits; or else,
THE MANIFESTING ONE can: 2) perform the Aetong in memory of the sire Namdit; then later, start his own prestige entrenchment.. beginning with the grade of Teddo, then Diima, etc., until he himself attains the Ehsayat or ‘grade of Ten’ or Peshit ni Sampulo social ‘destinction’.
WITH A FATHER-and-son.. or a grandfather-and-grandson/grand daughter Namdit entrenchment, the family prestige becomes very far-and-wide, beyond the political and even sub-ethnolinguistic ‘boundaries’.
EVEN THE REGARD and Reverence to Namdits – and their family members immediate, can permeate to the lineal and collateral relatives..
THUS SOMETIMES, YOU may hear references like: Agui ni Namdit (“bloodkin/sibling of a Namdit”), Apo ni Namdit (“grandchild/great-grandchild of a Namdit”), even a Bonat ni Namdit (distant relative of a Namdit”).
IN THE OTHER case where the manifesting grandchild chooses to perform the Aetong, then later the Khasang ni Salaw, Custom and People (– or the communities) are rendered the Declaration that: the Manifesting one, as well as his kith and kin, are opting for ‘Exemption’ – at least for the time being; if not a virtual Exclusion.. from whatever future Peshit hints or ‘pressures’ yet.
ALTHOUGH ANYTIME AFTER the Khasang ni Salaw, same Namdit or his family may announce a ‘change of plans’ to ‘re-kindle the fires’ – or else perform some other entrenching rituals.. as may be divined by the Prayermen or Mambunongs, or his own (family) Council of Elders or Dalakais.
BUT WHICHEVER COURSE, the Manifesting Namdit chooses – wheter a ‘Continuance’ or an ‘Exemption’ from his family line’s Peshit tradition, the honour, legacy, or distinction – that he or his children or later descendants as: ‘of the Namdit’s line’ or Apo ni Namdit, shall always be there.. at one generation, waning; then again, obtaining; or later reflecting – in Oral accounts, conversations, etc., but never, ever totally discarded, or forgotten!
IN RECENT TIMES – or in this Generation and Before, I have observed Apo ni Namdits and tried to learn and study their family histories and ‘versions’ – especially in relation to their Namdit founding ancestors respective.
THOSE IN THIS Generation – some of them know they are descended from a founding ancestor who performed the Teddo; others, the Diima; etc. Only very few come from the Namdit holder of the ‘grade of 10’ or Ehsayat.
IF THEY’RE MIGHTY proud of their Namdit ancestors ‘legacy’ left them, perhaps it is mostly because they can understand the Nature or ‘Whyfors’ of the Peshit and old tradition itself.
IF NOT, MAYBE there is no need to dig further as they themselves say: the ‘legacy’ is getting forgotten? Ayuuh!