Table of contents
Table of contents
Poem / Reflections

Mayel Lyang

A poet of the Indigenous Lepcha community of the Eastern Himalayas ponders how to draw maps of the mind, heart, and soul that show her community’s heartland—an “eternal paradise.”
A zoomed-out photograph features white-capped mountains towering in the distance against a blue sky with light clouds. Flags of different colors and dark, sparse shrubbery are in the foreground.

Personal archive of Charisma K. Lepcha

“Mayel Lyang” is part of the collection Indigenizing What It Means to Be Human. Read the introduction to the collection here.

Mayel Lyang - Listen
0:49

I come from the land of Kanchenjunga [1] Mayel Lyang is the “mythical nucleus” of the Indigenous Lepcha community of Sikkim and Darjeeling Hills. It is also defined as the ancient Lepcha territory.
Snowy peaks
And a river that speaks

I come from the Queen of Hills,
And chilblains
We have tea, we have timber, we even have our train

I come from the nest of spies,
But I tell no lies
We have cheese, we have noodles, we even have some peace

I come from Mayel Lyang
The land of eternal paradise
With our Holy Land, Dzongu

But how can I tell you what we have?
How can I draw
Maps of the mind
Maps of the heart
Maps of the soul?
To show you
My heartland,
Mayel Lyang.

A sketch depicts a person’s face and long voluminous blue hair that resembles a river. Amid its waves are various objects: a bowl of noodles, yellow cheese wheels, green trees, and a gray, snow-capped mountain range.

Rongnyoo Lepcha

Abrona Lee Pandi Aden teaches in the English department at Sikkim University, India. She is interested in the politics of representation surrounding gender and Indigeneity in literature. She belongs to the Lepcha community Indigenous to Sikkim and the Darjeeling Hills. Some of her short stories and poems have appeared in Muse India, Wordgathering: A Journal of Disability Poetry and Literature, and Mekong Review.

Republish

You may republish this article, either online and/or in print, under the Creative Commons CC BY-ND 4.0 license. We ask that you follow these simple guidelines to comply with the requirements of the license.

In short, you may not make edits beyond minor stylistic changes, and you must credit the author and note that the article was originally published on SAPIENS.

Accompanying photos are not included in any republishing agreement; requests to republish photos must be made directly to the copyright holder.

Republish

We’re glad you enjoyed the article! Want to republish it?

This article is currently copyrighted to SAPIENS and the author. But, we love to spread anthropology around the internet and beyond. Please send your republication request via email to editor•sapiens.org.

Accompanying photos are not included in any republishing agreement; requests to republish photos must be made directly to the copyright holder.