The masculine gender of puppy, son of a bitch is a common abuse worldwide. But people living in this part of the globe when get extremely irritated prefer another variety, Shuyrer Bachha, the son of a porky pig. My rural background has exposed me to a volley of such anger expressions from elders which include masculine offspring of cow, donkey, pig, ulluk and so on. Especially, these attributes are part and parcel for duffers like me. They are always treated as incompetent for household works since they always prefer chasing wild goose.
I am a policeman. We are familiar with two French words ‘Portrait Parle’ meaning ‘speaking likenesses’. Portrait Parle is defined as a rigorous system for verbal description of physical characteristics of the subject. It is based on the Bertillon method of criminal identification by measurements of the human body and is still in practice today to some extent. Alphonse Bertillon is treated as “Father of Scientific Detection”. Portrait Parle is still relevant in the present day context. Whenever I get opportunity to interact with surrendered militants, I don’t miss them putting some questions to gather the Portrait Parle of their comrades’ still hiding in foreign countries. Often these questions include their physical traits, gaits, identification marks, mental strength, weakness, education and so on. At times, my poor knowledge of Kokborok poses like a stumbling block before me. I try to overcome this by friendly behaviour. The other day one returnee told me an interesting analogy. The boy is a Matriculate and he was describing the physical features of one of their top leaders. Their boss is very handsome, highly educated guy. He excels in the trait of demagogy and possesses an uncanny charisma of attracting girls of all ages. While describing Portrait Parle of the leader, suddenly the returnee put a question to me, “Do you know a wild animal which resembles a pig from the front and canine from the back? Specially, its tail is like dog. The leader, you are referring resembles the animal.”
-What’s the name of the animal?
-Can’t recollect, at the moment. I have seen its photograph in my son’s book.
-No, it spreads foul smell.
-I don’t know. But, I have tasted its meat twice in the jungles of CHT. It’s not bad.
-Is it Banrui, I mean Pangolin?
-No, in Kokborok we call it ‘Walk Chu’.
The driver of my vehicle is a tribal boy. That day while returning from office, I said to him, ‘What is ‘Walk Chu’?
-Sir, neither I have seen ‘Walk Chu’ nor I know its Bengali name. But, I have heard from elders in my family that ‘Walk Chu’ spreads foul smell. It defecates at the same place. My grandfather used to say, ‘Walk Chu tries to reach heaven riding on the pile of its excreta’.
At night I tried to identify the animal with face like pig, tail like dog and legs like fox from the net. But, I failed to collect any specific clue to reduce the sphere of searching. Rather, my attention was dragged towards the research work of Dr Eugene McCarthy of Georgia University. He claims that Charles Darwin told only half the story of human evolution. He suggests that humans didn't evolve from just apes but was a backcross hybrid of a chimpanzee and pigs. Dr McCarthy finds similarities of certain human traits with pigs and chimpanzees. Pig heart valves are used to replace those of human coronary patients. Pig skin is used in the treatment of human burn victims. He tries to prove that humans are the product of ancient hybridization between pig and chimpanzee.
Finally, I rang one my DSP colleagues, a tribal gentleman. He talked to someone and said, little afterwards, “Sir, Bengalis call ‘Walk Chu’ as ‘Bagdash’. It’s ‘Makhuk’ in Reang language.”
This latest clue helped me in identifying ‘Walk Chu’. It’s Large Indian civet or Viverra zibetha. ‘Walk Chu’ is actually Khatash, which I put doubt initially.