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印度小村莊禁止穿鞋的傳統從何而來

The tiny Indian village that banned shoes
印度小村莊禁止穿鞋的傳統從何而來

As an Indian, I’ve always been comfortable with the notion of bare feet. Over the years, I’ve grown accustomed to slipping out of my shoes before stepping into my own home (to not bring germs indoors with me), when I visit friends and family, or during prayers at Hindu temples.

作為一個印度人,我對光腳的風俗習以為常。多年來,我已經習慣了在踏進家門前把鞋脫掉(為了不把病菌帶到室內)。看望朋友和家人或是在印度教寺廟里做禱告時也脫掉鞋子。

And yet, despite this conditioning, even I was unprepared for Andaman.

即便習慣了這種風俗,但我對安達曼村的情況還是毫無心理準備。

A village in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu, Andaman is 450km (and around a 7.5-hour drive) from Tamil Nadu’s capital city of Chennai. Around 130 families live here, many of whom are agricultural labourers who work in the surrounding paddy fields.

安達曼村位于印度南部的泰米爾納德邦,距離該邦首府金奈450公里(約7.5小時車程)。村里住著大約130戶人家,多數人是在周圍稻田里勞動的農業勞動者。

I met 70-year-old Mukhan Arumugam just as he was offering his daily prayers under an enormous neem tree at the entrance to the village. Dressed in a white shirt and a checked lungi (sarong), his face was tilted to the sky. Even in late January, the midday sun was blindingly bright.

遇到70歲的阿魯穆加姆(Mukhan Arumugam)時,他正在村口一棵巨大的印度楝樹下做每天的禱告。他穿著白色的襯衫、方格子布的長袍,臉朝著天空。即使在1月底,這里正午的陽光也明亮得刺眼。

It is under this tree, he said, adjacent to the sparkling waters of an underground reservoir and engulfed by lush green paddy fields and rock-strewn roads, that the story that defines his village begins. For this is the exact spot where villagers take off their sandals or shoes and carry them in their hands when they enter the village.

樹的旁邊是波光粼粼的地下水庫,周圍是油綠的稻田和鋪滿碎石的小路。他說:安達曼村的那個傳說正是從這棵樹下開始的。這里也是村民進村前脫鞋,用手提著鞋開始赤腳走路的地方。

No-one in the village of Andaman, except the very elderly and the infirm, wears shoes, Arumugam told me. He was barefoot himself, even though he says he does intend to wear sandals soon, especially in the hot summer months ahead. As I walked through the village in my thick dark socks, I was astounded by the sight of children and teenagers rushing to school and couples strolling to work, all nonchalantly carrying their shoes in one hand. It was almost like they were another accessory, like a purse or a bag.

阿魯穆加姆告訴我:安達曼村除年老體弱者外,沒有人穿鞋。當時他自己也赤著腳,但他說,在即將到來的炎炎夏日里,他打算開始穿涼鞋。當我穿著厚厚的黑襪子穿過村莊時,我驚訝地發現,匆匆趕往學校的少年和慢悠悠去上班的情侶,都滿不在乎地把自己的鞋子提在手里。好像鞋子是個裝飾配件,就像錢包或包一樣。

I stopped 10-year-old Anbu Nithi who whizzed past me on his bicycle in his bare feet. Nithi studies in standard five in a town 5km away, and he grinned when I asked him if he’d ever flouted the barefoot rule of the village. “My mother told me that a powerful goddess called Muthyalamma protects our village and so we don’t wear slippers here out of respect for Her,” he said. “If I wanted to, I could, but that would be like insulting a friend that everyone adores.”

我攔下赤腳騎車從我身旁經過的尼提(Anbu Nithi)。10歲的他在5公里外的一個小鎮上讀標準五年級。當我問他是否違反過在村里要光腳走路的規定時,他咧嘴笑了。他說:“媽媽告訴我,一位名叫穆塔亞拉瑪(Muthyalamma)的女神法力強大,保護著我們村,所以出于對她的尊重,我們這里都不穿鞋。如果想穿,我也可以穿,但那就像侮辱一個大家都愛戴的朋友一樣。”

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I quickly find that it’s this spirit that sets Andaman apart. No-one enforces the practice. It isn’t a stringent religious code, rather a time-worn tradition that is steeped in love and respect.

我很快發現,這種觀念讓安達曼村變得與眾不同。沒有人強制執行這種做法。也不是一條嚴格的宗教規定,只是一種飽含愛與尊重的古老習俗。

“We’re the fourth generation of villagers to live this way,” explained Karuppiah Pandey, a 53-year-old painter. He was carrying his shoes, but his wife, Pechiamma, 40, who works in the fields to harvest rice, says she doesn’t bother with footwear at all except when venturing outside the village. When someone visits the village wearing shoes, they try to explain the rule, she says. But if they don’t comply, it’s never enforced. “It’s purely a personal choice that’s embraced by all who live here,” Pechiamma said. And though she’s never imposed the rule on her four children either – who are now adults and working in nearby cities – they all follow the custom when they come to visit her.

"我們是第四代堅持這種生活習俗的村民,"53歲的油漆匠潘迪(Karuppiah Pandey)解釋說。他手里正拿著鞋子,但他40歲的妻子,在田里收割水稻的佩奇亞瑪(Pechiamma)稱,她根本懶得穿鞋,除非要去村子外面。她說,當有人穿著鞋去村里時,他們會試著解釋這種風俗。如果對方不遵守,也不會有人強制執行。這完全是一種個人選擇,這種習俗得到過住在這里所有人的支持。盡管她從未強迫過現已長大成人、在附近城市工作的四個孩子遵守這項規定,但他們每次進村來看她的時候,都會遵守這個習俗。

But there was a time when fear propelled this practice.

很早前有一段時間,人們不穿鞋是因為恐懼。

“Legend has it that a mysterious fever will strike you if you don’t heed the rule,” said Subramaniam Piramban, 43, a house painter who has lived in Andaman all his life. “We don’t live in fear of this prophecy, but we’ve grown accustomed to treating our village like a sacred space – to me, it’s like an extension of a temple,” he said.

43歲的皮拉姆班(Subramaniam Piramban)是一名房屋油漆工,在安達曼村居住了半輩子。他說:“傳說如果不遵守這項規定,就會無緣由地發燒。但我們現在并不害怕這個預言,早已經習慣了把我們村當作一個神圣的地方。對我來說,它就像一座寺廟的延伸。”

To find out how this the legend evolved, I was directed to the village’s informal historian. Lakshmanan Veerabadra, 62, is a success story of staggering proportions for this little hamlet. Today, he runs a construction company in Dubai, after having travelled overseas as a daily wage labourer nearly four decades ago. He returns to the village often, sometimes to recruit personnel, but mostly to keep in touch with his roots. Seventy years ago, he said, villagers installed the first clay idol of Goddess Muthyalamma under the neem tree on the outskirts of the village. Just as the priest was adorning the goddess with jewellery and people were immersed in prayer, a young man is believed to have walked past the idol with his shoes on. It’s not clear whether this man viewed the ceremony with any degree of scorn, but legend has it he slipped and fell mid-stride. That evening, he was struck with a mysterious fever, and it took him many months to recover.

紐約時報中英文網 http://www.gwbyzx.live/

為了弄清這個傳說的由來,我在村民的指引下找到了村里俗稱的歷史學家。在這個小村莊里,62歲的維拉巴德拉(Lakshmanan Veerabadra)有著驚人的成功故事。40年前,他以日薪工人的身份出國務工。現在迪拜經營著一家建筑公司,他經常回到村里,有時候是為了招工,但主要是為了與家鄉保持聯系。他說:據傳70年前,村民在村口的楝樹下豎起了一尊泥塑穆蒂亞拉姆瑪神像。就在神職人員用珠寶裝飾神像,人們在虔誠禱告時,一名年輕男子穿著鞋從神像邊走過。不知是否對儀式心懷不屑,但傳說他腳下一滑,摔倒在地。當天晚上突然發燒,過了好幾個月才康復。

“Ever since then, the people in the village don’t wear any kind of footwear,” Veerabadra said. “It evolved into a way of life.”

維拉巴德拉說:從那時候起,村里的人就不再穿鞋了,也由此演變成了一種生活習俗。

Every five to eight years, during March or April, the village hosts a festival during which a clay idol of Muthyalamma is installed under the neem tree. For three days, the goddess stays to bless the village, before the idol is smashed to pieces and returned to the elements. During the festival, the village is filled with prayer, feasting, pageantry, dance and drama. But because of the huge costs involved, it isn’t an annual affair. The last festival was in 2011, and the next event is uncertain, depending as it does on donations from local patrons.

村里每5到8年,會在3月或4月舉辦一場慶典活動。活動期間,泥塑穆蒂亞拉姆瑪神像會被安放在楝樹下。神像會存留三天,為村子祈福。之后,神像被打碎,重新化為塵土。慶典活動期間,村子里到處是禱告儀式、盛宴、舞蹈和戲劇演出。但由于花費很高,這種活動并不是每年都舉行。上次舉辦是2011年,下一次還不確定,具體取決于當地贊助者的捐款。

Many outsiders tend to dismiss the legend at the heart of this village as a kind of odd superstition, says Ramesh Sevagan, 40, a driver. At the very least, he says, the legend has helped carve a strong sense of identity and community. “It has brought us together, made everyone in the village feel like a family,” Sevagan said. This sense of kinship has bred other local customs, too. When someone in the village dies, for instance, regardless of whether the deceased is rich or poor, villagers gift a modest sum – Rs 20 each – to the bereaved family. “Apart from wanting to help our neighbours, to be there for them in good times and in bad, it has made us feel that we’re all equals here,” Sevagan said.

40歲的司機塞瓦甘(Ramesh Sevagan)說,這個傳說是安達曼村的凝聚核心,很多外村人認為這種傳說是迷信不予理會。他認為,這個傳說帶來了一種強烈的認同感和歸屬感。它讓我們村子里的人團結在一起,感覺村里的每個人都像自已的家人。這種親近感又讓村里延伸出另一種習俗。比如,村里有人去世時,無論死者貧富,村民都會給失去親人的家庭送去數額不大的禮金,每人20盧比。既幫助了鄰居,也讓村民感覺無論順境還是逆境都有人陪在他們身邊,村子里所有人都是平等的。

I wonder if time, travel and global exposure can dent this feeling. I asked Dubai-based Veerabadra whether he still feels as strongly about the shoe ban now as he did as a young boy. He says he does. Even today, he goes barefoot in the village and the years away haven’t dampened his enthusiasm for following the legend that lies at the heart of Andaman.

我想知道,時間、距離和國外經歷是否會淡化這種感覺。我問身在迪拜的維拉巴德拉,他現在對遵守禁鞋令是否還像小時候那么堅持。他說是的,即使在今天,他在村子里依然赤腳。過了這么多年,他對遵循那個傳說的熱情并未消減。

“Regardless of who we are or where we live, all of us wake up every morning believing that we will be well,” he said. “There are no guarantees, but we still go about our day. We make plans for the future; we dream, we think ahead.

他說:“不管是誰,生活在哪里,我們每天早上醒來都希望自己越過越好,雖然無法保證,但仍為生活忙碌著。人們懷揣著夢想思考和規劃著未來。”

“Life everywhere revolves around such simple faith; it’s just another version of this that you see in our village.”

“每個地方的生活風俗中都蘊藏著簡單純樸的信念,只是你在我們村里看到了另外一個版本。”

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