Chali is one of the seventeen gewogs of monggar district in eastern Bhutan. Located on other side of Mongar (in the east), Chali is a sources of many legendary stories. One such story is a queen because of whom many subjects underwent hardships. The ruler in question was debatable. Karma Galay in his article Demise of Tongphu Gyalpo believed it was Tongphu Gyalpo, while Michael Aris wrote it was Relpa Tobchen, King of Zhongar born out of fish while others believed it was cruel Dzongpon Namedla. Whoever might be the ruler, ruler loved his wife from Chali so much and he wanted to see her village from his room in the Dzong. So he ordered the mountain in between to be leveled. People suffered due to labour taxes. Even ministers were fed up. One day, a moringmo/ single mother sang lullaby to put her child to sleep.
Phuchen Dhelpa Wata,
Michen Dhelpa Drag.”
Instead of leveling the towering mountain,
Better it is to bring down a towering personality.”* Karma Galey
Ministers understood the hidden messages and killed him. However, when I went to Mongar School, I was always dazzled by uniqueness of their dialect. It consists of almost every dialects and languages you could think of. I asked one of school mates about their linguistics when we were out drinking on weekend. He had no idea of historical origin of linguistics but he shared a tales that was told from generations to generations.
Guru Rinpoche accompanied by Khandro Yeshey Tshogyal and others are distributing the languages, waters and other necessities. They gave different languages to difference communities divided by geographical terrains. Eg: Khengkha to Gungdue, Kurmed to Tsakaling, Sharchop to Drepong even in that district. When they reached Chalip, it was found that all linguistic sacks were exhausted. So, Guru shook all the sacks to glean out final grains of linguistics. Thus, Chalip language consists of various words including Indian languages.
It was also said that broad leaf in which they carried water got wilted and water was spilt at Chali. So, there are water sources even on the spurs. Chalips who are drunk can narrate these legends for nights proudly for being blessed by Guru Himself.
Today, you would find Chalip speaking every language without having to put efforts like others. In the school, chalip can gossip blatantly and laughed at us without anybody understanding them. It was almost like code words for other students.
If you are visiting Chali, be sure that none of languages you know is useful. But then, you don’t have to worry because they speak many languages quite fluently. Secondly, beware of their Ara (wine) because instead of intoxicating you, it will make you puke at first. It is not because wine is so strong. It is because wine is little better than water. You can only tell by faint smell. There is nothing mythical about that tasteless wine because it is a reality.