Tej

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The word tej [tɛdʒ] is highly loaded for the Jippirasti. (The word itself is cognate to Old Skourene tebbeḍ ‘administration’; in Tžuro teji is to rule or administer a Jippirasti state; jori is used for rule of or by unbelievers.)

The Tžuro had learned long before Babur to wage war under one commander, the ajjos (king, ruler). Nonetheless, Babur considered the Tžuro to be deplorably divided— by fsavau, by gods, by territorial claims, by petty feuds. Over and over he emphasized the ideal of unity: all Jippir’s people must form one realmtej— worshipping one God, Jippir. This contrasted with the existing jos or kingdom, which Babur criticized for being temporary and shallow.

In effect the Jippirasti wished their ideal tej into existence. They were so eloquent that the Tžuro princes agreed to name a permanent ruler, the atej— this being Kurund, in 1593.

When the Tej conquered first Munkhâsh and then Šura, the word took on a new meaning— empire. With Attafei’s victory and the conversion of the pagan Tžuro, the Tej became what Babur had envisioned: a single realm uniting all the Tžuro and all Jippirasti, at the same time an ethnic union, a religious commonwealth, and an empire.

The ideal lasted less than two centuries. In 1875 the Tžuro nomads under the leadership of the Buručand fsava revolted. The underlying reason was that the ateje of Jippirim had adopted a sedentary, indeed urban lifestyle, alienating the nomads who kept to the ancient Tžuro ways. In a religious state rebellion had to be expressed religiously; the Buručanda maintained that the accommodation to Skourene mores made the urban Tžuro stuja, unclean; these in turn retorted that the nomads’ refusal to give up the use of fsava totems was paganism.

The Buručanda freely called their new administration a tej— indeed, the Tej; neither side admitted the iteja or tej-ness of the other. Outsiders referred to them by the dynastic name: the Buručandi Tej vs. the Kurundasti Tej. (Previously there had been only one Tej, and thus no need to give it a distinguishing name; foreigners did not have teje.)

In 1895 the Lenani set up a tej of their own, supposedly rejecting the Buručand heresy. Again, there were secular reasons for their rebellion: the Lenani had accepted Jippirasti early on, but were continually treated by the Tžuro as inferiors and half-pagans.

The western steppe rebelled in 1920 under the Naraja; these added yet another complication: they accepted the spiritual authority of the Kurundasti, but not their secular leadership. (The Carhinnoi also fell initially under this category, though after their conquest by the ktuvoks they were induced to call Dhekhnam their tej.)

These early rival teje were more important culturally-politically than religiously. As the religion developed, however, the different areas began to diverge theologically. Tej acquired a new connotation: that of a claim to sole orthodoxy. The word began to be used not only for actual administrations but for the cultural spheres the religion was divided into, the pitau: the Šinourene core; Feináe; the Lenani steppe; and Carhinnia.

In recent centuries, the word tej became, among the Lenani, simply the word for a kingdom, and was even applied to non-Jippirasti monarchs.

Among the Tžuro, however, it is outmoded as a political term. No modern state or institution claims to be a (or the) Tej. The modern idea is that Babur’s tej refers to the entire community of Jippirasti, rather like our word ‘Christendom’, not to a worldly state.