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E-Pao! Essay - Galngam: The epic hero of Kuki Zale'ngam

Galngam: The epic hero of Kuki Zale'ngam

By: Tintong Kuki, Reproduced by L. Nehkholien Haokip *



The Epic of "Galngam Fish Hunting" is one of the most favourite past time story of the elders to their grandsons and daughters.

In the golden era of Kuki Zalen'gam (around 300 B.C to 400 A.D), Galngam (Ralngam) name bore the air waves. He was known by every one. He was a daredevil person and he was known for his valour and adventurous spirit. His best friend's name was Hangshai (who was a human-being but bearing lion's spirit).

His extravagant wife was the only daughter of Doikung-pu (The witch master of the whole land). Galngam had three dogs of which Lunche survived till his last day. His other dogs were poisoned by his mischievous wife for want of her husband's magical power.

One day, Galngam went out for fish hunting with all his dogs. He was told that there was a big and mysterious fish in the Lohlai-Twivai vadung (river). Galngam and his dogs reached down the tri-junction of Twivai, Lohlai and Twilang river of the Kuki-Zalen'gam (Present Manipur State of Northeast India).

They saw the big fish and the hunt began. Galngam told his dogs to block the fish at different niches. But the big fish could change its size and shape, it can even fly to a certain distance. At one occasion, Galngam was so close enough to slash the side of the mysterious big fish.

He missed it but sliced down one of its scalp which was as big as two diameter circle size. The epic drama is musically blown in the Goshem of Kuki musical instrument depicting the daredevil action of Galngam and his hound of dogs.

The Goshem music ever reverberates the account as:

"Chalpu Chalpu twi nah lam a ana khel in lang, ana lam tin in", nearest translation being: Chalpu (the common name of his dogs) go ahead and block the path of the fish."

It took a week long to track the trail of the big fish. The fish could disappear and reappear that made more harder for the hunting group. The fish was driven in the wrong course as it headed up the Lohlai stream.

As there was less water in upstream, the mysterious fish was driven to the corner, but the fish leapt with all its force and flew over the Thangting ridge and landed to the other side of the valley (Moirang valley).

Galngam and his three dogs saw the place where the fish took the ground. As the hunting group looked at the spot from Khoupum Muolkot, they saw water beginning to appear around the areas of the fairy fish. Galngam looked and felt the valley is more scenic and beautiful with the newly rising Lake.

So, he and his team retreated from the fish hunt. People today called this lake Loktak Lake in Manipur, near Moirang.

This lake is the most beautiful place and the only largest inland lake in the south East Asia. And the Kuki folklore had attached Loktak Lake with the Kuki Epic Hero - Galngam.

Philosophical Insight

Galngam loves to preserve natural beauty of the land.

He left many footprints and trademarks and also made foes into friends and dared to confront any adventures.


* L. Nehkholien Haokip wrote this article for The Sangai Express
This article was webcasted on 15th May 2006.


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