Common superstition, swearing of oath and ordeal of Koren
Pr Kungsong Wanbe *
Koireng :: An Ethnic Doll display at Mutua Museum Cultural Heritage Complex, Andro
Besides the Koirengs worship of the supreme God (Pathien), the Creator of the universe, the sun, the moon, all the living creatures on earth including human kind and other natural and animal kingdom, the Koirengs also have some common superstitions, belief and practices.
There are sicknesses which are assigned to influences of evil spirits like Khori (a devil possessed person). Khur–chou (a person possessed by hole deity), Thing-chou (a person possessed by tree spirit), Laiok (evil spirit possessed).
Different rites are prescribed for deliverance of a person from such sickness. Performing such rites and ceremonies to deliver a sick person is not worshipping the evil spirit but just propitiation of the evil spirit.
In the Koireng society, it is a common superstition that death is caused by an evil spirit known as (1) Shakri, (2) Thangri and (3) Omlai.
There are two kinds of soul, one is Thavet who goes to the Mithikhuo, the land of the dead after death and the other is the Rithasie, evil soul who remains unseen among the humans. They are the souls of those who die unnatural deaths.
Thus, these Rithas are responsible for the ghostly activities suffered by ordinary people. Dreams, according to the Koirengs, are caused by the wondering of the man’s soul. In other words, when the Thavet (true soul) leaves the body temporarily, dreams occur and when it leaves the body permanently death occurs.
Swearing of oath and ordeals:
The Koirengs like any other neighbouring tribes practice the swearing of oath. Taking an oath is a solemn appeal to Pathien (God) to sanction the truth of a judgement when khuo/village fails to determine the real culprit. It is an ancient form of referring a disputed question to the judgement of God by water, fire etc. The forms of ordeals are practised by the Koirengs. They are as follows:
1. Chachaibut (Trial by cooking rice). 2. Tuililut (Trial by diving)
In Chachaibut (Trial by cooking rice), two packets of rice made with banana leaves are separately place inside a pot containing water. Each packet has its own identity in relation to the person who is to take oath. Then the pot is heated and the rice is cooked. Then the rice packets inside the pots are examined.
The man whose packet contains the fully cooked rice/ eatable is judged innocent and the owner of the other packet which is not yet fully cooked is judged guilty. The trial is repeated to find out the divine judgement.
Tuililut(Trial by diving) is the most popular form of ordeal among the hill tribes of Manipur. Among the Koirengs, before the ordeal takes place, a buffalo is kept as a security by each party. The security will not be refunded that is the culprit will be the loser. If security is not kept by one party, the ordeal will not take place.
A pool or tank or river is selected for the purpose on the direction of the village chief and members of the village council. The two persons in contest dive into the water simultaneously and will stay under water as long as they can in the presence of the village chief and the members of village council who act as judges.
All the villagers may come and witness the ordeal. The person who comes out of the water first is held guilty. The man who stays under the water longer is declared innocent or not guilty. It is important to note that in all of these ordeals, the offering of rice beer to Pathien/God is to be performed by the village chief at the beginning of the ordeal.
* Pr Kungsong Wanbe wrote this article for The Sangai Express
This article was posted on April 14, 2017.
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