The Thadous
- Part 1 -

By:- Paominlien Kipgen *


The Thadous are found in Manipur, Assam, Nagaland and Mizoram in India, and in Chin state and Sagaing Division in Burma/Myanmar. In Manipur they are mostly found in South-Western Hills and Sadar Hills, Churachandpur district, Ukhrul district, Jiribam and Chandel district.

From time immemorial, the Thadous have a culture of their own and distinct language, literature, dress and social life, self-government. Livelihood, Defense, Marriage, Divorce, Naming a child, Kut Festivals, Saguol Kengkhai, Vaphol lam, Lakoi lam, Khongbai lam, Lamkuol, Saipikhup, suh folk dances, Jhuming, Domestic animals, Religion, Hunting etc..

Thadous have a language distinct from other tribal language; the Government of India has recognized the Thadou as a tribe and as a language cum culture and customs. This is recognized by the President Notification under Article No. 342 of the Indian Constitution vide the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribes, List Order Notification No. SRO. 2477-A. Ministry of Law & Home Affairs, Govt. of India dated 29th October, 1956 at New Delhi in respect of the State of Manipur.

While the kings ruled in Manipur, the Thadous served as the Manipur Army and helped in the maintenance of Law & Order. So that, the Meiteis composed the Folk Song, "Manipur Sana Leibak, Chingna Koina Pansaba, Haona Koina Pan Ngakpa" was to the Thadous only.

Thadou - A doll represention as an Exhibit at Mutua Museum, Andro

Social Structure:

McCulloch clearly pinpointed as to how exactly Thadou social structure functions when he stated that the Thadous " much attention to their genealogy and profess to know the names of their Chiefs in succession...". Here lies the secret of Raymond Firth's definition of 'Social Structure and Function'

In this connection we may draw our attention to the effect that though there is no such rigid system as is found in castes hierarchical order in the Hindu Varna, the stereotype structure of Thadou social system is based on the order of precedence of lineal descents, numbers thereof being dependent on the widespread of their sub-lineal branches which make the Thadous and their collateral clans enable to claim their pedigree right from the legendary ancestor called Chongthu (some spelled as Shongthu) to Thadou.

The Genealogical Tree from Chongthu to Thadou as the social structural base found in the journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal: N.S. XXIV: is reproduced here in below:

Genealogical Tree from Chongthu to Thadou:

Chongthu - begets Sattong; Chongja is the Younger brother of Chongthu;
Sattong - begets Thangpi; Sattong married Sheichin, a woman from Vanlal Village, believed to be located in celestial abode. Sattong has two younger brothers but are unknown;
Thangpi - begets Shingmeng and Hangmeng; the Koms, Kilongs, Vaiphei, Chirus, and other Old Kuki clans. Hangmeng as their progenitor;
Shingmeng - begets Titou, Touhin and Touthang,

a) Titou is the Progenitor of Doungels whose seniority is said not being accepted by the Thados of other clans now as the lineage has become extinct in the true line and is now represented by the descendent of a slave. This contention is not accepted by Dr. J.H. Hutton and is refuted as given separately here in below details.

b) Touthang is the progenitor of Lamhao Kukis.
Touhin - begets Ni-nel;
Ni-nel - begets Lhoulhuh;
Lhoulhuh - begets Sehtha;
Sehtha - begets Thadou, Chongloi and Hangshing;
Thadou - begets Thalhun;
Thalhun - begets Elmun (by first wife), Kipgen and Haokip (by second wife).

The followings are the recognized Thadou tribe cover under the Amended Vide Govt. of India Ministry of Law Notification Order No. SRO-24777-A, Dated 29th October, 1956, New Delhi.
  1. Guite
  2. Doungel
  3. Sitlhou
  4. Singsit
  5. Kipgen
  6. Haokip
  7. Chongloi
  8. Hangshing
  9. Touthang
  10. Lotjem
  11. Haolai
  12. Tuboi
  13. Sa'um
  14. Khuolhou
  15. Lupho
  16. Lupheng
  17. Misao
  18. Mate
  19. Baite
  20. Lhungdim
  21. Ngailut
  22. Kiloung
  23. Insun
  24. Jongbe
  25. Lunkim
  26. Lienthang
  27. Thangngew
  28. Changsan
  29. Lhang'um
  30. Khuongthang
In Defense of Chengjapao: Hutton, J.H. (1928), in his review of the above contention in regard to the non-acceptance of Doungel's lineage whose House was allegedly extinct, endorsed to the truth of structural order of the Genealogical Tree as given above, i.e. from Chongthu to Thadou, but was very skeptical to the alleged extinction of direct male line of Doungel clan.


Fifty Five years later, when McCulloch established the genealogical tree of Thadou in 1857, Shakespeare, Lt. Col., J., (1912 : 187-88: The Lushai Kuki Clans, Part-II) stated that
"After many enquiries I am quite of the same opinion and have found pedigrees collected from various sources differed by slightly from that recorded by colonel McCulloch"

And further stated that "The four main families of Thadou are the Doungel, Shitloh, Haukip and Kipgen. The Doungel are descended from Thadou's elder brother and therefore are considered as rather superior to the rest of the families".

Shakespeare was also emphatic to say that the name Thado was "...derived by the people themselves from "that" 'to kill' and "doh" 'to war' and that the term, "New Kuki, which, appears so often in the records, Cachar and Sylhet, in the middle of last century (19th century), and which has been adopted by Dr. Grierson in the 'Linguistic Survey of India' may be taken as synonymous with Thado".

  1. Jimmy Jamkhomang Thadou ( A brief ancient history of the Thadou inhabitants in Manipur Hills)
  2. T.S. Gangte (Structure of the Thadou society)
to be continued.....

* Paominlien Kipgen wrote this article and was published in Hueiyen Lanpao (English Edition) . This article was webcasted at on 02nd May 2010.

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