Gaan-Ngai : A Grand Festival Of TRC (Tingkao Ragwang Chap Riak)
G. Poushinglung Kabui *
State level Gaan-Ngai 2014 at Keikhu, Kabui Village on January 13, 2014 :: Pix - Ashok Ningthoujam
Every religion on the earth has respective festivals which are celebrated by the followers with religious fervour and solemnity. For instance, Durga Puja, Lakshmi Puja, Ratha Jatra, Krishna Janma etc. of Hinduism, Idul Zuha, Idul Fitr, Muharram of Islam, Christmas, Good Friday, Easter of Christianity etc.
The followers of indigenous religion of TRC i.e. Tingkao Ragwang Chap Riak, who live in Assam, Manipur and Nagaland since times immemorial also celebrate many traditional festivals based on their religious belief. The most treasured grand festival of the TRC-Tingkao Ragwang Chapriak is the Chakan Gaan – Ngai, in short Gaan – Ngai.
Gaan – Ngai is celebrated by the TRC on the 13th of the lunar month Ganbu which usually falls between December and January every year. This festival lasted about five days namely
(i) Ngaigangmei Tingmik
(ii) Ngaidai, also called Tamchan
(iii) Tuna Gaan – Ngai
(iv) Napchan and
The TRC religion in its one of the most profound form is visible in the celebration of Gaan Ngai in every TRC homes and villages. Ultimately to please and beseech the blessing of Tingkao Ragwang, the Supreme God, Gaan – Ngai encompasses the homage of Tingkao Ragwang, the Supreme God with the communal chanting of sacred syllable 'ho", to the worship of Ragwang Chanaren chanei, the Seven Pantheon of TRC with Ralen Loumei ritual to worship of Bamboo, the tutelary deity, Joupaan Keimei, libation to the ancestral souls, to performance of the Napchanmei ritual by mother or women folk of every household at domestic hearth and rice storing pots.
Fire is lit up in traditional way, by rubbing bamboo slit with dry wood and every TRC household share the fire as a sacred fire for prosperity and abundance. Besides, in the gerontocratic TRC society, individuals are further promoted to higher responsibility and honour during Gaan – Ngai either by symbolism of community dance or through the ritual of Laogai Karikmei.
According to the belief of TRC, even the deaths, who have transcended beyond the mundane concept of time and space, are believed to be continued to dwell in own village, the family, and with near and dear, just waiting for Gaan – Ngai. Only when Gaan – Ngai is over, their links with the earth is believed to be finally snapped and proceeded to the Ra Kandi, 8th spiritual world.
Intersperse with rituals, songs, dance, merrymaking, feasting, lamentation for the departed souls, prayers for their peaceful sojourn and wellbeing in the spiritual realm and worships of Gods and Goddesses for peace & prosperity of life, Gaan – Ngai is one of the important factor for the continual survival of the indigenous religion of TRC, while almost all other indigenous religions which once thrived in the natural state in the North - East region of India had been now totally wipe out at the thrust of tide of occidental religions – Aryanic or Simetic.
It is because of the firmness of the followers of TRC that in spite of being unrepresented in neither the Manipur Legislative Assembly nor the Assam Legislative Assembly and the consequential deliberate machination to suppress indigenous faiths and derecognize the festival of Gaan – Ngai in 2002 by the Government of Manipur, Gaan – Ngai is restored as the General Holiday in Manipur and also declared Restricted Holiday in Assam. It cannot be ruled out that such type of malicious experience of 2002 will not resurface again in any form again in future, for it is said that history repeals itself.
Therefore, it is a high time that the follower of the TRC (Tingkao Ragwang Chap Riak) religion be awaken up and vigilant against and misrepresentation and demeaning of Gan – Ngai at any form. So that the pristine glory of Gaan – Ngai is preserved for the posterity.
As long as the pristine of Gaan – Ngai is in intact, the indigenous TRC religion will grow strength to strength. It is the right, privilege, responsibility and the obligation of the followers of TRC to promote and glorify Gan – Ngai for they are heir to the spiritual and moral values bequeath to them by the forefathers of thousands years. Gaan – Ngai is the grand festival of TRC religion, the Tingkao Ragwang Chapriak.
* G. Poushinglung Kabui wrote this article for Hueiyen Lanpao
The writer is the secretary of Indigenous People's Forum
This article was posted on June 10, 2014.
* Comments posted by users in this discussion thread and other parts of this site are opinions of the individuals posting them (whose user ID is displayed alongside) and not the views of e-pao.net. We strongly recommend that users exercise responsibility, sensitivity and caution over language while writing your opinions which will be seen and read by other users. Please read a complete Guideline on using comments on this website.