Henjunaha : Part 1
- From a book by K.B. Sharma -

James Oinam *

 Henjunaha  :: An illustration done by James Oinam
Henjunaha :: An illustration done by James Oinam

Henjunaha: Part 1

Characters in the story:
Khoijuhongba Ningollakpa (Lairaulembi's father)
Langlenhanba (Henjunaha's father)
Loyangamba (Henjunaha's friend)
Maiba (male shaman)
Kadanba (male crane)

Khoijuhongbi (Lairaulembi's mother)
Khoidom (Henjunaha's mother)
Tonu, Lembi, Yainu, Leishang (Lairaulembi's friends)
Maibi (female shaman)
Female spirits
Thaudanbi (female crane)
Women of the village

The Great Sky

(The first scene describes conversation between the crane couple.)

Thaudanbi: O Dear, what is the name of this tall mountain which looks as if it is stuck in the sky?
Kadanba: My dear that is Nonmaijing mountain.

Thaudanbi: A passage to the west, with gentle tops, can you guide me dear?
Kadanba: When hundred lads die, hundred girls wait; when hundred girls die, hundred lads wait. That's the Langol mountain.

Thaudanbi: What is the name of this lake?
Kadanba: It is called Loktak Wangphurel.

Thaudanbi: I'm tired and the sky is getting dark. Let us stay here for the night. Meanwhile, tell me the story this land. How the seeds of love was sown in this land?
Kadanba: O Dear. Lord Thanjing incarnated as a mortal in this land and played the role of lover that sowed the seeds of love in this land of Moirang. It was the end of the rule of the gods and beginning of the rule of men. The kingdom was then ruled by king Phan-Phan Ponlenhanba.

And so Kadanba tells the story of the land of Moirang.

(The Story)

An Open Field

It was midday. The spirits complained to the god Sorarel for leaving them behind. The gods left for the heaven. The spirits saw this as a desertion. They were hungry and felt alone. Then the god Thangjing appeared. He tried to restore peace: 'O spirits you will not be left alone. I will produce incarnation of myself in human form. Even you spirits will play a part in this play.'

And so the spirits were satisfied. Then god Thangjing asked his consort Paloitabi to incarnate as Lairaulembi so that their love story can be woven when he incarnated as Henjunaha.

The evil spirit 'Sharoi' asked god Thangjing to let them take part in it. But god Thanjing refused them to be incarnated among humans, saying that Sharois will hurt fellow humans because of their habits. But he gave orders to the male Sharois and female Sharois to be guardians of the four directions in spirit form and inhabit of backyards of houses. They felt happy with the arrangement.

He also told them that the humans through amaiba-amaibi (shamans) will offer food to the spirits to get rid of illnesses. Also, on the first Saturday of Lamta month, they can get together for meal. Paloitabi then said that she will always keep the spirits (gods) in her heart. And when the people prayed to the gods for good harvest and well-being, they must all come together and discuss the matter.

Kaygay Moirang

It was evening. Amaiba-amaibi (male and female shaman) gathered around. They held counsel to organize a prayer for god Thangjing for well-being of people and for good harvest. The king of Moirang who represented the end of the lineage of the gods and the beginning of the lineage of men asked his men to announce throughout the kingdom to bring flowers and fruits and other offerings for the prayer.

Prayer Ground

It was afternoon. The amaibis danced the laibau dance. Then they sang ougri. Then kangjei sport of the gods was played and other ceremonies were observed.

Then the amaibas prayed to the god Thangjing for good harvests so that commodities are available at cheap prices to the common people. Also, they asked to grant well-being and good health for the people.

The king then said he was extremely pleased with all the arrangements and that the god will grant everyone good health and there will be good harvest. He praised a boat offered to him for the prayer.

'Who has made this? Why isn't the maker present here?' he asked.
Naijahanba, 'Oh King, the boat was made by Langlenhanba. He is from my village.'
(Khoijuhongba was amazed to hear this.)

The king said, 'Oh Grandfather Naijahanba I want to meet the boat maker Langlenhanba.'
Naijahanba, 'Oh King, Khoijuhongba who is sitting over there along with his wife is a good friend of Langlenhanba. He will go and fetch Langlenhanba this moment.'

Khoijuhongba bowed and immediately set off to bring Langlenhanba.
When Langlenhanba got the news, he said to his friend, 'Dear Friend, how can I come there? I do not have any proper cloths to wear to meet the king.'

Khoijuhongba replied, 'Do not worry. Our Great King is the most generous and kind. Just be yourself.'
When both of them appeared before the king, the king was very much impressed by Langlenhanba.

'You are a very talented carpenter. I grant you the right to cut wood from any part of the kingdom,' the king told Langlenhanba.
'Also, in return for the wonderful boat that you have made, I give you my Kangjei (the stick used to play polo). This is not an ordinary Kangjei. As long as it is in your hands, no evil spirits can touch you,' saying this the king handed a majestic-looking Kangjei to him.

Langlenhanba thanked the king for his generosity and kindness. Khoijuhongba was proud to be a friend to Langlenhanba who was honoured by the king himself in front of everyone. He and his wife called Langlenhanba and his wife friends. They promised that when their children grew up they will marry them.

Adapted from:
Book Title: Henjunaha
Author: K.B. Sharma
Publisher: Dr. Laishram Lokendra
First Print: 2010
Printer: Rajesh Book Store, Governor Road, Imphal

* James Oinam wrote this article for
The writer can be contacted at jamesoinam(AT)gmail(DOT)com
This article was webcasted on February 06, 2019.

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