Haipou Jadonang : A social reformer and religious leader of Zeliangrongs
- Part 1 -

Dr Budha Kamei *

 88th Martyrdom of Haipou Jadonang at Keishampat, Imphal on August 29 2019
88th Martyrdom of Haipou Jadonang at Keishampat, Imphal on August 29 2019 :: Pix - Shankar Khangembam


The first half of the 20th Century was an important epoch in the history of Zeliangrong of Northeast. It was during this period Haipou Jadonang launched his socio-religious activities to reform and revitalized the religion of his people from the onslaughts of alien religion, Christianity. He introduced reformation in the traditional religion with the revelations of God. Because of his premature death, Rani Gaidinliu, a true disciple of Jadonang continued the religious reform movement and fulfilled the dream of her Guru. The article attempts to delve into the socio-religious actions of Jadonang in the colonial period.

Jadonang was born in the year 1905 in remote village of Puiluan (Kambiron). He was 26 year old at the time of his death in 1931. He was the second son of Thiudai of Malangmei clan and Tabolu of Dangmei clan. His father died when he was only one year old so Jadonang was brought up by his mother; his other two brothers were Mudunang, the elder and Tiningam, the younger. The children were close to the mother and Jadonang was closest. He had an extraordinary childhood in which his mother came across many miraculous incidents (Zeliang 2005:3-6; Zeliang 2006:48-49).

Kambiron, a Rongmei village was located on Manipur- Cachar road, 12 km. away from Nungba; one of the three important roads that linked the state with the outside world. Young Jadonang and his elder brother Mudunang did witness the movement of soldiers, officials, traders of Manipur through this road and the forcible collection of house tax, porter system, and the Christian preaching about the Gospel of God etc., which left a deep impression on the mind of young Jadonang (Makuga 1994:120-125). Even though Jadonang did not get any formal education, through his many fold experiences he became one of the few knowledgeable persons in his tribe.

The main occupation of Kambiron village was jhum cultivation. When Jadonang attained the age of 12 to 13 years, there was a failure of crops in the village for many years due to attack of rats which is believed to be sent from Bhuvon Hills to eat the bamboo fruits and in that process, ate up standing crops. In this connection, Jadonang had urged the elders of Pei, village council to sacrifice a mithun (Goichang) to God which was revealed in his dream; after some hesitation it was decided to perform and this had the effect of ensuring rich harvests in the village (Zeliang 1998:7; Kamei 2009:21).

J.C. Higgins called him a Maiba, a medicine man cum healer in Manipuri dialect. The people of Kambiron looked on him as Mhu, a spiritual guide, healer and preacher. However, in his religious actions, Ursula Graham Bower had described him as ‘Seer of Kambiron.’ In fact, he was not only a medicine man, and a dream interpreter, a medium between man and God, performer of sacrifices for the sick and deceased.

Hence, the term given by Graham Bower was quite suitable one. He was officially declared as the Mhu-Ren after the observance of Ralen-Loumei, worship of all the deities of Zeliangrong pantheon including God Bisnu (Kamei 2004:147-149). After this observance of Ralen-Loumei, one is permitted to carry out all the rites and ceremonies of the worship of god and goddesses of Zeliangrong.

As a young prophet he began dream divinations for his people; he went in dreams to the cave of Bhuban, the abode of God Bisnu where Jadonang was received with honour and permitted into the sanctuary of the God Bisnu and even entered into friendship with the son of God Bisnu called Khangrillung. Lord Bisnu was looked upon as the God for the welfare and prosperity of men, creatures and the universe as well as the earthly world.

Bisnu is the God of the Zeliangrong pantheon recognized by different names such as Munchanu, Bonchanu, Buisnu, Bisnu etc. This prehistoric Bhuvon cave was first discovered by Gairemnang, a semi historical, semi mythical culture hero and poet, but it was unknown to the Zeliangrong people. It was rediscovered by Jadonnang only in 1920’s (Kamei 2009: preface).

In other words, the Bhuban Hills cave legacy was revised by Jadonang. Jadonang and many other pilgrims went to the Holy cave and worshiped God Bisnu and Tingkao Ragwang, the Supreme God there. The mouth of the cave is about fifty feet high, with a sloping roof of two hundred feet; it bears a resemblance to the front of Taraangkai, ornamental ritual house of Taraang sacrifice.

It became for Jadonang a holy shrine, a place where he offered sacrifices and where he communicated with God Bisnu. During his frequent visit to the holy cave, he came into contact with the Rongmei settlers in Cachar; he visited almost all villages in Cachar treating the sick, praying for the dead and interpreting dreams for which he took fees 4 annas for praying the dead, a bottle of Zu interpreting a dream and 3 annas for treating of the sick.

The money was returnable if the cure was ineffective. In 1929, Jadonang also did undertake a journey to the Zeilad Lakes, a holy place where he offered prayer and worship the deity of Zeilad for wellbeing and prosperity. Zeilad lakes are four in number namely, the main lake Zeilad or Langmaijei (a lozenge shape lake about a half kilometer long and the color of water was muddy and full of water weeds), Goiphopjei(the lake of tortoise), Roujei (the curse lake) and Napsamjei (the lake of paddy).

These lakes were natural pond of water in the west bank of the Barak River located in the eastern mountainside of the village of Atengba (Makoi). It was Jadonang who declared that it was no longer taboo to eat fish of the Zeilad lakes.

Bhuban cave is regarded as one of the holiest places of the world. It is also “one of the Godly pilgrimages for all human beings in the belief that occasionally all heads of Gods came together for meeting and the souls of all kings or rulers used to house after death in this cave” (Zeliang 2010).

For the Heraka and Tingkao Ragwang Chapriak(TRC), Bhuban cave represents the point of reformation began there because in this cave the blessing of Tingkao Ragwang was bestowed upon Jadonnang and Rani Gaidinliu to introduce a new cult in Zeliangrong society (Longkumar 2008:33). Because of this fact, it became the pilgrimage site for the Heraka and TRC followers in the month of February every year.

All over the world, colonial administrations, which wanted to consolidate their hold over the natives in the colonies, and Christian missionaries who liked to convert the ‘heathen’ to Christian, even though they had different objectives, interacted with each other to achieve their respective purposes.

The colonial officials did try to win over the people not only providing social programmes like education, medical works etc., in which the Christian missionaries too were interested, but also tried to win over the native people by convincing them about the so called colonial civilizing mission, through the missionaries, who by virtue of their deep commitment to their works, had gained closer relationship of trust and intimacy with the people (Dena 1988:1-8).

The missionaries unlike the administrators used to stay with the natives for longer period, and therefore, had better contact with them. On the other hand, the missionaries did depend on the colonial authority for political protection and other material requirements such as finance, man power etc. (Rajkumari 2012:26).

After the revolt of 1857, the British India government had adopted a policy of non interference in the social affairs of the Hindu with the objective of consolidating the British rule in India but this was not happened in the context of north east, they encouraged active Christian proselytisation work, because, they believed that, Christian missionaries would help in consolidating their rule.

Conversion is a change (either an event or process) from one view or way of life to another, from a set of belief or opinion to another. The basic objective of the missionary was to secure “converts through evangelization, education, literary and medical works and those who are trained in these trades were engaged to continue the evangelical works” (Dena 1988:85-86).

The tribes of North East accepted Christianity but not Hinduism; although some tribals worshipped some Hindu gods in the popular form of Hinduism. After study, it comes to know that the tribal religion could not resist the Christian condemnation of their religion as an animism cult which is full of superstitions. The existence of the Supreme God which is the foundation of the religion of Zeliangrong (Tingwang/Tingkao Ragwang) was not used to oppose the attack of Christian missionaries. This is more due to the lack of knowledge of the true essence of their philosophy and religion.

Christian doctrines very easily did overcome them. But among the tribals, there is concept of the Supreme Being, which is comparable with the essentials of the God of Christianity. Poor economic condition of the tribals narrowed down their world-view.

To be continued .....

* Dr Budha Kamei wrote this article for The Sangai Express
The writer can be reached at budhakamei(AT)gmail(DOT)com
This article was webcasted on August 05, 2019.

* 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 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.

  • Pathetic Imphal-Jiri Road #2 :: Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 05 Oct : Govt of Manipur
  • Amit Tonk wins Indian hair style icon
  • The International Day Of The Aged, 2022
  • Regulations for entry at Khuman Lampak
  • World Mental Health Day 2022
  • Sign language: Fundamental right of HI people
  • COVID-19 : Impact in Manipur :: News Timeline
  • Draft liquor policy testifies no rollback stand
  • Draft regulation for sale of liquor
  • MM Ahmed: Sahitya Akademi Translation
  • COVID-19 Status 04 Oct : Govt of Manipur
  • Frontier Nagaland- a path to justice, equality
  • SW Developer/Marketing @PiCaSoid, Imphal
  • Climate change & livestock #1
  • The different magnitude of footprints
  • Traditional textile globally recognised struggle
  • Need to look beyond the 'immediate'
  • Bor @Hiyangthang Lairembi #1 :: Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 03 Oct : Govt of Manipur
  • Poets keep a mirror of the real world
  • World Animal Day: Wildlife Week Celebration
  • 'Who am I?'
  • NSU land claims undermining sportspersons
  • Poor reflection on society: Students on street
  • Mera Chaorel Houba @ Kangla #2 :: Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 02 Oct : Govt of Manipur
  • Chingangbam Ranju: Gold in Skateboarding
  • Clean India Campaign 2022 at MU
  • Prof without a PhD
  • Bio-security to prevent diseases in livestock
  • Befitting response from 'unwanted' parents
  • Stand of STDCM & WMC : ST demand
  • Lamyanba Irawat Birth Anniv #1 : Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 01 Oct : Govt of Manipur
  • North East cheers for now
  • Loving Her :: Poem
  • Revoke Show Cause Notice to Dr Sanatomba
  • This Gujarat Model is worth replicating
  • The age-old art of Chola bronze statues
  • Laklaroi Amuk Hanna Yeningtha #2 : Gallery
  • October Calendar for Year 2022 : Tools
  • Old Lambulane, was a trend setting locality
  • Agniveer recruitment rally at Mizoram
  • Prevention of parasitism in livestock #3
  • The ground zero of gratitude
  • Eye makeup products every girl should have
  • Another statewide observance of Irabot Day
  • Saluting the Lamyanba : Respecting dissent
  • How does the full moon make waves...
  • COVID-19 Status 29 Sept : Govt of Manipur
  • Legalising production & sale of liquor
  • RKCS Children's Painting Competition
  • Online Essay Competition
  • Significance of World Heart Day 2022
  • A kind of feeling :: Poem
  • Free rice and plight of state's farmers
  • Lifting prohibition after 3 decades
  • Linthoi Chanambam : First Judo Gold Medalist
  • COVID-19 Status 28 Sept : Govt of Manipur
  • Featured Front Page Photo 2022 #4: Gallery
  • Sore Admiration :: Poem
  • Accountant Assistant @ Amber & Arthur
  • World Heart Day 2022
  • Indo-Naga Talks (2012-) :: News Timeline
  • Plastic menace: Time over for warning
  • Promoting cycling in Imphal
  • Mera Chaorel Houba @ Kangla #1 :: Gallery
  • Tripura Fashion Week @ Agartala :: Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 27 Sept : Govt of Manipur
  • ST status demands in India #2
  • Socio-cultural tourism in NE India
  • Investigation against CRPF Personal
  • Backache in diabetics: Never ignore it
  • 'Poison' liquor still favourite for commoners
  • What has happened to the ban on SUP ?
  • Maibi Jagoi @ Thangjing Haraoba :: Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 26 Sept : Govt of Manipur
  • Lamyanba Irabot Ningsing Tha : Plantation
  • World Pharmacists Day 2022
  • Workshop of Wildlife Crime Prevention
  • Genius is knowing when to stop !
  • Naga final pact as Nagaland polls near
  • Lifting prohibition : Talk of the day
  • Tarpon Chaklen Katpa @ Andro #1 :: Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 25 Sept : Govt of Manipur
  • Lamyanba Irabot Ningsing Tha : Fingerlings
  • Tripura Fashion Week in Agartala
  • World River Day & our environment
  • Nubank : banking industry in Brazil
  • Opposition parties struggling to dent BJP
  • From High Court to Supreme Court ?
  • Lokchao Bridge @ NH 102 :: Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 24 Sept : Govt of Manipur
  • What were Phizo's last words to Khodao?
  • Priyadarshini, Priyanka: Everest Taekwondo
  • I swear :: Poem
  • Incomplete lifting of prohibition
  • Prevention of parasitism in livestock #2
  • Wakhal Eronba- Sumang Leela #1 :: Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 23 Sept : Govt of Manipur
  • Arbin Tonjam: best designer - Miss Manipur
  • Lamyanba Irabot Ningsing Tha at Ithing
  • Ferry to Ganges :: Poem
  • Making public health messaging entertaining
  • Student schooling order exposes fault...
  • Discipline : The common thread
  • Camping @ Shirui Lily Fest #1 :: Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 22 Sept : Govt of Manipur
  • Youth : An idea can change the world
  • Perceived class conflict triggers friction ...
  • The tale of a forgotten diary
  • Face Redness- How to get rid of it
  • CADA - Govt on collision course
  • Inching towards a final pact ?
  • Border Pillar Inspection @Kamjong :: Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 21 Sept : Govt of Manipur
  • Strange bed fellows attempting to cohabit
  • Training for entrepreneur in Food Processing
  • Recalling Alzheimer once again !
  • New Education Policy : The CUET rigmarole
  • Liquor for better health! Indigestible
  • Now focus on ST demand
  • Byron Aihara - A True Lover of Manipur
  • International Day of Peace 2022
  • Human Capital Formation, need of the hour
  • Prevention is better than cure !!
  • Prevention of parasitism in livestock #1
  • Security Conference at Tamenglong
  • Concrete action must follow 'CM Da Haisi'
  • Tag of a dry State for the last 30 years
  • Pungyam Yeiba Fest @Singjamei :: Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 19 Sept : Govt of Manipur
  • National Bamboo Innovation Challenge
  • International Day of Peace & environment
  • Lamyanba Irabot Ningsing Tha: Social Service
  • World Bamboo Day celebrated
  • Domestic capitalists unwilling to trust & invest
  • Street food vogue boon for youth
  • Sit-ins demanding inclusion in ST list
  • Down Memory Lane: My Years with MSAD #3
  • COVID-19 Status 18 Sept : Govt of Manipur
  • Licypriya to attend UN General Assembly
  • Screenwriters invited to 6-month screenlab
  • An ideal civil servant
  • Tripura Fashion Week in Agartala
  • Opposition parties struggling to dent BJP
  • Taking the customer for granted
  • Miss Manipur 2022 #2 :: Gallery
  • Irabot Ningsing Tha : Jagoi Competition
  • Bringing drug users to mainstream society
  • Namo Birthday special: India matters globally
  • Criticizes village occupation in Ukhrul
  • Use of local agri wastes as substrate
  • Jiribam Keithel [15 June] #1 : Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 16 Sept : Govt of Manipur
  • Boeing University Innovation Leadership
  • ST status demands in India #1
  • Literacy enhancement as a career choice
  • Agniveer recruitment rally at Assam
  • Ignoring the perfect solution to everything
  • Eyeing to end insurgency in next 5 years
  • Laklaroi Amuk Hanna Yeningtha #1 : Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 15 Sept : Govt of Manipur
  • Manipuri Muslim (Pangal) Historical Society
  • 7th election: NE Student Org, Jalandhar
  • Macnivil releases new song: Price they'll pay
  • Youth advocating for sexual health & rights
  • Engineers : The backbone of any Nation
  • IBSD celebrated Hindi Diwas
  • Who is at fault for shrinking roads?
  • After 25 years of negotiations
  • Heikru Hidongba @Bijoy Govinda #2: Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 14 Sept : Govt of Manipur
  • Joint Accordant by NSCN/GPRN & NNPGs
  • In search of Khubak Ishei
  • Lamyanba Irabot Ningsing Tha at Bishnupur
  • Beauty benefits of Amla
  • STDCM sets sight on bandh to draw Govt
  • The unplanned city of Imphal Concrete jungle
  • Down Memory Lane: My Years with MSAD #2
  • COVID-19 Status 13 Sept : Govt of Manipur
  • Constitution & flag still dogs settlement
  • Churachandpur - The chaos and mess !
  • Rice Afrika is using tech to increase rice
  • Voluntary Blood Donation: An act of solidarity
  • Nagaland desperate for solution to Naga issue
  • Final solution likely very soon: Note key word
  • Miss Manipur 2022 #1 :: Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 12 Sept : Govt of Manipur
  • Is there a need for another Nupi Lan ?
  • Consultation: Development at Lairouching
  • Bullying : Losing of children's dignity
  • Social Entrepreneur, social currency they earn
  • AMSU in dire need of support of CSOs
  • Mum on the points of JCILPS, STDCM
  • 57th Hunger Marchers' Day #3 :: Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 11 Sept : Govt of Manipur
  • 1st Anniv: The Keithel Store Pune :: Gallery
  • Beyond Teachers' Day
  • On farm production of Mycorrhizae
  • Onam and the legend behind it
  • COVID-19 Status 10 Sept : Govt of Manipur
  • Fake voters testify official nepotism
  • From 1999 to 2022 : TSE is now 23
  • Yaoshang Thabal Competition #3 :: Gallery
  • Kholao Deben went with the Queen
  • Imaginary grudge severs human relations
  • A Phenomenally Him :: Poem
  • Bharat Jodo Yatra: Last ditch effort...
  • Special Lok Adalat for Imphal & Bishnupur
  • Pineapple Fest @Bunglon, CCpur :: Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 09 Sept : Govt of Manipur
  • Tarpon: Annual offerings to the dead by living
  • Book review: Aeromycology over Kachai lemon
  • On saying Hello
  • Himalayan Day celebrated at IBSD, Imphal
  • Get rid of strawberry legs at home
  • Manipuri driver primary source of 'Loyalty tax'
  • The 'tax-extortion' argument
  • Down Memory Lane: My Years with MSAD #1
  • COVID-19 Status 08 Sept : Govt of Manipur
  • [Jobs] Biotechnology ignition grant for NE
  • 1st Anniversary of The Keithel Store Pune
  • International Literacy Day & our Environment
  • 1 Lakh Hand Sanitizer Bottles handed over
  • Pinning hope on Sangai fest to draw tourists
  • Points to study from Mizoram
  • Heikru Hidongba @Bijoy Govinda #1: Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 07 Sept : Govt of Manipur
  • Schedule Tribe Demand, Recent cries
  • Intricacies of core issue in Naga insurgency
  • On Poiroukhongjin High School issue
  • Krishna Janma @ ISKCON :: Gallery
  • Meira Rally against Drug Traffic #2 :: Gallery
  • Reception of Linthoi Chanambam :: Gallery
  • Haipou Jadonang - Martyr Day :: Gallery
  • Mirabai Chanu: gold @ Commonwealth Game
  • Rules of English Pronunciation : Download
  • Sub-Syllables in English : Book Download