TODAY -

Meitei-Pong (Shan) Relations and the Conquest of Khampat
An Evaluating from Sorarel Machana Khunkhumba

Manglemjao Singh Sorokhaibam *



According to a Manipuri ancient text 'Sorarel Machana Khunkumba' (a Pong Shan Chronicle found in Manipur in Unpublished Manuscript), which could literally be translated as 'The Sons of Heaven Descending on the Earths', supposedly a Shan Chronicle found in Manipur has mentioned that, after the devastation of the Pong capital at Mungmaorung by the Chinese forces under the leadership of General Yachangshu, the King Sugnpha with his eldest son Sukeepha@Samahpa escaped to Pokka (Pagan) or Awa.

The king sent his first son in search of his queen mother and other sons, ultimately Samahpa met with the mother and other brothers, and narrated about his father sheltering at Awa. In the meantime Khakis (Chinese) came to know about the sheltering of Pong king at Awa, and demanded to hand over the Pong king. The Chinese General in the meantime threatened the Awa to devastate their kingdom if not handed over the king.

The Awa ministers hurriedly discussed the matter and hand over the king secretly in the night. But in the meantime the queen without knowing these facts about the arrest of the Pong king she sent a messenger to inform about her hide in that region but arrested the messenger by Chinese forces and his whereabouts was not known.

Later the queen gave birth to another son and lived at a place called 'Heitup-pokpi' as a temporary capital with all five together. Then Chinese came to know about all these and devastated the place and arrested the eldest son Sumihpa (Samahpa) or Sukeehpa and again they fled to Hkampti (Khampti) and stayed there for two years.

Thereafter in the year Kapsi they established their capital near the river Namkong (Namkwang), they called the place Mungkong (Mogaung). After three years Suhumhpa died in the year Haisinga (Lakli) II O II . After this his brother Suponghpa @ Sakhanhpa became king and borne one son namely Suhunghpa.

During this time in the year 'hunghou' got one 'yai pung' of ching-yaishin an extraordinarily big drum,its sound reach upto two days journey. He reigned for 28 years happily and died in the year (Lakli) Kaimet. After this younger brother Suhup-pha became king in 1368 AD (As mentioned in B.R. Pemberton, The Eastern Frontier of India 1835, New Delhi, rp. 1998).

After his three years reign he with a large force with a vow to avenge the treachery of the Awa (Pagan King)who had surrendered his father Sugnam and brother to the Chinese (Khagi, Yunnan) General Yachangshu (Yachangshi). His forces destroyed Awa, conquered and seized Sagaing. After reigning 29 years he died in the year Kakao (B.R. Pemberton, The Eastern Frontier of India, New Delhi, 1835, rp. 1998, p. 112.

In addition, a very unexpected confirmation of the event is found in Appendix of Crawford's Embassy to Awa…..the destruction of Zakaing (Sagaing) and Penya is mentioned as having been effected in the year 1364AD. Major Burney also discovered the same circumstances recorded in the 6th vol. of the Maha Yazawanor the Great History of Ava, where the destruction of both cities is said to have been effected by the Shan king Thokyenbwa).

Suhung-pha

Suhuhpa (Soo-hoo-pha) was succeeded by his nephew (son of his brother Sukhanghpa) Suhunghpa ( Soohoonghpa). He had four sons namely-
1. Suhenhpa @ Suhungkham,
2. Hungshe(Satapansang),
3. Chao-Swee-Nok,
4. Souramkham,
both of the 2nd and 3rd sons were belongs to Papham clan.

Suhenpha @ Suhungkham scattered Awa country, 2nd son Hungshe @ ChawHoongsang scattered Mung Yang; the 3rd son Chao-Swee-nok scattered Kaksa; the youngest Showramkham attacked Khampat. Suhungpha reigned for 50 years and died in the year Kasou Lakli.

Suhungkham @ Suhonghpa

Then Suhungkham, the eldest son of Suhungpha succeeded his father and became the King of Pong at Mungkong(Mogaung). He had one son Aipengpha-nakham and later issued two daughters namely-Anangyi-Kankham-Phong and Nangei-Choikham-Khu. These two princesses when they became beautiful damsels of marriageable age the king of Pong informed to all the chiefs of his tributary principalities expressing his willingness to marry to any of these chiefs.

The Mung Yang chief proposed for the elder, and the second was proposed by the Hkampat chief. Both of the proposals were accepted. In the next year in 'Kapnyi Lakli' on a very auspicious day the first daughter was sent off to the chief of MungYang and the second daughter to the Chief of Khampat in the year 'Haisi Lakli'.

But when the younger princess and her party was passing through MungYang the elder sister intercepted and pleaded to the younger that her sister if proceeded to Khampat there won't be any communication when something happen to them and there shall be much distress and requested by the elder to dissolved the engagement and requested their father and got accepted the request, and both became the queens of MungYang chief.

On hearing the news Khampat chief was very angry and 'Souramkham' the Khampat chief, tributary to Mungkung (Mogaung) send a message that if the Mungkong king's daughter has been given to MungYang, the necessary dowry he was to have receipt still be paid; and also requested a remission of three years tribute reporting that the tribes around were disturbing and he was to fight with them.

The remission of the tribute for three years was accepted. Khampat Chief, indignant at the treatment he had received, built a strong fort and dig thanga-pat (moats) under a pretended apprehension of the tribes around and prepared to fight against the Pong King.

The Pong King Suhonghpa send an Emissary called ChaoLangHai to the Meitei King Kyamba (1470) :( Seeking a hand of a Meitei princess)

After few years the Pong King Suhonghpa @ Suhungkham sent one embassy (manai angamba) named Chao-LangHai to the court of Meitei kingrequesting a hand of a princess. The Meitei king accepted the request but informed Chao-Lang Hai to wait for one year. After a deep thought as there were no princess, the Meitei King send one Sekta girl (Sekta chanu) after naming her as 'SekmuUrabi' escorted by Chao-Lang Hai and party.

On way near the Sekmu foothill (Sekmu Ching khong) the princess was carried off by the Khampat chief and his party, who were lying in wait, but the Pong nobleman effected his escape and reached Pong capital and narrated the whole incident. The Pong King was furious on learning the news and decided to fight Khampat with the combined forces of Meitei King.

The Pong King send an emissary to the Court of Meitei King for a joint invasion against Khampat (Khambat)

Pong King send one emissary again to the court of Meitei King and the emissary on arrival narrated the whole incidents and requested of joint invasion against Khampat as requested by the Pong King; and further one bunch of 'Khongkan Melei Urei', Khongkan Melei orchid which was brought from Pong was divided into two and one part was given to the Meitei king; another part taken by the emissary; and further appointed each other to meet for the war when the orchid starts to grow its new stems.

The Pong King ,when the orchid starts growing new stems marched towards the Kabow Valley for invasion against Khampat, but the Meitei King was not reaching and waited there, and send his man to inform Meitei King, but met with Meitei King on the way. He was late because the Meitei land was colder climatically thanthat of the Mungkong (Mogaung or Mungmao). They met there and then they happily proceeded towards Khampat jointly, and reached there.

On reaching Khampat the Pong King suggested the Meitei King to enter Khampat Fort from the western side and he was to enter from the east. They also constructed two forts as the battle may take some days. There were great fight but they could not entered Khampat easily as Khampat was well fortified.

There were sound of paddy pounding inside the fort and singing songs sending a message that the Khampats were well settled inside the fort; and later the Pong King with the Meitei King discussed about leaving the place as Khampat was so well fortified that it shall be impossible for them to devastate it, but in the meantime one old woman,who had been starved for days escaped from inside the fort and requested them to provide some food, also narrated that the Khampat also suffered due to lack of food inside, and what they were pounding inside were not paddy but pounding pebbles and husked paddy bran to produced sound only; and they are about to surrender soon.

Then the old woman was provided with food. Thereafter, the Pong King suggested the Meitei King to enter the fort by digging tunnel from the western side by night; and himself and his men from the east, and to see the next morning who first entered inside the fort. The Meitei King with his men entered in the night itself and devastated the camps; whereas the Pong King entered in the next morning.

The Khampat King fled away by a white elephant, while his queen with his two sons-Kaikhang and Kaimang fled on a vehicle (gari) in front of the King and reached Mung-O-Mangtra and the whole fort was completely devastated and turned into ashes. A big hall was constructed inside the fort and a big throne was installed and the two kings seat together and ate together on the same royal plate in the victory ceremony.

Naming of the Two Kings after the Victorious Battle of Khampat (1470 AD) and presentation Ceremonies:

Thereafter, the king of Pong declared the new victory names for himself and for the Meitei King. The Pong king Suhongpha was named as "Chaopha-hum Kekhomba" and the Meitei King as "Chaopha-hom Kingyamba" ('Khambat' which the author has written as 'Khampat' was the capital town of Khambat section or principality of Kabow Valley, which is located on the bank of Khambat River.

This region is also known as Kiang-Khambat. Hence both of the Pong King and Meitei King had been named in relation to Kiang-Khambat). On the great satisfaction of the Meitei King's performance during the war against Khampat the Pong king arranged to offer the following presence to the Meitei King and handed over:

a) one gold senpot sprinkle with thousand diamonds (Tampha lising ama thinba
b) One betal box made of gold (kwagok,
c) One silver kwagok,
d) One kwagok for keeping the matured fruits,
e) one gold kong-khao,
f) One plate for keeping the gold kong-khao,
f) One gold pad for keeping the gold plate,
g) One brass plate,
h) one silver plate,
i) One gold khujai,
j) One silver khujai,
k) One gold khuteisen,
m) one silver khuteisen ,
l) One three pointed gold sword,
o) one gold dragon engraved armpit (tal in original Manipuri)
m) One gold four footed throne,
n) One three storied umbrella ( Sekpil mathol ahum longba),
o) Two Kanghei White colour (Humai, Chamor etc used as hand fan)
p) Complete set of King's custome (Ningthougi Potloi Suna).

Then the Meitei king Kyamba was perturbed on what is to be present to his beloved Epu (respected grandfather King) king in returned. Then, he has presented the following:

a. one Sangkai,
b. One Cock,
c. Two Sandang (Mithun) to the Pong King.

But the Meitei King was not satisfied with these gifts and then he had taken out his own shirt and presented to the Pong King; and Pong King was very much satisfied with the manner and acts of the Meitei King. Then the Pong King Chaopha-Hum Kekhomba declared the Meitei King's the newly given name – Chaopha-hom Kingyamba again in front of all audiences and ended the victory celebration of the day.

Thereafter, the Pong King again declared the next day's programme of boundary demarcation between The Shan Kingdom of Pong and The Meitei Kingdom (Also known as the Boundary Treaty of Meitei-Pong of 1470 in the history of Manipur).

Next day morning the Pong King Chaophahum Kekhomba and The Meitei King Chaophahom Kingyamba @ Kyamba met together and conducted the procedure as such:- Both traverse to some demarcation points and identified the boundary of the Meitei King as follows -

1. On the South as far as Mratong demarcated by the celebrated Dwarf Mango tree area;
2. On the East – five days journey from beyond Chindwin (Ningthee) river all lands bounded by Loichari Hills;
3. On the North the Dwarf Mango Areas of Munghkam-Mungwang;
4. On the West upto the land where Sun sets.
(The place where this demarcation negotiated was in the east, and the Kingdom of Manipur which was at that time only known as Meitei King's dominion is very much in the west so as the Pong King had demarcated as such).

Thereafter, they came back to 'SongHsuk' (Samjok to the Meiteis, Thuangdoot to the Burmese) and halted the night. During the night Meitei King Kyamba intercepted a conversation between one Samjok (Shan) common man and one Meitei; the Samjok arguing that even the Pong King had given Songhsup (Samjok) to the Meiteis they won't be the servants of the Meiteis.

King Kyamba was not happy with that kind of conversation of Samjok and Meitei. Next day morning King Kyamba hurriedly met the Pong King Chaophahum Kekhomba, and inquired that the land 'Epu' has given to your 'Esu', the Meitei king comprised Songhsuk (Samjok) or not.

The Pong King Chaopha-hum Kekhomba told the Meitei King Chaopha-hom Kyamba (Kingyamba) that he had given land bounded by Loichari Hills on the east which is lying far east and Samjok is very closed and very much within the territory he has given, and with a slight smile murmured that his Esu King was so silly.

Then Pong King told Meitei King that if he is not willing about Samjok let that place be their meeting place during their visits, but the tributes shall be receipt by the Meitei King only. Then both of the King went towards the Dwarf Mango tree area and sat below the big two branched Mango tree and ate together; and discussed about their departure to their own capitals.

Hearing about the program of returned journey of the two kings the Pong King's maid cook and the Meitei King's cook Koiremba who had been husband and wife since their meeting during this itinerary committed suicide by tightening them together by a cloth packed with a big stone and immersed and drowned inside the water as they pre-decided that both of them were faithful servants and they won't be allowed to live together as husband and wife by the two kings.

Thereafter, Kyamba requested the Pong King addressing as 'Epu' to give Epu's Trumpet blower (Pere Khongba) that has been accepted readily; and the Pong King requested for Langte Drummer (Langte Pung Yeiba), and that also accepted. The drummer was a Sekta (a man from Sekta Village) and generally called him (the drummer) as Pungyeib-O. Thereafter, Pong King wished Meitei King to return him safely to his capital and reign there with long life and to live with sweet memories of their friendship.

He (Pong King) also narrated that in the year Kapchao he was 37 years, but three times coronation together he had been on the throne for 30 years, whereas Kyamba told him he (Kyamba) was 27 years and his coronation was since 3 years only. The Pong King wished him to reign long with pomp and grandeur, and their good days together may be remembered in the days to come with the grace of heavenly gods.

He (Pong King) also told Kyamba that their meeting was in the year Kapchou (Lakli Kapchou) i.e. in the year 1470 (Pemberton mentioned as 1474 after comparing Burmese, Myanma records). Thereafter both the kings departed for their respective capitals. Later, Pong King died after reigning 70 years in the year Kamou Lakli (Pemberton has given Pong King's year of demise as 1512-1513 AD).

According to Manipur History Kyamba also died in year 1508, at the age of 64 after reigning 40 years of glorious history of conquest and administrative reforms. During his time many Shans from Kabaw Valley were also absorbed within the Meitei Society.


* Manglemjao Singh Sorokhaibam wrote this article for Imphal Times
The writer is Retd. IPS, Ex-Inspector General Police, Manipur
This article was webcasted on February 18 2021.



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