TODAY -

The Rulers of Kangla and Ethnic Tribes of Manipur
- Part 3 -

Naoroibam Indramani *

View of Kangla - The sacred place of Manipur :: 02 May 2013
View of Kangla - The sacred place of Manipur in May 2013 :: Pix - Shankar Khangembam



Maring:

In a major tribute, one Pol (basket) of Kumna, two hoes were given in a year. In two years three hoes, in three years four hoes, and in four years five hoes were collected by two men. One Pol of chilli as Thangbal tribute and a quantity of chilli seeds as Thangbal tribute were paid. The seeds were partaken of by the principal queen. For market tribute, a sword or knife, according to the size of the basket, was offered by placing in the basket.

A basket of Heimang (a kind of fruit) was also offered. A sword sheathed in black cloth was offered. A full-grown goat was offered. To clear the road for Sanduba (offering of mithun), one axe, one spade, one black shroud for back cover, one large utensil were offered. For construction of residential palace, one Pol of fruit, and Singkha (a medicinal plant) were offered.

At the time of construction of Kangla (coronation hall of the king), Seri (a kind of metal pot) was offered. On funeral occasions in the royal family, every two men would offer ten lengths of cloth. At the coronation ceremony of the king also every two men would offer ten lengths of cloth. When the principal queen would give birth, every two men would bring ten lengths of cloth.

Tarao:

For a major tribute, five Phirak of cloth and for the minor tribute two lengths of cloth were offered by each man. In one year, one Pol of sesame and one hen would be offered. But, in another year oars would be offered, each household offered mat. At the construction of royal house Seri Senjao (a large metal pot) was offered.

In the month of Mera, one black cloth and one Pol of fruits were offered. Sanchi Langmei was realised. At the parturition of the royal ladies, every two men would offer a length of cloth. Heiribop (a citrus fruit) was also offered.

Purum:

One Leikai (locality) would offer two Kairenphi (a kind of cloth), two Phiten (short cloth) and six Phi Paodam. Besides, on the coronation of the king and at natal activity of the principal queen, every two men would offer one length of cloth.

Anal:

One Leikai would offer two chang of sesame, two Shuk (long wooden pestle), one Pol of tobacco, six Lakha of Polkhum Sel (bell metal) and one full grown goat. At the time of death and at the coronation of the king, every two men would offer a length of cloth. The Anal Ningthou (chief) would offer a slave to the Kanglei king.

Kabui:

A Leikai would offer one Pol of cotton equivalent to five Khal, one Pol of sesame, one Pol of tobacco, one Pol of chilli and, in the month of Mera, Leichikpa.

3. Social Relation:

When there was monarchy in Manipur, the kings used to adopt hill-men. They were known as "Ayokpa". They were settled in the valley. They were given one Pari of paddy field each for cultivation per annum. Like the valley people, they also attended Lallup duty (free labour for the king and the state).

Besides these adopted hill-men, several tribes from the hills were engaged in tilling the king's land, being attached to Kei (granaries) in several places. One Kei would till two Paris of paddy field a year. Half the paddy produce gathered by the Kei would go to the royal granary and the remaining half set aside for use by the concerned Kei. In their spare time, the Keirois (retainers of Kei) would also make brooms and baskets, etc., for use in the king's cow-sheds.

In the early days, these were similarity in dress and food-habit between the valley people and the hill-men. Tribal dresses and costumes were also worn by the valley-people, and vice versa. During the reign of Loiyumba (1074- 1124) each and every family (Yumnak) was allotted a definite occupation or profession.. Certain Yumnaks (families) were ordained to weave particular tribal cloths, e.g., the Tongbram family would weave Purumphee, the Thoudam family the Taraophee, and the Sanchiram family Leirumphee etc.

Among the Tangkhul villages, only some particular villages had the convention of weaving cloths. Not only their tribal dresses, they would weave Pakiionphee, Leirumphee, Laiphee, Sukhanphee, etc. This shows that there was much similarity in dress and costume between different people inhabiting in the hills and the valley.

4. Cultural Relation:

Not only political, economic and sogial relations, there were cultural relations with different tribes of the hills. Mera Haochongba was a festival performed in the month of Mera annually. In this festival, the Kanglei king and all sections of people, plainsmen or tribals, participated. This helped to foster a close cultural relations between the king and the hill people, and among different sections of the people.

Dressed in traditional costumes, they performed entertainment programmes in dance and music, and martial arts exhibitions. There were also competitions in different game and sport events like stone throw, weight lifting, race, wrestling (Mukna), etc.

The holding of this festival not only cemented the bond of friendship between the king and the tribal chiefs and headmen hailing from hill villages of Manipur but also evolved a harmonious friendly contact between different sections of hill-men and plains people, which helped in bringing about the integration of Manipur.

This grand traditional festival continued to be held every year up to the time of king Bodhachandra (1941-1955). After Bochachandra's death, Mera Haochongba had no longer been held. However, since a few years back, Haochongba is being celebrated as Houchongba every year to revive the old bond of friendship and love between the hi Il¬men and plainsmen.

To be continued....


* Naoroibam Indramani wrote this article which was published at 'Manipur Today' on Republic Day Celebration on 26th January 2016
This article was posted on April 11, 2016.


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