TODAY -

Hinduism in Manipur
- Part 2 -

Dr. Chirom Rajketan Singh *

 Konung Kang Chingba festival at Imphal :: July 04, 2019
Konung Kang Chingba festival at Imphal on July 04, 2019 :: Pix - Shankar Khangembam



King Pamheiba felt that his subjects should also follow him in embracing Ramandi religion as it was the duty of all the subjects to follow their king's footsteps. So he tried to forcibly convert his people into the new religion by leaving their old Manipuri religion. But the people had deep rooted sentiment for the old Manipuri religion.

So the conversion was not completely successful, even though there were some changes. Shantidas knew that the mentality of the people would not be easily changed so he tried different ways to deal with the situation. He even destroyed many valuable treasures. Some of the changes he introduced were

- In the month of Langban, 1723 A.D he destroyed the shrines of Umang Lai. On the full moon day of Hiyangei Friday, Brahmins were allowed to enter the Meitei temples of Lainingthou Nongsaba, Yumthei Lai,Panthoibi and Taibangkhaiba to perform the various religious rites.

- On Sunday 20th of Lamta 1724 A.D the king gave the order to dug out the buried bodies of the dead and the skeletal remains were collected and burnt and the ashes were thrown to Ningthi river. From this day onwards the Meiteis started cremating their dead.

Before this the Meiteis did not cremated their dead. Instead there was practice of burial of dead bodies. In the next year the grave would be dug out again to collect the bones. The bones were thoroughly washed and then put in a pot to perform the last rites. This was called Mang Chanba or secondary burial. For the kings and the noblemen the skull was covered with gold or silver and buried again.

There is written record about such practices in the book called Thawan Thaba Hiran. Moreover, gold covered human skulls were dug out from Pidonu Ching and Cheirao Ching of Thangmeiband. Burial sites at Sekta were excavated and preserved till today. Nowadays cremation replaces burial. Then on the completion of one year instead of secondary burial a death anniversary called Kumon Phiroi is being observed.

- Another significant change was that the title given to the Meitei king i.e. Meidingu was replaced by Maharaja. (During the time of Meidingu Khagemba the king was even addressed as Lainingthou.)

- Then rearing of pigs and fowls in the household was prohibited. People were fined if they did so.

- On Wednesday 11th of Phairel 1725 A.D Ningthem Pukhri (Royal Pond) at Wangkhei was dug.

- Ningthem Pukhri was opened on Sunday 2nd of Kalen 1726 A.D.

- Near this big pond, temples of Krishna and Kalika were placed. Till today the temple of Kalika stands on the northern side of this pond and is being looked after and worshipped by the Sairem clan. On the western side of this pond a temple dedicated to Lord Rama was constructed and it still stands today as Temple of Ramji Prabhu.

- In the month of Enga all the Umang Lai (Ancestral Gods ) were collected and buried at Mongba Hanba.

- On Monday 23rd of Engen seven temples belonging to Lainingthou, Panthoibi, Laiwa haiba, 2 Lamnapi, Soraren and Huidonpokpi were destroyed along with the images or forms which were worshipped.

- On Sunday 18th of Enga 1729 A.D the stone placed at sana Keithel was moved toMongba hanbafor sculpting a Hanuman statue.

(This stone was believed to possess special powers and was being worshipped at the market.Meidingu Chalamba who ruled from 1545 A.D 1562 A.D brought and kept two possessed stones at the market place. Out of these two one was used to make Hanuman Thakur statue which was worshipped later on as Hanuman Thakur.)

During this time, with the falling of misfortune in the land and instability in the mindsof the people for their unwillingness to leave old religion and accept new religion, there was utter confusion.

So in order to pacify the minds of the people Guru Shantidas advised the king to revive Sanamahi worship saying that God was one and Sanamahi was the incarnation of Shri Krishna and Rama was also the incarnation of Lord Vishnu.

With these on Thursday 2nd of Thawan 1729 A.D. a sacred place for Lainingthou Sanamahi was maintained and worshipping started. On the day 11th of Wakching the temple of Lainingthou Sanamahi was consecrated and worshipped.

But the efforts for conversion to Ramandi religion never ceases. Shantidas thought that until and unless the priceless old manuscripts called Puyas were destroyed people would not accept his religion. So on Sunday 17th of Mera 1732 A.D all the Puyas were collected and put to flames in front of Kangla Utra.

This incident is called Puya Meithaba in the history of Manipur. In this fire around 120 different Puyas were burnt but it was presumed that the actual number of manuscripts were much more than this. The names of the 120 destroyedPuyas were written in the Puya called Miyat.

But it can be said that these 120 Puyas were not totally lost. Some puyas which were copied and some others which were kept secretly remained. Some puyas are still there which need to be read only at night with no one around.Some Puyas which were considered to be destroyed in the fire are still found today. They may be considered to have been written again after Pamheiba was no longer the king.

This is possible because most of the Meitei Puyas are related withreligiouschantings which are used frequently by the Meitei Priest or Maichous. So they learn everything by heart. Be it puya or Lai Haraoba the priests / Priestesses always say the chantings without looking at a book or manuscript.

The PuyaNumit Kappa and Tutenglon were used as chantings for Chupsaba and the Priest would recite everything without looking at the puyas.

The long Epic Khamba Thoibi which took many days to sing by pena or Khongjom Parbasingers did not require a book or script to look at. Local storytellers called wari liba would learn the stories of Ramayana and Mahabharata by heart and they could tell it continuously.

However hard Shantidas and the king tried Meitei religion could not be totally replaced by the new religion. This forcible conversion led to a great rift between the king and his people. Seeing the situation Shantidas adopted new measures to appease the people.

The statue of Lainingthou Sanamahi which was destroyed in the month of Thawan 1733 A.D was made again by casting in bronze. (Lainingthou Sanamahi is still worshipped today at Haying Khongban near 1st Manipur Rifles). People were then allowed to worship Sanamahi at their homes as before.

Worshipping of Umang lai was again revived. By doing so the minds of the people got pacified. At the same time many Hindu Religious festivals were introduced to the land. The festivals were happily accepted by the people and they became a part of the people's lives. A book called Sanamahi Laikal was written tocommemorate the revival of Sanamahi religion.

To be continued ....


* Dr. Chirom Rajketan Singh wrote this article for Imphal Times
The writer is Assistant Professor, Department of Manipuri at Kha Manipur College, Kakching
This article was webcasted on September 03, 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 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.




LATEST IN E-PAO.NET
  • Gaan-Ngai @Iboyaima Shanglen #3:: Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 27 Jan : Govt of Manipur
  • COVID-19 Status 26 Jan : Govt of Manipur
  • COVID-19 : Impact in Manipur :: News Timeline
  • Manipur Assembly Election (2007-2022) #1
  • World Meetei Council website launched
  • Homecoming of missing Arunachal youth
  • Winter vegetable that will give you glow
  • State hapless in preventing Omicron
  • The wait for the list continues
  • Republic Day @Kangla #1 :: Gallery
  • No matter what :: Poem
  • Fear of the virus
  • The Peace Forest Initiative
  • The vehicle for NEP 2020
  • Contribution of Leimayol Arts Centre
  • COVID-19 Status 25 Jan : Govt of Manipur
  • Lotus plant: A multipurpose plant species
  • Primary School renovated at Joupi
  • Republic Day recollections
  • Huge skills gap making new jobs go abegging
  • National Voters' Day
  • Lining up for BJP ahead of polls
  • Lainingthou Sanamahi Complex #2:: Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 24 Jan : Govt of Manipur
  • BAMCHAS biennial conference 2022
  • COVID Vaccine Booster: To give or not
  • Before I sleep... III
  • Indian Army as a career option
  • 20-yr MoU to set up Mini-Grid in Nagaland
  • Season of promises!
  • Election curbs; relief for commoners
  • First manifesto, then candidates list
  • Imoinu @Yumnam Leikai :: Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 23 Jan : Govt of Manipur
  • Our Ailing Planet: My locality as a facet
  • Stop Oil Palm Plantation in Manipur
  • General election in hard times :: Poem
  • Being free from freedom
  • Roaring 40 in first list of Cong
  • Significance of Gaan-Ngai festival #2
  • COVID-19 Status 22 Jan : Govt of Manipur
  • Wake Up My People Wake up :: Poem
  • A tribute to Athokpam Indrakumar Singh
  • Stunted fingerling- Replacement of fish seed
  • Training Program at Dimapur
  • Gaan-Ngai @Kakhulong :: Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 21 Jan : Govt of Manipur
  • Classical Language Vs ST for Meetei
  • The Great Green Walls, conserving nature
  • Webinar: The Birds and Bees Talk
  • Covid Booster Campaign at Tamenglong
  • IVF Centre in Guwahati
  • Easing curbs as cases spiral
  • Third wave is on!
  • Ecotourism Complexes @ Ramrei :: Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 20 Jan : Govt of Manipur
  • No excuse not to end acute pandemic stage
  • Palm-oil in Manipur: Bad to worse
  • For sons and daughters :: Poem
  • Effective methods for facial hair removal
  • Subdued dissent over Sunday as poll day
  • Embracing the party hoppers
  • Gaan-Ngai @Iboyaima Shanglen #2:: Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 19 Jan : Govt of Manipur
  • Cultural Activists of Manipur honoured
  • Male infertility: What are the options ?
  • Is celebrating New Year Day really worth it
  • Third wave: State on record breaking spree
  • Compulsion of power politics
  • Imoinu Thouniba @Singjamei :: Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 18 Jan : Govt of Manipur
  • O Jonga! O Jonga :: Poem
  • Grey market for election tickets
  • Some common weeds of Manipur #2
  • Lilong Haoreibi College awarded 'B' grade
  • State used as transport route of drugs
  • Possible post poll scenario
  • Significance of Gaan-Ngai festival #1
  • COVID-19 Status 17 Jan : Govt of Manipur
  • Lunghar path in springshed conservation
  • Lament of love :: Poem
  • Career options in Lift Technology
  • Brief tale of one year COVID vaccination
  • Bickering among allies in coalition politics
  • Low vaccination coverage
  • NH-2 : Remember Khongnem Thana
  • COVID-19 Status 16 Jan : Govt of Manipur
  • O Kolhen! O Kolhen :: Poem
  • Program on POCSO Act at Thoubal
  • The Killing Fields (2013-22) :: News Timeline
  • A spate of 'defections' in UP elections...
  • High performing individuals work alone
  • Onus on ECI to avert crisis situation
  • Keeping people informed is key
  • Gaan-Ngai @Iboyaima Shanglen #1:: Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 15 Jan : Govt of Manipur
  • The church is & must remain apolitical
  • Tamenglong Battalion celebrated Army Day
  • How prosperous NE India became backward
  • Imoinu Erat Thouni @ Koubru #1:: Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 14 Jan : Govt of Manipur
  • Read all about Gaan Ngai
  • Justice, Peace and Change :: Poem
  • Mass Surya Namaskar at Tamenglong
  • Padmanabha Swamy Temple
  • Overcoming vaccine hesitancy
  • Nothing grand about 'Grand Old Party'
  • Lainingthou Sanamahi Complex #1:: Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 13 Jan : Govt of Manipur
  • A Hymn for Goddess Emoinu
  • Some common weeds of Manipur #1
  • How to keep your hair healthy this winter
  • Third wave: Litmus test for NE states
  • High TPR, low vaccination
  • Maharaja Gambhir Singh
  • COVID-19 Status 12 Jan : Govt of Manipur
  • Rani Gaidinliu Open Air Lounge inaugurated
  • NAAC peer team visit for assessment
  • National Youth Day
  • Conservation Agriculture: intensified farming
  • Negligence galore as Covid cases rise
  • Back to the spike in three figures
  • How AFSPA undermines 'Act East' Policy
  • COVID-19 Status 11 Jan : Govt of Manipur
  • P Achevei : Mega Mister North East 2021
  • Stop Violence related to Election
  • Civil / Project Engineer @ R-Square
  • Business Development @ R-Square
  • Customer Representative @ Property Geo
  • No matter what :: Poem
  • Stealthy extension of AFSPA
  • Confiscating 'suspected heroin'
  • 188 Death Anniv: Maharaj Gambhir:: Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 10 Jan : Govt of Manipur
  • Biotechnology Ignition Grant (BIG) 20th Call
  • Kalum Kai (House of worship) #2
  • Account Assistant @ Amber & Arthur, Imphal
  • Business Dev @ Amber & Arthur, Imphal
  • The 5G Race :: Samarjit Kambam
  • Manipur elections not for the faint-hearted
  • Guns & violence in run up to polls
  • Climate Change in Ukhrul in last 50 years
  • COVID-19 Status 09 Jan : Govt of Manipur
  • Are we able to break chain of transmission
  • 100 new Sainik School- opportunities for girl
  • Joyjeet Waikhom / Ksh Maradona: Mr India
  • Money flying in or out ?
  • Will partial lockdown help curb transmission
  • Voting during Covid pandemic
  • Food items @ Singjamei, Pishum :: Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 08 Jan : Govt of Manipur
  • Curfew : Measures to combat COVID
  • IMFP - Indian Made Foreign People
  • Happy 2022 to you !
  • Manipur Press Foundation Day :: Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 07 Jan : Govt of Manipur
  • Politician must practice, preach on COVID
  • Makeup routine during pandemic
  • Third wave threat no more a mirage
  • Queuing up for BJP
  • Thangal Lambi & Ima Keithel :: Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 06 Jan : Govt of Manipur
  • Before I sleep... II
  • Election Brawl :: Poem
  • Impact of Covid on Employer Branding
  • Chasing peace in Manipur
  • COVID-19 Status 05 Jan : Govt of Manipur
  • Kalum Kai (House of worship) #1
  • The art of New Year's resolution
  • Cong struggling to keep its house in order
  • Manipur's place in the eyes of Delhi
  • Makru bridge, Oinamlong Waterfall : Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 04 Jan : Govt of Manipur
  • Depression : A New Time Bomb
  • School & Student Championship Quiz
  • Concern over child labour
  • ECI on sluggish vaccination rate in state
  • Vaccination rate in hill districts
  • Fusion of contemporary dance & theatre
  • COVID-19 Status 03 Jan : Govt of Manipur
  • COVID-19 Crackdown on violators
  • AMAND, Pune released 2022 calendar
  • Rising poverty in Manipur
  • Sunset, the most memorable!
  • Election time season of plentiful promises
  • Interesting role of NPP, NPF
  • Pineapple @ Ngariyan Hills #2 : Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 02 Jan : Govt of Manipur
  • kLlQtre :: Seireng
  • National Day for our feathered friend
  • Value of purposeful life
  • Homemade face packs for winter beauty
  • Dreadful start to New Year as cases spike
  • Manipur steps into Year 2022
  • Tarpon Katpa @ Loktak #2 : Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 01 Jan : Govt of Manipur
  • OneHealth: towards pandemic preparedness?
  • Before I sleep...
  • Meitei ST demand & the opposition
  • Bye Bye 2021 : Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 31 Dec : Govt of Manipur
  • Featured Front Page Photo 2021 #6: Gallery
  • Manipur : National Futsal C'ship 2021
  • 'Unlocking Locks Under Lockdowns' released
  • Baby corn cultivation for livelihood
  • Extension of AFSPA to Nagaland
  • Hoping for a better New Year 2022
  • Appeal of AMCO to Chief Minister
  • NK Sanajaoba- Star in Dark Sky of Manipur
  • Danube Kangjam : Miss North East 2021
  • Armed Forces Special Powers Act, 1958
  • January Calendar for Year 2022 : Tools
  • Carol on Christmas :: Poem
  • Formation of 13 Farmer Producer Orgns
  • Indian Army Inquiry Team visits site in Oting
  • Review home isolation rule or punish violator
  • Lining up for saffron party
  • Red Ribbon Manipur Idol, 2021 #2: Gallery
  • Job-Fair 2021 @ Imphal : Gallery
  • Christmas Eve @ Imphal : Gallery
  • Christmas Eve @ Churachandpur : Gallery
  • Red Ribbon Manipur Idol, 2021 #1: Gallery
  • Heisnam Savitri (Legendary actress) #2
  • Painting: Tribal Freedom Fighter #1: Gallery
  • New Barak Bridge @Jiri highway : Gallery
  • Heisnam Savitri (Legendary actress) #1
  • RK Meghen tribute @ Nupi Lal : Gallery
  • Protest: massacre of Naga Brethen: Gallery