The first Christian Convert among the Zeliangrong & Inpui

K Daimai *

Manipur Catholic Mission Congress :: 10-13 December 2010
Manipur Catholic Mission Congress :: 10-13 December 2010

The first messenger of good news of salvation to the State of Manipur was Rev. William Pettigrew. He landed at Imphal on January 6, 1894. Within five years of ministry, he began to organize Churches and Schools and started reaching the people with gospel to almost every part of Manipur. The first convert from the Zeliangrong and Inpui communities was Mr. Namrizinang Pamai of ChaKhuak kiu village ( now extinct).

As known to every body that Zeliangrong is comprised of Zeme, Liangmai and Rongmei including Inpui. The later was not included in the common nomenclature may be because of technical difficulties. Mr. Namrizinang Pamai was also known as Maipak which means Victor. It was the name given by Meitei Maharaj for his excellent and successful performance and achievement in his career as a royal soldier.

Mr. Namrizinang had only two offspring. They were Mr. Chalinlung and Kaninglung. The youngest son Mr. Kaninglung Pamai was interviewed by Mr. ID. Kaipisinang accompanied by Hudabou Pamai on 19 November 2000 AD. At his Tamenglong residence at 9.30 PM. The felt need of the interview was the LIANGMAI 2000 AD CELEBRATION to commemorate the unfailing guidance of Almighty God through out the last century at Tening town, Nagaland on 12 to 15 December 2000.

The excerpt of the interview is reproduced here below for the information of all concern.

ID. Kaipisinang:- Apow, uncle, I heard that Namrizinang (Maipak) was the first convert among the Liangmais. What comment do you have? It is also heard that he is your father. Is it correct?

Kaininglung Pamai:- Namrizinang, Maipak is my born father. My grand father's name was Dikhinang and great grand father was Masanwangbou.

ID.Kaipisinang:- What is the name of your forefather's village and where it is?

Kaninglung Pamai:- My forefather's village name was Chakhuak kiu. It is between Aling and Puichi village. Now it had been deserted. Chakhuak kiu was Liangmai village. When the people came to that place in search of suitable site for their village, they found a herd of Chakhuakreng, smaller kind of hornbill. Thus the village was named after the bird, Chakhuakreng, called Khuak kiu village.

ID.Kaaipisinang :- How and why Cha Khuak kiu village had been deserted? Kindly describe.

Kaininglung Pamai :- My forefather's village, Khuak kiu was a rich village. There was plenty of food grain and they lived happily and leisurely. In one particular year, seven families constructed one Chakiwky, a decorated house each and threw feasts of merit in the village. All the villagers were engaged in the construction works and enjoyed the feasts.

They made rice ball and played a game of throwing the rice ball at one another as a part of celebration. While enjoying the feast, they could not clear jhume fields and forgot the seed sowing season. A seasonal creature locally known as tiet tietpui cried out telling the message of seed sowing season. The jhume field was not ready for cultivation.

By hearing the sound of the creature, they woke up from their slumber of enjoying the feast of merit. Hurriedly they cut the jhume field but the same could not be burnt properly and failed to sow the seeds in time. As a reason of delayed sowing, they failed to get good harvest. Besides this, there was epidemic in the village. Many had died because of the famine and epidemic. After many had died, my grandfather Dikhinang took my father, Namrizinang and left for Imphal.

They lived at Keishamthong village in Imphal. When my father, Namrizinang grew up and attained adulthood, he was recruited to Meitei's Maharaj soldier. My father had good health and good looking and could do anything successfully whatever was assigned to him. In everything he did successfully and was all the time on victory. He was therefore given the title Maipak means victorious.

ID.Kaipisinang :- How many offspring does your Father had? KaninglungPamai:- My Father had only few children. To his disappointment, every child born could not survive and died one after another. While my father was disheartened, he met a British who told him that if he believe in Jesus Christ, he would have heirs to inherit him. My father talked to himself that if he could have offspring by conversion to Christianity, there was nothing harm and thus took decision to embrace the new faith and was baptized by Rev. Fox on the 6th December 1914.

After becoming Christian, a son was born to him on 27th December 1914. The son was christened as Chalinlung David. The son was also known as Kaphunlung in Rongmei with the meaning of a seed being sown in his lineage. After my brother Kaphunlung David, I was born. My father named me Kaninglung signifying the wish of God in my birth. I was also called Stephen, my second name. Like that we were only two in my father's family.

ID.Kaipisinang :- Why don'nt you resettle in your old village Chakhuak kiu?

Kaninglung Pamai :- To resettle to my forefather's village, we entered the site and had formal re establishment and the program was administered and led the rededication prayer by Rev. Simon in 1960. However, we could not pull on there because of bad road communication. Therefore, we had settled at Tamenglong.

ID.Kaipisinang:- Where is the exact location of Chakhuak kiu village?

Kaninglung Pamai :- The exact location of my old village is near the present Bakua village.

ID. Kaipisinang :- Your father lived at Keisamthong and you lived at Tamenglong, so you had become Rongmei. What do you think?

Kaninglung Pamai :- In Imphal Muslims live and speak Meitei language but they are not Meitei. It is just like that.

ID.Kaipisinang :- Lastly, we Liangmai people are going to observe 2000 AD. Celebration. What message do you want to convey to your people?

Kaninglung Pamai :- Tell the people that there should not be any thing that divides between one another, let the Kingdom of God be established here on earth to live a peaceable life.

After the interview was over, Mr. ID.Kaipisinang requested Kaninglung Pamai, to pray for him. Kaninglung Pamai sang "Revive thy work, Oh, Lord". He read Psalm 127: 1-2, Matthew 20:16 and Jeremaiah 31:22, and prayed for ID.

Kaipisinang. In his prayer he uttered that," son of Kailinchapbou of Namtiram village came and enquired about Namrizinang, the first Liangmai Christian convert and I had told him so. Let his writing of that event glorified you name Amen.

* K Daimai (Retd. Jt. Director, TRI) wrote this article for The Sangai Express
This article was posted on August 22, 2014.

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