A bit of raillery to all the Cachar Pangals smitten with the 'Choudhury' surname

Siraj Makakcha *

What started off as a logical and opinionated comment on a Facebook post in a closed group on the surname "Choudhury", a controversy of sort engulfed the miniscule Meetei Pangal community in Cachar. It blows in such out of proportion that I will not be surprised receiving a call from 'Law & Order' agencies. Maybe, I am over accentuating the situation. Seeing the kind of mudslinging and hate venting out at a personal level compelled me to write this piece. It's not aimed at clarifying myself nor hoping that those angry lot understand my argument, for I know their angst and tirade will die a natural death. You know the lifespan of controversies on social media. This one didn't even trend, or I would have been famous.

Please do not expect any leniency on those educated fools and their followers who blindly challenged and continually tried to defame me on Social Media. I also doubt those abusing me have even gone through my comments. Unfortunately, my comments and the relevant post were deleted by the 'Administrator' of the Group. We may agree to disagree but not at the level of hatred unleashed by those fools. Few does not even know how to write in their own mother tongue let alone in English. Having said that, I am not claiming to be an expert in English. So, without digging any further on their behavior and attitude (I do have lots), I want to refresh the readers a bit of Pangal history.

I see that almost every Pangal knew a bit of their history, "How the Pangals came into existence?" My understanding is this, Mughal (or Pathan) army from erstwhile Bengal were given Meetei women in marriage during the time of Emperor/Ningthourel Khagemba, and their offspring came to be known as Pangals (from Bangal, hope they meant the place). I want to stress that Khagemba (from Khagi ngamba, means conqueror of Khagi, present day China/a part of China), was an Emperor by virtue of his conquest, benevolence and just rule.

I wonder and failed to imagine the grand marriage ceremony or ceremonies involving hundreds, if not a thousand Muslim men and Meetei women. Were the ceremonies performed through Meetei tradition, or through nikah, the Islamic ritual. No historian cared to mention this episode clearly or I have not come across. If Meetei tradition was followed, as may be the case, we the Pangals then were illegitimate children as per Sharia/Islamic law.

In my opinion our forefathers, the newest Pangals were not conservative and half or even less Muslim then we are today (Apologies Allah, if I am wrong, only You know). I pray to Allah for their place in heaven/Jannah and thank them to give us our unique identity. There are many historical records available detailing/listing the names of those first Muslims that arrived in Kangleipak, unfortunately no "Choudhury" surname is available on records. Fortunately, those first settlers were conferred clans in accordance with Meetei culture and tradition.

So, the fact remains the first wave of Muslim settlers in Manipur, the Pangals were devoid of Bangali Muslims and Choudhury's. Years later those Pangals flourished with their neighbors and live together happily. Then the invasion of Burma happened in consequent intervals, historically noted as "Chahi Taret Khuntakpa" (Seven years devastation). Irrespective of Meetei or Pangals countless citizens were either butchered, enslaved and taken away by the Burmese invaders. Those were settled in parts of Burma even to these days.

Many saved themselves by fleeing the Meetei country to neighboring Cachar, Tripura and as far as Bangladesh. Those fleeing farthest being the most timorous lot. One can imagine the situation, ones next of kin, spouse, parent, children were killed in the most fearful ways. Read history and one would understand the terror unleashed by the Burmese. Those displaced migrants arriving in Cachar and elsewhere were given shelter and well treated as both the rulers of Cachar and Tripura have had Meetei pricesses as their queens or mothers.

Historically, Meetei rulers have had good relations with Cachar, Kamrup, Tripura, Burma and even Nepal, through transnational marriages, giving Meetei Princesses' on marriage to other Princes (Ngai sanaba). Mashel and Mabai rarely fight. Meetei king also married Nepal Princess (there is record) and Nepali settlement in Manipur were part of the entourage that followed their princess. Advent of Hinduism in Kangleipak manifested a great impact and brought about racism to an otherwise agrarian socialist society. We may discount the account of a few Kanglei rulers who are ruthless and happy in terrorizing the subjects in this account.

Coming back to those migrants in Cachar, they were enjoying the best of hospitality and all that's on offer on the Barak Valley. The best that had happened to them was, the taste of Elish fish (may be with taro root, paal) and enamored by it, they almost forgot "Pengba" fish, the tastiest in Manipur. The Meetei's and Pangals were settled side by side in harmony on the banks of the mighty river. Shall I say they were affected by floods as nature pleases, as they do these days. Historians didn't mention of inter caste marriages between the Pangals, Meeteis or Bengali at that time.

Eloping (nupi chenba) was a taboo, even today in Cachar to some extent within the Pangal community. Well, they flourished without much hardship and issues, but the longing for the motherland torments many a soul. One would wake up in the middle of the night, step out of one's hut, walk across to the other end of the lawn (sumang) to pee. Looked up at the full moon and hear the bird sing sitting on the leihao pambi.

He remembered, those romantic nights, hearing the 'tamna' sing, plucking a leihao, slowly smelling it, fixing the flower on his beloved's 'samji". I know for sure; his longing was more for his lost love separated from him fleeing the war. But not every lad had longings for their lass. Somewhere there was fire burning bright in some hearts, lava waiting to burst for the love of motherland. There you go, two brave Meetei princes (brothers) were building the agenda or driving the Burmese and recapture the lost throne.

Cutting through the flow, may I bring in a laughable argument from a few present day Pangal pseudo scholars, mainly with 'Choudhury' surnames? They argue that a Cachar King, conferred the title "Choudhury" to a Pangal elderly based on their amount of land holding (louyam chaba). Can it get more bizarre than this? Does it hold any logic? You live at the mercy of the Cachari king, damn it. Why on earth a tribal Cachari ruler confer you with a surname "Choudhury"? Why not to a Meetei elderly, they also hold larger amount of land than the Pangals? You mean the king was a Tughlak? Mathong chadaba!

Going back to the story where I left, those two princes gathered a group of soldiers from among the Meeteis, Pangals and others at Cachar. Started their training for an assault on the invading Burmese. This was long before Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose's Azad Hind Fauj. The brothers even mustered help from the British, who were stationed at Dhaka and Shillong. Britishers took it as an opportunity at setting a footprint of their empire in Munipoore.

The Britishers after a few flip-flops agreed to help the Meetei soldiers. The Meetei soldiers thus organized have more sophisticated military hardware than the Burmese, thanks to the British, which gave them an upper hand. In an ensuing battle Meetei troops were were able to show the Burmese their way home.

The advent of the Britishers to Manipur started with this help. With the Britishers in Imphal economic activities started to roll needing much more manpower/labor that the local people could not have met. British army were looking at a final assault to took over Burma then by attacking from the East and West simultaneously. Imphal was the western command for the job. Imagine thousands of British military personnel marching to Imphal from Silchar and Kohima, they brought along many Bangalies, Nepalies and other outsiders with them to help meet the logistical challenges.

Venturing into Imphal through the inhospitable hills may have been quite a task in those days. Many of those outsiders brought by the British never returned and were assimilated to the local populace. They include the Bangali Choudhury's. I started liking the Choudhury's since the days of Maya Choudhury. I didn't know Meetei's too had Choudhury surnames, my ignorance. She was my favorite; do you know her? If you know, then you'll know, what I mean. Luckily, I got a Choudhury as my better half, she brought along a platoon of Choudhurys as my *-in-laws. In these days of adversity, I have many Choudhurys quietly supporting me. Thanks to them.

With no pun and disrespect vis a vis the Choudhurys let me note that the Bangalis were having a good life indulging in farming and rest of their time with fishing, fishery and fish trade (popularly known as 'mashuwa' or 'ngamee'), yes they sleep in the night and make babies (a lot of them) in their homeland Bangladesh. They even continue to do it, making babies. Many were slaves of the Mughals too.

They were curious to know the land beyond the charming nine hills 'chinglon mapal', wanted to see the sanaleipak (they also call their land Sonar Bangla' now), as they heard many a good thing, specially the beautiful natural scenery, weather, nice and hospitable people and not the least the tastiest of rice. You don't need curry to savor the rice.

Unfortunately, those tasty rice kind are rare these days, I heard only the traders of Thangal Bazar can afford it. Not joking. Well, those Bangalies didn't think twice when an opportunity came to be part of the British military logistic operation to Manipur. Though they declined to join the first wave of Muslim invaders to Kangleipak.

Many of them including Choudhury's didn't return to Bangladesh but assimilated with Meeteis and Pangals in Manipur bringing along their surname. Following the conquest of Manipur by the British a fresh wave of Muslim and Hindu outsiders migrated thereby increasing the population of Muslims and Hindus in Manipur.

The whole point of argument in this historical and fictional write up is this, "the Bangalis including the Choudhury clans were mainly fisherman before they ventured into Manipur. Their offspring's carry their legendary surname along with them. Nothing is wrong with it.

Over time a lone Pangal Choudhury progressed and rose to higher echelons of society in Manipur, thereby commanding respect and fame. This instigated many to start adding Choudhury surname, exploding Pangal names, especially in Cachar. Every Choudhury was related to DC Mr. Helim Choudhury (success has many fathers, mothers, whatever?). May Allah bestow the late Choudhury heavenly abode! While many may have chosen to add this surname with a reason few have them appended to their names, thanks to a rare breed of primary school teachers in Cachar.

On a concluding note, the current changing geo-political situations compel one to identify oneself. Your name is your identity. Language, NOT RELIGION, binds people as one. It's about time one carry along their identity, culture, ethnicity and race (not only ID cards), start it with your name. There is so much in your name. it's a suggestion. Apologies if my lingo and use of words have hurt your sentiments. I mean no offence and insult. Also, I am not a scholar of history.

Welcome your opinion and criticism in the greater interest of knowing history will be heartily appreciated. Thank you.

* Siraj Makakcha wrote this article for
Siraj Makakcha, is a resident of Dubai and hailing from Jiribam. Currently he is working as a Librarian with "CRACKNELL".
He contributes regularly to and can be contacted at shaidar(AT)eim(DOT)ae
This article was posted on Ocotber 24, 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.

  • Ningol Chakouba @ Pune : Gallery
  • Khumang: Conference- Science for Society
  • 7th NE Students Sports Meet at Jalandhar
  • Ningol Chakouba at Pune :: Report
  • Hospitality at One Horn Nation
  • Henjunaha , masculinity redefined
  • World Diabetes Day 2019
  • Tension filled days for over 2 weeks
  • Subdued voice
  • Rani Hingchabi :: Funga Wari
  • Miss Kut @Imphal #3 : Gallery
  • Rejoinder to Lamcha Chongloi's piece
  • Salt brines : Source of Meitei Thum
  • Hibernating animals and climate variable
  • Combined Defence Services Exam (I) 2020
  • Rare good news : NMA reaching out
  • Forgotten pledge - a reminder
  • Children from Noney #1: Gallery
  • 7 NE entrepreneurs wins National Awards
  • Naga Peace Process :: News Timeline
  • Identity of Pangal in Manipur: Counter-points
  • Recharging the World with Li-ion Battery
  • Achoubi in Love, Bloody Phanek : Southasia
  • When the man is silent :: Poem
  • Chekshin Meepham at Kakching
  • Arrested, released, 'escorted' to Delhi
  • CM has every reason to believe..not public
  • Ema Keithel (Khwairamband) #2: Gallery
  • Chanouwa, Thongkhansong : eMing
  • Argentina hosts Manipur Cup (Polo)
  • Birth celebration of Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji
  • Chin Orgs demand release of U Hawi Tin
  • The Killing Fields 2013-19 : News Timeline
  • Refresher course in Khasi subject at NEHU
  • Process of closing offices in Nagaland
  • HM assurance to GOM..only means left?
  • Meira Rally [10 Nov] : Gallery
  • Religious evolution among Meiteis
  • Manipur's Identity & Political Ingenuity
  • Cry of a Dying River - 100 :: Poem
  • NEC Tamchon Football at Delhi
  • Soma Laishram at Northeast Festival 2019
  • Respecting stand of the Supreme Court
  • Kut : State level @Imphal #2: Gallery
  • Eyek Tamba :: Learn Manipuri script
  • Nazareth @ Shirock #2 : Gallery
  • Ningol Chakkouba : A beautiful tradition
  • Cost of inaction to treat TB is high
  • Cross & Flag: Christianity at Risk
  • Lithium Ion batteries & Nobel Prize
  • New India & the ticking time bomb
  • Naga can trust on preamble with GoI
  • Thanga Ningol to mapam #2 : Gallery
  • Lungpuiga Remei : Natyabhusan
  • The Fate of Peepal Tree
  • Manipur: Context & Structural Violence
  • International Day of Radiology
  • That peaceful moment :: Poem
  • OCCE 2020 : Conference at TISS Mumbai
  • Manipur : Natl School Games Football
  • NPF camping at New Delhi
  • Mature statement of Kho John
  • Civility matters; but is in the cross road
  • Alert Rally at Khumbong : Gallery
  • Miss Kut @Imphal #2 : Gallery
  • Carbon Neutral Journey through e-mobility
  • What FA of IM and Govt of India says?
  • Imphal-Mandalay flight service
  • Nutrients for good skin & hair health
  • Th Muivah central to it all
  • Translate those 'taken' into action
  • Mera Houchongba @Kangla #3: Gallery
  • World Tourism Day @Noney #5 : Gallery
  • There is nothing either good or bad ..
  • Food Wastage and its Impacts
  • Final Indo-Naga Peace Accord & beyond
  • Career options in Labour Studies
  • Assam CM inaugurate Don Bosco College
  • The great October 31 bluff ?
  • Blasts in Imphal: Do that have an agenda
  • Ningol Chakkouba @ Korea : Gallery
  • Ningol Chakkouba @ Mysore #2 : Gallery
  • Ningol Chakouba & Kut at Korea
  • Are Nagas ready to face hostile Neighbour
  • Case of 'Choudhury" among Pangal
  • Frontline champions lead fight to #endTB
  • How do you define Manipur's interest
  • Junior Accountant @ MaolKeki Foundation
  • Accord: Greater autonomy, the last word?
  • What if it turns out to be 'Godot'
  • Hinduism in Manipur #4
  • Kut : State level @Imphal #1: Gallery
  • Controversies of 1200 MW Teesta III HEP
  • Seminar on Rural Transformation in NE
  • Licypriya: solution to curb air pollution
  • Cannabis - A new beginning
  • Khwairamband By Night :: Poem
  • Requirements @ Birla Emporiums, Khurai
  • Of AEP, gateway and redundancy
  • Political Rumors
  • Thanga Ningol to mapam #1 : Gallery
  • The Hand that Rocks :: Poem
  • As long as hills & valley stand united
  • Indo-Naga talks: Praying for a happy ending
  • Meiraba Luwang clinche Korea Junior Open
  • Wander Nagaland : Enterprise launched
  • NH7 Weekender 2019 : Day 2 Report
  • Vigilance Awareness Week at ADBU
  • Military build-up: Something is not right
  • Manipur accounted for 50% of NE violence
  • Chingda Satpi Engellei #3 :: eRang
  • Banana Fest @ Noney #1 : Gallery
  • Biren can make a difference in Naga deal
  • CM interact with Social Media : Gallery
  • Medical lab : A building block of trust
  • NH7 Weekender begins in Meghalaya
  • Tracking black money
  • Miss Kut @Imphal #1 : Gallery
  • Sintha Leppa [Oct 31] : Gallery
  • Yubu and Lai Haraoba
  • Demilitarize educational institutions
  • Did Mongoloid drive out Assam inhabitant
  • A kind being :: Poem
  • Transgression of suppressed sexuality
  • Rejoinder to NDPP :: NPF [Nov 1]
  • One day after Oct 31: Time to look ahead
  • Bridge the trust to restore peace
  • Ningol Chakkouba @ Mysore #1 : Gallery
  • Cheksine Khongchat [Oct 31] #1 : Gallery
  • November Calendar for Year 2019 : Tools
  • Kut: Celebration of nature's gift
  • Cry of a Dying River - 99 :: Poem
  • Kut Festival of Kuki-Chin-Mizo : Articles
  • Forgetting TB prevention is better than cure
  • Understanding Ishan Uday Scholarship
  • Miltary should be removed from College
  • Rejoinder to Kuki Chief Association
  • Date with Oct 31 : Of misleading headings
  • Final agreement- a mere mistake will ...
  • Modi's promise for Naga takes final step
  • NESO to stage protests against CAB
  • Centre may extend Naga pact deadline
  • Ningol Chakkouba by Journalists : Gallery
  • Alert Rally- Peace Talks- Oct 30: Gallery
  • ASEAN Peoples Forum: Lesson for Manipur
  • Hope Modi will able to resolve Naga Issue
  • 'Serious concern for unarmed civilians'
  • "Sunday Closed Law" & the aftermath
  • Thadou Inpi met with Mathur
  • NPF Legislature Party clarify
  • Pregnancy Care Practice : Book
  • Kicking up issues at this point
  • A Clandestine announcement or....
  • Ningol to her mapam lamdam : Gallery
  • Chakkouba Nga Mela #1: Gallery
  • Raju Bista at Ningol Chakouba Delhi
  • The bone of contention - Two Entities
  • Response to Govt Recommendations
  • Competing Claims Along India-Myanmar
  • 'Great October March 2019' at Odisha
  • From shared sovereignty to what ?
  • ...Manipur is the only option, Avakarar
  • Khehoi camp training Kuki to fight Naga: IM
  • Social significance of Ningol Chakkouba
  • Ningol Chakouba :: Flash Presentation
  • Sangai Festival: Cultural Program: Gallery
  • The poppy charms in Manipur hills
  • Fuska my umpteen desires
  • PANE Programme in PANDU College
  • Ani Thokpi culture: Two Ningol Chakkouba
  • The 'facts' is to decide the 'fate'
  • October 31 deadline stands: Ravi
  • NNPGs clarifies on Naga flag & constitution
  • Ningol Chakkouba Shopping #1: Gallery
  • Alert Rally- Peace Talks- Oct 26: Gallery
  • Maiba-Maibi Local Healers in Manipur
  • Will PM allow talks beyond 31 Oct
  • Licypriya meet landslide victims of Odisha
  • Everyone must maintain peace
  • The right one just for me :: Poem
  • Kakching District STDCM branch semkhre
  • Final pact sans NSCN (IM) ?
  • Ema Keithel #1 : Gallery
  • Cry of a Dying River - 98 :: Poem
  • Bioinformatics, computational & biology
  • Ningol Chakkouba Thabal at Bangalore
  • Jessica Akoijam in Miss United Nations
  • Heart Camp at Moreh District Hospital
  • NEC Tamchon Football Tournament
  • The need of IT in Legal Industry
  • Only Govt can calm the people
  • Bor khoiramba @Hiyangthang #3 : Gallery
  • Ningol Chakouba : A message
  • Peace Accord: Serious discourse needed
  • The End Can Open A New Map Out
  • Kill me only once :: Poem
  • FA: Letter of concern to PM
  • Looks of a besieged city
  • Restoring the picture of similar regalia
  • Sr NSCN (I-M) leader, 16 join GPRN
  • For a Diverse and Harmonious Manipur
  • Executive Members for 2019-20 for DAMMS
  • Speed is not enough to end TB : WHO
  • United Nations & Climate Action Day, 2019
  • Agricultural deceleration in Manipur
  • Fruits of secrecy over FA?
  • Wired barricades in Imphal
  • Churachand Kang Tournament #1 : Gallery
  • Cachar Pangal smitten with 'Choudhury'
  • Nattaba Lamchat, mob trial of women
  • The string of attachment :: Poem
  • Science Exposition at Takyelpat
  • Green entrepreneurship as career
  • Culturals @ Shirui Fest #1: Gallery
  • Last lap with formation of Pan-Naga Council
  • Talui in Ukhrul #2 : Gallery
  • Licypriya climate action protest: Gallery
  • Hiyang Tanaba @Lamlai #2: Gallery
  • Manipur Police Raising Day : Gallery
  • The taste of Singju
  • Mera Houchongba @Kangla #2: Gallery
  • Akhunba Takhellei #1 :: eRang
  • Chayom Thupki (Meetei Philosophy) #12
  • Shirui Lily Fest - Inauguration : Gallery
  • 123rd Lamyanba Irabot #3 : Gallery
  • AMAND Cultural @Pune #2 : Gallery
  • Bor khoiramba @Hiyangthang #2 : Gallery
  • Inner Line Permit (ILP) Demand : Timeline
  • Ibudhou Thangjing Haraoba #5 : Gallery
  • Featured Front Page Photo 2019 #4: Gallery
  • Tolloi, Ukhrul :: 360 Panorama View