TODAY -

Thangjing hill range and Nobin village

K Nabachandra Singh *



The Sangai Express (English edition) dated January 20, 2016 carried a statement issued by the Thadou Students Association, Churachandpur branch that "the hill range historically belonged to the Chief of Nobin village and was named as Thangting by the Thadou community. Thangting was referred to as Thangjing as the valley dwellers started climbing the hill range as an annual pilgrimage."

An academic discussion on the issue of the nomenclature of the hill range can be made. In the first place, the ownership right of the hill range is not contested by the valley people as per the Constitution and tradition of the land from the early period. It is a fact that all the deities of the Meiteis are in the hills and revered by all till date without alteration of the original names.

Historic points to the oneness of the hill and valley people before the religious and cultural invasion from Bengal in this kingdom. In due course of time, the valley people embraced Hinduism (Nimandi) under the missionary influence of the Bengali Saints and the hill people embraced Christianity under the missionary influence of the Westerners. This is what we see the cultural and religious divide-between the valley and hill people.

The Thadou and Kuki tribes are nomadic and their inhabitation in the Thangjing hill range should have been comparatively new. This is evident from the word root of the nomenclature 'Nobin Village'.

According to Bengali/Hindi/Sanskrit, 'Nobin means new' and the name should have been given to this new village by the people after the advent of Hinduism (Ramandi) under Bengali influence. Meidingu Moyamba popularly known as Garibniwaj (1709-1748) was the first Manipuri king who brought about revolutionary (radical) changes in the history, religion and culture of Manipur.

He embraced Hinduism along with his noblemen under Guru Gopal Das, a missionary from Bengal in the year 1717 AD during the month of Mera-tha according to royal chronicle, Cheitharol Kumbaba. He compelled others to follow suit although there was stiff opposition from certain quarters.

The efforts of royal scholar, 'Konok Thengra' to refrain from 'baptisement' of the Manipuris to Hinduism were in vain in the face, of the strong determination of the king.

Missionaries from Bengal came batches after batches to spread Hinduism. The king came to be known as 'Maharaj' for the first time in the history of Manipur. Meidingu Mayamba was conferred the little 'Garib Niwaj' for his noble service to the poor and down-trodden. He was decorated with the rare quality of bravery and heriosm.

He repulsed the Burmese invasion on many occasions and captured various Burmese territories. Nonethless, his actions to wipe out the old cultural and religious traditions of Manipur will go down the history of the land. He ordered to collect the 9 'Umang-Lais' (Forest Gods)' and buried at Mongbahanba, the present site of Mahabali Umang.

At the very site the stone statue of Mahabali (Hanuman) was installed and inaugurated on the 11th day of the Hiyangei-tha, 1729. In the year 1732 AD, in the month of October (Mera-tha), all the ancient writings of the Meiteis (Puya) were collected from all over the kingdom and burnt to ashes at Kangla-Utra-mang under orders of the Maharaj at the instigation of Shanti Das, the Guru of the king. This is considered as a black day in the history of Manipur.

With this came the complete inhibition of the Meitei script and introduction of Bengali script and language in the kingdom took place at a faster pace. The names of the subsequent rulers of Manipur such as Gambhir Singh, Jay Singh, Chandrakirti Singh, Nar Singh, Surchandra Singh, Kullachandra Singh, Churachand Singh, Budhachandra Singh bear testimony to the great influence of Bengali in naming persons. The names given to persons and places may be said to have taken a new turn after the reign of Garib Niwaj.

Original Lamhangdong (Lammangdong being its corrupted name) was converted into Bishnupur, Lamka into Churachandpur.

The Nobin village is, in all probability, no exception to this trend of nomenclature. The name of the village should have been given during or after the 18th century.

The Thangjing hill, on the other hand, quite undoubtedly, is associated with Lord Thangjing, and belongs to ancient era. Historically, the name 'Thangjing' proceeds Thangting, if at all the latter name is given by the Thadou tribe.

Due regard to the sanctity of the places of worship should be given without altering its original name regardless of the place where they situate to foster amity, and friendship between hills and plains. Let us protect and preserve the old values to build a harmonious Manipuri society.


* K Nabachandra Singh wrote this article for The Sangai Express
This article was posted on Janaury 25, 2016.


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