TODAY -

Tha, Tha Thabungton: Reviewing a Lullaby

James Oinam *

Tha Tha Thabungton........ : A scene from 'Heyang Athouba' : Rhythm of Manipur's 3rd Opera Production at JN Manipur Dance Akademi, Imphal on 28th July 2013
Tha Tha Thabungton........ : A scene from 'Heyang Athouba' : Rhythm of Manipur's 3rd Opera Production at JN Manipur Dance Akademi, Imphal on 28th July 2013 :: Pix - Bullu Raj



It is not just in our gut feelings but also a few studies that have shown beneficial mental and physical health effects of lullaby. Lullaby has shown to decrease heartbeat of prematurely born babies, improve respiration, digestion, and not to mention sleep.

Even without all the utilitarian imperatives mentioned, I think it is valuable in itself for its beauty, as it is about living and not just surviving. In this article, I would like to take up a Manipuri lullaby called Tha, Tha Thabungton I came across on the YouTube (from Matamgi Manipur film, 1972).

The version—more than one version of this lullaby exists in Manipur - in this movie seems to have the main ingredients of a lullaby: short simple rhyming words, with 'silences' in between the words, for easy comprehension by a developing brain of a child. The central character in the song is the moon (tha). I wonder if 'thabungton' is shortened form for 'tha mapung maton' (moon-full-top, meaning full moon).

The lyrics are a bit archaic but overall idea is clear, and I will compare this lullaby with two other lullabies that I came across on the internet which also mention the moon. These are a German lullaby called 'The Moon Has Risen' and a Chinese lullaby called 'Northeastern Cradle Song'.

In all three of them, stillness and quietness are emphasized (Manipuri: 'Ngaanli chikna nongmadon' [Shining quietly in the sky]; German: 'The world in stillness clouded'; Chinese: 'The moon is bright, the wind is quiet'). This might have come from the necessity of tranquillity to fall asleep.

Interestingly enough, in all of them the trees/forests are also mentioned (Manipuri: 'Upaal waapaal sumkharey' [The trees and the bamboos are put to sleep]; German: 'The woods stand still in shadows'; Chinese: 'The tree leaves hang over the window'). This shows our connection with the forests or nature.

In the Chinese and Manipuri versions, the baby is wished to have sweet dreams (Chatlo chatlo mangleibaakta: Go, go to the dreamland). But the German version is complicated and philosophical (When from the earth You [God] take us//Let heaven's joy await us [clearly it is talking about death and the netherworld]).

Osho said, 'No one has gone to heaven or hell and come back. Then how do we know they exist?' On the other hand, most of us have been to the dream world. In the German version, going to sleep has been substituted by dying, and the dreamland by heaven.

One might ask, 'Is our conception of the netherworld (heaven and hell) born out of our perception of the dream world?' In the Christmas carol 'Silent Night', baby Jesus is asked to go to 'heavenly sleep' (Christmas carols are said to be sung like lullabies).

One thing that stands out in the Manipuri lullaby is the use of 'uirum, uirum' (sleepy, sleepy) in more than one place. I think this acts as a 'prodding'. (Mothers would make pee-ing sound (shh..) when they want the baby to pee before going to bed. The connection between mother and child can be quite intimate.

In Kangpokpi, Manipur, I have seen tribal mother chewing the food on behalf of the baby and then feeding mouth to mouth.)

In Manipur there is a saying, 'If you don't complete your story before you go to sleep, elephants will chase you in your dreams.' This belief acknowledges how our actions in our waking state influence our dream world. This is just like the belief that our actions while we are alive will determine where we'll go when we die.

Chingtamlen has pointed out that Meiteis used to sing a requiem at the time of death. The relatives of the dying person would ask the person to be born again to them in the song. Music is considered to be one of most difficult to define art forms, and one that is closest to god. There is no need for an average mother to panic.

The simplest form of 'lullaby' I have seen in Manipur is tapping the baby on the chest or back gently with the hands while making a humming sound (Hmm..).

References

o YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e1tzw9EnSjA
o http://sanatombi-angomcha.blogspot.in/2011/07/tha-tha-thabungton-lyrics.html
o The Moon Has Risen lyrics: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Der_Mond_ist_aufgegangen
o Northeastern Cradle Song: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Northeastern_Cradle_Song


* James Oinam wrote this article for e-pao.net
The writer can be contacted at jamesoinam(AT)gmail(DOT0com
This article was posted on June 17, 2017.


* 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
  • Meetei Chanu 2017 #4 : Gallery
  • Lhunkholal, Rangmuthoi :: eMing
  • Khallui by Sil Heiba :: Review
  • The Killing Fields :: News Timeline
  • Memo for drafting an Anti Racial Law
  • Addressing racial & gender based violence
  • Climate change & erred solution in Manipur
  • Herbal face packs to revitalize the skin
  • Conference: Conflict affected Manipur
  • Is Health Dir. not happy with CMHT
  • Nod to disqualify 20 AAP lawmakers
  • 'Election for Solution' : Ram Madhav
  • Naga meet to decide poll stand
  • Meeyamgi Numit: Good Governance
  • Eyek Tamba :: Learn Manipuri script
  • Women's Polo Tournament #2 : Gallery
  • Kanglei Lyrics :: Android Apps
  • Thought Frozen to Death :: Poem
  • RIMS on the right path
  • Caller ID spoof: Protection against fake calls
  • 30 teachers resign to avoid prosecution
  • Drive to check illegal migrants suspended
  • Emoinu Khoiramba @Koubru #3: Gallery
  • Driver's Day observation : Gallery
  • HC to revive Human Rights Commission
  • Walk-in-interview at Mizoram University
  • CBI should not do interference..
  • TSA Gunpi Block installed
  • Nagaland Election: another truth of IM
  • Highlighting stand to Rajnath Singh
  • NE youths know India better than most
  • Naga Hoho determined to boycott Polls
  • Myanmar stretch used by militants identified
  • Kachai Lemon Fest @Ukhrul #1: Gallery
  • Gaan Ngai @ Ragailong #1 : Gallery
  • Kachai Village: An Abode of finest Lemons
  • Cry Of A Dying River...14 :: Poem
  • Conflict: A pre-requisite or stumbling block
  • How was the sun formed & emit light
  • Training & placement by Jettwings
  • Rohingya Crisis: Lecture at Indonesia
  • The haunting shadows
  • Announcing poll date for Nagaland
  • Women's Polo Tournament #1 : Gallery
  • Fashion Show: 'Handloom' #2 : Gallery
  • Reporting in Conflict Situation #1
  • Treatment schemes of RIMS, Lamphel
  • Home remedies for skin pigmentation
  • NE Chapter of ICSI inaugurated
  • Media credibility matter to uphold its sanctity
  • Setting down Jan 31 deadline : SC
  • Tangkhul Zingtun Longphang #1: Gallery
  • NEROCA FC Vs Indian Arrows #3 : Gallery
  • Career option in Human Rights
  • Water conflicts over the Brahmaputra
  • PAC against Killing of Pravish: 17 Jan
  • Neiphiu Rio resigns from NPF
  • NPF-BJP Relationship : NPF clarifies
  • Consolidating the sporting heritage
  • Rising air and noise pollution
  • Kukis have equal right... : Neiphiu Rio
  • Rajnath reviews security in NE
  • Lafoi Shamda puthorkpa #2 : Gallery
  • Sangai Fest: Commercial Stalls #3: Gallery
  • The joy of living :: Poem
  • Bamboo a tree or grass ?
  • SELF Workshop on Leadership & Fulfilment
  • Fight against corruption; we need Lokayukta
  • Hailing the role of drivers
  • Nangna Helli Nungshiba #2 :: eRang
  • Pung Chollom : Gallery
  • Wakhal Seireng :: Book Review
  • Imphal Jamboree by Global Shapers
  • Importance of regular health check-ups
  • Meetei demand for ST is Constitutional.. #2
  • Weapon Display organized at Moreh
  • Ex-Servicemen Rally organized
  • AR helps Orphanage & Old Age Home
  • Search of comprehensive culture & identity
  • List of MLA (Jan 2018) #1 : Gallery
  • Manipur Gas Today :: Android App
  • Imoinu Erat Thouni #3: Gallery
  • GNRC media fellowship announced
  • The Meiteis- Festival & celebration maniacs
  • How to make bridal mehndi long lasting
  • Governor's attention drawn to RIMS
  • Scientist develops prototype of electric car
  • Stereotypes about NE make people living..
  • Light Show at Loktak Lake #5 : Gallery
  • Candlelight vigil for Pravish : Gallery
  • Imbroglio of ethnic identity of Ranglong
  • Foundation For Excellence scholarship
  • Time Table - Class XII Exam 2018
  • Mail spoofing- Trickery by deception
  • Trial by fire
  • Call for solution before election
  • Villagers along Myanmar border get pass
  • Meetei Chanu 2017 #3 : Gallery
  • Art and Artist, A Creative Space
  • NEROCA FC Vs Indian Arrows #2 : Gallery
  • Ode to Thy Mellow Light :: Poem
  • Xmas with Meitei eche at Phaijol
  • Time Table - Class XI Exam 2018
  • Indo-Naga Talks 2017 :: News Timeline
  • IMC , now another hurdle to traffic mgmt
  • Setting aside two days for the people
  • Maring: Kummui Chaa-um : Gallery
  • Miss Manipur 2017 #5 : Gallery
  • Statehood Day Women's Polo Tournament
  • Time Table - HSLC Exam 2018
  • Bananas: Beauty's best friend
  • DPC for Follower at Manipur Police
  • Job Openings at JCRE Skill Solutions
  • The lost treasure
  • Nagas' Interests : Stand of NPF MSU
  • Nagaland polls on schedule: HM
  • Mukna Kangjei Tournament #2: Gallery
  • Keisham Manihar : Natyabhusan(Leela)
  • World Tourism Day #3: Gallery
  • Responsibility of protecting the environment
  • Phishing vs Vishing: The Verbal Challenge
  • BNHS Bi-monthly Program for Jan-Feb
  • Managing weight for preventing diabetes
  • Making democracy peoples' participatory
  • Progressing from media to SC
  • Manipur to set up modern food lab
  • Gaan Ngai @ Kakhulong Khun: Gallery
  • A trip to Moreh #2 : Gallery
  • How long catchy slogans keep hopes alive
  • Recycling of hospital waste-water
  • I am sometime or somewhere : Poem
  • Angami Zapu Phizo's Surreal 2017 AD
  • Film "Legacy Of King Narak" awarded
  • Of PM and our CM
  • Patronising the killing machines ?
  • Deferment of polls unlikely: Ravi
  • PM may visit Manipur in March
  • Emoinu Khoiramba @Koubru #2: Gallery
  • NEROCA FC Vs East Bengal #2: Gallery
  • Transform Colleges into Innovation Centres
  • New Delhi: World Book Fair 2018 :: Review
  • Cry Of A Dying River...12 :: Poem
  • Workshop on National Pension for NE
  • Law enforcers action - Well & good
  • Final pact yet to see light of day
  • Cold wave hits Manipur
  • Take out the cymbals, Manoharsai to stay
  • Indo-Naga Peace Process :: Articles
  • MaiOn - Scenes #2 :: eRang
  • Imoinu Erat Thouni #2: Gallery
  • Miss Manipur 2017 #4 : Gallery
  • Is Global Warming Natural or Anthropogenic
  • Prof Gangmumei Kamei: Legendary hero
  • Common Education System rally organized
  • DAMMS launched 2018 calendar
  • Chorus for 'Solution Not Election'
  • NEROCA FC Vs Indian Arrows #1 : Gallery
  • Gaan Ngai @Moirangkhom : Gallery
  • I was born healthy, I wanna die healthy
  • Practice peace & change the life
  • TSA Moreh Block installed
  • Cycle Rally: common education system
  • Ethics, medical profession & soaring fees
  • Meetei Chanu 2017 #2 : Gallery
  • Inner Line Permit (ILP) Demand :: Timeline
  • Meira rally for Pravish : Gallery
  • Accelerate momentum to endTB for SDGs
  • The call that can't be turned down
  • Live@MDU: New act with same old vibes
  • 1st Centre of Excellence- Electronics Skill
  • LED Lights installed by Loktak Station
  • NE tragedy: Policy failures & influx
  • Angaoba - Scenes #3 :: eRang
  • 51st Mr Manipur Contest 2017 #3 : Gallery
  • Result: Manipur Sangai Intl Digital salon
  • Use Swachhata App to Make Imphal No. 1
  • Career @ events and celebration
  • Night nourishing
  • Indo-Nepal Friendship: 25 yrs of Don Bosco
  • Understanding the indices of life
  • Poppy cultivation & drug cartels
  • Emoinu Khoiramba @Koubru #1: Gallery
  • Day 10: Closing of Sangai Fest #4 : Gallery
  • The creation of the universe, matter...
  • Mumbai: The city of dreams
  • Let this new year kill your new fears
  • Asian Waterbird Census: Count waterbirds
  • Looking for a better inclusive alternative
  • Coaching & commercialisation of education
  • New Year picnic @ Singda Dam : Gallery
  • Miss Manipur 2017 #3 : Gallery
  • Despite Stolen Dreams :: Book Rvw
  • Handloom Training @Hojai : Gallery
  • World Tourism Day #2: Gallery
  • Front Page Photo #6: Gallery
  • Calendar for the Year 2018 :: e-pao Tools
  • 51st Mr Manipur Contest 2017 #2 : Gallery
  • Crowd @ Flower Festival @Mao #4: Gallery
  • Kwatha (Indo-Myanmar Border) #2: Gallery
  • Flower Festival @ Mao #3 : Gallery
  • Restricted Holidays 2018 : Govt of Manipur
  • Lourembam Bedabati : Sangeetbhusan
  • List of RIST popular talks during 2014-2017
  • Christmas eve @ CCpur #2 : Gallery
  • Public Holidays 2018 : Govt of Manipur
  • Pui Thangamliu #2 :: eRang
  • Royal Crematorium at Bangkok #2 : Gallery
  • General Holidays 2018 : Govt of Manipur
  • Manipur Sangai Festival 2016 #7 : Ooba
  • Manipuri Calendar for 2018 : Download it
  • Old Manipuri Movie #1 :: eRang Classic
  • SPONSORED ADS