Wednesday, April 01, 2020

Kangleipak And Khaba-Nganba
IFP Bureau | First Published: February 20, 2020 08:30:32 am

By PS Haokip

A story is told of our origins of dwelling called Manipur:  Eons ago, there were two brothers Kuki and Meitei, from the mountains we used to go in search of other habitable settlements in the valley, but the menace of malarial mosquitoes, causing severe fever and death as well, proved a serious disincentive. Less tolerant to the unpleasant condition, the elder brother, Kuki, who, ‘prior to the inception of Pakhangba era, … were known as  Chingburoi, (owner of the hills),’[1] opted to return to their original habitat, the highlands; his younger brother Meitei, however, chose to adapt to life in the valley. As they parted, Kuki asked his younger brother to light a fire (mei = fire) tih = burner) from time to time to raise smoke, signalling all was well. As the years rolled on, from mei tih evolved the sobriquet ‘Meitei’, and their new found abode became known as Kangleipak.

Kangleipak was a territory inhabited by the Meiteis/Meitihs  (Mei – fire, tih – burner). It comprises the present district of Imphal East, Imphal West, Bishnupur and parts of Thoubal district. Between the epic age and 33 AD several chiefs reigned in different parts of Kangleipak. According to Jhalajit Singh,[2] Kangleipak was ruled by seven salais, namely i) Ningthouja, ii) Angom, iii) Khuman, iv) Moirang, v) Luwang, vi) Sarang Leisangthem, and vii) Khaba-Nganba.

Although the boundaries of the seven salai principality (ies) cannot be precisely traced, their sites can be broadly located as under:

1. Ningthouja principality: It was on the right bank of the Imphal river and both bank of the Nambol River. Its capital was at Kangla. It was bounded on the East by the Imphal River: on the south by the northern limits of Khuman principality: on the west by the Lamphel and Langjing hills and on the north by the Chingmeirong hills.

2. Angom Principality: It lay to the east and northeast of the Ningthouja Principality.

3. Khumal Principality: The Khumal principality covered a comparatively Large area. The lakes Pumlen, Ikop and Waithou were in this principality. It was bounded on the west by the lake Loktak; on the south by the village of the hills tribes, on the east also by the villages of hills tribe and on the north by the Principalities of the Ningthouja principality and the Angom principality.

4. Moirang Principality: It was bounded on the north-east by the LoktakLake; on the east by the Imphal river; on the south by the hill village; on the west by the hill villages; on the north by the principalities of the Ningthouja principality and the Luwang principality. Its capital was at Moirang.

5. Luwang Principality: It lies to the region between Langjing and Koubru. The capital of the Luwang Principality was probably at Luwang- sangbam near modern Koirengei airfield.

6. Sarang Leisangthem principality: It was located around the Leitang lake 

7. Khaba-Nganba principality: It was located at Taknakha.

In course of time, these kings (chiefs of seven Salais) began to struggle for supremacy, around 33 AD, on the eve of the ascension of Nongda Lairen Pakhangba who is form Mitaya or Ningthouja clan to the throne, Khaba-Nganba and Chenglei revolted against him but with the initiative of the Kuki Achouba and Kuki Ahongba, the revolt was subdued. Again, Luwang and Khuman too revolted to Pakhangba consecutively but their revolts were subdued.  During this period, there were three chiefs or kings in the land of Kangleipak, namely the Mitayas or Ningthouja; the Khuman and Moirang.

With the support of Kuki Achouba and Kuki Ahongba, the Mitaya became politically superior to the other clans (6 salai), while Khaba-Nganba went towards the northeast [3] and settled in Chingburoi, which is Chassad an epicentre in the Anglo-Kuki War, 1917-1919. Chassad, Songpi and Laijang were the three Sub-Divisions the colonialists created in the aftermath of the War. Chassad was recently changed to Kamjong district. In 1929, Songpi Sub-Div was changed to Churachandpur and perhaps around the same period, Laijang Sub-Division to Tamenglong. Although the people have been acculturated as Tangkhul, the composition of the district include descendants of Khaba-Nganba, the Old Kuki groups Kharan, Mongmi, Chorei, Lai, and the New Kuki groups. The ethnic mix of Kamjong is Meitei and Kuki.

In the present day, the descendants of Khaba-Nganba are settled in 43 villages, namely

Hungdung Khullen, 2. Hungdung Khunou, 3. Shingkap, 4. Nongdaam, 5. Ningthi, 6. Phungyear, 7. Shangshak, 8. Langlee, 9. Ramhui (lambui), 10. Lungphu, 11. Sekibung, 12. Thowai, 13. Thawai, 14. Itham, 15. Yemtem, 16. Langlee, 17. Singcha, 18. Lungou, 19. Sahamphung, 20. Roni, 21. Khayang, 22. Chaterik Khullen, 23. Chaterik Khunou, 24. Chamu, 25. Gamnom, 26. Sampui, 27. Singcha, 28. Kachouphung, 29. Hangkou, 30. Chungkai 31. Maku 32. Chingsou 33. Namli 34. Sihai khunou 35. Lankhe 36. Meiti, 37. Grihang, 38. Bungpa Khullen, 39. Bungpa Khonou, 40. Nampisa, 41. Ningchou, 42. Chahong Chingthak, 43. Chahong Chingkha.

The Kharan (Old Kuki) dialect speaking group are: 1. Khambi 2. Nongman 3. Sorte 4. Sorbung 5.  Maileng 6. Punge 7. Sorathen 8. Khonglo 9. Kumram 10. Saman 11. Saram 12. Lisamlok 13. Kaprang 14. Lembakhul 15. Poirou 16. Shungriphai 17. Kangoi 18. Tangkhul khullen 19. Konglairam 20. Irong ato 21. Sada Khunbi 22. Sada Lunghtar (Motbung) 23. Heinganglok 24. Ngaranphung 25. Kharan 26. Chongdan 27. Leihaopokpi 28. Makan 29. Leisiphung.

The Mongmi (Old Kuki) dialect speaking group are: 1. Nambasi Khullen 2. Nambasi khunou 3. Nambasi Valley 4. Kasung 5. Monthouram 6. K Ashang Khullen 7. Wanglee 8. Punomram 9.Horton. 

The Lai (Old Kuki) dialect speaking group are: 1. Lairam Khollen 2. Lairam Phungka 3. Tarong 4. Khunthak  5. Mawai 6. Reishangphung 7. Kasom Khullen 8. Kasom Khunou 9. Ashang Khullen 10. Khoiripok 11. Shangpunram 12. K Somrei 13. Risophung 14. Yeasom 15. Ringpham 16. Mary land 17. Tamaram 18. Khamlang. 19. Kangkum Khullen 20. Kangkum Khonou.

The Chorei speaking group are: 1. Kangpat khullen 2. Kangpat Khonou 3. Skip

The list of New Kuki villages in Kamjong district are as follows:

1. Boljang, 2. Kulbung, 3. Meiti, 4. Choro, 5. Phungchong, 6. Jangngouphai, 7. Thomjang, 8. Kamtong, 9. Mollen, 10 Chahkap, 11. H. Vaiphei, 12.Tonglhang, 13. Gilchingnang, 14. Vajang, 15. Jangngouphai, 16. Kulbung, 17. Chassad , 18. Maokot, 19. Aisi, 20. Molvailup, 21. Kultuh, 22. Lakhen, 23. Haijang, 24. Mollen, 25. Lanchah, 26. Phungtha, 27. Khoikai, 28. Pihang, 29. Phaikoh, 30. Phaimol, 31. Laijang, 32. Khumlhang, 33. Kachouphung, 34. Gampal,

The parting of ways between Pakhangba and Khaba-Nganba, following Kuki Achouba’s and Kuki Ahongba’s initiative in the mobilisation of Pakhangba (the first historically recorded king of the Meiteis) for the throne in AD 33 is a lamentable chapter in history. 

With a deep sense of retrospective responsibility, Kuki National Organisation, today, takes the initiative to make amends by retracing the origins of its brothers, Khaba-Nganba. In this respect, to strengthen fraternal bonds, unity and integration, KNO has included Kamjong as an entity amongst other Kuki inhabited districts of Manipur, namely Churachandpur, Tengnoupal, Chandel, Pherzawl, and Kangpokpi.

It may be noted that in all these districts, peace-loving Meitei, Nepali, Naga, and Kuki coexist. In this multicultural society each identity remains sacrosanct, none converts to Kuki or Kuki to another. Such a community embodies mutual respect for one another’s culture, identity and history, which is emblematic of a democratic structure conducive to peaceful coexistence.

[1] Goswami, Hareshwar (2004, p75), History of The People of Manipur, Yaol Publishing Ltd London  [2] Singh, Jhalajit RK (1965, seconded 1992, p22), A Short History of Manipur, JM Printing Works, Yaishkul, Imphal, Manipur  [3] Op cit, p40

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