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BUDHA KAMEI

The Zeliangrong, one of the natives of Manipur belongs to the Tibeto-Burman family of Mongoloid racial stock. The population of this ethnic group is found mainly in Tamenglong District of Manipur. These people are found scattered also in the valley districts; outside the state, they are found settling in Nagaland in its Paren District, and Kohima District, and in Assam in its Haflong sub-division of Cachar District and Hailakandi District. The present article attempts to trace how and when the Zeliangrong people came down from the Western Hills and settled in the Manipur valley at Heibok Hills.

Heibokching, one of the historical places of Manipur locates on the south of Langthabal capital and Manipur University (MU), the highest learning place of human resource development is about 10 kilometers from Imphal; it falls under Wangoi sub-division of Imphal West District. It has nine faces and is surrounded by Chandranadi River on the east, Manipur University on the north, Nambul River on the west and Naran Konjin on the south. Heibokching is covered with forest which is rich in flora and fauna. Now, the Rongmei, the Meitei and the Meitei Pangal (Muslim) inhabit at the foothills of Heibokching.

The scenery of Heibokching is very beautiful that one has to take a pause at least for its praise. In his novel Madhavi, Dr. Kamal wrote, “Sajikbu Hougatlakpada Heibokching-gi Drishdi Pukning Hunabagi Mashakni. Nongchup Thngbada Nambul Turenna Eichen Khoina Khoina Chelli. Nongpok Thangbada Pat Macha Ama Lei. Pat Asi Matam Leiba Khibikta Luraba Eshingna Changjou Mannana Lei. Tharo, Thambal, Thariktha Khibikki ………………………. Patki Eshing Marik Marikna Englaba, Pat-ta Houba Thamna Amasung Chingkhada Houba Hei-Leina Manam Nungshihllaba Nungshitna Humkhiduna Ching Napom Pumnamakpu Thoidokna Manam Nungshihalli. Chingthaktagi Nganu Thangong Pareng Pareng Chaktage Haina Pairakli.”

The term Langthabal comes from the word Langthakpham. The narrow road that lies between Heibokching and Langthabal capital is locally recognized as Langthakpham. Langthakpham means a place used for catch/trap of human beings by gods. If a person found a Langkom lying across the same road is advised to return home as it is a trap of gods. It is believed that one who crossed over it will die very shortly. This tradition is still in practice: marriage party or procession is forbidden to go through this road in the belief that one of the couple will become widow or widower. The Langthabal area does cover the Heibokching and its surrounding villages such as Khoupum, Chingkha (Namkaolong), Chingthak (Lubanglong), Kunja, Mantrikhong etc.

The present study has adopted purely historical approach. The data is based on primary and secondary materials of published works and also on the traditional wisdoms gathered through interviews with the village elders and intellectuals of the Zeliangrong community.

The 18th century was a landmark epoch in the history of the Zeliangrong people. It was during this period, a large number of Zeliangrong warriors engaged in the famous Burma campaign of Garib Niwaz and also in the war of liberation of Manipur from the Burmese occupation under the able leadership of Bhagyachandra. Consequently, the Zeliangrongs were permitted to settle in the valley at Langol Hills, Chingmeirong, Langthabal (at the present site of SBI, MU campus) and Heibokching and started an era of friendship between the Meitei and Zeliangrong.

Pamheiba also popularly known as Garib Niwaz (1709-1748), the 50th Raja, ascended the throne of Manipur after his father (Charairongba) death, on the day of Wednesday, 23rd day of Thawan (August), 1709 C. E at the age of twenty. All Nagas chiefs were invited at the coronation ceremony. The official and ministers of his administration received the Nagas chiefs, made friendship and intimacy with them. The king did entertain the Nagas chiefs with good feast and wine. Garib Niwaz was often designated as Maharaja because he was the head of seven Pibas of Angom, Khuman, Moirang, Luwang, Khaba-Nganba, Chenglei and Ningthoujas. Following the footsteps of his father Charairongba, Garib Niwaz also did maintain friendly relations with the hills chiefs. He advised his nobles to have friendly relation with hill-chiefs. Some colonial writers mention that Garib Niwaz was a Hillman by birth because of his intimacy with the hill people.

In 1735 C.E, Maharaja Garib Niwaz issued a royal decree according to which village functionaries like Khullakpa, Khunbu, Luplakpa and Lambu were introduced; he replaced the traditional village chief by Khullakpa. In fact, it is a policy to centralize his administration. He did try his best possible means to put in force the new administrative system even in the remote villages of the hills and those who stood against it were punished and invaded. As a part of punishment, he invaded at Rongmei villages of Tokpa (Mukten), Nungnang Taobi (Lungrang), Rangkhong (Rangkhum), Thinglon (Thiulon village in the west bank of Barak) and Charoi Chagotlong (Poulinglong) in 1748 C.E. In his Charoi invasion, a Tamna, an insect of green colour was presented to the king by the village chief as a token of love and respect. By the middle of 18th century, the writ of Manipur kingdom over several Zeliangrong villages like Noney, Rangkhong, Nungtek, Charoi Chagotlong and Haochong was established.
With a view to have good relationship with the Nagas particularly the Zeliangrong, he made a visit at Noney and Noney Khullakpa was privileged to ride an elephant of the king. And on the day of Saturday, 18th day of Langban (September), 1746 C.E, he also gave permission to the three villages of Chingkhoupum and Luwanglon (Ganglon-Khullen and Khunou) to sell their commodities in the market of the state capital. It is suggested that the present Hao Macha Keithel near Majorkhul was the market place of that time. Chingkhoupum was untouched by the king. Now, it is clear from the above historical facts that the then king of Manipur, Garib Niwaz did try his best to keep his supremacy over the small villages inhabiting mainly in the area of Chingkhoupum and Tongjei Maril and at the same time, he also attempted to maintain friendly relations with the Zeliangrongs with the objective of bringing unity to fight against the Burmese locally known as Awa/Ava. In this regard, Gangmumei kamei has rightly stated that Garib Niwaz invited the hill tribes, Tangkhul and Zeliangrong (Kabui) to join the Manipur army in his invasion of Burma. Many of them went up to the Irrawaddy and survived to return home. Garib Niwaz settled the Burma veterans among the Zeliangrong to settle in the Manipur valley, Chingmeirong, Langol Hills and Langthabal and began an era of friendship between the Meiteis and Zeliangrongs. According to ‘Ningthourol Kumpaba,’ an unpublished text, it was in 1735 C.E. that the Kabuis who returned from Burma campaign (Expedition to Myedoo in upper Burma) of King Garib Niwaz were allowed to settle at Langol Hills and Chingmeirong. According to the Meitei Puyas, the Kabui who had rendered help to the Meitei Kings in their war against the Burmese in 1734 C.E were permitted to settle on the Chingmeirong and Langthabal Hills.

It was during the reign of Bhagyachandra also known as Chingthangkhomba from 1759-1762 and 1763-1798; a new chapter of friendship between the two communities was opened despite the religious orthodoxy of the Hindu Meiteis. It is noted that this was the key achievement of the noble king Chingthang Khomba. Chingthang Khomba, this name of the king was popular among the hill people and womenfolk in the valley.

Like his grandfather Garib Niwaz, Bhagyachandra also strictly did follow the policy of appeasement towards the Zeliangrongs; as a result, there was mutual understanding and co-operation with the hills people during his reign. It was during his reign, Alaungpaya of Konbaung dynasty, a powerful king of Burma and his successors like Hsinbyushin invaded Manipur several times and defeated Manipur due to lack of unity among the ruling princes. From 1758 to 1826 C.E within this period of 68 years Manipur was overrun and dominated by the Burmese times without numbers.

In the meantime, Wayenbamcha Khellemba/Khenlei Nungnang Telheiba, maternal uncle of Chingthangkhomba, the chief of Moirang (Khellemba was appointed as chief of Moirang by Gourashyam (Moramba) in the year 1757 C.E) rebelled and seized the throne of Manipur. So, the fugitive king Bhagyachandra took refuge in the land of Zeliangrong and appealed to the Zeliangrong people to help in fighting against the Burmese. Then, he did proceed to Ahom (Tekhao) and exiled there from 1765-1768. Manipur was ruled by Khellemba as puppet king for three years under the protection of Burmese army. In 1768 C.E, Bhagyachandra returned home with the forces of Ahom king Rajeshwar Singh of the Tunkhungia dynasty (1765-1769 C.E). On the way back, at the Merap river there halted for a while and he raised a Naga force consisting of mostly Zeliangrongs and as he proceeded, almost all the people of the country welcomed him as their king that time the Burmese army left Manipur on hearing the arrival of the Ahom forces.

According to Meitei Ningthourol, Bhagyachandra by disguising as Hao (Zeliangrong) who alone came back from Ahom and organized all the Khullakpas of Zeliangrong villages inhabiting near the Tongjei Maril road to help him when he returned with the forces of Ahom to liberate his motherland from the Burmese forces. Later, Khellemba was murdered brutally by the emissaries of Bhagyachandra at the Lousee Lake.

Even today, there are relics left by Bhagyachandra in the Rongmei villages: at Awangkhul (Longchum), there is a stone slab with Hanuman image along with ineligible inscription, Nungnang (Lungrang)- there are stone bounders where he spent his days, and at Khebuching (Puching) – he performed the Khousaba, spear fighting and vowed to liberate his motherland. He left his weapons at Akhui which were presented by the Akhui people to the Maharaja Churachand Singh in the twentieth century. He and many royal princes spent times at Wairangba and Tamenglong village. Construction of Tekhao road which is connected with Ahom (Assam) is an evidence of friendship and co-operation between the Meiteis and Zeliangrong because the said road runs through the Zeliangrong land without any hindrance from the side of the later.

In 1770 C.E, Manipur was invaded by the Burmese under King Hsinbyushin. Chingthangkhomba was again driven out and he fled to Cachar. J. Roy says, no sooner had the Burmese withdrawn than Chingthangkhomba along with the forces of Ahom re-entered Manipur. Under his efficient rule prosperity gradually returned to the country. In absence of Chingthangkhomba, Manipur was ruled by Erengba/Kukilananda Erengba, a scion of the royal family who was set up by the Burmese submitted after feeble resistance at Langathen. R. Brown writes, on hearing the news of coming of Chingthangkhomba along with Ahom forces, Eringba immediately handed over the throne to him without objection. With the instigation of Manshenba, the son of slain chief of Moirang, Khellemba, the Burmese invaded Manipur again in the year 1772 C.E. Bhagyachandra again fled to Ahom through Cachar on the 2nd day of Phairen (February). The Burmese forces left Manipur soon after installing a puppet King called Pukhrambam Binodram whose capital was at Wangkhei. In the year 1775 C.E, Bhagyachandra along with his hill supporters mostly Zeliangrongs marched into Manipur but without a single battle he became king again because Binodram already left Manipur on hearing the news of coming of Bhagyachandra.

In the same year (1775 C.E), Bhagyachandra established his capital at Lamangdong on the day of Saturday, 19th day of Phairen (February). In spite of his religious orthodoxy, the Kabui settlers in the valley were living peacefully without having interference from his administration.

Cheitharol Kumbaba records, a severe flood devastated the valley on the day of Saturday, 12th day of Kalen (May), 1775 C.E. The shrine of Akoijam was collapsed and many houses were flown away up to the Loktak Lake. People took shelter on roof of their houses. A large number of people died and famine followed. According to Meitei Ningthourol, it was during the reign of Binodram, the valley was submerged with water after three days continuous rain (9 -11) that happened on the day of Saturday, 12th day of Kalen(May), 1775 C.E. The whole valley area was looked like a lake. All roads were underwater and People took shelter on the nearby hills.

Since there is no written record, oral tradition of the village is the only source of the past history of the Rongmei villages of Heibokching. “History to the Zeliangrong people is the oral tradition which handed down from one generation to another (father to son).” This flood is still talked about among the elders of Langthabal Khoupum, Langthabal Chingkha (Namkaolong) and Langthabal Chingthak (Lubanglong) villages as oral tradition. The oral tradition tells that due to severe flood of Wangkhei Duidai (Ichao), the villagers of Langthabal Meitei came on the Heibok Hills and took shelter in the Rongmei villages until the flood water drained away from the valley. This flood is locally known as Wangkhei Hagtakki Ichao, because Manipur was under the rule of Binodram of Wangkhei.

According to Cheitharol Kumbaba, the royal chronicle of Manipur, on the day of Wednesday, 17th day of Kalen(May), 1778 C.E, the country went dark. It rained with dust particle. In connection with the gloomy incident, the oral tradition of the village tells that as usual the womenfolk went to collect firewood at the Heibok Hills. While collecting the firewood, suddenly, it went dark, nothing could be seen; seeing this occurrence, they hurriedly ran towards their respective villages.

After the dark event, the Chronicle further states that on the day of Monday, 7th day of Enga (June), 1778 C.E, an image of Sanamahi God was erected and on the same day, Kangjei game (hockey) for the Kabui settlers in the valley was organized. This historical sport event is also mentioned in the oral tradition that the three villages jointly as a team participated in the said Kangjei game organized by the king of Manipur. The said Kangjei game refers to the traditional Meitei Mukna-Kangjei, meaning wrestling-cum-hockey, is an outdoor game. It is popularly known as Khong-Kangjei or Kangjei and played on a field by two teams of seven players each, with curve cane sticks and a small hard ball in the style of Mukna (wrestling). The valley Kabui tribals also enjoyed Mukna-Kangjei in early times. And in the year 1779, C.E he shifted his capital to Langthabal from Lamangdong.
It is now proved that the migrant Rongmei people mostly from Western hills had settled down at the Heibok Hills before the above historical events. According to Gangmumei Kamei, it was during the reign of Bhagyachandra many Zeliangrong people engaged in his war against the Burmese to drive out from the soil of Manipur in 18th century. Many Zeliangrongs who came to know the Maharaja came down to the valley and started such migrant villages of Langthabal and Khoupum in the Heibok Hills. The settlers of Khoupum were mostly migrated from Chingkhoupum in south Tamenglong.
To conclude, the present Rongmei villages, namely Langthabal Khoupum and Langthabal Chingthak (Lubanglong) did come into existence at the Heibok Hills during the reign of Bhagyachandra (1759-1762, 1763-1798) in 18th century on the basis of available historical records, and evidences supplemented by oral traditions of the village. However, the villages were not founded in the same year. Honbung Longmei, and Meikachun Kamson were the first Khullakpas of Langthabal Khoupum and Lubanglong respectively. The total population of Langthabal Khoupum (seven hundred fifty) and Lubanglong (five hundred) is one thousand two hundred and fifty only. One may ask why the population is not large after many centuries of their settlement at the Heibokching. In the past many villagers were killed by epidemic like cholera, small pox etc. as they did not know the use of prophylactic medicine. In addition some left the village in search of livelihood. The Rongmeis were allowed to settle at Heibok Hills; so it is their responsibility to protect the Heibokching. “There is a tribal village, beyond it lies forests.” For the tribals, forest is their life. They love and protect the forests.

(Concluded)

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K.R. Murry, Rtd, Dy.D (Social Welfare), NST, Colony, Wokha

1. The brief history of Kyong Naga tribe.
The Kyong Naga Tribe is one of the Naga groups that first settled in the land of the Nagas, now called Nagaland. As the origin of any other Naga Tribes, the origin of the Kyong tribe is also shrouded in obscurity. The tradition and the legend of the Kyong Nagas tell of their origin from Mongolia and South-West China between the ridges of Yangtzekiang and Hoangho rivers from where they migrated to Burma (now Myanmar) and lastly to the Naga country through Manipur. The Kyong Nagas were also among the groups of Nagas that settled at Makhel and from there at Khezhakenoma where they believed to have owned a magic stone [known to them as Phitsson long (Phi-spread, tsson-increase and long-stone)] where a head load of paddy spread on the surface of the stone in the morning, double itself in the afternoon. The tradition says that the Angamis, the Sumis, the Sangtams, the Mongsen group of the Aos and the Kyongs split up from Khezhakenoma and went to different direction to their present homes and settled there permanently.
2. How we are called Kyong?
The ancestor of the Kyong Naga Tribe called themselves ‘Kyong’. However, I have not definitely found out as to how they are called Kyong. In course of many search for the sources of the origin of the Kyong, firstly an old man form Yanthamo village told me a folk story of the time immemorial when human, animals and birds spoke one language. In those days human became animal like Elephant, Tiger, Monkey and birds and animals also became human. Once in a big village, there live many Morung Youths (Chumpoe Nunghori). Because of misunderstanding between the village elders and morung youth; the villagers did not supply essential food to the morung youths for many days and they were almost at the point of death due to starvation. Therefore, the chief of the morung youth (Chumporan) commanded and said, “If you all agreed, we will become Lishung (A kind of medium size birds which live in a flock) for our survival,” which all agreed. Then, he instructed them to imitate his action and started acting like flying birds and all the morung youths imitating him and acted like flying birds with their stretched out hands. Slowly, they all started flying round the morung house like birds, shouting ‘kyong, kyong’…and became Lishung birds. That is why ‘lishung still live in a group united even these days. From there the villagers started calling themselves ‘Kyong’ and it became the name of our Tribe. Secondly, one of the folk stories says that from the time of our migrations, the Kyong tribe was very big in number and counting of heads or census became very difficult. The last such head counting was taken at the place near the present Kohima. Inspite of their best efforts it became impossible to ascertain the exact number of our people. That was why the place was called ‘Khayima’ which means place of confused and puzzle counting (Kha=Counting, Yima=became confuse and puzzle). During my interviews with elderly person in N/Longidang, Longla , Yanthamo, Niroyo, Tsungiki and Koio villages many of them told me that during migration the population of our tribe was so big or large that head counting (census) was very difficult or impossible. Every time they attempted to have head count, it became more and more which in Kyong words ‘kyonga-kyonga’, or ‘kyongtsu’ which means numerous or multitude, or too big crowd. This version was also told to me by Rev. Yankey Patton in 1969. He said that an old man from Longsa village told him that Kyong was derived from the word “Kyongtsü” because our population was numerous to count as it increases day by day.
The theory of a large Kyong Tribe was confirmed by the British writers in the mid 19th century, when they wrote –
1. Beyond the Doyang, other large Tribes of Nagas exist – Lotah, Namsang etc. These tribes, I am informed differ from those of the west of river.
2. To the west of Dessai and between that river and the Dhansiri, the hills are inhabited by numerous and peaceful tribes of Nagas known to the Assamese by the name “Latoo”. Whatever may be the derivation or origin of the word ‘Kyong’ one thing is very certain that our forefathers called themselves Kyong, from the time immemorial. This is evident from the fact that when they referred to one another they said ‘ete Kyong’ which meant “our Kyong Tribe”. In oath taking, it was normal to swear “Kyongtsü na amu” , which mean to swear, let me die unnatural death and let the whole tribe observe ‘gena’ day for me or ‘Kyongtsü na a mying üntsav sitoka” which is to say, ‘let the whole tribe forbid to call my name’.
3. Before the coming of British.
Let us examine what our neighboring tribes called us before the coming of the British to our country. None of our neighboring tribes called us by the name as ‘Lotha’, rather they called us in their own names; “The Angamis called us ‘Chizima’, the Rengmas called us ‘Tungwenyu. The Semas called us ‘choimi’ and the Aos ‘Tsuner’. The Rengmas called us ‘Chokanyu’ also. Our immediate North-Western Ahoms did not identify us by any name but by general term as Nagas.
The Kyong Naga tribe was identified as;
1. Torhatias or Doyangia (i.e those who came by land) and
2. Panihahatias (I.e. those who came by water) .
4. First hand information as recorted by the foreign writers
Dr. W. E Witter, the first American Missionary to the Kyong Nagas wrote a book on Kyong, Outline Grammar of Lotha Naga Language with Vocabulary and Illustrative Sentences, 1888. This is the first book ever written in Kyong language and the oldest book in Kyongyi.
In this book he wrote as given below; “the affix ‘tzü’ or ‘tsü’ signifies all, large, whole. Kyontzü/Kyontsü = all human or for all mankind. Kyongtsü=for all Lotha, here he not only identified “Kyong” or ‘Kyongtsü” as whole Lotha tribe, but also differentiated Kyon=human or Kyontsü=all human or mankind and Kyong as the name of our tribe. Though he was a foreigner, he was not at all confused with ‘Kyong’ as the name of our tribe and ‘Kyon’ as human in general. This is the first information recorded on our tribe by foreigner.
L. A. Wadil, In his book ‘the tribes of Brahmaputra, 1901 (p.53)– while writing about the Kyong Tribe, the heading of his article read as Kyontsü, Tsontsü, Tsontzü, Meklai or Lotha. They called themselves as Kyontsü, a name which means ‘the men’. They are called ‘Lothas’ by other Nagas and ‘Meklai’ by the Assames. (Tsontsü- he meant Kyontsu).
Sir George Grierson in his Linguistic survey of India, 1902, reprinted in 1967, Vol. 3 (p.284) said; “The tribe is called Lotha or Tsontsü but its members called themselves ‘Kyo’ which means Lotha man and a man generally. It is not known which meaning is the original; Tsontsü is merely another spelling of ‘Kyo’ or Kyontsü, the term ‘Lothas’ is an Assamese one’.
S.A. Perrine, an American Missionary to Impur, Ao Area wrote two books in Kyong language for primary school children namely – Keon Khaphen Kako and Keon Ziphen Kako. Here the author meant ‘Keon’ for ‘Kyong’. I had seen these books in the possession of late Eramo N.L Kinghen, former chairman of Lothas Literature Committee (1971-1979).
J.H. Hutton, in his book ‘The Angami Nagas’. Sir. J.H. Hutton put a note on Kyong tribe. On the heading, he wrote Lotha (Kyong). He said ‘The Lothas who called themselves Kyong are located to the North-East of the Angami and Regma country, having the Semas to the East of them and the Aos to the North-east.
J.P. Mills, in his book ‘The Lotha-Naga’ also said, they call themselves ‘Kyon’ meaning simply ‘man’. The name ‘Lotha’ of which I have been unable to discover any derivation, being that which they are known to government. Here, J.P. Mills, who is thought to be the authority on Kyong Naga affairs, was not sure about the origin of the word ‘Lotha’.
Dr. W. E. Witter, the first American missionary to the Kyong Nagas, Who worked with them intimately in the mid 1880’s had given correct name to the tribe when he wrote that Kyongtsü for all Lothas and Kyon/Kyontsü for all human. He clearly distinguished Kyong/Kyongtsü from Kyon/Kyontsü. This is the correct and first hand information about Kyong Nagas. Secondly, J.H.Hutton who also intimately worked with the Kyong tribe gave the correct name as stated earlier. The other writers although gave important information about the name of our tribe however, they could not differentiate between Kyong and Kyon.

5. ORIGIN OF LOTHA.
The name of Kyong tribes as ‘Lotha’ was imported name, whether we like it or not Lotha is not our word or name and no meaning can be derived from it. As already explained earlier, before the coming of the British, we were never known or recognized by the name ‘Lotha’ either by us (ourselves) or by our neighboring Naga tribes. The name ‘Lotha’ was brought to our country by the British when they came to rule over us and used it for administrative purposes and adopted as official name and imposed on us.
We may see the following records given by the British Officers.
a. W. Robinson. In his report – A Descriptive Five Account of Assam (1841-pp. 380-390); while writing about our tribe, he wrote, “to the west of Dessai and between that river and the Dhansiri the hills are inhabited by numerous and peaceful tribes of Nagas known to the Assamese by the name ‘Latoo’ Nagas. They frequently come to the markets of Jorhat, Kachari hat and the hauts on the Dhansiri.” In subsequently paragraphs of his report, he repeatedly mentioned ‘Latoo Nagas’ as our tribe.
b. Lientenant Bigge. He was the first British Officer who met the Kyong-Nagas in Golaghat at the bank of Doyang River. About 70 of them came in boats, for marketing their agriculture products like cotton, dry chilly, oilseeds etc. He referred to them as ‘Lotah Nagas’.
c. E.R Grange in his tour report, 1840 referred to Kyong Naga tribe as ‘Lotas’.
d. Browne Wood in his tour report 1844 referred Kyong Naga as ‘Lota’.
e. Captain Brodie. He was the first Deputy Commissioner of Jorhat, Assam and was the first British officer who visited Kyong-Naga country in 1844. He visited all the villages from Mekukla to Meshangpen and Bhandari to Koro Villages etc. He referred Kyong as ‘Lotah’. He reported that Sonarigaon (Yanmhon Old) and Feetagaon (Yanmhon New), the two largest of the Lotah villages probably contain about 4000 inhabitants each. The other Lotah villages are comparatively small.
6. METAMORPHOSES OF THE LOTHA.
The Kyong tribe which the foreigners called them as ‘Lotha’ had undergone several changes. As such we can say as the metamorphoses of the Lotha. ‘Lotha’ was first mentioned by the British officers during 1839-40 in their reports. It was reported as ‘Latoos’ then as ‘Lota’, and ‘Lotah’ in the 1840s. Between the years 1874 and 1925 it was written as Lhota. Thereafter, it was finally changed into ‘Lotha’ which is being used till today. Let us examine it carefully if ‘Lotha’ is the original name of our tribe, it should not have undergone so many changes.
In our present context people are confused about ‘Kyong’ and ‘Kyon’ especially among our young generation, as it was so with foreign writers in those days who came in contact with the Nagas. They entirely depended on the informants. Moreover, they did not care about spelling while writing Naga words. So, we cannot blame them for writing incorrect spelling about the names.
7. LOTHA WAS IMPORTED NAME
‘LOTHA’ was definitely an imported name and not our original name or word and no explanation can be given about the meaning of the word. The British brought it along with them from lower Assam. Some Assamese in the lower Assam might have called us and imposed it on us as the name of the Kyong Naga tribe. Before the coming of the British people it was never known to our foreparents nor to our neighboring tribes. The Ahoms also did not identify us as Lothas. In course of my investigation of the origins of the word ‘Lotha’, I met Eramo E.S. Ngullie former language officer (Lotha) at his residence in Kohima. He knew Assamese very well. He told me that in Assamese ‘Lotah’ means ‘Creeper’ but it has no relation with Lotha. He also told me that he did not know the meaning of Lotha. Once I discussed with Shri H.R. Bora former Director of School Education Nagaland on the issue. I served as an Assistant Teacher under him when he was the headmaster of Wokha Govt. High School in 1968 to 1970. He told me that in Assamese ‘Lotah’ has two meaning – one as creeper and the other is long narrow neck earthen pot used as flower pot, but this word has no relation with the Lotha Tribe.
8. PRESENT DEVELOPMENT.
8.1. Historical Declaration by KBES.
The identity of a community is its language, culture, tradition and social practices. When any or all of them are lost its identity is also lost. Realizing these Kyong Baptist Church leaders of those days in their wisdom during Annual Convention held at Tsüngiki Village in 1979, they adopted a resolution to change the Lotha Baptist Churches Association into Kyong Baptist Ekhümkho Sanrhyutsü (KBES). This historic declaration by the Kyong Baptist Ekhümkho Sanrhyutsü was based on oral tradition as passed on to us and historical facts as recorded after the advent of British.
8.2. Establishment of the Kyong Academy.
The Kyong Academy was establish in 1993 and registered as a Civil Society under the Registration of societies Act 1969. Under the founding President Shri. Tselamo Kikon Ex-minister of Nagaland, along with more than 30 scholars and intellectuals and decided to name the society as Kyong Academy.
8.3. Renaming of Lotha Hoho as Kyong Hoho.
The Lotha Hoho after exhaustive discussions and consultations by its executive body in several rounds of meetings decided to change the Lotha Hoho into Kyong Hoho. The proposal was put up to Lotha Hoho Annual general meeting held on 26th to 27th November, 2007 which was attended by all the villages, Town and Range unit delegates unanimously adopted, a resolution to change the Lotha Hoho into Kyong Hoho vide resolution No.7. The minutes of the Annual general meeting was recorded by six delegates elected by the house in that meeting including one delegate each from Kohima and Dimapur. Thereafter, the Kyong Hoho formally notified the declaration by a Notification vide No. LH/WKA/M&R/03 dated Wokha the 4th May, 2008. This is final and ultimate. Now therefore, as far as the issue of ‘Lotha’ or ‘Kyong’ is concerned, it is a decided case and further review, debate or reconsideration does not arise at present stage now.
8.4. Kyong Students Union (KSU).
The Kyong students union the apex body of the student community of our tribe had also by a resolution changed the Lotha Students Union into Kyong Students Union.
Not discounting the Catholic and Assembly of God Churches and other Christian Denominations, we are bonafide members of Kyong Baptist Churches and members of the Kyong Hoho and deeply involved with the welfare and well being of our student community. We should therefore, respect the decision of the three apex bodies – i.e KBES, KH and KSU.
In our present context, we are encouraged to see many positive developments in our society that is many civil societies in Wokha District and smaller organization and sub-units, unions and Ekhung are adopting ‘Kyong’ for their organization. ‘Kyong’ also has been recognized by almost all the Naga tribes.
I would therefore, impress upon the Kyong intellectual, scholars and concerned individuals to move forward instead of going backward for further development of our tribe in all respect along with the rest of Nagas.

5. ORIGIN OF LOTHA.
The name of Kyong tribes as ‘Lotha’ was imported name, whether we like it or not Lotha is not our word or name and no meaning can be derived from it. As already explained earlier, before the coming of the British, we were never known or recognized by the name ‘Lotha’ either by us (ourselves) or by our neighboring Naga tribes. The name ‘Lotha’ was brought to our country by the British when they came to rule over us and used it for administrative purposes and adopted as official name and imposed on us.
We may see the following records given by the British Officers.
a. W. Robinson. In his report – A Descriptive Five Account of Assam (1841-pp. 380-390); while writing about our tribe, he wrote, “to the west of Dessai and between that river and the Dhansiri the hills are inhabited by numerous and peaceful tribes of Nagas known to the Assamese by the name ‘Latoo’ Nagas. They frequently come to the markets of Jorhat, Kachari hat and the hauts on the Dhansiri.” In subsequently paragraphs of his report, he repeatedly mentioned ‘Latoo Nagas’ as our tribe.
b. Lientenant Bigge. He was the first British Officer who met the Kyong-Nagas in Golaghat at the bank of Doyang River. About 70 of them came in boats, for marketing their agriculture products like cotton, dry chilly, oilseeds etc. He referred to them as ‘Lotah Nagas’.
c. E.R Grange in his tour report, 1840 referred to Kyong Naga tribe as ‘Lotas’.
d. Browne Wood in his tour report 1844 referred Kyong Naga as ‘Lota’.
e. Captain Brodie. He was the first Deputy Commissioner of Jorhat, Assam and was the first British officer who visited Kyong-Naga country in 1844. He visited all the villages from Mekukla to Meshangpen and Bhandari to Koro Villages etc. He referred Kyong as ‘Lotah’. He reported that Sonarigaon (Yanmhon Old) and Feetagaon (Yanmhon New), the two largest of the Lotah villages probably contain about 4000 inhabitants each. The other Lotah villages are comparatively small.
6. METAMORPHOSES OF THE LOTHA.
The Kyong tribe which the foreigners called them as ‘Lotha’ had undergone several changes. As such we can say as the metamorphoses of the Lotha. ‘Lotha’ was first mentioned by the British officers during 1839-40 in their reports. It was reported as ‘Latoos’ then as ‘Lota’, and ‘Lotah’ in the 1840s. Between the years 1874 and 1925 it was written as Lhota. Thereafter, it was finally changed into ‘Lotha’ which is being used till today. Let us examine it carefully if ‘Lotha’ is the original name of our tribe, it should not have undergone so many changes.
In our present context people are confused about ‘Kyong’ and ‘Kyon’ especially among our young generation, as it was so with foreign writers in those days who came in contact with the Nagas. They entirely depended on the informants. Moreover, they did not care about spelling while writing Naga words. So, we cannot blame them for writing incorrect spelling about the names.
7. LOTHA WAS IMPORTED NAME
‘LOTHA’ was definitely an imported name and not our original name or word and no explanation can be given about the meaning of the word. The British brought it along with them from lower Assam. Some Assamese in the lower Assam might have called us and imposed it on us as the name of the Kyong Naga tribe. Before the coming of the British people it was never known to our foreparents nor to our neighboring tribes. The Ahoms also did not identify us as Lothas. In course of my investigation of the origins of the word ‘Lotha’, I met Eramo E.S. Ngullie former language officer (Lotha) at his residence in Kohima. He knew Assamese very well. He told me that in Assamese ‘Lotah’ means ‘Creeper’ but it has no relation with Lotha. He also told me that he did not know the meaning of Lotha. Once I discussed with Shri H.R. Bora former Director of School Education Nagaland on the issue. I served as an Assistant Teacher under him when he was the headmaster of Wokha Govt. High School in 1968 to 1970. He told me that in Assamese ‘Lotah’ has two meaning – one as creeper and the other is long narrow neck earthen pot used as flower pot, but this word has no relation with the Lotha Tribe.
8. PRESENT DEVELOPMENT.
8.1. Historical Declaration by KBES.
The identity of a community is its language, culture, tradition and social practices. When any or all of them are lost its identity is also lost. Realizing these Kyong Baptist Church leaders of those days in their wisdom during Annual Convention held at Tsüngiki Village in 1979, they adopted a resolution to change the Lotha Baptist Churches Association into Kyong Baptist Ekhümkho Sanrhyutsü (KBES). This historic declaration by the Kyong Baptist Ekhümkho Sanrhyutsü was based on oral tradition as passed on to us and historical facts as recorded after the advent of British.
8.2. Establishment of the Kyong Academy.
The Kyong Academy was establish in 1993 and registered as a Civil Society under the Registration of societies Act 1969. Under the founding President Shri. Tselamo Kikon Ex-minister of Nagaland, along with more than 30 scholars and intellectuals and decided to name the society as Kyong Academy.
8.3. Renaming of Lotha Hoho as Kyong Hoho.
The Lotha Hoho after exhaustive discussions and consultations by its executive body in several rounds of meetings decided to change the Lotha Hoho into Kyong Hoho. The proposal was put up to Lotha Hoho Annual general meeting held on 26th to 27th November, 2007 which was attended by all the villages, Town and Range unit delegates unanimously adopted, a resolution to change the Lotha Hoho into Kyong Hoho vide resolution No.7. The minutes of the Annual general meeting was recorded by six delegates elected by the house in that meeting including one delegate each from Kohima and Dimapur. Thereafter, the Kyong Hoho formally notified the declaration by a Notification vide No. LH/WKA/M&R/03 dated Wokha the 4th May, 2008. This is final and ultimate. Now therefore, as far as the issue of ‘Lotha’ or ‘Kyong’ is concerned, it is a decided case and further review, debate or reconsideration does not arise at present stage now.
8.4. Kyong Students Union (KSU).
The Kyong students union the apex body of the student community of our tribe had also by a resolution changed the Lotha Students Union into Kyong Students Union.
Not discounting the Catholic and Assembly of God Churches and other Christian Denominations, we are bonafide members of Kyong Baptist Churches and members of the Kyong Hoho and deeply involved with the welfare and well being of our student community. We should therefore, respect the decision of the three apex bodies – i.e KBES, KH and KSU.
In our present context, we are encouraged to see many positive developments in our society that is many civil societies in Wokha District and smaller organization and sub-units, unions and Ekhung are adopting ‘Kyong’ for their organization. ‘Kyong’ also has been recognized by almost all the Naga tribes.
I would therefore, impress upon the Kyong intellectual, scholars and concerned individuals to move forward instead of going backward for further development of our tribe in all respect along with the rest of Nagas.
(Concluded)

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A. Punakha Sumi, Rtd. H.A, on behalf of Lazami Village Council
The Sumi tribe like every Naga tribe has its roots of existence and the Khezakeno Village is the center point of Sumi history. The Sumis (Lazami) and the Khezakeno Village have confirmed the relation between the two Village, affirming the bygones and beyond 2000. According to the two Village’s great forefathers’ version, one group of people led by a person named Khepiu had come to Kezhakeno Village from Makhel and thereupon the Naga generation began. It is not denied that every Naga tribe has its version of migration. Nevertheless, according to the two Village’s forefather’s version Khepiu had a son named Sopu, whose son was Koza, Koza’s son was Rou and Rou had three sons namely – Khrieu (Angami) the eldest, Leo (Chakhesang) the second, and the youngest Seo (Sumi). Like the two elder brother, the Sumi tribe has its origin name from Seo and at no point of time is the Sumi tribe name derived from tree or wood. Therefore, on behalf of the Sumi tribe, Lazami Village wishes to clarify this once and for all.
In this connection, Joseph S. Thong, author of Nagaland linguistic profile is requested to make necessary correction in his book Page 72-73 which refer to Sumi history.

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HNS/Chandel, Sep 20, 2013: “The Anals or Pakans including all Naga tribes of Chandel District are Nagas by blood having their own historical uniqueness, cultures and identities different from that of Kuki Tribe, Wng Victor Kohring, President of Anal Naga Tangpi (ANTA), one of the apex bodies of Naga Tribes in Chandel District, has stated.

In a statement, the ANTA President said that the statement issued by Kuki National Organization (KNO) President Ps Haokip on September 17, wherein the latter referred to the Naga tribes of Chandel as Old Kukis was ‘confusing’ and ‘misleading’.

Refuting the claim of KNO, the ANTA President asserted that the Nagas in Chandel District have a common true story of how they migrated in to this land now called Chandel district.

Every individual or community must understand, respect and honour the history, custom, culture, identity and the land that belongs to another group of individuals or community, the ANTA President said, while urging the tribal communities to refrain from all forms of violence by advocating the sacrament of reconciliation and harness to live in peaceful co-existence on the basis of Christian virtue of forgive and forget.

Referring to the book, ‘The North East Frontier of India’ written by Sir Alexander, Wng Victor Kohring said that the Anals and other Naga tribes were never old or New Kukis even in the Kuki country. According to Page No 83 and 146, old Kukis (Khelema clan, Ramthai clan, Bete clan and lamkhow clan)were reported in 1853 whereas new Kukis of 1851- 52 included Changsun tribe, Thado tribe and Shingshon tribe.

L Joychandra Singh in his book, ‘The Lost Kingdom” Royal Chronicles of Manipur page 5 para 1 stated that in the year 1479, King Chalomba conquered the Naga villages namely Anan/Anal, Moirang, Thingkhong ang Angthi but died in 1484. In the year 1600 (English era) during the month of August King Paikhomba attacked and conquered the villages of Anan/Anal and captured 30 men as captives, Wng Kohring quoted and said that these historical records of ancient Manipur Kings proved that the Anals were original Nagas for thousand years before Kuki brethren came to Manipur in 1840.

Wng Victor Kohring further pointed out that Captain Rajendra Singh in his book ‘The Anals of Manipur” page No. 18 and 19 stated that ‘in the wake of of Naga insurgency the underground movement gathered momentum in the Anal areas in 1961. 10th BN of Naga Army operated in the present Chandel district while the 11th and 12th BN of Naga Army operated in the Tangkhul and Mao areas respectively.

Dwelling on the difference of customs, culture between the Naga tribes of Chandel and the Kukis, Wng Victor Kohring pointed out that Anals as a Naga tribe have particular graveyards with erection of Patha (memorial stone) while Kukis practiced burial without erection of Patha (memorial stone).

Anals or Pakans including other Naga tribes of Chandel district are original Nagas and not fabricated one as stated by Ps Haokip in his statement, the ANTA President added.

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TL Angami, Convenor, Tenyimi Judiciary Court Hq Kuda, Nagaland

As per our Tenyimis Forefathers historical account handed down from generation to generation by word of mouth tell us that the Lothas and Semas are also from the same Tenyimis family. Tenyimis called the Lotha as Cuzhie-u. Cuzhie-u means while the parent provides food among the brothers, he could safe some of his food while other brothers finished their share. And for which, the parent named him Cuzhie-u and still there is Cuzhiema khel in Nerhema Village. And the Sema as the youngest brothers from Tenyimi family is called Sieu as he suffered ill health during his childhood and could not walk fast and was later called him Sema. The brothers of Lothas and Semas may agree or may not agree about this history. But the said historical fact is still fresh in the mind of some elderly as handed down from Forefathers through words of mouth. And there is still a traditional village of Sema as Sewemi Village located in Phek District near Chizami Village.

The Tenyimi family is in existence from time immemorial. It was the Britishers who first called all the Tenyimis as Angamis. As because, they all speak similar dialect of Tenyidie. We also are similar historical background mentioned in the Britishers book of “Angami Country”. It is a fact that in the early days there was no difference among the Tenyimi families, they lived together as a family by blood relation, and same is practiced between villages even today.

It may be stated that the Naga’s demand is Independent state and not the present constitutional state of Nagaland. And as such, no one can divide the families of Tenyimis on the excuse of the present state situated forcibly established in an undermarketed boundary of Nagaland by stating that Mao, Rongmai, Marang, Poumai, etc are not Nagas just because they are not from Nagaland or they are not from Tenyimi family.

As for Aos, I find it difficult to believe that according to the Ao traditional history, they came from a Cave of Six Stones (Longtorok). The present Naga different tribes were all in existence since time immemorial, and it will be it meaningless at present re-recognition of those tribes as traditional tribes. This is more so because, the Nagas are still fighting for Independence and the final political settlement is yet to be arrived at. And moreover, we do not know that what areas would be the final settlement for Nagaland.

Let us not reject each other at this stage, as because, we should not forget our forefathers historical fact so soon say within a half century of time. Also because, such rejection of each other traditional tribes may block the way of Naga integration. The Nagas whosoever live wherever in Naga inhabited areas permanently have right to get his or her share in whatsoever quotas is available for all the Nagas.

And though the Nagas may redefine their National boundary, the Nagas shall live together as a family as one in Jesus Christ. Killing and rejecting each other’s among the Nagas and lay claims only Nagas of Nagaland excluding other Nagas will lead to self destruction. And should this be our attitude the law of the land will force us to go back to our Native Village and thereafter it will be meaningless for the Nagas to fight for Independence.

Remember, it is only Tenyimis land that all the Naga tribes have come together to live as one family. Therefore it will be wrong to keep on harping on the divide on the basis of the so called constitutional boundaries which is nothing but divide and rule policy of the Government of India. Tenyimi family will go together and stay together till the water flows in the River.

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