Skip to main content

Full text of "The Lushei Kuki clans"

See other formats

ajorn^U llnittet0tta Siibrarg 

3ltl{ara, Nmi Unrk 








^^1^4^ 37 








Charge Manually 

Cornell University Library 
DS 432.L8SS2 

The Lushel Kuki clans / 

3 1924 023 940 962 











Published under the orders of the Government of Eastern 
Bengal and Assam 






Richard Clav akd Sons, Liwitkd 

brunswick street, stamford 3trkkt, s.e., and 

bungay, suffolk. 






S. ^ Cornell University 
wB Library 

The original of tiiis book is in 
tine Cornell University Library. 

There are no known copyright restrictions in 
the United States on the use of the text. 


Introduction ........ xiii 

BiBUOGRAPHY ........ xvii 

Glossary ....... 





General ......... 1 

1. Habitat. 2. Appearance and physical characteristics. 3. 
History. 4. Affinities. 5. Dress. 6. Tattooing. 7. Orna- 
ments. 8. Weapons. 


Domestic Life ........ 17 

1. Occupation. 2. Weights and Measures. 3. Villages. 4. 
Houses. 5. Furniture. 6. Implements — Agricultural, 
Musical, Household. 7. Manufactures — Basket work. 
Pottery, Brass work, Iron work. Cloth manufacture, Dye- 
ing, Ornamentation. 8. Domestic animals. 9. Agriculture. 
10. Hunting and fishing. 11. Food and drink. 12. Amuse- 
ments—Dances, Athletics, Games. 


Laws and Customs ....... 41 

Internal structure — Formation and constitution of the Clan, 
Sub-division into Families and Branches. 2. Tribal organ- 
isation — The Chief, Village officials, Rights of chief, Boi, 
Sal, &c. 3. Marriage — Bride-price, Divorce, Widow re- 
marriage. 4. Female chastity. 5. Inheritance — Adoption. 
6. Offences regarding property. 7. Offences connected with 
the body. 8. Decisions of disputes. 9. War and head- 
hunting — Ambushing, Raiding, First use of guns, Head- 




Religion ......... 61 

1. General form of religious beliefs — Pathian the Creator, 
Other spirits, The world beyond the grave, Re-incarnation. 

2. Ancestor worship — OflFerings to the dead, Possession by 
spirit of the dead. 3. Worship of natural forces and deities 
— Spirits of hill, vale, and stream. The Lashi. 4. Religious 
rites and ceremonies— Definitions of tei'ms used. Sacrifices, 
Epidemics, " Ai " sacrifice. 5. Priesthood. 6. Ceremonies 
connected with childbirth. 7. Marriage ceremonies. 8. 
Funerals — Description, Disposal of corpse of infants, 
Lukawng, Unnatural deaths. 9. Festivals — Connected 
with crops, " Thangchhuah feasts," " Buh-ai." 


Folk-lore . . . .... 92 

1. Legends — Creation and natural phenomena, Nomenclature 
of hills, &c., Animal tales. Mythical heroes. 2. Supersti- 
tions — Connected with cultivation, with animals, house 
buUding, miscellaneous. 3. Snake worship — " Rulpui," 
"The great snake," Other superstitions regarding snakes. 
4. Omens. 5. Witchcraft — " Khuavang zawl," "Khaw- 
hring," Origin of. 

Language ......... 113 

Lushai or Dulien, Grammar, Word for word translation. 


Families and Branches of Lushei Clan . . . 125 


Division of Clans into Five Groups . . .129 




Clans included in the term Lushai .... 130 

Chawte, Chongthu, Hnamte, Kawlni, Kawlhring, Kiangte, 
Ngente, Paotu, Rentlei, Vangchhia, Zawngte. 


Clans which, though not absorbed, have been much in- 
fluenced BY the Lushais ..... 136 
Fanai, Ralte, Paihte or Vuite, Rangte. 


The old Kuki Clans .... . . 148 

The old Kuki Clans of Manipur, Aimol, Anal, Chawte, Chiru, 
Kolhen, Kom, Lamgang, Purum, Tikhup, Vaiphei. Other 
old Kuki Clans, Khawtlang and Khawchhak. 

The Thado Clan 189 

The Lakher or Mara Clan .... . 213 


Language ......... 226 

Resemblances between languages of clans, Change of certain 
letters. Comparative vocabulary. 



Khamliana, Sailo Chief {Golowred Plate) . . Frontispiece 

LusHAi Weapons, Ornaments, &c. ..... 10 

LusHAi Men's Haie Ornaments ... To face 12 

Zawlbuk, or Young Men's House . . . ,, ,, 22 

Plan of a Lushai's House ...... 26 

A Rest by the Way — on the Way to the Jhums. Lushais 

AND Pois . . . . . To face 32 

Lushais Threshing Rice (fioloured Plate) . . ,, ,, 33 

Z AT AX A, Sailo Chief and Family {Coloured Plate) . ,, ,, 44 

Lushai Girls ...... „ ,, 53 

Copy of a Map of the Route to Mi-thi-khua, drawn by a 

Lushai . ....... 63 

Khwatlang Posts Erected to Commemorate the Slaying of 

Mithans at a Feast . ... To face 65 

Chief's House showing "She lu Pun," the Posts Supporting 
THE Skulls op Mithan Killed at One of the Feasts 

To face 90 

Cane Suspension Bridge . . . . ,, ,, 110 

Fanai „ „ 136 

Memorial Stone in Champhai, Known as Mangkhaia, Lung- 

DAWR ....... To face 140 

VuiTB Memorial . . . . . . >> » 147 

Rangte Grave . . . . . d n 147 

AiMOL Nautch Party. The Youth is Holding a Rotchem 

To face 152 


Heads of Kuki Clans . .... To face 184 

Memorial to a Man who has Pbkfobmed the Ai of a Tiger 206 

Memorial to a Woman who has Performed the Buh Ai . 206 

Lakhbb Chief and Family (Coloured Plate) . To face 215 

Lakhbr Baskets . . . . . ,, ,, 223 
JIap ..... . . At end of Volume 


This monograph was originally intended to deal only with 
the inhabitants of the Lushai Hills, but on my transfer to 
Manipur, I found so many clans living in the hill tracts of that 
curious little state that I suggested that the scope of the 
monograph might be enlarged to include all clans of the Kuki 
race as well. 

This term Kuki, like Naga, Chin, Shendu, and many others, 
is not recognised by the people to whom we apply it, and I will 
not attempt to give its derivation, but it has come to have a 
fairly definite meaning, and we now understand by it certain 
closely allied clans, with well marked characteristics, belonging 
to the Tibeto-Burman stock. On the Chittagong border the 
term is loosely applied to most of the inhabitants of the interior 
hills beyond the Chittagong Hill tracts ; in Cachar it generally 
means some family of the Thado or Khawtlang clan, locallj' 
distinguished as New and Old Kukis. In the Lushai Hills 
nowadays the term is hardly ever employed, having been super- 
seded by Lushai. In the Chin Hills and generally on the 
Burma border all these clans are called Chins. 

The term Lushai, as we now understand it, covers a great 
many clans ; it is the result of incorrect transliteration of the 
word Lushei, which is the name of the clan, which, under 
various chiefs of the Thangur family, came into prominence in 
the eighteenth century and was responsible for the eruption 
into Cachar of Old Kukis at the end of that century and of the 
New Kukis half a century later. 

The Lusheis, however, did not eject all the clans they came 
in contact with, many of them they absorbed, and these now 


form the bulk of the subjects of the Thangur chiefs. In this 
monograph Lushai is used in this wider sense, Lushei being 
used only for the clan of that name. Among the people them- 
selves the Lusheis are sometimes spoken of as Dulian, at the 
derivation of which I will hazard no guess, and the general 
population of the hills is spoken of as Mi-zo. Among inhabi- 
tants of the Lushai Hills are found a very considerable number 
of immigrants, or descendants of immigrants from the Chin 
Hills, who are found living among the Lushais under the 
Thangur Chiefs or in villages under their own chiefs. I have 
made no attempt to deal with these, as their proper place is 
the Chin Hills monograph, and Messrs. Carey and Tuck have 
already described them very fully in their Chin Hills 

I am conscious that there are many omissions in this book ; 
the subject is a very wide one and the difficulty of getting at 
the facts from so many different clans, each speaking a different 
dialect and scattered over an area of about 25,000 square miles 
is extremely great. I trust therefore that my readers will 
excuse all shortcomings. 

I have purposely avoided enunciating any theories and 
making deductions, considering it wiser to limit myself to as 
accurate a description as possible of the people, their habits, 
customs and beliefs. Regarding the affinities between the 
clans dealt with in this monograph and those described in the 
other books of the series, I venture to express a hope that the 
subject may be dealt with by some competent authority when 
the whole series has been published; until this is done no 
finality will be reached. It would be easy to fill several pages 
with points of resemblance between the different clans. Major 
Playfair, in his account of the Garos, has pointed out many 
ways in which the subjects of his monograph resemble the 
-inhabitants of the Naga Hills, but reading his book I find many 
more in which they are like the clans I am dealing with. Sir 
Charles Lyall has drawn attention to the evident connection 
between the Mikirs and the Kuki-Chin group ; I venture to 
think that a study of the following pages will confirm his 
theory. I may mention here that the main incidents of the 
" Tale of a Frog " given by Sir Charles are found not only in 


the folk-lore of the Aimol, as he has pointed out, but also 
among the Lushais, a very similar story having been recorded 
by Colonel Lewin in Demagri, 250 miles in an air line from the 
Mikir hills, and published in his Progressive Colloquial exercises 
in the Lushai dialect in 1874. 

My best thanks are due to Lt.-Colonel Cole, Major Playfair, 
and Mr. Little, P.W.D., for many of the photographs, and 
especially to my wife, my companion for many years in these 
hills, for the four coloured illustrations. 

I am also indebted to Rev. W. K. Firminger for correcting 
the second proofs and making the index. I must also acknow- 
ledge the assistance I received from many Lushais and others, 
notably Hrangzora Chuprasie of Aigal and Pathong, interpreter 
of Manipur. 


Imphal, Manipur State. 

September 12th, 1910. 


McCuiiooH, Majok W. "Account of the Valley of Manipore and the 
Hill tribes ; with a comparative vocabulary of the Manipore and 
other languages." Calcutta, 1859. Selections from the Records of the 
Government of India (For. Dept.) XXVII. 

This is a most valuable book, full of useful information as regards 
all the Hill tribes of Manipur. I have made use of it freely in Part 
II., but space did not allow of my extracting all that I should have 
liked to reproduce. It would be well worth while to reprint this 
book, with notes bringing it up to date. 

Stewart, Lieutenant B. "Notes on Northern Cachar. Journal of 
the Asiatic Society of Bengal," Vol. XXIV, 1855. 

Another most valuable book, as regard Thados and Old Kukis, 
which would well repay reprinting. Both these books contain 
comparative vocabularies. 

Lewin, Captain Thomas Hbkbert. "Progressive Colloquial Exercises 
in the Lushai Dialect of the ' Dzo ' or Kuki Language, with vocabu- 
laries and popular tales. (Notated.) Calcutta, 1874. 

One of these tales is reproduced in Part II. The tales are well 
translated, but the Lushai is transliterated in a manner now out of 
date. The notes are as excellent as one would expect from a 
writer who certainly knew more of the Lushai than anyone else at 
that time, and who was more admired by them than any other white 
man has ever been. 

By the same Authoe. " The Hill Tracts of Chittagong and the 
Dwellers therein." Calcutta, 1869. 

A most fascinating book, full of information, expressed in good 
English. Pages 98 to 118 deal with Lushais and Shendus, i.e. 

By the same Authoe. " A fly on the wheel : or how I helped to govern 

The portion concerning the Author's life among the Lushais is full 
of interest, and his word pictures of the scenery and life among the 
people, for " Thangliana " as he was called really did live among 
the people, sharing their food even, are accurate and graphic. To 
few Europeans is the power given to mix thus with such savages and 
yet retain their respect. I once heard a Lushai's comment on a 
young officer who with the best of intentions tried to imitate the 


great "Thangliana." A friend asked him what he thought of 
So-and-So, the reply being : " I don't know what sort of man he is, 
all I know is, that he cannot be a sahib to live as he does." 

Caruy, Bebtram S. and H.N. Tuck. ' ' The Chin hills : A History of the 
People, their Customs and Manners, and our Dealings with them, 
and a Gazetteer of their Country." Rangoon, 1896. 

A model of what such a book should be. The illustrations are 
particularly good. The Lushais and Thados are only touched. 
Much of the matter referring to the Haka and Klang-Klang Chins is 
applicable to the Lakhers. 

LoERAiN, Herbert J., and Feed W. Savidgb. "Grammar and 
Dictionary of the Lushai Language." ShUlong, 1898. 

A very complete and accurate work. Unfortunately the standard 
system of transliteration has not been entirely adhered to. 

SoppiTT, C. A. "A short account of the Kuki-Lushai tribes on the 
North-East Frontier Districts : Cachar, Sylhet, Naga Hills, &c., and 
the North Cachar Hills. Shillong, 1887. 

I believe this is a useful accurate work, but have not been able to 
obtain it. 

Sneyd-Hutchinson, R. "Gazetteer of the Chittagong Hill Tracts.'' 

As regards Lushais there is not much of value, as they are beyond 
the scope of the work, but few being found in the Hill Tracts. 

Besides the above there are notes in the Census Reports of 1891 and 
1901, various military publications and gazetteers by Mr. A. W. Davis, 
I.C.S., and Mr. B. C. Allen, I.C.S., aU of which contain a certain amount 
of useful information, but do not pretend to be more than notes giving 
succinctly the knowledge then obtained of what was then practically new 
ground. Colonel Woodthorpe's account of the Silchar columns' march to 
Champhai, though not professing to be an account of the people, is 
interesting reading. Round Champhai I met several men who had been 
there when the column arrived, and they all remember the little sahib 
who drew pictures; and would sit long looking at the pictures in his book 
and chatting to each other of the good old days. 

[Note.— On p. 6 of the present work the Author refers to a passage in 
Lewin's Hill TracU of Chittagong and the Dwellers therein, in which is cited an 
account of " the Cuois or inhabitants of the Tipperah Mountains written by 
J, Rennel, Chief Engineer of Bengal in 1800." In reading through the proofs 
of the present work, it occurred to me that it would be important to discover 
whether the " J. Rennel " referred to by Lewin was or was not the famous 
Major James Rennell, Surveyer-General of Bengal, who is so often described 
as "the Father of Modern Geography." Major Rennell with his wife (nie 
Jane Thackeray— a great aunt of the novelist W. M. Thackeray) left Bengal 
in March, 1777, and reached England in February 1778. He died on March 29, 
1830. It seemed to me possible that the great Reimell might have obtained 
the information about the Kukis during his period of service in East Bengal 
and that he might have published a memoir on the subject in 180o'. 
Mr. W. Foster of the Record Department of the India Office very kindly 
informed me that no such a memoir could be traced at Whitehall and drew 


my attention to Lewin's heading of the memoir, " From the French of 
M. Bouohesiche, who translated the original from the English of J. Rennel, 
Chief Engineer of Bengal .... Published at Leipsio in 1800." Mr. Edward 
Heawood, Librarian of the Royal Geographical Society, to whom I am 
indebted for much trouble taken in satisfying my curiosity, informed me that 
Bouohesiche gave what purported to be an extract, translated into French, 
from Rennell's well-known work on India, and that the Frenchman's book 
was printed in Paris in 1800, although there may perhaps have been a Leipzig 
issue also. The account of the Kukia given in Bouohesiche'a work, however, 
is not taken from any known work by James Rennell. Dalton in his 
Ethnology of Bengal refers to what has been supposed to be the earliest 
account of the Kukis — a memoir by Surgeon McOrea, which appeared in 1799 
in Volume vii of Asiatic Researches. Mr. Heawood most kindly hunted up 
McCrea's memoir, and found in it a reference to a memoir which appeared in 
Volume ii of Asiatic Researches, 1790. The title of the memoir of 1790 
runs "On the Manners, Religion, and Laws of the Oucis, or Mountaineers of 
Tipra .... Communicated in Persian by John Rawlins, Esq." On 
investigation, Mr. Heawood found that the Memoir of 1790 is undoubtedly 
the original from which Bouohesiche drew his account in French, and of this the 
account, attributed to "J. Rennel" by Colonel Lewin, is a rough paraphrase. 
Note by the Rev. Walter K. Firminger.'] 


Only the terms lohich occur often are given. 

Ai. - A ceremony performed to propitiate the spirit of an animal killed 
in the chase, or of a human being killed in war. The performer's 
spirit will own the spirit of person or animal killed in the next 
world. The term is also used for a ceremony performed to celebrate 
a particularly good crop — Buh-Ai, or Buh-za-ai. 

Boi. — Persons who have taken refuge in the chief's house. 

Dai-bawl. — A series of sacrifices to the demons of the hills, &c. 

Hlam-zuih. — Lushai. A first-born child that dies within a year of its birth 
and is buried without any ceremony. 

Hrilh. — A period during which no work must be done, after a sacrifice, 
closely resembling the Naga genua. 

Huai. — Lushai. Demons who cause sickness. 

Jhum. — A piece of land on which the jungle has been felled and burnt 
for cultivation. 

Kawhring. — A person whose spirit takes possession of another's body, 
the spirit of such a person. 

Khal. — A series of sacrifices to the demons of the village site, only 
performed by Lushais. 

Khuavang. — Lushai. A powerful spirit, sometimes used for "luck." 

Kum-ai. — Children's sleeping platform. 

Kum-pui. — Parent's sleeping platform. 

Kut. — Lushai. Festivals connected with the crops. 

Lai. — Lushai. Chief. 

Lashi. — Lushai. Mythical beings who control wild animals. Known also 
to Aimol and Vaiphei. 

Mi-thi-khua. — "Dead men's village." Expression used by all clans for 
the place of departed souls. 

Mi-thi-rawp-lam. — A feast in honour of the dead. 

Palal. — A man who receives part of the bride-price, and acts as trustee to 

the bride. 
Pathian. — Lushai. The Creator. Very similar names are used by all the 

clans dealt with. 


Pial-ral. — Lushai. The land beyond the Pial river, in the abode of the 
dead, to which the spirits of those who have acquired merit pass. 

Pu. — A word used in most dialects, meaning grandfather, maternal uncle, 
and other relations on mother's or wife's side. It is also used for a 
person specially chosen as a protector or guardian. 

Pui-thiam. — Lushai. Sorcerer, priest and medicine man. 

BUmhual. — Lushai. Chief's adviser as to distribution of jhums. 

Rem-Ar. — The cock killed on occasion of a marriage. 

Rotchem. — Mouth organ made of a gourd and reeds. 

Sakhua. — Lushai. The guardian spirit of the household and the sacrifice 
performed to him. 

Sawn-man. — Compensation payable to a father for seduction of an 
unmarried girl. 

Sherh. — Lushai. The portions of the sacrificed animal which are offered 
to the demon. Also the state of a house for a period after the 
performing of certain sacrifices, during which the entrance of 
outsiders is prohibited. 

Thangchhuah. — Lushai. A man who has given a series of feasts to his 
village. The expression is also used for the series of feasts. 
Honour in this world and comfort in the next are the reward of the 

Thian. — A woman who receives part of the bride-price, and acts as friend 
or trustee to the bride. 

Thir-deng. — Lushai. Blacksmith. 

Tlangau. — Lushai. Chief's crier. 

Upa. — Lushai. Chief's minister. 

Zawlbuk. — Bachelor's hall and guest house. 





The Lushei chiefe now rule over the country between the l. Habitat 
Kurnaphuli river and its main tributary, the Tuilianpui 
on the west, and the Tyao and Koladyne river on the east, 
while their southern boundary is roughly a line drawn east 
and west through the junction of the Mat and Koladyne 
rivers and their most northerly villages are found on the 
borders of the Silchar district. Within this area, roughly 
7,500 square miles, there are only a few villages ruled over by 
chiefs of other clans, and outside it there are but few true 
Lushei villages, though I am told that there are village3 of 
people very closely connected with the Lusheis, on the southern 
borders of Sylhet, in Tipperah and in the North Oachar Hills, 
and there are a few in the Chittagong Hill tracts. 

All the Lushai Kuki clans resemble each other very closely in 2. Appear- 
appearance and the Mongolian type of countenance prevails. pWjcai 
One meets, however, many exceptions, which may be due to the character- 
foreign blood introduced by the many captives taken from the '^ ^°^' 
plains and from neighbouring tribes ; but these are not worth con- 
sidering, and the description of the Kuki written by Lt. Stewart 
close on 80 years ago cannot be improved on. " The Kukis are a 
short, sturdy race of men with a goodly development of muscle. 
Their legs are, generally speaking, short in comparison with the 
length of their bodies, and their arms long. The face is nearly 
as broad as it is long and is generally round or square, the 



cheek bones high, broad and prominent, eyes small and almond- 
shaped, the nose short and flat, with wide nostrils. The women 
appear more squat than the men even, but are strong and 
lusty." In Lushai elans both sexes are as a rule rather 
slighter made than among the Thado and cognate clans, whom 
Lt. Stewart was describing. Adopting the scale given in the 
handbook of the Anthropological Institute, the colour of the 
skin varies between dark yellow-brown, dark olive, copper- 
coloured and yellow olive. Beards and whiskers are almost 
unknown, and a Lushai, even when able to grow a moustache, 
which is not often, pulls out all the hairs except those at the 
corners of his mouth. The few persons with hairy faces may, 
I think, be safely said to be of impure blood. 

The hair is worn, by both sexes, in a knot over the nape of 
the neck, and carefully parted in the middle. The young folk 
of about the marrying age devote much care to their hair, 
dressing it daily with much pigs' fat. Later in life they grow 
careless, and widows allow their hair to hang as it chooses. 
Children's hair is left to grow as it likes till it is long enough 
to tie up. Curly hair or hair with a pronounced wave in it is 
uncommon, and is much objected to. 

The women are prolific, five to seven children being about 
the average, but the mortality among the children is so great 
that few parents can boast of more than two or three grown up 

Both men and women are good walkers and hill-climbers, 
which is only natural, but for a race which lives exclusively 
on the hilltops the number of good swimmers is very large. 
Most men are not afraid of the water, and manage rafts very 
skilfully, making long journeys on them in the rains. 

Abortion is not infrequently resorted to when a widow 
who is living in her late husband's house, and therefore, as 
described later, expected to remain chaste, finds herself enceinte. 
Suicide is also rather common, poison being the usual means 
chosen. The cause is generally some painful and incurable 
disease, but very old persons with no one to support them 
sometimes prefer the unknown future to the miserable present. 
3. History. The existing Lushei Chiefs all claim descent from a certain 
Thang-ura, who is sometimes said to have sprung from the 


union of a Burman with a Paihte woman, but, according to the 
Paihtes, the Lusheis are descended from Boklua, an illegitimate 
son of the Paihte Chief Ngehguka. The Thados say that some 
hunters tracking a serao noticed the foot-marks of a child 
following those of the animal, and on surrounding the doe serao 
they found it suckling a child, who became the great Chief 
Thang-ura, or, as they call him, " Thangul." From Thang-ura 
the pedigree of all the living chiefs is fairly accurately 
established. The Lusheis, in common with the Thados and 
other Kuki tribes, attach great importance to their genealogies ; 
and pedigrees, given at an interval of many years, and by 
persons living far apart, have been found to agree in a wonder- 
ful manner. From comparison of these genealogies and from 
careful enquiries lasting over many years, I estimate that 
Thang-ura must have lived early in the eighteenth century. 
His first village is said to have been at Tlangkua, north of 
Falam. It is probable that he personally ruled over only a 
small area. From him sprang six lines of Thang-ur chiefs : — 
(1) Rokum, (2) Zadeng, (3) Thangluah, (4) Pallian, (5) Rivung, and 
(6) Sailo. To the north the country was occupied by the Sukte, 
Paihte, and Thado clans. These appear to have been firmly 
established under regular chiefs; but to the west the hills 
appear to have been inhabited by small communities formed 
largely of blood relations and probably each at feud with its 
neighbours. Therefore when want of good jhuming land and 
the aggressions of the eastern clans made it necessary for the 
Thang-ur to move, they naturally went westward. The Rokum, 
the eldest branch, are said to have passed through the hills 
now occupied by the Lushais, and some of their descendants are 
said to be found on the Tipperah-Sylhet border. The Zadeng 
followed the Rokum, and, passing through Champhai, moved 
westwards and about 1830 ruled some 1,000 houses divided 
into four villages situated near the banks of the Tlong 
or Dallesari river, round the Darlung peak. In alliance with 
Sailo chiefs of Lalul's family, they attacked and defeated 
successively the Hualgno (a Lushei family settled between 
Tyao and Manipur rivers) and the Pallian, who were their allies 
against the Hualgno. Subsequently the Zadeng quarrelled with 
Mangpura, then the most powerful Sailo chief, who, dying about 

B 2 


that time, bequeathed the feud to his relatives, one of whom, 
Vutaia, prosecuted it with such vigour that the Zadeng, in spite 
of an alliance with the Manipur Rajah — who, however, proved 
but a broken reed — had to flee southwards, and their last inde- 
pendent village, numbering only 100 houses, broke up on 
the death of the chief, which occured at Chengpui, near 
Lungleh, about 1857. The Zadeng chiefs are reputed to have 
been cruel and arbitrary rulers, whose defeat was not regretted 
even by their own followers. Their descendants have retained 
these qualities, and, in spite of much assistance, have failed to 
regain their position in the world. 

The Thangluah and Rivung took a more southerly course. 
The latter penetrated into what is now the Chittagong Hill 
tracts, and a chief named Vanhnuai-Thanga had a very large 
village on the Longteroi hill, between the Chengri and 
Kassalong rivers. He died about 1850, and shortly after his 
death the village was destroyed by Vutaia. The remnant of 
the Rivungs fled to Hill Tipperah, where Liantlura, a great- 
grandson of Vanhnuai-Thanga, had a village up till a few years 
ago, and there is one small hamlet under a Rivung chief in the 
Aijal sub-division of the Lushai Hills. 

The Thangluah penetrated as far as Demagri and Barkhul, 
where Rothangpuia (Ruttonpoia) became known to us, first as. 
a foe, and then as a faithful ally. Rothangpuia's son Lalchheva, 
fretting at our control, moved his village across our boundary, in 
spite of a warning that Government could on no account protect 
him if he did so. Very shortly after this move he was attacked 
by Hausata, a Chin chief, and his village totally destroyed, many 
persons being killed and more taken captive. All the mithan 
(tame bison) were driven off and the chief escaped with little 
more than the one cloth he was wearing, and now the once 
prosperous Thangluah clan is represented by only a few 
poverty-stricken hamlets round Demagri. 

The Pallian followed the same route as the Zadeng. The 
best known chiefs of this clan are Sibuta (Sheeboot) and 
Lalsuktla (Lalchokla). Sibuta is said in Mackenzie's " Eastern 
Frontier" to have thrown off the Tipperah yoke with 25,000 
houses. He died close to Aijal, and his memorial stone is at 
the first stage on the Aijal-Lungleh road. It is extremely 


doubtful whether he ever was really subject to Tipperah, though 
it is certain that all these Lushai clans had dealings with the 
Tipperah Rajahs and feared them greatly. Among the tales 
in Chapter V. will be found one which exemplifies this, 

Lalsuhtla (Lai chokla), captured by Captain Blackwood in 
1841, was a greatgrandson of Sibuta's. Purlmra is said to 
have been a very powerful Pallian chief and at one time to have 
received tribute from almost all his contemporary Thangur 
chiefs. He had a large village, said to contain 3,000 houses, on 
the Dungtlang, whence he moved as far westwards as Pukzing, 
where his village was destroyed by a combined force of Zadeng, 
Sailo, and Chuckmahs. This attack took place somewhere 
about 1830. Purbura rebuilt his village, but died soon after, 
and his descendants were attacked frequently by the chiefs of 
the Rolura branch of the Sailo family, and now only two small 
hamlets, close to Aijal, remain to remind us of this once powerful 

The Sailo. — These chiefs are descended from Sailova, a great- 
grandson of Thang-ura's. They came into prominence last, but 
have crushed all their rivals, and have developed such a 
talent for governing that they hold undisputed sway over 
representatives of all sorts of clans, over nearly the whole of 
the area now known as the Lushai Hills. 

This great family has often come in contact with the British 
Government, but from the fact that our dealings with them 
have generally been through illiterate interpreters, they appear 
in our records under various names. The Howlongs, who 
caused much anxiety on the Chittagong frontier from 1860 to 
1890, Lalul's descendants, whose doings fill the records of 
Silchar for nearly a century, Vonolel, Savunga, and Sangvunga, 
against whom the two columns of the Lushai Expedition of 
1871-72 were directed — all these were Sailos. 

As above remarked, it- seems most probable that the country 
into which the various Thangur chiefs moved, under pressure 
from the Chins, was almost entirely occupied by small 
communities having no power of cohesion. The greater part 
of these were absorbed, and now form the majority of the 
subjects of the Thangur chiefs ; but some fled north and west 
into Manipur, Silchar, Sylhet and Tipperah, where they are 


known as Kukis and where their appearance caused much 
trouble, as, from the very nature of the cause of their 
migration, much ill-feeling existed between them and the 
triumphant Lushais. In Stewart's notes on Northern Cachar, 
it is stated that the Old Kukis made their appearance in 
Cachar about the end of the eighteenth century. These 
Old Kukis include the Biate (Beteh) and Hrangchul 
(Rhangkol) and other cognate clans who are now known to us 
as Khawtlang. They claim the hills round Champhai as their 
place of origin, and the sites are still known by their names. 
We have seen that the Lusheis claim to have sprung from 
a village south-east of Champhai, and that the Zadeng passed 
through Champhai on their westward move, which ended 
so disastrously for them. The advance of such bribes would be 
slow, and would be largely regulated by the rate at which they 
exhausted the cultivable land near their village sites ; therefore 
the appearance of the Biate and Hrangchul in Cachar at the 
beginning of the nineteenth or end of the eighteenth century 
fits in well with the date I had assigned for Thang-ura, the first 
Lushei chief, before I had read Lieutenant Stewart's book. 
These Khawtlang clans to this day have little power of 
cohesion, and they naturally gave way at once before the 
well-organised Lushais, and fled north and north-west into 
Cachar and Manipur, passing through the territory of the 
Thado clans and suffering considerably at their hands. When 
the Thangur had firmly established themselves, and the capable 
Sailo chiefs had come to the front, they felt equal to fighting 
the Thado clans, which were as highly organised as themselves. 
The Sailo chiefs triumphed, and hence the eruption of the New 
Kukis, alias Thados, and cognate clans, into Silchar about 

In Colonel Lewin's "The Hill Tracts of Chittagong and the 
Dwellers Therein," page 109, is given an account of the " Cucis 
or inhabitants of the Tipperah mountains," written by 
J. Rennel, Chief Engineer of Bengal in 1800. With very 
slight alterations, this account is applicable to the Lushais 
of to-day, and I have no doubt that the Cucis therein described 
were the Rivung, the advance-guard of the great Lushai 


On the Chittagong side, we find, as early as 1777, records of 
frontier disturbances ascribed to " Kookies, men who live far in 
the interior parts of the hills, who have not the use of firearms, 
and whose bodies go unclothed' (Lewin's "The Hill Tracts of 
Chittagong and the Dwellers Therein," page 21). These Kukis 
were allies of the Chuckmahs, and we have seen that about 
fifty years later the Chuckmahs joined with the Zadeng and 
the Sailos in an attack on Purbura. 

The various branches of the Sailo family were frequently at 
war, the cause almost invariably being a dispute as to land. 
About 1856 a war, known as "The War of the North and the 
South," broke out and lasted about three years. The Northern 
combatants were the descendants of Lallula, their opponents 
being Cherra's family. The bone of contention was the Filer 
hill, and this quarrel was on the point of breaking out again in 
1892, when Mr. McCabe and I, appearing on the scene from 
Aijal and Lungleh respectively, " frightened both the heroes so 
they quite forgot thefr quarrel." The war ended in a victory 
for the North, who surprised Konglung, a village on the top of 
a very precipitous rock, and captured the young chief and his 
mother, who later were ransomed for many necklaces. 

In 1874 the Southern Lushais fell out with the Thlantlang 
(Klangklang) chiefs. Vandula, head of the Lushais, had 
raided Vaki, a village on the Arracan border, and brought away 
as part of the loot a brass bowl and a big earthenware vase, 
which the Thlantlang chief claimed as being part of the 
promised price of his daughter, who had recently been married 
to the son of the Vaki chief. As Vandula refused to give up 
the articles, the Thlantlangs attacked a Lushai piquet on the 
Koladyne, killing some men. To revenge this insult, the 
Lushais attacked Bunkhua, with disastrous results, as is described 
in Chapter III, Para. 5, and had to make an ignominious 

Later the Northern chiefs quarrelled among themselves, and 
the war of the East and West broke out and lasted several 
years. The cause is said to have been a girl called Tuali, for 
whose affections Liankhama and Khalkhama were rivals. It is 
unnecessary to go into the history of our dealings with the 
Lushais, which have^ ended in the whole of the Hills being 


annexed, and a stop put to all such wars, but when we occupied 
Lungleh in 1889 we found the Fanai clan coming into pro- 
minence, and there is little doubt that, but for our intervention, 
that clan would shortly have attempted to eject the Southern 
Lushai chiefs. 

4. Affini- The Lushais are more or less closely allied to all the tribes 
*'^^' now living in their vicinity, but some who show this most 

strongly, such as the Chiru, Kom, Aimol, are now settled in the 
Manipur State, while the intervening country is occupied by 
clans belonging to the Thado, Paihte, and Khawtlang families, 
which, though no doubt of the same stock, are more distantly 
connected. It seems certain that the former clans lived near 
the Lusheis when the Thangur commenced their victorious 
career, and it may well be that it was fear of absorption by 
their more powerful neighbour that drove these clans north- 
wards, while the Lusheis took a westerly direction. 

The connection between the Lusheis and their eastern 
neighbours is apparent both in their language and in their 
customs, but the eastern tribes, known to us generally as Chins, 
are of finer physique and, owing to their having permanent 
villages, the differences between clans have become more marked 
than among the semi-nomadic Lushais and Kukis. The feuds 
between different clans, which are always found where per- 
manent villages exist, tend to widen the breach between 
communities and to accentuate every accidental variation of 
custom, so that the common origin is soon lost sight of. 
Nevertheless there is no doubt that the Kukis, Chins, and 
Lushais are all of the same race. 

Less apparent but still quite traceable is the relationship 
between the Lushais and the Kabuis and Manipuris, though the 
latter nowadays try in every way to disown all connection with 
their poor relations. 

5. Dress. The men's dress could not well be simpler, consisting as it 

does of a single cloth about 7 feet long and 5 wide. It is worn 
as follows : — One comer is grasped in the left hand, and the 
cloth is passed over the left shoulder, behind the back, under the 
right arm across the chest and the [ end thrown over the left 
shoulder. Although it would appear probable that clothing so 
loosely worn would be continually falling off, yet, as a matter of 


fact, accidents of that sort seldom occur. In cold weather, one 
or more cloths are worn, one over the other, and also a white 
coat, reaching well down the thigh but only fastened at the 
throat. These coats are ornamented on the sleeves with bands 
of red and white of various patterns. When at work, in hot 
weather, the Lushai wraps his cloth round his waist, letting the 
ends hang down in front, and should he find the sun warm and 
if he is wearing two cloths, he will wear one as a puggri. 
Puggris are sometimes worn when out in the sun for long, and 
some affect rather a quaint style, twisting the cloth round the 
head so as to make an end stand up straight over each ear. 

All these garments are of cotton, grown locally and manu- 
factured by the women of the household. The cloths in general 
use are white, but every man likes to have two or three blue 
cloths ornamented with stripes of various colours. 

The Lushais have a very strong objection to getting their 
heads wet, and therefore in the rain wear hats made of strips 
of bamboo or cane plaited and Uned with smoked leaves. The 
original hats were almost flat and circular, but nowadays these 
have been discarded in favour of very clever imitations of 
helmets and solar topis. In the southern portion of the district 
the people use, as a protection from the wet, a large shallow 
basket-work tray, shaped like an oyster shell, and made water- 
proof by being lined with smoked leaves ; the narrow end rests 
on the wearer's head, while the broad end reaches down well 
below the waist, so that, while bending down weeding in the 
jhum, the head and body are kept dry. This form of water- 
proof is not much used in the northern portion of the Lushai 
Hills, but is common among the Chiru and other allied clans in 
Manipur. As the Lushai has no pockets, he carries, wherever 
he goes, a haversack made of some pretty coloured cotton cloth 
slung over' his shoulder by a strap of the same material. In 
this he carries his flint and steel and his tobacco, in neatly 
made boxes carved out of solid pieces of wood and fitted with 
lids of the same material, or of leather moulded into shape by 
being stretched over a block. His pipe is generally in his 
mouth ; it consists of a bowl made out of a particularly hard 
kind of bamboo which is only found in the Chin hills — whence 
the Lushais claim to have sprung — with a long stem made of a 





reed-like variety of the same plant. When not in his mouth, 
this also reposes in his haversack along with his "tuibur," a 
small gourd to hold the water which has been impregnated 
with nicotiae in the pipe of his wife or sweetheart. A little of 
this evil-smelling concoction he takes into his mouth from time 
to time and, having kept it there a few minutes, he spits it out 
and declares that it has a stimulating effect. In his haversack 
you will also find his knife, the wooden sheath tied to one of 
the shoulder straps so that the handle is always convenient to 
his hand. The blade is about four or five inches long and 
nearly an inch wide at the handle, but comes to a sharp point ; 
the edge is straight and ground like a chisel. 

The dress of the chiefs is the same as that of thecommon people, 
except on occasions of ceremony, when they wear dark blue 
cloths, with red lines of a particular pattern, and plumes, made 
of' the tail feathers of the king-crow, in their hair knots. These 
plumes are very much prized and are kept most carefully in 
bamboo tubes with leather caps. The cloth referred to above 
can also be worn by anyone who has given certain feasts, as 
described later on. 

Dress in War-time. — When the Lushais were fighting us ia 
18921 was much struck by the whiteness of their garments. The 
men who ran away from the stockades as we rushed them were 
always dressed in nice clean coats and cloths, and crowds of 
similarly attired warriors used to assemble every morning just 
out of range and challenge us to come and fight. I was told 
that it was considered the correct thing to come properly dressed 
when there was fighting on hand, but a raiding party I once came 
across was dressed far more suitably. A single cloth wrapped 
tightly round the waist, a haversack protected by a bear or 
tiger skin guard over one shoulder, and a fighting dao or dah 
over the other, and a gun in his hand completed each warrior's 
equipment. It will be seen from the above description that the 
Lushais are not fond of dress, and this is another point in which 
all Kuki clans differ from those of Naga stock. 

Special Attire. — A man who has earned the title of 
" Thangchhuah " (v. Chap. IV, 9) is allowed to wear a cloth of 
a certain pattern and those who have killed men in war have 
special head-dresses, known as " chhawndawl " and " arke-ziak." 


The Women's Dress. — The women are no more addicted to fine 
clothes than their men-folk. All women wear the same costume ; 
a dark-blue cotton cloth, just long enough to go round the 
wearer's waist with a slight over-lap, and held up by a girdle of 
brass wire or string, serves as a petticoat which only reaches to 
the knee, the only other garments being a short white jacket 
and a cloth which is worn in the same manner as the men. On 
gala days the only addition to the costume is a picturesque 
head-dress worn by girls while dancing. This consists of a 
chaplet made of brass and coloured cane, into which are inserted 
porcupine quills, and to the upper ends of these are fixed 
the green wing-feathers of the common parrot, tipped with 
tufts of red wool. At the back is affixed a horizontal bar 
fi-om which hang strings of glistening wing covers of green 
beetles. The women smoke as much as the men and have a 
special form of pipe, a miniature hookah about 9 inches high 
with a clay bowl, the water container being of bamboo much 
ornamented with patterns roughly scratched. The water when 
thoroughly impregnated is transferred to the " tuibur " gourd 
of some male relative or admirer. Children of both sexes begin 
smoking very young. I have seen a woman take her pipe 
from her mouth and put it into that of the baby on her 

6. Tattoo- This is not much practised. The only patterns employed are 
*°^" circles on the forearm and breast, which are said to be mementoes 

of love affairs in happy bachelor days, and rude representations 
of a metna's head, which is said to have no particular 

7. Orna- The Lushai wears a variety of articles in his hair knot. The 
ments commonest is a brass two-pronged pin with a head shaped like 
men. a G. The prongs are drawn out to sharp points and vary in length 

from three to eight or nine inches. These very long pins are 
a recent innovation, and their use seems to be restricted to the 
young dandies of the hamlets round Aijal. Skewers of ivory 
bone, and metal about six or eight inches long are also worn. 
Of the two former there are two patterns, one four-sided, about 
a quarter of an inch thick at two thirds of its length, tapering to 
a point at each end, the other being flat, pointed at one end and 
about half an inch broad at the other. Both are ornamented 


with engraved circles and lines. The metal skewers are quite 
plain and more for use in scratching the head than for ornament ; 
a piece of the rib of a broken umbrella is now often used. The 
hair comb is also an ornamental article ; it consists of a piece of 
ivory or wood about three inches long, half an inch thick and 
an inch or so wide, into which are inserted, very close together, 
teeth of strips of bamboo about two inches long. If the back is 
of wood it is generally crescent-shaped and lacquered red and 

With reference to the comb I may quote from Colonel 
McCulloch's descriptions of the Thados in his " Account of the 
Valley of Manipur " : — " Their attention to genealogy, the dis- 
tinction of clans, and the respect paid to seniors, I have already 
noticed. Out of this may have sprung the only exclusiveness 
shown by the Khonjai (Thado), namely, in the point of who 
would be entitled to use his comb and whose comb he might 
use. This, though amongst them a very important matter, I 
cannot find to have any religious importance attached to it, 
but there is an indication of the superior rank in respect of 
descent or by connection, or of estimation in which an indi- 
vidual is held or holds himself to be found to whom he would 
refuse his comb, or amongst whom his comb is common." 
My Lushai informant says that the use of the comb is 
restricted, as headaches are communicated by the comb. He also 
adds, " A higher clan man is contaminated by a lower clan man 
using his comb. Thus a Renthlei may not use a Sailo's 
hair comb, and a Chawngthu may not use that of a 

Earrings. — Most men have their ears pierced, and wear 
either small wooden studs, with flat heads about half an inch 
in diameter, and coloured red, or cornelians suspended by a 
piece of string. The stones are barrel-shaped and unpolished, 
the surface being pitted with minute holes and circular marks. 
These are valued very highly, and are passed on from father to 
son, or given as a daughter's dowry. Some of them have names 
connecting them with some story of bygone days. These 
naturally fetch higher prices. I know of stones valued at 
Es. 400/-. 

Necklaces. — Both sexes are fond if necklaces ; those of amber 


are most valued, and any that have histories attached to them 
fetch prices which to us seem absurd. I remember a chief, 
who was offered Rs. 60/- for his necklace, replying that if the 
Sahib wanted the necklace he would give it him, but that he 
would not sell it for Es. 1000/- as it had been the property of 
his ancestors. The old necklaces are made of very dark amber, 
beautifully clear, and the beads are sometimes two to three 
inches long and over an inch in diameter. There is some 
doubt as to where these beads came from, but it is probable 
that they came through the Chin hills from Burmah. Besides 
amber, agate, cornelian, and various sorts of bead necklaces 
are worn, or, failing all these, white shirt buttons are 

A tiger's tooth is often hung round the neck as an ornament 
and is also thought to have magical properties. The young 
dandies are fond of hanging round their necks tufts of white 
goat's hair bound together with red thread ; these are now worn 
as ornaments, but undoubtedly the custom arose from the idea 
that cures are effected by hanging round the affected part a 
piece of the skin or feathers of the animal or bird sacrificed 
to the demon, who is thought to be responsible for the 

Bracelets are not much worn and are generally plain brass 

Ornaments Worn by Women. — With the exception of their 
earrings, the Lushai women affect the same ornaments as the 
men. The earrings, however, are quite distinct, and, in order 
to be able to wear them, much preparation is necessary. When 
quite a child the girl has her ears pierced, and small wooden 
plugs are inserted. These are replaced by larger ones, which in 
turn give place to still larger ones of clay, the size of which is 
gradually increased till the real earring, which is an ivory disc 
some inch or inch and a half in diameter, with a hole ia its 
centre, can be inserted. Widows remove their earrings, and 
slit the lobes of their ears when they abandon all thought of 
8. The Lushais have been in possession of firearms for the last 

Weapons, g-^^y ^j. ggygnty years. These weapons are flint-locks bearing 
the names of many European makers ; many are Tower muskets. 


and guns bearing the marks of the French Customs Department 
are not at all rare. These guns came into the country in the 
first instance chiefly through Burmah, though no doubt some 
came through Chittagong, and much money must have been 
made, for the demand was large. When the weapons first began 
to appear, the Lushais and other western tribes used to obtain 
them from the tribes on the Burmah border, giving slaves in 
exchange, a strong male slave being equivalent to two guns. 
The other weapons in use are spears and dahs. The former are 
inferior weapons with iron laurel-leaf shaped blades about a foot 
or fifteen inches long, very insecurely attached to the shaft, which 
is of hard wood, often a piece of sago palm ; at the other end of 
the shaft is a long iron spike which is stuck into the ground 
when the user halts. A special spear is used for sacrificial 
purposes, the blade of which is much longer and diamond- 
shaped. The spike at the other end is also much elongated, so 
that sometimes the wooden shaft is only six or seven inches 
long. The dah is a more serviceable weapon, being copied, as 
its name "kawlnam" denotes, from the Burmese weapon, but the 
blade is shorter, the handle is of wood lacquered black and red, 
and ornamented with brass bands and a brass knob at the end. 
In former days oblong shields of bison-hide eighteen inches wide 
and about two feet long, adorned at the two upper comers with 
tassels of goat's hair dyed red, were carried. The upper half of 
the shield was sometimes covered with discs of brass, while 
from a string crossing the centre of the shield hung a row of 
brass cones about two inches long, from each of which depended 
a tassel of red goat's hair, reaching to the base of the shield. 
Bows and arrows have entirely gone out of use, but were 
formerly used, especially in the chase, when the arrows were 
poisoned. The bows were small and made of bamboo, the 
string being of bark. The arrows were famished with barbed 
iron points, and were carried in a bamboo quiver with a leather 
cap to it. Among weapons we must class the bamboo spikes 
with which a retreating foe or villagers expecting an attack 
rendered the ground almost impassable to a bare-footed enemy. 
These spikes were of two kinds, one used round the village or 
block house, and the other, carried in a neat little cane-work 
quiver, and stuck in the path when returning from a raid to delay 


pursuit. The former were simple bamboo spikes of various 
lengths, while the latter were carefully smoothed bamboo 
spikes about six inches long, and no thicker than a knitting 
needle ; each sort was nicked so that it might break off after 
entering the flesh. To a bare-footed foe these spikes form a 
very serious obstacle, and even our troops have suffered from 
them, the spikes being sometimes long enough to reach to a 
man's knee. 



The entire population may be classed as agriculturists, i. Ooou- 
as only a few people, as will be afterwards described, live P^*^'°"- 
on contributions of rice given them in exchange for services 
rendered to the community. There are no shop-keepers, and, 
except the blacksmith, no craftsmen, each household being 
capable of existing on its own labours. The men build the 
house and cut the jhum, they help in the weeding and 
harvesting, and procure fresh meat by their skill in setting 
snares and hunting. Periodically they visit the nearest bazar, 
often a journey of several days, to purchase salt and the few 
requisites that their own industry cannot produce, consisting 
chiefly of brass cooking pots, iron to be made into daos or 
finished daos. Nowadays, it is true, the wants of the people 
are slowly increasing, and looking-glasses, umbrellas, needles, \\y^ 
and Manchester goods are finding their way into the most 
remote villages. The women folk fetch the wood and water, 
cook the food and do the greatest part of the weeding and 
harvesting ; they also make all the clothing for the whole house- 
hold firom cotton grown in the jhums, which they themselves 
gather, clean, spin, and weave into strong cloth. 

A Lushai woman has to rise early, fill her basket with empty 
bamboo tubes, and trudge off before daylight down to the 
spring, which is generally some way down the hill, and the 
supply of water is frequently so scanty that it takes her some 
time to fill her bamboos. Having conveyed her basketful to 
the house, she has to set to work cleaning the rice for the day. 
The necessary amount of unhusked rice has been dried the 




previous day on the shelf over the hearth, and this she now 
proceeds to pound in a mortar in the front verandah, and 
winnow on an oval bamboo tray till ib is clean enough for use. 
The breakfast of rice has then to be cooked, and by the time it 
is ready her husband is awake. After the meal the real work 
of the day begins. In the cold weather the women settle 
themselves to some of the operations connected with cloth- 
making, while the men prepare to pass a day of complete 
enjoyment, lying in the sun and smoking, the younger ones 
combining this with courting any of the pretty clothmakers ; 
while the children play around entirely uncontrolled, save 
when a shrill-voiced mother calls one of them to assist her 
in some domestic operation. About noon there is a meal 
of rice and herbs, after which work is resumed and continued 
till the evening, when the housewife has to make another 
journey to the spring, and on her return the pigs must be 
fed with a mixture composed of rice husks and a species 
of edible arum bulb, mashed and boiled together, the fowls 
enticed into their baskets, and finally the family collected 
for the evening meal, which varies little from the two previous 
ones, but some garnish, a little meat, dried fish, or some 
savoury vegetable is generally added. As soon as it is dark, 
all the female members of the family gather round the hearth, 
and carry on such work as can be carried on by what light they 
can get from the fire ; though in villages near fir forests some 
pine splinters are generally kept handy for use when an extra 
bright light is required for a few minutes. The men either 
gather in the "zawlbuk" or in some house where there is 
drink going, but the young bucks sneak off to court their lady 
loves, which the girls' parents give them every facility for 
doing. In the other seasons of the year, that is from March to 
December, the people are engaged in their jhums from 
the morning to the evening meal, as is described later on. 

Lushai parents are very fond of their children, and fathers 
are often seen carrying their infants about. In times of 
scarcity, what rice can be got is reserved for the young children, 
the rest of the people living on yams, jungle vegetables, and 
the pith of the sago palm. The children assist their parents as 
much as they can, tiny girls accompanying their mothers to the 


spring, and bringing up one or two bamboos of water, while the 
lads help their fathers in cutting the jhum. No one, however, 
takes any care of children, and they are allowed to run 
about the village as they like, in all weathers, which no doubt 
accounts largely for the heavy mortality among them, as their 
clothing is of the scantiest. 

Teknonymy is very common. The parents of a child called 
Thanga will generally be known as Thanga-Pa and Thanga-Nu, 
and I have come across old widows whose real names were 
unknown. There is a strong and general dislike among all 
Lushais to saying their own names. When we first occupied 
the hills, a man would not tell you his name ; if asked he would 
refer to someone else and say, " You tell him." The following 
explanation, given me by a Lushai, seems to me scarcely 
satisfactory : — " Lushais are shy of saying the name of their 
father and mother and their own names. Because it is their 
own name they are shy of saying it. Some people are 
shy because their names are bad. Their parents' names — 
because they are their parents they never call them by 
their names, therefore they are shy of saying them. Their own 
names also they never say ; just for that reason they are shy of 
saying them. The napies of their brothers and Mends they 
are always saying, therefore they are not shy of saying them." 
Long ago another explanation was given me. When a man 
kills another, he calls out his own name : " I, Lalmanga, have 
killed you ! " so that the spirit of the dying man may know 
whose slave he will be in Mithi-Khua, the dead man's village ; 
it was suggested that it was unlucky to say one's name on less 
important occasions. 

In every village there is a small flat basket, the size of which 2. 
is fixed by the chief, which is used for all retail dealings in rice ^nl *^ 
and such goods, but large quantities are measured by the Measurea. 
number of loads, a load being about 60 lbs. After the harvest 
the unhusked rice is piled in a conical heap. A Lushai will 
tell you that his crop is " chhip-zawn," that is, the heap is 
level with the top of his head ; " silai-zawn," that is, level with 
the end of his gun held up perpendicularly over his head. This 
is about a record crop ; lesser quantities are denoted by the 
height of his band or hoe or axe held up. Time he measures 



by the time a pot of rice takes to cook — i.e., about an hour — 
or by the time he can hold a sip of nicotine in his mouth ; he 
has terms for each period of the day, denoting the usual 
occupation; he also divides the year according to the 
agricultural occupation proper to it. Terms expressing 
measures of length are very numerous. Short lengths are 
expressed by reference to the human body, as we speak 
of a span ; but the Lushai has sixteen or seventeen of these, 
extending from " chang-khat '' — i.e., from the tip to the first joint 
of the first finger — to " hlam, " which is the distance a man 
can stretch with both arms extended. Longer distances he 
expresses by terms such as the distance of the nearest jhum, 
the distance of the furthest jhum, the distance a mithan will 
wander during the day, the distance a man can travel before 
his mid-day meal, &c. — terms which, though well understood by 
the people, are a little perplexing to strangers.. Measures 
of weight are scanty ; a curious one is " chuai " — i.e., as much as 
can be supported if suspended from the tip of the first finger 
palm downwards. Many of the stars and constellations 
have received names ; most of them have some story attached to 
them. The months are lunar months, and some have names, 
but these are but little known or used. 
3. The Lushai likes to perch his village on the top of a ridge or 

Villages, spur, partly because, hillsides being steep, it is difficult to find 
sites elsewhere, partly for the sake of the climate, but chiefly, I 
I think, in order to get a good defensive position. His migratory 
habits disinclining him to make the elaborate defences over 
which the Chins, Nagas, and other dwellers in permanent 
villages took so much pains, he therefore sought for a 
site which was difficult of approach. When we first occupied 
the country, every village was surrounded by one or more lines 
of stockade made of timber, with several rows of bamboo spikes 
outside it. At each gateway was a block house, and others 
were built at suitable places on the roads along which enemies 
were expected to come, and were occupied whenever an attack 
was apprehended. Tradition speaks of villages of 3,000 houses, 
and, though this is probably an exaggeration, still from an 
examination of the sites it is evident that they must have 
been very large, and even when we occupied the country 


villages of 400 and 500 houses were not uncommon, and there 
were two or three of 800 houses. 

Now that all fear of being raided has gone for ever, people 
no longer feel the need of living together in large communities, 
and the size of villages is steadily decreasing. The peculiar 
vagabond strain in the blood of the Kuki-Lushai race, if not 
controlled, leads to villages splitting into hamlets and hamlets 
sub-dividing, till in the Manipur Hills we find single houses 
in the midst of dense jungle, several miles from the next 
habitation. This could never happen among tribes belonging 
to the Naga group, with whom intense love for the ancestral 
village site is a leading characteristic. A short distance out- 
side the village by the roadside there generally are several 
platforms of logs with posts round them adorned with skulls of 
animals, gourds, rags, and old pots. These are memorials of 
deceased heroes, and will be more fully dealt with later on. 

The gate itself was composed either of two large slabs of 
timber, or of a number of stout saplings suspended from a cross 
bar by holes cut through their upper ends; during the day 
these were drawn aside, but at night they hung perpendicularly 
in the gateways and were firmly secured between two cross bars. 
Passing through the gate, one finds oneself in a sort of irregular 
street leading up to the highest point of the village, where there 
is generally an open space, from which other streets branch off. 
On one side of this space will be the chiefs house, with the 
" zawlbuk," or bachelors' hall, opposite it. The villages of 
powerful chiefs are beautifully laid out in regular streets which 
follow the natural features of the ground. When Colonel 
Lister in 1850 captured the village of Shentlang he was so im- 
pressed with the regularity with which the villages within sight 
were laid out that he was easily led to believe these were can- 
tonments inhabited solely by warriors. If the village is a large 
one and contains a mixed population, it is divided into several 
quarters, or " veng," which are generally inhabited by people of 
the same clan, and each will have its zawlbuk, a large building 
constructed by the united labour of the men of the veng or the 
village. As the mithan or gyal (tame bison) belonging to the 
village pass the night under the zawlbuk, it is generally built 
on rather a steep hillside, so that the natural fall of the ground 


may allow ample room for the animals under the raised floor 
and ensure good drainage. It is built, as are all other build- 
ings in the village, of timber and bamboos, tied together with 
cane and thatched with either cane leaves or grass — if the 
former, then the ridge of the roof is straight and gable-ended ; 
if the latter, it is far higher in the centre, whence it curves 
down somewhat abruptly to each gable. Access to the building 
is obtained by a platform of rough logs at the uphill end, where 
the front wall commences some 3J feet above the platform. 
Haviug stooped under this wall you are confronted by a low 
mattiQg partition, surmounted by a huge log, the whole some 
3 feet high, over which you scramble and find yourself in a 
large bare room varying from 15 to 50 feet long and 
15 to 30 feet wide, according to the size of the village, 
with a square earthen hearth in the centre on which a few 
logs are always smouldering, and at the far end is a raised 
sleeping platform extending the whole width of the building. 
The young boys of the village have to keep up the supply of 
firewood for the zawlbuk, this duty continuing till they reach 
the age of puberty, when they cease sleeping in their parents' 
houses and join the young men in the zawlbuk. Until that 
time they are under the orders of the eldest or most influential 
boy, who is their " hotu," or superintendent. The zawlbuk 
is the particular property of the unmarried men of the village, 
who gather there in the evening to sing songs, tell stories, and 
make jokes till it is time to visit their sweethearts, after which 
they return there for the rest of the night. Travellers not 
having any friends in the village use the zawlbuk as a rest- 
house, but eating and drinking are seldom, if ever, carried on 
there. The zawlbuk is an institution common to many tribes, 
but among the clans I am dealing with it is confined to the 
Lushei and the clans most nearly allied to them. Its appear- 
ance among the Ohiru and Vaiphei emphasises the close con- 
nection between these clans and the Lusheis. 

The houses all abut on the street, but small gardens are often 
found at the back, in which sugar cane, beans, cucumbers, &c., 
are grown. The houses of the chiefs advisers and wealthy 
men are generally grouped near his, but should the chief have 
more than one wife, or should he have some less fortunate 




relations dependent on him, their houses will be found scattered 
through the village, each forming a centre of a quarter or a 
veng, from the inhabitants of which the chief allows them 
to collect the dues, which are his by right. 

The steepness of the hillside is no obstacle to house building, 
and frequently the roof of one house will be lower than the 
floor of the one immediately above it. The Lushais have beenj 
nomadic ever since their ancestors started on their western trek 
some 200 years ago. The method of cultivation which they 
follow is very wasteful, and a large village soon uses up all the 
land within reach, and then a move becomes imperative. Their 
custom of burying their dead within the village tends to make 
a site unhealthy, especially as the water supply is usually so 
situated as to receive the drainage of the village, and when the 
rate of mortality rises unduly high, a move is at once made. 
In old times these moves were often of considerable length — 
sometimes as much as two or three daj's' journey — and sometimes 
a halt for a whole season would be made at some temporary 
site, the people living in huts alongside their cultivation.!^ 
The selection of a new site is a matter of much thought, and 
before a final decision is arrived at, a deputation of elders is 
sent to sleep at the proposed site, taking with them a cock. 
If the bird crows lustily an hour before daybreak, as all good 
cocks should, the site is approved of. Sites of villages which 
have been burnt by enemies are eschewed as unlucky, and a 
chief when re-occupying a site of some other chief's village 
generally tries to establish himself slightly to one side or other, 
in hopes that the new site will bear his name for many years. 

As soon as the move has been decided on, arrangements are 
made for cutting the jhums near the new site, and during the 
rains all the workers live either in the jhum houses, or in tem- 
porary shelters built near the new site, to which, after the 
harvest, they laboriously carry all their belongings on their own 
backs, as they own no beasts of burden. These constant movei" 
have had a great share in moulding the Lushai character, for 
when you have to carry all your worldly goods from your old to 
your new house every four or five years, it is not strange if you 
are disinclined to amass more than is absolutely necessary, and 
gradually become content with very little, and prefer ease and 


idleness to toiling in the hopes of being able to add to your 
worldly possessions. This I believe to be the explanation of the 
difference between the Lushai and the Chins, the latter being 
, eager to earn money by work or trade, while the former far 
L prefer to lie smoking in the sun. 
4. Houses. The house of a commoner consists of three parts, the front 
verandah, approached by a rough platform of logs, the main 
room, and a small closet partitioned off at the far end, beyond 
which there will sometimes be a small bamboo platform. The 
verandah is termed " sum-hmun," from the " sum," or mortar 
in which the paddy is cleaned, which has its place here. On 
one side the careful housewife stacks her firewood, and the front 
wall of the house is the place on which the householder, if he 
is a sportsman, displays the skulls of the animals and birds he 
has slain ; among them hang baskets in which the fowls lay, 
and even sit on their eggs, hatching out as numerous and as 
healthy broods as do the most pampered inhabitants of model 
poultry farms. The fowls spend the night in long tubular 
bamboo baskets, hung under the eaves, access to which is gained 
by climbing up an inclined stick from the front verandah. 
Hens with broods are shut up each night in special baskets 
with sliding doors. 

From the verandah a small door, about 2| feet by 4, with 
a very high sill, opens into the house. This door is placed at 
the side furthest from the hill, and consists of a panel of split 
bamboo work attached to a long bamboo which slides to and 
fro, resting in the groove between two other bamboos lashed on 
to the top of the sill, in which there is generally a small open- 
ing, with a swinging door, for use of the dogs and fowls when 
the big door is closed. Immediately inside the door, in one 
corner, are collected the hollow bamboo tubes which take the 
place of water pots ; opposite will often be a large circular 
bamboo bin containing the household's supply of paddy. Next 
to this is a sleeping platform, known as " kum-ai," beyond which 
is the hearth of earth, in the centre of which three stones or 
pieces of iron are fixed, on which the cooking pot rests. The 
earth is kept in its place by three pieces of wood, that in front 
being a wide plank with the top carefully smoothed, which 
forms a favourite seat during cold weather. The earth is put in 


wet and well kneaded, and eventually becomes as hard as 
brick. Along the wall an earthen shelf serves the double pur- 
pose of keeping the fire from the wall and affording a resting 
place for the pots. Over the hearth are hung two bamboo 
shelves, one above the other, on which to-morrow's supply of 
paddy is dried, and various odds and ends are stored. These 
shelves also serve to keep the sparks from reaching the roof. 
Beyond the fireplace is another sleeping place, called the 
" kum-pui " — i.e., big bed — which is reserved for the parents, 
while the young children and unmarried girls use the kum-ai ; 
the bigger boys and young men, as has already been stated, 
sleeping in the zawlbuk. Beyond the kum-pui comes the 
partition dividing off the small recess used as a lumber room, 
and often as a closet. The beds and hearth are always on the 
side of the house nearest to the hillside, and do not usually 
extend quite to the centre, the rest of the floor being vacant, 
and, in order to avoid obstructing this, the posts which sup- 
port the ridge are placed slanting, passing through the floor in 
line with the edge of the hearth. Along the wall opposite to 
the hearth are lashed two or more bamboos, forming convenient 
shelves, while a platform of the same useful plant is constructed 
from one cross beam to another. Forked sticks tied to the 
wall or to the uprights form hooks, and the large bamboos, 
wherever used, have openings cut in them which convert each 
joint into a tiny cupboard. At the far end of the house, 
opposite the front door, is a similar door opening on to a small 
platform, whence a notched log serves as a means of descend- 
ing to the garden or the street. Many houses have bamboo 
platforms adjoining the front verandah, on which the women 
folk sit and do their weaving, while the young men lie at their 
ease and flirt with any girls who are good looking. 

The houses of the chiefs are very similar to those of their 
subjects, only a good deal larger. Entering from the front 
verandah, the visitor finds himself in a passage running along 
one side of the house, off which open several small rooms 
inhabited by the married retainers; the other end of the 
passage opens into a large room with several sleeping platforms 
and sometimes two or more hearths, but otherwise similar to 
that above described. Beyond this is the usual closet, while 




beyond that is a wide verandah partially closed in, which is 
especially reserved for the chiefs family. These verandahs, 
called " bazah," are forbidden to all except chiefs or wealthy 


=^HD — 



























S C8 

M g a <« 

m O oj 

Si o tj 
8 otT* 

r> TO p __ 

I ^«| 

3 . S Sh « 




DQ ^ 

O tjO 

•^ tH 

« pa 

■g s 


e2 DO fCj &J 

.^ o ^ 

-e *^' 

EJ .1- 


Q I -^ H-i 3 >» 


sis g2 






►° « ^ o "« 
- . '^ S 'I' 

60 is ft '^ 'd 

3 S « -2 M 3 

5 3 « 

ajjaja , 

8 i»0 ^'Q la* 

0) . P* 

S CI '^ 

Q e3 n ^^ 

G-« s 3 


persons who have given certain feasts. A similar prohibition 
exists regarding windows, which are one of the prerogatives of 
the " Thangchhuah," as will be described in Chapter IV, para 1. 
Openings in the side of the house are viewed with suspicion, as 
likely to bring misfortune, and a most progressive chief told me 
he had refrained from making any but the authorised ones, in 
deference to the strong public feeling that the whole village 
would suffer for such an innovation. 

The materials of which all the buildings are constructed are 
the same — viz., timber for uprights and cross beams, bamboos for 
the framework of the floor, walls, and roof, split bamboos for the 
floor, walls, and if cane leaves are used to cover the thatch ; the 
whole being tied together with cane. The uprights consist of 
sections of hard wood trees, which are split longitudinally and 
left to season for as long as possible. The cross beams which rest 
on the wall plates appear to us unduly heavy, while the wall plates 
seem very weak. The Lushais claim that the weight of the cross 
beams gives the house stability in high winds. The broad bands 
of split bamboo laid on top of the cane leaf thatch from eave to 
eave, secured at intervals by longitudinal bamboos tied down with 
cane, give the roof a semi-circular appearance from the outside. 
When cane leaves cannot be obtained, thatching grass is used, 
but its extreme inflammability makes it unpopular. When 
cane leaves are used, holes for the passage of cane ties cannot 
be avoided, and beneath each of these a bamboo split in half is 
secured as a drain pipe to convey the drippings beyond the 

Owing to their nomadic habits the Lushais have not much 5. Pur- 
furniture. Even in the houses of powerful chiefs but little 
will be found but a few rough and low wooden stools, some 
wooden platters, some earthenware beer pots, strengthened 
by plaited cane coverings, some brass pots, and many baskets in 
which valuable or perishable articles are preserved. Property 
which can be safely buried is often concealed in this way, a 
custom which is fast dying out now that raids are things of the 

Agricultwral. — The Lushai's cultivation being confined to 6. Imple- 
cutting down the jungle, burning it, and dibbling in the seed '"®°*^- 
among the ashes, he does not require many or elaborate imple- 


ments and is content with a dao, an axe, and a hoe. The dao 
is a knife with a triangular blade, about 3 inches wide at 
the end and 1 inch or so at the handle. It is ground with a 
chisel edge, the broad end being also sharpened. This is used 
for clearing the jungle, and the broad end is used for grubbing 
the holes in which the seeds are placed. The axe heads are of 
iron only about Ij- inches wide at the edge, and taper almost 
to a point ; the handles are simply pieces of bamboo, the heads 
being thrust through the tough root portion. The hoes very 
closely resemble the axes, the heads being a little lighter and 

Musical Instruments. — The commonest are gongs and drums, 
but a kind of mouth-organ known as " rotchem " and a fiddle 
made out of a piece of bamboo are sometimes used. The 
gongs are mostly imported from Burma, as much as Ks. 150/- 
being paid for large ones, but the most prized are sets of three 
small gongs, each with a separate note, on which three skilled 
performers can produce something resembling a tune. The 
drums are sections of trees hollowed out, the ends being covered 
with metna hide caps laced together. The rotchem, which is 
found in all Lushai-Kuki clans, consists of a gourd into which 
nine hollow reeds are inserted, one to serve as a mouthpiece ; 
the others, which are of various lengths, have small holes cut in 
them. The performer blows into the mouthpiece, and, by 
closing and opening the holes with his fingers, he can produce 
various notes, but the music is dull and monotonous. The 
fiddle is a very rough affair, produced in a few minutes by 
loosening a strip of the outer skin of a bamboo, without detach- 
ing it at its ends, and raising it up and inserting a piece of 
stick to act as a bridge ; the bow is made out of another piece 
of bamboo. The sound of a bugle is very cleverly imitated by 
blowiag through several lengths of bamboo inserted one into 
the other. 

Household Utensils. — Besides the articles enumerated under 
furniture, earthenware cooking pots and bamboo spoons 
complete the utensils used inside the house. 
7. Manu- Basket Work. — This is chiefly carried on by men. The 
patterns are very numerous, each being adapted to some 
particular use. The material is generally bamboo. The " thul " 



IS a basket with four short legs, about twelve inches square at 
the bottom, widening till the mouth is a circle with a diameter 
of about thirty inches ; this basket is supplied with a conical 
lid and is chiefly used to keep valuables in. The outer layer is 
of finely split bamboo closely woven, and this is lined with 
broad leaves well dried, which are held in their place by an 
inner layer of bamboo more loosely woven. These baskets are 
quite waterproof. 

For carrying goods there are the " deron," a truncated cone 
30 to 36 inches long with a diameter at its mouth of about 
24 inches, holding about 50 lbs. of paddy ; the " em," similar 
to the deron, but about half the size. The "bomrang," 
an open-work basket with an oval mouth, 15 inches by 
12, is used for carrying goods on long journeys. The " pai- 
kawng " similar in shape to the em, but with open-work sides, is 
for conveyance of wood, water tubes, &c. There are also 
several sorts of flat baskets for holding grain, each with its 
particular name. The containing power of these is approximately 
constant, and they are used as measures of quantity. 

Pottery. — The women make clay pots, moulding them by 
hand. There are only two kinds in use — a small circular pot with 
a mouth some 6 to 8 inches in diameter, used for cooking, and 
a large jar, about 24 inches high and 15 inches in diameter, 
tapering to about 9 inches at the mouth, which is used for 
brewing beer in. 

Brass Work. — Occasionally one comes across rough specimens 
of moulding in this metal, which show considerable if untrained 
talent, but they are very rare, and I attribute them to captives 
taken from the plains of India or Burma, or to persons who 
have learnt from them. The method followed is to make a 
model in wax and cover it with successive washes of clay till a 
sufiicient thickness is obtained, the whole then being baked till 
the clay is hard, and the wax has all run out through a hole 
left for this purpose. Into this mould the molten brass is then 
poured. The commonest use of this work is for the semi- 
circular tube required to connect the two arms of the syphons 
used in drawing off the rice beer. These tubes are sometimes 
surmounted by quite elaborate designs, a hunter approaching 
his quarry, a tree with many hornbills perched among the 


boughs, and on one which I bought are represented Vutaia and 
his " kawnbawl," or minister, with leg irons on. The latter carries 
on his shoulder an elephant's tusk, which formed part of the 
ransom of his master, who, in the ups and downs of the 
troublous times in which he lived, had been captured by the 

Iron Work. — The blacksmith is one of the village officials 
described in Chapter III, para. 2. The forge is placed in 
the middle of the widest street to lessen the risk of fire ; it is 
only a rough shed with a log platform in front, which is as 
favourite a resort for loafers as is the forge door in England. 
The bellows consist of two hollow wooden cylinders in which 
pistons fringed with feathers are worked up and down. The 
lower ends of the cylinders are buried in the ground, side by 
side, and from them two bamboo tubes converge, meeting just 
behind a stone through which there is a hole ; the charcoal fire 
is placed in front of this stone, and when the pistons are worked 
smartly a very strong draught is obtained. The blacksmith 
does little more than make and repair the simple agricultural 
implements of the village, but I have heard rumours of some 
who are capable of making gun locks. I think the form of 
bellows and the art of working iron have been introduced by 
captives, as the same type of bellows is found in the adjoining 

Cloth Manufacture. — Cotton is grown in the jhums. It is 
cleaned in a home-made gin, consisting of a frame holding two 
wooden rollers, one end of each being carved for a few inches of 
its length into a screw, grooved in the opposite way to the 
other, so that on the handle being turned the rollers revolve in 
opposite directions, and the cotton is drawn between them, the 
seeds being left behind. The cotton is then worked by hand 
into rolls a few inches long, whence it is spun into the spindle 
of a rough spinning wheel, or occasionally a bobbin is used, which, 
being given a sharp twist, draws the cotton into a thread by its 
own weight. This method admits of diligent ones spinning as 
they go to and from their jhums. The thread having been 
spun, it is thoroughly wetted and then hung in loops some 
three or four feet long over a horizontal bar, and stretched by 
several heavy bars being suspended in these loops. 


Weaving. — The warp is prepared by passing the thread round 
two smooth pieces of wood, one of which is fastened to two 
uprights, while the ends of the other are attached to the ends 
of a broad leather band, which passes behind the back of the 
weaver as she sits on the ground and, by leaning back, stretches 
the threads to the requisite degree of tightness. The woof is 
formed by passing to and fro bamboos round which are wound 
different coloured threads, which are beaten home with a well 
polished batten made of the sago palm. 

A very serviceable form of quilt called " puanpui " is made by 
passing round every fourth or fifth thread of the warp a small 
roll of raw cotton and drawing both ends up. A row of these 
cotton rolls is put in after every fourth or fifth thread of the 
woof, so that on one side the quilt is composed of closely placed 
tufts of cotton. 

Dyeing. — The commonest dye is obtained by boiling the 
leaves of the Assam indigo (Strobilanthes Jlaccidifolia). Many 
immersions are required to render the colour permanent, and as 
the plant, which is cultivated near the villages or in the gardens, 
does not grow luxuriantly, it is seldom possible to obtain enough 
leaves in any one year for more than two immersions, so that 
the whole process may take two or three years. 

Several red and yellow dyes are known, but they are little 
used, and most of the thread, excepting the blue and white, is 
obtained from the bazars. 

Ornamentation. — Cloths are ornamented almost entirely by 
lines of different colours. White cloths have blue and red 
stripes down the centre and sometimes one transversely about a 
foot from either end. Coloured cloths are mainly blue, with 
stripes of red, yellow, and green. Zigzags are not un- 
common, and short lengths of this pattern are placed 
haphazard on cloths and coats. The stems of women's pipes 
are ornamented with spirals and coils. 

The most valued 'animal is the mi than; these tame bison 8- Domes- 

. ulC 

wander all day at will in the jungle round the village and animals, 
towards dusk return spontaneously, each animal going to its 
owner's house, round which it loiters till it receives a little salt, 
after which it joins the rest of the herd under the zawlbuk. 
The animals are only used for slaughter. They interbreed 



freely with the wild mithan, and the hybrids are, I believe, not 
sterile. The other domestic animals are pigs, goats, fowls, and 
dogs. The pigs are the scavengers of the village, but are 
generously fed on a species of arum and rice husks boiled to- 
gether. The fowls are of a small breed ; pure white, brown, and 
black are the commonest colours, but there is also a handsome 
spangled breed. The dogs have bushy tails, which curl tightly. 
Dogs are eaten freely, but their chief value is derived from the 
demand for sacrificial purposes. The goats are splendid animals 
with long silky hair and very large horns. 
9. Agri- The only form of agriculture practised is that known to us 
generally as jhuming, and it consists in felling a piece of jungle 
and when it has completely dried setting fire to it. The 
ground is thus cleared and manured by the ashes at the same 
time. Timber which is not entirely burnt is dragged to the side 
of the plot and made into a rough fence to keep 
deer out. The surface of the jhum is lightly hoed over and 
then there is nothing more to be done till the gathering clouds 
warn the cultivator that the rains are about to break, then 
everyone sallies out, each with a small basket of seeds slung 
over one shoulder and the square-ended dao in hand. Line is 
formed at the lower end of the clearing, and the whole family 
proceeds slowly upwards, dibbling shallow holes with their daos 
and dropping into each a few seeds. It is considered very 
lucky to get well soaked while sowing. The chief crop is rice, 
but the maize, ripening as it does in August, is eagerly looked 
for by the improvident Lushais who have probably used up 
more rice than was prudent in the manufacture of beer. The 
rice does not ripen till November or December, though a little 
early rice is grown which ripens in September. Between the 
sowing and the end of the rains in October the crop requires 
constant weeding, a duty which falls on the women folk if the 
family contains enough of them. In each clearing a small house 
is built, well raised off the ground, in which the cultivators stay 
during the time the work is heaviest. The other crops grown 
are millet. Job's tears, peas, and beans. Tobacco and cotton are 
also grown for home consumption. The rice is cut very high 
as the straw has no value. It is threshed on a piece of ground 
specially levelled near the jhum house. Threshing is done in 


two or three ways. The ears are thrown on to the threshing 
floor and trodden out by persons dancing on^them, or are beaten 
with sticks till the grains have all fallen out. Both these 
methods are rather wasteful, and a better one, which is much 
used in the northern part of the hills, is to construct a platform 
about 7 or 8 feet from the ground on which a circular bamboo 
bin is fixed, into which the ears of rice are thrown and a young 
man with a girl as a companion dance merrily among them, 
singing all the while, the split end of the bamboos of which the 
platform is made keeping up a cheerful clatter. The grain is 
quickly separated from the ear and falls in a golden cone on to 
the threshing floor, whence it can be easily collected and stored 
in large round bins in the jhum houses or in specially built 
granaries in some sheltered nook at a convenient distance from 
the village. 

Jhuming is certainly a very wasteful method of cultivation, 
as seldom more than two crops are taken off the same piece of 
land, which is then allowed to lie fallow till it has again become 
covered with jungle, which will take three or four years in the case 
of bamboo, and seven to ten if the jungle be trees. Tree land 
is said to give better crops, but the labour of felling is greater 
than in the case of bamboo and more weeding is required, and 
if the land is jhumed too frequently the trees give place to 
coarse grass, which the Lushais refuse to jhum, whereas 
bamboos only grow thicker for cutting. 

All the hill men are very fond of fresh meat, and are clever 10. Hunt- 
at trapping game. Long lines of rough fencing are run through g^|jj„'i 
the jungle, with small openings at intervals, in which snares 
are set. Pheasants, jungle fowl, &c., coming to one of these 
fences will always run along it till an opening is found, and 
thus get snared. Porcupines are killed by a bamboo spear 
fastened to a sapling bent back like a spring alongside a run 
and so an;anged that it shall be released just as the animal is 
opposite the spear point. Tigers are caught under a platform 
of heavy logs, which is supported in an inclined position by a 
strong cane passed over a cross piece held up by two uprights. In 
a hole under this platform is placed a pig in a basket ; on the 
tiger pulling at the basket the heavy platform falls and 
squashes him, while the pig, being in a hole, escapes. Deer, 



wild cats, &c., are caught in snares, a noose being arranged so 
that on the animal's stepping in it a sapling to which the noose 
is attached, and which is held down in a bent position, is 
released, thus hoisting the animal up into the air. The method 
of releasing the bent sapling or causing the platform to fall is 
in all cases the same. Two uprights are driven into the ground 
and a bar securely tied across near their tops. The string or 
rope which supports the platform or keeps the sapling in a 
bent position has a wooden toggle tied to it. The string is 
drawn between the uprights and one end of the toggle is 
hitched under the bar and the other end drawn down between 
the uprights until it is perpendicular, in which position it is 
held by a movable piece of wood being slipped across the 
uprights, just behind its lower end. In this position the pull 
of the string is on the upper cross bar, and a very slight touch 
will remove the lower one and set the toggle free; then up 
goes the string and down comes the platform or the noose is 
tightened. The removal of the lower bar is achieved in several 
ways. The bait or one end of a string stretched across the run 
may be tied to it, or it may be made to support one end of a 
tiny platform, on which the unwary quarry treads as it passes. 

Pitfalls constructed in former times for the capture of 
elephants are found all over the hills, generally on a narrow 
ridge between precipices. To catch monkeys some rice is placed 
on a small platform at the end of a partially severed bamboo 
standing at a right angle to the hillside. The monkey, 
attracted by the rice, springs on to the platform and is pre- 
cipitated on to a number of bamboo spikes which have been 
stuck in the ground beneath it. The same device with suitable 
alterations is sometimes employed to destroy tigers and bears. 

The Lushai is also very fond of shooting, and with his old flint- 
lock accounts each year for a good number of bears and tigers. If a 
village is much troubled by a tiger systematically waylaying its 
livestock, a general hunt is ordered, guns are borrowed from 
the neighbours, and the tiger, having been tracked into a piece 
of jungle, is approached by a shouting mob, from which he flies. 
Every efi^ort of his to turn from the path selected for him is 
defeated by well posted crowds, who turn him back with shouts 
and beating of drums, till, wearied out, he comes to bay and falls 


a victim to a volley from all the guns present, but before he 
dies he has often severely mauled several of his tormentors. 

Large hunting parties make lengthy expeditions into the 
uninhabited parts in search of elephants and wild mithan. To 
kill an elephant with their flintlocks is not an easy task. A 
volley is fired at the selected animal, which is then followed for 
days, being fired at when an opportunity occurs, till it falls fi:om 
sheer exhaustion. The following graphic account of an 
unsuccessful hunt was written for me by a Lushai. The Kong- 
puishiam and funeral ceremonies will be described in the proper 
place further on. 

"When Hmongphunga's village was at Kanghmun, they 
intended to go out shooting. They performed the Kongpuishiam 
ceremony ; they placed the ashes in the middle of the road. 
Early next day they went and looked at them, and in the ashes 
they saw the footmarks of a tiger, an elephant, and a man. 
They started on the hunting expedition, carrying plenty of rice 
with them. They certainly found the elephants and fired a volley 
at one of them. One of the party was called Hrangkunga. 
The elephant ran away. They found it in a narrow ravine. 
Hrangkunga was about to shoot at it from above when the 
earth gave way and he rolled down close to the elephant, which 
picked him up and carried him to a level place close by, and 
threw him down and trampled on him and broke up his gun 
and powder horn. His friends fired at the animal, and it went 
off; they could not kill it. When the elephant had gone they 
took up Hrankunga and buried him close by in the jungle, and 
set out for their village, near which they shot a tiger. When 
the people in the village heard of their approach they came out 
to meet them with ' zu.' The hunters wrapped up grass and leaves 
in a cloth to represent the corpse of their friend. Outside the 
village they fired guns and put down the effigy, which was 
buried by the elders of the village. Shortly after this they 
went out shooting again, and after going some way they saw 
Hrangkunga's ghost on the branch of a tree and were very 
frightened, and went home." 

Fishing is carried on with the ordinary casting net, and fish 
are sometimes killed with spears or daos by torchlight, but 
most reliance is placed on the " ngoi." This is a weir built of 



timber and bamboos reinforced with stones, which stretches 
from side to side of the river. At one side an opening is left 
through which the water rushes with great force into a long 
bamboo shoot, which curves slightly upwards and ends in a deep 
receptacle, also of bamboo. The fish are carried into this by 
the force of the water which escapes between the bamboos, 
and are unable to leap out. Close by is placed a hut, well 
raised off the ground, in which the fishermen live for several 
days at a time and smoke the catch. Any chance openings in 
the weir are closed with conical baskets which detain small fish, 
prawns, &c. These weirs are constructed by the united labour 
of the whole village, and any villager can make use of them, but 
he has to pay a toll in kind to the chief. Certain spots are 
peculiarly adapted for these weirs, and each is by prescriptive 
right the property of the village occupjdng a certain site in the 
vicinity, any infringement of which will lead to a serious 

Deep pools in the smaller streams are sometimes poisoned 
by having a decoction of a certain herb called "kokur" or of a 
bark called " ru " poured into them. This stupefies the fish, 
which tioat to the surface and are easily captured. The 
mixture is said to be harmless to human beings or cattle. 
11. Food The Lushai when speaking of food always means rice. Though 
^^ , he is fond of meat and likes vegetables and seasonings, he only 
considers them as a garnish to his rice. When a mithan is 
killed to feast the village, the flesh is boiled in earthen pots in 
the street and the contents emptied out on to plantain leaves, 
whence the feasters help themselves with their fingers, washing 
down the savoury morsels with the water in which they have 
been boiled, but this banquet in no way takes the place of the 
regular meal of rice. 

Flesh of all animals is eaten, and is not objected to even 
when considerably decomposed. The flesh of leopards and 
tigers is only eaten by children, but in spite of many enquiries 
I have been unable to ascertain why adults abstain from this 
article of diet. Rats of the white-bellied variety are considered 
a luxury. Dogs, especially puppies, are a favourite dish. Next 
to rice, maize may be considered the most important staple. It 
is eaten boiled, never being ground into flour. Besides the 

y. 1 

-m. ^ <F. ^.A&i 


^1 f 

H^^ '^sf ^ A St,. ijjS^BSikjM 



^'^ ^Bp^ jnjK . ^^' 5^'^s 

^^^^^^^^HB^^^l|g^it^>^ -/ 


« ■ i , ' "■ ' ■ C- ■ • ' . . , ^'i- 



grains and herbs which he grows in his jhums, the Lushai finds 
many edible roots and herbs in the jungle. The young shoots 
of the bamboo are by no means unpleasant eating, and a salad 
of those of the sago palm is quite a luxury, while the pith of 
the latter is much eaten in times of scarcity. When a large 
ammal has been killed at any distance from the village the 
flesh is cut into strips and dried over a slow fire, after which it 
remains edible, according to Lushai ideas, for a very long time. 
Boiling is the only culinary art known. 

As regards his drink, the Lushai has very simple tastes. 
With his meals he drinks nothing but the water in which the 
food has been boiled, which he sips sparingly, washing the 
meal down with a draught of cold water. Intoxicating drinks 
he only takes when he has full leisure to enjoy them and in 
company with a party of friends. 

There are two kinds of such drinks, both home-made, from 
rice. The commonest is known as " zu," and is a simple par- 
tially fermented drink ; the other, called " rakzu " or " zuthak," 
is distilled. This is very seldom used, being only made on 
special occasions. The still is a very simple contrivance, 
generally consisting of an earthenware pot on the top of which 
a gourd is fixed securely, the joint being made airtight with 
rags and clay; through the top of the gourd is passed a bamboo 
which is swathed in rags which are kept wet so as to condense 
the vapour from the pot. Zu is a very important article with 
these people. It is required for the due observance of every 
ceremony; a child's birth is an occasion for entertaining its 
relations, no marriage can be celebrated without the consump- 
tion of zu, while after his death a Lushai's Mends and relatives 
drown their sorrow in all the zu they can obtain. 

Has a demon to be propitiated, the return of a raiding or 
hunting party to be celebrated or a friend to be welcomed, in 
every case zu is indispensable. 

Good zu takes some time to prepare. After being well 
bruised, paddy is damped and packed away in several layers of 
leaves and kept for some months — the longer the better. When 
the zu has to be brewed the bundles are opened and the 
contents placed in a large earthen jar and well pressed down, 
with a layer of leaves on top, and the jar filled up with water. 


After standing a few minutes the liquor is drawn ofif by a syphon 
into a brass or wooden bowl, out of which it is handed round to 
the guests in horns or small bamboos. The principal guest is 
served first, and as he tosses off the cup he names the one in 
whose honour he drinks, who in duty bound must drink next, 
naming another to follow him. While the important person- 
ages are thus ceremoniously entertaining each other the rank 
and file sitting round in a circle are each in turn receiving a 
brimming horn full. As the supply in the jar gets low, more 
water is added, so that the quality of the liquor steadily 
deteriorates. Occasionally, instead of drawing off the zu, a tube 
is inserted and each toper in turn sucks up his allowance, the 
appearance of the top of a peg, inserted in the layer of leaves, 
giving him a hint when to leave off. 

Should the zu not have been kept long enough, a cake of 
yeast prepared from rice may be required to start fermentation. 
Well prepared zu is by no means an unpalatable drink. It 
contains much nourishment, and Savunga, one of our opponents 
in the 1871-72 expedition, whom I found still living in 1898, 
was said to have taken little else during the last two years of his 
life. The drink naturally varies much in strength, but even 
at its strongest it is not very intoxicating, and it has not the 
exciting effect which the drink brewed from maize and 
millet seems to have on the eastern tribes, among whom 
violent crimes, committed during drinking bouts, are very 
X2. The songs which the folk seem never tired of singing are 

Amuse- slow, solemn dirges sung by the whole party to the accompani- 
ment of a drum or gong, and are generally in praise of some 
former home of the tribe or some departed hero. 

The dances also are very slow and monotonous. A single 
male performer enters the circle of drinkers and postures slowly, 
keeping time to the drum or gong. There are one or two ex- 
ceptions, such as the dances in which the performer imitates a 
monkey or a bird, but generally speaking they are most unin- 

The men are fond of putting the weight ; the stone used is a 
light one weighing 10 to 12 lbs. and the thrower is allowed to 
follow on as much as he likes. Jumping and running races are 


never indulged in, and, though I have often prevailed on the 
young men to try, the results were always very poor. 

The Lushais are very badly off for games. Girls play a 
game with a large, flat bean, called " koi." The players divide 
into two parties, each in turn placing their kois in a row on 
the ground to serve as a target for those of the other party, 
which are held between the thumb and first finger of the left 
hand and propelled by the middle finger of the right. Should 
the target not be struck the first time, each firer goes to where 
her koi lies and again aims at the target, but this time' the 
missile has to be propelled in another manner. Sometimes it is 
placed between the knees and jerked forward by a sharp jump, 
or it is balanced on the cheek or forehead and then projected 
by a jerk of the head, or it may be balanced on the instep and 
kicked towards the mark. This game is played among the 
Manipuris, who call it " Kang sanaba." The koi bean of the 
Lushai is called " kang " by the Manipuris, but the latter now 
usually use round discs of ivory instead of the natural bean. 
A game played by both sexes is " Vai lung thlan." ^ 
The players sit on the ground on opposite sides of two paral- 
lel rows of shallow holes. In each row there are six holes and 
in each hole five small stones are placed. Each player in turn 
picks up all the stones in any hole in the row nearest him and, 
commencing from the hole next on the left, drops one in each 
hole along his row and then back along that of his opponent. 
If at the end of a turn one or more of the holes last dropped 
into is found to contain only one stone, the player removes 
these single stones and places them aside. The game continues 
till all the stones have been thus removed, and the winner is he 
who has taken most. Counting the stones in the hole before 
removing them is not allowed, and considerable skill is required 
to judge accurately the number of stones, so as to select a hole 
containing the number of stones which when distributed will 
leave the maximum number of holes with single stones in them. 
This game, under the name of " Mancala Bao " and " Warri," 
is played by the Negroes in many parts of Africa, but on 
elaborately carved boards. 

1 Lung=stone ; thlan = graTe ; "vai" may mean " foreign " or be short for 
" vai phei," the name of an old Kuki clan. 


Boys and young men are very proficient with the pellet bow, 
and many a bird and squirrel falls victim to the sun-dried 
pellets shot from their bamboo bows, with strings of cane. The 
other amusements of the children consist chiefly in imitating 
their elders, the building of model houses forming a favourite 
pastime. Swinging is also popular, the swing consisting of a 
creeper suspended from the branch of a tree or from two poles 
stuck in the ground and tied together at the top. The swinger 
holds on to the end of the creeper, or places one leg through a 
loop, or sits astride a big knot tied at the end of it. 



The population of a village ruled by a Thangur chief at the !• In- 
present time is composed of representatives of many tribes and structure. 
clans, which have all more or less adopted the language and 
customs of their rulers. I have already described the rise of 
the Thangurs and the process by which they either ejected or 
absorbed into their communities the other inhabitants of the 

Our arrival in the country put a stop in certain cases to this 
process of absorption. For instance, many chiefs held consider- 
able numbers of Paihte or Vuite and Khawtlang in a specie^ , 
of semi-slavery. These were captives or descendants of captive^ 
made in war, and nearly all have availed themselves of the Pax 
Britannica to return to their own people. Again, we found 
certain villages ruled over by non-Lushei chiefs, who were 
living under the protection of powerful Lushei chiefs. In the 
process of pacification these non-Lushei chiefs regained their 
independence and have gathered round them many of their 
clansmen, who formerly were scattered among the Lushei 
villages, and who, if we may judge by what has undoubtedly 
happened in other cases, would in a short time have become 
completely absorbed. Inquiries lasting over many years have 
convinced me that these clans are little more than enlarged 
families. In most cases the dialects of the minor clans have 
been entirely forgotten, and the only differences remaining are 
the manner of performing the " sakhua " or domestic sacrifice, the 
position occupied by the corpse at the funeral feast, and such 
other minor points. 


A stranger might live for a long time in a Lushai village 
without knowing that such divisions existed. Every clan is 
further subdivided into families and branches. Thus the 
Lushei clan has several families. One of these is the Thangur, 
and the Thangur family has six branches — Rokum, Zadeng, 
Rivung, Thangluah, Pallian, and Sailo — but none of these 
branches has any further sub-division, though the descendants 
of certain powerful chiefs are sometimes collectively spoken of 
by their ancestor's name, showing how these clan, family, and 
branch names have arisen. 

Duriag the census of 1901 an unsuccessful attempt was made 
to get a complete list of the clan families and branches. The 
causes of the failure were the ignorance of the people themselves 
as to what clan or family they belonged to and the tendency 
to claim to be true Lushais. 

Everyone knew the name of the branch to which he belonged, 
and as a rule the family name would be correctly given, but 
in many cases the clan name was altogether omitted, or Lushei 
was entered against families which had no real claim to that 

An old Lushai once asked me why I was troubling myself 
about family and branch names, and on mj explaining that I 
hoped to make a complete list of them he muttered, " Can you 
count the grains in that basket of rice ? " and turned from me 
to the zu-pot. 

As a sample of the constitution of a clan I give in the 
Appendix a list of all the families and branches of the Lushei 

My enquiries lead me to believe that practically all the clan 
and a great many of the family and branch names are 
eponyms. In some cases the name of a village site has been 
given to its inhabitants, first probably by outsiders and 
eventually adopted by the people themselves, but even in these 
cases as often as not enquiry will show that the village site was 
first named after some famous chief who lived there. 

Before the Thangur chiefs had risen to their present pre- 
dominant position there were many consanguineous communities 
scattered over the hills, living under headmen of their own and 
each using a dialect of its own. Some of these communities 


appear to have had separate corporate existence for long 
periods and in consequence to have been sub-divided into many 
families and branches, while others were quickly absorbed by the 
Thangur and consequently have few sub-divisions. 

I have been accused of deriving " Lushei " from ' lu," head, and 
"shei," long. If in. the salad days of my sojourn among these 
folks I was ever guilty of this folly, I hereby publicly repudiate 
it. There is no doubt that Lushei, in common with the other 
clan names, is an eponym. 

A versatile and imaginative writer has recently derived 
" Sailo," the name of the branch of the Lushai clan to which 
the present chiefs belong, from " sai " elephant, and " lo," 
a jhum, alleging that because the elephant is the biggest 
animal, therefore " Sailo " means the biggest jhum and that the 
name refers to the excellence of the jhum land between 
Burkhal and the source of the Kornaphuli river, where he says 
the Sailos formerly lived. There are some objections to this 
theory ; to begin with, the Lushais never use " sai " as a prefix 
meaning greatness, and secondly half the area mentioned was 
never inhabited by Sailo chiefs, and thirdly only a small and 
little considered branch of the great Sailo family ever entered 
this land of fatness and not till long after the family name had 
been generally accepted ; further the name of the common 
ancestor of all the Sailo chiefs is known to have been Sailova, 
which is a common name still in the family. 

Among the Lushais, each village is a separate State, ruled 2. Tribal 
over by its own " lal " or chief. Each son of a chief, as he attained "[q* " '/*" 
a marriageable age, was provided with a wife at his father's the 
expense, and given a certain number of households from his "^ ^'^' 
father's village and sent forth to a village of his own. Hence- 
forth he ruled as an independent chief, and his success or failure 
depended on his own talents for ruling. He paid no tribute to 
his father, but was expected to help him in his quarrels with 
neighbouring chiefs ; but when fathers lived long it was not 
unusual to find their sons disowning even this amount of 
subordination. The youngest son remained in his father's , 
village and succeeded not only to the village, but also to all the 

Our rule has tended to increase the independence of the 


young chiefs; for in former days, when might was right, it 
behoved a son to follow the advice of his father, or the latter's 
help might not be forthcoming when danger threatened. 

The chief was, in theory at least, a despot ; but the nomadic 
instinct of the people is so strong that any chief whose rule 
was unduly harsh soon found his subjects leaving him, and he 
was therefore constrained to govern according to custom. 

To assist him each chief appoints one or more elderly men, 
known as " upa." These form a sort of council which discusses 
all matters connected with the village, and decides all disputes 
between people of the village, for which they receive fees 
termed " salam " from the party who loses the case. These 
fees are their only remuneration. The chief presides over this 
council, which is generally held of an evening in the chief's 
house, while the zu horn circulates briskly. The chief receives 
a portion of each fine levied, a practice found to prevent undue 

Besides the upas the chief appoints the following village 
officials — " ramhual " and " tlangau." The former, of whom there 
may be several, are advisers as to where the jhums shall be cut, 
and are allowed first choice of land for the purpose, but have to 
give the chief five to seven baskets of paddy instead of two, 
which is the portion due from other subjects. 

The tlangau is the crier, whose high-pitched voice is heard 
after dark, when every good householder is at home, proclaim- 
ing the chiefs orders. 

He also arranges how the work of the village is to be divided, 
who are to go and make a road, who are to repair the 
zawlbuk, &c. 

In return for his labours he receives a small basket of rice 
from each house in the village. 

Besides the ramhual and the tlangau, no village is complete 
without at least one "thirdeng," or blacksmith, and a "puithiam," 
or sorcerer. The former receives one basket of rice from each 
householder whose tools he repairs ; the latter receives the same 
amount from each householder for whom he performs the 
sacrifices connected with his cultivation. 

The chief receives one hind leg of every wild animal shot by 
any of his men, and when the killing of elephants was allowed 


he took one of the tusks if his villagers were lucky enough to 
slay one of those animals. 

The villagers build the house of their ruler, and formerly they ; 
also cut his jhum, but I regret to say that nowadays they have J^ 
ceased doing so, and this is an unsatisfactory sign of how, with- 
out any desire on our part to do so, our rule has weakened the 
authority of the chiefs. 

The chief held rather an anomalous position. Nominally he 
was a despot — I am speaking now of the state of things which 
existed prior to our occupation of the Hills — but in reality his 
power was very much circumscribed, and his subjects could so 
easily transfer their allegiance to some rival chief, who would 
probably be willing, for a consideration, to champion the cause 
of his last recruit, that every ruler had to use tact as well as 
force. In fact the amount of power he wielded depended 
almost entirely on the personal influence of the chief A 
strong ruler, who governed mainly according to custom, could 
do almost anything he liked without losing his followers, but a 
weak man who tried petty tyrannies soon found himself a 
king without any subjects. 

The chiefs naturally tried their best to stop people leaving 
their villages, and it was customary to confiscate the paddy of 
any person who left the village without permission, but leave 
was seldom refused if the emigrant intended moving to the 
village of a fi:iendly chief; and if the fugitive took refuge with 
a more powerful ruler it was extremely likely that a demand 
for the prompt surrender of all his property would be made 
with such a show of force that it could not be ignored. 

I add here two extracts from Colonel Lewin's book, " The 
Hill Tracts of Chittagong and the Dwellers Therein," page 100. 

" The village system among the Kookis, i.e. (Lushais) is best 
described as a series of petty states, each under a Dictator or 
President. To illustrate the position of the chief or President 
I may mention that in 1866, when on a visit to the village of 
one of the leading chiefs among the Looshai, I was standing 
talking with him in the path that ran through the village. 
While we were thus standing a drunken Looshai came stumbling 
along, and finding us somewhat in the way, he seized the chief 
by the neck and shoved him off the path, asking why he 


stopped the road. On my asking the chief for an explanation 
of such disrespect being permitted, he replied, ' On the war- 
path or in the council I am chief, and my words are obeyed ; 
behaviour like that would be punished by death. Here, in the 
village, that drunkard is my fellow and equal.' In like 
manner any presents given to the chief are common property. 
His people walk off with them, saying : ' He is a big man, and 
will get lots more given to him. Who will give to us if he 
does not ? ' On the other hand, all that is in his village belongs 
to the chief; he can and does call upon people to furnish him 
with everything that he requires. 

" To collect his people, or in fact to authenticate any order, 
the chiefs spear, which is usually carved and ornamented, is 
sent by a messenger from village to village. Should the message 
be a hostile one, the messenger carries a fighting dao, to which 
a piece of red cloth is attached. Another method is by the 
' phuroi,' which is a species of wand made out of strips of 
peeled bamboo, about eight inches long, in this shape (f ). If 
the tips of the cross pieces be broken, a demand for blackmail 
is indicated, a rupee to be levied for each break. If the end 
of one of the cross pieces is charred, it implies urgency, and 
that the people are to come even by torch light. If a capsicum 
be fixed on to the ' phuroi,' it signifies that disobedience to the 
order will meet with punishment as severe as the capsicum is 
hot. If the cross piece is of cane, it means that disobedience 
will entail corporal punishment.'' 
J The " Boi" Custom. — Among the Thados and Chins real 
slavery used to exist, and men and women were sold like cattle. 
Among the Lushais this has never been the case, but there is a 
class known as " boi" who have been miscalled slaves by those 
ignorant of their real condition. 

Among the Lushais no one but a chief can have boi, who are 
divided into the following classes : — 

(1) Inpuichhung (Inpui = big house, chhung = within), Lal- 
chhung, or Chhungte — viz. those who live in the big house or 
chiefs house, (ii.) chemshen boi (chem = dao, shen = red) ; 
(iii.) tuklut boi (tuk = promise, lut = to enter). The first class 
consist of all those who have been driven by want of food to 
take refuge in the chiefs house. Widows, orphans, and others 


who are unable to support themselves, and have no relatives 
willing to do so, form the bulk of this class of" boi," but it is not 
unusual, if a young widow remarries, for her second husband to 
insist on his predecessor's children being put into the chiefs 
house, unless any of their father's relatives will take them. 
The inpuichhung are looked on as part of the chiefs household, 
and do all the chiefs work in return for their food and 
shelter. The young men cut and cultivate the chiefs jhum 
and attend to his fish traps. The women and girls fetch up 
wood and water, clean the daily supply of rice, make cloths, 
and weed the jhum, and look after the chiefs children. In 
return the boi get good food and live in the chiefs house, and 
often wear his ornaments and use his guns and weapons. They 
have to do very little more work than they would have to do if 
they were independent, and, on the other hand, they are free of 
all anxiety as to the morrow. 

As all the chiefs are of the same family, a boi is at liberty to 
move from one chiefs house to another. If a chief or his 
wife treats a boi very badly, the injured one goes off and seeks 
for a new master, and, as a large number of boi is considered to | 
increase a chiefs importance, every chief is willing to receive j 
him, and therefore boi are generally well treated. In former ' 
days powerful chiefs like Sukpuilala and Vutaia only allowed 
their boi to go to one of their own relations, but even then a 
boi very often would manage to find an asylum with some 
equally powerful chief 

When a person has once entered the chiefs house, he or she 
can only purchase freedom by paying one mithan or its 
equivalent in cash or goods. The fact that a boi can ever do 
this shows that he is allowed to acquire property. When a 
male boi reaches a marriageable age, the chief generally buys 
him a wife, and he lives with her for three years in the chiefs 
house : should he marry a female boi, the couple have to live 
six years in the chiefs house. After this period, he sets up a 
house of his own and is known as "inhrang (in = house, hrang = 
separate) boi," and works for himself, but is still in some*! 
respects a boi. If he kills any animal he has to give a hind J 
leg to the chief, and failure to do so renders him liable to a 
fine of one mithan or its equivalent. If the chief is in want of 


i rice he can call on his boi to help him if they have any surplus, 
and if a boi is in want he can look to the chief for assistance. 
/ Regarding the children of such a boi, customs differ some- 
what. Some chiefs have made it the rule that only the 
youngest son, who inherits his father's property, is a boi, the 
remainder of the sons and all the girls being entirely free- 
Others insist that all the children are boi, and that the chief 
is entitled to the marriage prices of the daughters. They give, 
as a reason for this, that the chief has paid for the boi's wife 
and so is entitled to consider the children as boi. In either 
case the children are inhrang boi. 

A female boi is allowed to marry, and the chief receives the 
marriage price, and when this has been paid in full he has no 
further claim on the woman or her children during her husband's 
lifetime, but should she be left a widow, she is sometimes 
forced to re-enter the chiefs house ; but as a rule, if she 
behaves decently, she is allowed to remain on in her husband's 
house, and manage his property on behalf of his children, who 
are never considered boi. Should she re-marry, the chief will 
again receive whatever sum is paid as her marriage price. 

It will be seen that the inpuichhung are by no means badly 
off, and the custom seems in every way suited to the circum- 
stances of the case. iMany a clever young man rises from being 
^ a boi to being the chiefs most trusted adviser, and it is by no 
means unusual for a chief to take a favourite boi into his own 
family by the ceremony called " Saphun" (see under Adoption, 
page 54). 

(ii.) Ghemsen Boi (Bed Dao Boi). — These are criminals who, 
to escape from the consequences of their ill deeds, take refuge 
in the chiefs house. Murderers closely pursued by the 
avengers of blood rushed into the chief's presence and saved 
their lives at the expense of their own or their children's free- 
dom. Debtors unable to pay their creditors sought the chief si 
protection, and he released them from their debts on conditionj 
that they and their children became boi. Thieves and other 
vagabonds avoided punishment by becoming the chiefs boi. 
Civil disputes were unblushingly decided in favour of the party 
who volunteered to become the chiefs boi. It is evident that 
the custom in these cases has grown up by degrees from the 



chiefs granting sanctuary to those who, having committed 
serious crimes, were in danger of being killed by those they had 
injured or their relatives. 

Chemsen boi do not live in the chiefs house or work for '^ 
him. Their position is similar to that of an iuhrang boi, but 
all their children are considered b6i to the same extent as their 
parents. The chiefs generally take the marriage price of the 
daughters of such Boi. 

(iii) TvMut {Enter hy Promising) Boi. — These are persons 
who during war have deserted the losing side and joined the 
victors by promising that they and their descendants will be 
boi. A tuklut boi can purchase his freedom for a mithan, 
and if there are three or four persons in one household one 
mithan will release them all. As a rule the daughters of 
tuklut boi are not considered boi. A tuklut boi does not live 
in the chiefs house, and is in most respects in the same position 
as an inhrang boi. 

Chemshen boi have not been recognised by our oflScers, and 
whenever one has claimed protection he has been released. 
The tuklut boi have also not been formally recognised, but 
their duties weigh so lightly on them that they seldon claim 
their release, and in their case, as in that of the " sal," the class, 
receiving no fresh recruits, will soon cease to exist. As regards 
the inpuichhTing boi, the custom seems well suited to the 
people and provides for the maintenance of the poor, old, and 
destitute, and it would be extremely unwise to attempt to 
alter it. 

When we first visited Kairuma in 1891, we found some 80 
houses of Thado, Biate, and other clans living in his village (in 
a species of serfdom) very much on the footing of the tuklut 
boi, only that Kairuma received a mithan out of the marriage 
price of each of the daughters as well as the other dues. 
These people were remnants of conquered clans and were not 
allowed to leave the village. I was assured that, if any of them 
tried to run away, a party of young men would be at once sent 
off to kill or bring back the fugitives. When Kairuma's village 
was burnt, owing to its continued contumacious behaviour, all 
these people made their escape to the villages of their own 


Sal. — Persons captured in raids are called " sal "; their position 
is quite different from that of any of the classes of boi. They are 
the personal property of their captors, and I am told that when 
guns first made their appearance in the hills the western tribes 
used to exchange their sal with the eastern tribes for guns, 
one strong sal being worth two guns. As a rule only children 
and marriageable women were taken captive, and the latter 
were disposed of in marriage, the lucky captor acting in loco 
parentis and taking the marriage price. The children grew up 
in the captor's house as his children, and as a rule were so well 
treated that they seldom wished to return to their former 
3. The Lushais have wide views as to matrimony. A young 

Marriage. ^^^ jg ^^^ hampered in his choice by any table of prohibited 
degrees, nor is his choice confined to any particular family or 
clan ; in fact, he can practically marry any woman he chooses 
except his sister or his mother. There is, however, a certain 
amount of prejudice against first cousins on the father's side 
marrying, but the reason generally given for this is that when a 
girl's parents have to consider the question of her marriage they 
naturally try to dispose of her outside the family, in order that 
her price may increase the wealth of the family, not merely 
transfer it from one brother to another. I have, however, been 
told that girls object to marrying their " brothers." Among the 
chiefs the desire to marry another chiefs daughter limits the 
young man's choice, and marriage among first cousins is more 
frequent than among commoners. Marriage among nearly all the 
other clans dealt with in this monograph is endogamous as 
regards the clan, but exogamous as regards the family. When 
we consider the composition of the following of the Thangur 
chiefs, we see at once the cause of this difference, for any 
restrictions on intermarriage would have interfered with that 
fusion of clans which was so necessary for the establishment of 
their power. 

Regarding the number of his wives also the Lushai has great 
latitude ; in fact, it is simply a matter of money. Experience 
has taught them that two wives in one house is not conducive 
to peace, and consequently polygamy is almost entirely confined 
to the chiefs, for few others can afford to keep up two establish- 


ments. Marriage is purely a civil contract, although, as is 
described in Chapter IV, para. 7, a pseudo-religious ceremony is 

Among Lushais the following sums constitute the price 
which has to be paid for a wife : — 

(i.) Manpm (Principal Price). — This is paid to the bride's 
nearest male relative on the father's side. In case the bride's 
father is dead and she has brothers these divide the manpui, 
but if any one of them has contributed more than the others to 
the girl's support, or has provided her " thuam " — i.e., her 
trousseau — ^he receives a larger share of the manpui than the 

The manpui is always reckoned in mithan, and varies 
according to the family of the bride. Thus a Thangur maiden 
is valued at ten mithan, while less aristocratic girls are worth 
less, the lowest price being three. A custom seems springing 
up of counting the manpui in " tlai " = Ks. 20/-. If the bride's 
" thuam," or trousseau, is a good one a sum of Rs. 20/-, called 
"tlai/' is added to the manpui, but should the woman die 
without issue, this sum will not be paid, as the thuam will 
return to her father's family. If she has children these inherit 
the thuam, and therefore in such cases the tlai must be paid. 
The thuam consists of necklaces, earrings, and superior cloths, 
not articles for everyday use. 

(ii.) Pushum. — The perquisite of the nearest male relative on 
the mother's side or of a person specially chosen as the bride's 
" pu " or protector. It varies between Rs. 4/-, and Rs. 10/- but 
in the case of a chiefs daughter it is a mithan. 

(Hi.) Pdlal. — The bride or her relations select some trusted 
friend, who may be of any family, whom they appoint her 
" palal," or trustee, and he is expected to look after her 
interests throughout her whole married life. His fee varies in 
accordance with the pushum. 

(iw.) Niman (Aunt's Price). — A sum equal to the pushum 
which has to be paid to the bride's aunt on her father's side. 
If there are several aunts the eldest takes the " niman " of the 
eldest niece and the second aunt that of the second niece and 
so on. It is possible for a niece to refuse to allow her aunt 
to take the niman and to select another person of her own family. 

E 2 


(v.) Thian.— The " thian," or friend, is a female palal, but she 
only receives a small sum from Rs. 10/- downwards. 

(m.) Nau Puan Puak Man {Price of Carrying the Younger 
Sister in her Cloth). — Each sister receives this from the 
husband of her next younger sister. Among Sailo it varies 
from Rs. 20/- to Rs. 40/- ; in other families it is only Rs. 3/- or 
Rs. 4/-. In the case of the eldest sister it is taken by some near 
female relative. 

These sums are never paid down at once ; in fact, they are 
allowed to remain unpaid for many years, but, as a rule, in each 
family it is the custom to pay a certain amount of the manpui 
before the marriage ; this is called " sum hma hruai," " price 
before taking." 

Divorce. — The bonds of matrimony are extremely loose and 
are very easily slipped ofif. If a couple disagree they simply 
separate. The woman returns to her parents and the man 
renounces all claim to any portion of her price which he may 
have paid, unless the woman agrees to its being partially 
returned. If the man turns the woman out for no fault he 
must pay up her full price, if he has not already done so. If a 
woman commits adultery or leaves her husband against his 
will, however unfaithful he may have been, the whole of her 
price has to be refunded. 

If a pair who have separated by mutual consent wish to 
make it up they can do so. If the overtures are made by the 
man he is expected to pay the woman a small sum up to Rs. 20/- 
If, however, the woman makes bhe advances the man has 
nothing to pay. 

Widow Be-marriage. — There is no objection to a widow 
remarrying. If a woman has a son and there is any property, 
it is proper for her to remain unmarried and look after her son 
and his interests ; should she, however, wish to remarry there 
is nothing to prevent her, but her late husband's relatives will 
take charge of the children and all the property. Should 
a widow be left with daughters only, it rests with her husband's 
nearest male relatives whether she shall continue to live 
separately or shall enter his house. It is not unusual in such 
cases for the widow to be allowed to bring up her daughters, 
utilising, with the heir's approval, whatever property has 


been left, but the marriage prices of the girls will be taken by 
their father's heir. In olden times a widow had to remain 
unwashed and with her hair uncombed for a whole year 
from the death of her husband, but the period has been 
reduced to three months, out of pity for the women, and after 
that time remarriage is allowed. A widower who remarries 
before three months has passed since his wife's death used 
to be fined, but this excellent custom has dropped out of use. 
Should a woman elect to live in her late husband's house 
and bring up his children, she is considered as still married 
to him, and should she be detected in an intrigue her relatives 
will have to refund her marriage price just as if her husband 
were alive. 

The unmarried girls are not very strictly looked after, and, if '^- Female 
they conduct their intrigues with a fair amount of secrecy, 
nothing is said. As has been described in Chapter II, 3, there is 
a sleeping place on each side of the hearth, that furthest from 
the door — kumpui — being reserved for the parents, the other — 
kumai — ^being for the girls and young children. Sometimes, 
however, if the family is large, one of the girls sleeps with her 
parents. If a young man is found on the kumai nothing 
is said to him ; if, however, he trespasses on the kumpui he 
is fined. In some villages if he even crosses the centre of the 
hearth he is fined. The fine varies in different villages, but it 
is about Rs. 10/-. If a girl becomes pregnant, the man 
responsible is at once surrounded by her relatives, who demand 
a mithan as the price of his indiscretion. This is called " sawn 
man," " the price of the bastard." This has to be paid even in 
the case of the child being born dead and in cases of premature 
births where the legs and arms are complete. 

When the father has paid the sawn man he can claim the 
child as soon as it is old enough to leave its mother. 

In cases in which the girl has been prodigal of her favours, 
no sawn man can be demanded. 

In case a mem should have a second illegitimate child by the 
same woman, he is not expected to pay more than Rs. 10/- 
and often nothing at all. For a third child he would, however, 
have to pay a mithan. In case when asked to pay sawn man, 
the man at once expresses his desire to marry the girl, he would 



not have to pay the fine in addition to the usual marriage 
price. If, however, he delays in marrying her, he must pay 
both. In this matter, however, custom varies considerably in 
different villages. 

5. Inherit- The general rule is for the youngest son to inherit, but 
occasionally the eldest also claims a share. With chiefe it is 
usual for each son, as he comes to a marriageable age, to be 

given a certain number of households and allowed to set up a 
%illage of his own, but the youngest generally remains with his 
father, and inherits his \illage and his property. 

Adoption. — Persons of property who have no son sometimes 
adopt a near relative, but there is no special ceremony ; it is a 
purely private arrangement. The custom known as " Sa-phun," 
is in some respects akin to adoption. Should a chief have a 
very favourite boi, he sometimes grants him admission into his 
own clan. The " puitiam " being called, a fowl or a pig is sacrificed, 
after the appropriate prayer has been said, and a few of the 
hairs or feathers are tied round the man's neck, and he is hence- 
forth considered to belong to the chiefs clan. Anyone can 
thus admit another to his clan, but in practice it is seldom 
done, except by chiefe. I think the sacrifice is made with a 
view to propitiate the Sakhua of the clan which the man is 

6. Certain articles are said " man a nei," " to have a price," and 
Offences the theft of any of them is punished by a fine of one mithan, 
pr^ertj?" quite irrespective of the actual value of the article stolen. These 

ai-e — rice cleaned or unhusked, cloths, guns, brass pots, domestic 
animals, and wild animals, or birds which have been killed or 
trapped. The theft of other articles is punished by fines of 
from Rs. 1/- to Rs. 5/-, which are taken by the chief and his 
upa, and termed "salam." Restitution of the articles stolen 
is always insisted on. 

To steal or even to retain a hoe or axe found on the road is 
most unlucky, and is supposed to be followed by the death of 
the finder's child. 

7. The punishment in these cases rested originally with the 
comiecTed aggrieved party or his relatives, who were allowed to exact 
with the summary vengeance. Thus a husband was at liberty to kill an 
'^"^y- unfaithful Avife and her paramour, but if he did not take 


refuge in the chiefs house, becoming a chemsen boi, the 
families of the victims were also entitled to kill him whenever 
they got an opportunity. Very shortly after our occupation of 
the Lushai Hills, two lads deliberately cut down a man who, 
they were told, had murdered their father many years before. 
The deed was done in broad daylight, in the middle of the 
village, and apparently attracted but little attention. The boys 
both entered the chiefs house, and I should never have heard 
of the occurrence had they not applied to be released from 
service to the chief. 

To cut off the ears or nose of the paramour was a favourite 
way for a husband to avenge himself, and he did not always 
wait to be sure that there was anything to avenge. A man of 
Lianphunga's village passed the night in Tlungbuta's village, 
and, having been very hospitably treated by a friend, mistook 
the house of a very jealous husband for that in which he was to 
sleep, and was promptly ejected and deprived of his ears. 
Lianphunga, being a more powerful chief than Tlungbuta, 
exacted ten mithan as compensation for the injury done to his 
man, who, however, received absolutely nothing. The chief kept 
eight of the animals and killed two to feast the village, but the 
unfortunate victim was too ill even to share in the feast. 

Eape or sodomy were punished in the same way, but the 
latter, if committed with the consent of the pathicus or with an 
animal, was not considered a crime, and there is no doubt that 
the class of men known as Tuai, who dressed as women and did 
women's work, indulged habitually in this disgusting vice. 
Fortunately the class, never very large, has almost died out, but 
I fear the vice is far from extinct. 

The chief of each village, assisted by his upa, was the one 8. De- 
and only court of justice in the village, and from their decisions ^g°^l^ 
there was no appeal, but nevertheless an unsuccessful litigant 
found a way of getting his case reheard. If the matter in 
dispute were of sufficient value to make half of it worth a great 
chiefs acceptance, the would-be appellant could generally find 
some powerful chief who would accept him as a subject and 
take up his quarrel on those terms. The custom of settling 
disputes by ordeal or by oaths, which is so common among the 
Naga tribes, is almost unknown to the Lushais. During the 


fourteen years I was among them I have only twice heard a 
party to a case offer to accept the other's oath. 

In ordinary cases, a man wishing to be believed will take an 
oath holding a tiger's tooth, saying, " If I lie, may a tiger eat 
me as I now gnaw this tooth " — suiting the action to the word. 

An oath of friendship between chiefs is a serious matter. A 
mithan is tied up to a post and the parties to the oath, grasp- 
ing a spear with their right hands, stab it behind the shoulder 
with sufficient force to draw blood, repeating a formula to the 
effect that until the rivers run backwards into the earth again 
they will be friends. The animal is then killed and a little of the 
blood is smeared on the feet and forehead of the oath takers. 
To make this oath more binding they both eat a small piece of 
the liver raw. 

The true Lushai method of making war was to raid the 
■ enemy's villages and carry off as many captives and as much 
loot as possible. In this they form a great contrast to the 
Chins, whose plan of action was systematically to ambush the 
paths in the enemy's country and kill as many passers-by 
as possible. The Lushais consider this unsporting and say 
pathetically, " How can men live if for fear of ambushes no 
cultivation can be carried on ? " The Chins were fully aware of 
the effectiveness of their method of warfare and resorted to it 
whenever they wished to extend their boundaries, piqueting 
the coveted piece of land so effectually that it was soon 
abandoned to them. 

The essence of success in Lushai tactics was surprise, and no 
disgrace attached to a party of warriors which, on finding the 
enemy on the alert, quickly returned home without attempting 
any attack. 

The wars between the different Lushai "clans lasted some- 
times for several years, but were not very energetically 
prosecuted. Thus in a war between the Thangluah and Sailo 
chiefs which lasted from about 1833 to 1850, about six 
villages were destroyed on each side, but, except on one 
occasion, but few lives were lost. The exception was the 
massacre of Thaurang, a Sailo chiefs village, which is still 
spoken of with pride by the descendants of the perpetrators. 
The people of Thaurang were celebrating a great feast, and in 


all the principal houses in the village zu was being dispensed 
to all comers. There had been no hostilities of late, and the 
guards gradually abandoned their posts and joined the groups 
round the zu pots. With song and dance the night passed 
merrily, and by two or three in the morning no one was in a 
fit state to notice that a large number of strangers, whose 
drunkenness was only assumed, had mingled with the crowd. 
Suddenly a gun-shot gave the signal, and, drawing their dahs, 
the Thangluahs fell on their enemies, who, too drunk to know 
friend from foe, were slaughtered without mercy. Having 
burnt the village, the successful warriors returned dragging 
with them many captives. The Sailo chiefs tried to play the 
same trick on the Thangluah when some time later the latter 
were celebrating their victory with a large feast, but their 
intelligence department was inefficient and the attack was not 
delivered till some days after the feast. 

At that time there were but few guns in the country, and so 
little was the use of those they had understood that the wad 
on the top of the bullet was often omitted, with the natural 
result that when the time for firing came there was no ball in 
the gun, and hot were the arguments as to the value of this 
new-fangled weapon. In those days also they had not acquired 
the art of making stockades, which they subsequently copied 
from the Chins, and consequently there was but little chance of 
resistance if the surprise was successful, and the shouts of the 
assailants were a signal for a general stampede on the part of 
the whole population. The attack was always delivered just 
before daylight, and, if successful, but little time was lost ; 
as many captives as could be caught were collected and loaded 
with as much loot as they could carry without retarding the 
retreat, and the whole party set off and seldom halted till they 
had travelled forty-eight hours. As a rule only strong women 
and children who could keep up in the retreat were taken, all 
other captives being killed on the spot, and should any captive 
lag behind a spear thrust quickly ended her career, and her 
head was taken on to form an ornament in the raiders' village. 
Occasionally a few young men were carried off to be killed 
during the festivities which were held in honour of the success 
of the raid. If the raiders' chief had a son too young to 


accompany them, a captive was frequently reserved for him to 
slaughter and thus prove his bravery. 

Having put what they considered a safe distance between them 
and any possible pursuers, the party proceeded more leisurely, 
sending on messengers to announce their success, whose 
arrival set the village in a ferment, and everyone commenced 
preparations for the ensuing feast. As the brave warriors were 
seen in the distance the whole population rushed out to meet 
them with horns of zu for their refreshment, beating drums 
and gongs, and shouting praises of their bravery. The follow- 
ing is an accurate translation of an account given me by a 
Lushai of the proceedings which followed the return of a 
successful raiding party : — - 

" Formerly the Lushais raided the Tipperahs and captured 
about ten and dragged them back to their village, and killed 
them either in the street or just in front of their houses. 
Presently they said, ' Let us dance.' They danced before the 
heads of the slain, and a crowd collected and watched. The 
heads were placed on posts around the open space in the 
village, and those who had killed men came out into the space 
in the centre of the village with their guns and fighting dahs, 
wearing their ' chhawn ' head-dress, and the girls came with 
beautiful plaits of red and black cotton thread and tied them 
round the knots of the young men's hair. This is called 
' arkezen.' Then the young men danced beautifully. ' We are 
very magnificent,' they said. In the middle of the open space 
a platform had been built of bamboos like those in front of the 
house. On this everyone collected any number of eggs, and 
those who had killed their enemies and those who had felt 
no fear ate up the eggs as fast as possible. This is called 
' malchawh.' Very tall ' thingsia ' and ' phulrua ' (kinds of 
bamboo) are put up in front of each man's house and called 
' ralngul,' and they hang to the end of the phulrua, by a piece 
of cane called ' vawmhrui,' a circle of pierced pieces of wood ; 
these are called ' hrangkhual.' " 

In wars between Lushais it was considered wrong to kill chiefs. 
This, of course, was due to the chiefs being all of the same family. 

When starting on a raid each man provided himself with 
cooked rice for several days. This was rammed down very tightly 


into pieces of bamboo, so that several days' food could be 
conveniently carried without fear of any being lost on the road. 
Sections of bamboos were also employed as water bottles, the 
bamboo being cut above one joint and below the next and 
a small hole made just below the joint on one side, which could 
be easily plugged with a roll of leaves ; for sake of lightness the 
bamboo would be whittled down as much as could be safely 
done. These raiding parties travelled immense distances. 
About 1850, Vuta, whose village was then at Hweltu, suddenly 
appeared at Pirovi's village on the Soldeng, and, taking the 
people entirely by surprise, made many captives, among whom 
were the chieftainess and her infant son. Many others were 
killed and much loot rewarded the daring savages. The dis- 
tance between the two villages is about seventy miles in an air 
line and at least twice that by the jungle paths. Although 
guns quickly became common in the Hills, the style of 
warfare did not change. In the war between the Northern and 
Southern Chiefs, which lasted from 1856 to 1859, each side 
only made three successful raids, and the actual number killed 
in action appears to have been very small. I once asked one of 
the chiefs who had been very prominent in one of the later 
wars how many men he had killed with his own hand, and, on 
my expressing surprise at his admitting that he killed none, he 
naively remarked, " You see, we chiefs always go last, shouting 
' Forward, forward ! ' and by the time I reached the village the 
people had always run away." Though the Lushais were able 
to turn the Thados and other clans of their own kindred out of 
their possessions, yet when they came in contact with the 
Chins they were invariably defeated. In 1881 a large force of 
Southern Lushais raided Bunkhua, a Chin ■pillage to the north 
of the Tao hill. They burnt the village without much trouble, 
but the Chins refused to acknowledge this as a defeat and kept 
up a hot fire on their assailants, killing one of their bravest 
warriors. When the Lushais set out on their return journey 
they found the whole country up, and in a gorge they were 
greeted with a volley which laid forty of them low, and the 
remainder fled in "all directions, and, had it not been for heavy 
rain, which washed away the bloodstains and made tracking 
difficult, but few would have reached their homes. 


Although when fighting among themselves the ambushing 
of cultivators and travellers was disapproved of, they resorted 
to it freely when fighting us, but our casualties were not very 
great, as the ambushers were so anxious about their own safety 
they generally fired too soon. These ambushes were always 
arranged below the road, where the ground fell away very sharply, 
and, having fired, the brave fellows hurled themselves down the 
hill, ignoring all cuts and scratches in their anxiety to escape. 

Head-hunting. — It used to be considered that all inhabitants 
of these Hills were head-hunters. In fact, so great an authority 
as Colonel Lewin derives the name "Lushai" from "lu," "a head," 
and " sha," "to cut." This, of course, is a mistake, as the name of 
the clan is not Lushai, but Lushei, and though "sha" does 
mean " to cut," it does not mean " to cut off," and could not be 
used of cutting off a man's head ; but that such a mistake should 
have been possible shows how firmly rooted was the belief that 
head-hunting was one of the peculiarities of the population of 
these Hills. I believe that as far as the Lushais and their 
kindred clans are concerned, head-hunting was not indulged in. 
By this I mean that parties did not go out simply to get heads. 
Of course, a man who had killed his man was thought more 
highly of than one who had not, and, therefore, when a man did 
kill a person he brought the head home to show that he was 
speaking the truth ; but the raids were not made to get heads, 
but for loot and slaves. The killing and taking of heads were 
merely incidents in the raid, not the cause of it. I think that 
the Chins or Pois are an exception to this, and, as far as I can 
gather, the glory of bringing in a head was sufiicient to send a 
young man and his friends off on the raid. 

I have also made careful enquiries in all parts of the Hills as 
to whether there is any truth in the commonly accepted theory 
that on the death of a chief a party was at once sent off to kill 
people in order that their heads might adorn his memorial and 
their ghosts wait on his spirit in the other world, but I never 
heard anything which lent any colour to the idea, and, as 
regards Lushais, I believe it to be a pure invention ; but it was 
undoubtedly a Thado custom. If a single person is killed in a 
raid every person in the attacking party is entitled to all the 
honours pertaining to a slayer of a man. 



Practically all divisions of the Lushai-Kuki family believe i. General 
in a spirit called Pathian, who is supposed to be the creator of religious 
everything and is a beneficent being, but has, however, little beliefs, 
concern with men. 

Far more important to the average man are the numerous 
"Huai" or demons, who inhabit every stream, mountain, and 
forest, and to whom every illness and misfortune is attributed. 
The "puithiam" (sorcerer) is supposed to know what demon is 
causing the trouble and what form of sacrifice will appease him, 
and a Lushai's whole life is spent in propitiating these spirits. 

In addition to Pathian and the Huai there is a spirit known 
as Khuavang, who is sometimes spoken of as identical with 
Pathian, but is generally considered to be inferior to him, and 
more concerned with human beings. Khuavang sometimes 
appears to people, and his appearance is always followed by the 
illness of those who see him. A Lushai will say, " My Khuavang 
is bad," if things are going wrong with him, and he will also 
tell you that you are his Khuavang, meaning that his fate rests 
with you. I have also been told that there are two spirits 
called Mivengtu, watchers of men. One of these is a good spirit 
and guards people; the other is a bad spirit who is always 
trying to sell men to the Huai. Similarly each person is said to 
have two "thlarao," or souls, one of which is wise, while the other 
is foolish, and it is the struggles between these two that make 
men so unreliable. If a man hits his foot against a stone, he 
attributes it to a temporary victory of the foolish spirit. 

In addition to all these spirits, there is another. Each clan 


has a special spirit presiding over its destinies. The spirit 
is known as " Sakhua," and all sacrifices to him have to be per- 
formed by a puithiam of the clan, and only members of the 
family can be present. 

The Lushais believe in a spirit world beyond the grave, which 
is known as Mi-thi-khua — i.e., dead man's village — ^but on the far 
side of Mi-thi-khua runs the Pial river, beyond which lies 
Pial-ral, an abode of bliss. Access to this is not obtained by 
a life of virtue while on earth, but the due performance of 
sacrifices and the killing of men and certain animals and 
success in the courts of Venus. The folloAving account of the 
common belief was written for me by a Lushai, who embellished 
his essay with a map. It will be noticed that in the latter he 
has inserted the Kristian's (Christian's) village and their 
heaven, the road to which is under Isua (Jesus), while the roads 
to the Lushai's Mi-thi-khua are watched by Seitana (Satan). 
This incorporation of the teaching of the missionaries with the 
indigenous belief is not without interest, showing a broad spirit 
of tolerance in the author, who, without abandoning the faith 
of his forefathers, is ready to admit the truth of Christianity and 
its suitability to those who profess it, and sees no difiiculty in 
providing in the unknown lands beyond the grave a special 
country for each race, just as there is in the world he knows of. 

Translation of a Lushai's account of the World 


" The first man is said to have been Pupawla ; then he died 
before all those born after him. Then Pupawla, this man who 
died first, shoots at those who have died after him with a very 
big pellet bow, but at some he cannot shoot. Hlamzuih (see 
below, para. 8) he cannot shoot at. Thangchhuah he may not 
shoot at. Then he may not shoot at a young man who has 
enjoyed three virgins, nor at one who has enjoyed seven 
different women, even if they were not virgins : but women, 
whoever they may be, he always shoots at. They say that there 
is a road between the Mi-thi-khua and the Rih lake. [This 
lake is on the left bank of Tyao river 1^ miles from the place 
where the Aijal-Falam road crosses the river.] To go there. 




they say, there are seven roads, but Pupawla has built his 
house where the seven roads meet. Then after Pupawla has 
shot them, there is a hill called Hringlang hill, and then there 
is the Lunglo river [heartless, feelingless, which removes 
feelings] the water of which is clear and transparent, and the 
'hawilopar' [look back no more flowers] flourish there. The 
dead pluck hawilo flowers and place them behind their eyes 
and drink of the Lunglo water, and have no more desire for the 
land of the living." 


Rih Lake 


The y roads from 
this world all meeting 
at Pupawla's. house 

Lushai Village 

Copy op a Map oy the route to Mi-thi-khua dkawn by a Lushai. 

The Thangchhuah, mentioned above, are those who have 
slain men and certain animals and have given a series of feasts 
to the village, which will be found described in para. 9 of this 

Those whom Pupawla hits with his pellet cannot cross the 
Pial river and are doomed to stay in Mi-thi-khua, where life is 
troublesome and difiicult, everything being worse than in this 
world, the metna of Mi-thi-khua being no larger than crabs. 

The proud title of Thangchhuah, which carries with it much 


honour in this world as well as the right of admission to Pial- 
ral after death, can only be obtained by killing a man and each 
of the following animals — elephant, bear, sambhur, barking 
deer, wild boar, wild mithan — and by giving the feasts enumer- 
ated below ; but it is well also to have killed a species of snake 
called " rulngan," a bird called " vahluk " and a species of eagle 
called " mu-van-lai " (hawk in the middle of the sky). A Lushai 
gave me the following account of the journey of Thangchhuah 
to Pial-ral. 

" After death the dead man holds the horns of the sambhur 
while sitting on its head, the rulngan will wind itself round 
him and the horns, the mu-van-lai will try to seize the rulngan, 
but the Thangchhuah can drive them off. That is why they 
always fly screaming so high in the sky. The vahluk shade 
him by flying above him and also hide him from Pupawla, and 
thus the Thangchhuah is carried to Pial-ral." 

In Pial-ral food and drink are to be obtained without labour, 
which to the Lushai appears the height of bliss. 

The omission of the tiger from the list of animals which a 
Thangchhuah must have killed is curious, and I cannot explain 
it as the Lushais have no superstitious objection to killing tigers 
and the " Ai" of a tiger is a very special function, as will be 
seen in para. 4 of this chapter. 

This ceremony called " Ai " is always performed when a man 
or a wild animal has been killed. It is supposed to give the 
performer's ghost power over the ghosts of the man or animals 
killed. He is described as going to Pial-ral leading the ghost 
of his enemy on a string like a dog. Every member of a 
hunting party in which an elephant is killed or of a raiding 
party in which a man is slain is entitled to say that he has 
killed an elephant or a man. This simplifies admission to Pial- 
ral, and now that the killing of men and elephants is prohibited 
by an unsympathetic Government, it is popularly supposed that 
this qualification will not be insisted on. 

Many people profess to have seen Mi-thi-khua in their dreams, 
but none claim to have seen Pial-ral. Should a person dream 
of his parents and in his dream accept rice from their hands he 
will die without fail in a very short time. 

I have been told that the spirits of the dead sometimes are 


reincarnated in the form of hornets and sometimes in the form 
of dew, and if this falls on a person the spirit is reborn in his or 
her child. 

Though this can scarcely be said to be the religion of the 2. 
Lushais, yet they firmly believe that the spirits of the dead are ^OTahr"^ 
constantly present and need to be propitiated, and one of the 
principal Thangchhuah feasts is in honour of the dead. This is 
described in para. 9 of this chapter. 

At every feast or sacrifice a small portion of flesh, rice, and a 
little zu is placed on a shelf under the eaves for the spirits of 
the dead members of the family. This is called " rao-chhiak." 

A little of the first firuits of each crop is always placed on the 
wall under the eaves, above the spot where the water tubes are 
stacked, as an offering to the cultivator's parents. This is called 
" Mi-thi-chhiah," but there is another more important Mi-thi- 
chhiah. It is supposed that the spirits of the departed are very 
fond of coming to watch the Kut festivities (see para. 9 of this 
chapter) and on such occasions the spirit of a mother will enter 
her daughter's body and the daughter then goes off into a 
trance. The Lusheis say, " Mi-thi in a thluk " (The dead has 
taken her place). To cause the spirit to depart and restore the 
girl to consciousness it is necessary to perform the ceremony 
called Mi-thi-chhiah. Necklaces, earrings, cloths, petticoats, rice, 
and zu are placed in a heap on the floor where the corpse of the 
deceased was seated during the funeral feast. Then the 
worst cloth and petticoat of the girl are burnt in the forge and 
she forthwith returns to life. One reason given for the behaviour 
of the spirit is that sufiicient attention to the adornment of the 
corpse at the funeral feast had not been paid. The spirit is 
supposed to be able to brood over the slight put on its late 
tenement; hence the collection of all sorts of cloths and 
ornaments on the spot where the corpse had been seated. 

The Lushais do not worship the sun or moon or any of the 3. Wor- 
forces of nature, though when wishing to emphasise a statement natural 
they firequently say, " If what I say is not true, may the sun forces and 
and moon desert me." But they believe the hills, streams, and 
trees are inhabited by various demons. These are known as 
'' Huai," those inhabiting the water being called " Tui-huai," and 
those residing on land being known as "Ram-huai." These 


spirits are uniformly bad, and all the troubles and ills of life are 
attributed to them, and the sacrifices described in the next part 
are supposed to appease them. 

The following account of the doings of one of these Huai was 
given me by Suakhnuna, one of the most intelligent of the 
Lushei chiefs : — 

" A Ram-huai named Chongpuithanga used to live near the 
ford over the Sonai. He said he was the servant of the King of 
the Huai and was always on the look out for men along the 
banks of the river. He spoke through a girl called Ziki, who 
was often ill, and used to go into trances. He demanded a pig 
and professed to have caused the deaths of ten persons of the 
village." The following is another story which the teller fully 
believed. " About six years ago Hminga, of Lalbuta's village, 
was looking at a ngoi (fishing weir) and saw some Ram-huai. 
These wore the chawndawl (headdress worn by slayers of men), 
and round these were strings of babies' skulls. On his return 
home he got very ill, and all his family kept on asking him what 
was the matter, but when he was going to tell them the Ram- 
huai would seize him by the throat so that he could not tell 
them. If he managed to say a few words he got a pain in the 
head. He did not die, but recovered." Again, " A woman of 
Lalbuta's village went out of her house at night for purposes 
of nature. Her name was Mangami; she was enceinte. The 
Huai of the Tuitlin precipice caught her, and forced out the 
immature child and then carried her off down the rocks. The 
young men of the village went to search for her and found her 
naked in the jungle at the foot of the precipice, where the 
Ram-huai had left her. She knew nothing about it. She 

The following story gives rather a different view of the 
Huai : — " A man called Dailova, who may be alive now, did not 
know that it was time for him to perform his Sakhua sacrifice. 
He and his son went down to fetch ' dhan ' from the jhum house, 
and slept there among the straw ; in the night the boy, feeling 
cold, went into the jhum house and slept among the paddy, but 
Dailova covered himself up in the straw and kept warm. 
Towards morning two Huais came along, one of whom was called 
Lianthawnga, and the other, Ram-huai, called to him, ' Where 


are you going to, Lianthawnga ? ' and he replied ' I am going to 
Lungzawl.' Then Dailova, from under the straw, called out, 
' Where are you going to, Lianthawnga ? ' Then the Eam-huai 
came into the straw and wrestled with Dailova. When they 
had finished wrestling it was daylight, so they ate their rice 
and came home, and Ram-huai followed them and wrestled with 
Dailova. Sometimes the Ram-huai appears as a tiger and 
sometimes as a man. Dailova kept on saying, ' I will wrestle 
again with him,' and at last he called out, ' I have conquered.' 
Then the Ram-huai told him that his Sakhua sacrifice was 
overdue and he performed it at once." In the last story the 
Ram-huai is represented in much the same aspect as Khuavang 
has been described to me by others, one of whom told me that 
once, returning from a drinkiag bout at the chief's house, he 
had found a man of huge stature sitting by his hearth, who 
after staring at him for a moment or two disappeared. Another, 
who also had been at a feast, while on his way home saw huge 
men with enormous heads passing through the jungle. In both 
these cases the narrators assured me that they were perfectly 
sober ; in fact, one of them alleged as a reason for being sure that 
the figure which he saw was Khuavang was that, in spite of 
having drunk a great deal, he did not feel intoxicated. In each 
case the vision was followed by a severe illness. 

There is a lake called " Dil," between the southern border of 
the Lushai Hills and the Arracan hill tracts, which was credited 
with being the abode of many savage Tui-huai. No hill man 
would go within sight of the water, and when I first went there 
I had great difficulty in getting men to accompany me. The 
story is that some foreigner visited the place once and climbed 
into a tree overhanging the water, whence he dropped his knife 
into the lake and sent one of his men down to fetch it. The 
diver returned without the knife, but with tales of wonderful 
beings beneath the water. The foreigner fired his gun into the 
lake, whereupon numbers of Tui-huai emerged and chased the 
whole party of intruders, catching and carrying off all except 
their leader, who made good his escape. 

Every form of sickness is attributed to the influence of some 
Huai or other, and all tales about Huais either begin or end, 
" There was much sickness in our village." At the time of an 

F 2 


epidemic there is probably some hysterical girl, such as Ziki 
appears to have been, whose mind has been imbued with tales 
of Huais, who works herself up into a frenzy and believes 
herself possessed of a devil. This theory receives confirmation 
from the facts recorded in the next chapter regarding 
Khawhring. Not every Huai is known by name, and the 
sacrifices about to be described are offered to all Huais of a 
particular class. 

Ldshi. — Although the Lashi are not considered as demons 
or divinities, yet this seems an appropriate place to deal with 
them. A Lushai describes them thus : — " The Lashi folk are 
spirits which live in the Lur and Tan precipices. Formerly a 
Lushai young man went shooting alone. Beneath the Tan 
precipice a most beautiful Lashi maiden was weaving, and on 
seeing her the youth became love-sick and could not go away, 
so he stayed and courted her all day, till it began to grow dark ; 
then the Lashi maiden, wishing to go to her house, asked him to 
roll up her weaving for her, but he would not. Then she said 
to him, ' What animal would you most like to shoot ? ' and on 
his saying an elephant she at once caused him to kill one and 
he bore its head back in triumph, while the Lashi maiden and 
her mother rolled up the cloth and disappeared into the 
precipice." My informant assured me that had the young man 
rolled up the weaving he would never have escaped. In 
another tale a Lashi youth falls in love with the daughter of a 
man called Lianlunga, to whom he appeared in a dream 
and offered to place in his tobacco box the fur of many wild 
animals and to enable him to shoot every animal the fur of 
which was in the box. In return for this Lianlunga agreed to 
the match, and both he and his wife were given the power of 
decoying wild animals. Lianlunga's wife would pinch her pig's 
ear, and if it made no noise Lianlunga would go out shooting 
and Chawntinleri, a younger sister of the Lashi son-in-law, 
would drive all the animals past him, and he shot what he liked, 
for the Lashi had tamed all the animals. Lianlunga, however, 
came to a tragic end through trying to dispense with the 
services of the Lashi. He enticed a wild metna under his 
house and then tried to spear it through the floor, but only 
wounded it and the animal escaped. This offended the Lashi, 


who " made the barb of an arrow come out of his heart so that 
he died." The Lashi seem to be only concerned with wild 
animals, over whom they are believed to have complete control 

In this part I propose only to deal with the various sacrifices 4- Reli- 
which play so important a part in a Lushai's existence, but fJ,d"oere*^ 
the festivals described in para. 9 are, to a certain extent, monies, 
religious ceremonies, and are performed with the idea of 
pleasing the gods. Suakhnuna explained to me, when giving 
the description of the Thangchhuah feasts, that Pathian resided 
in the sky and that these feasts were supposed to please him. 
Similarly, the carrying about of the effigies of their ancestors in 
the " mi-thi-rawp-lam " is supposed to be acceptable to the spirits 
of the departed. In these feasts I think we may safely trace 
the rude beginnings of the magnificent pageants performed by 
the Manipuris and called by them "Lai-harauba" — i.e., " Pleasing 
the god." Before describing the various sacrifices it is necessary 
to explain some of the terms used. 

Hrilh closely approximates to the Naga " Genna." The 
meaning is that those to whom it applies must do no work> 
except necessary household tasks, and must not leave a 
prescribed area. The " hrilh " may apply to the whole village 
or only to the household of the performer of the sacrifice, and 
the area in which those under " hrilh " are allowed to move about 
may be either their own house and garden, or the village 

Sherh. — This term is used to describe the portions of the 
animal sacrificed, which are reserved for the god or Huai. 
These portions vary slightly in different sacrifices, but, generally 
speaking, they are the extremities and some of the internal 
organs, such as the heart, liver, or entrails. In every case the 
extremities are included. I believe the Khasis ofi^er these to 
the " thlen." ^ I have found the Manipuri iron- workers when 
about to work a new deposit, also offer the hair fi:om the 
end of the tail and from the fetlocks, and a little blood drawn 
from the ear of the buffalo, to the local god. Having become 
Hindus, they can no longer kill the animal as their forefathers 
did, but still make this ofEering of the " sherh." " Sherh " is also 
used in the sense of tabu. Thus a house in which a sacrifice has 
' Vide p. 99 of Colonel P. R. Garden's Monograph on the Khasi People. 


been performed may be said to be " sherh," meaning that no one 
outside the household may enter it. Portions 6f the animal 
killed are kept for certain periods, during this time are " sherh," 
and cannot be touched by outsiders. A woman is " sherh," for 
some days after her confinement, and during that time must 
not go to the water supply. 

TMang-lo is translated by the missionaries as " unlawful," but 
I think " unlucky " more exactly represents the meaning, which 
is that a certain act will be followed by some misfortune to 
the doer.i 

The sacrifices made by Lushais may be divided into eight 

1. Sdhhua. — A sacrifice to the guardian spirit of the clan or 

2. Khdl. — These are sacrifices to Huai supposed to frequent 
the village and houses. 

3. Daihawl. — These are to propitiate the Huai in the 
jungle, streams, and mountains. 

4. Various sacrifices in case of sickness. 

5. Sacrifices to cure barrenness in women. 

6. Nao-hri. — These sacrifices should be performed once in 
a lifetime in a particular order. 

7. Sacrifices connected with hunting and killing animals. 

8. Sacrifices connected with jhuming. 

1. From the chant given below a good idea is obtained of what 

SaKnua. ^.j^^ word " Sakhua " means to the Lushais. 

Each clan has a special chant or invocation, and though in 
almost every case the animal sacrificed is a big sow, yet the 
method and place of the sacrifice and the disposal of the 
'■ sherh " vary in each clan, and uniformity in this respect is 
looked on as proof positive that two families belong to the 
same clan. 

Among the Lushei clans the sacrifice must be performed by 
a pui-thiam of the clan, and the pig is killed outside the house, 
but is brought in to be cooked and eaten. The legs and ribs 
have to be kept for three days above the rafters, and during this 

1 Compare Major Playfair'a The Oaroa, page 114, where the word " marang" 
ia said to have the meanilig of " unlucky " and " unlawful." 


time they are " sherh," and if they are touched by anyone of 
another family, someone of the household performing the 
sacrifice will suffer in some way, unless another pig is quickly 
killed. The skull of the animal is hung on the centre post 
inside the house. The sacrifice is generally made about once 
in four years, unless the pui-thiam advises the performance 
more fi-equently on account of sickness. The following is the 
chant or invocation used by the pui-thiam at this sacrifice 
Each invocation begins and ends with a long drawn out note. 
The refrain " And accept, &c.," is repeated after each line. 

Ah — h. Arise from the village. Aw — ^w. 

And accept our sacrifice. 

Ah — h. Arise from the open spaces in the village. Aw — w, 

And accept our sacrifice. 

Ah — h. Arise from your dwelling places. Aw — w. 

Ah — h. Arise from the paths. Aw — w. 

Ah — h. Arise from the gathering mists. Aw — w. 

Ah — h. Arise from the yam plots. Aw — w. 

Ah — h. Arise from Bualchuam hill. Aw — w. 

Ah — h. Arise from Khawkawk hill. Aw — w. 

Ah — h. Arise from Buhmam hill. Aw — w. 

Ah — h. Arise from above the road. Aw — w. 

Ah — h. Arise from below the hill. Aw — w. 

Ah — h. Arise from Vahlit hill. Aw — w. 

Ah — h. Arise from Muchhip hill. Aw — w. 

The spirits of three more hills are invoked. 

Ah — h. Arise from the new village site. Aw — w. 
Ah— h. Arise from the shelf over the hearth. Aw — w. 
Ah — h. Arise from the village. Aw — w. 
Ah — h. Arise from the floor. Aw — w. 
Ah — h. Arise from the earth. Aw — w. 
Ah — h. Spirits prayed to by our ancestors, 

Accept our sacrifice. 
Bless' Luta's spirit (the householder's name), 
Bless us with sons, bless us with daughters, 
Bless us while in bed, bless us round the hearth. 
Make us to flourish like a sago palm. 


Make us to flourish like a hai tree. 

Bless us while the sun shines, 

Bless us while the moon shines. 

May those above bless us, may those below us bless us. 

Guard us from our enemies, guard us from death. 

Favour us with flesh. (May we have success in the 

Favour us with the produce of the jungle. 
For ten, for a hundred years bless us. 
Bless us in killing man, bless us in shooting animals. 
Bless us in cultivating our j hums, bless us in cultivating 

the beans. 
Guard us in the presence of men, guard us in the presence 

of animals. Bless us in our old age. 
Bless us when our heads are bowed down. 
Guard us from the spear, guard us from the dah. 
Those whom our grandmothers worshipped guard us. 
Those whom our grandfathers worshipped guard us. 
Bless us in spite of the faults in this our chant. 
Bless us in spite of the faults in this our worship." 

Bualchuam hill is the hill in which the first men built their 
first village, Buhmam the hill on which the first bird's nest 
was built by a crow. The other hills mentioned give a clue to 
the village sites of the first Lushei chiefs. The omission of a 
prayer to be preserved from the danger of gunshots shows that 
the chant has remained unaltered in spite of the gun having 
superseded the dah and the spear. 
2. There are many sorts of Khal. The following are some of the 

Kha.1. most important. 

Vok-te-Khdl. — A small pig killed near the head of the 
parents' sleeping platform, flesh cooked inside the house, and the 
skull hung over the sleeping place. The sherh consisting 
of the heart and liver and fat, are kept for the night in a pot 
with salt and rice and then thrown away. The day of the 
sacrifice and the night following are " hrilh " for the household. 
Ar-Khal. — Similar to the Vok-te, but a red cock is killed, 
and instead of the head, the long feathers from above the tail, 
called " fep " by the Lushais, are strung on a cane and hung 


over the parents' sleeping place. The sherh, consisting of the 
head, feet, heart and liver, and wings, are placed in a small 
basket and thrown away in the morning. 

Kel-Khdl. — A goat is killed in a place where the water tubes 
are kept ; its flesh is cooked inside the house. The sherh 
are hung on a cane in the front verandah. The hrilh lasts 
three days, and during that time no intercourse must be held 
with strangers, nor must any of the household enter the forge. 

These three sacrifices should always be performed soon after 
marriage, but poor persons postpone them till ill-health shows 
that the Huais will wait no longer. Dreams are also the means 
of notifying when a Khal should be performed. If a person 
dreams of a beautiful stranger of the opposite sex who laughs 
constantly, then the Vok-te-Khal should be performed, and if the 
dream is repeated often Ar-Khal must follow or the dreamer will 
certainly get ill. Should a tiger bite the dreamer, Kel-Khal is 
most urgently needed, and if not performed the dreamer will 
certainly die. Persons who dream this dream are so frightened 
that they will not leave their houses after dark, nor stir 
beyond the village during the day, for fear of a tiger seizing 

Vdn-chung-Khal. — A white cock is killed on the hearth and 
the flesh cooked inside the house. The sherh are placed in a 
winnowing basket on the top shelf over the hearth with salt 
and a little rice taken from the pot before anyone has eaten. 
The next morning it is thrown away. Hrilh only for one 

EJiM-chuang or Mei-awr-lo. — " Tail not worn " — because it is 
not obligatory for the performer to wear the tail on a string 
round his neck as is is done in Kel-Khal. 

A goat is killed as in Kel-Khal and the sherh are treated in 
the same way, but the flesh must not be cooked till the next 
day, and it is " thiang-lo " to eat "thei-hai" fruit. Though this 
sacrifice is so very similar to the Kel-Khal, yet it is considered 
more efficacious. 

The commonest of these is " Tui-leh-ram " (water and land). 3. 
This sacrifice has to be performed at the outskirts of the village. * *^ " 
It is to appease the demons inhabiting the woods and the 


A cock and hen are killed. Three bamboos are brought ; of 
these " theibial " are made, which are pieces of bamboo about 
four inches long stuck into the ground. A small basket called 
"maicham" is also made, and some small square mats called 
"lengleh" made of a thin strip of bamboo bent round and round 
itself and kept in position by lacings of black and red threads. 
These are hung from small pieces of bamboo stuck into the 
theibial. The fowls' throats are cut and the blood allowed to 
flow on the maicham and theibial. Then three small stones 
are brought from the nearest stream and a shallow hole is dug 
at the place of sacrifice and lined with a wild plantain leaf In 
this some water is poured and the stones and the sherh are 
placed in the water. The fowls' flesh may be cooked and eaten 
either on the spot or in the house. 

Bawl-pui. — This is a very important sacrifice, which is seldom 
performed and only after all others have been tried. Two 
small clay figures are made, one to represent a man and the 
other a woman. These are called " ram-chawm." 

The female figure has a petticoat of " hnahtial " (a plant which 
has tough leaves used for wrapping up food to be taken on a 
journey), and is made to bite the pig's liver. 

The male figure is provided with a pipe and a necklace of the 
liver of the pig which is sacrificed. A small bamboo platform 
is made, and on it is put a clay model of a gong and other 
household utensils, and sometimes of mithan. 

The pig's throat is cut and the blood allowed to flow over the 
platform, &c. 

The pig's flesh is cooked on the spot. To take it into the 
house is " thianglo." Many persons come and eat it with the 
puithiam. If the patient does not die during the performance 
of the sacrifice or during the subsequent feast he will 
undoubtedly recover. 

Kdngj)uizam. — This is a very important and efficacious 
sacrifice, and can only be performed by a certain wise man of 
flees in the Khawtlang or Vuite clans. It costs Rs. 40/- besides the 
sickness. ''°^* ^^ *^® animals killed and zu drunk. In front of the house 
a sort of arbour is made of grass and boughs supported on four 
sticks. All round this are hung little balls made of split cane 
rolled up tight. This split cane is said to be much liked by 



the devils. All round the house strands of cane are stretched, 
the ends being tied to the arbour. The devils are supposed to 
be unable to pass these canes, so that the sorcerer has no fear of 
the devils who are already inside the house being assisted by 
recruits from the outside. Drinking of zu and reciting of 
charms goes on during the day, and after dark the sorcerer and 
his assistants get up on the roof of the sick man's house and 
commence marchiag up and down reciting charms and ordering 
the devils to leave the man, and offering them asylum in the 
bodies of a goat, pig, and dog which they carry with them. 
After some shouting and firing of a gun the party sit down on 
the roof over the front entrance of the house, and the sorcerer 
commences a long incantation over each of the animals in turn, 
beating them and stamping on them. Then some of the 
party come down and the rest retire to the back of the house, 
and each of the animals is brought in turn from the far end of 
the house, being made to walk on its hind legs to the front, and 
then is thrown down on to the entrance platform. Lastly a big 
bough is carried from the back of the house along the roof and 
fixed in a hole through the roof over the entrance. From this 
bough a cane is stretched to the arbour. Then all the rest of 
the party come down, and after many incantations and much 
shouting the animals are sacrificed and eaten by the sorcerer 
and his assistants, the usual useless portions being hung up in 
the arbour for the devils, who are supposed to have been 
driven either into the animal or along the cane into the arbour. 

Ui-hring. — A full-grown dog or bitch is killed on the 
entrance platform and its flesh is cooked in front of . the 
house. Blood is put on the sick man's wrist, inside his elbow 
joint, on his forehead, on his chest, at the back of the knee 
and ankle. Sherh and head are hung up on a post. 

Hring-ai-tan. — Similar, but a different charm is muttered 
and the heart is roasted and eaten. The house is " sherh " 
for one day, leaves being hung in front of the door to warn 
outsiders. One day's hrilh is observed. 

Khuavdng-hring. — Puithiam decides what animal shall be 
killed, and the sacrifice takes place on a platform before the 
house, the flesh being cooked in the street. Sherh and 
head are hung on a post in a small basket. 


Thlako {The Calling of the Spirit). — Sometimes a Lushai 
returning from a shooting expedition experiences a sudden 
feeling of fear near the water supply, and on reaching 
his house feels ill and out of sorts. He then realises that 
he has lost one of his " thlarau," or souls, in the jungle. 
So he calls in the puithiam and requests him to call 
back the wanderer. The puithiam then hangs the head of a 
hoe on to the shaft of a spear and goes down to the water 
spring chanting a charm and calling on the spirit to return. 
As he goes the iron hoe head jingles against the iron butt of 
the spear and the spirit hears the noise and listens. The 
puithiam returns from the spring to the house still chanting 
and calling, and the spirit follows him, but should the 
puithiam laugh or look back the spirit is afraid and flies 
back to the jungle. 

Epidemics. — The appearance of cholera, or any similar 

disease, is the signal for the evacuation of the village. The 

sick are abandoned and the people scatter, some families taking 

up their abode in the jhum huts, others building huts in the 

jungle. The neighbouring villages close their gates to all 

coming from the infected neighbourhood, and to terrify the 

Huai, who is supposed to be responsible for the epidemic, a 

gateway is built across the road leading to the stricken villages, 

on the sides and arch of which rude figures of armed men made 

of straw with wooden spears and dahs are placed. A dog is 

sacrificed and the sherh are hung on the gateway.^ 

5. Chhim. — This is generally performed if a woman does not 

fieesVo ^^'^ome enceinte in the first year of married life. A white hen 

remove has to be caught just as it has laid an egg, but as this is 

nessin' ^ somewhat difficult feat, and as the demons, though malevolent, 

women, are supposed to be easily imposed upon, a white hen is often 

caught and put into a nest basket with an egg and fastened 

there till the puithiam arrives and says, " Oh, ho ! so your hen 

has laid an egg ! " Then the hen is killed at the head of the 

sleeping platform (khumpi), under which the sherh are 

placed in a basket till sunrise next morning, when they are 

thrown away. The flesh is cooked on the hearth and eaten. 

' For a somewhat similar instance of trying to ward ofif cholera, vide Khasi 
Monograph, p. 35. — P. R. 6. 


Nu-hrih. — A black fowl is killed and eaten as in the 
"Chhim" sacrifice. The sherh are wrapped in a wild 
plantain before being placed under the bed in a basket. 
They are thrown away in the morning. The feathers are 
bound with the thread used for tying the woman's hair and 
hung on the wall opposite the fireplace. Whether the couple 
cohabit on this night or not is immaterial. 

The following sacrifices are performed some time during 6. 
life, whenever a person is unwell. If a person keeps well they ^^o*"* 
will not be made. Rich people often go through the whole 
course for their children as a precautionary measure. The 
sacrifices are done in the following order : — 

1. Hmar-phir. — Cock and hen killed on entrance ladder. 

2. Hmarehung. — Cock killed on entrance ladder. 

3. HmarMiat. — Hen killed on entrance ladder. 

4. VavSk-te-luilam. — Small pig killed outside house. 

5. Ui-te-luilam. — Puppy killed outside house. 

6. Zinhnawn. — Puppy killed outside house. 

7. Zin-thiang, — Puppy killed outside house. 

8. Ui-ha-aior. — Dog killed in front of platform, tooth worn 

round neck. 

Kongjpui Shiam (Making a Big Boad). — This ceremony is 7>. 
supposed to make successful hunting probable ; it also foretells flceseon- 
the result. It is performed before a large hunting partj' starts nected 
and also annually about April. hunting 

r^ -r . and 

Translation of Lushai Account. killing 

"As soon as it gets dusk two men and the puithiam go a 
short way down the road which leads out of the village 
southwards taking a small pig with them, and there they make 
a fire, and kill the pig and cook its flesh. They drink some zu 
which they have brought with them in a gourd and also eat 
the flesh of the pig. Presently they say no one is to come this 
way, and the puithiam sweeps a place in the middle of the road 
and places some of the ashes from the fire there, and sings this 
magic chant : — 

" ' Animals come, animals of the Ri lake come, animals of the 
Champhai come, animals from the village come, animals of Ai- 


zawl come, you with the white tusks, you with the standing 
manes (bears), you with the branching horns come.' 

" Then, picking up some small stones and putting them in their 
haversacks, they return. As they are about to enter the chiefs 
house, they say, ' We are bringing men's and animals' heads.' 
The upas who are collected in the chiefs house ask, 'Are 
you friends or enemies ? ' ' We are friends,' they reply. Then 
they open the door and put the stones which they have brought 
into a basket, and as they enter they are given zu." 

The next day is "hrilh" for the whole village. In the 
morning, early, they go to look at the ashes, and are supposed 
to be able to see the likeness to footmarks in them, and thus 
to what animals will be killed in the chase. If a man's 
foot marks are seen, ii; is unfortunate, and a man will be 

Ai. — In order that a person after death may gain possession 
of the spirits of the men or wild animals he has killed here 
below, it is necessary for him to sacrifice a mithan, goat, or pig. 
This is called " Ai." After this feast, before the skull can be 
placed in the front verandah, a religious ceremony has to be 
performed by the puithiam. This is called " Sa-lu-an-chhuang '' 
— i.e., " Hoist the head of the wild animal." A small white fowl 
is given to him and the skull of the animal is placed in front of 
him. He then takes some zu in his mouth and spits it out 
over the skull, and, after muttering a charm in so low a tone 
that no one can hear him, he strikes the skull with the head of 
the chicken. If some of the feathers stick on the skull it is very 
lucky. After this the skull can be put up. As is stated 
further on, the Lushais believe that the spirit of a dead man 
cannot pass to Mi-thi-khua unless some animals are killed. 
These have to be provided by the heir, and no greater objection 
can be urged against a claim to inherit than a failure to 
provide the funeral sacrifice. This explains the reason of the 
Ai ceremony ; the performer thereby enables the spirit of the dead 
animal to pass to Mi-thi-khua and in return acquires power 
over it. No Ai has to be performed for tame animals, presum- 
ably because they are the property of the slayer already. The 
word " Ai " has many meanings — among them are " to fascinate," 
" to obtain power over" ; and there is also a plant of that name, 


which in one of the folk tales is said to have the magical 
property of driving away any evil spirit at which it is pointed. 

The Ai of a man requires the sacrifice of a mithan and a 
small pig. If an enemy is killed and no Ai performed the 
slayer is very likely to go mad. 

If you perform the Ai you can take your enemy with you 
(as a slave) when you die ; if you do not perform the Ai you 
cannot do so, and the spirit of your deceased enemy will haunt 
you in this life. 

Teanslation of a Lushai Account of the Sakei-Ai. 

"When Bengkhawia's village was at Thenzawl, a tiger 
beset the village and in one day killed a mithan and two 
goats. The crier called on the people to surround it, and 
they did so. Thangbawnga shot it and performed the Ai 
ceremony ; the night before he must not sleep. A young man cut 
its tail oflF ; he also must keep awake all night. The next day 
he performed the Ai ceremony, sacrificing a mithan. Thang- 
bawnga, who was performing the Ai, dressed himself up as a 
woman, smoked a woman's pipe, wore a woman's petticoat and 
cloth, carried a small basket, spun a cotton spindle, wore ivory 
earrings, let his hair down, and wrapped a mottled cloth, which 
was said to be of an ancient pattern, round his head as a turban. 
A crowd watched him and yelled with laughter, but it would 
have been ' thianglo ' for him to laugh. Presently he took off 
his turban and carried it in the basket. Then he took off his 
woman's disguise and dressed himself as a man, and strapped 
on a fighting dah and carried a gun. He also took ' sailungvar ' 
(white flints) and put them into the tiger's mouth while he ate 
eggs. ' You eat the sailungvar,' he said ; ' who will swallow 
them the quicker ? ' 'I have out-swallowed you, you have 
not swallowed yours ; I have swallowed mine. You go by the 
lower road ; I will go by the upper. You will be like the 
lower southern hills ; I shall be like the high northern ones. 
You are the brave man of the south ; I am the brave man of 
the north,' he said, and cut the tiger's head three times with 
his dao. Then the men buried the body of the tiger outside 
the village." If the tiger has killed men, his eyes are gouged 
out with skewers or needles and thrown away ; it is " thianglo " 


for the performer to laugh, so he holds a porcupine in his arms, 
and if he laughs by accident they say, " The porcupine laughed." 
The idea of the performer disguising himself as a woman is 
that the spirit of the dead tiger may be humbled, thinking 
that it has been shot by a woman ; and the giving of the flints 
while the performer eats eggs is to show the power of the 
performer over the the tiger, as he eats the eggs easily, while 
the tiger is unable to chew the flints. 

Haohuk Ai. — The Ai of a " haohuk," or gibbon, means a feast 

given to all who care to attend. Twenty pots of zu are 

required, but they are of a small size. A pig has to be killed 

and eaten. This Ai is especially necessary because of the 

superstition connected with the killing of these animals, which 

will be found in Chapter V. 

8. Lohman. — When the jhum house has been completed, the 

fieescon sacrifice has to be performed by the owner of the jhum. The 

nected puithiam has to be called and two fowls killed by him. A 

ihum- small hole is dug in the ground under the house and lined 

ing. with plantain leaves and then filled with water, and three 

small stones are dropped in. The puithiam cuts the throats 

of the fowls, allowing the blood to fall into the hole. The 

sherh are then cut off and hung under the house, and the 

rest of the flesh is cooked and eaten in the jungle. The 

next day is hrilh. The first day after this on which they work, 

some rice and vegetables are placed on the top of one of the 

posts of the house platform as an offering to the Ram-huai. 

Fdnodaivi. — The chief prepares zu in his house. Puithiam 
and two upas go just outside the village on the road to the 
jhum and sacrifice a cock, and its wings are hung on either side 
of the road and the sherh are placed in the middle of the road. 
Next day is hrilh ; no one goes out of the village except to 
carry water. This is to make grain fill in the ear, and is 
performed in July. 
5. Priest- There is no regular priesthood ; the nearest approach to 
hood. priests are the puithiam (great knowers). These men pretend to 
be able, by feeling a sick man's pulse, to tell which sacrifice is 
needed. The only training necessary is to commit to memory 
the various " hla," or charms, which have to be muttered while 
performing the sacrifices. Any man who thinks he has a call 


can acquire these from a puithiam on payment of a fee of a few 
rupees. His success in his calling appears largely to depend 
on luck. 

There is generally one puithiam appointed by the chief, but 
there is no limit to the number there may be in a village. As 
has been said, the important Sakhua sacrifice requires the 
presence of a puithiam of the clan concerned, but other 
sacrifices can be performed by a puithiam of any clan. The 
services of a puithiam are not given gratis. For performing those 
connected with cultivation he receives a basket of rice ; for 
other sacrifices he receives sums varying from a rupee up to ten 
rupees, but for some it is not customary to take payment, and 
the fees depend chiefly on the position of the person who has 
to pay them, as the puithiam, on the principle that half a loaf 
is better than no bread, will generally perform a sacrifice and 
take what he can get rather than get nothing. For the more 
important sacrifices, the fees, however, are always higher. 

The particular sacrifices to be performed in connection with 6. Cere- 
a child's birth vary considerably in different clans and families, ^nneoted 
Within seven days of the birth, the sacrifice known as the with child 
" Arte-luilam," consisting of a cock and a hen killed just outside 
the house, must be made ; till this is done the woman cannot 
go to the spring and is " sherh," and had better not leave the 

Should the woman not observe the custom the child will 
suffer in health. Three days after the birth of a child a small 
chicken and seven small packets of rice and vegetables are 
suspended under the edge of the front verandah. This is 
called " arte-hring-ban " or " khaw-hring-tir." The object is to 
satisfy the " khawhring " (see Chapter V, para 12) and prevent 
it entering the child. 

If a woman has difficulty in bringing forth, a fowl is killed 
and divided equally. The portion with the head is put at the 
upper end of the village with seven pieces of cane rolled into 
bundles, the other half at the lower end of the village with five 
rolls of cane, and the woman is given a little water to drink. 
This is called " arte-pum-phelna " — i.e., " to open the stomach 
with a fowl." 

For seven days after a child's birth its spirit is supposed not 



to be quite at home in the little body and to spend some 
of its time perched like a bird on the parents' bodies and 
clothes, and therefore, for fear of injuring it, the parents keep as 
quiet as possible for these seven days. If either of the parents 
works during these seven days and a red rash appears on the 
child, the illness is called " borh," and the cure, which is called 
"borh keo," is as follows : — A certain creeper called "vomhrui" is 
brought and coiled round and round, forming a sort of cylinder, 
and into this the child is dipped three times. This is done at 
night after the fire is out, and no fire can be lit again till 

Two days after the birth of a child its parents give a big 
drink to their friends and relatives — this is called " nau " — and 
seven days later another big feast is given. Some families 
give the name at the first feast, some at the second. The 
proper custom is for the " pu " to name the child, but nowadays 
parents generally do this. 

Should several children have died young, the parents will 
carry the next baby and deposit it in a friend's house, and then 
come and ask, " Have you a slave to sell," and purchase it for a 
small sum. This is supposed to deceive the Huais. Such 
children's names always begin with Suak,^ and, judging firom the 
frequency with which such names are met, the custom must be 
a very common one. 

It is thought good to appoint a "pu." The pu kills a pig 
and a fowl and eats it with his friends. Some of the " fep " of 
the fowl are tied round the child's neck. The pu is a general 
protector, and he only can get the "pushum" of a girl. He also 
receives the " lukawng " (see Part 8). Should a woman die in 
childbirth, it was considered unlucky for another woman to 
rear the child, which was buried aUve with its mother. 

There are no ceremonies connected with attaining the age of 
puberty. A boy simply joins the young men in the zawlbuk. 
After this it is considered unlucky to cut the hair. 
7. Mar- A. young Lushai as a rule chooses his own bride, but the 
momi^"^^ arrangements are made by the parents. The would-be bride- 
groom's parents select two male fiiends, called " palai," who go to 
the parents of the selected girl and arrange matters. If the 
• " Suak " or " Suok " in most old Kuki dialects and in Thado means a slave. 


parents are agreeable the palai go on another day with zu, and 
the girl's parents brew zu. The price to be paid is fixed by 
custom, as before explained, but the amount to be paid down 
has to be settled by negotiation, and this is often a long 
business, the palai urging the poverty of the bridegroom's 
family, while the bride's parents try to fix the sum as 
high as possible. When this difficulty has been overcome 
the palai go again with zu, and the girl's parents also 
provide zu. On that day the girl is escorted by her friends to 
the house of the bridegroom's parents. This is called "Loi." As 
they pass through the village all the children pelt them with 
dirt, but on arrival they are welcomed with brimming cups of 
zu, and the bridegroom says to the bride, " Oh ! your cloth is 
dirty," and gives her a new one. After some time the bride- 
groom produces a fowl, and this is killed by the puithiam, 
who says certain charms while doing so. This fowl is called 
"rem ar" — i.e.," the fowl of agreement" — and directly it is 
killed the bride and bridegroom pledge each other in zu. Then 
the bride and her young friends retire, while the rest of the 
party remain and have a great feast, consuming the " rem ar," 
and also the fowls and zu, which the bridegroom receives from 
the bride's aunt, pu, thian, and palai. The next day 
towards evening, the bridegroom's mother or other elderly 
female relative goes to the bride's house accompanied by two 
or three young girls, and they escort the bride to her husband's 
house and hand her over to him. The young companions of 
the bridegroom sometimes amuse themselves by collecting a 
number of fowls under the house, tying she-goats up in the 
verandah, while the kids are tied at the far end of the village, 
and throw stones at the house throughout the night, so that 
the happy couple get but little sleep. This is called "In- 
ngaithlak." On the following morning the bride returns to 
her mother's house, and for some time, occasionally for several 
weeks, the bride will spend her days at her mother's house, 
only going to her husband's after dark. 

Different clans have different methods of disposing of their 8. 
dead. The following is the custom of all true Lusheis, whenever ^^"^ ^' 
the means of the deceased's family are sufficient to meet the 



Directly after death the corpse is washed, the hair dressed 
carefully, and then the body is attached to a bamboo frame, 
placed in a sitting position, and adorned with fine raiment, 
necklaces, &c. ; if the deceased was a man his gun, dao, &c., are 
put near him. In Lushei families the corpse is put on the floor 
at the head of the kumpui. In other clans it is placed 
against the wall on one side. If the family be rich a mithan, 
a pig, a dog, and a goat are killed, but at least one of these must 
be killed. The flesh is then cooked in anticipation of the 
arrival of the friends and neighbours who are invited to a 
funeral feast, " Ral," which is kept up with singing and drinking 
till the evening of the next day. Food and drink are offered at 
intervals to the corpse. The spirits of the animals killed are 
supposed to accompany the soul of the deceased to Mi-thi- 
khua. If these animals are not killed the soul of the 
deceased will either not reach Mi-thi-khua, or if it does will be 
very poorly off there. So far there is not much difference 
between the Lushei custom and that of other clans. The other 
clans, on the evening of the day after the death, bury the 
deceased outside the house, without any particular ceremony. 
The nearest male relative makes a short farewell speech wishing 
the deceased a pleasant journey and asking him to prepare 
things for those who have to follow him. With a man are buried 
his pipe, haversack, and flint and steel ; with a woman only the 
two first. As regards the burying of food and drink and 
weapons the custom varies, but it is generally done. 

The Lusheis, however, prefer not to bury their dead. The 
body is placed in a box made by hollowing out a log, a slab of 
wood is placed over the opening, and the joint plastered up with 
mud. This rough sort of cofiin is placed in the deceased's house 
near to the wall. A bamboo tube is passed up through the 
floor and through a hole in the bottom of the coffin and into the 
stomach of the corpse. The other end is buried in the ground. 
A special hearth is made close to the coffin and a fire is kept 
burning day and night on this for three months, and during 
the whole of this time the widow of the deceased, if he leaves 
one, must sit alongside the coffin, over which are hung any 
valuables owned by the deceased. About six weeks after placing 
the corpse in the coffin, the latter is opened to see if the 


destruction of the corpse is proceeding properly, and if necessary 
the coffin is turned round so as to present the other side to the 
fire. The opening of the coffin is celebrated by the killing of 
a pig and the usual drink, and is known either as " en-lawk " or 
looking, examining. 

When it is thought that everything but the bones has been 
destroyed, the coffin is opened and the bones removed. The 
skull and the larger bones are removed and kept in a basket, 
which is placed on a special shelf opposite the hearth. The 
remainder of the bones are collected and buried generally in an 
earthenware pot. 

On the occasion of the final opening of the coffin — " khuang 
pai," " throwing away coffin" — it is customary for chiefs to kill a 
mithan ; lesser people are content with the usual drink. Few 
Lusheis, except chiefe, can afford the expense incurred in this 
method of disposing of their dead, and in such cases the body is 
simply buried. It is customary for relations and friends of the 
deceased to send animals to be killed in his honour, and the 
spirits of these are supposed to belong to the spirit of the 
deceased in the Mi-thi-khua. 

The skulls of all animals killed on such occasions are placed 
on poles round the grave if the body has been buried. If the 
body has not been buried, the heads will be placed on poles 
round the " lung dawh," or platform erected in memory of the 
deceased. These "lung dawh," in most cases, are merely a 
rough platform of logs placed beside the road just outside the 
village, but in the case of chiefs and of men who have killed 
men in war, the platform is built of stones. A big upright 
stone is placed in the centre, and on this various figures are 
roughly outlined, representing the deceased and sometimes his 
wife and children and the various animals he has killed. An 
indiarubber-tree is very often planted by a chief's grave. 
Sometimes a person who either has no near relatives, or 
who mistrusts those he or she has, will get the young men 
of the village to build the lung dawh during his or her 

An aged couple with no relatives expended all they had on a 
feast to the young men who brought and set up a big stone. 
The old people were carried in sitting on the stone and cheer- 


fully superintended the feast, and a month later peacefully 
departed this life.^ 

Hlametiih. — If the first child in a family dies shortly after 
birth, it is buried without any ceremony under the house, and 
it is called "hlamzuih" (hlam = after birth, zuih = to follow). 
Should other children subsequently die, however young they be, 
they will be honoured with a complete funeral. It will be 
remembered that the hlamzuih are exempt from being shot by 
Pupawla. (See above, page 62). 

Lukawng. — On a person's death a sum, varying from Rs. 2/- 
to Rs. 20/- according to family custom, has to be paid by his 
heir to the pu of the deceased (see para. 6). A chief 
generally claims the " lukawng " of all his boi. 

Sdr-thi. — Deaths from accidents, in childbirth, or those 
caused by wild animals, or in war are termed " sar-thi," and the 
corpse must not be buried within the village ; in some cases the 
corpse must not even be brought into the village, if the death 
occurred outside. Even if the corpse is brought into the village, 
it is often not allowed into a house, but deposited in the forge. 
In such cases no lukawng can be demanded. Should the 
injured person survive for any considerable time, the death will 
not be called sar-thi unless the person has been wounded by a 
tiger. The fact that tigers eat men is given as the reason for 
this. The graves of persons killed by tigers are watched by the 
young men of the village for several nights, lest the tigers, or 
their elder brothers the wild cats, should come and dig up the 

In-thian, Thi-thin. — Three months after a death a small 
chicken is killed and placed with some rice on the shelf which 
runs along the wall. The family indulge in zu. This is 
apparently a sort of farewell to the soul. 
9. There are three feasts connected with the crops. They are 

Festivals, g^jj known as " Kut." The first is called " Chap-char-kut " ; it is the 
most important of the three, and is held after the jhums are 
burnt, about the time of sowing, and is never omitted. It lasts 
three or four days. On the first day a pig is killed by each 

^ Can the fear of his heirs neglecting to put up a memorial stone have 
originated the "stone hauling" customs so distinctive of Maram and Angami 
Nagas ? 


householder who can afford it and zu is drunk. On the second 
day, about 4 p.m., the whole population gathers in the open 
space in the village, dressed in its best. Everyone brings 
platters of rice, eggs, and flesh, and tries to force the food down 
the throats of their friends. After dark the young men and 
girls collect in houses of well-to-do people with several daughters 
and dance " Chai " till daylight. 

The Chai consists in all the young men sitting with their backs 
to the walls, each with a girl sitting between his knees with her 
back to him. Individual performers dance in the middle, the 
remainder singing and clapping hands. On the third day the 
young men and girls collect in the centre of the village and form 
a circle, every girl being between two youths, whose arms cross 
over her neck, holding in their hands cloths which hang down 
behind like a curtain. Inside the circle is a drummer or gong- 
beater, who chants continuously, the young people taking up the 
refrain, and treading a slow measure in time with the song, 
while cups of zu are brought to them in rotation. Fourth day, 
" Zuting-ni." The performance is repeated again if the liquor 
holds out. 

In villages where there are many Ralte,^ they kill their pigs 
the next day after the Lusheis and the other ceremonies are 
postponed one day. 

Mim-kut. — Named after the maize, as it takes place when the 
crop ripens. It is of but little importance and seems likely to 
die out. Cakes of Job's tears are eaten and the next day 
is " hrilh." 

Pawl-kid. — Held at harvest time. Fowls are killed and 
children, dressed in their finest clothes, are fed with the flesh 
mixed with rice and eggs. The next day is " hrilh." 

The correct performance of the Chap-char-kut is thought 
to go far towards insuring a good crop for the year. 

Thang-chhuah Feasts. — The feasts which an aspirant for the 
honours of Thang-chhuah must give are five in number and 
have to be given in the order named, as they involve 
considerable expenditure, but not within any specified time. 

1. Ohong. — The feast lasts four days, the first of which is called 
" In-chhia-shem-ni," (day for repairing the house). The floor in 
^ The Ralte clan is described in Part 11, Chap. II. 


the house is strengthened to make it safe for the large number 
of guests. The labourers receive a liberal allowance of zu in 
payment for their trouble. The second day is called " Zu-pui- 
ni," from the large amount of zu that is drunk. The next day 
— " Rawi-ni " — two boars and a sow are killed and there is a 
great feast. The last day is known as " Chang-do-ni," and on 
it the remains of the feast are finished up. 

2. She-doi — The feast only lasts three days. The first 
day is " In-chhia-shem-ni," the second is known as "She-shun-ni" 
(mithan slaughter day), and a mithan is killed and eaten. 
The third day, known as " Sa-ru-che-u-ni," is similar to 

3. Mi-thi-rawp-ldm. — Three months before the day fixed for 
the feast all the young men and girls of the village start 
cutting firewood, for cooking the flesh of the animal to 
be killed. A cane is stretched along from tree to tree beside 
one of the main approaches to the village for some 500 yards, 
and against this on alternate sides are rested the billets so that 
they may be thoroughly dry by the time they are needed. As 
a reward the young people receive a he-goat and a sow, which 
they consume with much merry-making, the skulls being 
placed on posts at each end of the line of billets. This 
collection of wood is called "sa-thing-zar" (flesh- wood-hangout). 
The actual feast lasts four days, which are known by the same 
names as in the " Chong " and are spent in much the same way, 
but on the Rawi-ni, besides the slaying and eating of mithan, 
effigies, supposed to represent their deceased relatives, are 
made and attired in the finest cloths and adorned with the best 
necklaces. These are strapped on a square bamboo framework, 
in the centre of which on a tall pole is an effigy supposed to 
represent the progenitor of the clan. The oldest living 
member of the clan then comes slowly from his house, bringing 
with him a gourd of zu, and gives each effigy in turn a little zu, 
muttering a charm as he does so ; he arranges his tour so as to 
reach his own father's effigy last, and when he has muttered 
his charm and given it the zu he dashes the gourd down on the 
ground and, bursting into tears, rushes into his house, whence 
he must not emerge for a month. The effigies are then carried 
about the village with much shouting. 


This carrying about of their effigies is supposed to be very 
pleasing to the spirits of the ancestors, and it is evident that 
the people consider that these spirits are able to influence 
them for good or for bad, though I have never had this view 
of the matter clearly explained to me. This carrying about 
of persons on a platform is considered an honour, and an 
instance of it will be found in the description of the Fa-nai. 
It also appears among the Aimol and Tikhup. Among the 
Manipuris or Meitheis the right to be carried in a " dolai," or 
litter, is much valued and is the prerogative of certain officials, 
but is sometimes granted by the Rajah as a personal distinc- 
tion. The last day of the feast resembles the same day in the 

4. She-doi as before. 

5. Khuang-choi. — This is the greatest feast. Wood is collected 
three months before, as in the Mi-thi-rawp-lam,but the collectors 
get a mithan and a goat as their reward. The feast lasts four 
days, the names being the same as in the Chong. On the 
Rawi-ni at least three mithan must be killed. The Khuang-choi 
really completes the series, and the giver can now proudly 
wear the Thang-chhuah cloth and have a window in his side 
wall, but it is considered unlucky to stop, and after some 
time the She-doi is performed again under the name of " Tlip," 
followed in the course of a year or so by " Zankhuan," a four 
days' feast similar to the Chong, but one or two mithan are 
killed. If the fortunate man's life is prolonged he will con- 
tinue repeating these two feasts alternately. A man who has 
twice celebrated a Khuang-choi is allowed to build a raised 
summer house called " zao " a short distance in front of his living 

After slaying a mithan in any of these feasts the giver of 
the feast is subject to various restrictions. Till he has per- 
formed the " In-thian " ceremony, he may not leave the house 
nor talk to anyone from another village. In some cases his 
movements are not so closely restricted, but he must in no case 
cross running water. I am told that should he infringe these 
rules his Sakhua would be offended and he or his family 
would get ill. The " In-thian " ceremony is performed some 
forty or fifty days after the killing of the mithan, and consists 


in the sacrificing of a cock. The prohibition of conversing 
with strangers is generally enforced only for three or four 
days, but on no account must they be allowed inside the 

The skulls of mithan killed on these occasions are placed on 
posts to one side of the entrance to the house of the giver of 
the feast, and it is the highest ambition of the Lushai to have 
a long line of such posts in front of his house. Each post is 
cut out of a tree of considerable size, which is dressed until 
the lower 7 or 8 feet are only some 8 or 9 inches thick. Above 
this the tree is roughly cut into a plank some 8 or 9 inches 
thick, forming an irregular quadrilateral, the lower side being 
a foot or so long and the upper from 2 to 3 feet, while one 
side may be 18 inches and the other 2 feet or a little more ; 
at each of the upper corners there is a perpendicular projec- 
tion some 12 inches long terminating in a spike, a short 
distance below which a ring of wood is left. The skull is 
placed on the higher spike, while on the lower an egg is 
affixed by a thin peg of fir wood. This use of fir may be a 
survival of the time when the clan lived east of the Tyao, 
where fir forests are still found. 

Posts are erected on similar occasions by many of the Kuki- 
Lushai clans. Among the Khawtlang the quadrilateral 
portion is only two or three feet from the ground, while the 
projections are far longer. Among the Vuite the custom is to 
put a thin straight post slightly carved on one side of the house 
and to plant a number of branches in a clump on the other. 
The Tangkhul Nagas, to commemorate the slaying of cattle, 
plant lines of dead trees in front of their houses. 

The method of killing the mithan at these feasts is strictly 
laid down. After the puithiam has said a prayer, the giver 
of the feast stabs the animal behind the shoulder in the region 
of the heart, but only sufficient to draw blood. The poor beast is 
then despatched by other men with sharp bamboos or clubs ; 
it must on no account be shot. 

Buh-ai. — This is a feast given by a wealthy person who has 
had an exceptionally good harvest. It is not one of the feasts 
which a would-be Thangchhuah has to give, nor is there any 
idea of obtaining advantage in the next world, as there is in 


the Ai ceremonies performed after the killing of animals or 
men, but it is a thank-offering for a good harvest. It is not 
worth performing Ai for a crop of less than 100 baskets. An 
old red cock and a pig are killed and much zu prepared. 

There is a special pot of zu prepared on the platform in 
front of the house of which no one who has not performed the 
Buh-ai can drink, for others to drink of it is " thianglo." The 
person who gave the last Buh-ai feast is entitled to the first 
drink at this zu, which is called the " Buhza-zu " (the 100 
baskets of rice zu). There is ordinary zu for the others 
to drink, and if it is not all finished the first day the guests 
return on the morrow. 

The flesh of the animals killed is eaten by the guests. At 
night the girls and lads dance the Chai, as in the Chap-char- 
kut. To give such a feast reflects great glory on the giver 
and improves his standing in the village. 

The Buh-ai is celebrated by nearly all the Lushai-Kuki 
clans and in some replaces the Thangchhuah feasts. Full 
particulars will be found in Part II. 



1. There are many tales common to all the Kuki-Lushai clans, 

gen s. ^ijQygjj ^jjg names under which the various personages figure in 
them are not always the same. A numerous class of legends 
deals with the creation of the world and the first appearance of 
mankind thereon and other natural phenomena ; another class 
accounts for the names of hills and rivers; a third class 
reminds one of Uncle Remus's tales of the doings of Brer 
Rabbit ; but there are also a great many which are simply 
tales and which are generally a trifle obscene. The following 
are instances of the first class : — 

Chhura is said to have shaped the world, beating it out fla 
with his mallet. There are many tales connected with Chhura 
some of which will be found further on. The following trans- 
lation gives a Lushai's idea of an eclipse of the sun or moon : — 

"Formerly the Hauhul chief swallowed the moon, having 
been changed during his dream into an awk, and many people 
were watching and said, 'The awk is swallowing the moon.' 
Then he awoke and his mouth was bleeding. A year later he 
died and his ghost was turned into an awk and went up into 
the sky, and the moon was full and big, and the ghost, which 
had been changed into an awk, could not swallow the moon, 
but the next day the moon was smaller and he swallowed it. 
Thus men knew for the first time that there was an awk." 

When an eclipse occurs there is much excitement and 
beating of drums, &c. This is to frighten the awk, for the 
Lushais believe that once the awk swallowed the sun so effectu- 
ally that general darkness prevailed. This awful time is 


called " Thimzing " — i.e., the gathering of the darkness— and 
many awful things happened. Everything except the skulls of 
animals killed in the chase became alive, dry wood revived, even 
stones became alive and produced leaves, and so men had 
nothing to burn. The successful hunters who had accumulated 
large stocks of the trophies of their skill were able to keep 
alive using them as fuel, and some of their descendants still 
survive among the Thados, under which heading they will be 
found in Part II. As it was pitch dark, neither animals nor 
men could see at all, and tigers went about biting wildly at 
trees, stones, and people. A general transformation took place, 
men being all changed into animals. Those who were going 
merrily to the jhum were changed into " satbhai " (laughing 
thrushes), as can be known by their white heads, which 
represent the turbans worn by the men, and their cheery chat- 
terings. People wearing striped cloths became tigers, the 
chiefs of those days being represented by the hombills of 
to-day, whose bills represent the bamboo rods for stirring rice 
while cooking ; but another version is that the chiefs became 
king-crows, whose long tail-feathers the chiefs value much and 
wear as plumes. The black hands of the gibbon prove clearly 
that his ancestors were dyeing thread when the Thimzing 
occurred. Another version ascribes the same origin to the 
crows. Similarly those who were carrying torches finding their 
way down stream beds were changed into fireflies. The 
Chongthu family are sometimes said to have been turned into 
monkeys, the Vangchhia into elephants ; but another version 
says the elephants were old women who were wearing their 
" puanpui " — i.e., cotton quilts — with the tufts of cotton outside. 
Wrestlers were suddenly transformed into bears, who to this 
day grapple with their foes. 

The Paihte or Vuite clan became a species of squirrel, while the 
Ralte's ancestor was just saying, " Vaibel kan chep te ang nge ? " 
" Shall we suck our pipes ? " and was therefore changed into a sort 
of squirrel called "chep chepa," firom the sound it is always making. 

The domestic animals were changed into wild ones, but a 
number of large boulders in the Van-laiphai are said to repre- 
sent Chhura's mithan which were grazing there at the Thim- 
zing. After this terrible catastrophe the world was again 


repeopled by men and women issuing from a hole in the earth 
called the " Chhinglung," which appeared to me to be a disused 
" cache " in which some long forgotten chief used to hide his 
valuables on the approach of danger. Mithan reappeared from 
gourd seeds, as is shown by their bellow " um mu " — i.e., gourd 
seed. Pigs issued from the Rih-lake, wherefore they come to 
their food when called " rih rih." Fowls were re-created from 
the mud, so to this day they answer to the call " chirih chirih," 
i.e., " chir mud." 

It is not quite clear how, if representatives of the different 
clans were changed into various animals, these same clans again 
issued from the Chhinglung, but our own legends are not always 
quite easy to follow. 

The following is a translation of a Lushai account of the 
repeopHng of the world and of a feast which is said to have 
taken place soon after : — 

" The place whence all people sprang is called Chhinglung. 
All the clans came out of that place. Then two Ralte came 
out together, and began at once chattering, and this made 
Pathian think there were too many men, and so he shut down 
the stone. After a short time Thlandropa was going to hold a 
Khuangchoi, and told them to call together all the people of 
the world, and when this had been done he held his Khuangchoi. 
They said to the sun, ' Do not shine, because we want our 
leader the Sa-huai (Loris) to lead us in the dance,' and the 
sun said, ' All right.' At that time the Sa-huai and all the 
animals could talk, and the bamboo rat was beating the drum, 
and they all danced, and in the middle of their fun the sun 
said, ' Oh, how I do want to look,' and shone out, and all the 
animals got hot, and could not dance any more, so the Sa-huai 
got angry and quarrelled with the sun, and won't even look at 
it nowadays. There was a great feast of flesh, but the owl got 
no meat, so he got angry, and went and sat on the bough of a 
tree, and Zuhrei, the big rat, chaffed him and said, ' Buka has 
eaten his fill.' Then the owl being still hungry, got angry 
and bit Zuhrei. Since that day they have been at war, and if 
the owl sees Zuhrei he assuredly bites him." The point of the 
allusion to the Ralte is that this clan is famed throughout the 
Hills for the loquacity of its members. 


Another story connected with this feast is that Thlandropa 
gave a number of presents : to the ancestor of the Poi or Chin 
tribes he gave a fighting dao, while the ancestor of the Lushais 
only received a cloth, which is the reason that the Poi tribes 
are braver than the Lushais. On my asking what the ancestor 
of the white man had received, I was told he had received the 
knowledge of reading and writing — a curious instance of the pen 
being considered mightier than the sword. 

Thlandropa appears to have been a great person in his day, 
for he is supposed to have received Khuavang's daughter in 
marriage, giving in exchange a gun, the report of which we call 
thunder. This legend puts Khuavang on a par with Pathian, 
and supports the theory that the differentiation is of com- 
paratively recent growth. 

There is a legend that the king of the Water Huai fell in 
love with Ngai-ti (loved one) and, as she rejected his addresses 
and ran away, he pursued her and surrounded the whole 
human race on the top of a hill called Phun-lu-buk, said to be 
far away to the north-east. As the water kept on rising, to 
save themselves the people threw Ngai-ti into the flood, which 
thereupon receded. It was the running off of this water 
which cut up the surface of the world, which Chhura had 
levelled, into the deep valleys and high hill ranges of which 
the whole world as known to the ancestors of the Lushais con- 

As a sample of the second class of tale, the following story 
regarding the origin of the Tui-chong river, which joins the 
Kumaphuli, near Demagri, may be taken : — 

Nine miles from Demagri, on the Lungleh road, the traveller 
has to cross the Tui-chong river, one of the largest tributaries 
of the Kurnaphuli, on which Chittagong stands. This river, 
according to the Lushais, owes its origin to the self-denial of a 
girl called Tui-chongi, who, with her little sister Nuengi, was 
walking on the hills whence the river rises. It was April, and 
the sun blazed down on them. Nuengi began to cry for water. 
" How can I get you water on the top of a hill ? Don't you 
know that all the springs are dry, for are not the jhums ready 
to be burnt ? " " Water, water, or I shall die," wailed Nuengi. 
" Would you rather have water than me ? " asked Tui-chongi. 


" If I don't get water, I shall die, and then of what use would 
you be to me ? " replied the spoilt child. So Tui-chongi, to 
satisfy her youngest sister's thirst, changed herself into a river, 
and Nuengi drank and was satisfied. But the water flowed 
down among the hills and burst its way into the country of the 
Bengalis. The king of the Bengalis was astonished to see so 
mighty a river flowing past his palace, and sent some of 
his people to find out whence it came. They journeyed many 
days, till at length they reached the source of the stream, 
and there sat Nuengi, who, now that her thirst was satisfied, 
would gladly have had her sister back again to show her 
the way home. The explorers were astonished to find so 
beautiful a maiden sitting thus in the middle of the jungle, 
and decided that it would be wise to take her back to their 
master, who liked pretty girls. So Nuengi was added to the 
harem of the king of Chittagong, and in time became the 
mother of a most lovely boy. The king's chief wife, on seeing 
the child, thought to herself, " If my lord sees this jungle 
woman's brat, he will assuredly love her more than me who am 
childless." So she had the child thrown into the river, which 
flowed under the palace windows, and frightened Nuengi into 
keeping silence on the matter. Tui-chongi, however, in spite 
of the change in her circumstances, remembered her little 
sister, and cherished the child so that he grew and throve. In 
the same way six more children were born and thrown into 
Tui-chongi's fostering arms. When they were grown up Tui- 
chongi told them the circumstances of their birth, and sent 
them to dance on the roof of their father's palace, who, hearing 
the noise, came out to see the cause of the disturbance. When 
he saw seven handsome young men he was much astonished, 
and asked them who they were. " We are your sons," they 
replied. " Why do you lie to me ? " said the king ; " liars have 
short lives in my kingdom." " Nay, O king, we lie not; we 
are Nuengi's sons " ; and they told him their story. So the 
king smote off the head of the bad queen, and installed Nuengi 
in her place. 

Of the third class the following are good examples, and 
admirers of Uncle Remus will be reminded of the doings of 
" Brer Rabbit and the other animals." 


The Tale of Granddaddy Bear and the Monkey. 

The Monkey made a swing and was always swinging in it. 
One day Granddaddy Bear saw him and said, " Oh, Monkey, 
let me have a swing." The Monkey replied, " Wait a minute 
till I have hung it more securely." Then he climbed up and 
bit the cane nearly through and jumped down again crying 
out, " Come on, Granddaddy Bear, have a swing." The bear 
got in and swung, the cane broke, and he fell down. The 
Monkey, intending to eat him, had gone and fetched some 
cooked rice (to eat with the bear's flesh). But though Grand- 
daddy Bear fell down he was not killed. The Monkey, being 
terribly afraid, said, " Oh, Granddaddy Bear, hearing you had 
fallen I brought some rice for you," and gave him all he had 

The Bear's Water Hole. 

The Bear made a dam to collect water, and put the Monkey 
to watch it. Every sort of animal came crying, " I am dry. Who 
has water which he does not want ? I am dry." The Monkey 
always said, " The water belongs to Granddaddy Bear. If you 
dare to drink, drink ; if you dare to suck, suck it up." Then the 
Tiger came along, saying, " I am dry. Who has water which he 
does not want ? I am dry." The Monkey replied, " It is my Grand- 
daddy Bear's water. If you dare to drink, drink ; if you dare to 
suck, suck it up." The Tiger drank it all ; he sucked the place 
dry. Then the Monkey went to the Bear and said, " Oh, Grand- 
daddy Bear, the Tiger has drunk your water ! " So the Bear 
rushed up and began to fight with the Tiger. They fought a 
long time and both died, and the Monkey took their bones. 
" Whose ever bones will sound, whether my Granddaddy the 
Tiger's or Granddaddy the Bear's," he said, and so, taking the 
bones which would sound, he made a rotchhem (see Chapter 
II, para. 6) out of them and he sat in the fork of a tree and played 
on it. The Quail, hearing the sound, came up. '' Hallo, Monkey ! 
let me play for a bit," he said. " Oh, ho ! " said the Monkey, 
" you will fly off with the rotchhem." " If you fear that," said 
the Quail, " hold me by the tail." So the Monkey held him 
tight by the tail, and off he flew, but the Monkey pulled his 
tail clean out. Then the Quail came and begged for his tail, 


saying, " Do give me back my tail." But the Monkey replied, 
" You can ransom it by paying eight mithan." " Oh," said the 
Quail, " if I have to pay eight mithan for it, I'll just remain tail- 
less," and flew away. 

The following tale is interesting as showing the great 
prestige the Tipperah chief enjoyed among the Lushais, who 
call him " Rengpui." There are many versions of this tale, some of 
which are very long. I have been obliged to abridge it con- 

Eimenhoiyi married Zawlthlia. Their house was of iron. 
They had an eight-fold iron door. They beautified the inside 
with iron and brass things. They also had a window (i.e., 
Zawlthlia was Thangchhuah^) and a platform to sit on — in fact 
they wanted for nothing. 

Eimenhoiyi planted flowers, but there was one flower she had 
not, called " nipuipar " (bright sun flower — a creeper with 
scarlet flowers). When her husband was about to go in search 
of it he said to her, " Please don't go outside the house," and 
having filled the brass vessels with enough water to last her 
many days, he went off. However, the supply ran short and 
the lady went to the stream to wash, and one of her hairs was 
carried down and swallowed by a fish, which was caught by the 
cook of the king near the mouth of the river ; and from out of 
the fish the cook pulled this immensely long hair, and it filled 
a winnowing basket. The king sent for the owner of the hair, 
and after many episodes she was brought to him. Zawlthlia 
returning found his w^ife gone, but with the help of the 
domestic animals he traced her, and, on arriving at the foreign 
king's village he saw slaves fetching water ; and, ascertaining 
that it was for the new queen, he put one of the nipuipar into 
the vessel, so Eimenhoiyi knew he had arrived. According to 
one version, they resorted to the same subterfuge that Abraham 
and Sarah employed when entering Egypt and lived happily 
till, the king's suspicion being aroused, Zawlthlia was summarily 
slain. According to another, Eimenhoiyi married them both, 
but as she showed a preference for Zawlthlia the king killed him. 

With the help of a wise woman learned in charms Zawlthlia 
was brought to life in a more beautiful form, and the king was 
^ See above as to windows, page 27. 


so struck by the improvement in his appearance that he asked 
to be allowed to undergo the same treatment, and was duly 
killed, but, unfortunately for him, was by some accident restored 
to life in the shape of a dog; but in this shape he seems to 
have found more favour in the fickle fair one's eyes, and a child 
called Uithovi was born, who, being very poor, begged for some 
land of Zawlthlia, who had become king of the Tipperahs, and 
was told to take as much as a buffalo hide measured. By cutting 
the hide into a very thin strip he was able to measure a con- 
siderable area of ground, but, not content with this, he voyaged far 
till he reached the place where money was to be found, and he 
became very prosperous. " Nevertheless it was said that to the 
present day Kumpinu (the Company's Mother — i.e., the late 
Queen), who is a descendant of Uithovi's, cannot get the better of 
Rengpui (the Rajah of Tipperah). If the Sahibs fight against 
Rengpui, all their crops fail, and much sickness occurs among 
them. Pathian once threw down a cannon from the sky, and a 
great number of Kumpinu's sepoys tried to move it, but could 
not, while a few of Rengpui's men were able to drag it 

Chhura is represented as a man of immense strength and 
stature, of an easy-going disposition, but not much blessed with 
brains. Thus one story tells of how, being on a visit, he was 
regaled with a crab stew, which he had not tasted before, and 
liked greatly. He inquired of what animal it was made. On 
his way home he forgot the name and commenced searching. 
Someone seeing him looking about asked what he had lost. 
" Stupid," replied Chhura ; " if I knew, would I be looking ? " 
The passer-by remarked that he smelt strongly of crab. " That's 
it ! That's what I was searching for," cried Chhura much pleased, 
and went on his way. His mallet head, a roughly dressed 
cylinder of stone, about 30 inches long and 18 in diameter, is 
pointed out to the curious, lying beside the path between Leng 
and Lingvum, where it is said to have fallen when it flew off 
the handle while Chhura was flattening the earth in the Van- 
lai-phai valley some five miles away. A large spherical stone in 
the same neighbourhood is pointed out as one of the pellets 
shot from his pellet bow when he was at Thenzawl, many miles 



There are many tales of this hero, who is especially honoured 
by the Khawtlang. 

Mualsavata is another mythical hero of immense stature. 
The smoke from his pipe was like that of a jhum burning. 
His whetstone, some 18 inches long, lies beside the road near 
Chongthleng, where it fell from his haversack, which his wife 
had neglected to mend. 

I have given so many tales in other parts of the monograph 
that I shall only add one more here. 

The Tale of Him who Demanded His Sister's Price. 

He went to the west to demand his sister's price. The 
debtor gave him a bamboo stirring rod. If you stirred an empty 
pot with this rod it was at once filled with rice. He returned 
towards his village. On the way he stayed the night in the 
house of a widow, and placed his stirring rod on the shelf over 
the hearth saying, " Granny, please don't stir your pot with my 
stirring rod." " All right," said she, but, while he was walking 
about the village, she stirred her pot just to see what sort of a 
stirring rod it was, and, behold, her pot was full of rice. " It is 
a very good stirring rod," she said ; " I will just exchange mine 
for it " — which she did secretly. And the owner of the 
magic rod went on to his village, and on arrival there he called 
to his children, " Set the water boiling to cook the rice." His 
children replied, " We have nothing to cook. What is the use of 
boiling water alone ? " "I have got rice, I've got rice," he said. 
So they boiled the water, and he stirred it hard with his rod, but 
nothing came. "If we stir more it will come," he said, but 
nevertheless nothing came. 

Then he went off to demand the price from the debtor again, 
who gave him a goat which passed nothing but amber and 
cornelian beads, and said, "Take it carefully home." "All 
right," said he. He stayed the night at the same widow's house, 
and when he was going out to stroll through the village he said, 
" Granny, you will be careful not to kick my goat on the rump, 
won't you ? " " All right," said she, but directly he was out of 
sight she kicked the goat and he passed many beads. " It is a 
good goat," she said, and secretly substituted her own goat for 
it. Her guest went off and directly he reached his house he 


called out, " Prepare strings for necklaces. Prepare strings for 
necklaces." His children replied, " Father, we have nothing to 
put on the strings. What is the good of the strings alone ? " 
"I have got beads, I have got beads," he cried. So they 
prepared a winnowing basket full of threads. Then he gave 
the goat several good kicks on the rump, but it only passed filth 
and bleated loudly. 

Then he went again to demand payment and was given a 
mallet and a piece of cane. " The name of this piece of cane is 
' Ramdia,' " they said. He set off for home and again stayed in 
the same old woman's house and put Ramdia and his mallet 
down among the firewood, and as he started for his stroll he said, 
" Granny, don't touch this cane, will you ? It is called Ramdia — 
and you won't touch the mallet either, will you ? " " All right," 
she said, but no sooner was he gone than, saying, " They are 
valuable things," she touched them both. The cane wound 
round and round her and the mallet began to beat her. She 
was in terrible trouble and shouted to her neighbours ; wherever 
she went the mallet beat her and beat her till she died. 

The Lushais are an extremely superstitious race ; any 2. Super- 
unusual occurrence is considered as portending some evil stitions. 
results. The meaning of the word " thianglo " has been already 
explained in Chapter IV, para. 4. Certain acts, dreams, or sights 
are universally considered " thianglo," or unlucky, but should a 
Lushai see any unusual sight or hear an unusual sound he would 
at once consider that some misfortune was imminent and 
take advice from the puithiam as to how it could be avoided. 
The following are some of the superstitions connected with 

It is "thianglo" to find, in the proposed jhum, a gibbon's 
skull stuck on a tree stump. If in burning the jhum the flames 
make a peculiar huk-huk sound ; if the khatchhat (nightjar) calls 
by day, the jhum had better be abandoned. Should the jhum 
cutter after his first day's work dream of water or rice all will 
be well, but should he dream of a mithan chasing him or tigers 
springing on him, he must nob continue cutting the jhum, or 
he will certainly get very ill and probably will die. If on the 
site of the proposed jhum a " thing-lu-bul " is found, death will 
certainly claim the cultivator should he persist in j burning 


anywhere near the unlucky object, which is a kind of abortive 
tree growth without boughs or shoots, but covered with bulbous 
excrescences, which sometimes remotely resemble the human 
form, and if cut exude a blood-red juice. Should a tree have a 
pendant protuberance, called " thingzang," the jungle near must 
not be cut. The rubbing together of two tree boughs is thought 
to denote the presence of a Huai, who must be appeased by the 
sacrifice of a cock and hen, the sherh being hung under the 
jhum house with some chips of the tree. Brackish springs, 
known as " sa-khi-shi " (barking deer springs), are supposed to 
be the abodes of Huai, who are generally satisfied with the 
sacrifice of a fowl, the sherh being, hung in a basket over the 
spring, but if the Huai be greedy the jhumer will fall ill, and 
then a pig and a dog must be sacrificed in the same manner. 
The following are some of the superstitions about animals : — ■ 
A Lushai named Kela visited Aijal ; on the road he met a 
rat, which stood up in the middle of the road and held its paws 
to its head. " What a curious rat ! " he said. Two days after he 
reached his home he died. To see such a rat is certainly 
" thianglo." This incident happened a short time ago ; no 
one had ever heard of such a rat having been seen before, 
and the unusualness of the occurrence, coupled with the 
death of Kela, was, to the Lushais, proof positive of its 
being the cause of his death. The Lushais tell me that some- 
times a muskrat will be followed by her whole family, each 
holding in its mouth the tail of the one in front ; this they 
call " In tir mei kai," and whoever sees it will certainly die. 
Should a bear on being shot fall on its back, and lie with its 
legs in the air, the shooter will die. If a bird enters the house 
prompt measures have to be taken to avert misfortune. The 
puithiam is called and the bird captured. The house is 
festooned within with the leaves of a certain tree, and the bird 
is thrown out of the house by the puithiam, who, muttering 
various charms, advises it to take itself off and carry its witch- 
craft with it. I came across, in an old number of the Outlook, 
a translation of a Chinese poem said to be dated about 100 B.C. 
in which the following occurs : — " When a wild bird enters a 
dwelling it portends that the human occupant must go forth." 
The coincidence is curious. 


The following translation of a Lushai's reason for considering 
the sight of an atlas moth " thianglo " shows the origin of such 
superstitions. Atlas moths are rare in the Lushai hills. The 
" keptuam " (atlas moth) was the letter bearer between Pathian 
and the Vai (foreigner); and once when he was carrying 
Pathian's letter to the Vai chief the keptuam made the letter 
into wings, and flew away and disappeared, and Pathian was 
much disturbed at the loss of his letter and at the disappearance 
of his messenger, and he made mankind hunt for the missing 
keptuam. Now the keptuam did not wish to be caught, so 
he said, " Whoever sees me will die " ; but as mankind did not 
know this they hunted and hunted till at last one saw the 
fugitive and died, and so they learnt that to see a keptuam is 
" thianglo,'' and ever since if anyone sees a male keptuam he 
will probably die. 

Should the fowls at midnight become terrified and make an 
unusual sound like " i-ak, i-ak " someone will die. Should 
gibbons be heard hooting during the night, they have seen the 
corpse of someone who will fall from a tree or be drowned. As 
the gibbon retires to rest even before the sun sets, it must be 
very seldom that their shouts are heard at night. It is 
" thianglo " to shoot a gibbon, because at the Thimzing a 
man and a wife were changed into those animals. The woman at 
the time was dyeing blue thread, and therefore the palms of the 
bands of the female gibbon are black, though the rest of the 
body is light coloured. 

The rhinoceros is also safe from attack on account of a similar 
belief, the folds of his skin being supposed to be derived from 
the folds of the cloths of persons who were transmogrified. The 
natural result of killing one of these animals is that all members 
of the slayer's family sicken and die, but this can be avoided if the 
successful huntsman on his return to the village goes straight 
to the zawlbuk or forge and remains there a whole day and 
night, after which it is safe for him to enter his house, provided 
that he leaves his gun and haversack behind and has changed 
all his clothes. 

It is, however, worth noticing that, though monkeys, elephants^ 
tigers, bears, &c., are also said to have been men before the 
Thimzing, there is no reluctance shown to kill them, and in 


fact the chiefs wear plumes of the king crow's feathers, and 
hombills' beaks decorate many a chiefs verandah. 

When building his house the Lushai must be careful that 
he does not put his hearth on the side of the house next to 
that on which his neighbour has his. To do so is " thianglo " 
and illness will follow. It is not difficult to guess how this idea 
has arisen. Lushai houses are generally built in lines one 
above the other on the sides of a hill, and therefore it is more 
convenient to place the heavy earthen hearth on the upper side 
where the posts are shorter. This causes the hearths of all 
the houses in one row to be on the same side, and, the custom 
once formed, any deviation from it is considered unlucky. To 
dream of the auction of a " hlang " — i.e., the bamboo frame to 
which the corpse is strapped during the funeral feast — is unlucky, 
and the person seen by the dreamer to purchase it will 
certainly die. 

The following translation of a Lushai account of " tualsumsu " 
is interesting : — 

" There are ' tualsumsu ' in dreams and also while people 
are in a trance ; the latter are the worst. If two friends are 
sleeping and in their dreams one says to the other, " Go as 
" tualsumsu " ' — i.e., ' beating your head on the ground ' — nothing 
will happen to the one who goes, but the man who sends him 
will die. If anyone goes without being told to go, and likes it, 
he will die, but if he says, ' Oh, how it hurts my head ! ' he will 
not die. Sometimes a person will go beating his head on the 
ground and when roused from the trance know nothing 
of it." 

The following is another curious belief ; — 
" If a man dreams that with his friend they are going to fly 
like ' Chawifa,' and they, both carrying burning maize 
cobs wrapped in old cloths in baskets, intend flying from inside 
the house, and having come outside, his friend flies away, while 
he himself stands on the end of the roof and cannot fly, his 
friend who flew away will die quickly, while he who could not 
fly will live. And he that flew away knew nothing of it, and 
the com cobs wrapped in old cloth were thrown up, and the 
people saw them blazing like fire. This is extremely 
' thianglo.' " 


The Lushais speak confidently of " Chawifa," and many say 
they have seen it. They describe it as a kind of meteor, which 
flies through the village blazing brightly, and if it alights on a 
house the owner must die. Compare the Lakher idea of 
" Chawifa," given in Part II., and the Manipuri " Sangaisel," in 
Mr. Hodson's book on the Meitheis, page 121. 

The Lushais do not worship snakes, but there are many 3. Snake 
tales of "rulpui" (the big snake). Colonel Lewin in his '^'"'"^^P- 
" Progressive Exercises " has written as follows : — 

"Throughout the Lushai Hills, among all the tribes with 
whom I have come in contact, whether ' Toung-tha ' or 
' Khyoung-tha,' sons of the hill or sons of the river, I have 
always found that special attributes have been assigned to a 
certain description of snake or serpent that is found in these 
forests. I remember once we were camped peacefully beside 
the border of a small hill stream ; the shanties of leaves and 
grass which form our tentes d'ahri in this part of the world 
had been erected, and all the world (our world some 30 persons) 
was either smoking the pipe of peace or stirring the pot of rice 
that was to form the evening meal. Suddenly there arose a 
shout of ' Tchubba-gree ! Tchubba-gree ! ' which is the Hill 
Arracanese for ' the big snake, the king-serpent.' Behold the 
camp in a ferment, each stalwart young fellow seizing his dao 
and tightening his waistband. We went forth, and indeed the 
snake was very big. His long sinuous growth was at least 20 
feet in length and bulky in proportion ; he moved slowly along, 
taking apparently no notice of the turmoil and confusion that 
soon filled the wood around him. The Hillmen swarmed around 
his length like ants, and in a few moments he was cut in pieces 
by dao strokes. I noticed that each of my combatants as they 
ran up to the snake spat at him before striking. On inquiring 
the reasons of this, I was informed that in attacking a snake of 
this description, if he spat at you first before you struck him, 
your fate was sealed, and strangulation was your doom ; but if 
you were speedy in salivation and forestalled his action, then he 
was delivered a prey into the hands of his assailants. A similar 
superstition formerly attached to the basilisk or cockatrice, 
which was said to be able to fascinate or cause the destruction 
of man or beast if it first perceived its victim before it was 


itself perceived. Sir Thomas Browne, in discoursing ' Of the 
Basilisk,' says ' that veneration shooteth from the eye, and that 
this way a basilisk may empoison, is not a thing impossible ; 
but that this destruction should be the effect of the first 
beholder or depend on priority of aspection is a point not 
easily to be granted.' The flesh of this snake (which is a 
species of python) is eaten by the Hill folk, and the fat of the 
reptile is held to be a sovereign cure for all cuts and wounds, as 
well as for more obscure diseases. In the household tales and 
fireside stories of the people ' the big snake ' holds a prominent 
place, and is vested with attributes of power and know- 

Colonel McCulloch, in his account of the Valley of Manipur, 
1859, page 32, mentions the belief of the Manipuris in a snake 
god, and in fact the royal family is supposed to have sprung 
from a snake god known as " Pakhangba." Colonel McCulloch 
also relates that a Kuki — i.e., a Thado — who had left him in 
perfect health, " saw a black snake as large as his thigh, which 
uttered a sound like that of an ox bellowing." " On his reach- 
ing his home he became ill, his belly swelled, and he has not 
recovered his health." Compare this with the following 
translation of a statement made to me by Hrangzova, a Lushai 
political Chaprassie, in 1904: — 

" When I lived at Thenzawl, I once saw a curious object 
about 18 inches long, and about 6 inches thick, like a snake, 
which kept standing up on its stumpy tail, and then falling 
forward. I called my friend, who also saw it. When I got 
home I told my father and mother, who were very frightened, 
and said it was ' thianglo.' They both died within the year. 
This was 12 years ago. The rulpui which I saw had not got 
feathers, but perhaps that was because it was not big enough, 
as I am told the real rulpui has feathers like that of a 

There are various places named after rulpui. On one hill 
the body of a large snake is said to have been raised up on a 
pole, and so big was it that its shadow fell on a hill many miles 
away, called thereafter " Rulpui-thlin " — i.e., Rulpui's Shadow. 
The following is the translation of the story of the origin of 
" rulpui." 


Chhawng -chili and the Bulpui. 
Once upon a time there was a girl called Chhawng-chili, who 
was in her father's jhum. At the bottom of the jhum in a 
hollow tree a snake had its nest, and the snake loved Chawng- 
chili very much. Whenever they went to the jhum she used to 
send her younger sister to call the snake, who used to come up 
and coil itself up in Chhawng-chili's lap. The little sister was 
very much afraid of the snake and did not dare tell her father. 
When the girls were going to the jhum, their parents always 
used to wrap up some rice and vegetables for them to take with 
them. On account of her fear of the snake, the little sister 
could not eat anything. Then her sister and the snake ate up 
all the rice and the vegetables, and the little sister stayed in 
the jhum house all day and got very thin, and her parents said 
to her, " Oh, little one, why are you getting so thin? " but she 
always said, "Oh, father, I can't tell you"; but her parents 
pressed her to tell them, and at last she said, " My sister and 
the snake make love always ; as soon as we get to the jhum she 
says to me, ' Call him to me,' and I call him, and he comes up 
and coils himself up on her lap, and I am so frightened that I 
cannot eat anything, and that is why I am so thin." So they 
kept Chhawng-chili at home, and her father and younger sister 
went to the jhum, and her father dressed himself up to resemble 
Chhawng-chili, but he put his dao by his side ; then the little 
sister called the snake, who came up quickly and curled itself 
up in her father's lap, and he with one blow cut it in two, and 
then they returned to the village. On the next day Chhawng- 
chili and her sister went to the jhum and her little sister called 
the snake, but her father had killed it. So they came back to 
their house, and found their father lying on the floor just inside 
the door sill. Chhawng-chili said, " Get up, father, I want to 
scrape the mud off my feet" (on the door sill), but her father 
would not move. So Chhawng-chili scraped off the mud from 
her feet, and stepped over the sill, and her father struck up and 
killed her. In her stomach there were about 100 small snakes. 
They killed them and killed them, buc one escaped and hid 
under a dry patch of mithan dung, and grew up and used to eat 
people, and when it got bigger it wriggled into the "rulchawm 
kua" — I.e., "feed snake hole" — and people of all villages used to 


feed it. After a time it was not content with goats and pigs, 
but demanded children. One day a Chin who was travelling 
noticed his host and hostess weeping, and on asking the reason 
was told it was the day for giving a child to the snake. " I will 
kill the snake," he replied, and, being provided with a goat, he 
slew it, and wrapped its flesh round his dao and forearm and 
offered it to the ralpui. When his forearm had been 
swallowed, by a quick turn of his wrist he disembowelled the 
monster. The place where this took place is on the Aijal- 
Champhai road, some forty miles from Aijal. The Biate or Bete 
claim to have been the people who fed the snake. 

If a " thingsir" (a snake of which the female is very light- 
coloured and the male dark) enters a house, it is very 
" thianglo." 

The entry of any snake into a house is looked on with 
suspicion, and either portends misfortune or it denotes that 
the sacrifice to Sakhua is urgently needed. If this sacrifice is 
not performed speedily death may ensue. 

To see a snake with legs is " thianglo." The Lushais believe 
there are such creatures. My informant says it is only nowa- 
days that this is "thianglo," inferring that formerly such 
creatures were common and therefore attracted no attention. 
It is the unusualness of the thing which makes the Lushai 
think it " thianglo." 
4. Omens. In the section dealing with superstition the subject of omens 
of misfortune has been fully dealt with, and there is no need to 
say much more, but the following extract from ' Asiatic Disserta- 
tions," II, 1792, is interesting — it is from a description of the 
" Mountaineers of Tipra." 

" If at any time they see a star very near the moon they say, 
' To-night we shall undoubtedly be attacked by some enemy,' 
and they pass the night under arms with extreme vigilance." 

This belief may be accounted for by the superstition that 
projects undertaken on such occasions are likely to succeed. 

Once when starting on a night expedition to capture a rebel 
chief, I noticed my guide staring up intently at the moon, and 
he expressed great satisfaction at seeing a star quite close to 
its edge, and exclaimed that our expedition was now sure to 
succeed, which I am glad to say proved true. 


The Lushais are firm believers in witchcraft. There are 5 Witch- 
several ways of bewitching your enemy. Colonel Lewin has a '^'■^^*- 
tale in which the wizard takes up the impression of a person's 
foot in the mud and puts it to dry over the hearth, thereby 
causing the owner to waste away. Clay figures into which 
bamboo spikes are thrust also figure in all cases in which a 
person is accused of this offence. To cut off a piece of a person's 
hair and put it in a spring is certain, unless the hair is speedily 
removed, to cause his death. Several tragedies have occurred 
on account of the belief in witchcraft. In 1897 three whole 
families were massacred because it was thought that they were 
bewitching a very aged chieffcainess. The livers of the wizards 
were cut out and portions carried to the sufferer, but un- 
fortunately she died before being able to taste them and thus 
prove the efficacy of the remedy. So strong was the feeling 
about these wizards that four or five households of their 
relatives had to be given a special and isolated site, as no 
village would receive them. 

The following translation of a Lushai's account of how man- 
kind first learned the black art is specially interesting, as it 
introduces Lalruanga and Keichalla, who are the heroes of 
many of the oldest of the Lushai tales. Colonel Lewin gives 
some excellent stories in his " Progressive Colloquial Exercises." 
Keichalla is the man who can become a tiger at will, and 
appears in many tales : — 

" Dawi witchcraft was known to Pathian. Vahrika also was 
something like Pathian. Vahrika had a separate water supply, 
and Pathian's daughter was always disturbing it. Vahrika 
said, ' What can it be ? ' and lay in ambush. Pathian's daughter 
came, and he caught her and was going to kill her, but she said, 
' Don't kill me ; I will teach you magic' So she taught him, 
and Vahrika taught it all to Keichalla, Lalruanga, and Hrang- 
sai-puia. Then Lalruanga went to court Zangkaki, and 
Zangkaki, who was a friend of Pathian's daughter, bewitched 
Lalruanga, who had forgotten his " dawi bur " (magic gourd), and 
he said to Chaichim (the mouse), ' Go and fetch my dawi bur 
which I put in my basket.' So the mouse went to fetch the 
dawi bur and got it, but the Tuiruang (Barak) river rose very 
high. The mouse took the dawi bur in his mouth and started 


to swim over the river. The dawi bur was washed away by 
the river till it stuck in the fish trap of the Thlangom tribe, who 
said, ' What is this ? ' The dawi bur was singing like anything. 
The Thlangoms broke it open. No sooner had they opened it 
than they each acquired knowledge of magic. Then the 
Thlangoms were chanting the magic song. Some Mizo 
(natives of these Hills) who were passing through the village 
also heard the song of those who knew magic. The Mizo saw 
a man eating rice. ' May you be bewitched ! ' they said. They 
bewitched him in his rice eating, and for a year after whenever 
he ate cooked rice it changed into dry uncooked rice, and it 
swelled inside him till his stomach could not hold it and he 
died. Thus the Mizo learnt about magic. Nowadays also 
there is magic, but those who know it won't teach it without 

The Lushais maintain that the tribes to the north of them, 
such as Paihte, Bete, &c., are very proficient at witchcraft, 
while the Chins consider the Lushais such experts at the craft 
that when Captain Hall, 2nd Gurkhas, and I forced our way 
from the west through the then unexplored hills and joined 
General Symons at Haka in 1890, the chiefs of that village 
besought the General not to allow any of our Lushai followers 
to go within sight of it, lest they should, by merely looking 
at it, cause fearful misfortunes. The belief in the man tiger 
is common through the Hills and also in Nepal. When a 
man-eater gave much trouble in Lungleh, our Gurkha Sepoys 
maintained that it was a man, one of three friends who had 
assumed this shape and were travelling by different shapes to a 
previously selected rendezvous, on reaching which they would 
resume their human forms. 

Khtuivang zawl. — The Lushais believe that certain persons — ^ 
both males and females, but more generally females — have the 
power of putting themselves into a trance and are in a state of 
communication with Khuavang. This power is called " zawl," 
and a person who possesses it is called '' zawlnei." During their 
trances they are said to be able to elicit from Ehuavang 
information regarding the particular sacrifice required to cure 
any sick person, and their information is supposed to be more 
reliable than the opinion of the puithiara, who bases his state- 





:3^*: • l5^,^t 




'^•^ '' '' ^^'vV • kk' '^'s'*^^*^- .^^'t"^- 


« i ■■ •■'' 







ilir^.i:'/-^ * Wj^Mfc" 


•s ' 

1 'f '■■ 

* jy.aa^'yj^fc^mM8^M^M|.^^WIra|g 

i^ -lu;'' • ■• Si^. 1 




¥wsff;™ir". ^ 








<. * 

■.■*''' '?!/;'-'■' 



j^^.-""' ■■■^■,K'l|-^:^^^V-;^. „. 

■' ;^ 

^-S'^' ■ 'v^^T'^-^l^iife^, :•■;■' 



i ; ' 



W-V'-'- : i 

¥ ■ 





'-> ■ ""■■ ■■*■ .'.'.,. 



■ ' 'I 




ments solely on the action of the pulse. The method of 
interrogating a zawlnei is called " thumvor," and is as 
follows : — 

The zawlnei being in a trance is given a shallow basket 
containing rice, which he or she holds in one hand while an egg 
is placed in the palm of the other hand. When the zawlnei 
reverses this hand the egg does not fall. The basket of rice is 
shaken backwards and forwards, and there appears among the 
rice the footprint of the animal which it is necessary to 
sacrifice to ensure the patient's recovery. If it is impossible to 
trace any resemblance to any animal's footmark the state of 
the patient is serious and the whole series of sacrifices are 
needed. Compare the description of the Maibi's method of 
divination given in McCuUoch's account of the Valley of 
Manipur, page 21. The following two accounts of Khuavang 
zawl were given me by Lushais : — 

Lianthangi was a Khuavang zawl. There was much sickness 
in the village. One night Khuavang came to her in her 
dreams and said, " If each house-ovmer will make a clay metna and 
place it outside his or her house the sickness will cease." So 
they did this and the next day they observed as " hrilh," and 
within 20 days everyone was well again. 

Thang-tei-nu was a zawlnei, but concealed the fact; 
people used to come secretly and make her perform the 
thumvor, and said she knew everything. She allowed no one 
to drink zu in her house, and if she drank zu she always got 
ill and it was " thianglo " for her to perform sacrifice. 
Khuavang told her this in her dreams. 

Xhawhring. — In Chapter IV, para. 6, the sacrifice called 
Khawhring Tir has been described. The belief in Khaw- 
hring is universal, and from the following translation it will 
be seen that the unfortunate women who were accused of 
being possessed by such a spirit have good reason to be grateful 
that the control of the country has passed into our hands. The 
belief is that Khawhring lives in certain women, whence it 
issues forth from time to time and takes possession of another 
woman, who, falling into a trance, speaks with the voice of the 
original hostess of the Khawhring. A missionary described 
to me a weird scene of excitement which he once saw, the 


object being to exorcise a Khawhring which had possessed a 
girl. Amid a turmoil of shouting, drum-beating, and firing 
of guns the spirit was ordered to quit its temporary abode and 
return whence it came. 

Translation of a Lushai Version of the Origin of Khawhring. 

"Wild boars have Khawhring. Once a man shot a wild 
boar while out hunting. On his return home they cooked the 
flesh. Some of the fat got on the hand of his sister, who rubbed 
her head, and the wild boar's Khawhring just passed into her. 
On the next day, without any provocation, she entered another 
girl. She took entire possession of her. People said to her, 
" Where are you going to ? " She replied, " It is the wild boar 
my brother shot." " Well, what do you want ? " they said. 
" If you will give me eggs I will go away," she replied. They 
gave her eggs and she went. Presently all those who 
borrowed the " hnam " (a plaited cane band for carrying loads) 
of the girl with the Khawhring also got possessed. If one 
with a Khawhring has a daughter the child is always possessed, 
so no one wants to marry a person with a Khawhring. Even 
now, we being to some extent Lusheis, we do not like to let 
a person possessed by a Khawhring enter our houses, and if 
such a one sits on the bed of a true Lushei she will certainly 
be fined a metna. Those possessed of Khawhring are most 
disgusting people, and before the foreigners came they were 
always killed." 

The writer was not a true Lushei, but belonged to one of 
the clans which are fast being absorbed and are almost 
indistinguishable fi:om Lusheis. 

The Lushais say that sometimes girls walk in their sleep 
and go and lick up urine, as the metna do, under the zawlbuk, 
and that when starting forth on these expeditions their feet and 
hands shine as if they were coated with phosphorus. If a 
young man wakes a girl up while she is walking thus she is 
very much ashamed, and generally grants him the favours of 
her bed to procure his silence. 

This state is called " Thlahzung." 



I PROPOSE, in this chapter, to deal only with Lushai, and to 
treat of the connection between the different dialects spoken 
in these Hills at the end of Part II. 

Lushai or Dulien, which is the dialect of the Lushei clan, 
modified, doubtless, by contact with those of other clans, is now 
the lingua franca of the whole Lushai Hills, and is understood 
in many parts of the adjoining districts. A very complete 
grammar and vocabulary has been published by Messrs. 
Savage and Lorrain, now of the London Baptist Mission, and 
therefore I only propose to give a bare outline of the language 
here, which is largely borrowed from the above work. 

Articles. — The indefinite article can generally be rendered by 
the numeral one. 

The definite article is sometimes represented by demonstra- 
tive pronouns or relative particles. 

Gender. — Inanimate objects have no gender. In nouns 
gender may be shown by use of different words, as " tlangval," 
a young man ; " nula," a maiden. This system is only em- 
ployed when speaking of human beings, by adding suflSxes — 
" pa " and " chal " for males, " nu " and " pui " for females ; 
thus " fa pa," son ; " fa nu," daughter ; " she [chal," bull 
metna ; " she pui," cow metna. " Chal " and " pui " are re- 
stricted to full-grown animals. All men's names end in " a," 
all women's in "i." Some words are the same in both 
genders — " u," elder brother or sister ; " nao shen," a baby ; 
" naupang," child. " I " is the feminine termination in 
Manipuri also. 


Nvmh&r. — The plural terminations are " te," " ho," and 
" zong " ; sometimes these are combined or duplicated. 
Mi zong zong = all mankind. 
Lai te ho = chiefs. 

These terminations are omitted when the number can be 
otherwise inferred. 

Sakor paruk = six horses. 

Puan tam tak ka pe = I gave many cloths. 

When a suffix is added to a noun to denote case, the plural 
suffix follows the case suffix. 

Zawng-a-te an lo changa. 

Monke y into s they became changed. 

Kan in-a-te an lo-lut-a. 

Our house into s they entered. 

Case. — Nouns are not inflected. The agent is denoted by the 
suffix "in." 

Lai in a that = The chief killed (him). 

The same suffix is used to distinguish the instrument. 

Lai in fei in a shun = The chief speared (him) with a 

" In " is therefore exactly equivalent to " na " used in 
Manipuri to distinguish the agent or instrument. 

The other cases can only be inferred from the position of 
the words. 

The object immediately precedes the transitive verb 
governing it. 

Lal-in puan a-pe = The chief gave a cloth. 

The indirect object precedes the direct. 

Suaka puan ka pe = I gave a cloth to Suaka. 

Hnena (to) is sometimes used to give greater clearness. 
Lai hnena ui pakhat ka pe ang = I will give a dog to the 

The thing possessed immediately follows the possessor. 
Kawn bawl in a-kang = The minister's house caught fire. 

The following construction is sometimes used : — 

Kawn bawl a in a lian e = Minister his house it big is. 


The other cases are rendered by suffixes. 

Ka in a daraw. Ka in a tang in laraw. Aizawl 
My house in put. My house from bring. Aijal 

a kalraw 

to go. 

Adjectives follow the words they qualify, but are not 
inflected in any way. 

Mipa tha = a good man. Hmaichhia tha = agood woman. 
Nula-te tha = good girls. 

When a noun is used as an adjective it precedes the noun it 
qualifies, as, " Lung in," stone house. 
Adjectives are compared thus 

Suaka Nela ai in a chha k zawk. 

Suaka Nela than he stronger. 

Suaka is stronger than Nela. 

When demonstrative adjectives are compared, " ai-in " is 
combined with them, thus : — 

He sakor he saw ai sawn ashang zawk. 
This horse here that than there is taller. 
This horse is taller than that. 
" Saw saw ai-in " being replaced by " Saw-ai sawn." 

When no object of comparison is mentioned " ai-in " is 

Nangma lo azao zawk. 
Your jhum extensive more. 
Your jhum is more extensive. 

The superlative is formed thus : — 

Lalzong zinga Khuma a vin ber. 

Chiefs among Khuma he bad tempered most. 
Khuma is the most bad-tempered of all the chiefs. 
Khuma lalzong ai-in a vin ber. 

Khuma chiefs than he ill-tempered more. 
Khuma lalzong a a vin ber. 

Khuma chiefs of he ill-tempered most. 
Khuma a vin ber. 

Khuma he ill-tempered most. 
Khuma is the most ill-tempered. 

I 2 


The numerals are very simple: — 

l=pa khat 4 = pa li 7 = pa sari 

2 = pa hnih 5 = pa nga 8 = pa riat 

3 = pa thum 6 = pa ruk 9 = pa kua 

10 = shom 

11 =" shom leh pa khat," 12 = " shom leh pa hnih," and so 
on to 20 = " shom hnih"; then " shom hnih leh pa khat" &c., to 
" shom thum " = 30, " shom li " = 40, " shom nga " = 50, and so on 
to "za" = 100," za leh pa khat" = 101, and so on to "shang" = 1000. 

"Shing" = 10,000 and "nuai" for 1,000,000 are hardly ever 
used; 8,975 = " shang riat, leh za kua leh shom sari leh pa nga.'' 

It will be seen that the real numerals are '' khat," " hnih," 
" thum," &c., pa being equivalent to unit. It is usually omitted 
when animals or things are mentioned, but retained when 
speaking of human beings. 

Lai pa sari = seven chiefs. Sebong nga = five cows. 

With numbers above ten the name of the thing enumerated 
if a monosyllable, is often repeated. Thus : — 

Ni shom hnih leh ni nga. 
Days twenty and days five. 

Ordinals are formed by adding" na " to the cardinals, thus : — 

In shom na lutrawh. 
Enter the tenth house. 


Ni thum ni a lo-kalraw. 
Day three day on come. 
Every other day = Ni khat dan a. 
Every third day = Ni hnih dan a, 
and so on. 

Numeral adjectives are formed thus : — 

Voi nga, voi shom leh voi khat. 
Times five, times ten and times one, 
eleven times. 


Demonstrative adjectives are : — 

He or hehi ) This = near Heng, henghi = these. 

Hei hei hi j the speaker. 

Saw = that. Sawng = those. 

Kha = that near you. Khang = those near you. 

Khu = that down there. Khung = those down there 

Khi = that up there. Khing = those up there. 

Ohu = that. Chung = those. 

They are generally repeated, thus : — 
Khu sava khu kadu e. 
That bird down there I want. 
Khi zawng khi a liane. 
That monkey up there he big is. 

When a noun qualified by one of these adjectives is an agent, 
the agent sufSx " in " is combined with the second part of tjie 
adjective thus : — 

Khu ui khu-an min a sheh = That dog down there bit me 
instead of Khu ui in khu. 

The personal pronouns have several forms, which are the 

same for both genders. 

■vr • i.- f Keima, kei, ka = I. 
JNommative -{ „ . . , . , 

(. Keimam, keme, kan = we. 

r Keima, keiia, ka = my. 

Possessive "S Keimata, keiata, kata = mine. 

V Keimanita, &c. = ours. 
p.,. ,- f Keimamin, kei min min = me. 

( Keimani min, &c. = us. 

The second person is " nangma " and " nangmani " ; the 
third " ama," " anmani." 

The possessive of the second person, when used as nomina- 
tive of verbs, has a curious irregular form " i " in the singular 
and " iu " in the plural. 

The pronominal particles "ka" (I), "i" (thou), "a" (he), 
" kan " (we), " in " (you), " an " (they) must be used with verbs 
in addition to the pronouns, thus : — 

Nangma i kal ang em ? = Will you go ? 

Keimani chaw kan ei mek = We are just eating our rice. 


The particle can never be omitted, whereas the true pro- 
noun is generally left out except when required for emphasis. 

Reflexive action is denoted in several ways. 

The particle " in " is prefixed to the verb in all cases. The 
following are a few examples : — 

Ka in vel "j 

Mani leh mani ka in vel > I hit myself. 

Mani in ka in vel J 

Keimani theoh vin kan in vel = We hit ourselves. 

Relative Pronouns are : — 

Kha, ohu, a piang = who, which, what, that. 
A piang, a piang kha, a piang chu = whoever, &c. 
Lekha i ziak kha a tha e. 
Letter you wrote that it good is. 

The pronouns are sometimes omitted, the idea being conveyed 
by the use of relative participles or verbal nouns. 

I lekha ziak a tha e 
Your letter written it good is. 
The letter you wrote is good. 

Interrogatim Pronouns are : — 

Tu-nge ? Tu ? Tu-maw ? Eng-nge ? Zeng-nge ? Eng ? 
Eng-maw ? = What ? Hhoi-i-nge ? = Which ? 

They are used thus : — 

Tu-nge a lo kal ? = Who has come ? 
Tu-in-a nge i riak ? = 
( house in ) you stay 
Whose = 
Tu ar nge i lei ? Tu-in-nge vel che ? 
( fowl ) = 

Whose you buy ? Who hit you ? 

Tu-nge i vel ? = 
Whom did you hit ? 


Tu and Tu-maw are only used thus : — 

A lo kal Tu-Maw ? or Tu ? = 
He has come Who? 

Eng-nge i duh ? Khoi-i lekha buh nge i duh ? = 
What you want ? ( book ) 

which you want ? 

Which book do you want ? 
Eng tui nge i choi ? 
( water ) = 

What you draw ? 

The particle " a " preceding an interrogative pronoun has a 
partitive force. 

A tu-nge i ko ? = Which of them did you call ? 


The same form is used for all persons and in singular and 
plural, the pronominal particles marking person and number. 

Shoi = to say 

Pres : Ka shoi = I say. Ka shoi mek = I am saying. 
Fast : Ka shoi or 11 said. Ka shoi mek a ni = 

Ka shoi or tawh J I was saying. 

Fut: Ka shoi ang 1 I will JKa shoi mek ang = I 
Ka shoi dawn/ say \shall be saying. 
Ka shoi tawh ang = I shall have said. 

Conditional Mood. 

Ka shoi tur = I would say, or, I ought to say. 
Ka shoi tawh tur = I would have said, or, ought to 
have said. 

The future terminations are often used in a conditional 

Suhjiinctive Mood. 
Ka shoi chuan = If I say, said or had said. 
The following forms are peculiar and appear to me of foreign 


origin. The pronominal prefixes are absent, the person and 
number being indicated by different forms. 

Shoi i la or i lang = If I say or said. 
Shoi la, or lang = If thou sayest or saidst. 

Shoi shela or shelang = If he say or said. 
Shoi i la or i lang = If we say or said. 
Shoi u la or lang = If you say or said. 

Shoi shela or shelang = If they say or said. 

The pluperfect tense is formed by inserting " ta." 

Shoi ta i la = If I had said. 
Shoi ta u lang = If you had said. 

By inserting " ma" the meaning " although " or " even if" is 

Shoi ma she lang = Even if he says. 
Shoi ta ma u la = Although you say. 

Imperative Mood. 
The imperative has several forms : — 

Singular: Shoi rawh, shoi ang che, shoi ta che, shoi te 
shoi che, all mean " say." The last four forms have 
a somewhat persuasive meaning. 

Flural : I shoi ang, i shoi ang u = Let us say. 

The second person plural is formed by adding "u" to the 
singular form. 

Infinitive Mood. 

The infinitive or verbal noun is the same as the root shoi = 
to say. 

Ka shoi lai inl -jut, t 
^ . y When i was saymg. 

i say time atj 

A verbal noun can also be formed by the suffix " na." 

Ka riak na in 
My staying house. 


The suffixes "tur," "tur-in," "na-tur," "nan," "an," "in," 
denotes infinitive of purposes. 

Tui in tur ka duh. 
Water to drink I want. 
Chaw lei tur ka nei lo 1 I have nothing where- 
Rice to buy I have not./ with to buy rice. 

The suffix " tu " changes the verb into noun of agency. 
Veng-tu = a watchman. Hril-tu = an informant. 

Participles: Shoia, shoi-ing = saying. 


There are two negative particles :—lo and shu. 

The first is used except in the conditional and the imperative, 
when the latter is used. 

The particles are placed after the root except in the past 
tense, when they follow the tense termination. 

Ka kal lo = I do not go. 

Ka kal ta lo = I did not go. 

Ka kal lo vang = I will not golThe " v" is inserted 

Ka kal lo ve = I do not go J for sake of euphony. 

Kal rawh = Go. 

Kal shu = Don't go. 

Kal shu se = Do not let him go. 

Shoi shu u = Do not say (plural). 

Shoi shu i la = If we do not say. 

" Nem " and " nang " are used as negative particles and 
intensify the meaning. 

Ka hre lo = I don't know. 
Ka hre nem = I don't know. How should I ? 
Lai in a ka kal nang = I am not going to the chief's 

house. Why should I be ? 

Interrogatme Particles. 

These are as a rule placed at the end of a sentence. They 
are " em " and " em ni." 

I kal ang em = Will you go ? 


" Em ni " sometimes implies that the answer is expected in 
the same form as the question. 

I lo-kal em ni = You have come, have you ? 
A lo-kal lo vem ni = He has come, has not he? 

" Maw " — This particle is used when the person asked, 
instead of replying at once, repeats part of the question — a 
pernicious and vexatious habit much indulged in by the 

I dam em ? = Are you well ? 

Keima maw ? Ka dam e = Do you mean me ? I am well. 

The Passive Voice. 

The verb when used in the passive voice is pronounced 
slightly differently. The construction is as follows : — 

Lai in min kap = The chief shot me. 
Lai ka ka ni = I am shot by the chief. 

Verbal Prefixes. 
These are a very noticeable peculiarity. They are : — 

Zuk = motion downwards. Zuk la ro = Bring it down. 

Han = motion upwards. Han en rawh = Come up and see. 

Han = motion towards the speaker. A han la ta = He 
brought it. 

Lo = motion towards the speaker = Lai a lo kal = The chief 

Ron = motion towards the indirect object. 

Lai hnena ron hril rawh = Go and tell the chief 
Min ron pe rawh = Come and give it to me. 

Va = motion from. Va la zo = Go and bring. 


There is a peculiar series of adverbs in Lushei, which, besides 
denoting the manner in which a thing is done, also convey some 
idea of the appearance of the agent, thus : — 

Lai a kal buk buk = The chief goes. 


" Buk buk " shows that the chief is a big, heavy man and is 
walking slowly. 

" Bak bak " similarly used would mean that the chief was 
medium-sized and walking slowly, whereas " bik bek " could 
only be used of a small person proceeding slowly. 

There are over a hundred such adverbs in Lushei. 


The most common are " le " = I say ! " Khai " = Come ! " Ku" = 
Ho ! " Chei chei " denoting disapproval and surprise. There are 
certain interjections, such as "Karei, Karei ! " = Alas ! Alas! 
which are only used by women. 

The Lushais are very fond of piling up adverbs to intensify 
the meaning : — 

Ava mak em em mai ! 
How wonderful very very very ! 

Ava mak em veleh ! 
How wonderful very indeed ! 

Literal Translation of an Account of the Thimzing. 

Hman laihian thim a lo-zing-a; chutichuan mi 
Former time in darkness it collected ; then mankind 
zawn zawn an in-khawm mur mur 

all all they themselves collected (untranslatable adverb) 
chutichuan zawng hmul a lo lenga an hgum 
then monkey hair it began to grow their spine ends 
a thak an hiat thin-a zawng a te 

they itched they scratched always monkeys into (plural suffix) 

an changa tin lal te chu va-pual a an lo 
they changed their chiefs indeed horn-bill into they became 
changa mi chhia e-raw chu zawng a te ngau-va 

changed people poor on the other hand monkey into grey 
te an lo changa. Tin sa lu ro nei 

monkeys they became changed. Then flesh head dry had 
chuan an tuah a thing ai-in a tha zawh a 
those who they put on fire wood than it good more was 
chu-te-chuan an dam rei thei zawk an ti. Tin mei-ling 
therefore they lived long could more they say. Then embers 


tlaivar lem-in puan tial shin in 

watched all night more than others cloth striped wearing 
sakeia an changa thei tin pitar te hian puanpui 
tigers into they changed may be then old women quilts 

an sin-a sai a an lo changa. 

they were wearing elephants into they became changed. 


Families and Bbanches of the Lushei Clan. 

FAMiiiY Name. 

Branch Name. 










All the Lushei chiefs belong to 
one of these branches. 

Descended from Chenkhuala, 
said to be a brother of Sailova, 
probably a son of a concubine. 
The Chenkhual had once inde- 
pendent villages, but are no 
longer looked on as chiefs. 


Cherlal ... 
Chhoalak ... 
Chonglal ... 
Darchao . . . 
Lalbawm ... 
Varchuao ... 

This family is said to be de- 
scended from illegitimate sons 
of Zadenga. Darohaova, Cher- 
lalla, Lianthunga, and Liann- 
ghora are heroes of whose 
prowess many tales are told, 
and their names appear among 
the branch names. 

I.e., sprung from Vanpui?). 

Changte ... Darchun, Pamte 

Vokngak. Kawlchi 
Padaratu, Tumpha 
Lungte, Ngakchi 

'Chi" means family, " Kawl " 
means Burma, and "ngak" 
is to wait ; so perhaps the 
Kawlchi may be descendants 
of Changte, who settled tem- 
porarily in Burma, and the 
Ngakchi of some who delayed 
at some general move of the 



Chongte ... Tuiohhung, Lungte 


I.e., from Muohhip, the name of 
a hill. 

Chuaohang ... Chonchir, Chonchhon ... "Hang " means black and "ngo" 


Lathang Thia family and the next are said 

to be descended from two 


Hlengel, Hraunpel 
Zongpam, Laller ... 
Chumthluk, Aohmun 

Descendants of Vanpuia. The 
Chuaongo are said to have 
been very powerful, and to 
have held a position similar 
to that now held by the Sailo. 
Their most powerful chief was 


Haothul, Haobul 
Tuithang, Shenlai 


Shelpuia, Sontluuk 
Sumkhum, Sazah 



Chalbuk, Sialohung 
Bailchi, Chumkal 
Khupao, Fangtet 
Taihium, Chertluang 

Chalthleng, Khupno 
Tuazol, Cherput, Bochung 

This family and the next are 
said to have sprung from two 
brothers, children of a Luahei 
woman by a Poi or Chin, and 
to have originated from a hole 
in the ground near the Shepui 
rocks, to the east of the 
Manipur river. The Hualngo 
and Hualhang formerly lived 
together in villages under 
Hualngo chiefs. On the rise of 
the Thangur chiefs, a quarrel 
broke out, and the Hualngo 
were defeated by a combina- 
tion of the Sailo, Zadeng, and 
Pallian, and driven across the 
Tiao, and took refuge under 
the protection of the Falam 
chiefs, where their descen- 
dants still are, and are mis- 
called Whenoh by the officers 
in charge of the Chin Hills. 
The Hualhang deserted to the 
Thangur, and are found scat- 
tered in the villages of their 
conquerors. There are six 
Hualngo villages in the Lushai 
Hills containing some 200 




Sialchung, Ngalohi 
Ngalohung, Hiungchi 


Topui, Chhakom 
Chemhler, Tobul 

Vide Changte. 


Vanlung, Sumkhum 
Chemhler, Chengrel 

The claim of this family to 
be true Lusheia is sometimes 

Besides the above families, there is one called Chhak-chhuak, i.e., "Come 
out of the east." In spite of all enquiries I was unable to find out any reason 
for the name, which was sometimes said to be the name of a branch of one of 
the other families and sometimes that of a separate family. 




In this part all the clans of the Lushai-Kuki race which are 
not included by the people themselves among the Lusheis will 
be briefly dealt with. All these clans practise the jhum 
methods of cultivation and were originally semi-nomadic, but 
certain of them, under changed circumstances, have ceased to 
move their villages and are taking to plough cultivation. 
There is a varying similarity in the religious beliefs and 
customs, and it will suffice to point out the principal diver- 
gences from those of the Lusheis as already described. 

The non-Lushei clans group themselves naturally into five 
sections : — 

1. The clans which live among the Lusheis under the rule of 
Thangur chiefs and have become practically assimilated by 
them, and are included in the wider term Lushai, as we use it. 
Naturally the accounts of these will be brief and will deal 
principally with the origin of the clans. 

2. The clans which, while still retaining a separate corporate 
existence, have been much influenced by the Lusheis, among or 
near whom they reside. 

3. The Old Kuki clans. 

4. The Thado clan with its numerous families and branches, 
often spoken of as New Kukis. 

5. The Lakhers. These are immigrants from the Chin Hills, 
and would more correctly be dealt with in the Chin Monograph, 
but a brief sketch of them, though very incomplete, may be useful 
till a fuller account is written. They call themselves Mara. 



These clans have adopted most of the manners and customs 
of their conquerors, and to an ordinary observer are indistinguish- 
able from the true Lushei. In many cases the only difference 
is in the method of performing the Sakhua sacrifice. In few 
cases some words of the clan dialect are still used, but, generally 
speaking, there is but little difference noticeable. In cases 
where the clan had attained considerable strength before its 
overthrow by the Lusheis the process of assimilation has 
naturally been slower, and there is more to describe. The 
following list of clans does not lay claim to being complete, but 
contains all the best-known names. 

Chawte. Members of this clan are found in small numbers scattered 
among the Lushei villages. They kill a goat as the Sakhua 
sacrifice, and omit all the Naohri sacrifices except the Zinthiang 
and Ui-ha-awr. When a mithan is sacrified it is killed in the 
evening, and the giver of the feast wears some of the tail hairs 
on a string round his neck. 

In the hills between the Manipur valley and Tamu I found 
two small hamlets of Chawte, who said that their forefather 
had come from the hills far to the south very long ago. Their 
language closely resembles Lushei, but they have come much 
under Manipuri infiuence. The names of the families in no 
case agreed with those given me by the Chawte in the Lushai 
Hills. A detailed account of the Manipur Chawte will be found 
in (3). 

Chongthu. This clan is very widely scattered. The following account of 
the origin of the clan is given by Suaka, now Sub-Inspector of 


Police at Aijal : — " Of all Lushai clans Lershia (Chongthu) cele- 
brated the Chong first of all. Lershia's village was on the hill 
to the south of the Vanlai-phai. There he celebrated the Chong. 
He was the richest of all men. Lershia had a younger brother, 
Singaia. His village was separate at Betlu. He was very rich in 
mithan, gongs, and necklaces. Once he was moving to another 
village with all his goods, when a very big snake swallowed 
him. Even till now Ohongthus are always ' upa ' to chiefs. It 
may be they are wiser than the other clans; they are very 
amiable — maybe they understand how to express matters well. 
In every village Chongthu are always upa. How many 
children Lershia had or where they are I do not know. 
Nevertheless he was the richest of all men. Because he was so 
rich in mithan, gongs, and necklaces he first celebrated the 
Chong. His name was also first given to the Chong song. 
Even till now the Sailo and all Lusheis and all Ralte, if they 
celebrate the Chong according to their customs, sing Lershia's 
song — they have not a new song of their own." 

From the above it would appear that Chongthu is a nickname 
given to Lershia on account of his having first celebrated the 
Chong. Chongthu's name appears in the Thado pedigree as 
the first of the race to emerge from the earth, and the great- 
great-grandfather of Thado. The Chiru and Kolhen also claim 
descent from him, though they cannot give the intermediate 

This clan lived to the east of the Tyao river. Their most Hnamte. 
famous chief was Chon-uma, their last village was at Tlangkua, 
on the Lentlang. Bad harvests and general misfortunes 
brought about their dispersal early in the last century. 

A widely-distributed clan sub-divided into at least 12 Kawlni. 
families said to be connected with the Kalte, q.v. 

This clan had a big village on the Hringfa hill, where the Kawl- 
remains of earthworks made by them in their final struggle t^"°^'_ 
against the Haka people may still be seen. Messrs. Carey and Burma. 
Tuck in their "Chin Hills Gazetteer," p. 153, say :—" Having ^"°|=^, 
settled with their formidable neighbours on the north, the Hakas 
turned their attention to the Lushais, who at this time occupied 
the country as far east as the banks of the Lavar stream, barely 
20 miles east of Haka. Their chief centres were Kwe Hring 

K 2 


and Vizan, two huge villages on the western slopes of the 
Rongtlang range, and to this day the sites, fortifications, and 
roads of the former town may be traced." The Hakas, not feel- 
ing equal to attacking their powerful neighbours single-handed, 
called in the assistance of a Burmese chieftain, Maung Myat 
San of Tilin, who came with 200 men armed with guns and 
bringing with them two brass cannons. " The Haka and Burman 
forces were collected on the spot where Lonzeert now stands, and, 
marching by night, surprised Kwe Hring in the early dawn by 
a noisy volley in which the brass cannon played a conspicuous 
part. The Lushais, who had no firearms, deserted their villages 
and fled in disorder, and for several months parties of Hakas 
ravaged the country, eventually driving every Lushai across 
the Tyao before the rains made that river unfordable." 

The people called here Lushais were the Kawlhring. The 
last Kawlhring chief was Lalmichinga. The clan is now 
scattered among the villages round Lungleh. There are eight 
families, but I have not found any branches. The Zinthiang 
and Zinhnawm are omitted from the Naohri sacrifices. 

Kiangte. This clan lived east of the Manipur river, from which place 
it was driven by the Chins. Kiangte are now found in small 
numbers in most of the villages in the North Lushai Hills- 
The clan is divided into seven families, without branches. 

Ngente. Although this clan has been practically absorbed its members 
have retained in an unusual degree their distinctive customs. 
The Ngente were formerly a somewhat powerful clan living at 
Chonghoiyi, on the Lungdup hill, where about 1780 a.d. a 
quarrel broke out between their two chiefs, Lalmanga and 
Ngaia, and the latter set out with his adherents to form another 
village, but was pursued and killed by his brother. Shortly after 
this the clan was attacked by the Lusheis and broken up. The 
above particulars were given me in 1904, when I was near the 
Lungdup hill. They seem to account for the Koihrui-an-chhat 
festival, which is described below from notes supplied to me by 
Mr. C. B. Drake-Brockman in 1901, embodying information 
gathered by him from Ngente living at Lungleh, many days' 
journey from Lungdup. This is an interesting instance of 
history being embalmed in a custom of which the origin has 
been forgotten, and I humbly recommend its consideration to 


those wise men who are ever ready to interpret every custom 
as afifording evidence of their particular theories. 

Marriage. — The Ngente young man is no more restricted in 
the choice of his wife than is the Lushei, but the price is fixed 
at seven guns, which are taken as equivalent to Rs. 140/-. Of this 
sum the girl's nearest male relative receives Rs. 120/-. the 
remainder being distributed as follows : — Rs. 8/- to the " pu," 
maternal grandfather or uncle, Rs. 6/- to her elder sister, Rs. 4/- 
to her paternal aunt, Rs. 2/- to the " palal," or trustee. Should 
a woman die before the whole of her price has been paid, her 
relatives can only claim half the remainder. 

Childbirth. — Three months before the birth, the mother 
prepares zu, which is known as " nao-zu" — i.e., baby's beer, which 
must on no account be taken outside the house and which is 
drunk in the child's honour on the day of its birth. Women 
are delivered at the head of the bedstead, and the afterbirth is 
placed in a gourd and hung up on the back wall of the house, 
whence it is not removed. The puithiam sacrifices a cock and 
hen, which must not be white, outside the village, and, having 
cooked the flesh there, he takes it to his own house for con- 
sumption. On the third day after the birth the child is named 
by its " pu," who has to give a fowl and a pot of zu. A red cock 
is killed and some of its feathers are tied round the necks of 
the infant and other members of the family. 

Death Ceremonies. — The Ngente do not attach any importance 
to burying their dead near their place of abode. They put up no 
memorials and offer no sacrifices, and make no offerings to the 
deceased's spirit. The dead are buried wherever it is most 
convenient. This is a most singular divergence from the 
general custom. 

Festivals. — The Khuangchoi, Chong, Pawl-kut are observed. 
In place of the Mim-kut they celebrate a feast called Nao-lam- 
kut, which takes place in the autumn. For two nights all the 
men and women must keep awake, and they are provided with 
boiled yams and zu to help them in doing so. On the third 
day some men dress themselves up as women and others as 
Chins, colouring their faces with charcoal. They then visit every 
house in which a child has been born since the last Nao-lam- 
kut and treat the inmates to a dance, receiving presents of 


dyed cotton thread, women's cloths, &c., and much zu. 
Compare the account of the Fanai She-doi, p. 136 et seq. below. 

Koihrui-an-chhat {They Break the Koi Creeper). — A party of 
young men, being supplied with hard-boiled eggs and fowl's 
flesh, go off into the jungle equipped with bows and arrows. On 
the third day they return with the heads of some animals — for 
choice those of the " tangkawng," a large lizard — and also a long 
piece of the creeper from which the Koi beans {v. Chap. 
II, para. 18) are obtained. They are received with all the 
honours paid to warriors returning from a successful raid, and a 
tug of war with the creeper takes place between the young men 
and the maidens. The heads of the animals are then placed in 
the centre of the village, and dancing, singing, and drinking 
go on round them all night, no young man or girl being 
allowed to go inside a house till daybreak, when the whole 
party adjourns to the house of a member of the Chonghoiyi-hring 
family — i.e., a descendant of one born at Chonghoiyi — and after 
further libations they disperse. 

It is quite clear that this feast commemorates the victory of 
Lalmanga over Ngaia — compare the account of the reception 
of a raiding party given in Part I., Chap. Ill, para. 9. The 
use of bows and arrows is an interesting survival. 

The tug of war with the creeper is found among the Old 
Kuki clans as one of the incidents of the spring festival, and in 
the Manipuri chronicle we find references to such amusements 
being indulged in. The Ngente evidently combined the play, 
intended to keep green the memories of their ancestor, with 
the usual ceremonies of the spring festival.^ 

The Ngente do not practise the Khal sacrifices. 

Language. — In the Linguistic Survey Dr. Grierson gives a 
translation of the parable of the Prodigal Son in the Ngente 
dialect supplied him by Mr. Drake-Brockman, and sums up his 
description of the dialect as follows: — "But in all essential 
points both (i.e., Ngente and Lushei) agree, and the differ- 
ence is much smaller than between dialects in connected 
Paotu . A very insignificant clan, of which I have found only one 

family. The clan formerly lived on a hill north of the Tao 
1 Cf. " Manipur Festival," Folklore, Vol. XXI, No. I. 


peak, to the east of the Koladyne, and were probably driven 
out by the Chins at the same time as the Kawlhring. 

There are five families in this clan, which has long been Rentlei. 
absorbed by the Lusheis, but the Rentlei maintain that at one 
time, when they lived in a big village on the Minpui hill to the 
east of the Tyao river, they were the more powerful and showed 
their contempt for the Lusheis by throwing stones at the skulls of 
the pigs which the latter used to place on posts outside their 
houses after performing the Sakhua sacrifice, and this led to the 
Lusheis placing the skulls inside their houses, whereas the 
Rentlei to this day adhere to the custom of putting them 
outside. This clan is still looked on with respect, and chiefs 
frequently take Rentlei brides. 

This clan is divided into seven families, one of which has a JRoite. 
branch. There is nothing of interest to be noted about it. 

This clan has only three families and one branch. Its Vangoh- 
members are said to be generally wealthy, and therefore prudent *" 
parents strive to get them as " pu " to their children. Their 
Sakhua sacrifice is elaborate, a mithan being killed in front of 
the house, a cock at the head of the parents' bed, and a boar at 
that of the children. There is a great feast, followed by nine 
days'" hrilh." 

Now an insignificant clan, of which I have not obtained a Zawngte. 
single family name. Under a chief called Chengtea they 
lived on a hill north of Thlan-tlang, which is still known by 
their name. They were ejected by the Chins probably at the 
same time as the Kawlhring and Paotu. The eldest son 
inherits. They place their dead in hollowed-out logs in small 
houses outside the village, and leave them there for three 
months. Li these particulars they resemble the Vuite. As 
among the Chawte, after killing a mithan the household of the 
giver of the feast wear some of the hairs of the tail on strings 
round their necks. 



Fanai A CLAN which was rising into eminence, when our occupation 

of the country put a stop to its further aggrandisement. The 
chiefs trace their pedigree back six generations, to a man called 
Fanai, who lived among the Zahaos, to the east of the Tyao. 
His great grandson, Roreiluova, was a slave, or at least a 
dependant, of a Zahao chief, and was sent with 70 house- 
holds to form a village at Bawlte, near Champhai, in Lushei 
territory, with the intention, no doubt, of enlarging the Zahao 
borders, but Roreiluova entered into peaceful relations with the 
Lushei chiefs, and gradually severed his connection with the 
Zahaos, and, moving south-west, occupied successively various 
sites to the west and north-west of Lungleh, between the 
Lushai and Chin villages, maintaining his position with 
considerable diplomatic skill, often acting as intermediary 
between his more powerful neighbours. He died at Konglung 
early in the nineteenth century, having attained such a position 
that his sons were at once recognised as chiefs, and on our occupy- 
ing the country in 1890 we found eight Fanai villages, containing 
about 700 houses, grouped along the west bank of the Tyao and 
Koladyne rivers, between Biate on the north and Sangao on 
the south. Roreiluova's descendants seem to have inherited his 
skill in diplomacy, for they kept on good terms with their 
neighbours, and whenever these quarrelled managed to assist , 
the stronger without entirely alienating the weaker. 

The clan is subdivided into six families and one branch. 

The Fanai now talk Lushai and dress in the same way, 


except as regards the method of dressing the hair, which is 
parted horizontally across the back of the head at the level 
of the ears, and the hair above this is gathered into a knot over 
the forehead, while that below is allowed to hang loose over 
the shoulders. They generally follow Lushai customs. In 
the series of feasts which an aspirant for the title of Thang- 
chhuah has to perform, the Chong is replaced by the Buh-za-ai 
(buh=rice, za=100), performed as among the Lushais. The 
She-doi feast has to be gone through twice, and is followed by 
a very similar feast called She-cha-chun (spearing of male 
mithan), which completes the series. Wealthy persons perform 
the Khuangchoi, but it is not necessary. The Mi-thi-rawp-lam is 
prohibited. The following account of the She-doi is taken 
from my diary of the 14th May, 1890. 

" We went up at once to the village, where a peculiar dance 
was in progress. Lembu's wife was being carried about on a 
platform, round which a wooden railing had been fixed to 
enable her to maintain her position. This platform had four 
long poles passed underneath it, and a number of men and 
women, holding these, were moving the platform about in a 
manner which must have been most uncomfortable for her 
Majesty. They lifted it up and down, then swayed it to one 
side, then to the other, then ran in one direction and stopped 
suddenly, then in another, and pulled up with a jerk. During all 
this time the royal lady maintained a solemn silence, and 
showed complete indifference to the whole proceeding. Her 
head-dress consisted of a band round which at intervals coloured 
bands of straw were plaited. From this chaplet porcupine 
quills stood up all round, to the ends of which the yellowish- 
green feathers of parrots were affixed, each terminating in a 
tuft of red wool. At the back, an iron crossbar, about 6 
inches long, was tied horizontally, and from this a number of 
strings of black and white seeds depended, at the end of which 
glistening wing-cases of green beetles were attached. Except 
for this startling head-dress, the Queen was dressed much as 
usual, except that her waist cloth was longer and more gorgeous. 
Having been carried about for some time, her Majesty showed 
her appreciation of the attentions of her subjects by distribut- 
ing gifts. First she threw a small chicken, which was eagerly 


scrambled for and torn to pieces by the young men anxious to 
obtain it, next followed a piece of white cotton wool, which no 
one would pick up, and then some red thread, which was 
scrambled for eagerly. 

" May 15th. — This morning a mithan was sacrificed. The 
animal was tied by the head to one of the sacrificial posts, on 
which his skull was to be placed later on. The chief then came 
out with a spear in one hand, a gourd of rice beer in the other. 
The puithiam, or sorcerer, accompanied him, also carrying a 
gourd of beer. The pair took up their stand just behind the 
mithan, and the puithiam began mumbling what I was told were 
prayers for the prosperity of the village. The prayers were 
interrupted by the chief and the sorcerer taking mouthfuls of 
beer and blowing them over the mithan. When the prayers 
were finished, they anointed the animal with the remains of the 
liquor, and the chief then gave it a slight stab behind the 
shoulder, and disappeared into his house. The mithan was 
then thrown on its side and killed by driving a sharp bamboo 
spear into its heart. The animal was then cut up. Later on 
another was killed, without any special ceremony, and the flesh 
of both cooked in the street. Later on there was a dance. 
Three men arrayed in fine cloths, with smart turbans, came up 
the main street, crossing from side to side. With bodies bent 
forward and arms extended, they took two steps forward, then 
whirled round once, beat time twice with the right foot, two 
steps, whirled round again, beat time twice with the left foot, and 
so on, keeping time with the royal band, consisting of a gong, 
a tom-tom, and a bamboo tube, used as a drum. The dancers, 
having been well regaled with beer, proceeded to dance each a 
j9as seul of a decidedly indecent nature. The chief was pro- 
hibited from crossing running water for a month after this 
sacrifice had been performed." After this feast there is five 
days ' " hrilh " for the whole community, and during this no 
flesh may be brought into the village. The skull of the mithan 
is kept on the post in front of the chiefs house for a month, 
during which time he may not cross water or converse with 
strangers. On the expiry of a month a pig and a fowl are 
sacrificed and the skull is then removed to the front verandah. 

The only difference in the ceremonies connected with child- 


birth is that the Ui-ha-awr sacrifice is only performed if the 
child's hair has a reddish tinge and the whites of its eyes turn 

The Sakhua sacrifices are very elaborate, and consist of a 
series commencing with the Vok-rial, which is necessary when 
a new house has been completed. A sow is killed at the head 
of the parents' sleeping place, and whatever portions of the flesh 
are not at once consumed are placed beneath it till the next 
day. The house during this time is " sherh." No one may enter 
it, and the occupants must not speak to strangers nor enter the 
forge. Later on a boar is killed in the front verandah, and the 
heart, liver, and entrails, known as " kawrawl," are placed under 
the parents' sleeping place for five days, and are eaten by the 
parents, the father sitting with his back to the partition wall 
and the mother facing him. During these five days a hrilh as 
above is observed. This sacrifice is called " Vok-pa " — i.e., 
" Boar " — and is followed by the " Hnuaipui " — i.e., " Great 
Beneath " — a full-grown sow being killed under the house, and 
its head and sherh buried at the foot of one of the main posts. 
The flesh is cooked beneath the house, but eaten in it. A three 
days' hrilh follows. The series concludes with " Hnuaite " — i.e., 
"Lesser Beneath" — which is similar to the former, but a young 
sow is killed. 

These sacrifices are performed as the necessary animals 
become available. 

A dead Fanai is buried in the usual Lushai way, but no 
rice is placed in the grave. An offering of maize, however, is 
suspended above it. It may be noted that in the Zahao country 
rice is not cultivated, the staple crop being maize. The Fanai 
do not kill tigers, giving as the reason that a former ancestor 
of theirs lost his way, and was conducted back to his village by 
a tiger, which kindly allowed him to hold its tail. 

This clan is found scattered in the Lushai villages to the The 
north of Aijal, in which neighbourhood there are also one or ^^l*^- 
two villages under Ralte chiefs. I have already — in Part I., 
Chapter V, para. 1 — given the legend regarding the repeopling 
of the world and the closing of the exit from the Ohhinglung 
owing to the loquacity of the pair of Ralte. The names of 
these mythical ancestors were Hehua and Leplupi. Their two 


sons were Kheltea and Siakenga, who quarrelled over the dis- 
tribution of their father's goods, which Kheltea, the younger, 
had taken, thus conforming to Lushei custom, and set up 
separate villages, and from them have sprung the two epo- 
nymous families into which the Ralte clan is divided. The 
Khelte have always occupied a predominant position, and all 
the chiefs belong to this family. Lutmanga, Kheltea's youngest 
son, is said to have made the first cloth from the fibre of the 
Khawpui creeper. He collected a community at Khuazim, a 
hill north of Champhai, and from him all the Ralte chiefs are 
descended. In the early years of the nineteenth century the 
Ralte villages were near Champhai, and Mangkhaia, a Ralte 
chief of importance, was captured by some Chuango, a family 
of the Lushei clan, then living at Bualte, above Tuibual 
(known to the Chin Hills officers as Dipwell). He was ransomed 
by his relatives, but Vanpuia, the Pachuao chief, not receiving 
a share, ambushed Mangkhaia on his way home and killed him. 
According to another account Mangkhaia filed through his 
fetters with a file given to him in a roll of smoked meat, and 
was killed as he was escaping. His memorial stone is famous 
throughout the Hills, and stands at the southern extremity of 
Champhai. Mangthawnga, father of Mangkhaia, j oined Khawza- 
huala the Zadeng, then living at Tualbung, but, being ill-treated, 
the Ralte joined Sutmanga, a Thado chief then at Phaileng, 
who treated them well. Thawnglura, son of Mangthawnga, 
showed his gratitude to Sutmanga by assisting the Sailo chief 
Lallianvunga, father of Gnura (Mullah) — whose village Colonel 
Lister burnt in 1850 — to attack him. Sutmanga then fled north- 
wards. It is satisfactory to know that Thawnglura's treachery 
was rewarded by the enslavement of his clan, who till our 
occupation of the Hills remained vassals of the Sailos. The 
Ralte are very quarrelsome, and have to a great extent resisted 
absorption into the Lushais. In some Sailo chiefs' villages 
there are so many Ralte that the chief himself speaks their 
dialect, and though Lushai is understood little else but Ralte is 
heard in the village. 

The Ralte are linguistically connected with the Thado, and, 
like the Thado, they used not to build zawlbuks, but are now 
following Lushai custom in this respect. 

Memorial Stone in Champhai Known as Mangkhaia, Lungdawr. 


The Khelte family has ten and the Siakeng family eleven 
branches. To the various sums paid to the relatives of the 
bride among the Lushais, the Ralte add " dawngbul " and 
"dawngler" — sums of Es. 3/- paid to her male and female 
paternal first cousins. 

The two families have slightly different customs as regard 
sacrifices. The Khelte sacrifice to Sakhua is a boar, which is 
killed at the head of the parents' sleeping place and then cooked 
on the hearth. The skull is hung on the back wall of the house 
in a basket with six pieces of the liver and three of the skin. 
The chant is as follows : — 

Ah — h. You whom our grandmothers worshipped ! 

Ah — h. You whom our grandfathers worshipped ! 

Ah — h. You of our birthplace ! 

Ah — h. You of our place of origia ! 

Ah — h. You who made the Khelte ! 

Ah — h. You who made the Tuangphei ! 

Ah — h. In what we have done wrong ! 

Ah — h. In what we have sung amiss ! 

Ah — h. Make it right ! 
The Siakeng, after killing the boar as the Khelte do, entertain 
those of their own branch, but before the flesh is eaten it is 
divided into three portions, which are placed for a short time 
successively on the floor, on the sleeping-place, and on the shelf 
over the hearth, being thus offered to the spirits of the house, 
the couch, and the hearth. 

Of the Naohri sacrifices the Khelte only perform the Hmar- 
phir, which they call " Thangsang " and the Ui-ha-awr, while the 
Siakeng perform the Vawkte-luilam, called by them " Chhim- 
hal," and the Ui-ha-awr. 

They have adopted most of the Thangchhuah festivals, but 
not the Mi-thi-rawp-lam. When a mithan is killed it is not 
speared as among the Lushais, but killed by a blow on the 
forehead. The skull is placed at the foot of the partition wall 
for three days, and on the fourth it is taken out and placed at 
the foot of the memorial post. Some ginger, beans, and salt 
are placed on a dish and an old man takes the skull, and all 
dance round the post three times to the beating of drums and 
gongs. Then ginger is thrown three times on to the skull, after 


which the house-owner's wife pierces the skull with a spear, 
but if she be pregnant this must be done by a man. The skull 
is then placed on one of the posts of the platform in front of 
the house till the Khuangchoi has been performed. 

On the occasion of the first death occurring in a new village a 
spot is selected beyond the line of houses, and the corpse is 
buried there, subsequent interments being made close at hand. 
It is considered " thianglo " to bury in a village. A well-to-do 
Khelte after death is dressed in his best, and seated with his 
back to the partition wall while his relatives and friends drink 
and dance before him. A bier is made by elderly persons, and 
on this the corpse is placed in a sitting position, with his 
weapons in his hands, and three times lifted by old men and 
women up to the rafters, while drums and gongs are beaten, 
after which the body is carried out to the graveyard. 

The birth customs generally resemble those of the Lushais. 
The This is a clan of some importance still. There are eleven 

Vuite Vuite villages, numbering 877 houses, in the south-west corner 
of the Manipur State and two in the adjoining portions of the 
Lushai Hills. When we occupied the Hills we found many 
of this clan living in a species of slavery in the villages of 
important Sailo chiefs. They have mostly rejoined their 
clansmen, from whom they had been carried off as prisoners of 

The clan is generally known to the Lushais as Paihte, but 
Vuite is the term more commonly used by its members and in 
Manipur. Vuitea and Paihtea were the sons of of Lamleia, 
who was hatched out of an egg. There were two eggs, and 
Aichhana, a Thado, tasted one, and, finding it bitter, threw it 
away and put the other among the rice in the bin, and in due 
time Lamleia was hatched out, and the present Vuite chiefs 
claim to be his direct descendants, enumerating seventeen 
generations. The Thado version of this story is that Dongel, 
Thado's elder brother, had incestuous intercourse with his elder 
sister, and on a male child being born their mother was so 
ashamed that she hid the child in a hollow tree, thinking it 
would die, but when she found it was alive after several days 
she brought it into the house and concealed it in the paddy bin, 
and produced it a few days later, saying that she had found two 


big eggs in a hollow tree and had tasted one and had found it 
very bitter. The second she had placed in the paddy, where it 
had been hatched by the sun's rays. Hence the child was 
called Gwite, from " ni-gwi," the Thado for a ray of sunshine. 
The Vuite, of course, do not admit this tale to be true, but my 
informant tells me that in his father's time, when the Dongel 
and Vuite lived near to each other, the former paid "sathing" — 
i.e., a portion of each animal killed — to the latter, in recognition 
that the Vuite were descended from the elder sister of their 
ancestor. The Vuite, however, always tried to avoid accepting 
such presents, and when the Dongel moved away the custom 
died out. The first Vuite village is said to have been at 
Chimnuai, near to Tiddim. The name of this site comes first in 
the Vuite Sakhua chant which I obtained in the Lushai Hills. 
Being attacked by the Sokte and Falam clans, they joined the 
Thangur chiefs, but were ill-treated and fled to the neighbour- 
hood in which they now live, and waged war with their 
oppressors till the establishment of our rule. They at one 
time approached the Manipur plain and in 1870, under Sumkam, 
they raided a Manipuri village, to avenge a charge of being 
wizards. They appear to be closely connected with the Malun, 
Sokte, and Kamhau clans of the adjoining Chin Hills, and 
Dr. Grierson places them linguistically in the same group as 
these clans and the Thado. In their dress and habitations they 
resemble the Lushais, but the place of the zawlbuk is taken by 
the front verandah of the houses of certain persons of 
importance, in which are long sleeping bunks in which half a 
dozen or more young men pass the night. The young fellows 
help their host in his house-building and cultivation, and once 
a year he gives them a feast of a pig. This custom prevails in 
most of the non-Lushei clans, and also among the Kabul Nagas 
in the Manipur Hills. 

The women do not wear the huge ivory earrings of the Lushai 
but cornelians or short lead bars. 

The general constitution of the clan and the village is very 
similar to that of the Lushais. As regards marriage they are 
monogamists, in this particular forming a very remarkable 
exception to all their cognates. The marriages of paternal first 
cousins are allowed — in fact, among chiefs they are the rule. 


The parents of a young man who desires to marry a girl go to 
her house with an offering of zu, and if this is accepted the girl is 
at once taken to their house, but the bridegroom continues for 
two or three months to sleep with his bachelor friends. The 
marriage is not considered final nor is any payment made till a 
child is born, and if this does not occur within three years the 
couple separate, but on the birth of a child the full price agreed 
on must be paid up and divorce is not countenanced. On my 
enquiring what would happen in case the lady subsequently 
proved fickle, my informant smiled in a superior manner and 
said that such behaviour was unknown among his people. The 
Vuite object to giving their girls to the Lushais on account of 
the tendency of Lushai husbands to discard their wives on the 
slightest excuse. 

Although the Vuite do not maintain that before marriage 
their girls are invariably chaste, yet one who errs is looked down 
on, and in consequence abortion and infanticide are said to be 
common. "Sawnman" at Rs. 23/- is demanded from the 

As among most non-Lushei tribes, the eldest son inherits. 
The punishments for offences are similar to those among the 
Lushais, but the Vuite assert that the crime of sodomy is 
unknown among them. Murder can be atoned for by the 
payment of seven mithan to the heir of the murdered man, and 
accidental homicide by that of one mithan and a gun. In the 
days when war was common they used to ambush their enemies 
more than was usual among the Lushais, but they never went 
head-hunting simply for honour and glory. As regards " boi," 
they follow Lushai customs closely. 

Pathian is acknowledged, and in general their religious beliefs 
resemble those of the Lushais, but they have no idea of a 
separate abode for the spirits of warriors. They believe that 
departed spirits have two or more lives in the land beyond the 

For their Sakhua sacrifice a boar is killed on the front 
verandah and cooked within the house. The skin of the head, 
the testicles, heart, snout, and liver are placed on a bamboo over 
the verandah, which must be freshly thatched. 

Immediately after birth the child is washed, and a fowl is 


killed, and its feathers are worn round the necks of the mother 
and infant. The mother may go out of the house, but for four 
days after the birth both parents abstain from all work. On 
occasion of the naming two or three pigs if available should be 
killed and much zu drunk. The Khal sacrifices, with the 
exception of Uihring, are not performed, but most of the other 
sacrifices are made. 

The custom of paying " lukawng " on the death of a person is 
unknown, and the funeral ceremonies generally are very unlike 
those of the Lushais. 

After death the corpse is placed on a platform and fires are 
lit round it, and young men and maidens sleep near it. The 
skin is hardened and preserved by being rubbed with some 
greasy preparation. The body is dressed in the best cloths 
available, and a chaplet of the tail feathers of the hornbill is 
placed on its head. During the daytime the corpse is kept in 
the house, but in the evening it is brought out and seated on 
the verandah while the villagers dance and sing round it and 
drink zu, pouring it also into the mouth of the corpse. This 
disgusting performance goes on for a month or more according 
to the social position of the deceased. The corpses of those 
who have attained Thangchhuah honours are kept for a year, at 
least, in a special shed encased in a tree trunk. Before burial 
the corpse is carried round the village. In case of a violent 
death, which does not as among the Lushais include deaths in 
childbirth, the corpse is placed in the forge and the puithiam 
sacrifices a fowl, after which the usual ceremonies take place. 
The Kut festivals are not observed, but after harvest the owners 
of houses in which young men lodge kill one or two pigs. 
The honour of Thangchhuah is obtained by giving the 
following feasts : — (1) Buh ai, one mithan being killed; (2) She- 
shun, one mithan being killed; (3) Chawn, three mithan and two 
pigs being killed. No other feasts are given and windows may 
be made by anyone. Most of the superstitions common among 
the Lushais are believed, but gibbons are freely killed. The 
Vuite are very much afraid of witchcraft, but deny all 
knowledge of it. When a new site for a house has to be chosen 
an egg is taken and one end is removed. It is then propped up 
on three small stones and a fire is lit under it. If the contents 



boil over towards the person consulting the omen the site is 
rejected as unlucky. 
The This is a small clan which, after various vicissitudes, has 

^°^ **■ settled down in thirteen hamlets, containing 372 houses, under 
their own chiefs in the south-western hills of Manipur. They 
claim connection with the Thados, but resemble the Lushais in 
many respects, which no doubt is due to their sojourn among 
them. They also claim relationship with the Vaiphei. They 
say that their original villages were on two hills called 
Phaizang and Koku, whence they were ejected by the Chins 
and took refuge with Poiboi, one of the Sailo chiefs who 
opposed us in 1871, whence they migrated northwards to their 
present place of abode. Their language shows that their claim 
to being allied to the Thado is not without foundation. The 
clan is divided into eleven eponymous families, named after 
Thanghlum and his ten sons, Thanghlum being supposed to be 
the son of Kangte. The constitution of the villages is 
practically the same as that of the Lushais, except that 
there are no zawlbuks. The young unmarried men sleep 
in the house of the girl they like best. An attractive young 
lady may have several admirers sleeping in her house, and they 
will continue to sleep there until she expresses a preference for 
one of them. Marriage is not very strictly limited, but 
matches with another member of the clan or with some 
member of one of the Thado families are most usual. The price 
of a wife — " manpui " — is one blue cloth, one mattress, and three 
mithan, which is paid to the nearest male relative to the bride 
on the father's side, but besides this the bride's paternal 
uncle receives one mithan, which is termed " mankang." If 
there be three brothers, A, B, and C, B will take the 
mankang of A's daughters, C that of B's, and A that of C's- 
Should a man have no brothers some near relative will take his 
daughter's mankang. The eldest son inherits everything, 
and is looked on as the head of the family. He receives the 
" manpui " of all the females, and in his verandah are hung all 
the trophies of the chase obtained by his brothers and their 
children, but on the death of one of these brothers the 
connection ceases, and the deceased's eldest son inherits his 
property and is looked on as the head of the family by his 


younger brothers. Like the Vuite, the Rangte claim that 
sodomy is unknown among them. In their religious beliefs 
they employ the nomenclature of the Thados, though there 
is a little variation. The place of Pupawla on the road to 
Mi-thi-khua is taken by an old woman, named Kul-lo-nu, who 
is evidently the same as the Thado Kulsamnu, who troubles all 
except the Thangchhuah. Thlan-ropa is known as "Dapa,"but the 
legends regarding him are similar to those told by the Lushais. 

On the birth of a female child, zu is drunk, but should the 
child be a son, a pig and a fowl have to be killed, and three 
days later the puithiam comes and sprinkles the mother with 
water, muttering charms as he does so, after which ceremony 
she can go out. Immediately after a death everyone present 
seizes the nearest weapon and slashes wildly at the walls, posts, 
shelves, and partitions, shouting, " You have killed him ! We will 
cut you limb from limb, whoever you may be." The young 
men then go out in search of wild birds and beasts, the bodies 
of which are hung on posts round the grave. The corpse is 
adorned with the head-dress of hombill's feathers, as among the 
Vuite and most of the Old Kuki clans. The corpses of 
ordinary persons are buried without much ceremony close to 
the house, but the Thangchhuah are carried round the 
village, as among the Khawtlang, and then enclosed in hollow 
tree trunks, and kept for periods varying from two months to a 
year in special sheds, with fires smouldering beneath them, after 
which the bones are buried. In this it will be noticed that the 
Kangte custom is a composite of Lushei, Vuite, and Khawtlang. 

Lukawng is only paid if the deceased has been a great 
hunter or warrior. In their marriage ceremonies the Rangte 
differ but little from the Lushais. The " Khal " sacrifices are 
omitted, but most of the others are performed. 

Thangchhuah honours are attained by giving only two 
feasts — the " Chong," at which a hen has to be sacrificed and 
two pigs and a mithan killed, and the " Mai-thuk-kai," at 
which two mithan, three pigs, and a hen have to be killed. 
The guests hold hands and form a circle round the house of the 
giver of the feast, who has to anoint the head of each of them 
with pig's fat. The Buh-Ai is unknown, but the Ai of wild 
animals is performed as among the Lushais. 

L 2 



The term Old Kukis has long been applied to the clans which 
suddenly appeared in Cachar about 1800, the cause of which 
eruption I have explained when dealing with the history of the 
Lushais, but Dr. Grierson in the Linguistic Survey has included 
in this group a number of clans which had long been settled in 
Manipur territory, and my enquiries all go to prove the correct- 
ness of this classification. It appears practically certain that 
the ancestors of the Old Kukis and the Lushais were related and 
lived very close together somewhere in the centre of the hills 
on the banks of the Tyao and Manipur rivers. The Old Kuki 
clans of Manipur seem to have been the first to move, as 
records of their appearance there are found in the Manipur 
chronicle as early as the sixteenth century, and, though the 
chronology of the chronicle is not beyond suspicion, I think this 
may be taken as proof that these clans appeared in Manipur a 
good deal earlier than their relations the Bete and Rhangkhol 
entered Cachar. What the cause of this move was it is impossible 
to say. Probably quarrels with their neighbours, coupled with 
a desire for better land, combined to cause the exodus, and the 
movement, once started, had to continue till the clans found a 
haven of rest in Manipur, as their relatives did centuries later 
in British territory ; for they were small, weak communities, at 
the mercy of the stronger clans, through whose lands they passed. 

All these Old Kuki clans are organised far more democratically 
than the Lushais or Thados. Lieut. Stewart in his Notes on 
Northern Cachar says: — " There is no regular system of govern- 
ment among the Old Kukis and they have no hereditary chiefs as 


among the New ones. A headman called the 'ghalim' is appointed 
by themselves over each village, but he is much more a priest than 
a potentate, and his temporal power is much limited. Internal 
administration among them always takes a provisional form. 
When any party considers himself aggrieved, he makes an 
appeal to the elders, or the most powerful householders in the 
village, by inviting them to dinner and plying them with 
victuals and wine." 

Among the clans which settled early in Manipur, each 
village has been provided with a number of officials with high- 
sounding titles and little power, in imitation of the Manipur 
system. Among those who have settled in British territory the 
ghalim has been transformed into the " gaonbura" — i.e., head of 
the village — and has acquired a certain amount of authority, 
whilst among the Khawtlang and Khawchhak clans, which after 
various vicissitudes, including a more or less lengthy sojourn 
among the Lushais, recently entered Manipur territory, the 
ghalim has become a feeble imitation of a Lushai lal. 

The Old Kuki Clans of Manipur. 

Under this heading I propose dealing with the Aimol, Anal, 
Chawte, Chiru, Kolhen, Kom, Lamgang, Purum, Tikhup, and 
Vaiphei, who are now found in various parts of the hills 
bordering the Manipur valley, and who resemble each other in 
very many respects. In spite of this resemblance, the clans, 
while acknowledging their relationship to one another, keep 
entirely apart, living in separate villages and never inter- 

In the Manipur chronicle the Chiru and Anal are mentioned 
as early as the middle of the sixteenth century, while the 
Aimol make their first appearance in 1723. They are said to 
have come from Tipperah, but at that time the eastern 
boundary of Tipperah was not determined, and the greater 
part of the present Lushai Hills district was supposed to be 
more or less under the control of the Rajah of that State. A 
short distance to the east of Aijal there is a village site called 
Vai-tui-chhun — i.e., the watering place of the Vai — which is said 
to commemorate a former settlement of the Vaiphei. It 
seems probable, therefore, that the Aimol and Vaiphei left 


their former homes in consequence of the forward movement 
of the Lusheis. The remaining tribes all claim to have come 
from various places to the south of Manipur — the Anal from 
the Haubi peak, the Chiru from " the Hranglal hill far away 
in the south," the Kom from the Sakripung hill in the Chin 
Hills; the other clans can give no nearer definition of the 
home of their forefathers than far away to the south. Like 
the Lushais, they all assert that they are descended from couples 
who issued out of the earth, the Chhinglung of the Lushais 
being replaced by " Khurpui " — i.e., the great hole. 

The Anal assert that two brothers came out of a cave on 
the Haubi peak, and that the elder was the ancestor of the 
Anals, while the younger went to the valley of Manipur and 
became king of the valley. Another tradition says that the 
Manipuris, Anals, and Thados are the descendants of three 
men, whose father was the son of Pakhangba, the mythical 
snake-man ancestor of the Manipuri royal family, who, taking 
the form of an attractive youth, overcame the scruples of a 
maiden engaged in weeding her jhum (compare Hodson's 
" Meitheis," page 12). These legends were probably invented 
after the clans had come in contact in order to account for the 
resemblances between them. The Chiru claim to be descended 
from Rezar, the son of Chongthu, the ancestor of the clan of 
that name still found in the Lushai Hills, whose name also 
appears in the Thado pedigree. The Lamgang tell the 
following tale : — On the Kangmang hill, away to the south, 
there is a cave. Out of this came a man and a woman, and 
were eaten up by a tiger which was watching. A god who 
had two horns, seeing this horrible sight, came out and drove 
away the tiger, and so the next couple to emerge escaped and 
became the ancestors of the Lamgang. The Purum claim to 
be descended from Touring and Tonshu, who issued from the 
earth. It is said that " Pu rum " means " hide from tiger," which 
connects them closely with the Lamgang legend. The Kolhen's 
ancestors were a man and woman who sprang out of Khurpui 
provided with a basket and a spear, and lived at Talching, and 
had a son and daughter called Nairung and Shaithatpal, the 
direct descendants of whom are said still to be found among 
the Kolhen. 


The Chawte told me the tale of the peopling of the world 
out of a hole in the ground, adding the graphic touch that an 
inquisitive monkey lifted up a stone which laj^ over the opening, 
and thus allowed their ancestors to emerge. 

It is not quite clear whether these clans are eponymous. 
The Chiru say that their clan is named after an ancestor, but 
can give no pedigree. The Aimol say that there is no general 
name for the various families, and that Aimol is the name 
of the village site. It is probably Ai-mual. " Ai " is the Lushai 
name of a berry and also means crab, and appears in Ai-zawl 
or Aijal. "Mual" is the Lushai for a spur of a hill. It is a very 
common, in fact almost a universal, custom to call a new village 
site, if it has no recognised name, after the site of the old village, 
and probably the original Aimual would be found in the centre 
of the Lushai Hills. 

All these clans have come much under Manipuri influence, 
and the Chiru, Aimol, Kolhen, Chawte, Purum, and Tikhup 
have abandoned the ancestral architecture, and now live in 
houses built on raised earthen plinths like the Manipuris. 

The remaining clans still adhere to the ancient style, their 
houses being raised some four or five feet off the ground on 
posts. The walls are of planks, and the roofs of thatching grass ; 
they remind one much of the Falam houses. Round each 
village are clustered the granaries — small houses raised well 
off the ground and placed sufficiently far from the dwelling 
houses to make them fairly safe from fire. Where the houses 
are raised sufficiently pigs and poultry live under them ; but 
cattle sheds are common, most of these clans having learnt 
the value of cows and buffaloes from the Manipuris. The 
handsome breed of goats so common in a Lushai village is 
seldom if ever seen, but animals of an inferior sort are generally 

The Chiru, Kom, and Tikhup still build zawlbuks. No 
woman is allowed to enter these buildings, which, besides being 
the dormitories of the unmarried men, are used for drinking 
bouts. They are externally very like those built by the 
Lushais, but have several fireplaces evidently used for cooking, 
and the general hearth in the centre is absent. Some of the 
clans which do not now build zawlbuks say that they believe their 


forefathers did so. In the absence of the zawlbuk the young 
men generally sleep in the houses of well-to-do villagers, but 
among the Purum I am told that "if a man has one un- 
married son and one unmarried daughter, the boy goes to sleep 
at the house of a man who has an unmarried daughter ; though 
they sleep in this way they are very careful about their 
characters." Have we here stumbled on the real origin of the 
" young men's house " — a desire to prevent incest ? The young 
women also have houses in which they gather at time of 
festivals, but they do not sleep there. 

The rotchem, the Lushai mouth-organ, is found among all 
these clans, but rather smaller and ornamented with fowls' 
feathers. The Anal make a speciality of long bamboo trumpets, 
on which they perform with considerable skill, producing 
sounds indistinguishable from those of a bugle. The trumpets 
are from four to iive feet long, and have bell-shaped mouths 
made of gourds. 

Most of these clans have adopted various dances from the 
Manipuris, their own dancing being of the monotonous nature 
common to the Lushais and Kukis. 

In dress and method of wearing the hair Manipuri influence 
is also noticeable, the men generally wearing coats and loin- 
cloths and turbans. The women are more conservative and 
adhere to the short petticoat. The hair is generally worn very 
much in the Lushai fashion, but the Chiru men are an exception 
to this. They part their hair in the middle and brush it down 
straight, and trim it level with the bottom of the ears. They 
bind a narrow fillet of cane round the head slightly above the 
eyes. The Kolhen women gather the hair into two heavy rolls, 
which hang down in front of each ear. The Tikhup maidens 
have adopted the Manipuri method of dressing the hair. 

The ivory discs worn in the ears by Lushai women are not 
found, but metal rings are worn in a similar manner by both 

The Manipuris have instituted in each village a number of 
posts with high-sounding titles, similar to those in use among 
themselves, but traces of the older organisation are to be found. 
Thus the Aimol recognise a man called Thompa, of the 
Chomgom family, as the head of the clan, but he has no power 


and receives nothing, whUe in each village are four officials who 
receive a portion of every animal killed in the chase. They are 
called " kamzakhoi," " zakachhunga," "zupalba," and "pakang- 
lakpa." The last two titles have a distinctly Manipuri sound about 
them. The usual titles found are "khul-lakpa" — i.e., chief of the 
village — "lup-lakpa," "zupalba," and "Methei lumbu" — i.e. 
Manipuri interpreter — but there are others. The khul-lakpa 
and lup-lakpa are hereditary posts. Among the Lamgang there 
are seven such hereditary posts. Among the Chiru the khul- 
lakpa, besides receiving a portion of each animal killed, also gets 
his house built for nothing, which brings him very near to the 
Lushai " lal." Among the Kolhen the khul-lakpa's and lup-lakpa's 
posts are not hereditary, but on the death of either his successor 
must be chosen out of the same family, but his sons are ineligible. 
The new official has to give a feast, killing a pig, which is eaten 
by the whole community, and the young men and maidens make 
merry with dance and song. It seems probable that in this may 
be some idea of averting the evil effects of a breach of the 
generally accepted custom. 

The puithiam is known as " thempu," " khulpu," or " bulropa," 
and both he and the blacksmith are sometimes rewarded, receiv- 
ing a day's labour from each householder they serve, instead of 
a donation of rice. 

The Lushai system of " boi " is generally unknown, which is 
only natural in such democratic communities. 

The following animals are not generally eaten — tigers, snakes, 
cats, crows, or kites ; and among the Lamgang the rat is also 
considered unfit for food. 

Each clan is divided into eponymous families and generally 
marriage is restricted to the clan, but alliances within the 
family are prohibited. The Aimol clan is divided into five 
families — Chongom, Laita or Mangte, Khoichung or Leivon, 
Lanu, and Chaita. Marriage is unrestricted, but it is unusual 
for either sex to marry without the clan. The Kolhen are 
divided into twelve exogamous families divided into two groups, 
which are also exogamous (v. below, under Festivals, page 167), 
but marriage outside the clan is prohibited. Among the Anal, 
Purum, and Lamgang marriages must be made within the 
clan, but not within the family. 


The Tikhup clan, which only numbers some twenty households, 
is not sub-divided, but marriage is endogamous. The union of 
first cousins, either paternal or maternal, is prohibited. The 
elders of the clan attributed the steady decline in their numbers 
to this custom of endogamy. 

The Chiru and Chawte customs are alike; not only is a 
young man's choice limited to some family in the clan other 
than his own, but the actual families from which he may choose 
his bride are strictly fixed. 

Among the Chiru — 

A Danla lad may marry a Dingthoi or Shangpa girl. 
A Dingthoi lad may marry a Chongdur or Danla girl. 
A Rezar lad may marry a Danla girl. 
A Shangpa lad may marry a Dingthoi or Danla girl. 
A Chongdur lad may marry a Danla girl. 

Danla is the family from which the khul-lakpa must be 
taken, and Rezar has already been noticed as the son of 
Chongthu, from whom the Chiru claim descent. 

Among the Chawte — 

A Marem lad may only marry a Makhan girl. 

A Makhan lad may only marry an Irung girl. 

A Kiang lad may only marry a Makhan or Marem girl. 

An Irung lad may only marry a Marem, Thao, or Kiang 

A Thao lad may only marry a Makhan girl. 

Among the Aimol, Anal, Chiru, and Purum, a young man has 
to serve his future wife's father for three years, during which 
he works as if he were a son of the house. During this period 
he has free access to the girl, though among the Chiru he con- 
tinues to sleep among the bachelors. Should the girl become 
enceinte the marriage ceremony must be performed, and the 
price paid. Among the Aimol the bride's eldest brother gets 
Rs. 6/- and each of the others one rupee less than his immediate 
senior. The paternal and maternal uncles receive Rs. 2/- each ; 
the aunt and the elder sister also receive Rs. 1/- each as 
"niman" and " nao-puan-puk-man," as among the Lushais. 
Among the Anal and the Purum, the price must not be less 


than a pig and a piece of iron a cubit in length, but the girl's 
relatives try to get as much more as they can. The bridegroom 
has also to feast the family of his bride three times on pork, 
fowls, and rice, washed down, of course, with plenty of zu. The 
Chiru girls are only valued at one gong. 

Among the other clans, marriage is by simple purchase. A 
Chawte maiden can be obtained for a spear, a dao, and a fowl, 
the payment being sealed by the consumption of much zu. 
The price of a Kolhen girl is a gong and Rs. 7/- to her mother, 
and Rs. 7/- each to the elder and younger brother and the 
maternal uncle. This is most curious, for the father is entirely 
omitted. Can it be a survival of mother right ? The Kom 
girls are valued very high, the father receiving one gong, four 
buffaloes, fifteen cloths, a hoe, and a spear, the aunt taking a 
black and white cloth. A Lamgamg bridegroom has to pay his 
father-in-law three pigs or buffaloes or cows, one string of conch 
shell beads, one lead bracelet, and one black or blue petticoat. 
A Tikhup father expects a gong, ten hoes, one dao, and one 
spear ; the maternal grandfather also demands Rs. 7/-. 

The price of a Vaiphei girl varies between two and ten 
mithan. To a certain extent the price of the girls may be 
taken as an indication of the relative importance of the clan. 
Marriage by servitude is not found among either the Lushai or 
the Thado clans ; its appearance among the Old Kukis is there- 
fore curious, for as a rule the customs of a clan will be found to 
resemble those of one or the other of these two main divisions 
of the Kuki-Lushai race. 

Polygamy is, as a rule, permitted. Among the Anal and 
Lamgang, the first wife is entitled to the company of her 
husband for five nights, the second for four, and the third for 
three. It is not quite clear how a second marriage by servitude 
can be carried out, and probably the rules are modified in such 
cases. Polygamy is but little practised on account of the 
expense ; among the Kolhen it is prohibited. 

In most of these clans the Thado rule of inheritance is 
followed — viz., the eldest son takes all his father's property, the 
younger sons only getting what the heir chooses to give them. 
Among the Anal and Purum, and probably also the Lamgang, 
the sons of the deceased divide the property, but the youngest 


son takes the house and supports the widow, thus approximating 
to the Lushai custom. 

In most clans the father of an illegitimate child is fined. 
Among the Chiru the fine is a pig, a mithan, and two gongs. 

Divorce is generally easily obtained. Among the Aimol, if 
either party repents of the bargain, the payment of a cloth and 
three pots of zu annuls the contract. Among the Tikhup the 
cost of divorce is a mithan and a gong. The Anal and most of 
the other clans insist on the question being submitted to the 
village officials, who receive fees according to their position, 
and settle what compensation, if any, shall be paid to either 
party. As a rule it is very difficult for a woman to obtain a 
divorce unless her husband agrees, even though he may be 
extremely unfaithful and brutal. Among the Anal she must 
give a feast to the village or pay her husband Rs. 50/-. 

In case of a wife being led astray the injured husband 
recovers her price or an equivalent amount (among the Tikhup 
twice the price) from her seducer. In this the Thado custom 
is followed, which is more just than that of the Lushais, but 
not so conducive to morality, for among the the Lushais the 
whole of the woman's family are interested in keeping her from 
committing herself and are loud in condemnation should she 
do so, as they have to refund the various sums they have 
received on her behalf, whereas among the Thado the seducer 
simply pays up the price and takes the woman, who is thought 
very little the worse of — in fact, among the clans which follow 
this apparently more just custom, women hold a far lower 
position, being traded from one to another, unless they have 
influential male relatives who take an interest in them. 

All these clans have been given definite sites in Manipur and 
have practically abandoned the migratory habits of their fore- 
fathers, and therefore the idea of property in land, which is 
entirely absent in the case of the Lushais, is fast springing up. 
Many villages are moving nearer to the plain in order that the 
people may take leases from the State of land in the valley and 
carry on plough cultivation, but they also do a certain amount 
of jhuming, and proprietary rights in j hum lands are recognised. 

The punishment for theft is arranged much on the Lushai 
system of the theft of certain articles having a fixed fine 


attached to it. This is generally a pig, two jars of zu, and a 
brass plate. Among the Chiru the whole fine is consumed by the 
people of the village, the thief also getting his share. The Kolhen 
punishment is a fine of Es. 28/-, a pig, and two jars of zu. In 
case of rice being stolen, the Tikhup custom is that the village 
ofiicials at once kill and eat the pig of the thief and then make 
him pay a mithan as compensation to the complainant. Thefts 
of minor articles are generally punished by the thief providing 
a pig and zu for the entertainment of his judges. Manslaughter 
is punished by the payment of compensation, the amount vary- 
ing considerably. The Anal demand a mithan and a gong, the 
Chiru a mithan and a cloth, the Kolhen three mithan, a brass 
pot, a pig, and two pots of zu, the Lamgang four gongs, 
ten jars of zu, and a big pig. Petty assaults are punished by 
fines of pigs and zu. A false charge is often punished by a fine 
of zu. Most of these clans declare that sodomy is unknown 
among them, the very notion appearing to them highly 

All disputes and accusations are disposed of by the village 
officials, who meet sometimes in the house of the khul-lakpa 
and sometimes at a special spot outside the village where stone 
seats have been prepared. 

Since the settlement of these clans in Manipur territory all 
raiding and fighting has been stopped, so that they have practic- 
ally forgotten what were the habits of their forefathers in these 
respects, but the Kom declare that in the good old days the 
young Kom warriors went off on head-hunting expeditions, and 
if successful adorned the village gate with the trophies of their 
prowess ; and there is no reason to doubt that, in spite of their 
present peaceable behaviour, the previous history of these clans 
was not less full of raids and counter-raids than that of their 

The general religious beliefs of these clans show a great 
resemblance to each other and also to that of the Lushais. 
Pathian is universally recognised as the creator who lives in the 
sky, though the name is slightly different, appearing as Pathel 
among the Anal and Kolhen, and Patheng among the Kom. 
' Mi-thi-khua is generally known as the place of departed spirits, 
but the Chiru and Tikhup have no idea of a place of greater 


comfort for the spirits of warriors, though the Chiru believe that 
the spirits of those that die unnatural deaths go to a separate 
and inferior place, while those of the other dead go westwards 
into the sky. The Anal, Kolhen, and Lamgang believe that, 
after hovering around the grave for some time, the spirit is 
reincarnated in some new-born child, but that an unnatural 
death prevents this and the spirit passes away skywards and 
returns no more. The belief in a being or beings which trouble 
the spirits on their way to Mi-thi-khua, as Pupawla does with 
his pellet bow, is very general. The Aimol call him 
Ramcharipu, and say that he makes the spirits of all, except 
" Thangchhuah," kill a certain number of lice in his head. The 
Vaiphei say that a male and a female being guard the road and 
trouble and detain the spirits of those who have not attained 
the honours of Thangchhuah. With the exception of the Tik- 
hup, all the clans believe in demons, which they call by 
various names and which correspond exactly with the Huai of 
the Lushais. The Aimol call these devils Numeinu, Thanglian 
Borh, Tuikuachoi. " Numeinu " means mother of woman 
Borh brings to memory the infantile illness called by that name 
by the Lushais, while "Tuikuachoi" is evidently the Tui-huai. 
The Aimol and Chiru perform the Daibawl sacrifices in the 
same manner as the Lushais. The Chawte sacrifice pigs and 
fowls in case of sickness, but the Khal sacrifices are quite un- 
known to any Old Kuki clans. Lashi is known to the Aimol and 
Vaiphei. Among the former the Sakhua sacrifices are performed 
to this deity, and he is capable of giving success in the chase. 
The Vaiphei place Lashi almost on a par with Pathian and 
sacrifice a pig to him every year. Strange to say, he is supposed 
to have only one leg. The Sakhua chant of the Vuite 
commences with an invocation to all the wild animals to 

In nearly every clan there is an annual festival in honour of the 
souls of those who have died during the year, but in no case is 
the Mi-thi-rawp-lam or any similar festival included in the series 
of Thangchhuah feasts. 

The Aimol sacrifice either a pig or a goat to Lashi as their 
Sakhua. The Chawte have been much influenced by Manipuris, 
and I was first told that the names of their gods were 


Pakhangba and Nungchongba, but on a little further enquiry I 
found that Pakhangba was always called Pathian when talking 
among themselves. The other deity is probably the Manipuri 
god Nungshaba (" The Meitheis," Hodson, page 98). 

Above the hamlet was an oval, level space with a low wall 
round it. At the eastern end was a small house in which were 
two stones. This was the abode of Pakhangba, and to one side 
was Nungchongba's dwelling place, which consisted of three 
small stones, with a fourth one placed on the top. In front of 
these a bull is sacrificed once in three years, and dancing and 
singing take place every year after the harvest. The Chiru 
believe in " Kampus," which in some respects appear to be the 
same as the Lushai " Huai," but in others they appear to be 
local gods. The four chief Rampus live one on Kobru, a 
high hill overlooking the northern extremity of the Manipur 
valley and called by the Manipuris the guardian of the north, 
one in Kangjupkhul, the village site of my informants, one on 
Makong hill and one in the valley of Manipur. Twice a year 
the Rampu of Kobra is honoured with the sacrifice of a dog, 
while pigs, fowls, or goats are offered to the others. In July 
a dog is killed in honour of the first three and a pig in 
honour of the last-named. In case of very serious illness, 
when the Daibawl sacrifices have proved unavailing, special 
sacrifices are made to the three chief Rampus above men- 
tioned. These four Rampus are evidently nearer to local 
godlings than the multitudinous and ill-defined Huais of the 
Lushais. In July Pathian also is honoured, a pig being killed 
on behalf of the whole village, while each household sacrifices a 
fowl. The day is held sacred, no work being done. It is known 
as Ghapui-chol-lai — i.e., holiday in the great heat. The four 
Rampus can only have come into prominence since the 
settlement of the hamlet at Kangjupkhul, and it is probable 
that different ones are worshipped by other hamlets. The 
Chiru also perform Sakhua sacrifices as the Lushais do. The 
Tikhup denied all knowledge of any devils or semi-divine 
beings, saying that they worshipped Pathian and him only. 
Every year in Phalgun they sacrifice a pig and a cock to 
Pathian, and much zu is drunk. In cases of sickness sacrifices 
of pigs or fowls and offerings of flowers, eggs, and rice are made 


to Pathian. Dogs are never sacrificed. I think this is the only 
clan in which they are not. I failed to find out the cause of 

In the other clans the sacrifices are combined with festivals 
either in connection with the crops, the dead, or Thangchhuah, 
and are not simply in honour of the god. 

The puithiam of the Lushais becomes " thempu " and in some 
clans "khulpu." The last name seems to indicate his 
responsibility for protecting the village from all ills and mis- 
fortunes by performing the necessary sacrifices (khul = village, 
pu = protector). He appears here as one of the village ofiicials, 
which is the natural result of the inhabitants of each village 
being all of the same clan, instead of many clans, as among the 
Lushais. The functions and methods of the thempu and 
khulpu appear to be the same as those of his Lushai confHre. 
There are various restrictions imposed on pregnant women. 
Among the Anal she may not eat chillies or honey, and her 
husband must not touch a snake or a corpse. The Kolhen 
prohibit her from killing a snake, attending a funeral ceremony, 
and eating a crab, eggs, and a certain vegetable called " chak " 
in its young state. The Lamgang also debar her from touching 
a corpse, but the prohibited articles of food are a sort of fish 
called "ngarin" and a small animal which I have not succeeded 
in identifying. The birth ceremonies are much alike ; in every 
clan there is a period during which the woman, and in 
some cases the house, is "sherh." During this time the 
mother's movements are restricted in some way. 

Among the Aimol the period is five days in case of a 
boy, and three in case of a girl ; among the Anal and Purum, 
three days in both cases ; among the Chawte, Kom, and 
Vaiphei, five. Among the Chiru the period is extended to ten 
days, during which the mother must not go out and no one but 
near relations may enter the house. Among the Kolhen the 
period is also ten days, but all women of the village may enter 
the house ; the mother must eat no flesh, and fowls only may be 
sacrificed. Cohabitation is prohibited for three months. Among 
the Tikhup the restriction on the mother's movements lasts 
only till the disposal of the afterbirth by special persons 
who clean up the house ; till this is done no one may take a light 


from the fire or remove any article from the house. In every 
case at the conclusion of this period there is a sacrifice. The 
custom of the Aimol is for the "thempu" to pour out a 
libation of zu and herbs in front of the house and invoke the 
child's spirit to take up its residence within the new-born 
infant. The name is given at the same time, the father's 
family choosing the name of a son and the mother's of a 
daughter. On the day of the birth of an Anal child, the 
" khulpu " is called, and after he has muttered certain 
incantations, zu and fish are distributed to the whole village. 
All sacrificing is prohibited for three days, and cohabitation for 
three months. When distributing the zu and fish, the house- 
hold gods — i.e., the Sakhua — are invoked and the soul of 
the child is summoned. Among the Chawte the thempu 
attends on the day of the birth, and sacrifices a fowl and sips 
zu. He then mutters incantations over a piece of turmeric which 
is then thrown out of the house. On the fifth day a fowl is 
killed, and as the name selected is pronounced three grains of 
rice are dropped into a cup of water, and if they sink the name 
is approved, but if they float another one must be selected and 
tested in the same manner. 

The Chiru ceremonies are more elaborate. After ten days the 
thempu comes to the house, a rakeng tree is planted in front 
of it, and then the thempu sacrifices a hen on behalf of the 
mother, and a cock or a hen, according to the sex of the child, 
on its behalf The parents eat the flesh of the birds, and the 
sherh and bones are buried in the house. Two or three pots of 
zu are consumed by married persons. The thempu, taking some 
zu in his mouth, goes round inside the house, blowing it out on 
the walls and muttering charms. The mother can now leave 
the house, but for three or four days must not leave the village. 
The "keng-puna" or "ming-puna" — i.e., "name-giving" — 
takes place almost immediately. Two cocks or hens, according 
to the sex of the infant, are killed by the thempu, and their 
blood smeared on the infant's forehead and navel, some of the 
feathers being tied in its hair. The Kolhen pierce the child's 
ears and give the name on the tenth day, the ceremony being 
the same as among the Chiru on that day. The maternal 
grandfather is expected to give the child a pair of brass earrings, 


1 62 



nies con- 

bracelets, leg ornaments, and a string of glass beads, and it is 
generally named after him — a custom also followed by the Koms, 
who combine the name-giving and ear-piercing, giving a feast 
for the purpose, on the expiration of the five days' sherh. The 
ear-piercing is done by the paternal aunt. The Lamgang 
ceremonies are the same as those of the Anal, but the father is 
prohibited from eating the flesh of fowls during the sherh 
period, while the mother is under no restriction as regards diet. 
No other animal may be sacrificed during that time, and co- 
habitation is not allowed for one month. The Purum customs 
are severely simple. The thempu comes and mutters charms on 
the day of the birth, and returns on the third day and makes a 
libation of zu. No sacrifices are allowed. The name is given 
on the second day by the midwife, and the ears are pierced on 
the seventh day, but in neither case is there any ceremony. 
The Tikhup give the name at a feast, to which the elders of 
the community are invited ; a cock is killed and zu dispensed 
freely. In case of the parents being poor, this feast may be 
postponed till the child is two years old. 

The custom of summoning the child's soul reminds one of 
the Lushai prohibition of labour on the part of the parents for 
seven days after the child's birth, lest its soul, which hovers 
around them during that period, be injured. 

Where marriage is by service, it is only natural that the 
actual ceremony should be of little importance, for the couple 
have been living as man and wife during the whole time ; but 
there are exceptions. 

At an Aimol wedding two thempus are necessary — one of the 
bridegroom's, and one of the bride's family. Each kills a cock, 
the feathers of which are tied round the necks of the happy 
pair, after which there is the usual orgy. The Chiru and 
Tikhup custom is almost identical, but the village thempu 
officiates alone. Among the Kolhen, the young man's mother 
makes six visits to the parents of her future daughter-in-law, 
taking an offering of zu, and being accompanied by her eldest 
son-in-law or other male relative, and on the last occasion by two 
or three women. Two days after the last visit, the price is fixed, 
and the day for the ceremony chosen by the bridegroom's father 
and the village officials. The bridegroom, on the day before 


that fixed for the marriage, goes to the girl's house, accompanied 
by several male friends, and makes a present of three pots of zu 
to her parents. The next morning the bride, accompanied by 
the unmarried girls of the village, goes to her future home, 
taking with her two jars of zu, a hen, a piece of ginger, a dog, 
a strap for carrying loads, a new cloth, and a bracelet. She 
parts from her friends, with many tears, on the doorstep of her 
new home. The khulpu decapitates a fowl and throws it down ; 
if the right leg falls over the left a happy married life is assured. 
The night is spent in singing and dancing, and the follow:ing 
night in the same way, but in the house of the bride, who on 
the next morning quits her father's house for good. On the day 
of the marriage the bride and bridegroom must not leave the 
village. This taking of omens by killing a cock is practised by 
the Lamgang and Kom. Where marriage is not by service the 
preliminaries in all clans resemble much those among the 
Kolhen. Among the Vaiphei, and, I think, in some other clans, 
the young man has to give a feast to the young men frequent- 
ing the same dormitory. A similar custom is described in 
Fielding Hall's " The Inward Light," page 104, as existing in 
Burma. "It is an old custom for the village boys to band 
themselves together in a company. . . . But when one marries he 
ceases to belong to the company, for he is about to enter into 
another and a wider life. He is a deserter and a traitor to his 
fellows. Therefore they lay in wait for him and caught him as 
he went home at night, and, taking him without the village 
gate, they tried him and found him guilty. With mock 
ceremony he was condemned to be turned out from their 
ranks, and to pay a fine wherewith his comrades might drown 
thefr sorrow at his desertion. Then with laughter and song, 
to the light of torches, they took him home in long pro- 

Widows are allowed to remarry, but as a rule the brothers of 
the deceased husband have a prior claim, and if the woman 
marries anyone else before the annual feast in honour of the 
dead she has to pay a fine, which in some clans is as much as 
Es. 120/-, to her brother-in-law. Until this annual feast has come 
round she must remain in her late husband's house, but when 
that has been performed she may return to her father's house 

M 2 

1 64 



nies con- 

if she wishes to, but in that case the brother-in-law will take 
the dead man's property and children. 

All these clans bury their dead in special cemeteries outside 
the village, and unnatural deaths or deaths in childbirth are 
universally considered signs that the deceased has failed in some 
way, and the corpses of such unfortunates are buried outside the 
cemetery and with scant ceremony. 

Among the Aimol, the corpse of the khul-lakpa is carried 
round the village before being taken to the grave. The 
corpse of one who has gained honours equivalent to Thang- 
chhuah among the Lushais is enclosed in a rough log coffin 
and kept for two days amid much drinking and feasting, which 
recalls the funeral ceremonies of a Lushei chief. With a rich 
man many cloths are buried and with a poor man at least one. 
In addition some cooked rice, zu, a dao, some meat, and a bow 
and arrow are deposited in the grave. The bow and arrow are 
a survival, for such weapons have been long obsolete. Over the 
grave a small house is built in which some meat and zu are 
placed to attract the " Khawhring." Spears are then thrust 
through the house, which is then thrown away. I am not 
quite clear whether the " Khawhring " in this case is supposed, 
as among the Lushais, to have inhabited the body of the 
deceased, or whether it is believed to be a disembodied spirit 
which is on the lookout for the soul of the deceased. 

Three days after the burial a wild animal is killed and zu and 
rice are offered, and the spirit of the deceased is asked to go 
away and not to trouble the living who have sacrificed and 
made an offering of zu and rice. The Anal make a distinction 
between deaths in childbirth and deaths by accident or in war. 
In the former case the body is buried in the cemetery, the grave 
being dug by those of her household, and food and drink and 
domestic utensils are deposited therein. The husband has to 
sacrifice a pig and feast the village before the burial, and the 
village is " sherh " for that day. The first stones and earth are 
placed in the grave by aged men, and the filling then completed 
by young men. The thempu having muttered some charms, 
the young men and women sing and dance for the deliverance 
of the soul. In cases of ordinary death the grave is dug by men 
not of the household, but in case of unnatural death only old 


grey-headed men may perform the task, and the grave is dug 
in the jungle and no dance or song terminates the funeral, but 
the village is not " sherh." 

The Chawte make their cemetery some distance from the 
village. The dead are buried on the day of death. Over each 
grave a mound is raised and fenced round with a bamboo trellis- 
work. A small post carved faintly to resemble the human form 
is placed over the grave of a man, while a hoe, axe, and winnow- 
ing fan denote the grave of a woman. On each grave rests a 
flat basket containing some flowers and a small jar of water. 
Behind each grave is a rough representation of a house raised 
some four feet from the ground, which is also ornamented with 
flowers, and some of the deceased's clothes hang from it, while 
inside are placed a bamboo full of zu and a small cup, which is 
filled with clean water, and a handful of raw rice. These are 
changed every third or fourth day till the Thi-duh ceremony 
comes round in May, when there is a feast, and portions of meat 
and some zu are placed on each fresh grave. 

On the death of a Chiru, guns are fired and gongs beaten, and 
a fowl, pig, and goat are killed at once. There is the usual 
funeral feast, and food and personal effects, including his comb, 
are buried with him. The house is " sherh " for three days, 
during which rice is placed in a small basket in the house and 
then thrown on to the grave. On the third day the house is 
purified by the thempu sacrificing a cock. In nearly every 
clan the house has to be purified by the thempu besprinkling 
it with either consecrated water or zu, and in many cases the 
funeral party are similarly purified. The Kolhen bury the 
bodies of those who die natural deaths in front of their houses, 
as do the Lushais, and the funeral feast closely resembles that 
held by the Lushais. The body of a khul-lakpa is carried three 
times round his memorial stone, from left to right. A bow and 
arrow are placed in the grave. The village is " sherh " for three 
days for any death. The Lamgang follow the same customs as 
the Anal, but the bodies of women who die in childbirth are not 
buried in the graveyard. The Kom and the Purum have the 
curious custom that the duty of digging the grave in case of an 
unnatural death falls on the son-in-law of the deceased. They 
say that the spirit of the dead cries out at the place where he 


met his death until appeased by an offering of tobacco leaves 
^and rice. The Tikhup funeral is exactly the same as that of an 
•ordinary Lushai. The Vaiphei dress up the corpse and strap it 
on to a bamboo frame, as do the Lushais, and feast around it 
for three days if food and drink suffice for so long. At the end 
of the feast the thempu pours some zu down the throat of the 
corpse and bids the spirit go in peace, and the body is carried 
to the grave, but if the deceased has attained Thangchhuah 
honours, it is first carried round the village. The household of 
the deceased abstain from washing or dressing the hair till some 
wild animal has been killed. The custom of giving something 
to the maternal grandfather or uncle on the occasion of a death, 
known among the Lushais as " lukawng," is found among 
several clans. Among the Tikhup and Kolhen, for instance, he 
receives the neck of the animal killed on the occasion of the 
funeral; and in the last-named clan he also receives a pipe or 
Rs. 2/-. The custom known among the Kabul and other allied 
tribes in Manipur as " mandu," which ordains that a widower 
shall pay his deceased wife's father a certain sum as the price 
of her bones, is only found among the Kolhen, with whom it is 
usual to pay Rs. 6/- or 6/-. Among the Kolhen a child djring 
within ten days of its birth is buried under the eaves of the 
house, and is called " thichhiat " equivalent to the " hlamzuih " 
among the Lushais. 
Festlvala. 1. Connected with Crops. — The Tikhup, the only monothe- 
istic clan in the hills, have no ceremonies connected with the 
crops, but allow no dancing, singing, or music in the village 
between the sowing and the reaping. 

Among the other Old Kuki clans there is a great resemblance 
between the festivals, and their connection with the Lushai 
" Kuts " can be easily traced — in some cases, as among the 
Kom, the name being actually the same. 

A festival which is common to several clans and generally 
takes place in the spring, though sometimes later, and is 
supposed to ensure good ■ crops and good luck generally, is 
known by various similar names, all meaning " Pulling the 

Kolhen " Keidun" Festival. — This occurs in April. The 
first day, called " Karamindai," or " Changritakhoi," is occupied 


by the young men going off to bring in two long creepers. A 
fowl and a pig are sacrificed and the creepers are hung over a post. 
On the next day the creepers are brought to the khul-lakpa's 
stone, and he, saying certain charms, pours out a libation of 
rice beer, and then a tug of war takes place between two parties 
selected as follows : — On one side are all the young men of the 
khul-lakpa's family — viz., the Chongthu — and on the other those 
of the Jete, to which the lup-lakpa belongs. With the Chongthu 
pull the young men of the following families — viz., Tulthung, 
Maite, Tiante, Laishel, Songchungnung, while with the Jete are 
associated the young men of the Lunglai, Rembual, Mirem 
Tumtin, and Vanbie. The girls of each family pull on the 
opposite side to the young men of their family. While the pull 
is in progress the khul-lakpa sings a song, and when he reaches 
a certain point the rope is cut in two by a man who stands 
waiting with a dao. The pull is repeated with the second 
creeper, and each party carries off the ends it has retained. 
Marriages are only allowed between the young people who 
pull on the same side, with the exception of the Chongthu, 
who, being of the chief's family, may marry a girl of any 
family except their own. During the festival no work 
of any sort must be done, but otherwise there are no restrictions 
as regards villagers or strangers, but the khul-lakpa must 
abstain from work and from cohabitation for two or three days 
before. Should a death occur a day or two before the date 
fixed for the festival, the fact will not be recognised till the 
completion of the feast, when the funeral ceremonies will take 
place as if the death had occurred on that day, the corpse being 
kept outside the village during the interval. 

The Anal and Lamgang, as usual, observe the festival in a 
similar manner. The creeper having been brought to the gate 
of the village, the headmen and the thempu receive it, and 
the latter, muttering prayers, pours over it a libation of rice beer, 
and then ties a piece of it to the gate. The remainder is cut 
up and a piece is tied to each house in the village. The 
thempu goes round at night throwing a piece of turmeric into 
each house and calling out as he throws each piece, " From to- 
day may all evil and misfortune run away from this house." ^ 
' Compare the Synteng ouetom of beh-dieng-Jehlam, — P. R. G. 


The Purum celebrate bhe festival in August, and the 
unmarried girls take a promiaent part in the ceremony. A 
raised platform is made before the house of the eldest 
unmarried girl in the village. (In a community where there 
is no dearth of husbands, and every girl is sure of being 
married in due course, the prominence given to the eldest 
spinster is not objected to as it might be in an English village.) 
On this platform the girls assemble, and the creeper after the 
usual ceremonies is tied to the platform, and there is a great 
feast with much dancing between the young folk. 

The similarity between these festivals and the " Koi-hrui-an- 
chat," mentioned under the Ngente, bears out the truth of the 
tradition that these clans long ago were near neighbours. 

The Chiru at the time of cutting the jhums go in procession 
with drums and gongs to the place chosen and on their return 
drink much rice beer. In March or April, before the sowing, a 
festival called " Arem " is celebrated. On the first day a dog 
is killed at a stone to the west of the village, and a pig to the 
north in the direction of the hill Kobru. All the men attend, 
but no women. The animals are killed by the thempu. 
The flesh is eaten there by the whole party, and the " sherh " 
are left at the place of sacrifice. There is then a drinking 
party in the house of the thempu. On the second day all the 
young men go and catch fish, and on their return they are 
entertained with two pots of rice beer by the unmarried girls. 
On the third day the lup-lakpa gives a feast of meat and rice, 
washed down by much rice beer, to the men only, and later all 
dance in front of the " chhirbuk " — i.e., Lushai zawlbuk. 

The fourth day is spent in visiting each other, drinking and 
singing at each other's houses. As soon as it is dark men and 
women meet before the chhirbuk and dance round the stone 
drinking ; then they go to the lup-lakpa's house and drink again, 
and then to a house where all the unmarried girls are collected 
and drink again, and then bring the girls to the chhirbuk 
and dance round the stone again, drinking as they go. This is 
a pretty heavy day's work, and it speaks well for the young 
folk if many of them have the energy to complete the pro- 
gramme by drinking and dancing together on the fifth day. 
During the festival the village is " sherh." 


The Chawte, before cutting their jhums, sacrifice a pig and 
go down to the stream and sharpen their daos — " Trust in God, 
but keep your powder dry." The above festivals correspond to 
the " Chap-char-kut " of the Lushais, and the following resemble 
the " Mim-kut." The Purum in September observe " Chulkut " 
for five days, making and exchanging rice cakes and drinking 
rice beer, but not sacrificing any animals. The Kolhen observe 
" Chamershi " for two days in the middle of the rains — viz., in 
July or August. A pig and a cock are sacrificed in the khul- 
lakpa's house and eaten there by men only. Old men dance, 
and rice beer is drunk. This feast is supposed to expel evil 
spirits. The Chiru in July sacrifice a pig on behalf of the 
village to Pathian, while each household offers him a fowl. 
This feast is called the " feast of the hot season rest " — i.e., the 
few days of leisure after the second weeding of the crops. 

The Aimol, after burning the jhums, celebrate a feast they 
call " Lo-an-dai." Three fowls are killed and eaten in the 
khulpu's house, and rice beer is drunk, but no gong-beating or 
singing is allowed. 

After the harvest, feasts corresponding to the Lushai " Polkut" 
are held, but among the Purum a feast called " Shanghong " 
has to be celebrated in October, just when the grain is filling in 
the ear. Every householder has to bring a small sheaf of the 
green rice, which is presented to the village god, and feasting 
and drinking goes on for three days, during which time the 
village is " sherh." The Kolhen, before reaping the crop, carry 
the khul-lakpa or lup-lakpa out of the village towards the 
fields with beating of drums, and later drink at his expense. 

The Kom call the harvest festival " Lam-kut." It lasts three 
days. No sacrifice is performed, but the young men and girls 
dance and drink together. 

Among the Chawte the custom is practically the same as 
among the Purum, save that the feast only lasts one day. 

The Lamgang and Anal harvest festival is practically the same. 
In each case the best crop in the village is reaped by the whole 
community going to the field with dance and song, and subse- 
quently the lucky owner of the crop has to entertain the village 
for three days. It would appear that all good Lamgangs and 
Anals must pray to have the second best crop. On the second 


day of the feast the consumption of meat and tobacco, the 
•carrying of water and wood, and working with axes or hoes are 
tabu. The feast closely resembles the " Buh-Ai " of other clans. 
The Aimol custom is very different from that of the other clans. 
All the men go out in search of game, the flesh of which is 
eaten in the evening, and drums are beaten and songs sung 
while the rice beer circulates freely, in contrast to the feast at 
the sowing time. Dancing is, however, tabu. The harvest feast 
is called " Sherh an long." 

The Lamgang have an extra feast, or rather period of rest, 
when the grain is all garnered, when for ten days no one may 
enter or leave the village, and no work can be done, the whole 
energies of the community being concentrated on eating and 
drinking well. 

2. Feasts Corresponding with the Thamgchhuah Feasts of 
the Lushai. — The idea of " Thangchhuah " is found in some 
form or other in all clans. Even in those clans who have no 
very clear conception of a special abode for the spirits of those 
who have earned good fortune in the world beyond the grave 
by feasts and killing men and animals here below, we find 
feasts the giving of which confers on the giver special considera- 
tion among his fellow-villagers and entitles his corpse to special 
funeral honours. All these feasts seem more or less connected 
with the erection of some form of memorial — either a post, such 
as the Lushai '' she-lu-pun," which finds its counterpart among 
several Old Kuki clans, but among them the erection of the 
memorial is the important part of the ceremony, whereas 
among the Lushais the killing of the animal is the more im- 
portant and the feast is named after that, not after the planting 
of the post ; or a stone or a heap of stones, or a paved platform. 
All these are erected during a man's life and are quite distinct 
from the memorials erected in memory of the deceased, 
and thus connect the Lushai-Kuki race with the Nagas> 
among whom the erection of stones is a very important 

The "Mi-thi-rawp-lam" is not included in the Thangchhuah 
series by any of these clans — in fact, it seems to be omitted by 
all clans not living under Lushei chiefs. These all have a 
special annual ceremony to lay the ghosts of those who have 


died during the preceding year. The explanation of this seems 
to be that among the Lushais the clans have all been broken 
Tip and are scattered in different villages, and therefore an 
annual clan ceremony is not possible, and it has become a virtu- 
ous act for some wealthy member of the clan to celebrate the 
feast in honour of the dead of the clan. Among the clans which 
have retained their corporate existence the annual ceremony is 
natural, and therefore it is excluded from the Thangchhuah 

The Tikhup can earn consideration after death by giving a 
single feast. The young men and maidens collect a big heap 
of stones and arrange a seat of honour near it for the giver of 
the feast, who is carried down on a litter. The young folk dance 
and sing and drink before him, and then he is carried back to 
the village and has to present a mithan to the young men, who 
feast on it for a day and a night at the house of their leader. 
A song is composed in honour of the giver of the feast, which 
is sung at all subsequent feasts. 

The Lamgang, Kom, Kolhen, and Anal put up wooden posts, 
the Chawte erect a post and pave a piece of ground in front of 
it, while the Aimol put up a stone and make a pavement. 
Mithan and pigs are killed, and a feast given which lasts 
several days, the cost being met by the person ambitious of 

The Chiru alone seem to have no idea of Thangchhuah, 
and, as noted before, have no idea of a special abode for good 

The Vaiphei have to give two feasts, at the first of which 
one, and at the second two or more, mithan are killed. The 
Kolhen, on occasion of putting up the post, sacrifice a mithan 
thus : — The thempu first throws an egg at the forehead of the 
mithan, muttering a charm to drive away all evil ; the animal 
is then speared until blood is drawn, after which it may be 
shot. They also give the following feasts as part of the 
Thangchhuah ceremonies : — " Khuang-that " — i.e., " making a 
drum." The first day is occupied in bringing the log which is 
to be hollowed into the drum ; on the second there is a dance 
outside the house of the giver of the feast ; on the third the 
mithan is killed after a thempu has broken the egg on its 


forehead, and then another thempu invokes its spirit, blowing 
rice-beer over the body, as at the Fanai festival, p. 138. The 
fourth and fifth days are occupied with feasting. 

" Lungainai " — i.e., "collection of stones" — this is very similar 
to the Tikhup festival, with the carrying of the giver omitted ; 
a mithan is killed as above described. The Aimol have also 
the drum-making feast, and another in which the giver is 
carried on a litter, but no heap of stones is made. On 
each occasion much rice-beer and flesh has to be con- 

3. Other Feasts. — 'Mostly annual, if necessary provisions are 
forthcoming. Some of these probably have reference to the 

The Purum celebrate "Yarr" in February for seven days. 
Dancing begins each evening at sundown, and is kept up all 
night with feasting and drinking. In March they keep 
" Kumyai " for three days, the young men and maidens dancing 
and drinking together, but no animals are killed. This seems 
probably equivalent to the " Chap-char-kut " of the Lushais, 
but both it and the Yarr are said to be to please the 
village god, without any special reference to the crops. The 
Lamgang have a peculiar feast early in May, when the young 
men plant a very tall bamboo, from the end of which hangs a 
wooden representation of a bird, at which every man in turn, 
commencing with the thempu and the khul-lakpa, shoot with 
bows and arrows. Mithan are killed and eaten. No woman is 
allowed to join this festival. 

The Chiru and Kolhen celebrate a somewhat similar festival 
called " Ratek " in the middle of August. A pig and a dog 
are sacrificed by the thempu outside the village, on the side 
towards Kobru, and then two or three days later an offering of 
zu is placed in a small bamboo tube beside the water supply, 
and the drum is beaten for some time ; the party then return 
to the khul-lakpa's house and are treated to a drink. The 
following day a tall bamboo is planted in the village with a 
wonderfully ornamented basket hanging from it, and much zu 
drunk. The following year the bamboo is taken up and 
thrown away, the festival being named " Ratek poiyi " (c/. 
Lushai " pai," to throw away). Before the feast young men go 


hunting, and if they are successful good luck is sure to follow. 
The first day of the feast a pig and a dog are sacrificed, and zu 
drunk ; on the second, the bamboo is thrown away and more 
zu drunk in the house of the khul-lakpa. On the third day 
the unmarried girls of the village give a drinking feast to 
the young men, and both dance together. Should the zu 
suffice this portion of the festival may be prolonged for several 

It is believed that unless these two festivals are carried out 
every year in their proper rotation, there will be serious 
mortality among the elders of the village. 

Since writing the above, I have found two more small clans, 
which evidently belong to the Old Kuki group — Lonte or 
Konte, of whom there are only nine households, living along- 
side of the Burma road, close to the Chawte hamlet, with 
whom they are classed by the Manipuris ; and Tarau, 
eighteen households living slightly to the south of the Burma 

The Route clan is divided into two families, called Lanu and 
Changom. Marriages can only be made with members of the 
other family of the clan. They say that they came from the 
Ngente hill far to the south (v. Ngente clan), and claim some 
connection with the Chiru and Aimol. 

The Tarau clan is divided into four families, and mar- 
riages are restricted as among the Chawte, Chiru, and 

A youth of the Pachana family must marry a girl of the 
Tlangsha family. 

A youth of the Tlangsha family must marry a girl of the 
Thimasha family. 

A youth of the Thimasha family must marry a girl of the 
Khulpu-in family. 

A youth of the Khulpu-in family must marry a girl of the 
Pachana family. 

In both clans the young men sleep in any house, except 
their parents', in which there are unmarried girls. The 
Rente say that formerly they built zawlbuks like the 

The price of a Tarau girl is a gong or Rs. 30/-, or five years 


service in the girl's father's house. The Ronte maiden's price 
is two gongs, and her proper husband is her maternal first 
cousin. In both clans a fowl has to be killed by the khulpu 
at the titne of the marriage, and the Ronte tie some of its 
feathers round the necks of the couple. Should a Tarau 
maiden be led astray both parties are fined a pot of rice-beer, 
which the villagers share, and the seducer pays the girl's father 
one pig. The child, when old enough to leave the mother, 
becomes the property of the father. A Ronte mother must 
not leave her house till five days after the birth of a daughter 
and seven after that of a son. On the day of the birth there 
is a feast, and on the fifth or seventh day, according to the 
sex of the child, a fowl is killed by the khulpu, and the 
child's hair is cut, its ears pierced, and its name decided 
on, the choice being made from the names of its forefathers. 
The house is purified by being sprinkled with zu by the 

Among the Tarau, the period during which the mother may 
not leave her house is prolonged to ten days, at the expiry of 
which the khulpu kills a cock for male child and a hen for girl, 
and then purifies the house. 

In both clans the dead are buried in a cemetery situated 
to the west of the village, while the corpses of those who 
have died unnatural deaths are buried elsewhere with 
no ceremony. Women dying in childbirth among the 
Tarau are buried by old men, who have no further 
hope of becoming fathers, far from the village, while persons 
being killed by wild animals, or by some accident, such as a 
fall from a tree, are buried where they die. Persons who are 
drowned are buried on the bank of the river where the body 
is found, the grave being dug at the spot where some water 
thrown up by hand from the river happens to fall. This 
custom also exists among the Shans of the Upper Chindwin, 
which lends some colour to the tradition that the Tarau 
sojourned in Burma before entering Manipur. Among the 
Ronte, women dying in childbirth, and all children dying 
under a year of age, are buried to the east of the village, 
while accidental deaths necessitate the burial being made to 
the south. The funeral takes place on the day of death except 


in the case of old men, whose corpses are kept for a day while 
their friends eat, drink, and dance before them. Whatever 
animals can be spared are killed in the honour of the deceased,, 
and their sherh are buried with him, together with some rice. 
Every day till the " Papek " feast, in honour of those who have 
died within the year, rice and zu are placed on the grave. At 
Papek a platform of bamboo is constructed near the cemetery, 
and on it are placed such offering of flesh as the family 
can afford ; much zu is drunk and all dance. The Rente 
Sakhua sacrifice consists of a goat, dogs and mithan being 

Although the Tarau, from their language, are evidently 
closely allied to the Lushais, they are the only Old Kuki clan I 
have met which does not worship Pathian. They denied all 
knowledge of that name, affirming the name of their god was. 
"Rapu," to whom the Manipuri name of " Sankhulairenma " has 
been g;iven. Rapu has a shrine just above the Burma road 
near to Tegnopal, where every year fish, rice, and zu are offered 
to him. When the rice begins to fill in the ear there is a five 
days' feast in the village, during which time the young people 
dance and drink. A pig is killed, and the liver, ears, feet, and 
snout are offered to Rapu. These are called " sar '' (cf. Lushai 
" sherh "). Before the cutting of jhums commences a small 
pig or a fowl is sacrificed to Rapu so that no one may be cut 
with a dao during the clearing of the jhums. Dogs are not 
eaten or sacrificed by the Tarau or the Ronte ; the latter also 
consider the mithan unfit for a sacrifice. In these particulars 
they form an exception to the general custom of Kuki 

The Ronte have a feast called " Va-en-la," which is given with 
the idea of enhancing the giver's importance in this world and 
assuring him comfort in the next. A pig is killed and thirty 
pots of zu are prepared, and the whole village makes merry. 
A long bamboo is planted in front of the house of the giver of 
the feast. Throughout its length this bamboo is transfixed 
with crosspieces of bamboo about 18 inches long ; from its end 
depends a bamboo representation of a bird, whence the name 
of the feast — " va," in Ronte, as in Lushai, meaning " a bird," and 




To show the similarity between the Tarau and the Lushai 
language I give a few words of each. 




Three ... 



Eight .. 


Father . . 
Mother .. 






Mithan .. 

























Pa ... 

.. . . Pa. 

Nu ... 



Sha-pa. (Thado,"chapa.") 



In ... 


Ni ... 

.. . Ni. 


.. . . Thla. 

Tui ... 

Tui. To carry water, ' ' tui 

ehoi," in both dialects. 

Ui ... 



.. .. Shil. 



Lo ... 


The east and west in Tarau are called " ni-chhuak-lam " and 
" ni-thlak-lam," which are pure Lushai for " the direction of sun 
rising and sun setting." 


1. Legends. — A large number of tales have been collected by 
Babu Nithor Nath Banerji, of the Manipur State Office, from 
which I select the following. They have all to a certain extent 
suffered by being told to the Babu in Manipuri instead of in 
the vernacular of the relaters. This accounts for Manipuri 
names being used in some cases. 

The following is a tale told by the Anals : — " Once upon a 
time the whole world was flooded. All were drowned except 
one man and one woman, who ran to the highest peak of the 
Leng hill [this is interesting, as Leng is the name of one 
of the highest hills in the present Lushai Hills], where they 
climbed up a high tree and hid themselves among its branches. 
The tree grew near a large pond, which was as clear as the eye 
of a crow. They made themselves as comfortable as they could. 


being determined to spend the night there. They passed the 
night, sometimes exchanging whispers, and in the morning they 
were astonished to find that they had become a tiger and a 
tigress. [This changing of human beings into animals reminds 
one of the Lushai Thimzing legend.] Pathian, seeing the sad 
state of the world, sent a man and a woman from a cave, which 
was on the hill, to re-people it. The man and the woman 
emerging from the cave were terrified at seeing the two huge 
animals, and addressed Pathian thus : ' Father, you have 
sent us to re-people the world, but we do not think that we 
shall be able to carry out your intention, as the whole world is 
under water, and the only spot on which we could make a 
resting place is occupied by two ferocious beasts which are 
waiting to devour us ; give us strength to slay these animals.' 
After which they killed the tigers and lived happily and begat 
many sons and daughters, and from them the world was 

The following tale told by the Kolhen resembles in many 
particulars the story of Kungori told by Colonel Lewin, which 
is given below : — 

The Story of FacMra'n^ and Bangchar. 

" Once upon a time there lived a widow ; she had a daughter 
whose beauty attracted many young men of the village. One 
day a tiger came in the shape of a man and asked to marry the 
girl. She was much frightened and kept silence. The tiger- 
man was angry at her behaviour, and recited a charm which 
made her ugly. Her mother said, ' Look ! my daughter who 
was the most beautiful girl in the village has become ugly ; if 
a man can restore her beauty he may marry her, and if a 
woman can do it she shall be my friend.' On hearing this, the 
tiger-man came to the old woman and said, ' Oh ! Granny, I am 
a stranger, and have come from a distant village ; let me put 
up in your house. The old lady agreed, and after a few days 
he said, ' Oh ! Granny, why are you so sad ? Tell me the cause 
of your sorrow. Perhaps I can remove it.' ' Alas, my boy, it 
is beyond your power to do so,' she replied. The tiger-man, 
however, pressed her to tell him, and at last she did so, where- 
upon he replied, ' All right, if I cure her you will give her to 



me,' and in a few days he had restored her beauty, and they 
were married and lived together in her mother's house for many 
years. At length he asked permission to take his wife to his 
own home, aind they started, but no sooner had they passed the 
village gate than he was changed into the shape of a tiger, and 
his wife wept much at seeing him thus. An old woman of the 
village saw them and came and told the people that a tiger 
was carrying off the girl, so the villagers assembled to consult, 
but no one would volunteer for the task of rescuing the girl. 
At last Fachirang and Rangchar, two brothers, set off with a 
dao and a spear to kill the animal, but after going a very little 
way Fachirang, the elder brother, said, ' Oh ! Rangchar, I 
don't know what is the matter, but my heart beats so fast that 
I must remain here ; you go and see if you can kill the beast 
alone.' So the younger brother went on alone till he came to 
the place where the tiger and the girl were living happily. 
Rangchar thrust his spear into the breast of the tiger, and it 
died at once, and Rangchar carried off the girl and returned to 
where his brother was waiting, and they all three set out 
for home together. The elder brother married the girl, and 
they all lived happily together." 

The Stoey of KttNGdRi. 

(From " Progressive Colloquial Exercises in the Lushai Dialect " 

by Captain H. Lewin, 1874) 

Her father, who was unmarried, was splitting cane to make a 
winnowing basket when he ran a splinter into his hand : the 
splinter grew into a little child ; (after a time) the child was 
brought forth motherless and they called her Kiing(5ri. They 
fed her with single grains of millet and rice, and so little by 
little she grew big. Two or three years passed by and she 
attained puberty ; she was very pretty, and all the young-men 
of the village wanted to marry her, but her father refused them 
all. Then the young tiger-man, Keimi, took up the impression 
of her foot and wrapped it up and placed it on the bamboo 
grating over the house fire to dry. Then Kungori became ill. 

Kiingdri's father said, " If there be anyone that can cure her, 
he shall have my daughter." All the villagers tried, but not 


one of them could do any good. Then the young tiger-man 
came. " I will cure her, and I will marry her afterwards," said 
he. Her father said, " Cure the girl first and you may then 
have her." 

So he cured her ; the footprint which he had placed to dry on 
the fire-shelf he opened out and threw away. Kiingdri became 
well and Keimi married her. "Come, Kiing(5ri," said he, "will 
you go to my house ? " So they went ; on the road Keimi 
turned himself into a tiger, Kiing6ri caught hold of his tail, and 
they ran like the wind. Some women of the village were 
gathering wood and they saw this, so they went back home and 
said to Kiingdri'.s father, " Your daughter has got a tiger for a 
husband." Kung6ri's father said, " Whoever can go and take 
Kung6ri may have her," but no one dared to take her. How- 
ever, Hpohtir and Hrangchal, two friends, said, "We will take 
her." Kung6ri's father said, " If you are able to take her you 
may have her," so Hpohtir and Hrangchal set ofi". Going on 
they came to Keimi's village. The young tiger-man, Keimi, 
had gone out hunting; before he reached his house Hpohtir 
and Hrangchal went to Kiingdri. " Kiingori," said they, 
" where is your husband ? " " He is gone out hunting," she said, 
" but will be home directly." On this they became afraid, and 
Hpohtir and Hrangchal climbed up on to the top of the high 
fire-shelf. Kling6ri's husband arrived. " There is the smell of 
a human being," said he. " It must be my smell," said 
Kiingdri. Night fell ; everyone ate their dinners and lay down 
to rest. In the morning Kiing6ri's husband again went out 
to hunt. A widow said (to the two friends), " If you are going 
to run away with Kiingori take fire-seed, thorn-seed, and water- 
seed (with you)." So they took fire-seed, thorn-seed, and water- 
seed, and they took Kungdri also and carried her off. 

Kikigori's husband returned home. He looked and found 
Kiing6ri was gone, so he followed after them in hot haste. A 
little bird called to Hrangchal, " Run ! run ! Kiingori's 
husband will catch you," said the bird. So (the friends) 
scattered the fire-seed, and the jungle and undergrowth burnt 
furiously, so that Kung6ri's husband could not come any 
further. When the fire subsided he again resumed the 

N 2 


The little bird cried to Hrangchal, " He is catching you up." 
So they scattered the water-seed, and a great river rose. How- 
ever, Kiingori's husband waited for the water to go down, and 
when the water went down he followed after them as before. 

The bird said to Hrangchal, " He is after you again — he 
is fast gaining on you ; sprinkle the thorn-seed,' ' and thorns 
sprouted in thickets, so that Kung6ri's husband could not get 
on. By biting and tearing the thorns he at length made a way. 
and again he followed after them. Hrangchal's ^ party became 
bewildered and hid in a clump of reeds. Hpohtir cut the tiger 
down dead with a blow of his dao. " I am Hpohtir," ^ said he. 
So the tiger died. 

Hrangchal and the others went on again until they came to 
the three cross-roads of Khuavang, and there they stopped. 
Hpohtir and Hrangchal were to keep guard turn about. 
Hrangchala went to sleep first while Hpohtir kept watch. 

At night Khuavang came. " Who is staying at my cross- 
roads ? " he said. Hpohtira (spoke out boldly). " Hpohtira and 
Hrangchala (are here)," said he, " crouching under the reeds. We 
cut off the tiger's head without much ado." Khuavang, hearing 
and becoming afraid, ran off. So Hpohtira (woke up Hrangchal, 
saying), " Hrangchal, get up ; you stay awake now. I am very 
sleepy ; I will lie down. If Khuavang comes you must not be 
afraid."' Having said this he slept. Hrangchala watched; 
presently Khuavang returned. "Who is this staying at my 
cross-roads ? " he said. Hrangchala was frightened ; (however), 
he replied, " Hpohtira and Hrangchala (are here) ; they killed 
the tiger that followed them among the reed-roots." But 
Khuavang was not to be frightened by this, so he took 
Klingdri. Kung6ri marked the road, trailing behind her a line 
of cotton thread. They entered into a hole in the earth, and so 
arrived at Khuavang's village. The hole in the earth was 
stopped up by a great stone. In the morning Hpohtir and 
Hrangchala began to abuse each other. Said Hpohtira to 
Hrangchal, " Fool man ! " said he, " where has Kiingori gone to ? 
On account of your faintheartedness Khuavang has carried her 

' a is merely the masculine termination. Hrangohal-a is a man's name, 
Hrangchal-i a woman's. The terminations are often omitted when it is 
known who is meant. 


off. Away ! you will have to go to Khuavang's village." So 
they followed Kiing6ri's line of white thread and found that the 
thread entered (the earth) under a big rock. They moved away 
the rock and saw Khuavang's village below them. Hpohtira 
called out, " Hoy ! give me back my Kiingori ! " Khuavang 
replied, "We know nothing about your Kling6ri, whom you 
were taking away." "If you do not (immediately) give me 
Kiingdri I will use my dao," said Hpohtir. "Hit away," 
answered Khuavang. With one cut of the dao a quarter of the 
village died right off. Again Hpohtir cried, " Give me my 
Kiingori," Khuavang said, " Your Kiingori is not here." On 
this Hpohtir and Hrangchal said, '' We will come in." " Come 
along," said Khuavang, so they went in and came to Khuavang's 
house. Khuavang's daughter was a very pretty girl. " Here is 
Kiingdri," said they. "This is not she," said Hpohtir; "give 
me Kung6ri herself." So (at last) they gave her to him. 

They took her away. Kiingori said, " I have forgotten my 
comb." "Go, Hrangchal, and fetch it," said Hpohtir; but. 
Hrangchala — " I dare not. I am afraid," said he. So Hpohtir 
went (himself) to fetch (the comb). While he was gone Hrangchal 
took Kiingdri out and closed the hole with the great stone. 
After this they arrived at the house of Kiingdri's father. 
" You have been able to release my daughter," said he, " so 
take her." Kiingdri, however, did not agree. Said Kung6ri's 
father, " Hrangchal is here, but where is Hpohtira ? " " We 
do not know Hpohtira's dwelling-place," he said. So Hrangchala 
and Kungdri were united. Though' Kiingdri did not wish it, he 
just married her. 

Hpohtira was married to Khuavang's daughter. Beside 
the house he sowed a koi-seed. It sprouted and a creeper sprang 
(upwards like a ladder). Hpohtira, when he was at Khuavang's, 
had a child (born to him), and he cooked some small stones, 
and when his wife was absent he gave the stones which he had 
cooked to the child, saying, '' Eat." While it was eating 
Hpohtir climbed up the stalks of the koi creeper and got out. 
He went on and arrived at the house of Kiingori's father. They 
had killed a mithan, and were celebrating the Khuangchoi and 
dancing. With one blow Hpohtira cut off the head of 
Hrangchal ! 


Kungori's father cried, " Why, Hpohtira, do you cut ofif 
Hrangchala's head ? " "I was obliged to decapitate him," 
said Hpohtir. " It was I who released Kiingdri from Keimi's 
village — Hrangchala dared not do it. When Khuavang carried 
off Kiingori also Hrangchala dared not say him nay — he was 
afraid. Afterwards we followed Kungdri's line of cotton thread, 
which led us to Khuavang's village. Kung6ri (after we had 
released her from there) forgot her comb ; we told Hrangchal to 
go and fetch it, but he dared not. ' I am afraid/ said he, so I 
went to get it. He then took Kungdri and left me behind, 
shutting the hole in the earth with a great stone. They went 
away. I married Khuavang's daughter, and while she was 
absent I climbed up the stalks of the creeper and came here." 
On this," Is it so?" said they. 'Then you shall be united." So 
Hrangchala died, and Hpohtira and Kiingori were married. 
They were very comfortable together, and killed many mithan ; 
they possessed many villages, and lived happy ever after. 
Thus the story is concluded. 

I condense the following tale told by the Kolhen from 
the obviously embellished version supplied to the Babu : — ■ 

A widow had seven sons and one daughter, called 
Eingchanghoi, who was very beautiful, and much beloved by 
her brothers. To prove the truth of their professions of love she 
sent them ofif to catch the sun and the moon, that she might 
wear them as her necklace. Before their departure they built 
her a fortified house, and told her to remain within it imtil their 
return. They also left with her some unhusked rice, which had 
magical properties, turning red whenever the brothers were in 
danger. Eingchanghoi one day was sitting in the verandah 
cleaning her hair when she was seen by the king, who quickly 
added her to the number of his wives. The youngest brother, 
returning alone, found the house empty, and at once rejoiniag 
the others in the sky, where they were still hunting the sun and 
moon, told them of the disappearance of their sister. They all 
returned home, and on entering the house the youngest brother 
was changed into a parrot, while the others fell down dead. 
The youngest brother finds his sister and is captured and 
presented to her, and tells her what has happened, whereupon 
she sends ofif her husband, who by a powerful charm restores 


the dead to life and the youngest brother to his original form, 
and all ends happily. 

In this tale there is some slight resemblance to the Lushai 
tale of Rimenhoi, as also there is to the tales told by many clans 
to account for eclipses of the sun and moon. The Kom, for 
instance, say that the god Awk-pa was drying his rice when 
the sun and the moon came riding by and scattered it ; this 
vexed Awk-pa, who lay in ambush in a cave, and the next time 
they came he swallowed them. The resemblance between this tale 
and the Lushai explanation of an eclipse is very marked. The 
name "Awk" is the same, and the idea of swallowing is 
preserved. The Purum, while using the same word for an eclipse, 
have quite a different story : — " Once upon a time there were 
seven brothers who went into the forest to cut wood, and shot a 
deer, and ordered the youngest brother to cook it while they 
went on with their work. The youngest brother, having cooked 
the meat, put it on some leaves till his brothers should return. 
Some leaves from a tree fell on the meat, whereupon the deer 
came to life again and ran away. The brothers returning got 
angry and, not believing the tale told by the youngest, killed him 
and put his body under the tree. Some leaves falling, on the 
corpse, it came to life, and the brothers were much astonished 
and went home, taking some of the leaves, roots, and bark of the 
tree with them." On their way they saw the body of a dog 
floating in a river which they had to cross, and put some bark 
on it and the animal revived. When they reached home they 
put the bark, leaves, and pieces of root to dry in the sunshine, 
leaving their dog to watch them. The sun and the moon, 
perceiving the usefulness of the things, stole them all and were 
chased by the dog. When the dog gets too near, the sun and the 
moon hide, thus causing eclipses. The Kolhen have the same 
name for an eclipse, and their explanation of the phenomenon 
is much the same. The god Rikumpu left his dog to watch his 
garden, and the sun and the moon came to steal, and are still 
being chased by the faithful hound. The Lamgang say that 
eclipses are caused by their god catching the sun and the moon, 
who once stole his tobacco as it was drying. The Anal have 
much the same idea. The story is worthy of being given at 
length : — " Once upon a time a very pious man who devoted 


much time to worshipping God had a pet bitch. The sun and 
the moon, being envious, tried to take his virtue from the man. 
To accompUsh their wicked purpose they promised to give him 
their virtue if only he would first entrust them with his. The 
saint fell into the trap and the celestial rascals ran ofif with his 
virtue. The holy man, finding himself defrauded, ordered his 
dog to catch the thieves. The dog brought a long pole and 
climbed up it to reach the fugitives, being followed by her master. 
She reached the sky and still chases the sun and moon, and some- 
times catches them. Therefore, when an eclipse occurs the Anal 
call out, ' Release ! Release ! ' The poor pious man took so long 
ascending the pole that before he accomplished the journey the 
white anbs had eaten up the lower end and the saint fell to the 
earth and was killed." Thunder and lightning are accounted for 
by some clans thus : — Wulai the lizard climbs a tall tree and 
shouts defiance, whereupon God from the sky hurls his axe at 
him and he runs down, but the tree is burnt up. The Anal and 
Kom have also a more poetic explanation of lightning — viz., that 
it is the glitter of God's sword as he plays with it in heaven, 
while the Purum also say that it is the glitter of his robes. 

Earthquakes are accounted for by assuming the existence of 
another world below the surface of the earth. The Purum and 
Kom say that Yangmal the earth worm took a present of a 
piece of earth to the king of these lower regions. On the way 
the earth was changed into gold and silver, much to the delight 
of the monarch, who sent Yangmal back to fetch more, but the 
worm made excuse that the upper world had been destroyed. To 
test the truth of this statement the king shakes the world. 
The Anal and Lamgang say that the people of the lower world 
shake the upper one to find out if anyone is still alive up there, 
and so on, an earthquake occurring the Anal and Lamgang 
villages resound with shouts of " Alive ! Alive ! " Rainbows are 
accounted for as the lips of God spread in the act of drinking, 
or simply his glory. 

Note. — I must acknowledge the assistance I have received in preparing the 
account of these Old Kuki tribes from Babu Nithor Nath Banerji, head clerk 
of the Manipur State Hill Office. My information regarding the Anal, Kom, 
Purum, and Lamgang was chiefly from his notes, and in a lesser degree I am 
indebted to him for details regarding the Kolheu and Chiru. 



Lamgai\-(; j\Ian axu Wd.max' 


Hl'T.MET nr H I III 


Heads of Kuki Claxs. 


Old Kuki Clans — Khawtlang and Khawchhak 

The Old Kukis who appeared in Cachar about 1780 are 
described by Lieutenant Stewart as being divided into three 
clans called Rhangkol, Khelma, and Beteh. The first and last 
are known in the Lushai Hills as Hrangchal and Biate respec- 
tively, but the Khelma, whom Dr. Grierson identifies as the 
Hallam, seem to have emigrated entirely. The Hrangchal and 
Biate are two of many clans collectively known to the Lushais 
as Hmar — i.e., North — from the position of their villages with 
reference to those of the Lushais, and among themselves as 
Khawtlang and Khawchhak — i.e., Western and Eastern Villages 
I have found representatives of 16 clans in the Lushai Hills 
and adjoining portions of Manipur. The most important are 
Loitlang, subdivided into six families; Hrangchal, with four 
families ; Thiak, with five families ; and Biate, with the same 
number. The old village sites of many of these clans are still 
called by their names. The Hrangchal are said to have had a 
large village at Vanlaiphai, in the centre of which valley is a 
large memorial stone with many carvings on it, which is said to 
have been erected in memory of Chonluma, a famous Hrangchal 
chief of bygone days. The Biate assert that when they lived 
on the hill of that name they were attacked by huge eagles, 
and had to build stone shelters in which to hide their small 
children. These erections are still to be seen, and consist of 
three rough slabs of stone with a fourth as a roof, the whole 
structure being only about 2 to 3 feet high. It was the Biate, 
also, who fed Rulpui, as has been described in Part I., Chapter 
V, 3. The Lungthau, a minor family, attribute their downfall 
to an attack by Chuckmahs, which led to their seeking refuge 
with the Sailo chief Lalsavunga, and forming a village at Kelsi, 
near Aijal, where they were under his protection. 

When the aggressions of the Thangur chiefs disturbed the 
Khawtlang and Khawchhak one section fled through the 
country of the Thados into Cachar, another took refuge among 
the Chhinchhuan, a Thado family in the southern portion of the 
Manipur Hills, to whom they paid tribute, and a certain number 
joined the Thangur villages. Between those who fled to the 
Chhinchhuan and the Lushais hostilities were carried on until 


our arrival in 1890, and, as in the case of the Vuite, we found 
many of them living in a state of semi-slavery in the Sailo 
villages, whence they have mostly rejoined their relatives, and 
there are now 296 households of these people in the south-west 
of the Manipur Hills and more in the adjoining parts of the Lushai 
Hills. Lieutenant Stewart, in his description of the " Old 
Kukis,'' states that ordinarily the dead are cremated, warriors 
only being buried. I have never heard of any clan in these 
hills which cremates its dead. The custom may well have died 
out owing to the natural wish of the relatives to do honour to 
the deceased by according him the honours of a warrior. 
Lieutenant Stewart describes a regular marriage ceremony 
conducted by the headman of the village, at the foot of a large 
stone erected in the middle of the village. As far as my 
enquiries go, the marriage ceremonies differ very little from 
those of the Lushais. 

The dress of the men is the same as among the Lushais, but 
the women wear a petticoat with a broad white line between two 
narrower blue ones, and dress their hair in a long plait wound 
round the head. Zawlbuks are not maintained, but in other 
respects their villages resemble those of the Lushais. The 
village organisation is more democratic, the chief being replaced 
by a headman. The honours of " Thangchhuah " and admission 
to Pial-ral are obtained by three times celebrating the 
Buh-ai festival. There is no restriction as to having windows. 

When a young man wishes to marry he sends messengers 
bearing a blue and a white cloth, a hoe, and a pot of liquor to 
the girls' parents. This is called " In hawn." If the articles are 
accepted the marriage takes place as soon as the necessary 
amount of zu can be prepared. The bride's parents kill a pig 
and the two families feast together. The girl is conveyed to 
her husband's house by the men who arranged the marriage, 
the party being pelted with dirt as among the Lushais. 

In case of adultery, it is the seducer, not the woman's 
relatives, who have to compensate the injured husband. This 
is the common rule among non-Lushei clans. 

A boy is named seven days and a girl five days after birth, a 
red cock being killed and zu drunk. The maternal uncle gives 
the name. 


In common with many Old Kuki clans, the dead are buried in 
a special cemetery outside the village. The corpse of a 
" Thangchhuah," dressed in fine cloths and the head adorned 
with a chaplet of the tail feathers of the hornbill, is carried round 
the village on a bier by all the old people of both sexes, 
encircled by a ring of dancers singing a dirge to the ac- 
companiment of drums, and followed by the widow dressed in 
the scantiest rags and raising loud lamentations. A halt is 
called opposite the house of every person of importance, and the 
inmate is expected to regale the party with zu. The circuit of 
the village completed, the corpse is carried to the grave and 
buried with rice and other eatables and a flagon of zu. A 
rough representation of a house is built over the grave and 
food and drink are placed in it for a year. The grave is fenced 
round and the heads of any animals which have been killed in 
the deceased's honour are placed on posts. At the close of a 
year a cane is stretched between poles over the grave, and from 
it are suspended pieces of cloth, small baskets containing 
tobacco and linseed, and the bodies of small animals and birds. 
This is the final ceremony, and the spirit is supposed to have 
no further concern with this world. 

The Biate in the Lushai Hills worship the images in the 
Bhuban caves, but I am told that those in the North Cachar 
Hills differ in this respect. The three images are called 
Bolawng Raia, Chhinga Raia, and Maituki Raia, Raia being a 
corruption of Rajah. A fowl, a pig, two eggs, and two kinds of 
jungle vegetable called " chinghrut " and " hruitung " are offered 
to these deities outside the village once a year. The following 
tale is told to account for this worship of images, which is so 
opposed to general custom : — Long ago Zatea stole a mithan 
belonging to two Biate chiefs, Chonlut and Manlal, and on their 
trying to recover their property they were severely wounded. 
On their way home they noticed that the leaves of the " bung " 
tree, a species of Ficus, attached themselves to their clothes, 
and at night they dreamt that the leaves spoke, saying, " Do not 
throw us away ; we are sent by the gods of the Bhuban caves to 
heal you." They applied the leaves to their wounds and were 
soon healed, and then set off in search of these new gods.^ It 
' Gf. the Purum tale of the eclipse given on p. 183. 


is probable that in the course of their wanderings the Biate at 
one time lived near the Bhuban, and in that case their adopting 
the figures as local deities is quite in keeping with what has 
happened in other clans. Thus the Chiru worship the god of 
Kobru, though their settlement near that hill is of recent date. 
The Zote, a clan very closely allied to the Biate, after sacrificing 
a mithan, place bung leaves in a basket at the foot of the 
memorial post and throw them away with the " sherh " after 
three days. This clan pays special honour to Chhura, and after 
a mithan sacrifice a knotched pole called Chhura's ladder is 
placed against the gable of the house, and the skull, tail, and 
entrails are placed over it for three days. The jawbones are 
hung on a branch specially left for this purpose when the 
memorial post is being trimmed'; a rough fence is made round 
the posts, on which matting representations of pythons and a 
bow with an arrow adjusted are hung. The latter is said to 
drive off the Huai, and reminds one of the similar custom of 
the Manipuris on the occasion of erecting the first post of a 



The term New Kukis, which appears so often in the records 
of Caehar and Sylhet in the middle of the last century, and 
which has been adopted by Dr. Grierson in the "Linguistic 
Survey of India," may be taken as synonymous with the Thado 
clan. The clan is a very large one ; Dr. Grierson in the " Lin- 
guistic Survey '' estimates the numbers as follows : — 

In Manipur 20,000. 

In Naga Hills 5,500. 

In Caehar Plains 5,403. 

In Sylhet 534. 

Total 31,437. 

This estimate omits the members of the clan in North Caehar 
Hills and in the unadministered tracts between the Naga Hills 
and Manipur on the west and the Upper Chindwin disl^rict of 
Burma on the east. Allowing for these, we may safely conclude 
that the clan now numbers about 37,000 souls. 
I The clan is divided in a manner exactly similar to the Lushei. j >/ 
There are four main families, all named after their progenitors, 
and these are further sub-divided into many eponymous 
branches. The whole clan traces its genealogy back to Thado and 
his elder brother Dongel, and beyond them to mythical heroes 
who lived below the surface of the ground. The late Colonel 
McCulloch, in his most interesting " Account of the Valley of 
Manipur," says, " About the names of those previous to Thado 
there may be some doubt, but from this great chief, from whom 


the whole race takes the appellation of Thado, I don't think 
that there is any." After many enquiries I am quite of the 
same opinion and have found pedigrees collected from various 
sources differ but slightly from that recorded by Colonel 
McCulIoch fifty years ago. The original habitation of this clan 
is said to have been Kochuk, situated very far to the south of 
Manipur. Here I must differ from Colonel McCulloch, who 
says the traditional home of the Thados was in the north. 
There are other reasons besides tradition for believing that the 
Thados have come from the south, the many resemblances 
between them and other clans, which either still live in the 
centre of the Hills or did so till quite recently, and the connec- 
tion between their language and those of the Sokte, Siyin, 
Vuite, and Ralte, so clearly established by Dr. Grierson, amply 
proves the southern origin of this clan. It appears almost 
certain that the Kamhaus, Soktes, and Siyins were the first to 
disturb the Thados, many of whom entered Manipur territory 
to escape from these active foes, while others probably moved 
westward and settled in the hills to the south of the Cachar 
district, whence in 1848-50 they were driven into Cachar by 
the triumphant Lushais, as described in Part L, Chapter I, 
para. 3. In the Manipuri chronicle there is mention of an 
expedition against the ' Khongjais, as the Manipuris call the 
Thados, as early as 1787, and though the chronicle cannot 
be accepted as infallible, I think we may conclude that the 
Thados entered the Manipur Hills about the middle of the 
18th century. The different families seem very soon to have 
separated and, just as among the Lusheis, to have fought 
among themselves, for tradition speaks of a great battle between 
the Shit-hloh and the Chhinchhuan, on the Sawnchal hill, some 
60 miles in an air-line south-east of Imphal, the capital of 

The four main families are the Dongel, Shit-hloh, Haukip, and 
Kipgen. The Dongel are descended from Thado's elder brother, 
and therefore are considered as rather superior to the rest of 
the families. The reason why the clan has not been known by 
the name of Dongel is said to be that Thado was a far greater 
warrior and killed more men. His name is derived, by the 
people themselves, from " that," " to kill," and"doh," "to war.'' It 


is curious that the direct descendants of Thado are known as 
Shit-hloh. This Shit-hloh was the seventh in the direct line 
from Thado, and it is said that up till his time the followers of 
the direct line had been fewer than those of the Kipgen and 
Haukip, but Shit-hloh was great in council and war, and 
retrieved the fortunes of his family, and hence his name has 
been adopted by them. Thus Thado remains as the true clan 
name, while Shit-hloh, Kipgen, and Haukip are the names of 
the families, which are further subdividfed, as among the 
Lushais, into many branches, mostly named eponymously. 
The Kipgen and Haukip have always differed slightly from the 
Shit-hloh. The reason given for this is that Thalun, the son of 
Thado, was one day sitting outside his house with his wife, and, 
being alone together, the lady was somewhat careless as to her 
garments. Hearing some people approaching, Thalun told her 
to adjust her dress, and as she did not at once comply he threw 
a piece of wood at her and killed her on the spot. Being over- 
come with grief and shame, he fled to another part of the 
country and married again, the second wife being the mother of 
Kipgen and Haukip, whereas Elmun, from whom the Shit-hloh 
claim descent, was the son of the ill-fated first wife. 

The number of branches into which these three families have 
divided is very great, and the connection of all of them with 
the parent stem is not very well established. Most of them are 
now of but little importance, the members being much scattered, 
but the Chhinchhuan, a branch of the Shit-hloh, and Chongput 
and Hawlthang, both branches of the Haukip family, still are 
of some importance. The Chhinchhuan chiefs rule over eleven 
villages, containing 952 houses, in the southern portion of the 
Manipur Hills, where they have been established certainly over 
150 years. The Chongput and Hawlthang chiefs occupy sites 
in the hills to the west of the Manipur valley, which were 
assigned to them by Colonel McCulloch about 1850, and rule 
over some 190 houses. 

With the exception of the three branches just mentioned, 
the Thados have broken up very much, and are found in small 
hamlets scattered about the territory of totally different clans, 
without any reference to locality or ethnographical con- 



All members of these families, however, admit the claims of 
the head chief to their allegiance, and in token thereof give 
him, or his nearest representative, a hind leg of every wild 
animal killed. 

The Thados generally are very truculent ; in Manipur they 
have settled themselves among the more peaceable Nagas, and 
until the British Government assumed control of the State they 
lived largely on the labour of these unfortunate people, whom 
they had virtually reduced to slaves. The Manipuris found it 
easier to acquiesce in this oppression by the Thados than to 
coerce them, and the Thados were used on many occasions to 
punish Naga tribes whom the Manipuris were unable to reduce ' 
to submission. The superior cunning of the Manipuris enabled 
them to maintain their influence over the Thados by skilfully 
playing off one family against another. On one occasion three 
of the most powerful chiefs were enticed inside the royal 
enclosure in Imphal and treacherously murdered. At present 
large numbers of Thados are moving eastward in unadministered 
country, carrying on the same bullying tactics, reducing the 
inhabitants, who as yet have no firearms, to the condition of 

Among the Thados are found the remnants of many other 
clans, which have been practically absorbed, having adopted 
Thado customs and language. It is asserted that at the time 
of the Thimzing (v. Part I., Chap. V, para. 1) Lianthang and his 
brother Thlangom, and Lunkim and his brother Changsan, had 
such large supplies of skulls of animals killed by them that 
they were enabled to live through that trying time by using 
the trophies of their skill m the chase as fuel, and from them 
the present Lianthang, Thlangom, Lunkim, and Changsan 
clans claim descent. The Changsan are sub-divided into eight 
families and are considered a clan of some standing, as is shown 
by the fact that the Shit-hloh will only take wives from 
Shit-hloh, Changsan, and Mangyel households. 

The following clans are said not to be descended from Thado, 
but to have emerged from the earth after the Thimzing : — Kulho, 
Shongte, Kullon, Thangneo, Hanngeng, Henngar, and Than- 
chhing. They are now to all intents and purposes Thados, 
most of them having even adopted the Sakhua, or domestic 


sacrificial rites, of whichever family of the Thado clan they have 
attached themselves to. Shongte and his younger brother 
KuUon emerged from the Khulpi, which is the Thado equivalent 
of the Lushai Ohhinglung. Kulho, Thangneo, and Hanngeng 
were sons of Shongte, the two latter being by a different mother 
to the first. Henngar was Kulho's son. Kulho celebrated the 
Chong festival, and invited his half-brothers, but Thangneo 
refused to come, so Kulho disowned him, which angered 
Thangneo, so that he proposed to Hanngeng that they should 
kill Kulho, but Hanngeng refused, saying that the removal of 
Kulho would make Thangneo head of the family, but would in 
no way benefit him. This ancient quarrel is sometimes revived 
even now, and blows are exchanged when representatives of 
Kulho and Thangneo meet round the zu-pot. 

The houses of the Thados generally resemble those of the 
Lushais, but are less regular in their interior arrangements, a 
big house sometimes having two or three hearths irregularly 
placed. Zawlbuks are not built, the young men sleeping in the 
houses of well-to-do people. The houses of the chiefs are 
surrounded by palisading enclosing a courtyard, along one side 
of which there is often a platform, which reminds one very 
much of the Chin houses, and is one of the many trifles tending 
to confirm the tradition of the southern origin of the clan. 
The following extracts from Lieut. Stewart's notes on Northern 
Cachar, written in 1855, show us the Thados as he knew 
them : — 

" Each of the four clans is divided into separate and 
independent Rajahlics, of greater or less power and numbers, 
consisting of one or more villages, each of which is presided 
over by a hereditary chief or Rajah, whose power is supreme, 
and who has a civil list as long, in proportion to the means of 
his subjects, as that possessed by any other despot in the 
world. All these Rajahs are supposed to have sprung from the 
same stock, which it is believed originally had connection with 
the gods themselves. Their persons are, therefore, looked upon 
with the greatest respect and almost superstitious veneration, 
and their commands are in every case law. 

" The revenue exacted by these chieftains is paid in kind ^' 
and labour. In the former each able-bodied man pays annually 
" O 


a basket of rice containing about two maunds ; out of each 
brood of pigs or fowls reared in the village, one of the young 
becomes the property of the Rajah, and he is further entitled 
to one quarter of every animal killed in the chase, and, in 
addition, to one of the tusks of each elephant so slain. In 
^labour his entire population are bound to devote f our days in 
each year, in a body, for the purpose of cultivating his private 
fields. On the first day they cut down the jungle, on the 
second day, the fuel being dry, they fire it and prepare the 
ground, on the third they sow and harrow, and on the fourth 
cut and bring in the harvest. Besides the labour of these" 
four days in which the entire effective population, men, women, 
and children, work for him, small parties are told off during 
-/ the whole season to assist his ow3,-dj3mfi§tic sl.ayes in tending 
the crop, repairing his house (which edifice is always built 
afi-esh by the subjects when a new site is repaired to), and in 
supplying wood and water for the family. On the occasion of 
v/ the days of general labour, a great feast is given by the Rajah 
to all his people ; so also, on the occasion of an elephant being 
killed, to the successful hunters, but this is the only remunera- 
tion ever received by them, and calls can be made on them 
for further supplies and labour, whenever it may be required. 

" The Rajah is the sole and supreme authority in the village 
or villages under him, no one else being competent to give 
orders or inflict punishment except through him. 

" To assist him in carrying on the affairs of government the 
Rajah has a minister, and more frequently several, called 
f'thiishois' or 'muntries,' who have the privilege of being 
^ [_exempt from labour and taxation at his hands. This office is 
not, strictly speaking, hereditary — although in most cases, except 
when thoroughly incompetent, the son succeeds the father — but 
is given to those qualified for it, as being men of property and 
influence as well as of ability, and good spokesmen. The Rajah 
himself is, on the contrary, invariably succeeded by his eldest 
son, for whom, should he be a minor, the kingdom is managed 
by a council of muntries. In default of sons, the Rajah's 
brother succeeds, and failing him the nearest male relative takes 
the guddee, the Salique law being in full force. 

" Should the Rajah die without any heir to the throne, the 


chief muntry, if he be an influential man, takes his place, or 
some neighbouring Eajah of the same clan is called upon to 
take the government or usurps it. Each of the clans have one 
great Rajah, supposed to be the main branch of the original 
stock, to whom, although those immediately beyond his own 
villages owe him no allegiance, great respect is shown by all, 
and acknowledgment of the superior title given, although in 
power and wealth he may be much poorer than others of the 

" No regular courts are held among the Kookis, but complaints 
are always heard before the Rajah, assisted by his muntries, 
whenever they may be made. Heinous crimes are very 
infrequent among these people. Theft is almost unknown, and 
they chiefly offend in slight quarrels and disputes among 
themselves, which are settled by their Rajah, a fine being 
exacted from the guilty party, according to his means and the 
extent of his guilt, either in wine, fowls, pigs, goats, cows, or 
methins. When cases of theft, burglary, or arson occur, the 
criminal loses his independence and becomes a bondman to the 
Rajah for the term of his Ufe. Cases of murder and man- 
slaughter are of course taken up by our authorities and 
punished by our laws. But the punishment awarded for 
murder among the Kookis was confiscation of all goods and 
property and perpetual bondage for the murderer, his wife, and 
family, who thenceforth became slaves of the Rajah and did 
his work. The only crime punishable by death among the 
Kookis was high treason, or an attempt at violence on the 
person of the king, and treacherous commerce with an enemy 
of the clan : the victim in these cases was cut to pieces with 
dhaos, but of course no such extreme measures can be resorted 
to by them in the present day. In cases of adultery and 
seduction the punishment is left in the hands of the aggrieved 
husband or father. In the former case, death might be inflicted 
on the adulterer by any means with impunity, but more 
generally it was, and now invariably is, the custom to compound 
with him for a large sum of money, something over and above 
the original price of the wife. The adulteress then becomes the 
property of her lover. 

" In cases of seduction every effort is made, and in most cases 



successfully, to have the guilty couple married forthwith, a 
penal price being put upon the bride. All the women in the 
village, married or single, are perfectly at the pleasure of the 
Rajah, and no voice would be lifted against him for cohabiting 
with any of them, the only prevention being a sense of immor- 
ality and an understanding among the royal families of the 
whole tribe generally that such conduct is infra dig. ; indeed, 
there is little temptation, for the Rajah may have as many 
wives as he likes or can keep, both polygamy and concubinage 
being in common practice, female slaves living generally in the 
latter condition with' respect to their masters." — Stewart's 
" Notes on Northern Cachar," pp. 45-48. 
'\ ' This description is still fairly accurate, but the gradual break- 
j ing up of villages, coupled with the increased control by Govern- 
' ment and State officers, has lessened the power of the chiefs 
[_ and modified custom to a considerable extent. Lieutenant 
Stewart gives the following account of how the people hunted 
before guns were common among them : — 

" The Kookis are great hunters, and are passionately fond of 
the sport, looking upon it, next to war, as the noblest exercise 
for man. They kill tigers, deer, and smaller game by means of 
poisoned arrows. The bow is a small one made of bamboo, and 
very slightly bent, the string being manufactured of bark. 
The arrow, the head of which has a barbed iron point, is about 
18 inches long, being drawn to the chest and not the ear, 
and therefore delivered with no great force, the destructive 
effect lying chiefly in the poison. With such an instrument the 
great art in hunting lies in stealthily approaching the animal 
near enough to deliver the arrow with effect, and in following 
it up after being wounded to the spot where it is found lying 
dead. In this the Kookis excel, being able to prowl about the 
jungle as noiselessly as tiger-cats, and being equal to North 
American Indians in distinguishing tracks. Tigers are also 
killed by spring bows with poisoned arrows set in the jungles 
and by poisoned panjies planted in their paths. 

" Elephants are slain in great numbers by the Kookis wherever 
they are to be had, not only the tusks but the flesh being 
highly prized. Parties of 20 and upwards go out in pursuit of 
them at a time When some recent elephant track is discovered 


in the forest, two or three of the party ascend some convenient 
tree, whose branches overhang the track, the remainder follow 
it up, and having got on the other side of the herd scare it 
towards the ambush by shouting, beating gongs, and discharg- 
ing firearms. Here, while passing, the animals are assailed 
from above with long spears having huge iron barbs covered 
with deadly poison ; every wound inflicted results in the death 
of the animal at not more than half a mile from the spot 
on which he was hit. So wary are the elephants, however, that 
it is seldom that more than two out of a herd are killed. 
At the place where their game is found dead, they commence 
cutting him up, and extract his tusks ; laden with these and as 
much of the flesh as they can carry, they return home, and 
obher parties go out and encamp in the neighbourhood of the 
carcase until they have entirely consumed it, or are driven 
away by the effluvia of decomposition. Portions of the flesh 
that they cannot immediately eat are dried and smoked to be 
kept for future consumption. The Kookis also hunt the 
methin or wild cow, which they have likewise succeeded in 
domesticating, having introduced the breed to Northern 

" The deadly poison used by the Kookis is, they say, extracted 
from a tree which does not grow in these parts, but the article 
is brought to them for sale by tribes inhabiting the borders of 
Manipur. The substance is of a dark blue or black colour and 
of about the consistency of common resin. To make it service- 
able it is ground down with capsicum seeds and tobacco juice, 
so as to form a pulp, with which the weapons are smeared, 
cotton soaked in the mixture being also tied to the iron under 
the barb. I had once the cruelty to try the effect of this 
poison on two domestic fowls. To one I administered internally 
a dose equal to about two common-sized pills, and I punctured 
one of the legs of the other, so as merely to draw blood, with 
the pointed bamboo about the size of a toothpick which had 
been dipped into the mixture. The latter died in twenty 
minutes without much apparent pain, and in the former no 
effects whatever could be perceived, and it may be crowing to 
the present day. Another poison, called ' deo-bi,' is used by the 
Kookis to kill fish, and has an intoxicating effect upon them 


forcing them to the surface, when it is thrown into the water. 
The Kookis also spear fish, but have not much idea of catching 
them by the hook or net." — Stewart's " Notes on Northern 
Cachar," pp. 62, 63. 

When the track of a tiger is found the " thempu " lifts the 

earth on which the footprint is and lays it on a leaf of the " ai " 

plant. He pours some zu on it and then, muttering charms, he 

wraps it up in the leaf and drops it into a pot, which he places 

to his ear and professes to be able to hear whether the pursuit 

of the animal will be crowned with success. The customs asj 

fregards "boi" approximate to those of the Lushais.and where theyl 

I differ it is always to the disadvantage of the boi ; thus a 

criminal seeking refuge in the chiefs house has to pay a mithan 

before he can be accepted. On a chiefs death each boi has to 

I kill a pig at his funeral. Slavery by purchase is recognised 

I and is not restricted to the chiefs — another point of resemblance 

[between the Thados and the Chins. 

/- The village organisation is much the same as among the 

(^Lushais, but the minor chiefs, while collecting all dues from the 

people of their villages, pay certain dues to the head of their 

family. The crier is known as " tlangsam," but he receives no 

remuneration. The " thirdeng," or blacksmith, is known as 

" thirshu," and receives a day's labour from every householder in 

the village as his pay. 

The thempu only receives zu, and this only from those he 
cures — a system tending to increase the skill of the practitioners. 
As regards marriage the rules are not very clearly defined, 
but young men of the families which sacrifice a sow to their 
Sakhua will not generally take girls from the families which 
sacrifice a mithan. Strange to say, the sow-sacrificers have no 
objection to providing brides for the mithan-slayers, the cause 
probably being that in certain cases the wife's Sakhua has to be 
propitiated and the cautious sons of sow-killing families object 
to the extra expense involved by marrying a wife whose Sakhua 
demands a mithan. Lieutenant Stewart states that strict rules 
existed prohibiting the intermarriage of cousins, however 
remote, but my enquiries tend to show that at present the 
prohibition only extends to paternal cousins to the third 


Marriage is by purchase, the sums to be paid being : — 

" Manpi " (Lushai " maupui ") — three to 30 mithan, according to 
the family of the bride, to the father of the girl or his 

"Golha" (Lushai " palal ")— Rs. 4/- or 5/-. 

The bride's elder sister, one cloth of dark blue. 

The father's younger brother, one mithan, called " mankang," 
but if he is living in the same house as the father then the 
nearest male relative who is living separately receives this. 

Although a man has paid the full price for his wife, yet he 
has, on her death and the death of each of her sons, to pay a 
further sum called " longman " to her nearest male relative. 
Supposing Pathong marries Thonghlu's daughter and has by 
her two sons, one of whom dies, it is Thonghlu's duty to kill a 
pig in honour of the deceased and to take the skull and all the 
flesh except that of the head and the entrails to Pathong. The 
skull is placed over the grave and the flesh eaten by the family. 
Pathong now has to pay Thonghlu the price of the pig and 
Rs. 9/-, but if he prefers he may, instead of these two sums, give 
one mithan, however small, Rs. 1/-, and a hoe. It is often found 
cheaper to give the mithan. Suppose Thonghlu is now 
gathered to his fathers, leaving a son, Kanpu, and Pathong's wife 
also dies, then Kanpu must kill the pig and will receive the 
mithan. Pathong departs this life and his son marries and 
begets a son, Komyang, and Kanpu also dies leaving a son, 
Nelet. Now on the death of Pathong's remaining son, Nelet 
must kill the pig and will receive the mithan from the 
dead man's son, Komyang, and as this extinguishes the liability 
on account of Thonghlu's daughter, Komyang, in token thereof, 
will also give to Nelet one spear and one tinder-box. These 
payments, unfortunately, are seldom made on the spot, and 
claims on account of great-aunts or even more distant female 
relatives are frequently brought up for decision. In case of 
women who die in childbed or in any unnatural manner her 
"longman," as this payment is called, has not to be paid. 
" Longman " reminds one of the Lushai " lukawng," and very similar 
customs are found among the Old Kuki and some Naga clans. 

In common with nearly all non-Lushei clans, a Thado 
co-respondent, and not his victim's relatives, has to pay the 


injured husband all the expenses he had incurred in the 
marriage and also a fine of one mithan. The same rule applies 
to the seducer of a widow living in her late husband's house. 
On a man's death his eldest brother can insist on marrjdng the 
widow and taking all the children. " Sawnman " is enforced as 
among the Lushais, but should the father refuse to take the 
child when it is old enough to leave its mother, he is called on 
to pay a second mithan, and he forfeits the right to receive the 
marriage price in case of a girl. The eldest son inherits and, 
failing a son, the nearest male relative. Adoption is practised 
as among the Lushais, the ceremony being known as " Phunkai " 
(Lushai " Sa-phun "). 

In case of accidental homicide the offender has to kill a pig 
at his victim's funeral and provide a blue cloth to wrap the 
body in. Should the death have been caused by a gunshot 
wound the gun is forfeited to the heir of the deceased. The 
Thados claim that rape and sodomy are unknown among them. 

There is no doubt that head-hunting was indulged in in 
olden days, and on the death of a powerful chief at least one 
freshly taken head had to adorn his grave. 

Lieutenant Stewart, in the book already quoted from, gives a 
good deal of information about the religious beliefs of the 
Thados. He says they recognise one all-powerful god, whom 
they call Pathen (Lushai Pathian), who has a wife, Nongjai. 
I have enquired about Pathen's wife, but though all my 
informants say that it is usual to speak of Pathen Nongjai 
together, none could say whether Nongjai was Pathen's wife — 
an equally powerful being, sharing power with Pathen — or 
simply another name for Pathen. Stewart also provides 
Pathen with a son, Thihla, but my informants all agree that 
the Thihla are demons of the hills, rivers, and forests — in 
other words exactly the same as the Huais of the Lushais. 
Ghumoishe, mentioned by Stewart, is the king of all these 
Thihla, and he has a wife, Imungshe. They are supposed to 
inhabit the densest forests on the highest mountain tops, and 
when passing through such their dread names are never 
mentioned. About this demon Stewart says : " By some he is 
said to be the illegitimate son of Pathen, but others deny the 
relationship, and say that he has no connection with the god 


whatever. The idea of making the origin of evil proceed thus 
from an illegitimate source is exceedingly clever." None of 
my informants would venture a guess even at Ghumoishe's 
parentage. Kuchom, whom Stewart gives as Ghumoishe's wife, 
is nowadays, as far as I can find out, unknown, as also is Hilo, 
said by Stewart to be the daughter of the last-named couple 
and to be the goddess of poisons. The Thihla are divided 
into Thingbulnga, the Thihla of the big trees ; Shongbulnga, 
of the rocks and stones ; Tuikhumnga, the demons of the water, 
of whom Tuikhumlen is the king. These water spirits are said 
to be far more powerful than those of the woods or rocks, and 
therefore are often spoken of as Tui-pathen. They also receive 
a fourfold sacrifice, of a white fowl or an egg, a pig, a dog, 
which must not be entirely black, and a he-goat, whereas cocks 
or hens are considered quite good enough for the Thingbulgna 
or Shongbulgna. 

Zomi is a female spectre, a sight of which is a sure fore- 
runner of some dire misfortune, which can only be averted by 
the immediate sacrifice of a dog. Pheizam correspond to the 
Lashi. Nuaijingmang is an evil spirit which lives under- 

After death the spirits of men and women, great and small, 
all go to Mi-thi-khua. The only advantage which the spirits of 
those who have slain men and beasts and given feasts obtain 
is that Kulsamnu does not dare to detain them, whereas she, 
sitting by the roadside, seizes all other poor wandering souls, 
and troubles them sorely unless their relatives who have gone 
on before come to their rescue. 

I have been unable to find any traces of ancestor worship, 
nor is it mentioned either by Stewart or McCulloch. This is 
extremely curious, as the Thados attach the highest possible 
importance to a long pedigree and, as has been seen, nearly every 
other clan practise some rites to appease the dead. 

Religious Rites and Sacrifices. — The Daibawl sacrifices are 
made as among the Lushais, but not the Khal. The Dongel and 
Shit-hloh families sacrifice a sow to Sakhua, but the Haukip and 
Kipgen kill a mithan. This difference is said to date back to 
the time when the Haukip lived on the banks of the Eun or 
Manipur river, near to Tiddim, and sacrificed a mithan to Rulpui. 


or the great snake. The Chhinchhuan are said to have 
recently adopted the Vaiphei method of propitiating Sakhua, 
and in consequence the Shit-hloh have ceased intermarrying 
with them. 

Besides the sacrifice to Sakhua the Thado have a special 
sacrifice known as " Pathen biak na '' (" speaking to Pathen "). 
This consists of killing a small pig in the closet at the end of 
the house and a white cock in front of the house. The crop, 
entrails, and bones are " sherh " and are placed on an oaken 
post in front of the house, and a thirty days' " hrilh " is observed. 

The Ai ceremonies are much the same as among the Lushais, 
but in that of the tiger the carrying of the porcupine is 
unknown. Directly a tiger is shot a bamboo skewer is 
hammered into its ear hole, to make sure that it is dead, and 
when the body is brought up to the village an egg is placed in 
the mouth by some female relative of the lucky hunter, who 
addresses the dead animal thus : " Oh ! Ho ! You stole that, 
did you ? And so a peg has been driven into your ear." She 
then jumps across the body from side to side and from head to 
tail. After this the skin may be removed. In connection with 
cultivation, a ceremony called " Daibun " is performed after the 
burning of the jhums. Seven bamboos adorned with cotton 
wool are placed round the jhum as an offering to the " Thihla " 
of the locality, who are further propitiated later on by an offer- 
ing of an egg and some leaves placed on a bamboo in the 
middle of the jhum. This is called " Daikam." Wanolnaunu 
died because she was so lazy that it was too much trouble to 
live, so if any of her signs are found in a new jhum, a sacrifice 
has to be performed to avoid a failure of the crops. A tree 
which has two trunks which unite some feet above the ground 
is said to represent her fingers, and a red fowl must be sacrificed 
and the tree dug up by the roots. A spring is said to be her 
tears, and a goat must be sacrificed. If a wallow is found a pig 
must be offered. If a woman is not blessed with offspring 
within the usual time of the marriage there are three methods 
of procedure : — The woman may go to her father's house, and he 
will kill a cock and they will drink zu together, after which he 
ties a string round her neck. If this is not successful she may go 
to her husband's eldest brother or cousin, and he will repeat the 


performance. If there is still no result the thempu is called 
in and kills a black hen inside the house, and its flesh, mixed 
with stones and other ingredients, is compounded by him into 
a medicine which the poor woman desirous of offspring has to 
eat. On the occasion of the birth of a child the mother may 
not leave her house for five daj's in case of a son and three in 
case of a daughter. When these periods have expired she goes 
to her father's house and takes a fowl or a pig, according to her 
means. This is called " Nau-bil-vu." The mother also gives her 
father or sometimes her mother a cloth on the occasion of the 
birth of a child, and the recipient kills a pig in honour of the 
occasion. In case of a child getting sick the thempu sacrifices 
a fowl, called " Ar-kang-tha." 

The marriage ceremonies of the Thados are described by both 
McCuUoch and Stewart, and do not seem to have changed at all 
during the 55 years that have elapsed since their accounts 
were written. Neither account, however, is quite complete. 
The bridegroom, accompanied by his friends, taking with them 
at any rate a portion of the sum to be paid for the bride, go to 
the village where the girl lives, and for three days the young 
men of the village wrestle with them. On arrival they are 
met with showers of filth from the children of the village. The 
girl's parents have to give a pig or a mithan and much zu to 
celebrate the occasion. At the conclusion of the feast the bride 
sets out for her future home dressed in her best and wearing 
a gong on her head. The actual marriage ceremony takes 
place in the house of the father of the bridegroom and consists 
of the thempu killing a fowl, feathers from the right wing 
being placed in the hair of the young couple. They then 
drink out of the same cup of zu, and the thempu, muttering 
charms, binds a cotton thread round their necks, which must 
be worn till it falls off from old age. 

The thempu then presents each with a comb. Only very 
near relatives may use the same comb. Stewart says husband 
and wife may share a comb, but my information is that 
uterine brothers and sisters may do so. A Lushai corre- 
spondent writes that among them the use of another man's 
comb may cause a headache, and that a person of a higher 
clan would be contaminated if he used the comb of a member 


of a lower one. To see whether the union will prove 
harmonious the thempu takes a hair from the head of each 
and moistens them in zu and then twists them together. If the 
hairs remain twisted all will go smoothly, but should they fly 
apart many bickerings and disputes are to be expected. The 
parents of the bridegroom give a feast to all concerned, and this 
completes the ceremony, but the young couple do not at once 
commence sleeping together. If they have not been previously 
acquainted they often sleep apart for a month, and for lesser 
periods according to the degree of their acquaintance. 

Eligible brides are even now carried off and married against 
the wishes of their parents, by ardent lovers belonging to 
powerful families. 

Immediately a death occurs guns are fired and a special 
funeral chant called " La pi " (Lushai " Hla ") is sung three times. 
The funeral ceremonies of ordinary people are practically the 
same as among the Lushais, but in the case of those who have 
performed the " Chong " the ceremonies last seven days, and each 
day the corpse is carried in and out of the house seven times 
with much shouting, and a mithan has to be killed on each day. 
Every relative and slave has to attend and bring some animal 
to be killed. The skulls of all these adorn the great man's 
grave, and, in former days, at least one fresh human skull 
taken specially for the occasion from some other clan had to be 
added to the other trophies over a chiefs grave. Sometimes 
the body of a great chief may be placed in a small house at a 
short distance from the village and partially dried over a slow 
fire ; and a curious survival of the times of war is found in the 
practice, now dying out, of severing the head and burying it in 
an earthen pot in a separate place. This was done to prevent 
the heads being found and removed as trophies, should the 
village be raided. The entrails of the ficrst animal killed in 
honour of the deceased are placed on leaves at the foot of the 
post against which the corpse rested during the funeral feast, 
and are left there for several days, even up to one month, and 
at every meal a handful of rice is taken out of the pot and 
placed on the leaves, before anyone is allowed to eat. This 
portion for the dead is called " thi an chhe." As among the 
Kangte, efforts are made to obtain some wild animal or bird, 


and if the hunters are successful the entrails of the animal, or 
the whole animal if it be not edible, are buried with the " thi 
an chhe " in the grave, without waiting for the expiry of the 

Unnatural deaths (" thichhia") are considered unlucky, and the 
custom regarding the disposal of the corpse in such cases is 
the same as among the Lushais. Memorial stones are not 
generally put up by the Thados, but are occasionally found 
among the Chhinchhuan, perhaps from their proximity to the 

A man who has performed the Ai of a tiger is honoured with 
a special memorial. Two posts, one some four feet long and the 
other about three, carefully squared and with the four sides orna- 
mented with transverse notches, are placed in the ground some 
five or six feet apart. The longer post terminates in a spike, 
on which are impaled several oval-shaped pieces of wood, which 
indicate the number of animals killed by the deceased. 
Between the posts and to one side a long pole is planted lean- 
ing over between the posts, and from this hangs half a dried 
gourd shell, convex side uppermost, from the rim of which hang 
tassels of rough wooden beads, and from the centre hangs a 
piece of wood 7 or 8 inches long, of which one end is forked and 
the other a knob. This represents " thotche," a sort of rat 
found in the jungle and said to be the master of the jungle. 
If this animal is burnt in the jungle the " Thihla " of the place 
will be angry and punish the persons responsible. Children 
eat the flesh of the thotche. The posts are called " thingel " 
and remind one of the memorial posts of the Chins, and the 
be-tasselled gourd is a sign among those people that the owner 
of the house before which it is displayed has killed a man. 

A woman who has performed the Buh Ai is also honoured 
with a special memorial, consisting of an upright stone some 
three feet high, in front of which are placed three others 
supporting a flat stone. A space of about four square yards in 
front is enclosed by a line of stones set on edge, the whole of 
the interior being planted with small stones, which are supposed 
to show the number of baskets of rice reaped on the occasion of 
the Ai. The feasts connected with the cultivation known by 
the Lushais as " Kut " are not practised, but when the rice is 




m ^ ill 

i'V4i5 '(ji -^ b 

,1 1 ' 




well up the whole community goes to the jhums, dancing and 
singing, and beating drums and gongs. In the jhums they 
work vigorously in perfect silence for a considerable time and 
then burst forth into song and dance, and eat their fill of rice 
washed down with zu. There is another feast connected with 
the crops called " Hun," which takes place when the rice is 
about a foot high. Each household prepares two pots of zu, 
one for the husband and one for the wife, and a post called 
" shekhon " is planted before each house. This post has two 
horizontal arms projecting, one near the top and one near the 
ground, the upper one being the longer. These are perforated, 
and three reeds are passed through the holes. Each house- 
hold kills a white cock at the foot of the shekhon. The flesh 
is cooked in the house and eaten by the householder alone. The 
" sherh " and bones are hung on the shekhon. The zu in the 
householder's pot may only be drunk by other householders, 
but that in the wife's pot is dispensed to all comers. For five 
days after this feast no one but members of the household may 
enter the house. Nothing out of the house may be given away, 
and the householder must do no work, nor may he attend a 

The series of feasts performed by the Lushais to attain 
the honours of " Thangchhuah " is not customary among 
the Thados, though some informants say that in olden days 
some such custom prevailed, and the " Chong " feast, at which 
seven mithan and two of every other sort of domestic animal 
had to be killed, is not performed now only because none can 
afford the expense. It will be remembered that " Chong " is the 
name of the first feast in the Thangchhuah series. Among the 
Haukip I am told that a position equivalent to Thangchhuah 
is attained by thrice celebrating the Ai of one of the following — 
tiger, bear, elephant, or hornbill. 

Thado Folk Tales. 

Benglama is the equivalent of the Lushai Chhura, and 
there are many tales about him which are common to both 
clans and in fact seem to be known to almost all representatives 
of the Kuki-Lushai race. The following is a translation of a 
portion of a tale written down in Lushai for me, but told by a 


Thado. Benglama had visited a village and got himself much 
disliked, and everyone was trying to catch him : — " Once they 
made a ladder and cut the lower side partly through and made 
a great quagmire underneath. Benglama climbed up it, it broke, 
and he fell down into the mud. Then a tiger came up. ' My friend, 
if you help me out you may eat me,' said Benglama. Then the 
tiger pulled him out. Then the tiger — ' I will eat you up,' he 
said. Benglama — ' I will just go and wash myself clean,' he 
said. ' Presently I will eat you up,' he said again. Benglama — 
' I will go and ease myself,' he said, ' otherwise you will dislike 
my dung,' he said. Where he went to ease himself he cut a 
cane. The tiger — ' Why do you do that ? ' he asked. Then 
Benglama — ' It is going to blow and rain like anything, therefore 
I am going to tie myself to the stump of a tree,' he said. Then 
the tiger — ' If that is so, tie me up first,' he said. He tied him 
up. Then he (Benglama) also put a mallet, that all who passed 
by might beat the tiger. Benglama went away. Then the wild- 
cat came along. The tiger — ' My friend, you and I are just alike ; 
we two are friends, we are brothers- — undo me,' he said. He 
undid him. Then the wild-cat left him, going into a pangolin's 
hole. Then just as he was going in, the tiger caught him by the 
foot. ' What you have got hold of, that is not me, it is a tree 
root,' he said. The tiger let him go, but remained watching 
for him, but the wild-cat always slipped out at the other side, 
and was always eating fowls by Benglama's house. The tiger — 
' My friend, what is it you are eating ? ' he said. Then the 
wild-cat — ' Oh, I am only just eating the bones of my hand,' 
he said. The tiger was always eating his paw, and it hurt 
very, very much indeed. Presently the wild-cat went to the 
tiger and said to him, ' If you were to take a torch and go 
near to Benglama's house you would be able to catch some 
fowls,' he said. So the tiger went up, but Benglama saw him, 
and heated some water. When it was very hot indeed, he poured 
it into a tui-um (bamboo tube for holding water) and threw 
it over the tiger. The tiger said, ' My friend ! My friend ! 
I am dying, I am all burnt up,' he said. The wild-cat— 
' There is a waterfall some way down stream ; if you roll 
down that you will be well,' he said. He rolled down and so 
he died." 


How Benglama Tried to Climb to the Top of the 
Big "Bung" Tkee. 
" This Benglama — his wife was going to start for the jhum, 
and she spoke thus to him. To her husband his wife said, 
' Benglam, when the sun shines through our doorway, cook the 
rice, do,' she said. ' When the sun shines on the top of the 
bung tree in front of our house, then clean the rice and tie up 
the goat,' she said, and she also left her child with him. His 
wife then left him to go to the jhum. Then he, according to 
his wife's orders, when the sun shone in the doorway prepared 
to cook the rice. As often as he put the pot on the fire it fell 
off again. Presently the sun shone on the top of the bung 
tree. ' Did my wife say cook the food on the top of the bung 
tree ? ' he said. Then saying, ' I will clean the rice,' he pre- 
pared to climb to the top of the bung tree with the rice, 
mortar, and pounder, with the goat and the basket of fowls ; 
but he could not climb up, he kept on falling down again. 
Just then his child, being hungry, began to cry and cry. Then 
Benglama, saying, ' Is his frontanel hurting ? ' pricked it with 
his hairpin. Then the child died. Benglama, saying, ' Has it gone 
to sleep ? ' laid it down on the sleeping machan ; he did not 
know that it was dead. Then his wife came back from the 
jhum, and Benglama just before had fallen from the bung tree 
and was nearly dead, and lay on the sleeping platform groaning 
terribly. His wife said, ' Are you ill ? ' and he — ' Speak ! Why, I 
can hardly speak, I have fallen from the top of the bung tree 
and am nearly dead, don't you know ? ' he said to her. Then 
she looked at her child ; and his wife — ' Our child here is dead ; 
how has it happened ? ' she said. The Benglama — ' Go on ! it's 
not dead, its head was hurting and I pricked it ; it is just 
asleep,' he said to her. Then his wife — ' It is dead indeed ; go 
and bury it,' she said. Then Benglama wrapped it up in a mat 
and carried it over his shoulder, and the body dropped out 
behind him, and he placed the mat only in a cave, and on his 
way back he saw his child's body. ' Whose child is this ? ' he 
said, and kicked it about with his feet." 

The Stoey of Ngamboma and Khuptingi. 

"Formerly Ngamboma and Khuptingi, before they were 



bom, while in their mothers' wombs, they loved each other. 
When the time for them to be bom came near their 
mothers' bellies pained them. Then if their mothers put their 
bellies near to each other they got well. Then the children 
were bom. In the jhums when they were placed apart in the 
jhum house while their mothers were at work they always got 
together. When they grew bigger they loved each other, and 
Ngamboma wanted to many Khuptingi, but their fathers and 
mothers did not think it wise. Then Ngamboma made an 
image of Khuptingi in beeswax and tied it to a stump of a 
tree on the bank of the stream, and whenever the water rose 
Khuptingi got ill and when it went down she got better. Thus 
it went on for one year. One day the stream rose and carried 
away Khuptingi's image, then Khuptingi died. They placed 
her body in a dead-house. From the decaying matter which fell 
from her body flowers sprang up, and Ngamboma watched 
them always. One day a wild cat was going to take away 
those flowers, but Ngamboma caught it and said, ' Why did 
you think to steal my flowers — I'll just kill you ? ' he said. 
Then the wild cat — 'Protector! Do not kill me; I am sent by 
Khuptingi,' he said. Then Ngamboma — ' Where is Khuptingi, 
then? ' he said. Then the wild cat — ' If you catch hold of my 
tail we will both go (to her),' he said. Then the wild cat 
towed him to the village in which Khuptingi was in the sky, 
in Mi-thi-khua (the dead-people's-village), and they arrived at 
Khuptingi's house and they slept there, and they ate rice also 
together. When they slept together Khuptingi was only bare 
bones, and Ngamboma said, ' What bones are these ?' and he threw 
them to the top of the wall and to the bottom of the wall (i.e., 
all about the room). Then the next day Khuptingi — ' I am not 
well,' she said. Ngamboma — ' What is the reason ? ' he said. The 
Khuptingi — 'Last night when I was sleeping near you you 
threw me to the top of the wall and to the bottom of the wall ; 
for that reason I am in pain,' she said. Then their villagers 
said, ' Let us go and fish,' they said. They went. The place 
where they caught fish — indeed it was not a stream, it was a 
patch of bamboo. The dead called the bamboo leaves fish, and 
they filled their baskets cram-full, but Ngamboma said to 


himself, 'They will stop the holes in the baskets with the 
leaves when they come to the stream so that the fish may not 
fall out by accident,' he said, and he stopped the holes (in his 
basket) with leaves. Then they all returned to the village. 
Ngamboma, by diverting a stream, caught a few fish and 
returned. When they reached their houses the dead roasted 
the leaves which they called fish, but when Ngamboma tried 
to roast them the leaves all burnt up. Then Khuptingi said 
to Ngamboma, ' The others have caught so many fish ; why have 
you caught so few ? ' Ngamboma roasted the real fish which he 
had caught, but they burnt up just like the bamboo leaves. 
Then one day the people again went out to hunt. In the place 
where they went hunting they saw a huge black caterpillar ; 
the dead called it a bear. Ngamboma did not see it, and by 
accident trod on it and killed it. Then the dead said to 
Ngamboma, ' That bear which ran towards you, have you seen 
it?' they said. Ngamboma — 'I have not seen it,' he said. 
Presently they saw the caterpillar which he had trodden on, 
' Hei-le ! Why, you have shot it ! ' they said. They carried it up 
to the village and all the dead ate up its flesh entirely. 
Ngamboma, however, did not care to eat any of it. Then 
Khuptingi said to Ngamboma, ' Living people and dead people, 
we shall not be able to live together comfortably ; therefore, if 
you now build yourself a house here and then return to your 
home, when you die you will be able to live in it ?' — thus 
Khuptingi said. So he set to work to build a house. The 
dead called the arum trees, and they split them with axes and 
built (with them), but Ngamboma just split those arums with 
his nail very quickly. ' Can one build houses with such stuff ? ' 
he said. Then, splitting real trees into planks, he built his 
house. Then Khuptingi said to Ngamboma, ' If you go to 
your house and call all the villagers together and sacrifice a 
mithan, and when you have finished eating its flesh you put 
on very good cloths and wear round your neck the sacrificial 
rope (the rope the mithan was bound with), and call on my 
name, then you will die and will be able to come to our village,' 
she said. Just as Khuptingi said it came to pass ; he died as 
he was lying on his bed, then they were able to live together 

P 2 


with comfort. When he saw the house that he had built in 
Mi-thi-khua, he said, ' Who built that house ? ' The dead said to 
him, ' You built it while you were alive.' Then they married in 
Mi-thi-khua, it is said. 

" It is because of this story of Ngamboma and Khuptingi that 
we say nowadays people are in Mi-thi-khua." 



This clan emigrated from the neighbourhood of Thlan-tlang 
(called by the Chin Hills officers Klang-klang) in comparatively 
recent times. They are closely allied to the Southern Chins, 
and a description of them belongs more properly to the Chin 
Monograph. Much of the information in Messrs Carey and 
Tuck's Gazetteer regarding the Southern Chins applies to the 
Lakhers. I therefore propose to give only a brief description 

The clan calls itself Mara, Lakher being the name used 
by the Lushais. The Chins, I believe, call them Zo, and the 
Arracan name for them is Klongshai. The following extract 
from my diary, dated 10th February, 1891, gives a brief account 
of the advent of this clan : — '' In the evening I had a long talk 
with the chiefs and found out the origin, according to them, of 
the feud with the Mrungs (in the Chittagong Hill tracts). 
In the lifetime of Thonglien's father, the Bohmong of that time 
sent to ask the Mara clan to come and make friends. A 
deputation went, taking with them two large elephant tusks as 
a peace offering. The Bohmong had two of the party treacher- 
ously killed, and hence the feud which has led to so much blood- 
shed. I am told that the first Mara to come here (Saiha) 
were a colony under one of Thonglien's ancestors. They came 
from Thlan-tlang to where Vongthu now is, and then moved 
further east till they settled somewhere on the Blue Mountain. 
Finding themselves too small a colony to hold their own, they 
sent for the rest of the clan, who, under Lianchi, Hmunklinga's 
great-grandfather, came and settled where Ramri now is. After 



a few years a few of the Chinja tribe arrived and were received 
into the village. These were followed by more and more until 
eventually the Mara left the Chinja in possession of Ramri 
and moved across the Blue Mountain, where they have remained 
ever since." There are other Lakher villages besides those 
referred to in the above extract, and the clan is found ia 
considerable strength to the south of the Lushai Hills 
boundary, in territory which is at present unadministered. 
Members of the clan are also found in the Lushai and 
Chin villages adjoining the real Lather country, which lies 
in the loop of the Koladyne or Kaladan river, south of lati- 
tude 22°3'. 

Their villages are more permanent than those of the Lushais 
though the houses are built of the same materials, the prox- 
imity of large supplies of bamboos having led the immigrants 
to abandon 'the substantial timber buildings of the land of 
their origin for more flimsy structures. The sites are, however, 
levelled and the village's are seldom moved. Before the reign 
of peace which has followed our occupation of the Hills, each 
village was surrounded by a triple line of stockading or by an 
impenetrable belt of thorny jungle, through which a narrow 
pathway, defended by three gates, led to the village. Inside 
the houses the sleeping platforms of the Lushais are absent and 
the hearth is in the middle of the floor. If the owner has 
slaves or a married son, the interior is divided into compart- 
ments by partitions which extend three-quarters of the way 
across the house. 

The men smoke but little, but much relish the nicotine water 
from the women's pipes, which differ slightly in shape from 
those used by their Lushai cousins. 

Dress. — I have been unable to detect any difference in dress 
between the Lakhers and the Southern Chins. The men wear 
a narrow loin-cloth twisted round the waist, one end being 
passed between the legs and slipped under the waist-band, 
the only other garment being a cloth about 7 feet by 5, worn 
as the Lushais wear theirs, and made either of cotton or silk. 
Blue and white check cloths are very much fancied, but are 
imported from Burma, whence also comes a very rough cotton 



cloth with large brown checks. The silk cloths are made by 
the women and are fine pieces of work, taking an industrious 
woman as much as a year to weave. 

The dress of the women is more elaborate — several 
petticoats reaching almost to the ground and held up by a 
massive brass girdle, made after the pattern of the chain of a 
cog-wheel. These petticoats are generally of dark blue cotton, 
but sometimes the outer one is a very elaborately worked piece 
of silk, similar in pattern to the man's cloth. Each petticoat is 
merely a strip of cloth wide enough to go one and a half times 
or even twice round the body. 

While clothing her nether extremities thus decently, the 
Lakher woman wears a jacket which consists really of little more 
than two very short sleeves joined at the back and tied 
loosely together in front. This absurd little garment does not 
by several inches reach to her petticoat. The jacket is generally 
of home-made cloth or silk of a pattern similar to the men's 
cloths. A loose cloth of the favourite blue and white check is 
wrapped round the body for warmth, but discarded when any 
work is being done. 

The men wear the hair tied in a knot above the forehead. A 
very narrow turban is often worn, being passed round the 
back of the head low down and the ends twisted round the 
knot of hair. Chiefs aifect the high turban of the Thlan- 

Women wear nothing on their heads, except in wet weather, 
when both sexes wear hats like the Lushais. The raincoat of 
the Chins is also used. Special cloths and plumes are worn by 
those who have killed men or given certain feasts, as among 
the Lushais. 

Oma'ments. — The amber necklaces so dear to the Lushais 
do not find much favour with this clan, who value especially 
necklaces of a stuff known as "pumtek," but as this is very rare, 
necklaces of glass-beads, cornelians, buttons, coins, etc., are 
generally all that commoners can obtain. The women are 
particularly fond of necklaces ; the men wear but few, which 
is in marked contrast to the custom of the Lushais. 

The men ornament their top-knots with combs, the backs 


of which are sometimes of ivory, sometimes of wood lacquered 
in various patterns. A long pin of iron or bone is always worn 
in the top-knot, and is used for scratching the head as well as 
for cleaning out the pipe. 

The women wear their hair rolled round a very heavy two- 
pronged brass skewer, the weight of which, sometimes as much 
as 3 lbs., keeps the hair low down on the nape of the neck. 

Constitution of Society. 

The Lakhers, in common with the Chins, are less democratic 
than the Lushais and their cognates. The power of the chiefs 
is greater, and the chiefs' relatives and other wealthy people 
form a kind of peerage and lord it over the lesser fry, being 
seldom interfered with unless their doings endanger the interests 
of the chief Slaves with the Lakhers are real slaves, not 
merely unpaid servants as among the Lushais. A slave is the 
absolute property of his master, and may be sold like any other 
possession. Female slaves are not allowed to marry, but are 
encouraged to become mothers, as their children are the 
property of their owners. Male slaves who win their master's 
favour are sometimes married at their ownei's expense, but they 
and their children remain slaves. Parents and other relations 
sell children when they are in pecuniary difficulties, and captives 
taken in war are naturally the slaves of their captors. 

In the matter of marriage the Lakher's choice is as little 
limited as that of the Lushai. but, owing to the power of the 
upper class, there is great competition to secure a bride of good 
birth, and this leads to girls being married before they attain 
puberty. After her marriage such a child-wife helps in the 
household of her husband's mother, but sleeps with her own 
parents. The following extract from a report on the Lakhers 
sent me by Mr. Whalley, of the E. Bengal and Assam Police, 
cannot be improved on: — " The advanced age, as regards males, 
at which marriage takes place is due to the recognised obliga- 
tion on the part of every male to marry the daughter of a house 
of higher standing than his own, with the consequently dis- 
proportionate advance in the amount of the marriage price. 
Too frequently a male on coming into his inheritance is occupied 


during his years of vigour in paying off the debt of his mother's 
marriage price, and can only afford to take a wife of a higher 
station than his own when he is no longer capable of becoming 
a father. In the interval he takes a concubine, generally of a 
lower class than his own. On the other hand, the marriage or 
betrothal of children by their parents is common. Such 
marriages are on two scales. In both from the date of betrothal 
the bridegroom commences to pay the marriage price in 
irregular instalments ; in one, however, he contracts, if he 
becomes a father by his bride, to pay the whole marriage price, 
and can claim the return of all payments made if the decease 
of his bride precedes such an event ; in the other he pays only 
a proportion of the whole fixed beforehand, which is not 
recoverable, even if marriage is never consummated. The first 
is in more general favour with parents, as even in the case of 
the death of the prospective bride it is by no means certain 
that, in view of the disparity in position of the families, the 
bridegroom will be able to compel disgorgement of the 
instalments paid." 

"The above description of customs refers mutatis nmtandis 
to all classes of society except slaves. The desirability 
of an unmarried girl varies directly with the social posi- 
tion of the parents; appearance, industry, and chastity are 
entirely subordinate factors, and exercise very little influence 
on the marriage price demanded. There is a strange custom 
by which a husband who finds his wife incompatible may 
exchange her for any of her sisters still unmarried. A younger 
brother, again, whose parents are dead, even though already 
married, takes over as a rule the wife as well as the liability 
of an elder brother who has predeceased him. The precedence 
of such wives should be regulated solely by the position of their 
parents, and breaches of this rule, owing to the partiality of the 
husband, lead frequently to bitter feuds." 

The following valuable note on the marriage price of a 
Lakher girl, and on the dues payable at death, by Mr. R. A. 
Lorrain, is inserted just as received : — 

The important position occupied by the bride's eldest 
brother and her maternal unble are noticeable. 





Amount of PnrcE.s 


Name of Price. 



Common People. 

Ruling Clan. 

TO THE Marriage Customs of 
THE Maka Tribes. 


Eg. 20/- 

Qong (7 spans). 


Rs. 160/- 
One slave. 
Two Mithan. 


When the whole family live in 
the same house^ none of the sons 
having their own houses, then 
the Prices Nos. 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 6, and 
Nos. 9, 10, 11, have all to be paid 
to the father of the bride. 


Chaw chyu 

Rs. 20/- 

Gong (7 spans). 


Rs. 20/- 

Gong (7 spans). 


Rs. 60/- 

One Mithan 


Es. 50/- 
One Mithan. 
Gun (syulfl). 


If the family is dmided and 
the eldest son has a house of his 
own, then the father has price 
No. 11 and the eldest son must 
have price No. I, while the 
prices Nos. 2, 3, 4, 6, 6, and Nos. 
9, 10, are at the eldest sou's dis- 
posal and he may or may not 
share with the youngest son as 
he pleases. 


Rs. 20/- 

Gong (7 spans). 


Rs. 60/- 
One Mithan. 
Gun (syuia). 



Es. 2/- 
BrasB pot 
(4 spans). 

Rs. 10/- 
Beer pot 



Rs. 1/- 
Full grown hen 

Rs. 2/- 
Brass pot 
(4 spans). 



Rs. 2/- 
Brass pot 
(4 spans). 

Es. 6/- 
Keer pot 


No. 7 has to be paid to the 
friend of the father of the bride 
if the sons and father live in the 
same house. But if the family 
is divided, the eldest son having 
his own house, then this must he 
paid to his friend instead of the 


Rs. 2/- 
Brass pot 
(4 spans). 

Rs. 6/. 
Beer pot 


No. 8 has to be paid to the 
bride's mother's brother (bride's 


Rs. 2/- 
Brass pot 
(4 spans). 

Es. 10/- 
Beer pot 



Rs. 5/- 
Beer pot 

Rs. 60/- 

One Slithan. 



1 At the wedding the bridegroom has to kill half the number of pigs that are killed by the 
bride's family, thus : — 

Bride's family, 6 pigs killed ; the bridegroom kills 3 pigs=8 pigs. 
11 1" 11 1, 1, II 5 =15 pigs. 

2 The amount of price in these columns are all equal to one another in value and the bride- 
groom chooses only one out of each price according to what he has. 



Nr*»i>. n«. T>„,„„ 

Amodnt or Pkioe. 



Common People. 

Ruling Clan. 

TO THE Marriage Customs of 
THE Mara Tribes. 


a U-thei-pa 

a Lia-pa 

a Sei-hnai-pa ... 

Rb. 10/- 

Rs. 6/- 
Brass pot 
(5 spans). 

Rs. 2/- 
Brass pot 
(4 spans). 

Rs. 20/- 
A " Sisa " bead. 

Rs. 10/. 
A "Sisa" bead 

Rs. 6/. 
Beer pot 


Note.—JHo. 11, divided into 
tliree sums, has to be given on 
engagement before tlie marriage, 
and is liept by the father of the 


A -ma-pi 

Aw-rua-baw-na ... 





/'a U-thei-pa... 
a Lia-pa 
a 8ei-hnai-pa 

Rs. 20/- 

Gong (7 spans). 


Rs. 5/- 
Beer pot 

Rs. 2/- 
Brass pot 
(4 spans). 

Rs. 1/. 
Pull grown hen. 

Rs. 2/- 
Brass pot 
(4 spans). 

Rs. 2/- 
Braes pot 
(4 spans). 

Rs. 7/- 
' sisa " bead. 

Rs. 2/- 
Brass pot 
(4 spans). 

Rs. 1/- 
A large fowl. 

Rs. 150/- 

One slave. 

Two Mithan. 

Rs. 50/. 

One Mithan. 


Rs. 10/- 
Beer pot 

Rs. 2/- 
Brass pot 
(4 spans). 

Rs. 5/- 
Beer pot 

Rs. 5/- 
Beer pot. 

Rs. 20/- 
* Sisa "bead. 

Rs. 10/- 
'Sisa" bead. 

Rs. 21- 
Brass pot 
(4 spans). 




Fu-ma has to be paid by the 
bridegroom to the bride's 
"Pu-pa," that is, the bride's 
mother's brother (uncle). He 
therefore receives the prices 
Nos. 12, 13, 14, 15 and 18. 

No. 16 has to be paid to the 
friend of the "Pu-pa" (bride's 

No. 17 has to be paid to the 
bride's grandmother's brother on 
her mother's side (bride's great 
uncle), or it is sometimes paid 
to the "Pu-pa's" (bride's 
uncles) wife's father (father of 
aunt by marriage on the 
mother's side). 

1 If the " Pupa " wishes for these prices to be paid he bas to go to the bridegroom's house 
after the marriage (some other day) and kill a big pig. Then the prices have to be met quickly, 
or at least some of them, and the bridegroom also has to go to the " Pupa's" house and kill a 
pi§ in exchange for the pig that was killed for him. If the " Pupa " is dead (or when dead) his 
children can claim the prices in bis stead 




Amount of Price. 


To WHOM Price is paid and 


Common People. 

Ruling Clan. 

TO THE Marriage Customs of 
THE Maea Tribes. 


Ks. 10/- or more. 

This price is 
often nearly as 
heavy as the 
" 0-kia." 

Rs. SO/- or more. 

One Mifchan 


This price is 
often nearly as 
heavy as the 


At the death of a wife this 
price has to be paid as a death 
due by the husband to the dead 
wife's father or eldest brother as 
the case may be. 

At the death of a husband the 
eldest son of the dead man has 
to pay the price to his father's 
mother's brother (the dead man's 

It there is no son, the dead 
man's brother will pay, and then 
the dead man's daughters, when 
they marry, their marriage prices 
will go to this brother of the 
dead man (his nieces' marriage 

If there are no daughters then 
he has his dead brother's posses- 
sions as a recompense, and he 
will also care for the widow 
unless she prefers to go to her 
own family once again. 

1 The death-due upon a woman is heavier than that upon a man. The death-due upon a 
prosperous man is more than that upon a poor man. 

One out of each of the above prices has to be paid by the bridegroom before he is out of debt 
for his bride, and it will be found that : — ■ 

(1) An ordinary person has to give for his bride about Rs. 153/-, or £10 4s. 

(2) One of the ruling clan has to give for his bride about Rs. 671/-, or £44 14s. 8d. 
Then at death the death-due must be met, for No. 1, from Rs. 10/- to 20/-, or 13/4 to £1 6s. 8d. 

for No. 2, from Bs. SO/- to 160/-, or £5 6s. Sd. to JSIO. 
Needless to say, many of these prices are kept on credit, and often have to be met after death 
by the son or the son's son, making it a terribly complicated matter on the whole. 

Reginald A. Lorrain, 
May ith, 1911. Pioneer Missionary to the Lakhers' or Maras'. 

Offences against property and person can generally be settled 
by payment of a fine, but the Lakhers have no fixed custom in 
such matters, and a person of quality generally takes the law 
into his own hands if he considers himself aggrieved. 

Head-hunting used to be indulged in and is still practised by 
the Lakhers in unadministered tracks. In case of a chiefs 
death it was proper to kill someone of a distant village before 
drums or gongs were beaten, but it was thought " thianglo " to 
bring back the head on such an occasion. As regards 
their religious beliefs, the Lakher equivalent of Pathian is 
Khazang. Mr. Whalley writes : — "All spirits, with one doubtful 
exception to be noted later, whether malignant or benign, are 
slaves of the great spirit Khazang or Loitha. Whereas the 


attributes and the names of the lesser spirits vary from village 
to village and individual to individual, this great spirit has a 
firmer outline and permits of some attempt at description. 
The picture they draw is primitive, almost touching in its 
childishness. The Khazang or Loitha is small and bro-wn and 
almost hairless. He is capable of sexual love and has children. 
He is material in his essence, but superior to natural laws such 
as those of time, space, and gravity. He is immortal, and 
has an immaterial wife and immaterial children. For his 
continuance the world exists with its revenue. In their own 
phrase he ' eats ' the domains of the lesser spirits through all 
nature as a chief ' eats ' villages (i.e., receives tribute in 
supplies from villages). He regards individual men much as 
these same men regard individual ants. Nearer to the heart 
and farther from the intelligence of the Lakhers is the mysterious 
Pi-leh-pu, the all-mother and all-father (strictly translated 
'grandmother' and 'grandfather,' the term is generally used 
for ancestors) — a being not anthropomorphised or materialised, 
partaking in some shadowy way of the functions both of 
guardian angel and of originator of the human race." 

In the course of my enquiries I did not come across any 
references to Pi-leh-pu, but there seems good reason to think 
that the term is applied to the mythical ancestor of the clan. 
In the Lushai Mi-thi-rawp-lam, it will be remembered that in 
the centre of the frame round which the effigies of the 
ancestors of the celebrants are fastened there is a white efiSgy 
to represent the mythical ancestor of the whole clan. In some 
respects Pi-leh-pu seems to resemble the Lushai Sakhua. 

The Ram-huai of the Lushais are known as "Hri-pa"and the 
Lashi as " Sakhia." After death the spirits pass to Mi-thi-khua, 
the road to which is by the village of Lunchoi and passes up a 
precipice. It is so narrow that women with child have to 
widen it as they go, for which purpose a hoe is buried with 
them, or at least laid beside the corpse during the funeral feast. 
Pial-ral is called "Pe-ra'," and to reach it all sorts of animals must 
be killed and the Ai ceremony performed for each. The 
Khuangchoi feast is also considered, if not absolutely necessary, 
at least very useful. Triumphs in the courts of Venus will not 
help the spirit to pass to Pe-ra'. Women can only reach that 


happy place if their husbands take them. A series of feasts or 
sacrifices closely resembling the Thangchhuah feast of the 
Lushais is performed, but I was assured that the performer's 
state in the next world was not in any way affected thereby, the 
feasts being equivalent to the Lushai Sakhua sacrifice. The 
series consists of — 

Vok-rial. — A very small pig which has been brought up in 
the house is killed and eaten. 

Vok-pa. — A boar of five fists' height which has been brought 
up in the house is killed, a black hen being also sacrificed at 
the same time. 

The " sherh " are kept inside the house for three days, dur- 
ing which time none of the household may do any work, but 
the house is not closed and anyone may share iu the feast. 
The Vok-rial is performed three times and the Vok-pa twice, 
and then a mithan is killed and all share in the feast. The 
performer of the She-shun may not cross a big stream or enter 
another village till he has sacrificed a hen. Subsequently he 
again performs Vok-rial, which is said to conclude the sacrifices 
to Sakhua. A feast in which two mithan are killed is called 
" Bawi." It is followed by Khuangchoi, in which at least five 
mithan must be slain. 

The spirits of the dead are supposed to become mist after 
having lived two or three lives in the other world. 

Ten days after the birth of a child the mother goes to the 
water supply and washes herself. She then takes the child to 
her father's house, where she receives some rice and a fowl, 
which she takes home and eats. Sacrifices are not done at this 
time. Children's heads are shaved at three months, and the 
hair is allowed to grow at nine years with girls and at eleven 
with boys. The bodies of stillborn children are buried outside 
the village without any ceremony, but no purification, either of 
the house or village, is considered necessary. 

The usual funeral feast, which in the case of wealthy persons 
may last three to five days, precedes the burial. Some time 
afterwards a second feast is given and a portion is put aside for 
the spirit of the deceased. At the funeral feast the corpse is 
laid out with fine cloths and ornaments and a dance is performed 
by two women and one man. In other respects the Lakher 



and Lushai customs are very much alike. There is an annual 
feast in honour of those who have died during the year. It is 
called " Lachhia." A pig is killed and the young men and 
maidens dance attired in their best clothes, and the usual large 
quantities of zu are consumed. 

In cases of unnatural death no one may leave the village till 
the sixth day. On the fourth day a hen is sacrificed outside 
the village. The corpse is buried beyond the village boundary 
fence. Deaths in childbirth are considered unnatural deaths. 
If the firstborn in a family dies within a few days of its birth 
the corpse is buried anywhere, without ceremony, and the house- 
hold abstain from work for one day. Such a death is called 
" naw-dawng " (Lushai " hlamzuih "). 

Many of the Lushai sacrifices are performed. The Khal 
takes the following form : — A fowl is killed at the head of the 
bed in the name of the father, a month later one is killed in 
the name of the mother, and in successive months one is killed 
for each child. The flesh of these fowls can only be eaten by 
the parents. The Uihring sacrifice is known as " An-hmu " ; 
a dog is killed outside the house, the hills inhabited by their 
ancestors being named. The " sherh " are hung on a tree or a 
bamboo. The husbands of women who are enceinte may not 
enter the house on such occasions. The following sacrifices of 
the Lushais are not performed — Hring-ai-tan, Khuavanghring, 
Tui-leh-ram, Bawlpui. In the Thla-ko a cock is killed outside 
the village and the spirit is summoned. Khawhring is unknown, 
and they maintain that there are no wizards or witches among 

There are three festivals connected with the crops — (1) 
"Eacheo" or " Kutsa-zawng," which takes place in January; 
feasting and drinking are the main features of this festival, 
which is preceded by a general hunt, as the flesh of wild animals, 
birds, or land crabs is absolutely necessary. (2) " Paku," which 
comes just before the sowing of the rice, closely resembles the 
Lushai Chap-char-kut. (3) "Lalia" — this corresponds to the 
Lushai Mimkut ; the children are fed with maize cakes, and if 
any member of the family has died within the previous year 
some cakes are put aside for his spirit. 

The superstitions of the Lakhers resemble those of the 


Lushais. To kill a python is sure to result in the death of the 
killer. Even to see a loris is unlucky and to kill one is fatal. 
The sight of two snakes copulating will also be followed by 
serious illness, if not by death. The Lushai Chawifa is known 
as " Thla-shi-pu," and if it falls in the jungle that is the place to 
cut your jhum, for then you are sure of a good crop. It seems 
that Thla-shi-pu is merely a meteor ; the Lakhers have not sur- 
rounded this natural phenomenon with the myths which the 
more imaginative Lushais delight in. In choosing the site for 
a village a cock is taken, and if it does not crow the site will 
not be selected, but if one of the party dream of dead persons 
or bad things this is also sufficient cause for rejecting the 

Among the Lakhers there are no priests of any sort; every 
man is his own priest. At the marriage ceremony the fowl is 
killed by the man who has arranged the match. 



The languages of all the clans dealt with in this monograph, 
except the Lakher, are very similar, and also bear a strong 
resemblance to those of their neighbours. 

Dr. Grierson, in the "Linguistic Survey of India," uses the term 
"Kuki-Chin" to describe all the languages spoken by the clans 1 
have dealt with and their cognates, but he adds: — " Meithei-Chin 
would be a better appellation, as the whole group can be sub- 
divided into two sub-groups, the Meitheis (Manipuris) and the 
various tribes which are known to us under the names of Kuki 
and Chin." Dr. Grierson considers that all the Kuki-Ohin 
languages belong to the Burmese branch of the Tibeto-Burman 
family, and he subdivides them as follows : — 

I. Meithei,* or Manipuri. 

II. Chin languages — 

1. Northern group : Thado, Sokte,* Siyin,* Ralte, and 
Paite or Vuite. 

2. Central group : Tashon,* Lai,* Lakher, Lushai, 
Banjogi,* and Pankhu.* 

3. Old Kuki group : Rhangkhol, Bete (Biate), Hallam, 
Langrong, Aimol, Anal, Chiru, Lamgang, Kolren (Kolhen), 
Kom, Purum, Mhar (Hmar or Khawtlang), and Cha.* 

4. Southern group : Chinme,* Welaung,* Chinbok,* 
Yindu,* Chinbon,* Khyang or Sho,* Khami.* 

With reference to the connection between the different clans. 
Dr. Grierson writes : — " The terms Old Kuki and New Kuki are 
apt to convey the idea that the tribes so denoted are closely 
' Clans marked * are not dealt with in this monograph. 

225 Q 


i-elated to each other. But that is not the case. Not only do 
their customs and institutions differ considerably, but their 
languages are separated by a large group of dialects in the 
Lushai and Chin Hills, and the so-called New Kukis (Thados) 
are, so far as we can see, a Chin tribe, most closely connected to 
the inhabitants of the northern Chin Hills, while the Old Kukis 
are related to tribes more to the south." 

The account of the causes of the Old and New Kuki 
incursions into Cachar, given in Part I, Chap. I, Section 3, 
which was written before I had read Dr. Grierson's book, agrees 
entirely with his conclusions. 

A detailed account has been given in Part I of the Lushai 
language, and, considering the full manner in which the dialects 
of all these tribes have been dealt with by Dr. Grierson in the 
" Linguistic Survey of India," it seems superfluous to attempt to 
give outlines of them, and therefore I propose only to draw 
attention to the many points of similarity between them. The 
works I have consulted are : — " The Linguistic Survey of India," 
Vol. II, Part III, Lorrain and Savidge's " Grammar and 
Dictionary of the Lushai Language," Mr. T. C. Hodson's 
" Grammar and Small Vocabulary of Thado," and the appendix 
to Lieutenant Stewart's " Notes on Northern Cachar," 1855. 

In going through Mr. Hodson's vocabulary of the Thado 
language, the first thing that struck me was the absence of the 
letter R. Further examination showed that where E. is used in 
Lushai and certain other languages G or Gh is substituted in 
Thado. Many instances of this will be found in the following 
comparative vocabulary. 

In many cases F in Lushai, Rhangkhol, and Langrong is 
replaced by Ch, sometimes softened into S in Thado, Manipuri, 
and some Old Kuki dialects. I have so far only found the 
following examples, but the material at my disposal is very 
insufficient, and I have no doubt that, given complete 
vocabularies, many more would be found : — 

" Fa " in Lushai, " cha " in Manipuri and Thado, meaning 
" child." 

" Far-nu " in Lushai and Langrong, " char-nu " in Aimol, 
Kolhen and Lamgang, " sar-nu '' in Chiru, Kom, and Hallam, 
meaning " sister." 


" Fak " in Langrong, " chak " in Manipuri, " cha " in Aimol, 
Anal, Kolhen, Lamgang, " shak " in Chiru, meaning " to eat." 
In Lushai we have " chaw-fak-hun," " rice-eat-time." Until I 
found that " fak " meant " to eat " in Langrong, the Lushai 
equivalent for dinner-time had always puzzled me, as the 
Lushai word for " to eat " is " ei." 

" Fawp " in Lushai, " chop " in Thado, " chup " in Purum, 
meaning " to kiss." 

"Fang" in Bete, "chang" in Thado, meaning "paddy," 
while " fang " in Lushai means " a grain." 

" Fep " in Lushai, " chep " in Thado, meaning " to suck," as 

" Feh " in Lushai, " to go to the jhums," " feh " in Ehangkhol, 
" to go " ; " che " in Thado, Aimol, and Anal, and " chatpa " in 
Manipuri have the same meaning. 

" Fing " in Lushai, " ching " in Thado, " singba " in Manipuri, 
mean " wise." 

" Fu " in Lushai, " chu " in Thado mean " sugar-cane." 

" Fang-hma " in Lushai, " fung-mat " in Bete, " chung-mai " 
in Thado, mean " a pumpkin." 

N in Lushai sometimes becomes " shi " in Lai or Haka 
dialect, as " ni " in Lushai and " shi " in Lai, meaning both " to 
be " and " aunt." 

G and K are often interchanged and also R, L, and N. 

In Lushai we have " lung " meaning both " stpne " and 
" heart," while in Manipuri we have " nung " meaning " stone," 
and though " heart " is translated by " puk," we have " nung- 
siba " " to be sad," evidently composed of " nung " and " siba,"' 
" to die," and also " nung-ngaiba," meaning " happy," showing 
that " nung " once meant heart. 

In many of these languages, similar words are used but have 
slightly different meanings. For instance, " shang " in Lushai 
means " tall," while in Thado and Manipuri we have " sang " 
meaning " long." 

" Leng " in Lushai means " to stroll," and " lengba " in 
Manipuri means "to walk," but is only used of important 
personages who would be likely to move slowly and in a 
dignified manner. 

In Lushai " shat " means " to cut," but as a Lushai's house 

Q 2 


consists of timber and bamboos, he always uses " shat " when 
he speaks of building a house, and we find " sha " in Thado 
and " saba " in Manipuri mean " to make," " to build." 

In Lushai the verb " ni," " to be," is conjugated completely, 
but in Manipuri " ni " means " is " and has no other tenses. 
Manipuri: Ma ai-gi i nau ni. 
Lushai: Ama ka nau a ni. 

English : He my younger brother he is. 

The following comparative vocabulary gives in the first two 
columns the Thado and English words as given by Mr. Hodson. 
The first word in the column of remarks is always Lushai, and 
where it has not exactly the same meaning as the Thado word 
the correct meaning is given ; then follow, where necessary, the 
equivalents in other dialects. 

About one word in every three given in Mr. Hodson 's 
vocabulary has been found to resemble closely the Lushai word 
having the same or a similar meaning. Mr. Hodson's 
vocabulary has no pretensions to be a complete dictionary of the 
Thado language. Were such available I believe the number of 
similar words in the two dialects would be found to be even 
greater. As regards the Old Kuki dialects the information 
available is not sufficient to make a thorough comparison. It 
is clear that they are very closely allied to Lushai and Thado 
and to each other. The connection between Manipuri and 
what Dr. Grierson calls the Chin languages will, I believe, be 
found on further enquiry to be closer than at first appears. 


Lushai and Remarks. 
Ar. Old Kuki dialects, Ar. 
Ai-eng. Beteh, Aishel. 
Ai. Beteh, lae. 
Awle, all right. 

Arshi. Old Kuki dialects the same. 





A-eng or A-yeng Turmeric 

Ai ... 


A-le ... 

True, right ... 

Ashi . . . 


Ban ... 

... Arm 

Bat ... 

To owe 


To beat a drum 

Be ... 


Bon ... 

To wrestle ... 

Bong ... 




Bu ... 


Chem ... 


Chep ... 

To suck 

Chi ... 


Chok ... 

To buy 

Da ... 

To spread 

Choi ... 


Cham ... 


Dang ... 



. Dew ... .. 



Deng ... 

To beat 

Ding ... 

To stand 

Di ... 


Doi ... 


Dei ... 

. ... Weak 

Dui ... 

To love 

Dum .. 


Eng ... 


Ga ... 




Be, all sorts of peas and beans. 





Chem. Same in Old Kuki dialect. 


Chi ; and in Old Kuki dialects also. 

Chawk. In most Old Kuki dialects, 

Chok or Chak, and Purum has 

Lei, which is the commoner word 

in Lushai. 
Da, to put. 

Chawl, to rest when tired. 

Deng, to pound, to hammer. 

Doi ; and in Old Kuki dialects. 
Doih, cowardly. 
Duh, to like, to desire. 
Dum-ei, Dum-bawm, tobacco box ; 

but the usual word is Vai-hlo. 

Ra ; also Beteh. 
Ram, country, Hla, distant. In 

Old Kuki dialects. La, Hla, and 





... Forest 



... To pass the night 
... Hail 





. . . Pregnant 

... Enemy 

... Heavy 

... Sound 


... Lean 


... A bone 


... A thief, to steal 

Ghul ... 

... A snake 



. . , To worry 
. . . A bamboo 


... To cremate ... 


... Tooth 


... To set fire to... 



. . . Blow through 
... Rich 


... To know 



... Sharp 

. . To soothe 


. . . Month, the moon . 





... Wing 

... Song 

... To suffice 
... To enter... 


... Garden 


. . . To sliake 


•- A dog 


... House 


... To climb ... , 


... To walk 




.. Dry 

... To shoot 

... Goat 


. . . To be broken ... 


..- Bitter 


... Chin 

Khelbuk ... 

... Thigh 


... Bee 


... To collect ... 


... Drum 

... To feel cold ... 



.. Cough 

... Knee 



Lushai and Remarks. 
Ram. The Lushai Hills being 

covered with forest, Ram means 

both country and forest. Mang 

appears in the Manipuri, U-Mang. 
Ria(k). Of. Manipuri. Lek. 
Rial. Manipuri, Lei. 

Ral. Manipuri, Lai ; Beteh, Ral. 
Rit. Beteh, Rik. 
Ring, loud. 
Rawp, to become thin, to waste 

Ru ; also in Manipuri and Old Kuki 

Ru ; also in Beteh. 
Rul ; also in Old Kuki dialects. 

Manipuri, Lil. 
Rim, tired, toilworn. 
Ro, a particular sort of bamboo. 
Rawh, to heat, to roast. 
Ha, and in all Old Kuki dialects. 
Hal ; also in Beteh. 
Ham, to play a wind instrument. 
Hao-sak ; the k is nearly silent. 
Thei, to be able ; Hre or Hriat, to 

know. Manipuri, Heiba, to know 

how to do. 

Thlem, to pacify. 
Thla ; and Manipuri and Old Kuki 

dialects, Tlia or Thla. 

Tling-tlak, to complete. 

Hot, to stir with spoon. 
Ui. Hui or Ui in Manipuri and all 

Old Kuki dialects. 
In ; and in all Old Kuki dialects. 
Kal, to go ; also in Langrong. 

Kang, to dry up. Manipuri, Kangba. 


Kel ; and in all Old Kuki dialects. 



Kha, the lower jaw. 

Khel, side of upper part of thigh. 


Khon. Manipuri, Khom-silba. 


Khua a shik. 


Khup. Manipurij Khuk-u ; Beteh, 

Kut. Rhangkhol, Gut ; all other 

Old Kuki dialects and Manipuri, 

either Khut or Kut. 





Keng bai 


Kol a phe 
Kong ... 
Korka . . . 
Ku ... 

Ku ... 
Khul ... 
Kum . . . 









To call 

To lighten 
The waist 
A door ... 
Village ... 

To cover... 
A hole ... 

To take ... 


... Middle, navel 


... To dig 


. ... Writing, the art 

of reading and 



... Direction 


... Road 

Tongue .. 


Lei-chung ... 

... Bridge .. 


. . . White ant 


... Net 


■ • Big 

To fly 

Form, shape 

Jhum, cultivation 

Medicine, drug .. 
Suffix o£ negation.. 

Lushai and Remarks. 


Ke bai. 

Ki. Manipuri, Chi or Ji ; Beteh, 

Ko ; and the same in Manipuri. In 
most Old Kuki dialects, Ko, Koi, 
or Kai. 

Kawl a phe ; and the same in Beteh. 

Kawng, the loins. 


Rhua. Manipuri, Khul. Variations 
of this are found in all dialects. 

Khum. Manipuri, Khumba. 

Khur ; and in Old Kuki dialects. 

Kum . Manipuri, Kumsi, thieyear. 
All Old Kuki dialects have Kum. 

Lak, with almost silent k. In all 
Old Kuki dialects the word is very 
nearly the same. It also has the 
meaning to bring, and so may be 
compared with the Manipuri 
Lak pa, to come. 

Lai ; and in Beteh also. 

Lai, to dig, to hoe. 

Lai-shuih, paper, reading and 
writing. Of. Manipuri, Lairik 
laishuih, writing materials, and 
Kachcha Naga, Laishi. 

Lam. Cf. Manipuri, Lom or Rom. 

Lam-lian, though Kong, or Kal-kong 
is the general word, Lam-lian 
being generally used for a made 
road as compared with a path. In 
Manipuri, Lambi ; and in most 
Chin and Old Kuki dialects, either 
Lam or Lampi. 

Lei. This word with very slight 
variations is found in Manipuri, 
Old Kuki, and all Chin dialects. 

Lei. Cf. Manipuri, Leipak, earth, 

Lei, Lei-lawn. 

Lei-kha. Manipuri, Leisau. 


Lian, contracted into Len. Beteh, 
Lien. Of. Manipuri, Turel or 
Turen — i.e., Tui, water, and Len, 
big, though water in Manipuri is 

Leng, to stroll or float in the air. 
In Manipuri the word means to 
walk, but is only usedi)f the Rajah 
or very important persons. 

Hlim, shadow, shape, picture. 

Lo. This is another word which is 
found in nearly every dialect. 


Lo, not. 

Loi. Cf. Manipuri, Iroi ; Beteh, Siloi. 








... Old 


... Hot, as water 



... Heart disposition .. 
... Face 


... Vegetables 

.. Price 


... Dream 


... To lose, to be spoilt 


... Woman 


... Fire 


... Tail 


... Cloud 


. . . Charcoal 


... Smoke 


... Widow 



... Appearance 

... Name 



... Ripe 

... Person 


... Eye 


... Hill 


... To chew 


... Hawk 


... Beak 


To see 


Mu mul 
Mut . ... 



... Feather, hair, fur... 

... Moustache 

... To sleep 

... Leaf 

... Nose 


Nai ... 

... Ill 

... Near 


... Slippery 


... To smell 



... A strap for carrying 

. . . Younger brother or 



.. Soft 

... Five and Fish 

Lushai and Remarks. 
Lu. Common to all Chin and Old 

Kuki dialects. Cf. Manipuri, 

Luchingba, principal. 
Hlui ; also in Beteh. 

Lung ; also in most Old Kuki dialects. 
Hmai. Manipuri, Mai, and Beteh, 

Mai, a pumpkin. 
Man. Common to Manipuri, Chin, 

and Old Kuki dialects. 
Mang ; also in Manipuri. 
Mang, to die out ; Mang ang, to be 

upset in mind. Manipuri, Mangba, 

to lose ; Manghalba, to spoil. 
Mo, a bride, daughter-in-law. 
Mei, another universal word. 
Mei ; also in Manipuri. 
Ro-mei, haze. 

Hmel, face, appearance. 
Hming. Manipuri, Ming. 
Mi. This word is found in all the 

dialects under consideration. 
Mit, which with very slight varia- 
tions is found in all dialects. 
Mual, a hill, a spur of a hill. 
Hmom, to put into the mouth whole. 
Hmui, beak, upper lip. In most Old 

Kuki dialects, Mur. 
Hmu. Similar word used in all Old 

Kuki dialects except Anal, Purum, 

and Lamgang. 
Hmui hmul. 
Mut, lie down, sleep. 
Hna. In Manipuri and Beteh, Na. 
Hnar. Manipuri, Chin, and Old 

Kuki very similar, 
Na, pain. Manipuri, Na. 
Hnai. Manipuri, Nakpa ; Chin and 

Old Kuki dialects, Nai or similar 

Nal. Manipuri, NSlba, slippery, 

Nam. Manipuri, Namba ; Beteh, 



Nau. Found in Manipuri and in 
many Old Kuki dialects, some- 
times Nai. 

Nem ; also in Beteh. 

In all Chin, Old Kuki dialects, and 










Nom ... 
Nau-shen . . 
Nu ... . 

To be customary . . . 

Pishing weir 

Mad, foolish 

Sun, day 


To laugh 

To wish 


Mother, female 


. . . After, behind 




Pa-gong ... 

... Girl 


... Father, and male 

A widower 

... A male 


... The creator 


... To give 

Pengpulep ... 

... Butterfly 



... Level 

... To dry in the sun... 





... Clan 

... To place upright in 

the ground 

. . . Grandmother 

... Feminine suffix for 






Suffix denoting 

... To carry 

... Straw 

... Cloth 


... Grandfather 

Lushai and Remarks. 

Ngai ; has many meanings. 


Ngol-tawt, obstinate, uncontrollable. 
Manipuri, Ngaoba. 

Ni. In all Chin and Old Kuki dia- 
lects and in Manipuri, we have. 

Ni ; also in most Old Kuki dialects. 

Nui. Manipuri, Nokpa ; Beteh, 

Nuara, contracted into Nora. 


Nu, in nearly all these dialects. 
Appears in Manipuri in Nupi, 
woman, and "I cha nupi," my child 
female — i.e., davighter. Nupi is 
especially interesting because it 
combines both the Lushai female 
suffixes Nu and Pui. 

Nunga. Most dialects very similar. 
Of. Manipuri, Back, Namgan. 


Awle. Beteh, Ove. 

Pa, in all these dialects and Mani- 

Parol ; note the change of g into r. 

Pasal, a husband ; Pasal-tha (man 
good), a brave man, hero. The 
word is used for man in several 
Old Kuki dialects. 

Pathian. With very slight variations 
common to all these clans except 

Pe. Very similar terms in all these 

dialects. Manipuri, Piba. 
Phengphehlep ; Beteh Phelep. The 
Lushai may be Pheng, flat ; Phe- 
phe, to move ; Hlep, a slice. 

Pho. In Manipuri the word has the 
same meaning and also means 
Phung-chang, fellow-clansman. 



Pui. Found in many Old Kuki dia- 
lects. In Manipuri, "bi" is the 
feminine termination of adjectives. 

Pui. Common in one form or other 
to nearly all these dialects. 

Paw, to carry on the back. 


Puan. The word in Chin and nearly 
all Old Kuki dialects is either the 
same or very similar. 

Pu ; and in Manipuri and all Chin 
and Old Kuki dialects. The word 
has also other meanings, such as 
maternal uncle. 







Shai ... 
She ... 

Shem ... 
Shi ... 
Shil .. 
Soi, with 
Shok ... 



To carry on the 





... Tall 


... Thousand 


... Porcupine 

Sanga .. 

... Wildcat 


. ... To cut 


. . . Hot, of weather . . 


... To build 


To say 


To make 

To be cold ... 
To wash the body 
To converse ... 
A slave 


Sunga . . . 


Lushai and Remarks. 
Puak, to carry on the back. Mani- 

puri, Puba, to carry. 
Pum, belly. Manipuri, Puk. There 
is a curious dissimilarity here in 
most Old Kuki dialects, in which 
Won or some such word is used 
for belly. 


Sa. The word is used generally for 
wild animals. In Lushai it is pre- 
fixed to the names of wild animals 
and to those of such domestic 
animals as are not indigenous. 
Thus, Sa-kor, a horse ; Sa-kei, a 
tiger ; while Kel, a goat, Shial, a, 
mithan, Ui, a dog, have no prefix. 
Sa is used in the same manner in 
Manipuri — Sagol, a horse ; Sa- 
ngamba, an otter ; Saji, a barking 
deer, &c. The word is found In 
Old Kuki dialects. 

Sam. In Manipuri, Chin, and Old 

Shang. Manipuri, Sangba, long. 

Shang. Beteh, Shang. 

Sa-kuh. Manipuri, Sa-bu. 


Shat, to chop. 

Sha. Manipuri, Saba. 

Shat, to cut. As all buildings and 
bridges were originally of timber, 
building meant cutting, and a 
Lushai always says, " In ka shat," 
" I build a house." In Manipuri, 
Saba means to make or build. 



Shiel, but in conjunction She ; She- 
pui, full-grown cow, mithan. 

Shiam. Manipuri, Semba. 


Sil, to wash. 

Thu, word ; Shoi, to say. 

Sal is the Lushai for a slave ; but 
Suak, found in so many names, 
evidently means slave (v. Part I, 
Ch.IV,p. 6). All Old Kuki dialects 
have very similar words for slave 
or servant. 

Sum. This word seems only to be 
found in Langrong among Old 
Kuki dialects. In the other dia- 
lects we find Nenun, Nei, Neina, 
which correspond to the Lushai 
Nei, to own ; or Lai or Ral. Lai 
in Lushai means chief— i.e., the 
rich man ; Cf. Hausa— in Lushai, 
rich, and in Thado, a chief. 









. . . Rupee, silver 


... A young man 


... To kill 


... To be permitted 
to be able .. .. 


... New 


... Arrow 


Edible fruit 


... Blood 


... Iron 


... Tree 


... Fat 


... To die 


... To say 


. . . Finger nail, claw . . 


.. A fly 


... Water 


... Nowadays 


... Grandchild 


... Left (direction) .. 


... To beat 




.. The sky 

Wa-phol ... 

.. The pied hornbill. 



Wompi ... . 

.. Bear 


To stink 


.. Skin 


.. Ashes 

Ya-cha ... . 

.. To be ashamed . 


.. Night 


.. Yellow 


.. Dense, as jungle . 


.. To complete ... . 


.. To sell 


.. Rice beer ... . 

Lushai and Remarks. 
Tam. In Aimol, Chiru, Kolhen, 

Kom, and Purum, Tam is a plural 

That. Manipuri, Hatpa. 

Thei, to be able. 
Thar. Beteh, Thur. 

Manipuri, Tel ; Beteh, Thul. 

Manipuri, Hei. 
Beteh, Thi ; Manipuri, I. 

Cf. Manipuri, Sing, 







Thao. Gf. Manipuri, 

grease, and Thau, oil. 
Thi. Of. Manipuri, Si-ba. 
Ti. In most Old Kuki dialects. The. 

Tho-shi, a mosquito. 
Tui. Ti, Tui, or Dui in all Chin and 

Old Kuki dialects. Gf. Manipuri, 

Tu-ren (Tui-len), a river. 
Tuna, now. 
Tu. Is found in this sense through 

all these dialects. 
Vei. Manipuri, Woi. 
Vuak, or Vel. Aimol, Ve ; Kolhen, 

Wei ; Kom, Wuk ; Purum, Wei ; 

Lai (Haka), Vel ; Siyin, Vat. 
Vok. Manipuri, Ok. Vok or Wok 

are found in all Chin and Old Kuki 

Va-pual. Va is a prefix denoting 

bird, employed as Sa is with 

animals. Wa is used in the same 

way in Thado. 

Sa-vom. Manipuri, Sa-wom. 

Vun. Manipuri, Un. 
Vut. Manipuri, Ut. 
Zah-thlak, shameful. 
Zu, a word found in one form or 

other throughout the Hills. 

The Lusliai Clans 


Jdin Bartholomcvr & Co-. XSiif 


For words not explained, but having Roman numerals set against them, 
see Glossary. 

Abortion, 2; Thado, 200; Vuite, 

Adoption, 48, 54, 200 
Agriculture, 27, 28, 32, 139. See 

under Jhum 
Ai, xix, 78 et seq. ; Rangte, 147 ; 

Thado, 205, 207 
Aichhana, a Thado, 142 
Aijal (Ai-zawl), 4, 5, 7, 12, 102, 108, 

131, 139, 149, 151, 185 
Aijal-Champhai road, 108 
Aijal-Falam road, 62 
Aijal- Lungleh road, 4 
Aimol, Old Kuki clan, xv, xix, 8, 64, 

89, 149 et seq., 160-1, 169 et seq. 
Ai-mual village, 151 
Ai-zawl, 77, 78 
Allan, B. C, xviii 

A-ma-pi, a Lakher marriage price, 219 
Amber, 215 

Ambush and pitfalls, 60 ; Vuite, 144 
Anal, Old Kuki clan, 149 et seq., 161, 

165, 167, 169, 171 
Ancestor-worship, 65, 71, 89, 201 
An-hmu, Lakher equivalent of 

Uihring sacrifice, 223 
Animals, domestic, 32 
Anthropological Institute, The, 2 
Aohmun, branch of Chuaongo clan, 

Arem, a Chiru festival, 168 
Ar-kang-tha, a Thado birth sacrifice, 

Arke-ziak, Lushei head-dress, 11 
Ar-Khal sacrifice, 72, 73 
Arracan, 7. 67 
Arte-hring-ban {or khaw-hring-tir) 

sacrifice, 81 
Arte-luilam sacrifice, 81 
Arte-pum-phelna sacrifice, 81 


Asiatic Dissertations, xix, 108 
Awk, legend of the, 92, 183 
Awk-pa, Kora legend, 183 
Aw-rua-baw-na, a Lakher marriage 
price, 218-19 

Bailchi, branch of Hualbang clan, 126 
Banerji, BabuNithox Nath, 176, 182, 

Barak (Tualruang) river, 109 
Barkhul, 4 

Basilisk, myth of, 105 
Basket work, 28, 29 
Bawl, a Lakher sacrifice, 222 
Bawl-pui sacrifice, 74, 223 
Bawlte village, 136 
Bear, superstition about the, 102 
Beh-dieng-khlam, a Synteng (Khasi) 

custom, 167 
Bengalis, king of the, 96 
Bengkhawia, tale of, 79 
Benglama, equivalent of Lushai 

Chhura, 207 et seq. 
Bete clan, 148 
Betlu village, 131 
Bhuban caves, the, 187, 188 
Biate (Beteh) tribe, 6, 49, 108, 110, 

185, 187-8 
Biate tribe, 136 
Birds entering houses, superstition, 

Birth. See under Child 
Blacksmiths, 17, 30, 153 
Blackwood, Captain, 5 
Blue Mountain, the, 213, 214 
Boar, devil possessed, 112 

Sacrificed, 64 

Fanai, 139 

Khelte and Siakeng, 141 

Vuite, 144 



Bochung, branch of Hualngo clan, 

Bohmong tribe, 213 
Boi, xix, 46-50 

Old Kuki, 153 

Vuite, 144 

Thado, 198 
Boklua, illegitimate son of Ngehuka, 

Bolawng Raia image, 187 . 
Borh, an Aimol she-demon, 158 
Bouchesiche, Mons., xix 
Brass- work, 29 
British Government, 4, 5, 41, 49, 99, 

149, 192 
Browne, Sir Thomas, 106 
Bualchuan hill, 71-2 
Bualte (" Dipwell ") village, 140 
Buh-ai feast, xix, 90-1, 110 

Rangte, 147 

Vuite, 145 

Old Kuki, 186 

Thado, 205 
Buhraan hiU, 71, 72 
Buh-za-ai, xix 
Buh-za-zu feast, 91 

Fanai, 137 
Bulropa, Old Kuki puitham, 153 
Bung tree, 187, 208 
Bunkhua, a Chin village, 7, 59 
Burkhal, 43 

Burma [Kawl], 14, 15, 28-9, 125, 
131, 132, 163, 173, 174, 175, 189, 

Caohak, xiii, 1, 6, 148, 185, 187, 1S9, 

190, 193, 197, 226 
Carey, B. S., xiv, xvii, 131, 213 
Cattle, 21 
Chai dance, 84, 91 
Chaichim, the mouse, 109 
Chaita, a branch of Aimol clan, 153 
Chalbuk, branch of Hualbang clan, 

Chalthleng, branch of Hualngo clan, 

Chamershi, a Kolhen festival, 169 
Champhai, xviii, 3, 6, 77, 136, 140 
Chang-do-ni, last day of feast, 88 
Changom, branch of Ronte clan, 173 
Changsan, brother of Thlangom, 192 
Changte clan, 125, 127 
Chansan, a branch of Thado clan, 

Chap-ohar-kut festival, 86-7, 91, 169, 

172, 223 
Chapui-chol-lai, holiday, 159 
Chaw Chyn, a Lakher marriage price, 


Chawifa, a portent, 104-5, 224 
Chawngthu family, 13 
Chawn, a Vuite Thangehhuah sacri- 
fice, 145 
Chawntinleri, a spirit maiden, 68 
Chawte, Old Kuki clan, 130, 135, 149 

etseq., 165, 169, 170, 173 
Chemhler, branch of Tochong clan, 

Chemhler, branch of Vanchong clan, 

Chemsen boi, 46, 48, 49 
Chengpui village, 4 
Chengrel, branch of Vanchong clan, 

Chengri river, 4 
Chengtea, Zawngte chief, 135 
Chenkhual, branch of Thangur clan, 

Chenkhuala, ancestor of Chenkual 

clan, 125 
Cherlal, branch of Pachuao clan, 

Cherlalla, illegitimate son of Zadenga, 

Cherra, 7 
Cherput, branch of Hualbang family, 

Chertluang, branch of Hualbang 

family, 126 
Chhak-chhuak ("Come out of the 

East ") family, 127 
Chhakom, branch of Tochong family, 

Chhawng-chili, tale of, 107-8 
Chhawndawl, Lushei head-dress, 11 
Chhawthliak, branch of Pachuao clan, 

Chhim sacrifice, 76 
Chimnuai village, 143 
Chhinchhuuan, a Thado family, 185, 

190 et seg., 202, 205 
Chhinga Raia image, 187 
Chhingluug, hole in the earth whence 

the world was peopled, 94, 139 
Known to Old Kukis as Khurpui, 

Chawte account, 151 
Known to Thados as Khulpi, 193 
Chhirbuk, Chiru zawlbuk, 168 
Childbirth customs — 
Lakher, 223 
Lushei, 81-2 
Old Kuku, 160 et seq. 
Rangte, 147 
Ronte and Tarau, 174 
Khelte and Siakeng, 142 
Vuite, 144-5 
Deaths in, 164, 166 



Children — 
Posthumous killed, 87 
Still-born, 223 
Tobacco smoking, 12 
Chindwin (Upper) river, 174, 189 
Chinese superstition about birds, 

Chin Hills, xiii, xiv, xviii, 14, 126, 

129, 140, 143, 150, 213, 226 
Chin Hills Gazetteer, 131 
Chin Languages, classification of, 225 
Chinghrut, a vegetable, 187 
Chins, the, xiii, xviii, 4, 5, 8, 9, 20, 

24, 46, 56-60, 95, 108, 110, 126, 

129, 132, 133, 135, 136, 140, 

146, 193, 198, 205, 213, 214, 215, 

Chiru, an Old Kuki clan, 8, 9, 22, 

131, 149 et seq., 162, 165, 168, 

169, 171 
Chittagong, xiii, xviii, 5, 6, 75, 95, 

Chittagong Hill Tracts, xiii, 1, 4, 6, 

Chhoalak, branch of Pachuao elan, 

Chhungte, dependants living in house, 

Chhura, the shaper of the world, 92, 

99, 188, 207 
Chinza, tribe, 214 
Chonchhon, branch of Chuachang clan, 

Chonchir, branch of Chuachang clan, 

Chong, Thangur-chhuah feast, 87-8, 

Fanai substitute for, 137 
Ngente, 153 
Rangte, 147 
Thado, 204, 207 
Chongdur, a Chiru family, 154 
Chonghoiyi village, 132, 134 
Chonglal, branch of Pachuao clan, 125 
Chonluma, a Hrangchal chief, 185 
Chonglun, branch of the Changte 

clan, 125 
Chongom, a, branch of Aimol clan, 

Ohongpuithanga, a demon, 66 
Chongte, Lushei clan, 126 
Chongthleng, stone at, 100 
Chongthu, a non-Lushei clan, 93, 

130-1, 167 
Chongthu, nickname of Lersia, 131, 

150, 154 
Ohonlut, a Biate chief, 187 
Chonuma, a Huamte chief, 131 
Christ's Village, 62 

Chuachang, a Lushei clan, 126 
Chuango, Lushei family, 140 
Chuaongo, Luahei clan, 126, 140 
Chuokmah tribe, 5, 7, 185 
Chultuk, a Purum festival, 169 
Chumkal, branch of Hualbang clan, 

Chumthluk, branch of Chuaongo 

clan, 126 
Cloth, 30-1, 65 

Legendary origin of, 140 
Cock, sacrificed, 72, 73, 74, 77, 80 et 
seq., 90, 133, 159, 162-3, 169, 186 
Cockatrice, Myth of, 105 
Combs, 13, 203, 215-16 

Pulling the, 166 

Tug of war with, 134 

Use of, for sick children, 82 
Crow, 104, 153 

Dai-bawl, sacrifice, xix, 70, 73 et seq 

Aimol and Chiru, 158-9 

Thado, 201 et seti. 
Daibtm, a Thado Jhum sacrifice, 202 
Daikam, a Thado sacrifice, 202 
Dailova, Tale of, 66-7 
Dallesari river, 3 
Dances, 38, 87, 169, 170 

Fanai, 138 
Danla, a Chiru family, 154 

Old Kuki, 152 
Dapa, Rangte legends of, 147 
Darchao, branch of Pachuao clan, 125 
Darohawa, illegitimate son of 

Zadenga, 125 
Darchun, branch of Changte clan, 125 
Darlung peak, 3 
Davis, A. W. , xviii 
Dwangbul, Ralte marriage price to 
male and female paternal first- 
cousins, 141 
Dawngler, do, 141 
Dead, Burial of, see under Funerals, 

Spirits of, 65, 78 

Rangte, 147 

Vuite, 144 

Old Kuki, 157-8, 170 
Deer, Barking, 64 
Demagri, xv, 4, 95 
Demons. See under Spirits 
Deo-bi, Thado poison, 197 
Dil lake, 67 

Dingthoi, a Chiru family, 154 
Dipwell Village, 140 

Lushei, 52, 144 

Old Kuki, 156 



Dogs, 32, 

eaten, 36 

sacrificed, 75, 77, 102, 159, 168, 
172-3, 175, 201 
Dongel, Thado's elder brother, 142-3, 

189, 190, 201 
Drake-Brookman, C. B., 132, 134 
Dreams, 104, 224 
Dress, 8 et seq. 

Old Kuki, 186 

Lakher, 14 
Drinking feasts, 173 
Drum-making festivals, 171-2 
Dulian, the Lushei language, xiv, 114 
Dungtlang river, 5 
Dzo, xvii 

Earrings, 13, 65, 143, 161 

Vuite or Paihte, 143 
Ear-piercing, 161-2, 174 
Earthquakes, Old Kuki idea about, 

Eclipses, Legends and superstitions 

concerning, 92, 123 
Old Kuki, 182 et seq., 187 
Effigies, 74, 76, 88, 89, 109, 111, 175, 

Elephants, 35, 44, 45, 64, 196 
Elmun, Ancestorof Shit-hloh clan, 191 
Endogamy, 50, 153, 154, 167, 173 
Enlawk, Opening of coffin, 85 
Epidemics, 74^6 
Exogamy, 50, 153, 167, 173 
Exorcism, 111-12 

Pachibang, Tale of, 177 et seq. 
Falam, tribe, 3, 126, 143, 151 
Fanai, a Non-Lushei clan, 8, 89, 136 et 

Fangtet, branch of Hualbang clan, 

Fanodawi sacrifice, 80 
Feasts, 65, 86 

Ngente, 133 

Old Kuki, 160 et seq. See under Kut 
Fielding Hall, Mr., 163 
Firminger, W. K., note by, xviii-xix 
Fishing, 35-6 

Thado, 198 
Flood, Legends of, 95, 176 
Folk-lore, Lushei, 92-112 

Old Kuki, 176-184 

Thado, 207-212 
Foster, Wm., xviii 
Fowls, Kinds of, 32 

Legendary origin of, 94 

Sacrificed, 80, 81, 133, 145, 147, 158, 
159, 161, 167, 169 

Superstitions concerning, 103 

French Customs Department, 15 
Frog, tale of, xiv 
Funeral ceremonies 

Fanai, 139 

Khelte and Siakeng, 142 

Lushei, 83-6 

Lakher, 221 et seq 

Ngente, 133 

Old Kuki, 164-6, 187 

Ronte and TaraB, 174 

Vuite, 143 

Zawngte, 135 

Thado, 204 

Games — 

Kang-Sanaba, 39 
Koi, 39 

Vai-lung-thlan, 39 
Gaonbura, Ghalim transformed into, 

Garos, The, xiv, 70 
Genna, xix, 69 
Ghalim, Old Kuki elected headman 

and priest, 149 
Ghumoishe, Thado demon king, 200 
Gibbon, 80, 145 ; legendary origin of, 

93 ; superstitions concerning, 103 
Gnura (MuUah),140 
Goat, 32, 151; sacrificed, 73, 130, 

Golha, Thado "palal," 199 
Grierson, Dr., 134, 143, 148, 185, 

189 225-8 
Gurdon' Colonel P. R., 69, 76, 167 
Gurkhas, the, 110 
Gwite, son of Dongel, 143 

Hair, method of wearing, etc. ,2, 12, 

82 f. ; Fanai, 137 ; Ronte, 174 ; 

Old Kuki, 152, 166, 186 ; Lakher, 

215, 222 
use in witchcraft, 109 
Haka village, 110, 131 

tribe, 131-2 
Hall, Captain, 110 
Hallam (Khelma), an Old Kuki elan, 

Hanngeng, a Thado, 193 
Hanngeng, a branch of Thado elan, 

192-3, 225 
Haobul, a branch of Haonar clan, 126 
Haobuk feast, 80 
Haonar Lushei clan, 126 
Haothul, a branch of Haonar clan, 

Hats, 9, 215 
Haubi peak, 150 
Haukip, a Thado clan, 190 et seq., 

201, 207 



Kanghmun village, 35 

Kangjupkhul village, 159 

Kangmang hill, 150 

Kangpulzam sacrifice, 74 

Kang Sanaba, Manipuri game, 39 

Karmindai, firat day of Keidun 

festival, 166-7 
Kassalong river, 4 
Kawl Burma, q.v. 
Kawlchi, a branch of Changte clan, 

Kawlhring (Burma-bom), 131, 132, 

Kawlnam, copy of Burmese dah, 15 
Kawlni, a Non-Lushei clan, 131 
Keichala, a sorcerer, 109 
Keidun, Kolhen festival in April, 

Keimi, a tiger-man, 177. 
Kei-ma, a Lakher marriage price, 

Kela, a Lushei, 102. 
Kel-khal sacrifice, 73 
Kelsi village, 185 
Keng-puna, name-giving, 161. 
Khal Sacrifices, xix, 70, 72 et seq. 
Not practised by the Lakher, 223 
Ngente, 134 
nor by Rangte, 147 
nor by Thado, 201 
Vuite practise Uihring only, 145 
Khal-chuang sacrifice, 73 
IChalkhama, a Lushei chief, 7 
Khasi people. The, 69, 76 (Synteng), 

Kawchhay anOldKukiolan, 149, 185 

et seq. 
Khawkawk hill, 71 
Khawhring, xix, 81, 11.1-12, 164, 223 
Khawhring-hring-tir, a charm, 81 
Khawpui creeper, 140 
Khawtlang tribe, xiii, 6, 8, 40, 74, 

96, 100, 147, 149, 185 
Khawzahuala, Zadeng chief, 140 
Khazang (Loitha), 220-1 
Khelma, Old Kuki clan, 185 
Khelte clan, 140-1 
Kheltea, a Ralte chief, 140 
Kherpui. See under Chhinglung. 
Khongzia clan, 190 
Khonza= Thado, q.v. 
Khuangchoi feast, 89, 94; Fanai, 

137 ; Siakeng, 142 ; Ngente, 

133 ; Lakher, 222. 
Khuang-that, a Vaiphai Thangch- 

huah ceremony, 171 
Khuavang, xix, 61, 67-8, 95, 110, 

Ul, 180 et seq. 
Khuavang-hring sacrifice, 75, 223 

Kliuavang-zawl, hypnotism, 110-11 

Khuazim, hill, 140 

Khul-lakpa, Old Kuki village officer, 

153, 154, 164, 167, 172, 173 
Khulpi, Thado equivalent of Lushai 

Chhinglung, 193 
Khupno, a branch of Hualbang clan, 

Khupno, a branch of Hualngo clan, 126 
Khulpu, Old Kuki puithiam, 153, 

160, 161, 169, 174 
Khulpu-in, a Ronte family, 173 
Khuptingi, tale of, 209-11 
Khyoung-tha, sons of the river 105 
Kiang, a Chawte family, 154 
Kiangte, a non-Lushei clan, 132 
Kicheo (Kutsa-zawng), Lakher fes- 
tival, 223 
Kipgen, a Thado clan, 190 eteeg., 201 
Klangklang. See under Thlangtlang 
Klongshai, Chin name for Lakher 

clan, 213 
Kobru hill, 159, 168, 172 188 
Kochuk, 190 
Koichung (Leivon), a branch of 

Aimol clan, 153 
Koihrui-an-ohat, a Ngente festival, 

132, 134, 168 
Koku hill, 146 

Koladyne river, 1, 7, 135, 136, 214 
Kolhen, Old Kuki clan, 149 et seq., 

162-3, 165, 166, 169, 171 
Kom, Old Kuki clan, 8, 149 et seq., 

163, 165, 166, 169, 171 
Konglung village, 7, 136 
Kongpuishiam sacrifice, 35, 77 
Kuchom, Thado she-demon, 201. 
Kuki, 1-2, 5, 6, 8 ; meaning of term, 

Kukis, the old, xiii, xvii, 6, 129-134, 

147, 148-188 
Kukis, the nevir, xiii, 6, 129, 189 ; 

see under Thado 
Kuki language, xvii 
Kulho, a branch of Thado clan, 192- 3 
KuUon, a branch of Thado clan, 

Kul-lo-mi {c/. Thado Kulsamnu), 

Rangte belief about, 147 
Kulsamnu, troubles of thangchhuah, 

dead, 147, 201 
Kumpinu, the "Company's mother," 

Kumpui, xix 

Kungori, Legend of, 177 et seq. 
Kurnaphili river, 1, 43, 95 
Kut, xix, 86 et seq., 205 ; Vuite, 145 
Kutsa-zawng, Lakher festival, 223 
Kwe-Hring village, 131-132 



Hauhul, chief who swallowed the 

moon, 92 
Hausata, Chin chief, 4 
Hawlthang, a branch of Haukip 

family, 191 
Head-hunting, 59, 157, 200, 220 
Hearth superstition, 104 
Heawood, E., xix. 
Hehua, co-anoestor of the Ralte clan, 

Hen, sacrificed, 47, 147 
Henngar, a branch of Thado clan, 193 
Henngar, son of Kulho, 193 
Hilo, a Thado she-demon, 201 
Hlamzuih (flrst-born dying shortly 

after birth), xix, 62, 86, 223 
Hlengel, a branch of Chuaongo clan, 

Hmar (" North "), Old Kuki clans, 185 
Hmarchung sacrifice, 77 
Hmarkhat sacrifice, 77 
Hmar-phir sacrifice, 77 ; Siakeng, 141 
Hminga, a Lushei, 66 
Hmnapel, branch of Chuaongo clan, 

Hmongphunga's village, 35 
Hmunklinga, a Lakher chief, 213 
Hnuaipui ("great beneath"), Fanai 

Sakhua sacrifice, 139 
Hnuaite ("lesser beneath"), Fanai 

Sakhua sacrifice, 139 
Hodson, T. C, 105, 150, 226, 228 
Homicide, Old Kuki, 157 ; Thado, 

200; Vuite, 144. 
Horubill, 104 
Manipuri fashion, 151 
Method of building 

Lushei, 22 et seq. 

Old Kuki, 151 

Lakher, 214 
Superstitions connected with, 104 
Thado, 193 
Vuite, 145. 
Howlong tribe, 5 
Hpohtir, a Kuki, 179 
Hrangehal, a Kuki man, 179 et seq. 
Hrangchali, a Kuki woman, 178 et seq. 
Hrangchul, an Old Kuki clan, 6, 185 
Hrangkunga, a Lushei, 35 
Hranglal hill, 150 
Hrang-sai-puia, a magician, 109. 
Hrangzova, Lushei chaprassi, 106 
Hrasel, a Lushei clan, 126 
Hrilh, xix, 69, 72, 73, 75, 78, 80, 87, 

HI, 135, 139, 202 
Hring-ai-tan sacrifice, 75, 223 
Hringfa hill, 131 
Hringlang hill, 63 

Hri-pa, Lakher equivalent for Rara- 

huai, 221 
Hruitung, a jungle vegetable, 187 
Huai, xix, 61, 65 et seq., 95, 102, 158, 

159, 188, 200 
Hualbang, a Lushei clan, 126 
Hualgno, a Lushei clan, 3, 126 
Huante, a nou-Lushei clan, 131 
Hun, a Thado feast, 207 
Hunting, 33-5, 196 

Sacrifices connected with 77 et seq. 
Hweltu village, 59 

Illegitimacy, 53, 54, 150 

Images worshipped bytheBiate, 187. 

See under Effigies 
Imphal, capital of Manipur, xv, 190, 

Impuichhung (slaves), 46 et seq. 
Imungshe, wife of demon Ghumcishe, 

Incest, 142, 152 
in-chhia-shem-ni (house - repairing 

day), 87-8 

Vuite, 144 
Inhawn custom, 186 
Inheritance, 54, 155, 200 
In-thian (Thi-thin), funeral feast, 86, 

Iron-work, 30 
Irung, a Chawte family, 154 

Jetb family, 167 

Jewels, 14 

Jhum, xix, 17, 18, 44, 71, 80, 129 

Festivals connected with, 86 et seq. 

Chiru, 168 

Old Kuki, 156 

Thado, 194 

Sacrifices connected with, 80-1, 
169, 175, 202 

Superstitions connected with, 101 
et seq. 
Job's tears, 87 

Justice, decisions how administered, 
55, 56 

Old Kuki, 157 

Thado, 195 

Offences, Personal, 54-5, 220 

Offences, Property, 54, 220 

Kaedi, a Naga tribe, 143, 166 
Kairuma, a Lushei chief, 49 
Kaithum, a branch of Vanehong clan, 

Kamhau clan, 30,143 ,190 
Kamzakhoi, Old Kuki village officer, 

153 ^ 




Lackhia, a Lakher festival, 223 
Lai-haranba, Manipuri " god-pleas- 
ing " ceremony, 69 
Laishel family, 167 
Laita (Mangte), a branch of Aimol 

clan, 153 
Lakher (Mara), a non-Lushei clan, 

xiii, xviii, 105, 129, 213-224 
Lai, xix, 43, 153 

Lalbawn,abranchof Pachuao clan, 125 
Lalbuta's village, 66 
Lalchheva, a Thangluah chief, 4 
Lalchhung, dependents in chief's 

house, 46 
Lalia, a Lakher festival, 223 
Laller, a branch of Chuaongo clan, 126 
Lallianvunga, a Sailo chief, 140 
Lallula, a Lushai chief, 7 
Lalmanga, a Ngente chief, 132, 134 
Lalmichinga, a Kawlhring chief, 132 
Lalmanga, a Lushai hero, 109 
Lalsavunga, a Sailo chief, 185 
Lalsukta (Lalohakla), a Pallian chief, 

Lalul, a Sailo chief, 3, 5 
Lamgang, Old Kuki clan, 149 et seq. , 

162, 165, 167, 169, 171 
Lamkut, a Kava feast, 169 
Lamleia, egg-hatched chief, 142 
Language, Lushei, xiii, xviii, 113-124 

Non-Lushei, 225-235 
Lashi, xix, 68-9, 158 
Lanu, a branch of Aimol clan, 153 
Lanu, a branch of Ronte clan, 173 
La-pi, Thado funeral chant, 204 
Lathang, a branch of Chuachang 

clan, 126 
Lavar river, 131 
Leiven (Koichung), a branch of Aimol 

clan, 153 
Lemba's wife, a Fanai queen, 137-8 
Leng hill, 176 
Leng village, 99 
Lentlang river, 131 
Leplupi, co-ancestor of the Ralte, 139 
Lershia, a Chongthu chief, 131 
liew'm^Lt.-Col. T. H. ("Thangliana"), 

vi, xiii, xiv, xvii, xviii, 6, 7, 45, 

60, 105, 109, 177, 178 
Lianchi, a Lakher chief, 21 3 
Lianglunga, tale of, 68 
Liankhama, a Lushai chief, 7 
Lianphunga, a Lushei chief, 55 
Liangthang, a Thado chief, 192 
Liangthang, a Thado clan, 192 
Liangthangi, a hypnotic medium, 111 
Lianthawrgna, a huai (spirit), 66-7 
Lianthung, a branch of Pachuao clan, 


Liantlura, a Lushei chief, 4 
Lianughor, a branch of Pachuao clan, 

Lingvum village, 99 
Lister, Colonel, 21, 140 
Lizard, 134, 184 
Lo-an-dai, an Aimol feast, 169 
Lohman sacrifice, 80 
Loi, a marriage ceremony, 83 
Loilang, an Old Kuki clan, 185 
Loitha, Lakher equivalent for 

Pathian, 220 
Longnam, a Thado funeral price, 199 
Longteroi hill, 4 

Lonte (Ronte), an Old Kuki clan, 173 
Lorrain, H. J., xviii, 113, 217, 220, 

Lukawng, a fine paid on death, 82, 
86, 145, 199; Old Kuki, 166; 
Rangte, 147 
Lunganai, ceremony, 172 
Lungdavifh, platforms to commemorate 

the dead, 85 
Lungdup hill, 132-3 
Lungkhera, a Lushei clan, 127 
Lunglai family, 167 
Lungleh, 4, 7, 8, 95, 110, 132, 136 
Lunglo river, 63 

Lungthau, an Old Kuki clan, 185 
Lungte, a branch of Chongte clan, 126 
Lunkim, a Thado chief, 192 
Lunkim, a branch of Thado clan, 192 
Lup-lakpa, an Old Kuki village officer, 

153, 167, 168 
Lur precipice, 68 

Lushai, derivations of the name, 
42, 60 

Distinguished from Lushei, xiii, xiv 

Expedition, 5 

Nomadic habits of, 23, 27 

See Contents 
Lushei affinities — 

Habitat, 1' 

History, 2, et seq. 

Language, 113-124 

Racial characteristics, 2 
Lutu, a Lushai householder, 171 
Lyall, Sir Charles, xiv 

Mackenzie — , 4 

Maibi tribe. 111 

Maite family, 167 

Mait-thuk-kai, Rangte Thangchhuah 

feast, 147 
Maituki Raia image, 187 
Maize, 87, 139 

Makan, a Chawte family, 154 
Makong hill, 159 
Malun clan, 143 

R 2 



Mancala Bao, a game, 39 
Manchester goods, 17 
Mandu, price of bones of dead, 166 
Mangami, a Lushei woman, 66 
Mangkhaia, a Ralte chief, 140 
Mangpura, a Sailo chief, 3 
Mangte (Laita) branch of Aimol clan, 
, 153 
Mangthawnga, a Ralte chief, 140 
Mangyel, a branch of Thado clan, 

Manipur, xiii, xv, xvii, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 

9, 13, 21, 39, 69, 89, 105, 106, 

111, 126, 130, 132, 142, 143, 146, 

148 et seq., 166, 173, 174, 175, 

176, 184, 185, 188, 189, 190 tt 

seq., 201, 225 et seq. 
Manipuri Chronicle, 134, 149, 191 
Mankang, marriage price to bride's 

paternal uncle, 146, 199 
Manlal, a Biate chief, 187 
Manpui, marriage price paid to 

nearest relation on bride's father's 

side, 51 ; Rangte, 146 ; Thado, 

Manufactures, 28 
Mara. See under Lakher. 
Marem, a Chawte family, 154 
Marriage, 50-53, 82-3 
by servitude, 155, 163 
prices, among Lusheis, 51-52 
Lakher or Mara, 216, 220 et seq., 

Ngente, 133 

Old Kuki, 153 et seq., 163, 167, 186 
Rangte, 146 
Ronte, 173-4; Tarau, 173-4; 

Thado, 198-9, 203 
Vuite or Paihte, 143-4 
Mat river, 1 
Maung Myat San, a Burmese chief, 

MoCabe — , 7 
McCrea, Surgeon, xix. 
McCuUooh, Golrnid W., xvii, 13, 106, 

111, 189ei!seg'., 201, 203 
Measures and weights, 19-20 
Mei-awr-lo sacrifice, 73 
Meitheis, the, 89, 105, 150, 159, 224, 

Memorial posts, Feasts, 88, 90 ; 

funerals, 85, 165 
Old Kuki, 170 
Khelte and Siakeng, 141 ; Thado, 

Methei lumbu. Old Kuki village 

official, 153 
Mikhirs, the, xiv 
Mikhir hills, xv 

Mim-kut festival, 87, 169, 223 

Ming-puna, name-giving, 161 

Minpui hill, 135 

Mirem family, 167 

Mission, The London Baptist, 113 

Mist, spirits of the dead changed into, 

Mithan, 30, 32 ; legendary origin of, 

sacrificed, 130, 135, 138; Khelte 

and Siakeng, 141 ; Rangte, 147 ; 

Viute, 145 ; Ronte and Turau 

(prohibit), 175; Thado, 204 
Mivengtu, " watchers of men," spirits, 

Mi-thi-chhiah, ofifering to cultivators' 

parents, 65 
Mi-thi-khua, xix, 19, 62 et seq., 78, 

84-5, 210-211 ; Old Kuki, 157-8 ; 

Rangte, 147 ; Thado, 201 
Mi-thi-rawp-lam, a Thangchhuah 

feast, xix, 88-9, 221 ; prohibited 

among Fanai, 137 ; not practised 

by Siakeng and Khelte, 141 ; 

nor by Old Kukis, 158, 170 
Mizo, hill-folk, xiv, 110 
Mongolian type, 1 
Monkey, 123, 151 
Monogamy, Vuite or Paihte, 143 
Moth, the Atlas, superstition, 103 
Mouse, legend of the, 109 
Mrung clan, 213 

Mualsavata, mythological hero, 100 
Muchhip hill, 71, 126 
Muchhip-chhuak, a branch of the 

Chongthu clan, 126 
Muchhip-chhuak, a branch of the 

Tochong clan, 127 
Mullah, Sailo chief, 140 
Musical instruments, 28, 152 
Mu-van-lai, a spirit who attacks the 

departed, 64 

Naga hills, xiv, 189 

Naga people. The, xiii, xix, 11, 20, 

21, 55, 69, 86, 90, 143, 170, 192, 

Nairung, ancestor of Kolhens, 150 
Nao-hri sacrifice, 70, 77, 130 
Nao-lam-kut, Ngente substitute for, 

Nau-bil-vu, a Thado birth sacrifice, 

Nau-puan-puak-man, marriage fee 

received by a sister from husband 

of her younger sister, 52, 154 
Naw-clawng, Lakher equivalent for 

" hlamzuih," 223 
Necklaces, 65 



Nepal, 110 

Ngaia, a Ngente chief, 132, 134 

Ngai-ti, legend of, 95 

Ngabohl, a branch of the Changte 

clan, 125 
Ngalchi, a branch of the Lungkhua 

clan, 127 
Ngalchung, a branch of the Lungkhua 

clan, 127 
Ngamboma, tale of, 209-11 
Ngaphawl, a branch of Lungkhua 

clan, 127 
Ngehguka, a Paihte chief, 3 
Ngente, a non-Luahei clan, 132-3, 

168, 173 
Ngente hill, 173 
Niman, marriage price paid to bride's 

aunt on father's side, 51, 154 
Nimkut feast, 87 

Ngente, 133 
No-hla, a Lakher marriage price, 

Nomadic habits, 27, 156 
Nuengi, legend of, 95-6 
Nongjai, supposed wife of Pathen, 

Nu-hrih sacrifice, 77 
Nuaijingmang, Thado evil spirit, 

Numeina, Aimol she-demon, 158 
Nungohomba, a Manipuri god, 159 
Nungshaba, a Chawte god, 159 

Oaths, 55 

0-kia, a Lakher marriage price, 

Omens, 108, 146, 163, 203 
Ornaments, 59 

Lakher, 215 

Old Kuki, 152 

Vuite, 143 
Owl, legend of, 94 

Pachana, a Ronte family, 173 
Pachuao, a Lushei clan, 125, 140 
Padaratu, a branch of Changte clan, 

Paihte (Vuite), a non-Lushei clan, 3, 

8, 41, 93, 110, 142-4 
Paihtea, sons of egg-hatched Lamleia, 

Pakanglahpa, Old Kuki village 

officer, 153 
Pakhangba, Manipuri snake-god, 106, 

150, 158 
Paku, a Lakher festival, 223 
Palal, Guardian, xix, 83-4 
Marriage price paid to, 51 
Ngente, 133 

Pallian, a branch of Thangur clan, 3 

4, 5, 13, 49, 125-6 
Pamte, a branch of Changte clan, 

Paotu, a non-Lushei clan, 134-5 
Papek, a Ronte and Tarau festival, 

Patel, Anal and Kolhen name for 

Pathian, 157 
Pathen, Thado name for Pathian, 200 
Patheng, Kom name for Pathian, 

Pathen-biak-na, a Thado sacrifice, 

Pathian, xix, 50 et seq. , 69, 94, 95, 99, 

103, 109, 201, 220 
Vuite, 144 

Old Kuki, 157-8, 169, 177 
Tarau do not worship, 175 
Pawl-kut festival, 87 

Ngente, 133 
Pe-ra, Lakher equivalent for Pial-ral, 

Phaileng village, 140 
Phaizang hill, 146 
Pheizaim, Thado Lashi, 201 
Phunlu-buk hill, 95 
Phungohi, a branch of Lungkhua 

clan, 127 
Phuukai, Thado adoption, 200 
Pial-ral, xx, 62, 64, 186, 221 
Pial river, 62-3 
Pig, 18, 32 ; legendary origin of, 94 ; 

sacrificed, 70, 72, 74, 77, 80, 102, 

139, 145, 147, 158, 164, 166, 168, 

168, 172-3, 175, 201, 202 
Pi-leh-pu, Lakher " AU-Pather '' or 

" All-Mother," 221 
Piler hill, 7 

Poi people, the, 60, 95, 126 
Poiboi, a Sailo chief, 146 
Poison, Thado methods, 197 
Polygamy, 50, 159, 196 
Polkut, a Lushai festival, 169 
Portents, 104-5 
Pottery, 29 

Priests, 80. See under Pui-thiam 
Old Kuki, 149 
Lakher, 224 
Property in land, ideas of, 156 
Pu, XX 
Pu river, xx 

Puanpui, a Lushei quilt, 31 
Puggris, 9 
Pui-thiam, xx, 44, 60, 75, 77, 80-1, 

83, 90, 102, 130, 160 
Old Kuki, 153 
Rangte, 147 
Vuite, 14' 



Pupawla, tale of, 62-3, 147, 158 

Pumtek, 215 

Purbura, a Lushei chief, 7 

Purum, Old Kiiki clan, 149 et seq., 

162, 165, 168, 169 
Pushum, Marriage price to bride's 

nearest relation on mother's side, 

Python, superstition about, 224 

Quail, 97-8 

Raia, corruption of Rajah, 187 

Raids, 56 et seq. ; Old Kuki, 167 

Rainbow, Old Kuki idea about, 184 

Rai-pi-hra, Lakher marriage price, 

Ral, funeral feast, 84 

Ralte, a non-Lushei clan, 87, 93, 94, 
131, 139c!!sc3.,190 

Ramoharipu, Aimol name for Pup- 
awla, 158 

Ram-ohawm, clay figures used in 
sacrifices, 74 

Ram-huai, spirits, 65 et seq. , 80, 221 

Ramhual, advisers as to jhumming, 44 

Rampus, Chiru demons, 159 

Ramri, 213, 214 

Rangthai, tale of, 177 et seq. 

Rangte, ancestor of Rangte clan, 146 

Rangte, a non-Lushei clan, 146-7, 207 

Rao-ohhiak, food placed aside for 
spirits of the dead, 65 

Rape, 55, 200 

Rapu, Tanau substitute for Pathian, 

Rat, 205; eaten, 36, 153; Legend 
and superstition, 94, 102 

Ratek, a Chiru and Kolhen festival, 

Rawi-ni, day in the Chong feast, 88 

Rawlins, John, xix. 

Red-dao-boi, 40, 48, 50 

Religious beliefs, 61 et seq. See 
under Festivals, Funerals, Omens, 
Sacrifices, Superstitions, Wor- 
Lakher, 221 et seq. 
Old Kuki, 157 et seq. 
Thado, 200 et seq. 
Vuite, 144 

Rem-ar, xx, 83 

Rembual family, 167 

Rennel (Rennell) Major James, 
xviii-xix, 6 

Rengpui, a chief of Tipperah, 98 

Renthlei, a non-Lushei clan, 13, 135 

Rezar, a Chiru family, 154 

Rezar, son of Chongthu, 150 

Rhangkol(HrangchuI) clan, 6, 148,185 

Rhinoceros, superstition, 103 

Rice, not cultivated in Zahao country, 

Rih lake, 67, 72, 94 
Rikampu, Old Kuki legend of, 1 83 
Rimenhoiyi, tale of, 98, 183 
Ringchanghoi, tale of, 182 
Rivang, a branch of Thangur clan, 

3, 4, 6, 42 
Rivers, poisoning of, 36, 197 
Roite, a non-Lushei clan, 135 
Rokum, a branch of Thangur clan, 

3, 42, 125 
Rolura, a branch of Sailo clan, 5 
Rongthlang hills, 132 
Ronte (Lonte), an Old Kuki clan, 

173 et seq. 
Roreiluova, ancestor of Fanai chiefs, 

Rotohem, xx, 28, 97, 152 
Rothangpuia (Ruttonpoia), 4 
Ru, a Lakher marriage price, 220 
Rulngan, a kind of snake, 64 
Rulpui, the big snake, 105 et seq. 185, 

Rulpui-thlen, snake deity, 106 
Run river, 201 

^Saoeifices, Lushei, 70 et seq. 

Old Kuki, 158-60, 168 et seq. 

Vuite, 145 

Thado, 201 et seq. 

Lakher, 221 
Sa-huai, spirits, 94 
Saiha village, 213 

Sailo, a branch of Thangur clan, 3, 5, 
6, 7, 13, 42-3, 56-7, 125-6, 131, 
140, 142, 146, 185, 186 
Sailova, ancestor of Sailo clan, 5, 43, 

Sakei-Ai, 79 
Sakhia, Lakher equivalent of Lashi, 

Sakhua, xx, 221 

Chant, 143 

Sacrifices to, 54, 62, 66-7, 70 et seq 
81, 89, 108, 130, 135, 138 

Lakher, 222 

Old Kuki, 158-9, 161 

Khelte, 141 

Vuite, 144, 158 

Ronte and Tarau, 175 

Thado, 192, 198, 201 
Sakripung hill, 150 
Sal, captives, 49, 50 
Sa-lu-an-chhuang ceremony, 78 
Sambhur, 64 
iSangao, 136 



Sangaisel, Manipuri portent, 105 
Sangvunga, descendant of Lalul, 5, 

Sankhulairenma, a Manipuri deity, 

Saphun. See under Adoption 

Sar Tarau equivalent for "Sherh" 

Sar-thi, death by accident or wild 

beasts, 86 
Sa-ru-ohe-u-ni, third day of She-doi 

feast, 88 
Satan (Seitana) 62 
Sa-thing-zar, collection of wood for 

feast, 88 
Savidge, F. W., xviii, 13, 226 
Savung, descendant of Lalul, 5 
Sawnchal hill, 190 
Sawnman, xx, 53 
Vuite, 144 
Thado, 200 
Sazah, a branch of Hrasel clan, 126 
Tarau, 174 
Ronte, 174 
Old Kuki, 156, 186 
Vuite, 144 
Thado, 193 
Shaithatpal, ancestor of Kolhen clan, 

Shanghong, a Purum feast, 109 
Shangpa, a Chiru family, 154 
Shans, The, 174 
She-cha-ohuu, spearing of mithan 

feast, 137 
She-doi feast, 88-9, 137-8 
She-lu-pum, a Memorial post, 170 
Shendu people. The, xiii, xvii 
Shenlai, a branch of Haenar clan, 126 
She-shu-ni, 2nd day of She-doi feast, 

Shentlang village, 21 
Shepuia, a branch of Hrasel clan, 126 
Shepui rocks, 126 
Sherh, xx, 69, et passim 
Sherh-an-long, Lamgang feast, 170 
She-shun, a Vuite Thangchhuah feast, 

Shithloh clan, 190 et seq., 201 
Shongte, a branch Thado clan, 192-3 
Siakeng, a branch of Ralte clan, 140-2 
Siakenga, ancestor of the Siakengs, 

Sialchung, a branch of Hualbung clan, 

Sialchung, a branch of Lungkhua clan, 

Sickness and Epidemics, Sacrifices, 
74-6, 158-9, 203 

Sibuta (Sheeboot), a Pallian chief, 4, 

Silohar, 1, 5, 6 
Silk, manufactured by Lakher women, 

Singaia, brother of Chongthu, 131 
Siyin clan, 190 

Slaves, 55, 142, 193, 198, 216-17 
Sleeping arrangements, 24-5 
Rangte, 146 
Ronte, 173 
Vuite, 144 
Lakher, 214 
Old Kuki, 152, 155 
Thado, 193 
See under Zaulbuk 
Sleep-walking, Beliefs about, 112 
Snake, 153, 
worship, 105-8 
Superstitions about, 224 
Sneyd-Hutchinson, R., xviii 
Sodomy, 55 
Not known to Vuite, 144 
Nor to Rangte, 146 
Scarcely known among Old Kukis, 
157 ; or Thados, 200 
Sokte clan, 143, 190, 225 
Soldeng river, 59 
Sonai river, 66 
Songchungnung, a Chongthu family, 

Songs, 71, 143, 204 
Soutlunk, a branch of Hrasel clan, 

Soppitt, C. A., xviii 
Spirits, 65 et seq. ; Old Kuki, 157-8 
Stars, Names given to, 20 

Omens, 108 
Stewart, Lieut. R., xvii, 1, 2, 6, 148, 

185, 186, 193 et seq., 226 
Stone-hauling, Naga custom, 86 
Stone Memorial, 85, 87 ; Chonluma's 
in the Vanlaiphai, 185 
near Chongthleng, 100 
near Leng, 100 
Mangkhaia's, 140 
Old Kuki Memorial, 170 
Thado Memorial of Buh-ai per- 
formed by a woman, 205 
Stone platforms, Biate account of, 

Suaka, sub-inspector of police, 130 
Suakhnuna, a Lushei chief, 66, 

Suicide, 2 

Sukpuilala, a Lushei chief, 47 
Sukte clan, 3 

Sumkam, a Vuite chief, 143 
Sum-kmun, verandah, 24 



Sumklum, a branch of Vanchong, 
clan, x, 127 ; a branch of Hrasel 
clan, 127 

Sutmanga, a Thado chief, 140 

Superstitions, 101 et seq. Laliher, 
223-4; Vuite, 145 

Sylhet, 1, 3, 5, 189 

Symons, General, 110 

Taihhlum, a branch of Hualbang 

clan, 126 
Talching village, 150 
Tamu, 130 
Tangkhul Nagas, 90 
Tan, precipice, 68 
Tao hill, 59 

Taraii, an Old Kuki clan, 173 et seq. 
Tatooing, 12 
Tegnopal village, 175 
Teknonymy, 19 
Thado, ancestor of Thado clan, 131, 

189, et seq. 
Thado, New Kuki clan, xiii, xvii, 

xviii, 2, 3, 6, 8, 13, 46, 49, 59, 

93, 106, 129, 131, 140, 142, 143, 

146, 147, 148, 150, 185, 189, et seq. 
Thalun, son of Thado, 191 
Thangbawgna, tale of, 79 
Thangchhnah, xx, 11, 62-5, 87, 147; 

Fanai, 137 
Thangchhnah feasts, 69, 87 et seq. 
Khelte and Siakeng, 141 
Vuite, 145 
Old Kuki, 158, 166, 170 et seq., 

Thado, 207 
Lakher, 222 
Thangkua village, 3 
Thanghlum, a Bangte chief, 146 
Thanglian Borh, Aimol she-demon, 

Thangluah, branch of Thangur clan, 

3, 4, 42, 57 
Thang-tei-nu, a prophetess. 111 
Thangur, a Lushei clan, xiii, xiv, 3, 

et seq., 8, 41, 125, 126, 143, 185 
Thangura (Thangul), ancestor of all 

Lushei chiefs, 2, 3, 5, 6 
Thao, a Chawte family, 154 
Thlanropa (Dapa), legends of, 147 
Thaurang, Sailo chiefs village, 56 
Thawnglura, a Ralte chief, 140 
Thefts, 54, 156-7 
Thempu, Old Kuki puithiam, 153, 

160, et seq., 168, 171, 172, 198 
Thenzawal village, 76, 99, 106 
Thiak, an Old Kuki clan, 183 
Thian, xx, 51 
Thi-an-ohlie, portion for the dead, 204 

Thiang-lo, unlucky, 70, 74, 79, 101, 

102 et seq., 106, 108, 111, 142, 

Thichhia, unnatural deaths (Thado) 

Thi-diih ceremony, 165 
Thihla, Thado demons, 200, 201, 205 
Thimasha, a Ronte family, 173 
Thimzing, Legendary epoch of 

eclipse and metamorphosis of 

beings, 93, 103, 123-4 ; Old Kuki, 

177 ; Thado, 192-3 
Thingbulgna, Tliado tree-spirits, 201 
Thingel, Thado posts, 205 
Thir-deng, xx, 44, 198 
Thirsu, Thado Thir-deng, 198 
Thi-thin, death offering, 86 
Thlahzang, sleep-walking, 112 
Thlako sacrifice, 76 
Thlandropa, Mythical hero, 94^5 
Thla-sui-pu, Lakher, equivalent for 

Chawifa, 224 
Thangneo, a Thado chief, 192-3 
Thlangom, a branch of Thado clan, 

110, 192 
Thangsang, Siakeng name for Hmar- 

phir sacrifice, 141 
Thichhiat, Old Kuki equivalent for 

Lushai Heamzuih, 166 
Thla-ko, a sacrificial cock, 223 
Thlang-tlang (Klang-klang) chiefs, 7, 

213, 215 
Thlan-thang, village, 139 
Thlen, Khasi snake-demon, 69 
Thompa, Aimol chief, 152 
Thonglien, a Lakher chief, 12, 13 
Thotche, jungle rat, 205 
Thunder and Lighting, Old Kuki 

idea about, 184 
Thumvor, Method of interrogating 

hypnotised. 111 
Tiangsha, a Ronte family, 173 
Tiante, a Chongthu family, 167 
Tiddim village, 143, 201 
Tiger, 14, 33, 34, 35, 56, 64, 73, 79, 

86, 93, 97, 109, 110, 139, 150, 153, 

177 et seq., 198, 202, 205, 208 
Tikhup, Old Kuki clan, 89, 149 et seq. 

163, 170, 172; do not sacrifice 

dogs or acknowledge devils, 159, 

Tilin, 132 

Tipperah, 1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 58, 98-9, 149 
Tlangkua village, 131 
Tlangau, xx, 44 
Tlangsam, Thado crier, 198 
Tlip feast, 89 
Tlong river, 3 
Tlungbuta, a Lushei chief, 55 



Tobacco, 9-11, 12, 31, 214 

Tobul, a branch of Toohong clan, 

Tochong, a Lushei clan, 127 
Tonring, co-ancestor of Purum clan, 

Tonshu, co-ancestor of Purum clan, 

Topui, a branch of Tochong clan, 

Toung-tha, sons of the hill (Lewin), 

Tuai, prostitutes, 55 
Tualbung village, 140 
Tuali, a Lushei girl, 11 
Tualsumu, a portent, 104 
Tuazol, a branch of Hualngo clan, 

Tuck, H. M., xivr, xvii, 131, 213 
Tuibual (Dipwell) village, 140 
Tuibur, part of tobacco-pipe, 11, 12 
Tui-chong river, 95 
Tui-chongi, a girl, 95-6 
Tuichhung, a branch of Chongte clan, 

Tui-huai, spirits, 65 et aeq., 158 
Tuikhumnga, Thado water-spirits, 

Tuikhuralen, king of wat«r-spirits, 

Tuikuachoi (Tui-huai) Aimol name 

of demons, 158 
Tui-leh-ram. Water and land sacri- 
fice, 73-4, 223 
Tuilrampui river, 1 
Tui-pathen, Thado spirits, 201 
Tuiruang (Barak) river, 109 
Tuithang, a branch of Haonar clan, 

Tuitlin precipice, 66 
Tukutboi, persons becoming slaves 

by desertion to conquerors, 46, 

49, 50 
Tulthung, a Chongthn family, 167 
Tumpha, a branch of Changte clan, 

Tumtin family, 167 
Tyao river, 1, 3, 62, 90, 126, 131, 

135, 136, 148 

Ui-HA-AWB sacrifice, 77 ; Chav^te, 130 ; 

Fanai, 139 ; Khelte, 141 
Uihovi, son of Bimenhoiyi, 99 
Ui-hring sacrifice, 75, 223; Vuite, 

Ui-te-luilara sacrifice, 77 
Umbrellas, 13 
Upa, XX, 44, 131 

Va-bn-la, a Rante feast, 175 

Vahlit hill, 71 

Vahluk, a mythical bird, 64 

Vahrika, tale of, 109 

Vai River, 149 

Vai-tui-chhun village, 149 

Vaiphei, an Old Kuki clan, xix, 22, 

146, 149 et seq. , 163, 166, 171, 202 
Vaki village, 7 
Vambio family, 167 
Vanchong, a Lushei clan, 127 
Tan-chung-khal sacrifice, 73 
Vandula, a Lushai head-chief, 7 
Vangohhia, a non-Lushei clan, 93, 

127, 135 
Vanhnnai-Thanga village, 4 
Van-lal-phai valley, 93, 97, 131, 185 
Vanlung, a branch of Vanchong clan, 

Vaupuia, ancestor of Vanpuia-hrin, 

125, 140 
Vanpuia, ancestor of Vanpuia-thla, 

Vanpuia-hrin, a branch of Pachuao 

clan, 125 
Vanpuia thla, a branch of Chuaongo 

clan, 126 
Varchuao, branch of Pachuao clan, 

Vawk-te-luilam sacrifice, 77 ; Siakeng, 

Victoria, H.M. Queen, 99 
Villages, 20-4, 44^5 ; organisation of, 

43-4 ; Old Kuki, 152, 186 ; Thado, 

193, 198 
Vizan village, 132 
Vokngak, a branch of Changte clan, 

Vok-pa, Fanai sacrifice, 139; Lakher, 

Vok-rial, Fanai sacrifice, 139 ; Lakher, 

Vok-te-khal sacrifice, 72 
Vonghtu, 213 

Vonodel, descendant of Lalul, 7 
Vuite, a non-Lushei clan, 41, 74, 90, 

93, 135, 142-4, 158, 186, 190 
Vuite, a son of egg-hatched 

Lamleia, 142 
Vuta, a Lushei chief, 58 
Vutaia, a Sailo chief, 4, 47 

Wab, 56-60 

War of the North and South, 7, 59 

Warri, a game, 39 

Weapons, 14-16 

Weights and measures, 19-20 

Whalley, Mr., 216, 220 



" Whenoh,'- a chief, 126 
Witchcraft, J09 ; Vuite, 145 
Widowers and widows, 52-3, 163 
Windows, token of householder's 

rank, 27, 186 
Women, barrenness, 70, 76 ; Thado, 
Chastity, 53 ; Vuite, 144 
Confinement, 2, 70, 81-2; Panai, 
138-9 ; Lakher, 223 ; Eonte and 
Tarau, 174; Old Kuki, 160; 
Ngente, 133 
Dress, 12, 31 ; Lakher, 215 ; Vuite, 

144 ; Old Kuki, 152, 186 
Occupations, 17-18 
Ornaments, 14, 143 
Possessed by spirits, 110 et seq. 
Tobacco smoking, 12, 31 
Woodthorpe, Colonel, xviii 
Worship, Ancestor, 65, 71, 89, 201 
Natural forces, 65 
Snakes, 105-8 
Spirits, 65 et seq. 
Walai, the lizard, 184 

Yangmal, the earth-worm, 184 
Yau, a Purum Festival, 172 

Zadeng, a branch of Thangur clan, 
3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 42, 125, 126, 140 

Zadenga, Thangur chief, 125 

Zahao tribe, 136, 139 

Zakaohhunga, Old Kuki village officer, 

Zanghaki, courted by Labuanga, 69 
Zankhuan, four days' feast, 89 
Zawl, hypnotised state, 110-11 
Zawlbuk, XX, 18, 21, 22, 103, 168 

Chiru, Kom, Thikup, 151 

Not built by the Ralte, 140 

Nor by Rangte, 146 

Old Kuki substitutes, 152, 168, 186 

Ronte, 173 

Vuite substitute, 143 

Not built by Thados, 193 
Zatea, an Old Kuki man, 187 
Zawlnei, a hypnotic medium, 110-11 
Zawlthlia, aThangchhuah, 98-9 
Zawngte, a non-Lushei clan, 135 
Ziki, a girl, 66, 68 
Zinhawn sacrifice, 77, 132 
Zin-thiang sacrifice, 70, 130, 132 
Zo, Chin name for Lakher or Mara 

clan, 215 
Zomi, a Thado female spectre, 201 
Zong-pam, a branch of Chuaongo 

clan, 126 
Zote clan, 188 

Zu, a fermented drink made from 
rice, 36 

Method of distilling, 37 

Use in Sacrifices, 73, 78, 83, 87, 91, 
Zuhrei, the big rat, 94 
Zupalba, Old Kuki village officer, 

Zu-pui-ni feast day, 88 
Zuting-ni, fourth-day, 87 




By the Rev. Sidney Endle. With an Introduction by J. D. 
Anderson, I.C.S. Illustrated. 8vo. 8^-. 6d. net. 


By T. C. HoDSON. Illustrated. Svo. %s. 6d. net. 


By W. H. R. Rivers. Illustrated. Svo. 21s. net. 


By Prof. W. J. Sollas, D.Sc, F.R.S. Illustrated. Svo. 
12s. net. 


By Robert W. Williamson. With an Introduction by 
A. C. Haddon, F.R.S. Illustrated. Svo. 14s. net. 

Life-Histories Described and Compared. 

By George Brown, D.D. Illustrated. Svo. 12s. net. 


By A. W. HowiTT, D.Sc. Illustrated. Svo. 21s. net. 


By Prof. Baldwin Spencer and F. J. Gillen. Illustrated. 
Svo. 21s. net. 

THE OLD NORTH TRAIL : or. Life, Legends, 
and Religion of the Blackfeet Indians. 

By Walter McClintock. Illustrated. Svo. 15s. net. 

London: MACMILLAN & CO., Ltd. 


THE BAGANDA. An Account of their Native 
Customs and Beliefs. 
By Rev. John Roscoe, M.A. Illustrated. 8vo. 15s. net. 


By J. Bland-Sutton, F.R.C.S. Illustrated. 8vo. 12s. net. 

MIND ; or. Notes on the Kingly Office in West 
By R. E. Dennett. Illustrated. 8vo. lOs. net. 

NIGERIAN STUDIES ; or, the Religious and Political 
System of the Yoruba. 

By R. E. Dennett. Illustrated. 8vo. 8s. 6d. net. 


By R. E. Dennett. 8vo. Sewed. Is. net. 


By Major Arthur Glyn Leonard. With Map. 8vo. 
12s. 6d. net. 


By Mary H. Kingsley. Abridged Edition. Extra Crown 8vo. 
7s. 6d. 


By Mary H. Kingsley. With an Appendix on the Niger 
Delta by the VicoMTE DE Cardi. Illustrated. 8vo. 
Cheaper Edition with additional chapters, but excluding 
de Cardi's appendix. Extra Crown 8vo. 7s. 6d. 

London : MACMILLAN & CO., Ltd.