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THE MEITHEIS 



Frontispiece 




RAS COSTUME. 



Seep. 16 



THE MEITHEIS 



T. C. HODSON 

LATE ASSISTANT POLITICAL AGENT IN MANIPUR AND 

SUPERINTENDENT OF THE STATE 
FELLOW OF THE ROYAL ANTHROPOLOGICAL INSTITUTE 



WITH AN INTRODUCTION 

BY 

SIR CHARLES J. LYALL 

K.C.S.I., C.I.E., LL.D., M.A. 



(If ublt$^c6 unbct: i\)c orbctrs of f()C ^ot)Ct:nmcnt of 



ILLUSTRATED 



a® 

LONDON 

DAVID NUTT 

57, 59, LONG ACRE 
1908 



LvX;^o6'o,f■7 - 



AUG 20 1912 






I'klNTEU BV 

WILLIAM CLOWES AND SONS, LIMITED 

LONDON AND BECCLES 






'A 

1 



-'*' 

.'••-*• 



PEEFACE. 

The Author desires to offer his sincere gratitude to 
those whose help has enabled him to complete this 
monograph. The chromo-lithographic illustrations are 
the work of Mr. W. Griggs, and have been prepared 
by him from designs (based on actual photographs) 
by Mr. Fred Andrews, Head of the Department of 
Arts and Crafts at the Battersea Polytechnic, and 
formerly Principal of the Art School, Lahore, and by 
Miss Theodora Hodson, of the Slade School of Fine 
Art, University of London, University College. The 
coloured illustrations of the Folk-Tale, " Khamba and 
Thoibi," are reproductions in three-colour process by 
Messrs. John Swain and Sons, Ltd., of pictures painted 
by Bhudro Singh, a Manipuri artist. 

Last but not least, the copious Index is the work of 
Mrs. Eileen Mitchell, whose labours are most gratefully 
acknowledged. 

East London College, 

University of London, 
1908. 



TABLE OF CONTENTS. 



Section I. 

PAGES 

Habitat — Appearance — Geographical Distribution — Origin — 

Affinities — Dress — Tattooing— Ornaments — Weapons . 1 — 21 



Section II. 

Occupation — Houses — Villages — Furniture — Manufactures — 
Implements and Utensils — Agriculture — Crops— Fishing 
— Hunting — Food and Drink — Games .... 22 — 57 



Section III. 
LAWS AND CUSTOMS. 

Political Organisation — Internal Structure — Marriage Rules 
Inheritance — Adoption — Tenure of Land and Laws re- 
garding Land — Laws regarding other property — Decision 
of Disputes — War — Head- hunting 58 — 94 

Section IV. 
RELIGION. 

Nature of Popular Beliefs — The Worship of Ancestors— Reli- 
gious Rites and Ceremonies — Sacrifices — Priesthood — 
Nature Worship — Ceremonies attending Birth — Naming 
— Toga Virilis — Marriage — ^Death and Disposal of the 
Dead — Festivities, Domestic and Tribal — Genna . 95 — 119 

Section V. 
Traditions — Superstitions and Folk-Tales .... 120 — 154 

Section VI. 
Language and Meithei Grammar 155 — 181 

Appendices 182—211 

IiTDBx 213—227 

a 3 



LIST OF ILLUSTEATIONS. 

TO FACS PAGE 

vSSs Costume Frontispiece 

^Map 1 

v^Meithei Leis&bi 14 

^Girl weaving 27 

<Polo in Manipur .48 

>^Hl-yang-ta-na-ba 53* 

^Meithei Wrestlers 72 

•The Kohima Stone 92 

»^atch Ghar and Temple of Govindji 102 

'^The NOngsha and Kangk 124 

^NTumit Kappa 128 

Khamba and Thoibi — 

vThe Dance before the Bang 134 

v^Capture of the Wild Bull 143 

vThe Torture by the Elephant ....... 147 

Y Thoibi tricks EOngyamba 150 

yThe Tiger Hunt 154 



LIST OF AUTHOEITIES 
AND WOBKS CONSULTED. 



Avebury, Lord 
Brown, Dr. R. 



'^ Butler, Major 

Colquhoun, H. A., I.C.S. 
Cox, Captain H. . 
Crawley, E. . 
Damant, G. H. . 



Davis, A. W. 
Elias, Ney . 
Frazer, J. G. 
Gait, E. A. . 

Grierson, Dr. G. A., CLE. 

Grimwood, Mrs. E. 
Gurdon, Major P. R. T. 
Harrison, Miss Jane 
Hodgson, B. H. . 

Hodson, T. C. . 



Hunter, Sir W. W., K.C.S.L 
JevonSy F. B. 



Origin of Civilisation and Primitive 
Condition of Man, 6 th edition. 

. Annual Report on the Munnipore 
Political Agency for 1868-1869. 
Selections from the Records of the 
Government of India, Foreign 
Department, No. Ixxviii. Statis- 
tical Account of Manipur, 1874. 

Travels and Adventures in Assam. 

MS. Notes. 

The Burmhan Empire. 

The Mystic Rose. 

Journal of the Asiatic Society of 
Bengal, vol. xliv.. Part L, 173; 
vol. xlvi.. Part I., 36. Journal of 
the Royal Asiatic Society, new 
series, voL xii., 228. 

Census of Assam, 1891, vol. i. 
History of the Shans. 
The Golden Bough. 
The Census of Assam, 1891, vol. i. 
History of Assam. 

Report of the Linguistic Survey of 
India, vols. ii. and iii. 

My Three Years in Manipur. 
The Khasis. 

Prolegomena to Greek Religion. 
Journal of the Asiatic Society of 
Bengal, vol. xviii., 451. 

Journal of the Society of Arts, vol. 
liii., 545. Journal of the Anthro- 
pological Institute, vol. xxxvi , 1)2. 

History of the Indian Empire. 
Statistical Account of Assam. 

Plutarch's Romane Questions. Intro- 
duction to the History of Religion. 



Xll 



LIST OF AUTHORITIES 



Johnstone, Major-General Sir My Experiences in the Naga Hills 

J., K.C.S.I. and Manipur. 

Keene, A. H. . History of India. 



Lewin, Colonel T. 
Lyall, Sir A., G.C.B. 
Lyall, Sir C, K.C.S.I. 

McCulloch, Major W. 



Mackenzie, Sir A., K.C.S.I. 
McLennan, J. F. . 



MacMahon, Gleneral A. R. 
Maine, Sir H. S., K.C.S.I. 

Pemberton, Captain R. B. 



Robertson Smith, W. 
Romania 

Sangermano, Father 
Scott and Hardiman 

Snodgrass, Major 
Symes, Lieut.-Col. M. 
Tylor, E. B. 



The Hill Tracts of Chittagong. 

Asiatic Studies. 

Journal of the Society of Arts, vol. li., 

618. 
Account of the Valley of Munnipore 
and of the Hill Tribes. Selections 
from the Records of the Govern- 
ment of India, Foreign Department, 
No. XXVIII. 
North-East Frontier of Bengal. 
Primitive Marriage. The Patriarchal 
Theory. Studies in Ancient His- 
tory. 
. Far Cathay and Farther India. 
Ancient Law. Early Law and 

Custom. 
Report on the North-East Frontier of 

India. 
Marriage and Kinship in Early Arabia. 
, Vol. xxxvi.. No. 141, 36. 
. The Burmese Empire. 
. Gazetteer of Upper Burma, vol. i., 

Part I. 
. Narrative of the First Burmese War. 
. The Embassy to Ava. 
. Primitive Culture. Anthropology. 



Waddell, Colonel L. A., C.B., Journal of the Asiatic Society of 



CLE. 
Watt, Sir G., K.C.S.I. 

Westermarck, E. 
Wilson, H. H. . 



Bengal, vol. Ixix. 
Journal of the Society of Arts, vol. 

liii., 562. 
History of Human Marriage. 
History of the First Burmese War. 

The translation of the Ningthaurol or Meithei Chronicles, of 
which much use has been made, is by Babu Nithor Nath Banerji. 
They have also been trar slated by Babu XJmes Chandra Ghose, but 
the latter work has been lost. 



INTEODUCTION. 

A EECENT writer on the tribes of the Brahmaputra Valley * has 
asserted in forcible language that, " unfortunately for science, no 
steps are being taken to record the rare vestiges of prehistoric 
society which still survive here, but which are now being 
rapidly swept away by advancing civilization. . . . This unique 
mass of material which is available for solving important 
problems, lying at the very base of civilization and culture, is 
being allowed to disappear unrecorded. This regrettable fact 
has been repeatedly represented during the past few years, 
without practically any result." 

The complaint is unjust; the bibliographies appended to 
the series of Ethnographical Monographs, of which the present 
volume is one, will show that there exists a large mass of 
materials dealing with a considerable proportion of the Indo- 
Chinese tribes of Assam. It is true that some of the most 
important of these are " buried away " in Gazetteers, Census 
reports, and contributions to the Journals of learned societies. 
But those who make it their business to investigate anthropo- 
logical problems may surely be expected to search among such 
obvious sources for the information they desire. In India 
Gazetteers and Census reports are the appointed places for 
recording the results of inquiries into the characters and 
institutions of the various elements of the population. Such 
literature is scarcely likely to command a wide circulation in 

♦ Lieut.-Col. L. A. Waddell, in the Journal of the Asiatic Society of 
Bengal, Part III., 1900. 



xiv INTRODUCTION 

any country, and writers who deal with it are necessarily con- 
fined to the means open to them of perpetuating the results of 
their investigations in the ofl&cial publications of the Govern- 
ment. Nor is it true that " no steps have been taken " since 
1872, when Col. Dalton's Descriptive Ethnology of Bengal was 
published, to extend our knowledge of these tribes. In 1881 
Sir Charles Elliott, shortly after assuming the government of 
the Province, issued instructions for the compilation, not only 
of grammars, vocabularies, and phrase-books of the languages 
of all the leading tribes of Assam, but also of records of their 
customs and institutions. The result is a series of works 
dealing with the tribal languages of which the Province is 
justly proud, and records of customs and usages which, though 
doubtless capable of further extension (which they are now 
receiving), are of great anthropological value. The linguistic 
work done is indeed the principal fruit of the orders of 1881 ; 
but this is by no means, as Lieut.-Col. Waddell asserts, *' of 
secondary importance." Without an understanding of the 
language of a tribe there can be no adequate investigation 
of its institutions ; the speech is the expression of the mind 
of the people who speak it, the measure of their culture and 
outlook upon the world around them. It is, moreover, more 
especially in Assam, with its vast diversity of ethnic stocks, 
the only safe index to the affinities of a tribe with its neigh- 
bours, and, in the almost complete absence of historic record or 
remembered tradition, to the migrations which have brought 
the various units to their present sites. 

So far as concerns the subject of the present monograph, 
the Meitheis or dominant race of Manipur, Lieut.-Col. Waddell 
is least of all justified in his complaint of insufficiency of 
record. We first became well acquainted with the Meitheis in 
the Burma war of 1824-26. On the conclusion of hostilities, 
the inhabitants of the reconstituted State of Manipur (which 
had been overrun and annexed by the Burmese, and recovered 



INTRODUCTION xv 

its independence as the result of our operations,) were carefully 
described by Captain E. B. Pemberton in his excellent Report 
on the Eastern Frontier of British India ^ printed at Calcutta in 
1835. A dictionary of English and Manipuri, compiled by 
Captain Gordon of the Manipur Levy, was published in 1837. 
But the most exhaustive presentment of the State and its 
peoples is contained in the Account of the Valley of Munnipore, 
and of the Hill Tribes, with a comparative vocabulary of the 
Munnipore and other languages, by Major William McCuUoch, 
printed at Calcutta in 1859. Major, afterwards Lieut.-CoL, 
McCulloch was a man of culture and literary ability, and his 
work (of which Lieut.-Col. Waddell makes no mention in his , 
brief notice of the Meitheis *) has ever since its publication 
been the chief authority on its subject. Col. McCulloch, who 
was the son of the well-known political economist Dr. J. E. 
McCulloch, was born in 1816, and went to Manipur as Assistant 
Political Agent in 1840 ; he became Political Agent in 1845, 
and held that post, with a year's intermission, until 1867. In 
this long period of twenty-seven years he acquired a most 
intimate knowledge of the State and its inhabitants ; he married 
a Manipuri lady, of the family of Eaja Nar Singh; and he 
exercised supreme authority over the Kuki tribes subject to 
the State, who inhabit the hills to the south and west of the 
valley of Manipur. After his retirement he settled at Shillong, 
where I enjoyed the privilege of his acquaintance, and died 
there, in his seventieth year, in 1885. 

Colonel McCuUoch's account of Manipur is not unknown 
even to British anthropologists. It is referred to by Mr. J. F. 
McLennan in his work on Primitive Marriage, and has been 
cited by Lord Avebury in his book on The Origin of Civilization 
and the Primitive Condition of Man, He was succeeded as 
Political Agent by Dr. E. Brown, who was the author of a 
Statistical Account of Manipur^ printed by Government at 

* Pp. 60-61. 



xvi INTRODUCTION 

Calcutta in 1874. This work incorporates most of McCulloch's 
information, with useful additions by Dr. Brown himself. It 
is an accessible book, and was widely distributed by Govern- 
ment on its publication; Lieut. -Col. Waddell does not mention 
it. Another contribution to the ethnography and history of 
the State was made by Mr. G. H. Damant of the Indian Civil 
Service, whose papers were published in the Journals of the 
Asiatic Society of Bengal and the Eoyal Asiatic Society.* Mr. 
Damant was greatly interested in the archaic literature of 
Manipur, and in the problem of the relation of the various 
Indo-Chinese races one to another. He met his death at 
Khonoma in the Naga Hills in 1879. The terrible events of 
1891, which brought the little State prominently before the 
British public, led to a fresh development of descriptive litera- 
ture in the books of Sir James Johnstone (for several years 
Political Agent in Manipur) and Mrs. Grimwood. These are 
not important contributions to scientific ethnography, but they 
— especially the former— contain interesting information as to 
the characteristics of the people. 

It will thus be seen that the Manipuris have received no 
small share of attention in the past, and that the interest 
shown in them by investigators compares favourably with that 
aroused by the inhabitants of many other more accessible parts 
of India. 

The author of the present monograph has wisely taken as 
his basis the accounts of Colonel McCuUoch and Dr. Brown, 
and has noted where they need supplementing and completing, 
and the changes which have occurred during the past half- 
century. From his practical acquaintance with the adminis- 
tration of the State and its subject tribes, and his intimate 
knowledge of the Manipuri (as well as of the Thado Kuki) 
language, he has been able greatly to enlarge the field of our 
information ; and the latter half of the book, dealing with the 
* See the BibHography. 



INTRODUCTION xvii 

traditions, folk-lore, and folk-tales of the Meitheis, and with 
their linguistic affinities, will be found to contain a mass of new 
and interesting matter. 

It was my fortune to visit Manipur only once (in February, 
1888) during my service in Assam, and I am thus acquainted 
with the subject chiefly by hearsay. But I have always taken 
a lively interest in this singular oasis of comparative civilization 
and organized society, set in the midst of a congeries of barbarous 
peoples, over whom its rulers exercise an authority which, if 
scarcely approaching the settled polity of more advanced com- 
munities, is at least in the direction of peace and order. The 
valley of Manipur in several respects resembles in miniature 
its neighbour, that of the Irawadi. In both the civUized people 
who occupy the central settled and organized region are nearly 
akin to the wild folk who inhabit the hills which enclose the 
alluvial plain. But while Burma has accepted the mild and 
gentle religion of Buddha, and thus profoundly modified the 
original animistic cult, Manipur has been taken into the pale 
of Hinduism, and has imposed upon itself burdensome restric- 
tions of caste and ritual from which its greater neighbour is 
happily free. In both countries, however, the older religious 
ideas still survive beneath the surface of the philosophical 
systems borrowed from India, and in reality sway to a large 
extent the lives and sentiments of the people. The State has 
recently, after sixteen years of British administration, been 
committed to the government of the Prince who was chosen to 
fill the vacant throne after the events of 1891 ; and it is greatly 
to be hoped that its future may be happy and prosperous, and 
that it may exercise an increasing influence in winning to 
civilization the wilder tribes which recognize its authority. 

C. J. LYALL. 

May, 1908. 







W(e< 



THE MEITHEIS 



SECTION I. 

HABITAT. 



The Native State of Manipur lies between Latitude 23° 50' 
and 25° 30' North and Longitude 93° 10' and 94° 30^ East, and 
consists of about 7000 square miles of hill territory, and of 
1000 square miles of level country forming the broad valley, 
to which the Manipuris have given the name Meithei Leipak, 
or the broad land of the Meitheis. On the west its frontiers 
march with those of the British District of Cachar up to a 
point in the hills near which is the Naga village Maolong, 
from which the boundary line follows the river Barak and then 
traverses the hills to Mao, where a natural frontier line begins 
again. There is a small piece undemarcated at the corner on 
which is situated the village of Jessami. The frontier touches 
Upper Burma and passes along the western edge of the Kubo 
Valley, for so long the subject of contention between Manipur 
and Burma. On the south the confines of the State touch the 
CHiin Hills on the east and the Lushai Hills on the west. The 
Burmese call it Kathe, the Assamese Mekle, while, according to 
Colonel McCulloch, the Bengali name for the State is Moglai.* 

Within the area of the State there is an immense variety of 
climate and scenery, which is only equalled by the variety of 
the types of mankind whose habits form the subject of these 
monographs. Tea is indigenous in the hills, and before unwise 
greed ruined it, the trade in tea seed was profitable alike to the 
State and to the traders. Eubber, too, grows in natural pro- 
fusion in the hills. The teak timber in the State represents a 

♦ Of, Pemberton, T^cpor* on Eastern Frontier, pp. 19^ 20 ; McCulloch, 
Aooount of Munnipore, p. 1. 

B 



2 THE MEITHEIS 

natural wealth whose limitations are as yet unascertained. I 
the Natch Ghar are beams of teak of enormous length and girt 
— from trees in the forests of the State. For the lover of sp<» 
the valley is a veritable Paradise. In the cold weather tb 
numerous lakes and jheels are covered with wild duck, tell 
geese, snipe, and in the hills woodcock and rare pheasants i 
to be found. The eastern edges of the Logtak lake aflfordj 
home to the brow-antlered deer, while the fastnesses and thtci 
of the lofty mountain peaks shelter the timid serao. Of might 
game there is the tiger, a rare visitor to the byres of the pi 
men ; now and then a leopard ravages the cattle, and up to 
British occupation elephants were caught in the valley. Ma 
are the tales that are told of the strange deaths of unhap| 
persons who have seen a lairel or python, while in the swamp 
of the Logtak is found the King cobra (fiphiophagvs odapa 
tanglei in the vernacular). The Eussell's viper is found in 
valley, but deadly though it is, the villagers often fear it bi4 
little, and I have seen a man break one in two with a dexteroii| 
twist. 

The census returns of 1901 show a population of 284,465 u 
the State, of whom 180,960 are inhabitants of the valley and 
103,505 hill tribesmen. It is impossible to make any dedactiom 
as to the increase or decrease of the population, for there azc 
grounds for holding that the census of 1881 did not cover thi 
same area, and was not conducted on the same careful lines ai 
that of 1901. The census papers of 1891 were destroyed in thi 
emeute of that year. 

APPEARANCE. 

Dr. Brown says that, " Although the general facial character 
istics of the Munniporie are of the Mongolian type, there is i 
great diversity of feature among them, some of them showini 
a regularity approaching the Aryan type. Among both mei 
and women the stature is very various, differing about as mud 
as is found among Europeans. Some of them are very good 
looking and fair. It is not uncommon to meet with girls witl 
brownish-black hair, brown eyes, fair complexions, straigb 
noses, and rosy cheeks. The Munnipories are decidedly 



THE MEITHEIS j 

muscular race, some of the men particularly so; they are 
generally spare in habit of body, and fat people are rare. They 
have good chests and well-formed limbs. The men wear their 
hair, which is coarse and black, long, and combed back from the 
forehead, which is occasionally shaved ; the hair is gathered into 
a coil behind. Moustaches are uncommon, so much so that a man 
with a moustache invariably is nicknamed khoi-hadba, although 
a man with a thick straight moustache will be seen. They have 
no beards, or very rudimentary ones. Boys' heads are generally 
shaved, leaving only a straggling quantity of hair at the back. 
The hair of the females is worn in three different ways, according 
to age. When quite young, up to the age of about ten, the 
front part of the head is shaved, the back part, from about the 
level of the ears round the head, being allowed to grow loose 
hehind. The next fashion is that for unmarried girls, and is 
very peculiar : the hair behind, from about the middle of each 
ear round, is allowed to grow long, is combed back and tied 
in a knot or left loose. In front of this the hair is combed 
forwards, and cut equally so as to reach over the forehead an 
inch or so above the eyebrow. In front of and over each ear is 
a lock of hair about two inches broad, and reaching down to 
the angle of the jaw. In married women the hair is allowed to 
grow long, and is combed back from the forehead, Bengallee 
fashion, and tied in a knot behind, leaving a few inches 
dependent from the knot. All who can afford the luxury wear 
* chignon, which, as with the Bengallees, is incorporated with 
the knot of back hair." * The men are not heavy, though 
averaging about five feet seven. The women are four inches 
shorter than the men. Colonel L. A. Waddell, LL.D., C.B., 
C.I.E., has kindly permitted the publication of the anthropo- 
^etrical data in the accompanying table. 

The Lois very closely resemble the Meitheis, and are to all 
stents and purposes indistinguishable from their over-lords. 
Indeed, it is remarkable to observe how much the individuality 
^f such people as the Meitheis,' the Lois, the hill people, and 
even the Gurkhas, depends on differences of clothing and 
eoiffure. In the case of the Lois, who are either earlier settlers 
^r the direct descendants of Meitheis banished to Loi villages 
♦ Op. cit, pp. 28 and 29. 



4 THE MEITHEIS 

as a punishment, this phenomenon is intelligible, for the infusion 
of true Meithei blood into Loi families by mixed marriages is 
undeniable. 

The Panggan or Muhammedan settlers are distinct from the 
Meithei, as is reasonable to expect, although it has been noted 
that many of the Muhammedan inhabitants of Sylhet and 
Cachar resemble the hill type.* The Panggans are believed 
to have originated from Cachar as prisoners of war taken by 
Meitheis. 



GEOGRAPHICAL DISTRIBUTION. 

Historical circumstances account for the rather wide geo- 
graphical distribution of the Meitheis. There are colonies in 
Burma which owe their origin to the disastrous raids which, 
made by way of reprisal for the invasions of Burma by the 
forces of Manipur in the beginning of the eighteenth century, 
culminated in the great depopulation of the country in 1819, 
when the Burmese soldiery took with them into captivity 
enormous numbers of Manipuris of all ages and of both sexes. 
Political events have conduced to the growth of settlements of 
Manipuris in Cachar, Sylhet and Dacca, while in Bengal and in 
the United Provinces there are small colonies of Manipuris who 
have left their country for their country's good. These settle- 
ments, whether at Nadia, where the sentiment of religious 
attachment to the Guru of the Eoyal Family binds them 
together, or in Cachar where they originally settled to form a 
bulwark against the forays of Kukis, keep aloof from the people 
around them, whom they regard, sometimes without injustice, 
as their inferiors in culture and civilization. 



ORIGIN. 

The Chronicles of the State of Manipur open with an 
"authoritative" account of the origin of the Eoyal Family 
to which interest of an uncommon kind attaches because 

* Sir Chai'les Lyall, K.C.S.I., Society of Arts Journal, No. 2637, 
vol. li. p. 618. 



THE MEITHEIS 5 

these documents axe now for the first time available for the 
student. 

" By the end of the Dapar Jug and beginning of the Kali 
Jug (year 3435), Enoog Howba Chonoo, the wife of Babroo- 
bahan gave birth to a son called Pakhangba. He used to 
assume the form of Gods by the day, and by the night he used 
to be a man." 

Around the personage of Pakhangba legends have grown 
up which declare him to have had the power of changing 
his shape into that of a snake, and his death, which alone 
proved his humanity, was due to the accidental infliction of a 
wound by his son, who saw his father in the house at night and 
killed him all unwittingly with a spear. To this accidental 
parricide the Manipuris attribute the frequency of parricide 
at the early part of the eighteenth century. But there are 
current other versions of the origin of the Ningthaja or Eoyal 
clan, and from one of these I take the following genealogy. 
" The Brahma dev (The creating God of the Universe) had 
sprung out from the Navel lotus of Narayan (the Protecting 
God of the Universe), Marichi Muni (a Hindu sage) was born 
from the limbs of Brahmadev. Marichi's son, Kosshop Muni 
(a Hindu Saint) ; Kosshop Muni's son, Surja (Sun) ; Surja's 
son, Shaborna Muni; Shaborna's son, Indoo Muni; Indoo 
Muni's son, Chitra Ketoo; Chitra Ketoo's son, Chitradhaja; 
Chitradhaja's son, Chitrabija; Chitrabija's son, Chitra Sarba; 
Chitra Sarba's son, Chitra Eat ; Chitra Eat's son, Chitra Vanoo. 
Chitra Vanoo had no son, only a daughter named Chitranggada ; 
Chitranggada's son, Babrubahan; Babrubahan's son, Sooprabahoo; 
Sooprabahoo's son, Pakhangba (Jobista). The Jobista or 
Pakhangba was the first ruling King of Manipur." 

Such tales are obviously tainted by the influence of Hinduism, 
and the appearance of non-Hindu names seems to mark the 
beginning of native legend. Among the Manipuris, at the time 
when Colonel McCuUoch wrote his remarkable account of the 
valley, there were extant legends which induced him to believe 
that "From the most credible traditions, the valley appears 
originally to have been occupied by several tribes, the principal 
of which were named Koomul, Looang, Moirang, and Meithei, 
all of whom came from different directions. For a time the 



6 THE MEITHEIS 

Koomul appears to have been the most powerful, and after its 
declension, the Moirang tribe. But by degrees the Meithei 
subdued the whole, and the name Meithei has become applicable 
to all. Since their conversion to Hindooism, the Meitheis have 
claimed for themselves a Hindoo descent. This claim, in his 
report of the Eastern Frontier, Captain Pemberton rejects, and 
says, ' we may safely conclude them to be descendants from a 
Tartar Colony from China.' For this conclusion I can see no 
reason, and think there is far more ground to conclude them to 
be descendants of the surrounding hill tribes. The languages 
spoken by these tribes are in their pristine state : I conceive 
then, that in their spoken language, an indication of the descent 
of the Munniporees might be found. Tradition brings the 
Moirang tribe from the South, the direction of the Kookies, the 
Koomul from the East, the direction of the Murrings, and 
the Meithei and Looang from the North-west, the direction of 
the Koupooees. The languages of the Murrings, Kookies, and 
Koupooees, are all very similar, and as the Koomul, etc., the 
offshoots of these tribes were, as before said, at different periods 
the dominant tribes in the valley, it might be expected that the 
present language of the people, united under the name of 
Meithei, would have a very apparent likeness to these languages, 
and such is the case. AH these tribes have also traditions 
amongst themselves that the Munniporees are offshoots from 
them. These traditions then, and the composite nature of the 
language, appear to me to afford more reason for supposing the 
Munniporees to be descended from the surrounding hill tribes 
than from a Tartar Colony from China. Besides the stories of 
their ancestors, which at times the Munniporees relate amongst 
themselves, show, that up to a very recent period, they retained 
all the customs of hill people of the present day. Their super- 
stition, too, has preserved relics, which alone would have led to 
the suspicion of an originally close connection between them and 
Nagas. The ceremony denominated FhumbdnJcdba, or * ascend- 
ing the throne,' is performed in Naga dress, both by the Eajah 
and Eanee, and the Yim Chau, or * great house,' the original 
residence of the Meithei Chief, is, though he does not now reside 
in it, still kept up, and is made in the Naga fashion." * 
* Op, cit., p. 4. Cf. Pemberton, Report on Eastern Frontier^ p. 36. 



THE MEITHEIS 7 

This careful opinion drew the consent of Dr. Brown, who 
adorned it with some interesting speculations. " Should it be a 
correct view that the valley of Munnipore was at no very distant 
period almost covered entirely by water, the origin of the Munni- 
pories from the surrounding hill tribes is the proper and only 
conclusion to be arrived at. I think it probable that when 
only a small part of the valley skirting the hills was capable 
of cultivation, the hillmen bordering it used to descend and 
cultivate the little land there then was, returning to their 
homes in the hills after reaping their harvests : as, however, 
land increased, some few of them settled permanently in the 
plain, gradually increasing in numbers. The various tribes thus 
settling in different parts of the valley would in time come into 
contact, and after a struggle for supremacy, amalgamate. That 
this is what actually did take place is borne out by the traditions 
of Munnipore. The above account is by no means accepted as 
correct by the upper classes of Munnipories, who deny their 
origin from the hill tribes surrounding the valley, although, 
when asked to account for themselves otherwise, they have no 
plausible story to offer. They can merely say that they always 
telonged to the valley and have always been a separate race. 
The theory that the valley was once covered with water, although 
supported by their own traditions, they utterly ignore. A small 
section of them, however, go a step further than this, and, as 
alluded to by McCuUoch, actually claim for themselves a 
Western and Hindoo descent. This idea is quite untenable, and 
rests upon a very slender foundation, or rather on none whatever. 
The name ' Munnipore ' is thus accounted for by the Munni- 
pories, who quote the Mahabarat in confirmation of its accuracy. 
They say the name is from Muni, a jewel ; this jewel was formerly 
in the possession of the Eajas of the country ages ago. The 
country was at one time named Mahindrapore, but on a Eaja, by 
name Bubra Baha, coming into possession of the jewel (which 
formerly belonged to a Nag Eaja or Serpent King) and the 
guddee, he changed the name to Munnipore. According to the 
Mahabarat, however, the name Munnipore was in existence 
Ijefore the birth of Bubra Baha, and Mahindrapore or Mahindra- 
pahar, was the name of a high hill,* situated but a short 

• Vernacular : Nongmai-Ching (iiong = sun or day ; mat = (?) facing ; 



8 THE MEITHEIS 

distance to the east of the capital. With regard to the Naga 
dress, said in the foregoing quotation from McCuUoch to be 
worn by the Baja on ascending the throne, it is stoutly denied, 
by a section, at least, of the Munnipories, that it has anything to 
do with the Nagas, but is an ancient Munniporie costume. 
Besides being worn as above by the Eaja on ascending the 
throne, during the various games hereafter to be described, as 
the boat races, this dress is worn by the chief competitors as 
well as by the Eaja, who attends the races, steering his own boat 
in this dress. If really originally a Naga costume, it has little 
or no aflBnity now with what is worn by them." * 

Major-General Sir James Johnstone, K.C.S.I., lends the 
weight of his long and interesting experience in Manipur to 
the belief that " There can be little doubt that some time or 
other the Naga tribes to the north made one of their chiefs 
Eajah of Manipur, and that his family, while, like the Manchus 
in China and other conquerors, adopting the civilization of the 
country, retained some of their old customs. This is shown 
in the curious practice at the installation of a Bajah, when he 
and the Eanee appear in Naga costume ; also that he always has 
in his palace a house built like a Naga's, and wherever he goes 
he is attended by two or three Manipuris with Naga arms and 
accoutrements. I once told a Manipuri what I thought on the 
subject, and he was greatly struck by it and admitted the force 

of what I said." t 

Photographs of the hangla or Coronation Hall show that the 
front beams of the roof have crossed and carved ends which are 
distinctly reminiscent of the decorations of the houses of the 
Khullakpas of Naga villages. It may be observed that the 
sang-kai punsiba or hut in the Naga style, to which Major- 
General Johnstone makes reference, means the long-lived hut 
and granary (sang = hut, kai = granary, punsiba = late dying 
= long lived). 

The Lois, a title applied to the inhabitants of a number of 

chiiig = hill), probably the hill that faces the sun. The great annual 
rainpuja takes place on this hill, which is intimately connected with 
other magical rites. — T. C. H. 

♦ Op. cit, pp. 27 and 28. 

t Experiences in Manipur, pp. 82, 83. See also p. 97. Cf, Lyall, 
Asiatic Studies, vol. i. p. 9G. 



THE MEITHEIS 9 

villages which are some distance from Imphal, and which are 
and have for long been in subjection to the Meitheis, are of 
various origin. Sengmai, a village on the Manipur-Kohima 
cart road about nine miles from Imphal, is said to have moved 
there from the south. Fayeng Loi, however, preserves a tradi- 
tion that they once occupied the site of the Konung or Fort 
from which they were driven out by Pakhungba, which means 
the rise of the Meithei power. Andro Loi, a village in the 
vicinity of Fayeng, claims the same origin. The villagers of 
Chairel, situated on the Imphal river not far from Shuganu, 
declare that they once occupied the slopes of Nongmaiching. 
The Lois in the south-east of the valley at Kokching, who 
live by iron-smelting, were once under the rule of the Heirok 
King, whose dominions stretched from Kokching to the Imphal 
river. McCulloch * states, that the appointment of an official 
with the style and title of Budhiraj to govern Kokching dates 
from the reign of Gharib Nawaz. The village of Susakameng 
is said to be inhabited by the descendants of Chinese who came 
to Manipur in the reign of Khagenba. The villages on the 
Logtak, Thanga and Iting, are known to have had their origin, 
as had Shuganu, on the banks of the Imphal river, as penal 
settlements to which all classes of offenders were sent. From 
the Chronicles it would appear that the Loi villages possess 
considerable antiquity, for it is stated that they were founded 
by Airaba, whose reign is dated about 1000 a.d., that is, in the 
period before history of any real authenticity begins. 

Khagenba seems to have been the first monarch to make use 
of the Loi villages as places of detention for prisoners, for he 
is said to have sent captives, taken on a raid against Nagas 
probably in the neighbourhood of Maram in the north, to 
Shuganu in the year 1645 a.d. Ten years later his successor, 
Khul Chaoba, transported a number of Manipuris, who, under 
the leadership of the Angom Ningthou, had raised the standard 
of rebellion against him, to Eharai Loi. In the same year this 
king seems to have had trouble with other Loi villages, for he 
is recorded as having sent expeditions against Andro, Kameng 
ChikhoDg (salt well), and Yaripok, all of which are capable of 
identification as extant in modern days. The religious changes 

* Op. cit., p. 14. 



lo THE MEITHEIS 

introduced by Gharib .Nawaz were the occasion of wholesale 
deportations to Loi villages, and from that time onward the 
Chronicles constantly make mention of deportation to a Loi 
village as a punishment. In spite of, or perhaps because of, 
this not very auspicious origin the Loi villages are among the 
most prosperous villages in the State, for the reason that, untram- 
melled by caste prejudices, they are able and allowed to practise 
industries which are denied to the Meitheis, whom, however, to 
the neglect of their temporal advantages, they are anxious to 
follow into the respectability of Hinduism. On the occasion of 
the recent census many of them seized the opportunity to declare 
themselves Hindus, a proceeding which greatly shocked the 
Meitheis. 



AFFINITIES. 

The group name " Meithei " has been derived from mi = man 
and thei = separate, while in a footnote to a contribution of 
immense value to the Asiatic Society of Bengal in 1853, Brian 
Houghton Hodgson expressed the view that "in the * Moitay* 
of Manipur we have the combined appellations of the Siamese 
Tai and the Kochin Chinese * Moy.* In other words, the Mani- 
purian tribe, called Cossiahs by the Bengalis, belong to the Moi 
section of the great tribe called Tai by themselves and Shan 
vel Syan by the £urmese, the sectional name being also foreign 
and equivalent to the native." * Of course, the Manipuris are 
totally distinct from the Khasis,t and while Shan influence 
has exerted as great an influence over the culture as over 
the politics of Manipur, it is difficult, especially on linguistic 
grounds, to group the Meitheis with the Tai races when the 
structure and vocabulary of the Meithei language alike agree 
with those of the Tibeto-Burman races, a conclusion which 
rests on evidence very largely provided by Brian Hodgson 
himself. 

♦ J. A. S. B., vol. xxii. (1853), pp. 14, 15. 

t Consult monograph on **Khasi8," by Major P. R. T. Garden, LA., 
who deals with the linguistic affinities of the Khasis very thoroiM;hly : 
also consult vol. ii. of the Report of the Linguistic Survey of Miia. 
Mon-Elhmer and Tai Families. 



THE MEITHEIS ii 

The researches of the Linguistic Survey of India enable us to 
take a comprehensive view of the relationship of the Meithei 
language to the languages spoken by the hill tribes both in 
the State and beyond it. Dr. Grierson gives it a place in the 
Tibeto-Burman group of languages and defines the position of the 
Kuki Chin group to which it belongs, in the following words : — 
** The Kuki Chin languages are closely connected with all the 
surrounding groups of the Tibeto Burman family, the Bodo and 
Naga languages to the north, Kachin to the east, and Burmese 
to the east and south. More particularly they form a link 
which connects Burmese with the Bodo and Naga languages, 
having, especially in the north, many relations with the Kachin 
dialects, which in their turn, form another chain between Tibetan 
and Burmese." * In another passage he insists on the close con- 
nection between Kachin and the Kuki Chin languages, especially 
Meithei which he considers to be the link between the two 
groups.t 

The remarks which I shall have to make when dealing with 
the hill tribes in Manipur need not be here anticipated, 
but their eflTect, cumulative and sustained, is to show that two 
himdred years ago in internal organization, in religion, in habits 
and manners, the Meitheis were as the hill people now are. The 
successive waves of foreign invasion, Shan, Burmese, English, 
Hindu, have each left permanent marks on the civilization of 
the people so that they have passed finally away from the stage 
of relatively primitive culture into one of comparative civiliza- 
tion, but their ultimate homogeneity with the Nagas and 
Kukis of the hills is undoubted, and in my opinion needs no 
further insistence. 

The annals of Manipur leave it impossible to doubt that at an 
earlier period the intercourse between the Meitheis and the 
Naga tribes was coloured by considerable intimacy which may 
explain, if it does not altogether justify, the legend that at one 
time the Manipuris used to marry Naga girls from the great 
village of Maram. In a passage in the narrative of the reign of 
the reformer Gharib Nawaz, we find mention of an invitation to 
all the Naga chiefs. " The ministers and Sirdars of Manipur 
received the Naga Chiefs continuously, and made friendship 
* Op, cif., vol. iii., part iii., p. 6. f Loc, cit., p. 14. 



12 THE MEITHEIS 

and intimacy with tliem. The Eaja entertained the Naga chiefs 
with good feasts and wine." 

Whether the real nature of the connection between the Mani- 
puris and the hill tribes will ever be traced is doubtful, because 
it is obscured by the lack of historical material, the place of 
which cannot be entirely taken by comparative ethnology. 
Among the hill tribes in Manipur we find the same system of 
exogamic divisions, even the same names for the divisions, 
a phenomenon which is in my opinion capable of a very simple 
explanation. This topic will be discussed when dealing with 
the hill tribes. A speculative writer, like McLennan,* may 
found on such facts an elaborate theory of the growth of early 
human society, but here is it not due rather to community or 
identity of origin than to contact and chance connection ? 

In discussing the origin of the Loi communities I found it 
necessary to set in array facts which clearly show that they are 
for the most part of the same origin as their Meithei masters. 
Unfortunately it is not within my power to add very much to 
Dr. Grierson's remarks on the paucity of linguistic evidence as 
regards the affinities of these minor groups. " None of these 
dialects has been returned for the survey, and they have 
probably all disappeared. The vocabularies published by Major 
McCuUoch show that they cannot belong to the Kuki Chin 
group. But it has proved impossible to class them as belonging 
to any other group. There is apparently some connection with 
the Naga languages, especially with the eastern sub-group. But 
the materials available are not sufficient for a definite state- 
ment. The question must therefore be left open. But in order 

* Primitive Marriage, pp. 109-111. Among many of the hill tribes 
are current legends which, differing in details, invariably agree in de- 
claring the Manipuris to be the descendants of the youngest of three 
brothers and therefore the most favoured. These legends are fortified 
by allusions to such differences as the superiority of the Manipuris in 
the matter of the clothing and their greater cleanliness. All that these 
ex post fado stories prove is that the hill tribes recognize their relation- 
ship with the Manipuris who, on their side, are for the most part content 
to acquiesce tacitly in the claim which they cannot explicitly deny. 
Such a legend as that which explains the ignorance of writing among tiie 
hill tribes, is found in many places with just enough variation to aSiiist 
it to local peculiarities. Of. Dr. Tylor {Anthropohgify p. 377) : ** What 
the poet relates may be fiction, what lie mentions is apt to be history." 



THE MEITHEIS 13 

to make it possible to compare the forms given by McCulloch 
with those occurring in other Tibeto-Burman languages, I have 
given them as an appendix to the Meithei list, because this 
language has, to a considerable extent, influenced the vocabulary 
of the Lui dialects." * It is curious to observe that the names 
of the two principal Tableng villages, the members of which 
speak a language belonging to the south-eastern sub-group of 
Naga languages, are Wanching and Wakching, which happen 
also to be the names of villages in the south of Manipur. 

While the advance of Meithei has obliterated the dialectical 
distinction of the Lois of Sengmai, Andro and Chairel, their 
religious customs have suffered less modification, as will be seen 
in the section on religious beliefs and practices. In anticipation 
of these results I venture to say that we may regard the Lois as 
in much the state as the Meitheis were when coerced into the 
smooth paths of Hinduism. 

DRESS. 

Colonel McCulloch describes the dress of the Manipuris in 
the following terms : " The men dress in the same way as they 
do in Hindustan ; but as a people the Munniporees far surpass 
the people to the west in the cleanliness of their garments. . . . 
Unless permitted by the Eaja, various articles of dress and 
ornament cannot be worn, and permission to wear any of these 
articles is much coveted. Persons of high rank are permitted 
to have carried before them a red woollen cloth ; of a less rank, 
a green woollen cloth; and of a less still, a cloth of cotton 
manufacture. These they use as rugs to sit on, and it is only 
for such use they are prized ; as articles of dress they may be 
used by any who can afford to buy them. Tlie dress of the 
women is quite different from that worn by the women in the 
west. It consists of a striped cotton or silk cloth passed round 
the body under the armpits and over the breast, a jacket, and 
a sheet." t Dr- Brown, however, amplifies this account in the 
following passage : " Tlie dress of the men does not differ 
materially from tliat of the Bengallee, and consists of the 

* Op, city vol. iii., part iii., p. 43. t Op. cit, p. 22. 



14 THE MEITHEIS 

dhotie, a Jcoorta, or shirt, only occasionally worn, and a chudder, 
or sheet. In winter those who can afford it wear a quilted and 
padded coat, like that worn in the Punjab, generally having 
long uncomfortable sleeves and enormously high collars. Shoes 
are seldom worn. The puggree is shorter than that worn by 
Hindustanis, but is put on in the same manner. The dress of 
the women when of good quality is picturesque and pleasing. 
During the hot weather it consists of a piece of cloth open 
except at the bottom, where it is stitched together by the edges 
for a few inches ; this is folded round the body, under the arm- 
pits and over the breast, and tucked in by the hand at the side 
of the body. In length it reaches the ground, but as this would 
be inconvenient in walking, it is hitched up about halfway to 
the knee, and tucked in again at the waist. This piece of cloth, 
called a 'faiuk* is only wide enough to go one and a half times 
round the body ; this gives enough room, however, for the legs 
in walking. The fanek is made in cotton and silk, and the 
only patterns are stripes of various colours and widths running 
across the material, the groundwork being of different colours. 
The commoner patterns are red with green stripes, green and 
black, blue with black and white stripes, yellow and brown, dark 
blue with green and white stripes, etc. At the top and bottom 
of the garment is a broad margin, on which geometrical figures 
or patterns of various kinds are sewn by hand with floss silk in 
various colours. Over the faiiek is worn a white sheet,* which 
is folded in the usual native manner, the face, however, being 
left uncovered. In the cold season a short jacket with long 
sleeves is worn ; this reaches below the bust over the fanekt 
and is worn tight-fitting. The material is usually velvet or 
satin, black, blue, or green being the favourite colours. The 
great drawback to this dress in a European's eyes is its tendency 
to spoil the figm^e : the whole weight of the/aiieft resting on the 
bust soon ruins the shape. Female children, until puberty, or 
near it, wear the fanek round the waist, the upper part of the 
body being bare."t It is necessary to add some particulars to 
the above accounts by noticing the peculiar costumes which 
custom permits or demands on certain occasions, by mentioning 
in some detail the sumptuary rules and regulations, and by 
* In-na-phi. f Op, ciL, p. 29. 



THE MEITHEIS 15 

giving some account of the periods at which, according to the 
annals of the State, changes 'in the attire of its people have 
been introduced. 

The following sumptuary laws are recognized, and were 
enforced among the Manipuris by their own officials : — 

The Kameng chatpa dhoti is a white silk dhoti with purple 
patterns of scrolls stamped on it by means of wooden blocks, 
which are said to have been introduced by the Chinese 
merchants who visited the State in the reign of Khagenba, 
circa A.D. 1630. It may not be worn by persons of inferior 
rank, but Eajkumars may use it at their pleasure, a privilege 
which is now extended to sons-in-law of the Eaja. 

The phi-ge-najnc dhoti is an orange-coloured dJwti which may 
be worn by the classes of persons mentioned above. Children, 
however, are permitted to wear it. 

Theju-gi mairi dhoti is a red silk dhoti which may be worn 
in the presence of the Eaja by persons who hold titles of office 
as members of the Chirap, or by the favour of the Eaja. On 
ordinary occasions it may be worn by anybody, but not in the 
presence of the Eaja. 

The gviap machu dhoti, or rose-coloured silk d/wtiy of a pretty 
pink shade, may be worn only by the privileged persons who 
hold office or enjoy the royal favour, but it may be worn by 
any one else on ordinary occasions provided the Eaja is not 
present. Children may wear it at pleasure. 

Pagris with silk-patterned ends may be worn by descendants 
and relatives of the Eaja and by those upon whom it is con- 
ferred as a mark of favour or distinction. Pagris with silk 
borders may not be worn in the presence of the Eaja. Wrestlers 
and runners when performing in public wear a pagri with a 
projecting front, to which the name lara Jchdng podk is given. 
The Eaja's immediate servants, when in attendance at his meals 
or when accompanying him to worship or when massaging him, 
wear the pagri so as to cover the mouth. Ordinary persons at 
ordinary times are not allowed to come into the presence of the 
Eaja with their pagris coiled in this fashion, nor are they 
permitted to twist it in rough coils when entering the royal 
presence. 

Women are not allowed to wear chadars embroidered with 



i6 THE MEITHEIS 

gold either in the presence of the Eaja or elsewhere without 
permission. Descendants of the Baja are not bound by this 
restriction. 

The national sports and games afford an opportunity for 
special and elaborate costumes. On the occasion of the great 
annual boat-races, in which in former days the Eaja used to 
take part, the steersmen of the competing crews wear a 
kameng chatpa dhoti (see above), and to add to the dignity of 
the high-coiled pagri with fringed ends permitted to them, 
they wear feathers of the Argus pheasant or of the Hume's 
pheasant, with blossoms in long trailing coils of the blue orchid 
( Vanda caenUea). The wrestlers wear the kameng chatpa dhoti 
and the curious head-dress, which has a portion twisted up in 
front, in a manner which resembles the Marring coiK The 
costume of the polo players is more practical, and consists of 
a short jacket of dark velvet, worn even in hot weather, a dhotiy 
generally of white cotton, and quilted leggings of a stout and 
serviceable nature. The pagri is fastened in such a way as to 
protect the ears and side of the head from blows, and if not 
particularly picturesque, is at any rate of great use, for in the 
heat and fury of the game the players become excited, and 
some people think that if they cannot hit the ball, they may 
as well hit the man. 

The religious festivals, such as the Lai haraoba (or making 
merry with the gods), are occasions when the sumptuary laws 
are a little relaxed, and women don their gayest apparel 
without let or hindrance. Those who have been selected to 
take a part in one of the religious dances wear a handsome 
costume which is as modest as it is also beautiful, and which 
is sanctioned by long custom for these occasions. Old women 
make a living by hiring out these costumes, for they cost too 
much for ordinary purses to buy outright, and the appreciation 
of their charm, which so many British officers have shown, 
adds to their cost. The head-gear is a small skull-cap of black 
cloth or velvet, with a narrow band of pearl trimming at the 
edge ; sometimes they wear an ornamental branching spray of 
white imitation pearl beads on the cap. The jacket is close- 
fitting, and is of black cloth or velvet, with gold trinmung 



THE MEITHEIS 17 

about two inches deep on the sleeves, which do not reach down 
to the elbow. A white cloth is wound tightly round the waist 
from under the breasts just over the hips to give support. The 
petticoat is made of silk, either green or dark red, and at the 
bottom is a band of sequin ornamentation eighteen inch^sT to 
two feet in depth. Over the shoulder and round the waist is 
fastened a decorative ornament, which I can only compare to 
a sabretasche with a shoulder-strap. On a groundwork of red 
silk or satin, they sew round, oval, or square pieces of glass 
silvered, set in gold and silver tinsel, with loose fringed ends 
of the same bright materials. Over the silk skirt they wear a 
top-skirt of white delicate muslin woven in the country, on 
which are sewn rows and rows of silver tinsel, till the whole 
is a mass of gorgeous splendour, reflecting the light in all 
directions, as the agile creatures whirl round and sink down 
in ecstatic worship of Eadha Krishna, in whose honour they 
dance. The little lad who takes the part of Sri Krishna wears 
a handsome dress with a resplendent head-gear, adorned with 
peacocks' feathers and silver tinsel. 

The first change in the matter of dress occurred, according to 
the Chronicles, in the reign of Chalumba, circa 1550, who is 
said to have "introduced the system of wearing Dhuties and 
decent clothing, coats made of wax cloth were also introduced 
during his time." It would be of extreme interest to know the 
precise nature of the presumably indecent clothing thus dis- 
placed. The luhup (lu = head — not a Meithei word — hup = khup, 
to cover) or head dress was first brought into use by Kiagenba 
in about 1600, and the Chronicles note that it is used by men 
of rank at the time of the festivals. Khagenba is also 
responsible for the adoption of the head gear known as Lam- 
khang poak. He was a zealous reformer in the matter of dress, 
for he also caused the people to take to the turban or pagri. 
The first mention of the Kameng chatpa dhoti, or royal 
dhoti, dates from the reign. of Pikhomba, who ordered a man of 
the Potsangbom pannah to be beheaded for stealing one of these 
cloths, but its introduction is probably much earlier, as, accord- 
ing to tradition, it was first made in the country by Chinese, 
who are said to have visited Manipur ia the reign of Khagenba 
{circa 1630 A.D.), the inventor of a costume to which the name 

c 



i8 THE MEITHEIS 

ningkham furit was given for the use of royalty and the 
ministers of state. The faichareng, a cap worn by ladies of 
high rank, is first mentioned in the year 1746, when the Bani, 
the wife of the Eaja Pamheiba or Gharib Newaz, wore it at a 
dancing party given by the Chothe Nagas in their village. 
Since that date changes of costume are not mentioned in the 
Chronicles, but the approach of European civilization has given 
rise to the fashion of wearing cast-oflf clothes from England. 
The combination of two such excellent garments as the dhoti 
and the frock coat does not display the merits of either garment^ 
but the "old clothes'* corner of the Sena kaithel is always 
crowded, and in the early days of the British occupation a 
frock coat fetched in Manipur considerably more than it 
originally cost, while the competition for collars raised the 
price to about one rupee each. Free trade in these commodities 
has lowered the prices, but " Bilati " coats are worn by as many 
as can afford them, and the sale of old uniforms is making 
the fortunes of the enterprising traders who import them. 

In dress the Lois are not distinguishable from Meitheis. 
The women wear the same costume. These remarks are also 
true of the Panggans, men and women, with the difference that 
the Panggan women wear faneks, which they fasten under the 
right breast, while Meithei women fasten this garment under 
the left breast. The colours of the faneJcs of Panggan women 
differ from those used by Manipuris, as, for instance, the green 
used by a Meithei will be darker, less glaring than the shade 
of green allowable to the Pajiggan. 

TATTOOING. 

The Manipuris do not tattoo, and there is no record of their 
having at any time practised this custom. 

ORNAMENTS. 

Dr. Brown * says that " The ornaments are earrings, necklets, 
and bracelets ; ankle ornaments are never worn, or rings on the 

♦ Op. cit, pp. 29, 30» 



THE MEITHEIS 19 

toes. Nose ornaments are limited to a small piece of gold wire 
in the side of each nostril. The only ornaments which may be 
worn without restriction are earrings : these may be worn by 
any one. With regard to other ornaments of gold, permission 
for all but the upper classes to wear them must be obtained 
from the Baja. Ornaments of other metal than gold may be 
worn freely." The earrings worn by the men and by the 
majority of the women are of plain gold, generally a thin 
casing over a solid piece of lac. Men do not wear other 
ornaments, but the necklaces worn by the women of the upper 
classes are of tasteful, simple filigree designs manufactured by 
native goldsmiths, who prefer almost pure gold to work on, as 
their tools are not tempered for work on alloyed gold. The 
bracelets and necklaces are of chased and hammered patterns, 
while plain beads formed round a hollow nucleus of lac are 
common. 



WEAPONS. 

The universal weapon, used in all kinds of emergency and for 
every purpose, in the fields, in war and in the arts of a more 
peaceful nature, is the dao. But the more the people of Manipur 
have become acquainted with the tools and implements of 
western civilization, the more thoroughly have they accepted 
the specialization of tools which marks the progress of organized 
modern industry. The advent of the horse, the foreign animal 
[sa, animal ; gol or kol, foreign], added an arm to their military 
organization which eventually became famous in the wars of 
the dawn of British authority in Further India. The cavalry 
of Manipur, better known as the Cassay Horse,* fought both for 
and against us in the First Burmese War. Their weapon was 

* Extract from Snodgrass's Narrative of the First Burmese TTar, pp. 85, 
86 : '* Numbers of these unfortunate beings (captives of war) from Cassay, 
Arracan, and Assam are to be found in Ava ; and even villages are to 
be met with on the Irrawaddy inhabited by mechanics, ironsmiths, and 
particular trades, whose features plainly indicate a foreign origin. The 
Mimniporeans or people of Cassay, in particular, abound in great 
numbers, and they are much prized as clever workmen. Owing to their 
superior skill in the management of the horse, the Burmese Cavalry is 
almost exclusively composed of them ; and they are distinguished by the 
national appellation of * The Cassay Horse.* '* 



20 THE MEITHEIS 

the rdmbai or daxt, the use of which was due no doubt to the 
fact that shock tactics could not be successfully carried out with 
such light cavalry in any country in which they were called on 
to operate. 

" It consists," as Dr. Brown says,* " of two parts — one, the 
outer, is formed of ten or twelve long quills of peacock feathers, 
which are bound together so as to form a narrow hollow cylinden 
At one end is fastened a heavy pointed piece of iron ; into the 
sheath thus formed a bamboo rod is placed, projecting outwards 
about five inches, and forming a handle ; to this handle, to give 
a better hold, a piece of cord is attached ; each horseman had two 
quivers full of these ardmhas fixed on either side of his saddle 
behind ; in using them, the handle of the rod, which fitted the 
sheath with moderate firmness, was grasped firmly and the 
sheath flung, leaving the bamboo core in the hand ; the heavy 
iron on the point made the ardmba fLj true. In pursuing, the 
ardmba was thrown in front, and in retreating was useful in 
throwing behind and impeding the enemy." Spears, bows and 
arrows were also used as weapons of offence, and the intro- 
duction of firearms, while rendering them and the ardmba to 
a large extent obsolete, also gave scope to the ingenuity of 
Manipuri artisans, who manufactured rough matchlocks, and are 
known to have risen to the height of producing a breech-loading 
gun of iron, which Dr. Brown thus describes : t " The breech- 
loader above mentioned, which is still in existence, is of iron 
and about three feet long ; the breech piece is separable from the 
gun and received the charge, its extremity being then inserted 
into the bore of the gun, a portion of barrel being cut out to 
admit of this ; the movable breech piece fastened behind by a 
slot passing through the gun (see photograph).^ The bullet 
weighed only a few ounces, the bore being small. The piece, 
carriage and all, was carried by two men. Nothing is known of 
the inventive genius who made this gun, except that he was a 
native of Munnipore : it is probably about a hundred years 
ago." Eound shields, made of buffalo hide and studded with 

fc* Op. cit, pp. 55 and 56. f Op, cit,, p. 55. 

X The photograph is not given in the book but may still be in existence 
among the archives of the Foreign Department of the Government of 
India.— T. C. H. 



THE MEITHEIS 21 

brass knobs, sufficiently thick and strong to turn a spear thrust, 
are carried, but mainly on ceremonial occasions only. Tradition 
asserts that from Chinese merchants who visited the State 
during the reign of Khagenba, circa 1630, the Manipuris learnt 
the art of manufacturing gunpowder, an art which to this day 
is still practised by the Kukis, who probably derive their 
acquaintance with it from the Manipuris. The Chronicles state 
that Khagenba, in 1627 a,d., " experimented to make big guns, 
and prepared one metal gun of big size." 

There is a curious weapon of the form and on the principle of 
the bow, which is used as a catapult. The pellets of hardened 
clay travel with considerable force and with some accuracy. 



SECTION 11. 

OCCUPATION. 

In Manipue we find many forms of industry practised by the 
people who are mainly agriculturists. In every house the wife 
weaves the cotton cloths for her family and husband. There 
are goldsmiths whose art produces much that is of great beauty 
though simple, so that we can believe that, in the palmy days of 
old, before the great devastation of the country by the Burmese, 
the land was in enjoyment of such wealth and prosperity as are 
now impossible. Yet the misfortunes of the past do not 
altogether account for the decay in the finer arts. In the 
economic system competent observers like Colonel McCulloch 
find a cause of stagnation and decline. " In a country in which 
each family produces nearly all which it consumes, any advance- 
ment in the arts can scarcely be expected. But if without other 
impediments, improvement could take place, it would be re- 
pressed under a Government such as that of Munnipore. Under 
the operation of the laloop, a good artificer works along with a 
bad one, and receives no more thanks for his work than if it 
wei'e as bad as that of his less skillful associate. He becomes 
disgusted, and his only aim is to amass quickly, by his superior 
intelligence, enough to purchase his release from work. This 
done, he thinks no more of his trade. Thus all are for ever at 
the rudiments and no progress is made. What cloths are made, 
are distinguished for strength more than for fineness, and the 
inventive faculties having no play, there is very little variety 
in pattern. Some little embroidery is practised, in which the 
same paucity of invention is more apparent. Their eating and 
drinking vessels, principally of bell metal, are substantial, but 
in shape vary little from those of the west. They have some 
dyes and have some taste in the arrangement of colours, but of 
drawing or painting they have no idea." * 
♦ Op. cit, pp. 33, 34. 



THE MEITHEIS 23 

The women hold a high and free position in Manipur, all the 
internal trade and exchange of the produce of the country being 
managed by them. The habit of the country is to have bazars 
at convenient spots by the road side, where a handful of women 
congregate at an early hour, whiling the time away with gossip 
and light work, and attending to a chance customer when one 
offers himself. Imphal possesses the largest and most important 
of these bazars, to which the name Sena Kaithel * is given. It is 
said to have been founded by Mongeanba in about 1580. It 
is close to the Pat or Eoyal enclosure, and now consists of a 
number of embanked mounds which are allotted to the different 
trades, the cloth weavers being found in one place all together, 
and the dried-fish vendors gathering their savoury wares in 
another. According to Dr. Brown the manufactures of the 
people are of some extent, and will be described in a later 
passage. The women weave all the cloths, and all girls whose 
position is at all respectable learn to dance, for in Manipur the 
dancing profession is often a road to royal dignity and is not 
despised in any way as is the case in India. Parties of girls with 
a master in charge travel to Assam, Cachar, Sylhet, even as far 
as Calcutta, where they give public performances which are very 
attractive to the Manipuri exiles in those districts who, I am 
informed, consider themselves to be the real Manipuris, and the 
present inhabitants of the country to be of poor adulterate stock ; 
a compliment which is reciprocated too often with acerbity. I 
have known Manipuris make a living by gambling with Gurkha 
sepoys during the Durga pujahs, for the sober and wily Manipuri 
is at the best of times more than a match in an encounter of 
wits for the Gurkha, and when the brave little man is excited 
by orgies of blood and ready, like the heroic but foolish 
Pandavas, to gamble his all, the astute Manipuri reaps a verit- 
able golden harvest. But gambling and cockfighting are among 
the cardinal vices of the Manipuri, and are fruitful causes of 
crime sometimes even of a serious nature. More than one 
observer has denounced the Manipuri for useless economy of 
the truth which is contrasted with their admiration for truth as 
an abstract virtue. It must be remembered that for many 
years they occupied the difficult position of avoiding the 
* Meaning Golden or Royal market-place. 



24 THE MEITHEIS 

attentions of British authority which they saw enveloping them, 
and at the same time of keeping themselves safe from the 
vengeance of the Burmese who remembered the part played by 
Manipur in the First Burmese war. Such a position does not 
make for the development of the manliest virtues, and to those 
who condone prevarication so long as it is capable of being 
decently regarded as diplomacy, no excuse need be made for 
the failing of the Manipuri in this matter. There is but Ititle 
serious crime among them. In the account given by Dr. Brown 
of the State in the year 1868, there is a table of the offences for 
which the prison population was confined, and it is interesting 
to compare it with the offences most common in Manipur at the 
present time. Dr. Brown states * that there were in the jail 
when he visited it 122 prisoners : Munnipories 110, hillmen 10, 
Munniporie Mussalmans 2. So far as numbers go, the average 
daily population of the jail with which I was acquainted, was 
about 100, and the number of hillmen, Mussalmans, etc., divided 
in not very different proportions. It is equally remarkable to 
study the offences which were then common in comparison with 
those now responsible for the inmates of the jaiL Treason then 
accounted for sixteen, but it has practically disappeared from 
the list of offences. Coining sent seven prisoners then, but is 
now rare, and we have now, as then, a large number of persons 
imprisoned for theft, inclusive of cattle theft. Bribery was the 
cause of the detention in 1868 of five persons, and it is not by 
any means eradicated yet. Another offence which has ceased 
in altered circumstances to add to the jail population, is slave 
stealing and abetting desertion of slaves. Then, as now, the 
liberal employment of the prisoners on extramural labour seems 
to have conduced to the preservation of their health in spite of 
bad sanitary surroundings. In those days education cannot be 
said to have existed in Manipur, while now there are many 
primary schools and in Imphal a fair secondary school, originally 
founded by the efforts of Colonel Johnstone, and, reconstituted 
in later years after the occupation of the State in 1891, is 
attended by a small but increasing number of scholars. The 
education of women cannot be said to have made equal progress, 
although it was hoped, not without reason, that, in a country Uke 

* Op, cit,y p. 45. 



THE MEITHEIS 25 

Manipur where women hold such an important position in the 
economic activity of the State, the efforts to establish a good school 
for the daughters of the higher classes would have been attended 
with more success than has actually been the case. The failure 
is not improbably due to the rumour, started by malignity and 
disseminated by stupidity, that as soon as the girls had been 
satisfactorily taught to read, write, and speak English, they were 
to be shipped off to England where there was said to be a 
scarcity of marriageable women. The sole basis for this 
untoward myth lay in the fact that at that time among all the 
officers of Government, Civil and Military, then serving in 
Manipur, not one was married. Such rumours are constantly 
arising in Manipur, and derive their wide circulation through 
the agency of the bazars, where time hangs so heavy that such 
gossip is eagerly retailed and receives too often ready acceptance. 



HOUSES. 

Colonel McCuUoch says that " the dwelling houses of the 
Munniporees are all of the same form, but those of the rich are 
larger and constructed of better materials than those of the 
poor, that is, the posts and beams of the former are of wood, 
whilst those of the latter are of bamboo. The walls of both are 
of reeds plastered with a mixture of earth and cow dung, and 
the roofs of all are thatched with grass. All the dwelling 
houses face to the eastward, in which direction they have a 
large open verandah. In this verandah the family sits during 
the day, and in it all the work of the household is carried on, 
except cooking, which is performed inside ; in the south side of 
the verandah is the seat of honour. Here a mat or cloth is laid 
for the head of the family, upon which no one intrudes. Inside, 
the house is without partitions. The bed of the head of the 
family is placed in what is called the Luplengka, close to the 
wall on the south side about the middle. It is usually screened 
by mats. The daughters usually sleep on the north side. There 
are no windows in the houses, the only light admitted being by 
two doors, one opening into the open verandah, the other to 
the north, near the north-western corner of the house. The 



26 THE MEITHEIS 

fireplace is on the floor towards the north-west comer. There 
is no chimney. The fuel used is generally dried reed jungle. 
This answers every purpose in the warm weather, but is a sorry 
substitute for wood in the colder months." * 

The style of houses was introduced by a mythical king 
named Khooi Ningon, but in the reign of Khagenba changes 
were made. Not many houses are built of brick, though the 
recent development of the manufacture of bricks may lead to 
an increase in their number. The temples, both private and 
public, are built of brick, and the walls of the natch ghar or 
dancing house which is built in the trabeated style with massive 
teak beams of enormous size and thickness, are also of the same 
materiaL The native bricks are long, wide and thin, possessing 
considerable durability, which is in part due to the liberal 
amount of genuine mortar and lime used on the walls. 

The Chronicles state that in the reign of Khagenba, which 
seems to have witnessed the inception of the development of 
civilization in Manipur, two brick-built walls called Hogaibi 
were erected. Colonel Johnstone t attributes the ^erection of 
these blocks to Chinese settlers, the remnants of a force of 
invaders which was nearly annihilated by the Manipuris. To 
this day, people going to the State office (which is close to the 
site of these pillars or walls), especially members of the Lairik 
Yengbam or writer caste, offer a devout salutation to the memory 
of Khagenba, I may add that it has been put to me that 
Khagenba may be resolved into Khagi-yen (or yan) "ha, the 
scatterer or slaughterer of the Chinese {Khagi = Chinese), 

VILLAGES, 

The chief town in Manipur, known as Imphal or the collection 
of houses (/m = yum = house, phdl = to gather or collect), is 
situated in the north of the valley and possesses some 30,000 
inhabitants, but it is not a town : rather it is a gathering by 
simple accretion of small villages around the Pat or royal 
enclosure. An ordinary Manipuri village is a long stra^ling 
series of houses, each standing within its own enclosure with 
access to the river, on the bank of which it is built. It 
♦ Op. cit, pp. 20, 21. t Op. city p. 80. 



THE MEITHEIS 27 

possesses length without breadth. The villages are not sur- 
rounded by any rampart or fortification, and when, as has 
happened in the case of Imphal, neighbouring villages grow and 
expand, there are no arbitrary boundaries, though custom recog- 
nizes them for purposes of administration. The limits of the 
original settlement are often known though now obliterated. 



FUENITUEE. 

In a Manipuri house the most important article of furniture 
is the bed of the head of the family, a large wooden structure 
with four posts, which forms a conspicuous feature in the 
wedding processions. Then the chest, in which the family 
belongings are kept, generally an old wooden box with an iron 
lock at which the thieves of Manipur laugh. The eating and 
drinking vessels, the implements of spinning, the few tools if 
the owner happen to be a carpenter, a blacksmith, or a gold- 
smith, the jewellery of the wife and the universal eZao, these 
constitute the ordinary furniture of the house. In the houses 
of the better class one may find stools or chairs of European 
design, perhaps a lamp or two, as likely as not borrowed from 
one of the public street lamps. 

MANUFACTURES. 

Nearly every housewife is capable of weaving all the cloths 
needed by her family, and the simple loom stands in the 
verandah of the house. These cloths are mainly intended for 
wear and not for decorative purposes, yet since the occupation 
of the State a trade in fancy and decorative cloths has sprung 
up. The Nagas, especially those to the north, often make large 
purchases of cloths in the Golden Bazar, both of ordinaiy white 
with red and blue stripes, and also the more special cloths of a 
dark-blue ground with figures of animals woven in red thread 
round the borders. There is reason to believe that in former 
times this industry was artificially supported, if not altogether 
created, by royal decrees punishing any Naga who failed to buy 
his cloths in the Sena Kaithel. The manufacture of silk cloths 
is entirely in the hands of the Lois, whose low social position 



28 THE MEITHEIS 

permits them to practise many remunerative forms of employment 
which custom denies to the Meithei. 

Dr. Brown gives a complete list of the manufactures then 
produced by the Manipuris, and as regards the cloths, states 
that " These are manufactured in cotton of various kinds, chiefly 
a coarse quality called ' Kess ' : these coarse cloths are purchased 
by the hill tribes chiefly: some, however, find their way 
into Cachar. Of late years finer qualities of cloth have been 
made from English yarns. In leather manufactures, I am told, 
there has been of late years a great improvement. Formerly 
tanning was a matter of great difficulty, and the results inferior. 
Now they use the bark of a tree (name unknown to me), which 
is found in plenty in the jungles ; by this they make leather 
superior to any formerly known in the country; they also 
enamel the leather very nicely in black. The skins used are 
those of deer and calf, and the articles made, saddles, shoes, 
belts, pouches, etc., for the use of the troops. In clay only 
ordinary pots and water ghurrahs are made. Stone bowls are 
also to be found nicely made and polished : the stone is ordinary 
sandstone, artificially blackened. 

The jewellery manufactured is of fair workmanship, but not 
distinguished by any special merit : rings, bracelets, necklets, are 
the articles chiefly made. A large number of brass and bell 
metal armlets are made which are disposed of to the hiUmen. 

In iron and steel are made daos of various kinds, spear and 
arrow heads, etc., etc. Firearms are not made in any form. 

Carpentry. — The Munnipories have a great reputation as 
carpenters in the adjoining provinces of Cachar and Sylhet, 
especially for the better kinds of work: here good workmen 
are few, and are entirely monopolized by the Eaja. The good 
carpenters there are, however, are capable of turning out first- 
rate work, and can imitate English work successfully. Shortly 
after my arrival in the country the Eaja one day borrowed from 
me a revolving stereoscope which I had, and rather surprised 
me by showing me a few days afterwards a duplicate perfect in 
every way excepting the lenses, which, although they had a 
pair removed from an old stereoscope, they could not adjust 
properly. Since that time I have had two photographic cameras 
made by them, complete in every respect and serviceable, which 



THE MEITHEIS 29 

would not show unfavourably when compared with the more 
common run of English goods. 

Turninff, etc. — Turning in wood and ivory * is common. They 
can also silver glass and electro-plate, make good serviceable 
locks, and can at a pinch repair and clean a clock. 

Dyeing in a few colours is practised ; a yellow dye is common, 
procured in the hills. 

McCuUoch in his account, says, " They have some taste in the 
arrangement of colours, but of drawing or painting they have 
no idea." There is at present in Munnipore the son of a 
Brahmin, a native of the country, about thirteen or fourteen 
years of age, who has what I would call a very remarkable 
knowledge of drawing and painting so far at least as copying 
goes. Some time ago, I gave a Lactrope to a Munniporie, and 
he astonished me a good deal by showing me some copies of 
the figures so beautifully and correctly drawn and coloured, that 
it required a close examination of original and copy to detect the 
difiTerence. I am informed that this lad is engaged in drawing 
some original comic slides, which I have not yet seen." t 

It is sad to notice the decay' in native art which follows 
almost instantaneously on the withdrawal of the artificial atmo- 
sphere of royal patronage, but the phenomenon is neither rare 
nor inexplicable. At |a period much earlier than that of the 
passage above quoted art and manufactures in Manipur seem 
to have been in a much more healthy state than in the later 
years of independence. The first blow to Manipur as a centre 
of artistic and industrial activity was dealt by the Burmese, 
whose repeated invasions of the country depopulated it, and 
who kept in captivity all or nearly all the famous silversmiths 
of Manipur. To the excellence of Manipuri art and manu- 
facture, testimony is borne by several observers. In the treaty 
concluded in 17C2 with Governor Verelst, mention is made of 
the following articles, products of the country: silk, iron, 
kupass, dammer, wood oil, wax, elephants' teeth, agar, sandal 
wood, camphor, black thread, red ditto, blue ditto, wiiite ditto, 
black coss, Meklee cloths, Meklee gold rupees.^ 

• I have seen some really exquisite ivory carving done by a Manipuri, 
who acquired his skill in a jail in Burma. — ^T. C. H. 
t Op, cit, p. 25. 
Z Pemberton, Account of the Norths Eastern Frontier of Bengal, p. 42. 



30 THE MEITHEIS 

Colonel Johnstone, speaking with the sympathy of an ardent 
educationalist, says of the decline of native arts and industries 
in Manipur, that free trade has done much to injure the trade 
in cotton goods of local manufacture in India,* but it must in 
fairness be pointed out that until the revolution in taste has 
evicted the deeply ingrained religious and tabu beliefs of people 
like the Manipuris and the hill tribes, or until the manufacturer 
in Manchester has learnt to imitate native patterns, there will be 
a large and effective demand for the products of native looms. 

Another matter in connection with the manufactures of the 
Manipuris; nearly all the real manufactures are now in the 
hands of the Loi communities, and while among the Manipuris 
we have weaving as a general industry with one or two families 
exercising special forms of this craft, they practise few other 
manufactures, and are carpenters, blacksmiths, jewellers, workers 
in brass, metal casters, bone setters and house builders. I may 
also add that the manufacture of wooden false teeth gives em- 
ployment to one old gentleman, who has quite a large clientele. 

The Chronicles contain a passage describing the magni- 
ficence of the table equipage of King Khagenba, who feasted 
off vessels of solid gold and sat on a chair of gold. 

As in the days when Colonel McCuUoch wrote, so even 
now, "the Loee population is exceedingly useful. Amongst 
them are the silk manufacturers, the smelters of iron, the 
distillers of spirits, the makers of earthen vessels for contain- 
ing water or for cooking in, the cutters of posts and beams 
and canoes, manufacturers of salt, fishers, cutters of grass for 
the Eaja's ponies, the payers of tribute in Sd, the coin of the 
country, etc." Dr. Brown goes into interesting details of 
the several industries above enumerated.t Of the silk manu- 
facture he says that " the cultivation of silk which, if properly 
developed, would form a most important article for export, is 
unfortunately, much restricted. The silk culture is entirely 
in the hands of the Loee part of the populatipn, and only five 
villages to the west and northwest of the valley close to the 
hills cultivate the worm. The fact of the Loee being the 
cultivator of silk is fatal to its extension, as by the custom 
of the country, which so much associates position or caste 
* Op. CI**., p. 116. t Op. cU., p. 25. 



THE MEITHEIS 31 

with the nature of the various employments pursued, any one 
wishing to engage in silk culture must lose his position and 
become a Loee ; thus it is that the production of silk is on a 
very limited scale. The food of the silkworm is the mulberry, 
and the species is, I understand, common in Bengal, although 
the silk yielded is of a decidedly superior quality. About 300 
persons are employed in the silk culture, and they pay for the 
privilege some 300 Eupees annually ; they are for this payment 
excused from the operation of lalloop^ or forced labour. The 
raw silk is disposed of by the above to a weaver class called 
'Kubbo' — they having originally, it is said, emigrated from 
the Kubbo Valley in Upper Burmah. These weave it into 
various cloths, dhoties, priggris, kummerbunds, dresses for the 
women, etc. A small quantity only of silk cloths find their 
way into Cachar. The Burmese traders who frequent Munni- 
pore, buy up greedily all the raw silk they can get ; this speaks 
well for the quality of the silk, as the silkworm is plentiful in 
and near the Kubbo Valley." The trade with Burma is not now- 
adays of any importance, though the improvements which have 
been made in the alignment of the Palel-Tamu road through the 
hills should conduce to an extension of commercial intercourse. 
Iron smelting is thus described by Captain Pemberton * 
" Iron, the only metal yet ascertained to exist in Munnipore, is 
found in the form of titaniferous oxydulatedore,and is obtained 
principally from the beds of small streams south of Thobal, and 
the hills near Langatel ; its presence in the latter is ascertained 
by the withered appearance of the grass growing above it, and 
in the former it is generally sought after the rainy season, when 
the soil has been washed away ; an iron-headed spear is thrust 
into the ground, and the small particles adhering to it lead to 
the discovery of the bed in which they had been deposited ; this 
employment of the spear furnished an accidental but very strik- 
ing illustration of the magnetic property being acquired by iron, 
which is preserved in the same position for any length of time ; 
the spear of the Munniporee and Naga is almost invariably 
thrust vertically into the ground when not in use, and the fact 
of its being so employed to ascertain the presence of the ore is 
a proof of the very high degree of magnetism or polarity it must 
* Op. city p. 27. 



32 THE MEITHEIS 

have attained The loss produced by smelting the ore amounts 
to nearly 50 per cent., and the Munniporees are perfectly sens- 
ible of the difficulty of fusion increasing with the greater purity 
of the met«,l. The principal articles manufactured are such as 
would be thought of in the earliest stages of civilization — axes, 
hoes, and ploughshares for felling timber and preparing the 
ground for agricultural purposes, spear and arrow heads for self- 
defence or aggression and the destruction of game ; and blades 
from one to two feet in length, which, firmly fixed in a wooden 
or metal handle under the name of daoy forms the inseparable 
companion of the Munniporee, Burma, Shan, and Singpho, 
With it he clears a passage for himself through the dense jungle 
that obstructs his path, notches the steep and slippery face of 
the hill he wishes to climb, and frequently owes the preservation 
of his life to the skill with which he wields it in the field." In 
Dr. Brown's time accident led to the discovery of a shallow 
deposit of iron ore at Kameng. I do not know for certain, but 
believe that limestone is used as a flux in the process of smelt- 
ing. It seems reasonably certain that the comparative abund- 
ance of limestone outcrops in the valley, occurring at places 
many miles apart, is significant of the presence of this valuable 
mineral beneath the alluvial deposits of the valley. It is known 
that some of the limestone deposits were worked one hundred 
and fifty years ago. 

Yuy or country spirit, is manufactured by several Loi villages, 
some of which are abandoning the industry in order thereby to 
qualify themselves for admission into the Hindu community. 
At Sengmai, which, from its position, is well known to Nagas 
coming from the north, there are stills which produce a liquor 
which is greatly appreciated by the Nagas, but which to an 
untrained palate tastes of candle grease and methylated spirit. 

Chairel and Shuganu, both on the Imphal river, are the 
principal villages engaged in the pottery business, probably 
because suitable clay occurs in their vicinity and not elsewhere, 
just as in the hills the manufacture of pottery is confined to two 
Tangkhul villages near which are outcrops of clay. Here the 
clay is found in the bed of an old lake, between sfaraita of worth- 
less deposits. The girls knead it with their feet till it acquires 
the consistency of indiarubber. It is roughly fashioned by hand, 



THE MEITHEIS 33 

then placed on a circular flat disk which is twirled by the thumb 
and forefinger of the free hand. A rough conventional pattern 
of cross lines is stamped on it with a piece of wood. The ovens 
are out in the open. The use of the wheel indicates that they 
have reached a higher standard of skill than the Nagas, who 
mould their vessels on a bamboo cylinder and work it into a 
rounded shape by hand. The pots made at these Loi villages 
are brought by boat to Imphal and there sold. 

I do not know that any Loi village is specially set apart for 
the work of cutting timber, but the village called Hiroi Lam- 
gang, in the south of the valley not far from Shuganu, makes 
boats for the Baja. The villagers themselves assert that the 
name of their village means " boat-maker on dry land " {hi = 
boat, loi = to make, cf. Meithei root loi ^ to complete or to be 
completed, Zam= ground, gang = kang = dry), but the presence 
of the root Loi which is used constantly in names of Loi 
villages, may mean that this is one of the Loi villages. 
Against this we have the fact that this village is not included 
in the lists of Loi villages, and that it is obviously more closely 
related in the mass of its customs to hill people than to Lois 
who are valuable as a link connecting the Meitheis with the 
hill tribes. 

Dr. Brown records the following observations regarding the 
process of salt manufacture * : — " Nearly the whole of the salt 
consumed by the Munnipories is obtained from salt wells 
situated in the valley. A small quantity is occasionally im- 
ported in times of sc€urcity from Burmah.t The principal wells 
are situated at the foot of the hills to the north-east, about 
fourteen miles from the capital ; they are four in number and 
are named Ningail, Chundrakong, Seekong {Ghl = salt, khong = 
well), and Waikong ; they all lie close together and are sur- 
rounded by villages wherein reside those engaged in the salt 
manufacture. Wells have been opened in other parts of the 
valley but the supply has not been remunerative. Of late years 

♦ Op. cit, p. 22. 

t At the present time salt from Cheshire comes into Manipur, and its 
price regulates the price of local salt, a fact which affords an interesting 
lesson in Applied Political Economy. In addition to the Indian salt tax, 
this salt has to be re-melted by the dealers so as to give it the shape and 
appearance of the local salt. — T. 0. H. 

D 



34 THE MEITHEIS 

a road has been constructed between the salt wells and the 
capital ; it is not finished but will be a good road for all weathers 
when it is so, and will have brick bridges. This is the only- 
made road in the country outside the capital with the exception 
of that leading from the capital to the foot of the hills to join 
the Government hill road to Cachar.* Ningail has three wells, 
all .contained in a somewhat elevated dell of small dimensions, 
surrounded by a low range of hills covered with grass and scrub. 
It is stated by the Munnipories that the situation of an under- 
ground salt spring is discovered by the presence of a peculiar 
mist seen hanging over the spot in the early morning. When 
the sinking of a well is determined on, large trunks of trees are 
prepared by hollowing out into cylinders which are sunk 
gradually until water is reached. In the Ningail wells the 
depth at which water is found is about 35 to 40 feet, and the 
wooden cylinders rest upon rock, the intervening stratum con- 
sisting chiefly of loose earth and boulders. In the oldest of the 
three wells at Ningail in which the cylinder htis been sunk, it 
is said for about one hundred years, the wood has become 
entirely petrified throughout its whole substance, which is more 
than a foot thick. The others are only partially petrified, they 
being newer and the supply of water being less. The soil and 
vegetation surrounding the wells shows nothing peculiar, and 
there is no appearance of any deposit of salt on or near the 
surface. The water is drawn out by wicker bafikets and emptied 
into large earthenware ghurrahs or hollowed out trunks of trees 
placed by the side of the wells, from whence it is carried in 
smaller vessels to the boiling down sheds situated some distance 
off. The water as it is drawn is quite clear, but from its being 
stored in mud tanks in the sheds it soon becomes very dirty; 
this could easily be avoided, but the Munnipories do not seem to 
object to the impurity, and it is positively relished by the hill- 
men. There are in Ningail three boiling down sheds nearly 
always fully employed. The salt water is evaporated in small 
earthenware dishes, shallow and saucer shaped. Before the 
water is poured into them they are lined with plantain leaves, 

* The valley now possesses excellent internal communications, and the 
completion of the cart road via Kohima through the hills gives easy access 
to heavy traffic which in Dr. Brown's days was denied. — T. C. H. 



THE MEITHEIS 35 

to which the salt adheres, and the contents when the salt has 
filled the dish, are thus easily removed. The pans, about 100 
in number in each shed, are placed over little holes, and under- 
neath is the fire which is stoked at one end, the fuel used, as in 
the Sylhet lime kilns, being dry reeds. The attendants are 
constantly on the move supplying the paps with water, emptying 
them and filling them again. The Chundrakong salt wells — 
two in number — are much the same as the above, and somewhat 
similarly situated in a village to the north-west of Ningail. 
There is one peculiarity worth noting in Chundrakong, that is, 
the existence of a fresh- water well in close proximity to the salt 
ones ; this well requires constant pumping to prevent its dilut- 
ing the salt water in the other wells. It would appear from the 
existence of this fresh-water well that the very edge of the salt 
deposit at this place has been struck in sinking. The salt water 
here does not seem to have the same petrifying power as that of 
Ningail, and the same observation holds good with regard to the 
other wells. The other wells present no peculiar feature. See- 
kong has four wells, Waikong five ; from this well a superior 
quality of salt is obtained, which is set aside for the Baja and 
his immediate retainers ; it can, however, also be procured in the 
bazaars at a slight advance on the price of the commoner sort ; 
it only differs from it in being cleaner. Ningail is the oldest 
of the wells, and has always given the greatest yield. The 
amount of salt manufactured varies according to season, the 
most being made in cold weather, when the water is at its 
strongest. About 150 maunds a month was the average last 
year (1867-8), of which more than half was furnished by 
Ningail alone. The effect of the earthquake of January, 1869, 
has been to increase the yield of salt water in the wells 
enormously ; the water in the Ningail well after the earthquake 
rose six feet, and this rise has continued up to the present 
time undiminished. The effect of earthquake has been observed 
before, but not to such an extent or remaining for so long a time. 
The whole of the wells named above belong to the Eaja, and 
are worked for his benefit. The men employed are, however, 
remunerated for their labour, and a certain proportion of salt is 
set aside for their benefit. The proportion that goes to the Eaja 
is 30 per cent, of the quantity manufactured, the remaining 70 



36 THE MEITHEIS 

per cent, is divided among the workmen. The wells are under 
the charge of a dewan who resides in the capital and visits the 
wells occasionally. All the men employed in drawing and 
evaporating the water are Munnipories of the Loee caste or 
division, the lowest among the Munnipories. These work fifty 
at a time, and are changed every month. One man's lalloap or 
forced labour is six months in a year ; but it is stated that no 
objection is made to this, as they are paid regularly for their 
labour. About 200 men are usually liable to this labour in 
Ningail alone ; this year, on account of the great increase in the 
yield, more have been required. Besides the Munnipories, many 
coolies are required for carrying fuel, and these frequently 
change. Hillmen work for a short time in order to procure a 
payment in salt. I am assured none of the coolies are pressed, 
and that all are paid in salt for their labour. No attempt has 
at any time been made to reach the salt itself; were this possible 
I have no doubt that rock salt in large deposits would be found. 
As an experiment I evaporated 36 ounces of filtered water from 
Ningail, from which I procured 6 drams of pure salt free from 
smell and apparently quite pure. As before stated, the salt as 
manufactured is very impure from its being contaminated with 
mud, but this seems to be relished rather than otherwise. The 
salt is disposed of at the well to parties who retail it in the 
various bazaars ; the wholesale price last year before the earth- 
quake was about 6 rupees 4 annas a maund, a little above 
that in British territory; now, however, it is considerably less, 
as the greatly increased yield has caused a fall in the price, and 
salt has never been so cheap in the country before." In all 
essentials the salt is manufactured now in the way described 
by Dr. Brown. For earthen evaporating pans, iron korais of 
the same shape have been substituted, and are leased out by 
the State on payment of an annual charge. 

There is a disagreement between Colonel McCulloch and Dr. 
Brown as to the exact position in society held by the Sel Lois 
or Lois who paid their revenue in sd, the bell-metal coinage of 
the country. The point is immaterial, and the industry has now 
ceased to exist, for British rupee coinage circulates in the country, 
although for some purposes sd are still used. Dr. Brown gives 
a clear account of the coinage. "The only coin proper to the 



THE MEITHEIS 37 

country is of bell metal, and small in size, weighing only about 
16 grains. This is coined by the Eaja as required, goods or 
money being taken in exchange. The metal is obtained chiefly 
from Burmah, and consists of gongs, etc. : some of it is also pro- 
cured from the British provinces. The process of coining is 
very primitive : the metal is first cast in little pellets : these 
are then softened by fire and placed on an anvil : one blow of 
the hammer flattens the pellet into an irregularly round figure ; 
a punch with the word SH cut on it is then driven on it by 
another blow, which completes the process. The market value 
of the sel, as it is called, varies : when rupees are plenty, then 
sd is cheap : when scarce, the opposite. The present value of 
the coin is 480 to one British or Burmese rupee, and its usual 
variation is said to be from 450 to 500. I have before me now 
e^ht varieties of sel coin, dating from the reign of Pakungba 
downwards. The coin shown me as Pakungba's is, the Munni- 
pories say, the oldest in the country ; it is a shield-shaped disk 
of bell metal, very thin, but of large size, measuring rather 
more than 3^ inches in diameter : it has no marks on it of any 
kind. In Khakamba's reign the coin is almost square, and has 
faint marks on it. McCulloch * credits Khakamba with first 
introducing bell-metal coinage, and figures the coin, which is 
round ; the Munnipories, however, have shown me all the old 
coins they have, and I have adopted their nomenclature as regards 
the Baja, who issued it. Marangba coined of a round shape 
smaller than the above, and with well-raised characters ; 
Keeyamba, of an irregular square form, with very indistinct 
characters ; Paikomba, irregularly rounded and faintly marked ; 
Charairomba, square and with the lettering distinct ; Gurreeb 
Newaz, round, well-made coin, lettering very superior, the best 
finished of any of the coins. From Chingtungkomba downwards 
the coin has not altered much, and is much smaller than any of 
the above (about 1760 a.d. till the present time). There is 
no evidence whatever of there having been at any time a gold 
coinage in existence; but it is stated that Chourjeet Singh, 
about 1815, coined silver of a square form, and of the same 
value and weight as the British rupee. I have only been able 
to obtain one specimen of this coin. The British and Burmese 
* Op, cit, p. 37. 



38 THE MEITHEIS 

rupee, both representing the same value, circulate freely ; also 
the smaller silver coins, as four-anna and two-anna pieces. 
About seven years ago an attempt was made by the then Agent 
to introduce copper coinage, and a large quantity wtis supplied 
by Government. The experiment totally failed, as the women 
in the bazaar positively refused to have anything to do with it, 
and the coin had to be returned. The bell-metal coin, in con- 
junction with rupees and smaller silver coins, are amply suflBcient 
for the wants of the country, and I consider the attempt at 
introducing copper was unnecessary, as was indeed proved by 
the determined refusal of the women to accept it." * 
. Colonel McCulloch refers to the treaty into which Gourosham 
entered in the middle of the eighteenth century with the East 
India Company, in one of the articles of which mention is made 
of gold rupees which Colonel McCulloch regards as a mistake.f 
This is probable enough. 

The Chronicles do not afford us any help in determining the 
nature of the coinage or the date when coins were first struck. 
It is curious to observe that while in England we change the 
direction in which the face of the sovereign looks, with, each 
reign, in Manipur they changed the shape of the coin entirely. 

Colonel Johnstone, in an interesting passage, records the 
trouble caused by the great fluctuations in the exchange between 
sel and rupees. J The cambists brought the rupee exchange down 
to 250, whereas its normal rate was, as Dr. Brown says, fipom 
450 to 500, but Major Johnstone, as he then was, induced the 
Eaja to make an issue o{sel so that the usual ratio was established. 
Currency questions, as Mr. Gladstone once said, disturb the 
mind more than love, and by the abolition of sel and the intro- 
duction of the copper coinage of India the State has been free 
from anxiety of this nature. 

It is impossible to overlook the ingenious speculations proffered 
by Colonel Sir Eichard Temple in the Indian Antiquary § on 
the origin of the scale of value between the $d and the rupee as 
due to the system of reckoning 400 cowries to the anna, and to 
the identity of the sel of Manipur with the dam of Akbar and 

♦ Op, cit, pp. 47, 48. 

t Op. ciL, p. 37. Cf. Pemberton, op. dt, p. 42. 

; Op. cit, p. 123. § Vol. xxvii. pp. 169 ue^. 



THE MEITHEIS 39 

of modem Nepal. In the first place, perhaps as a result of the 
disappearance of the set coinage, the word makhai is not now 
used by natives to describe set. In itself makhai means the 
half, from khai-ba, to divide ; and the word ydng khai = fifty 
shows the same force in the second of its components. Ydng 
probably means one hundred, for we know the language has 
become denasalized, and the equation cAa = ydng is phonetically 
permissible. The use of cowries has been coiiipletely forgotten. 



IMPLEMENTS AND UTENSILS. 

Mention has been made of the many uses to which the dao is 
put in Manipur, and it may therefore be classed not only as a 
weapon, but as an implement also of uncommon utility. The 
khutlai, or hand possessions (khut hand ; lai or nai, to belong to 
or be possessed), vary according to the trade or occupation of the 
owner. Thus the agricultural implements will be described in 
the section appropriated for agriculture, while the implements 
of the several arts and industries of the country will be set forth 
in the section reserved for the manufactures. The household 
utensils consist of earthen pots manufactured for the most part 
by the Lois of Chairel and Shuganu, who alse produce stone 
bowls, which they turn from the rough sandstone, which is 
blackened by lamp black and then wrought to a high polish. 
Brass, copper, and bell-metal cooking pots are in common use, 
but are imported from Cachar. Plates, both of metal and cheap 
earthenware, are found in many houses, for the withdrawal of 
the numerous sumptuary and economic restrictions which formed 
so conspicuous a part of the political system of a former day, 
has undoubtedly been the cause of a rise in the general taste of 
the community, so that articles, such as an umbrella, once the 
treasured token of royalty, or at least of royal favour, are now 
carried without fear of let or hindrance. 



AGRICULTUBE. 

Captain Pemberton states that "The agricultural produce 
of the country consists principally of rice, which forms the 



40 THE MEITHEIS 

staple article of food, and the fertility of the soil is so great 
that the crops generally prove most abundant ; the innumer- 
able streams which gush from the bases of the ranges sur- 
rounding the valley insure an adequate irrigation, even to 
the fields which are above the level of the general inui^da- 
tioti, and it has sometimes happened that the whole popula- 
tion has been entirely subsisted by the produce of the lands 
so situated on the inclined planes at the foot of the hills, 
when from unusual drought there has been an entire failure 
of the crops in the central portions of the valley : rice has 
frequently been sold during the last year, when the country 
was only recovering from the devastating visitations of the 
Burmahs, at the rate of five maunds for a rupee, and the land 
now under cultivation is scarcely one-fourth of that which 
could be rendered available for the same purpose, were the 
population better proportioned to the extent of country it 
subsists upon. Tobacco, sugarcane, indigo, mustard, the dif- 
ferent varieties of Dhal, and opium are also cultivated. • . . 
Almost all the garden produce of Europe is now found in the 
valley, such as peas, potatoes, the different varieties of greens 
and cabbages, carrots, radishes, beetroot and turnips, none of 
which were known until introduced by the European officers, 
who have been resident in the country since the late war. The 
potato and the pea particularly have proved so acceptable to 
the people, that they are now almost universally cultivated 
and exposed for sale in the different bazars of the country. 

" Fruits do not appear to attain such perfection as the vege- 
tables, though from the varieties which grow spontaneously 
in various parts of the valley we should infer that nothing but 
culture is required to render them as good as the latter. 
Apples, apricots, raspberries, strawberries, oranges, limes, pome- 
granates, guavas, mangoes, and jackfruit are all found within 
this mountain valley, but none attain to such flavour as might 
have been expected, from the total absence of care and skill in 
their cultivation ; and we can hardly suppose that they would 
fail to prove as excellent as the pineapple were the same 
attention bestowed upon them that is shown in the culture 
of the latter."* Colonel McCuUoch gives some interesting 
* Op. city pp. 29-31. 



THE MEITHEIS 41 

details of the methods of Manipuri agriculture.* " A branch of 
a tree crooked in this form ^^,^ the end of which is faced 
with iron, forms the Munniporee plough. To this a buffalo 
is attached between a couple of shafts, thus (fcr. With this 
instrument the ground when dry is little more than scratched. 
The plough is held in one hand, and the buffalo, by means of 
a string passed through his nose, and a vocabulary he seems 
to understand, is guided by the other. Instead of the bufifalo, 
two bullocks are sometimes attached to the plough, one on each 
side of a centre pole. The operation of scratching up the soil 
and preparing the field for the reception of the rice seed com- 
mences in February; and in May they sow what is called 
poong hid, or dry seed cast in dry ground. In June, the 
rains having set in, the field is brought by successive plough- 
ings into a state of liquid mud, and in this the pang phd is 
cast. The seed for the pang phd is first quickened by being 
moistened with water and kept in a covered basket until it 
shoots. As this seed floats on the surface of the mud, it has 
to be carefully watched until it takes root, and three or four 
leaves have sprung up, in order to protect it from wild ducks 
and other birds. After this comes the lingba or transplanting. 
The seed for the plants which are destined to be transplanted 
are usually sown very close in plots carefully prepared for the 
purpose. When the transplanting season arrives, the plants 
are by washing divested of all earth attaching to them, and 
having been taken to the field, they are one by one separately 
inserted in the mud. For a time after transplanting they look 
as if they were all withered up, but they soon spring up and 
afford an excellent crop. If the ground has been carefully 
deprived of weeds before sowing the crop, weeding afterwards is 
not required. The only cultivation of any importance is rice. 
Xot a particle of manure is placed on the ground, and yet year 
after year good crops are raised from the same spot. The yield 
has, of course, lessened from what it was, but its being so very 
considerable as it is evinces a very rich soil. The mainstay, how- 
ever, of Munnipore is the crop raised at Thobal and its vicinity. 
There the river once, at least, in the year inundates the rice 
fields, giving them amazing fertility. About Thobal they weed 
• Op. cU,, pp. 27, 28. 



42 THE MEITHEIS 

with a harrow, which, drawn by a buffalo over the rice field, 
uproots indiscriminately the weeds and the ripe. The . former 
die, but the rice plant takes root again and is not injured. 
When the rice begins to ripen, it has to be watched against the 
depredations of immense flights of birds. Deer and other wild 
animals also do a great deal of mischief, and against them pre- 
cautions have to be taken. The rice having ripened is cut 
with a knife slightly curved at the top, and having a rough 
edge like a saw. As it is cut it is laid in handfuls on the 
ground, and when dry tied up in sheaves. These sheaves are 
carried to the part of the field most convenient for the purpose, 
and the rice beat from them on a^ large reed mat. Af tOr having 
been winnowed by means of fans, the rice is ready for the 
granary and removed to it. This sun-dried rice- keeps very 
well in husk, but when- cleared of the husk it can be kept for 
a very short time only. The straw is left lyiug in a pile 
around the place where the rice was beat out. Except as fuel, 
no use is made of it." 

The yield is still high and the land shows no serious symptoms 
of exhaustion, and not only is there still a fair amount of land 
available for the extension of cultivation, but very large tracts 
could be made cultivable by well-planned and not necessarily 
very expensive drainage operations. One danger, however, 
exists, the possibility of fraud on the part of speculators who 
have at times in the past attempted to profit by the new revenue 
system to take out pottahs {or land which they sublet for grazing 
purposes to the neighbouring villages at high rents. Un- 
doubtedly custom recognizes that village rights to grazing and 
wood and grass-cutting extend over the waste lands adjoining the 
cultivated areas. The Chronicles contain mention of attempts 
to divert the course of rivers, and while some if not the greater 
number of them are due to the desire to provide courses for 
the boat races, in one or two cases they seem to have been 
destined to benefit the cultivators by furnishing irrigation 
channels. 

The agricultural implements used by the Meitheis are the 
kangpot, or sledge, the langol or plough, the Ukai anaJba or 
smooth harrow, the phao intok or paddy spoon, the humai or fan 
used for winnowing the paddy, the ukai samjet or toothed harrow. 



THE MEITHEIS 43 

the chair ong or paddy thrasher or flail, the thanggol or sickle 
(lit. round dao), the yot or spade, the thdngchao or large dao, and 
the yeina phak or threshing mat. 



CROPS. 

The staple of the valley is, as has been said, rice. Dr. 
Brown * says that " No fewer than seventeen varieties of rice are 
grown ; these may be divided into early and late crops. The early 
crop ripens in three months and is ready for cutting in about 
September. Of late years a large quantity of the early sort 
has been sown. Of the early there are four varieties. The late 
crop ripens in six months, and is reaped in November. The 
great bulk of rice grown in the country is of the late varieties, 
which comprises thirteen kinds, chiefly distinguished by size of 
grain and colour. The finest of these are named Phourail, 
Yentik, and Loeening ; these are white and of large grain — dal. 
Only two kinds of dal are grown, khessaree and moongh, English 
vegetables grow remarkably well, and I have a finer garden in 
Munnipore than I have ever had in India, the Punjab excepted. 
The pea of the country is of small size but of good quality ; it 
resembles the English pea. 

"Vegetable productions of the country ... pulses as dal^ 
kalye, etc., are grown, but not largely ; pepper, onions, tobacco of 
good quality, sugarcane, potatoes of small size and inferior 
quality ; wheat is grown in the cold season in small quantity. 
Fruits are scarce and few in number. Plantains of fair quality, 
pine apples, mangoes (some of large size and fair quality) are 
almost the only fruits procurable which would be relished by 
an European. A plum resembling an English variety is common, 
but as met with in the bazaars, is excessively bitter. That this 
is simply the result of bad culture, however, I have proved, as 
I have several plum trees in my compound which I pruned 
last cold weather, with the result that the fruit this season is 
perfectly sweet. McCuUoch mentions in his account the ex- 
istence of good oranges on a hill in or near the Logtak Lake, 
but I have never seen any. Peaches grow, but of poor quality. 
* Op, cit, pp. 14, 15. 



44 THE MEITHEIS 

Apples grow on the slopes of the hills of fair appearance 
externally, but quite uneatable. Throughout the valley and 
the neighbouring hills the bramble and wild raspberry are 
common." 

Dr. Brown's experience of the oranges of the islands of the 
Logtak Lake is unfortunate, as, though not very plentiful, the 
fruit is sweet and of fair size. The rice fields are cropped once 
only in the year, and the winter cultivation is all or nearly all 
of the garden type. The cultivation of wheat has not proved a 
success, but there is every reason to believe that with due care 
rubber, tea, and in some spots perhaps jute might be profitably 
raised. The climate is favourable for the production of mul- 
berry trees which form the food of the silkworms. The floral 
wealth of the country as a whole is famous. Sir George Watt, 
K.C.I.E., says that " probably no part of India had such varied 
and beautiful flora. On going into Manipur the first thing that 
struck the traveller was the enormous number of trees with 
which he was not familiar in other parts of India. Speaking from 
memory he believed that there were probably twenty species of 
the oak. Manipur was the home of the tea-plant. Another 
interesting fact about Manipur was that it was the home of 
the silkworm. He believed it highly probable that the real 
mulberry silk insect originated in Manipur and went from 
there into China. The whole of the typical plants of Sikkim 
were in Manipur, but at an altitude considerably below what 
they were in Sikkim. Then in the valley of Manipur, the 
peach, the pear and apple trees were cultivated which would be 
quite an impossibility in any other part of India at the same 
altitude."* 



FISHING. 

As a large portion of the valley is still under water, and as 
fish forms an article of food of the Meithei community, the 
gentle art gives employment to many people. At present the 
State enjoys a large revenue from the fisheries, but there is no 
monopoly in consequence of the wise policy of reserving a 
* Journal of the Society of Arts^ No. 2733, vol. liii., p 562. 



THE MEITHEIS 45 

number of jheds and fats (lakes), which are open to the public 
at certain times of the year. The Logtak, the great lake of the 
south end of the valley, is free, and the price of the produce of 
the private fisheries is regulated by the competition of the fishers 
of the Logtak. There are varying methods in use in accordance 
with the needs and capabilities of the diiferent localities. Weirs, 
fishing baskets, traps, spears, nets, are all used, and all show 
a high degree of suitability. The women fish with a square net 
suspended from a central pole by four strings at each comer, 
and dip the net well under the turbid waters of the edges of 
lakes or ditches, and slowly raise it till the catch rises above the 
surface of the water, when they smartly bring it out. Colonel 
McCulloch gives the following interesting particulars concerning 
the method of fishing employed by the fishermen on the Logtak : 
" The Logtak, the great resort of these aquatic birds, is covered 
with floating islands. Under these, amongst the roots of the 
v^etation of which they are formed, fish, in the cold weather, 
collect in great numbers, and are caught in the following manner : 
An island, having been cut into a manageable size, is pushed to 
a part of the lake where the water is not very deep, and where 
the bottom has been paved with stones. There it is fixed by 
means of long bamboo stakes ; and when the fish have collected 
in sufficient quantity, a long strip sufficient to surround it is 
cut from some other of these floating masses of vegetation. 
With this the asylum of the fish is suiTounded, and a row of 
stones being placed on the edge nearest the island, that edge 
sinks down to the prepared bottom, whilst the rest remains up- 
right in the water, and thus forms a wall all round. The fish 
are now driven out of their sanctuary ; if small they are taken 
in nets, if large they are speared by torchlight." * Pemberton f 
states that in the Logtak there are " no less than twenty-six 
varieties, eighteen common to the rivers of Bengal and eight 
not found in any of them." Dr. Brown, in his account, J remarks 
that : " Of fish there is a considerable variety, and the supply 
is plentiful. Eiver fish afford about thirteen dififerent kinds. 
Of these the most important are the goallee of Bengal (called 
in Munnipore, ' Surreng'), the hao Toashy gna raa, the Banee 

* Op. city pp. 30, 31. t Op. cit, p. 25. 

X Op,, cit, p. 21. 



46 THE MEITHEIS 

mash, surrong koibee, hagh mash, gna rel, the vapeea, gna tel ; 
the rest are small and unimportant. The fish inhabiting the 
Jakes and jheeh are, it is said, of twenty-two kinds." The 
industry is largely in the hands of Lois, but affords employment 
to Manipuris, who speculate heavily. The policy of letting the 
fisheries by public auction is attractive to the sections of the 
community who have means, but it has on occasions given rise 
to a^ conflict of the interests of the fishery lessees and of the 
villages, many of which enjoy local rights over weirs and 
streams. 



HUNTING. 

The Manipuris are orthodox Hindus of a strait way, and are 
pot hunters, but for the preservation of human and animal life 
from the depredations of leopards and tigers which at one time 
^eem to have been fairly numerous in the valley, each village 
possesses an organization called the kdrup (kei = tiger, rup = 
jclub or association) or tiger club, which is responsible to the 
^authorities for the upkeep in proper order of nets and spears in 
sufl&cient quantity. As soon as authentic news of the where- 
;9ibouts of a tiger is brought in by the hui-rai {hui = dog ; rai = 
nai, to own or possess) or scouts, the Tceirups of the neighbouring 
yillages proceed to the vicinity of the beast's lair, which they 
eurround with the nets. Eockets and rough squibs are fired off 
in the jungle, and the infuriated creature rushes to his death 
by charging the line of nets. There is considerable danger in 
this njiethod, but the Manipuri is full of courage and resource in 
emergencies. It will be remembered, and for the credit of the 
Manipuris should be placed on record, that about four years ago 
^ small party of British ofl&cers went to a quarter of Imphal to 
shoot a leopard which had taken up its abode in th0 compound 
/)f a house there. The wounded animal sprang on one of the 
party inflicting injuries which proved fatal, and a ca^siual passer- 
by jumped to the rescue, snatching up a bamboo with which he 
belaboured tbe beast till it let go and ran away. It is hardly 
pecessary to add that this required no small courage, because 
^ wounded leopard is fierce and dangerous. 



THE MEITHEIS 47 

Bee hunting is practised by Manipuris, who, as noted by 
Colonel McCuUoch,* "when they come upon a bee of this 
species {hoibi namthotc) catch him, and, having attached a 
thread to his body, let him loose. By means of the thread his 
flight is observed, and he can be followed to his nest. The 
spot is marked, and fire having been procured, the bees, other- 
wise so formidable, are easily destroyed. The spoil, consisting 
of comb filled with the young, is considered a bonne louche" 

It is clear from the Chronicles that the Manipuris were in 
former times great hunters, and mention is made of the skill of 
King Pikhomba with the bow and arrow. He is declared to 
have been able to shoot fish under water, and as more than one 
king bears the title Til haiba, or skilful archer, it may be believed 
that they were exceedingly clever in the use of the bow and 
arrow. 



FOOD AND DRINK. 

The Chronicles contain ample evidence of the change in the 

diet of the Meithei section of the population which is due to 

the introduction of Hinduism at the beginning of the eighteenth 

century. The earlier reigns seem to have been one long feast 

with hecatombs of fat cattle and oceans of spirituous drinks, 

even culminating on more than one instance in fatalities due 

to an excessive appreciation of the good cheer. They then 

lived like the wild Nagas of the hills, each tribe regarding 

only its special tabus, and each individual abstaining only from 

the private tabus. But the oflBcial adoption of Hinduism not 

only removed the ban against milk but created many prohibitions 

to which the new converts eagerly submitted. Animal flesh is 

forbidden, and all spirituous liquor or intoxicants are accursed. 

Fish is eaten, and is a common article of diet, so much so, that, 

as described above,t special care had to be taken to prevent any 

monopoly of fishery rights from unduly raising the price of this 

commodity. Eice forms the staple of food, and is boiled in the 

open air in earthenware pots, and, connoisseurs often have the 

rice cooked inside a hollow bamboo, and declare that the Htdnr/ 

* Op. ciL, p. 33. t See p. 45. 



48 THE MEITHEIS 

chak {u = wood, tdng = to oook, chak = cooked rice) or wood- 
cooked food, possesses a very delicate flavour. But in child- 
hood the strict rules of Hinduism are not enforced, and old 
age has like relaxations, a fact which was noticed by Colonel 
McCulloch, who remarks, "Children up to ten or twelve 
years of age eat every sort of food without r^;ard to the 
Hindoo notions of purity or impurity. And it is a commou 
practice for old people to abandon fldtogether Hindoo observ- 
ances." • Honey is eaten by many, who buy it from the hunters 
whose methods are described above. Children are said to eat 
the white ant and the grasshopper, f 

Dried fish is imported in large quantities from Caohar, and 
has often been assumed to be the means of spreading cholera 
through the country, but in the absence of definite scientific 
investigations into the causation and distribution of that disease, 
this favourite dainty must be entitled to a verdict of " Not 
Proven." 

Dr. Brown mentions t that, "The Munnipories, both male 
and female, are inveterate chewers of pan 9ooparee. The whole 
of this is brought from the neighbouring district of Cachar, and 
forms a considerable trade. The betel-nut tree will not grow 
in Munnipore territory. Tobacco is used by all classes and 
ages, and the tobacco is used and smoked as in Bengal. I am 
informed that opium is not used by the Hindoo part of the 
population, neither is there any consumption whatever of 
Indian hemp or other intoxicating drugs." In recent years, 
the introduction of cigarette smoking has aroused vehement 
protests from the stricter k^d of the orthodox, who elicited 
a formal condemnation of thff habit from the wise men of the 
Chirap. At about the tit when the best intellepts of 
Manipur were exercised by i is problem, another matter of 
supreme interest occurred wh h. drew public attention away 
from the misuse of cigaretteil. HorrihUe dictu, a Manipuri 
was seen in the hills somewhere between Imphal and Cachar, 
carrying a load slung on his back Naga fashion. He was 
warned not to do it again, but to use a yoke in future. These 
edicts produced little eflfect. 

* Op. city p. 17. t Brown: op, cit.,-^. 21. 

t Op. city p. 33. 



THE MEITHEIS 49 

GAMES. 

Physically a fine race, the Manipuris are devoted to sports 
and games. The principal game is foot hockey, or hhong kang^ 
jei (hhong = foot, Mng = ball or round object, jei, from root chei 
= to hit), which is played by every naked little boy on the 
waste lands surrounding the village. Armed with a slightly 
curved bamboo stick, they play keenly, and as time goes, some 
reach such a degree of proficiency that they are selected to 
play for the " Panna " in which they live, before the assembled 
crowds at Imphal during the Diirga Pujas. There are nine 
players a side, and the game comes to an end when one side 
obtains an agreed number of goals. The principal stroke is on 
the " nearside," as it gives protection to the legs from blows of an 
opponent's stick. A player may " collar " or trip an opponent, 
or may pick the ball up and run with it some way. Such runs 
are generally terminated by a piece of " gallery " play, the 
striker throwing the ball up in the air and hitting it. Jeers 
await the unskilful wretch who unsuccessfully attempts this 
stroke. In the reign of Khagenba, drea 1600, the great and 
famous game of polo was introduced into Manipur. The ponies 
are strong, wiry little creatures rarely more than twelve hands 
in height, and are fed on grass, with now and then an allowance 
of paddy. The saddle is large, light, and peaked both in front 
and behind. The most curious feature about the saddle is the 
addition to it of a pair of leather flaps which project around the 
legs of the rider and aflbrd some protection from a blow. These 
flaps are made of enamelled leather, and are fastened under- 
neath the stirrup irons. The bit is a heavy mass of iron in two 
pieces which are jointed in the middle where the joint makes a 
huge knob. The reins, which are of cotton rope, are fastened 
through rings at either end of the bit, and the headstall carries 
a framework to which are attached little wool or cotton balls, 
the purpose of which is to excite the pony and to give it some 
scanty protection from blows. The saddle is girthed on in the 
ordinary way so far as I know. The player does not grip with 
his knees, but balances himself. The polo stick {Jcdng hU) 
consists of a long shaft of bamboo with a head of hard wood 
set on at an obtuse angle which is much greater than is usual 

£ 



50 THE MEITHEIS 

among European players. This is necessitated by the fact that 
the most successful of their strokes are played on the near side, 
a result of their long practice as children playing hockey. 
Their fore-arm development is magnificent, and really out of 
proper proportion. The ball {kang drUm) is made of bamboo 
root. To describe the game is beyond the powers of any but 
an imaginative and practised pen, for, in respect of brilliance 
of play, constant excitement, rashness, courage, skill, and 
popular enthusiasm, there is no game to equal it. Every man 
in the huge gathering which sits in an orderly mass on the 
banks lining the polo ground, is a competent critic, and while 
the excellences of individuals meet with approving cheers of 
yam phd-i or very good, Homeric laughter is the portion of the 
ambitious, but unskilful player who essays in vain some 
difficult stroke. Keenness is the order of the day, and the 
right of individual players to appear is jealously scrutinized, 
and there is a rule that no pony must be allowed to play which 
at any time during the preceding month has belonged to a 
representative of another "Panna." By a courteous evasion 
of difficulties they allow high officials to lend their ponies 
as they please, on the ground that they are officers, not of 
a part, but of the whole of the country. The rules of the game 
are not obvious, indeed, most observers declare that rules are 
conspicuous by their absence. Many things are permissible to 
them which the greater dangers of the game on the bigger 
ponies render impossible or too hazardous. An opponent's 
stick may be crooked in any position, and the rule about 
crossing is not in existence among them. Yet serious accidents 
are rare, partly as a result of the fact that the Manipuri is light 
in bone, and active, and the ponies up to the weight they 
have to carry. Once the ball crosses the back line, a goal is 
scored, and the ball is thrown in from the middle line, not 
along the ground, but in the air, so as to give occasion for the 
brilliant stroke of hitting it in mid-air. Eeliefs are permitted, 
and constantly take the place of tired players. To prevent 
accidental damage, the players swathe their heads in their 
pagris, which are fastened under the chin, and wear padded 
and quilted leggings. It is customary for the losing side to 
provide rewards for the winners, and, if a man desire to gain 



THE MEITHEIS 51 

reputation, he may arrange a game and provide these not 
expensive rewards for all the players, adding special prizes for 
any who have distinguished themselves in the game. Signal 
skill at the game was a sure road to royal favour in olden times. 
A party of polo players went to Calcutta on the occasion of 
the visit of H.M. the King, when Prince of Wales, to India, 
and again to Delhi to perform before the multitudes which 
assembled there in 1901. There is evidence that the popu- 
larity in India of polo as an organized form of sport is in part 
attributable to the enthusiasm of British officers who saw that 
there were sporting possibilities latent in the game as played 
by Manipuri teams in Cachar and Calcutta. 

After the races come sports, such as the rdmbai hunba^ or 
javelin throwing, " tossing the caber," in this ceise, a weighted 
dhdn pounder, "putting the stone," high kicking, sword play, 
and spear play with shield and plumes, which distinctly remind 
one of a Naga warrior's dress. The Mussulman section of the 
population contributes acrobats and contortionists, and there is 
always a troupe of low, sometimes very low, comedians, whose 
jests afford supreme delight to the crowd. But many of the 
best known performers have either left the country or gone to 
the majority, and the art of javelin throwing, long one of the 
special features of the annual sports, is in jeopardy of extinction, 
for as yet no successor worthy of the name has arisen to take 
the place of old Bedam Singh, the Nestor, when I knew him, 
of modern Manipuri polo players, whose fund of reminiscence 
of the good old days was ever at the disposal of those who 
loved the royal game and were in sympathy with the departed 
splendours of the country. 

Hardly less enthusiasm is aroused among the Manipuris 
themselves by the boat-races which, to other eyes, seem to lack 
that sporting interest which is the great charm of polo in its 
home. Yet the clean crowds, all well behaved and orderly, 
present a picturesque sight, for among the men who are dressed 
in spotless white, are groups of women in bright attire, and 
on the banks of the river of Imphal the waving beauty of 
clumps of feathery bamboo, hiding or partly revealing the 
houses behind, gives an air of placidity to the scene. The six 
* See page 20, supra. 



52 THE MEITHEIS 

Pannas or Eevenue divisions of the country send in a boat 
each, and, according to custom, the Pannas compete in a fixed 
order — Ahalup versus Naharup, and Khabum versus Laipham, 
Hitak-phanba versus POtsangba, Dr. Brown says,* " The boat- 
races occupy three days in September, and take place on the 
moat which surrounds on three sides the Eaja's enclosure.t 
This ditch is about 25 or 30 yards broad, and at the season 
when the boat-races come ofif, contains plenty of water. This 
festival is the most important held in Munnipore, and great 
preparations are made for it ; stands are erected on both sides 
of the moat, the one for the Baja being of considerable size and 
height. The women occupy stands on the opposite side of the 
moat. The boats used in the races are two in number, one of 
great length, and hollowed out of a single tree. The rowers 
number about seventy men, each with a short paddle. Besides 
the rowers are several men attending to the steering, and urging 
on the crew. One of these stands in the front of the boat, and, 
leaning on his paddle, encourages the efforts of the men by 
stamping violently with his right foot at intervals. The race 
itself differs from most boat-races, in the fact that here the great 
object is for one boat to foul the other and bore it into the 
bank, so that one side of the boat is disabled, the men not being 
able to use their paddles. The boats are thus always close 
together until at the finish, when the race is usually won by a 
foot or two only. The distance paddled is about quarter of a 
mile. Each race is rowed twice whichever wins, and the results 
are carried on from year to year. As in the Lamchel, the com- 
petitors are men belonging to different punnahs. There are no 
rewards for the races, they being rowed merely for the honour 
of the thing. The Baja in his boat, which is like the others, 
but ornamented with a carved deer's head and horns gilt at the 
prow, accompanies the race ; the Baja on the chief day steering 
his own boat in the dress formerly alluded to. McCulloch, in 
his account, mentions that the boat-race is not a fair race, but 
a struggle between the rowers on either side, in which those 
who can deal the hardest blows, are usually the victors. That 

* Op. c\L, p. 36, 37. 

t This moat was drained in the early years of the British occupation, 
and the boat-races now take place on the Iniphal river 



THE MEITHEIS 53 

fights occasionally happen is correct, but they arise from acci- 
dental causes and are really not a premeditated part of the 
performance. While the boats are paddling down to the start- 
ing-place, a good deal of chaflBng, flinging of weeds, water 
etc., between the rival boats takes place, but all seems to be 
conducted in a good-humoured manner." Neither of these 
authoritiefi refers to a curious custom connected with the boat- 
races, by which the steersman of the losing boat becomes the 
slave of the steersman of the- victorious crew, to whom the 
statutory fine of fifty rupees has to be paid for release. 

Dr. Brown gives the following account of the Lamchel or foot 
race {lam = distance, and chel = to run).* " This Lumchel is a 
competition between the difierent ' Punnahs ' or classes among 
the Munniporie population. Brahmins, as also the lowest class 
of Munnipories, the Looees, are not allowed to compete, but 
Mussulmans may. t The distance run by the competitors is a 
straight course from the brick bridge formerly mentioned % to 
the inside of the Baja's enclosure ; the distance is under half a 
mile. The first part of the races consists of trials of speed by 
two Punnahs at a time ; the winners in these races run again 
when all have had their trial, and the first man in of the whole 
wins the race of the year. The first man receives as his reward, 
sundry presents, and is excused from all forced labour or lalloop 
for the rest of his life ; he becomes a hanger-on about the Eaja 
usually after his victory. Old winners are allowed to run again 
for the honour of the thing ; when they win more than once, 
they get presents. The first in at the preliminary races between 
the Punnahs are allowed three months' exemption from lalloop. 
These races cause great competition, and for months before they 

* Op. cit., pp. 35-37. 

t Tlie prohibition against the Brahmins and the Lois in this matter is 
probably due to the fact that the division of the country and its popula- 
tion into the six Pannas, dat«s from a period antecedent to the advent 
of Hinduism, when the Lois were simply the conquered earlier inhabitants 
of the country, and therefore excluded from participation in the festivals 
of their conquerors. The Mussalmans came into the country at an early 
period, about the middle of the sixteenth century, and the great period 
of internal organization and development in the history of Manipur is 
the reign of Khagenba (1588-1652, a.d.), to whom the introduction of 
polo and the boat-races are due. — T. C. H. 

t Over the Nambol river.— T. C. H. 



54 THE MEITHEIS 

come ofif, various lanky-looking men, with a scanty proportion 
of clothing, may be seen, morning and evening, trotting along 
the roads, getting themselves into training for the important 
event. The Baja is always present at these and the other 
games, seated in a sort of gateway which bounds the straight 
road along which the races are run. 

" The Wrestling, — After the races there is an exhibition of 
wrestling ; this presents nothing very peculiar ; the only thing 
that need be mentioned regarding it is a curious custom which 
prevails. The victor over the wrestler who competes with him, 
before salaaming to the Baja, leaps up in the air, alighting on 
his left foot; as he descends he gives his right buttock a 
resounding slap with his right hand ; having thus asserted his 
superior skill, he makes his salaam in the usual manner. 

" Hockey matclies after the boat-races, — On each of the three 
days devoted to the boat-races important hockey matches take 
place. Immediately after the races an adjournment takes 
place to the hockey ground, close by, and the game is at once 
commenced ; the play being much better than can be witnessed 
at any other time. The ground at that time not being in good 
condition, many falls take place, which are not allowed, however, 
to interrupt the sport. The scoring is carried on from year to 
year also in this case, and many sporting gentlemen may be 
seen in various parts of the field carefully marking the results 
with pieces of pebble. The excitement and interest manifested 
in the result is very great." 

The dances of the country are four in number. Eds, maribok 
jagoi, khubeiscisakpay and sanjoiba. In the first three, girls 
take part, while the last is performed by boys alone. The 
peculiar costume described above * is worn by the girls who 
appear in the rds, eminently a dance of sacred Origin. In the 
dance called maribokjagoi, or the dance of the four comers, only 
four performers are required, and in* the khubeiseisakpa or the 
singing with the clapping of hands, the girls keep up an accom- 
paniment to the music with vigorous hand-clapping. They 
wear the ordinary fanek for this last. The boys who dance 
the sanjoiha, wear a remarkable head dress of peacocks' feathers. 
The dances and costumes are very picturesque, but the noisy 

* Page 16, 17. 



THE MEITHEIS 55 

drums on which quite a disproportionate amount of energy is 
expended, the clanging cymbals, the nasal singing, produce a 
cumulative effect which soon becomes tiresome. The game 
known to the Manipuris as kang sd-na-ba or playing the kdng, 
is the local variant of the widely played game described by 
Captain Lewin under the name of konyon* Colonel McCulloch 
thus describes it : f " The amusement in its season most enjoyed 
is kdngsdndba, a game as peculiar to Munnipore as that of 
hockey on horseback. It is played only in the spring, the 
players being generally young women and girls, with usually a 
sprinkling of men on each side. The game seems to cause 
great excitement, and there is great emulation between the 
sides. The kang is the seed of a creeper : it is nearly circular, 
about an inch and a half in diameter, and about three 
quarters of an inch thick. J It is placed on the ground upright, 
at one time with its broadside towards the party by whom it is 
to be struck, at another edge wise. When the kang is placed 
with its broadside to the party, it is to be pitched at with an 
ivory disk, when it is placed edgewise, it is to be struck by the 
disk propelled on its flat side along the surface of the ground 
by the force of the middle finger of the right hand acting off the 
forefinger of the left. A good player can propel the disk in 
this way with great force and precision. The side having most 
hits wins. The whole is closed by a feast at the expense of the 
losers." 

The wandering minstrel of Manipur is a familiar feature, 
especially in the villages outside the Capital. Ignorant for the 
most part of the art of writing, they recite, to the accompaniment 
of the pena or fiddle, ballads, some of which are of local origin, 
while others are products of Hindu piety. As remarked by 
Colonel McCulloch, § " Some of the language used in their 
songs is quite different from that commonly spoken. The 
same is the case in their writings; but the meaning of the 
songs is known to most, whereas the writings are intelligible 
only to the initiated. Amongst the hill tribes there is the same 

* Lewin, HUl Tracts of Chittagong, p. 40. 

t Op. ciL, p. 26. 

X Kang means anything round, as kang drum, polo ball. — T. C. H, 

% Op. city p. 27. 



56 THE MEITHEIS 

difference between the common language and that in their 
songs. The singers of the adventures of Khamba and Thoibee 
accompany their song with the notes of the pena, the solitary 
musical instrument of Munnipore, a sort of fiddle, with one 
string of horsehair, the body of which is formed of the shell of 
a cocoanut. On the bow of the fiddle is a row of little bells 
which jingle in harmony with the air." The sad tale of the 
distressful loves of Khamba and Thoibee,* though localized 
at Moirang, the home of the inveterate enemies of Meithei 
hegemony, is supremely popular. The story of the adventures 
of Ching Thang Komba, when wandering in exile from the 
attacks of the Burmese, is sure of a welcome, for the Manipuris 
have the historical sense more distinctly developed than most, 
and love to hear of the former greatness of their country. A 
ballad like that of Numit kappa \ serves as a change to the 
monotony of sadness produced by the recital of the suflTerings 
and trials of Dhananjai, the Hindu Saint and ascetic. The 
group of listeners know the right times for mirth and tears, 
and never fail at the psychological moment, for most of them 
have heard the tale scores of times before, and take their time 
from the bard. Wari tdbas or parties to listen to these stories 
are very popular, and the rewards earned by the minstrel are 
often solid enough. 

Pigeon fighting and gambling attract them to a fatal degree, 
and many are the edicts passed against these sports. Card 
playing is in great vogue, and the games played are a kind of 
" Beggar my neighbour " and a hybrid variant of whist. Neither 
of them are of native origin. Eiddles, as noted by Colonel 
McCulloch, " are a fertile source of amusement. They appear 
usually far fetched, and sometimes not over-delicate." t 

Dr. Brown mentions the game of keJcere he 8anaba,% which he 
says is " only played by the women : in it a number of them 
join hands dancing round in a circle and chanting the praises of 
Eaja Chingtung Komba in his fights with Nagas to the north," 

In the Chronicles in a passage of the date 1746 occurs the 
following mention of a game which is still played on occasions : 
*'The Eaja had the pleasure to witness a performance of 

* See p. 165 seq, t See p. 125. 

X Op. ciL, p. 26. § Op. dt., p. 34. 



THE MEITHEIS 5; 

Jchangjing saimba in the moonlight night Khangjing sdnaha is 
a kind of play, generally used to play in the night time when 
the moon is clear, by males and females of the country, A 
long piece of bamboo green suitable for the purpose, placed in 
the middle part, when a party of males, say a dozen or more in 
number, will catch the same by the one end, and a party of the 
female sex of the same number will hold the bamboo by the 
other end, then both party will pull that bamboo with all 
their might until one of the party is defeated." It is likely 
enough that this pastime, to which the name thaurichingba or 
rope-pulling is applied,* is modelled on the ceremonial rite 
common among certain of the hill tribes. 

The musical instruments of the Meitheis are numerous, but 
not very elaborate. The drums are of five patterns, differing in 
length and shape. The horn is used by minstrels who precede 
the Baja when he is travelling, and they are accompanied by 
performers on the conchshell and castanets. The stringed 
instruments range from a very simple type to the modem 
violin, which is an importation from Calcutta. In essentials 
they are identical, consisting of a sounding-box and a frame on 
which the vibrating strings are fastened. Some are played 
with a bow and others with the bare fingers. Cymbals and a 
triangle are also used. It will be observed that the horn is not 
a reed instrument proper, and that, while the principle of the 
vibrating reed is perfectly understood in the hills, it is not 
employed for caste reasons by the Meitheis. 

* Assam Census JReport, 1891, vol. i. p. 244. The Tang Khuls have 
a crop festival of which the rope-pulling ceremony forms a part. 



SECTION III. 

LAWS AND CUSTOMS. 

POLITICAL ORGANIZATION. 

The country was divided into six pannas, AJUUup (the club of 
the old men), Naharup (the club of the young men), Laipham 
(abode of the gods), Klwhum (belonging to Khaba or bitter, 
from khaba), Hitakphdnba (gatherer of tobacco), and Potsangha 
(watchmen). The earliest mention of these associations occurs 
in the reign of Kbirengba, a.d. 1510, and it is clear that at that 
time they were already military associations, and on the com- 
plete organization of the IcU-lup (war club or militia), which 
took place in the reign of Pamheiba, they became what for 
some time they had been in fact, constituent parts of the 
militia of the country. Ahcdup and Naharup seem to have 
been the first two to be established, and, on the creation of the 
Laipham and Khabam divisions, precedence was assigned to 
these latter over the older bodies. The precise reason for this 
is obscure, but may be connected with the difficulties which 
Pamheiba, a great reformer, experienced in introducing Hinduism 
as the formal religion of the State. 

It is now almost impossible to tell the precise conditions 
of membership in these associations before the period of the 
Burmese invasions, because the devastation of the country and 
its repeated depopulation completely disturbed the internal 
organization of the state, and the system described by Colonel 
McCulloch and other observers was the creation of Gambhir 
Singh at the comparatively recent period subsequent to the 
treaty of Yandabo in 1826. Nevertheless, it seems probable 
that the ancient model was closely followed, and that the basis 
of it was personal, not territorial, a feature which is due to the 



THE MEITHEIS 59 

fact that such a system only became possible after the hegemony 
of the Ningthaja * clan had been finally settled. One difficulty 
remains. The Moirang tribe preserved a very fair amount of 
independence up to the advent of British authority, and from 
the Chronicles it is evident that their subjugation in the great 
battle of A.D. 1431 failed to suppress completely a sense of 
separateness which their remote habitation and comparative 
homogeneity enhanced as time progressed, and as the difficulties 
of their rulers increased. As will be seen later, the Moirangs 
have not shared in the progress and development of the civiliza- 
tion of the country to quite the same extent as the other 
tribes. 

Piimarily, as has been said, the ldl4up was a military 
organization, but in the piping times of peace it was made to 
play a part in the economic life of the country. Indeed, the 
change which came over it was completed by the introduction 
of modern weapons, which involved the employment of trained 
soldiery. Gambhir Singh, who raised and commanded the 
Manipur levy which operated with success against the Burmese 
in the campaigns of 1824-26, maintained the levy as a separate 
organization, though adhering to the principle which formed the 
pristine base of the earlier Idl-lUp, namely, of so many days' 
service and a grant of land. The members of the levy were 
called Icd-ml, or men of war, and formed a separate division or 
section of the community. 

The centre of the State was the Eaja, and, while he himself 
took no direct part in the administration of the State, except on 
formal occasions, when he presided at Durbars, or meetings of 
the high officers, all was made to serve his interests. His sons 
held important oflBces, the eldest bearing the title of Jvhraj, the 
next that of Senapati, then came the Kotwdl, or head of the 
police, then such officers as the Sagol Hanjaha, or master of 
the horse, the Sdmu Hanjaba, or master of the elephants, the 
Dolaroi ITanjaba, or master of the doolies. All these officers 
had seats on the Chirdp, the chief judicial body in the State, 
but it was not necessary that they should be members of the 
royal family. The office of Awd purel, or foreign minister, 
seems to have been first created by Chandra Kirti Singh, and to 
* See ''Internal Structure," p. 73. 



6o THE MEITHEIS 

be associated with the military rather than the civil organization. 
To secure the due and efficient working of the UU-lup, the six 
Pannas were minutely subdivided, the total number of divisions 
reaching the high figure of 107, exclusive of the military 
divisions or regiments and the Loi and Naga villages. The 
persons liable to duty under the lal4up system were the 
Meitheis, the Brahmins, and the Musalmans, who are called 
Pang-gans. Nagas and Lois are subject to much heavier duty, 
and with them work the Keis, or slave communities. Each of the 
107 subdivisions possessed a number of officials, some of whom 
held ex officio seats on the Chirap, thus bringing the judicial and 
the executive organizations into touch in a manner which may 
offend strict theorists, but which was in close harmony with the 
ideas of the people themselves. Some of the ldl4iip officials 
were village officers, while others belonged to the centzal 
organization. Thus, to take an example at random, the 2%i»m- 
jao Rungha, or overseers of the salt wells, were four in number, 
and investigated all cases arising out of the salt revenue. One 
of them was a village officer, while the three others remained in 
Imphal, only visiting the salt wells occasionally. JTearly all 
the divisions possessed an office known as the Idl-lUp chingba 
(" puller of the lal4up "), who seems to have been the active 
intermediary between the officers at the capital and the men in 
the villages. Now the Loi, Naga, and Kei villages were all 
framed on the well-known system, with village officers possessing 
the same titles as are now found among the hill tribes, MtiZ- 
Idkpa, lup-lakpa, but with a large number of additional func- 
tionaries, some of whom are clearly religious, others, again being 
executive. Taking, as an example, the case of Chairen, the 
village which turns out earthen pots, we find that the head of 
the village is called the Mngthou, or king. Next to him in 
rank is the senapati, or commander-in-chief. The Idiid-lakpa and 
the lup-ldkpa follow him in precedence, then came the Jchikya- 
hanha (elder of the village), a functionary whose duties are not 
defined. The next officer, the YupcUpa (the manager of the y^ 
or beer, brewed from rice), was a sort of ganger who tasted 
the brew each year, and was responsible for the entertainment 
of strangers, performing duties which, in some Kuki villages, 
are entrusted to the king or chief. The pdhhan-laJcpa {lakpa 



THE MEITHEIS 6i 

of the young unmarried men) is the man who looked after 
the young men's club, for the custom of keeping the young 
men in one dormitory is known to have been at no distant date 
common among the Loi communities. The Naharakpa is the 
ruler of the lads who are still younger than the pdkhans, the 
f«lly fledged but unmarried men, and his sphere of authority 
extended over the lads in the same manner as did that of the 
PakharUdkpa over their immediate elders. The remaining officers, 
the Telloi Sanjaha, the Telloi Jlidang, the Hinaoba, the Hiruba, 
the Zoo ml rakpa, the Lao ml hidang, seem to have been 
responsible for the work of the villagers in making and repairing 
boats, and in cultivating the fields. 

The officers in one of the greater divisions, such as the Khabam 
Sanglen, or the great house of the Khaba, were men of con- 
siderable importance, and the three principal oflBcers, the Lakpa, 
the Sanglen laJcpa, and the DewdUj held ex officio seats on the 
Chirdp, the chief judicial authority in the country. 

The lalml, or military organization was organized on some- 
what diflerent lines. The central organization consisted of the 
Bijaya Oarot, presided over by the Senapati, who, as we have 
seen, was often, if not generally, a member of the royal family. 
The majors commanding the regiments, and the Awd puren 
major (responsible as has been noted for the management of 
relations with Burma) together with 11 subordinate officers, 
composed the Bijaya Garot which had thus 20 members in all. 
There were eight companies which were settled in a number of 
villages, and were controlled by their own officers who bore the 
titles of oflScers, commissioned and non-commissioned, of the 
Native Indian Army. The majors, or oflBcers commanding, were 
members of the central organization. Then there were other 
sepoy villages organized on similar lines, but which were not 
quite so closely connected with the central "staff" as the eight 
regiments and their " company " villages. 

The Brahmin community was liable to Idllup, and from the 
guru at the top of the list of oflBcers to the private priests of the 
Maharaja at the end of the list there were in all some 32 grades 
of appointments. 

The definition of Idllup as given to me by an experienced 
authority is the duty of appearing at the king's oflBce (loimng) 



62 THE MEITHEIS 

ten days, and doing tlie proper work of the grade to which the 
person belonged. For the following thirty days he remained at 
home. If a man did not come to his Idllup, he forfeited one 
rupee, and for this sum a substitute was hired. The following 
is the vernacular statement : " Ningthou-gi loi-sang-dd {amdsung 
office-da) nUmit tardnl kdduna Idllupki thobak toururaga nUmit 
kunthrdni mayumdd leijei, Ldllup kddraduna mi aduna tokla- 
badi Idllup amddd rupd amd lovrba haonei, (mnd mahut mi 
nekneH* Khuvdin is a branch of the ldllup^ and consists of the 
duty of seeing that the men liable to Idllup are regular in 
attendance, and covers cases of illness where a substitute is 
provided. LdllUp kdgaddba lei-ba adubu khudin kaoaji. Mi 
adugi karigumba thobdk leiba awMdi and ayek leiraduna Idllup 
kdraroidaba leirabadi haijarabasung, mihUt plrabasung, khUndin 
numitta kdrakada-ba Idllup chingba, machdJialna chingba kdduna 
khangnaba haonei, 

Chingjin-langpon thou kai haibadi. There was special duty 
to be performed in the months of Asin or Bhadra [or in 
Manipuri the months of Langpon or Mera]. The absentee made 
a bargain for substituting a man who received the sum of four 
rupees. Connected with this is the Pdimilang panthou kai, 
which extended for three months and according to which the 
substitute received six rupees. MayUmdd kumbana thd ani 
loisangdd (amasung office-dd) sarucargi nUmit khuding thobdk 
toujei, ml aduna kdroi hairaga, mi amddd chingjinlangpon haiba 
touge haiba, aslmadd rupd marl wdsd sai. Matomdi Lang- 
ponthd Mera thd. 

The last regulation mentioned is the Akd akum thing ba. 
This referred to any special work. In cases where the men of 
any area found that the work imposed on them was beyond 
their powers it was possible to call in men from the whole area 
till the work was finished. Lam amddd thobdk achaoba Uvdn 
amd anlduna ngamdaba thobdk thoklabadi, lam adugi mi 
makhai Idllup kdduna thobdk loidriba makhai touage IdllUpti lam 
amdram-dagi mlna (hun kotli) lau 

Colonel McCulloch gives the following description of the 
Idllup of his day : * " This population is composed of different 
classes. The principal is the Meithei, next the Phoongnai, after 
* Op cU.y pp. 11-13. 



THE MEITHEIS 63 

whom the Teng-kul, the Ayokpa, the Kei, the Loee, and the 

Mussulman. The Meithei population is divided into four parts 

called, * Punnahs/ which are designated in the order of their 

superiority, * Kaphum/ ' Lai phum/ * Ahulloop/ and ' Niha- 

roop.* Tlie Punnahs perform lalloop or service for ten days in 

rotation, thus bringing every male in the country above sixteen 

years of age on .duty, ten days in forty. This service is due to 

the State; none are remunerated for it. The head of each family 

or tribe furnishes the proper persons for the different services 

required of that tribe. The inmiediate family of the ' Peepa/ 

or head of the tribe, is not called upon to perform any heavy 

duty. Its post is near the Eaja, acting as ' Ningthau sella ' or 

personal attendants. The family next in seniority has a heavy 

duty to perform in the * Laikai.* The third has the * Led mee* 

and the fourth the * Sungsa roi! The lalloop of the second and 

fourth families works generally in unison. Their chief duty is 

to make houses and bridges for which they cut and bring the 

materials. The Idlmee was in former times the soldier of Munni- 

pore, but since the raising of the troops before mentioned in the 

time of the Eaja Gumbeer Sing, the lalmee's duties have become 

civil. Of the families after the fourth the places are not fixed, 

some are khoot naiha or artificers, as goldsmiths, blacksmiths, 

carpenters, workers in brass and bell metal, etc., who all have 

their lalloop in which they perform any work in their respective 

lines they may be called upon to do ; some again attend to the 

Eaja's elephants, some to his ponies, etc. The Brahmins 

even have the lalloop, during which they cook for the Eaja and 

their idol Govindjee. In fact, excepting the lowest description 

of service, there is scarcely any which is not performed by some 

part of the Meithei population. The heads of the Punnahs and 

all the officers required in connection with them are appointed 

by the Eaja from amongst his favourites, and generally without 

reference to their origin. The appointment to office exempts 

the holder's immediate family from the performance of any 

heavy duty, and, if above a certain rank, entitles his heirs to 

the distinction of bearing silver spears, and being horsemen in 

attendance on the Eaja, distinctions, however, not nowadays 

much coveted. A fixed allowance is not attached to any office. 

Some officers are entitled to loee-il, that is to a follower or 



64 THE MEITHEIS 

followers, who perform any work they may be set to. The 
loee-ils dislike this, and usually compound with those they 
should attend for a sum of money, which having paid they 
remain at their homes. Individuals belonging to any lalloop 
who are anxious to remain at home, can do so by paying the 
chief officers. Sick people even have to pay if they miss their 
lalloop. These monies are the perquisites of the officers and 
form the chief emoluments of office. A few high officers have 
Naga villages given to them. Until lately the privilege of 'yim 
tinaha * was given to officers of high rank — that is, the family or 
tribe from which he sprang or any other made over to him by 
the Baja, had to serve him ; thus if he was building a house all 
the tribe assisted, and if his wife went abroad, the wives of the 
tribe attended her. This was a most distasteful custom and was 
done away with by Debindro Singh. The Phoongnai is divided 
into Hitakphalba and Potsungba. The Hitakphalba is called from 
his having to attend to the Baja's hooha. The Potsungba spreads 
the cloth for sitting on. The duties engrafted on these are too 
many to enumerate. Of the Tengkul the chief duty is garden- 
ing. They sometimes also hew stones and make vessels of that 
material. Both the Phoongnai and the Tengkul were originally 
slaves of the Baja. On a change taking place in the rulers of 
the country it was formerly the custom to seize the slaves of 
those who had held office and to divide them amongst the 
adherents of the new ruler. This practice when the changes of 
rulers became so very frequent, as it latterly did, was found to 
entail upon individuals more hardship than the worth of the 
slave. Slaves, therefore, when seized were not distributed 
amongst adherents but made to work for the Eaja under the 
name of Ayokpa.* Their principal work is gardening. They 
used to be recruited by children of free men by slaves, but 
this is now discontinued. 

** The particular duty of the Kei (originally slaves of the Eaja) 
was to provide and pound the rice for the Eaja's household. 
Formerly they were sufficient for this purpose, but they are not 
so now, and in consequence what is called a Kei-roi-tluiu, has 
been fixed upon the residents with certain exemptions of all 
places but the Capital. This Kei-roi-thau or * work of Keis,' t 
* Ayokpa means "maintained," f And Lois. — ^T. C. H. 



THE MEITHEIS 65 

is not confined only to the supply of rice, but may be said to 
embrace any work or the supply of any article the Eaja chooses, 
and is from this arbitrariness most oppressive." 

Eeference may be made to one point which more properly 
belongs to the section on the rules regulating the tenure of 
land. The liability to Icdlup commenced as soon as a man 
reached the age of seventeen, when he also became entitled to 
cultivate one puri of land with the tax in kind exacted by the 
Kaja. 

To give this sketch of the economic system of Manipur a 
reasonable degree of completeness, it has been necessary to 
refer to the foreign elements in the State, the Brahmins, the 
Muhammedans, the Nagas and the Lois, The historical circum- 
stances which account for the presence of these distinct groups 
need not be set forth at any length, but it will suffice to say 
that the Lois, who in fact comprise several distinct villages 
which till a recent date had even kept up a separate dialect in 
each, are said both by the Meitheis and by their own traditions 
to be the descendants of the autochthons of the country, who 
were dispossessed of their fertile lands by the tribes of the 
Meithei confederacy. 

The Chirap consisted of the following persons : The Jubraj 
(eldest son or heir apparent of the Eaja), the Angom Ningthou 
with whom the Eaja was closely connected by marriage, the 
Wangkhairakpa or lakpa (overseer) of the Northern quarter, 
the Khurai-rakpa or lakpa of the Khurai, the Mantri (confiden- 
tial minister), Jaisagun lakpa (functions not clear), Pukhrumba 
(title of honour), Nongthonba (title of honour), Laipham lakpa 
or lakpa of the Panna Laipham, Ahallup lakpa or lakpa of the 
Panna Ahallup, Khabam lakpa or lakpa of the Panna Khabam, 
Naharup lakpa or lakpa of the Panna Naharup, Luang Ningthou 
or King of the Luangs, Moirang Ningthou or King of the 
Moirangs, Katum (functions unknown), Phungnai Sang Lakpa 
or lakpa or the Phungnai House, the four dewans of the four 
Pannas, and the sanglen lakpas of the four Meithei Pannas.* 

In the Pannas Ahallup and Laifam were fifteen officials of 

* Ahallup or Aharup, Naharup^ Laifam, and Kh^lbum. The two 
'^PAtingfnai" Pannas, Hidakphamba and Pdtsangba, are inferior classes. 
Cf. McOulloch, op. dt.y pp. 11, 12, and Brown, op, city pp. 38, 39. 
Their duties are to provide for the Royal Household. See below, p. 67. 

P 



(A THE MEITHEIS 

" KhuUakpa ** rank, who seem to have been regarded as eligible 
for seats in the Ghirap. Their titles are Laipham Sangguba Sang- 
lakpa, Ahal-lup Sangguba Sanglakpa, Lairik-yengba Sanglak- 
pa, Lairik-yengba Hanchaba, Khetri Hanchaba, Thangsu-Hanba, 
Tensu-Hanba, Lalmi-Eakpa, Endren-Lakpa, Laipham-Puren, 
Ahallup-Puren, Khanton-Lakpa, Irak-Lakpa, Nakap-Lakpa, 
Phamthokcha. Similarly in the lower grade of officials ranking 
together as holders of phams of " Luplakpa rank/' but, equally 
with the above, Chirap-jpam6om or eligible for seats in the Chirap, 
were the Pukhrun Hidang, Laipham Sanglen Hidang, Ahallup 
Sanglen Hidang, Thangsu Hidang, Tensu Hidang, Lalmi Hidang, 
Endren Hidang, Lrak Hidang, Khundang Hidang, Nakon 
Hidang, Lairen Lakpa, Phamtokcha Hidang, and Lairen Hidang. 
Corresponding to these functionaries there were in the Khullakpa 
grade of officials in the Pannas Khabam and Naharup as eligible 
for seats on the Chirap, the following : Khabam Sangguba Sang- 
lakpa, Naharup Sangguba Sang-lakpa, Changam Ningthou, 
Umu Khullakpa, Singsu Hanba, Kekre Hanba, Huidru Hanba, 
Khabam Puren, Naharup Puren, Laikhu Eakpa, Pallum Puren, 
Huirai Hanba, Khabam Konsa Hanba, and Naharup KOnsa 
Hanba. Of Luplakpa rank, in these two Pannas there were 
Wangkhai Hidang, Jaisagun Hidang, N6ngthon Hidang, Umu 
Hidang, Singsu Hidang, Kekre Hidang, Nakappa Hidang, 
Laikhu Hidang, Pallum Hidang, Huirai Hidang, and Sanglen 
Hidang. There were thus fifty-three persons eligible for seats 
on the Chirap, in addition to the twenty-four ex offijcio members. 
It is curious to note the division of offices between the 
Pannas. Why do we find officers as the head of the House of 
the Clerks (Lairik yengba sanglakpa), the chief maker of daos 
(Thangsu Hanba), the chief arrow maker (Ten-su Hanba), in 
Pannas Ahallup and Laifam, and not in Pannas Naharup and 
Khabam ? Why, again, should Pannas Naharup and Khabam 
include the chief of the scouts (Huirai rakpa) and the chief 
brass worker (Konsa Hanba), to the exclusion of these officials 
from the lists of Pannas Ahallup and Laifam ? 

The internal organization of the Pannas is no less complicated. 
The four principal Pannas were divided into two departments 
each, Sanglen and Sangguba, to each of which were attadied 
officials whose titles are given in the following lists : — 



THE MEITHEIS 



(>! 



Laipham lakpa 
Dewan 

Sanglen lakpa 
Sanggoiba Hanjaba 
Sanggoiba Hidang 
Pakhan lakpa 

Lairen lakpa 
Sangguba hanjaba 
Sanggoiba Hidang 
Pakhan lakpa 



SANGLEN. 



SANGGUBA. 



Naharakpa 
Phammi Ahal 
Phammi Naha 
Singsuba Ahal^ 4 
Singsuba Naha, 4 
Kuarangba, 4 

Naharakpa 
Singsuba Ahal, 2 
Singsuba Naha, 2 



The officers in Department Sanglen were in the service of the 
Eaja, while Sangguba officials worked for the Eani. 

The Phungnai " class " was divided into two Pannas, Hidak^ 
phanla* or persons who attend to the Imka, and Potsangha 
or persons who act as watchmen. Each of these divisions is 
subdivided into sanglen or servants of the Eaja, and Laima-nai 
or servants of the Eani. There are officers in each group whose 
titles resemble those given to the Panna officers above, with 
the addition of a class called Chabon, whose rank is not very 
high. There is also attached a class called Thong-loi-sang, 
which belongs to the Phungnai class but is not subdivided 
between the Eaja and Eani, though it has its complement of 
officers. We then come to a real servant class, the Panam 
Ningthou semba, whose duty it is to keep Eoyalty in all 
the apparatus for polo. The officers attached to this group 
are in seven grades, Sellungba ahal, Sellungba naha, Pakhan- 
lakpa, Naharakpa, YaphI ahal, Yaphi Naha, Sennakhal. 
The next group, entitled Laima Semba, are servants of the 
Eani, with six grades of officers. Then we have the Anam 
Sang class, who serve both Eaja and Eani and are employed in 
work of a judicial nature, probably as messengers and clerks. 
The domestic servants of the Eoyal Household belong to Divisions 
Feida and Sangairen, and have their officers. We now come 
into touch with officials engaged in the administration of the 
country, and the following classes, Kairungba yairek sang, 
Kairungba maroi, Chongkhanba, Lourungsang, Phaorungba, 
Thumjao rungba and Hiruhinaoba, deal with the Eoyal granaries, 
storehouses, fields and cultivation, salt wells, and fisheries. The 



* Hiddk = medicine, magical properties. 
(hitdk) = gunpowder. — T. C. H. 



Tobacco. n(yiig mei hiddk 



68 THE MEITHEIS 

Arangba have to see that the Eoyal Household is kept properly 
supplied with oil, fat, and cooking pots. The Sagonsang take 
charge of the horses, but when a horse or pony in their charge 
falls ill, the animal is in the charge of the Wangmanai class, who 
belong either to the Khumanthem (meaning those who soothe 
the Khuman, or the Sagonsem (groom) sagei The Thanggang 
saba provide daos, and Garisang, Samusang, Sallungsang depart- 
ments each have their officers, and are charged with the care of 
carts, elephants, and cattle belonging to the Baja. The Liman 
SaDg department is in charge of minor work at Eoyal granaries. 
The Thangja pannaba mainly look after iron smelting and 
the manufacture of iron implements. The Patcha Loisang are 
responsible for the safety and comfort of the Eaja and Bani 
when touring in the country, and are divided into fifteen grades 
of officers whose titles are rather unusual The chief is the 
Bebosta, then the Ningthem porohit, the Patcha Hanba, 
Achromba, Achramba, Achan khulel, Achan khuba, Kairungba, 
Sellungba, Apampa, Salai Hanba, Takhen Hanba, Mayang 
Hanba, Kabo Hanba, Angom Hanba. The next two classes, 
Dulai-paba and Dolai-roi, are in the first place doolie bearers, 
and are further employed as judicial messengers and lictors. 
The Urungba Loisang is charged with the duty of providing 
wood, bamboo, creepers, and such materials. The Yumjilloi 
have to keep State buildings in repair. The duties of the 
Maifengba class are probably of the same nature as those of 
the two preceding classes. The Usaba department is in 
charge of heavy carpentry work. The Hijaba bangmai provide 
put bamboos of all sizes. The Paijasuba fasten up the creepers 
which are used in domestic architecture. The duty allotted to 
the Nandeiba loisangba is not clearly explained in the 
vernacular manuscript. The Humai-roi department has to do 
with the Lois who make the hand fans (humai = fen). 
Khutheiba Loisang has to superintend the work of skilled 
artisans (Khut = hand, and hei = to be skiUeu). The Leikai 
Loisang deals with the housebuilder class. The Lammi Loisang 
is stated to be in charge of much the same work as the Leikai 
Loisang, but the chief officer of this department bears the 
military title Senapati* The Sagontongba or horse-riders are 
* Probably lammi = lal-mi = warriors. Hence the use of a military title. 



THE MEITHEIS 69 

mounted messengers. The Sanglinba provide substitutes for 
lal'lup duty. The Sang-cha-loi (or Lois who build houses) are 
entrusted with the same class of work as the Leikai Loisang 
above. The Tengkhul Loisang is the department in charge 
of the royal gardens. The Konsang (brass workers' depart- 
ment) draws its personnel from the following sagei : Tourong- 
bam, Loukham, Ang5njambam, Kongabam, Keisham, Konsam, 
and looks after the manufacture of silver and brass vessels. 
The next three departments relate to the work of the special 
castes Ahaiba, Sanjam and Thangjam. The Ningthou phisaba 
department is charged with the superintendence of the manu- 
facture of the Eoyal clothes which have to be made with 
special precautions, lest through them any harm come to the 
Eoyal wearer. The Takhen pungaiba beate the gongs, and 
is in attendance on the Eaja when he plays polo or witnesses 
a polo match. The Boldeb Seina are overseers of the supply of 
firewood. Meitan-sang provides fuel. The Khongjai Lambus 
deal with Kuki affairs. Tilli-loi-sang brings in the Lois for 
special work. The department of the Thouban-tong provides 
cooking pots, and therefore connects the central administration 
with the village governments in Chairel and Shuganu where 
pots are made by Lois, The Hisang deal with all matters 
relating to boats. The Penakhongba accompany the Eaja and 
Eani on their travels, and play the penay and also take part in 
the festival UTnang Lai haradba^ or the feast of the Jungle 
(Jods. The Maiba Sanglen, though low down on the list, is the 
College of the Maibas, and deals with all matters concerning the 
Pibaship of the sageis, both great and small, and also conducts 
the worship of the Umang Lai. The Ametpa seems to be con- 
nected with the preceding class, and is in charge of the Eoyal 
gongs. The Maibi Loisang corresponds to the Maiba Loisang, 
and is the College of the Maibis. The special duty of the 
Panji Loisang seems to be to forecast the future of the year, 
and, in particular, to predict whether any earthquake is likely 
to occur. The Lairik yengbam is the clerkly class with duties 
bringing it into contact with all the other Loisang departments. 
The duties of the Dhobi and Napit * class are obvious at once. 
The Mayang-sajik department supervises the supplies of fodder 
* Dhobi = washerman, Napit = barber. — T. C. H. 



70 THE MEITHEIS 

and grass for the elephants and ponies. There were also minor 
departments entitled the Manang Usang, the Kunda Sang, and 
Mukna Kanba. The next group of departments is in charge of 
affairs relating to the Panggans of Muhammedan inhabitants, 
and consists of Panggan Sanglen, Panggan Inkh6l, Panggan 
Singa Loisang, Panggan phundrai Loisang, Panggan Kumar, 
Panggan Mall (apparently the Muhammedan acrobats and per- 
formers), Panggan Likli. The principal official here is the 
Kazi.* The Yaithibi looked after the sweepers who kept the 
Palace clean, and with this department we are introduced 
to the servile Naga communities such as the sweepers, and 
mochis. The Haojaopam dealt with cases of persons who 
had lost caste by reason of being degraded to Lois. The 
Duhon Loisang, Anik Loisang, and San-gom Loisang were 
semi-private departments of the Eaja, and provided water, 
materials for offerings to the Deities, and milk. Then in charge 
of the Keis were their own village officers at the villages 
Tingri Kei, Wakching Kei, Yairibok Ningthounai Kei, Tampak 
mayum (in which there were fourteen minor subdivisions entitled 
Sanglen, Haomacha, Sanggai sanglen, Arongba, Akhonba, Lou- 
khumta, Khudong, Sagon Sang, Pukei, Laikhong Siphai, Mapan- 
thong, Brindabon Chandro pujari, Duhol and Bhandari). In the 
Manung Loisang were four departments Eoul Loisang, Chakkon, 
Sebok Pukei, Bhandari. To the service of Gobinda (Govindji) 
were dedicated the Lai bhandari, Mantri sebok, and Kirtana. 
The Duhon Loisang scattered clean water over the people of 
the Deity. The Keis of Charang Pat and Wangbon Ningthou- 
khong, and Thingnung, were also employed in the service of 
Govindji. The departments known as Palla-han Palla- 
yeima, Palla naha, Sebok-palla and Yaripok Chaba, discharged 
duties in connection with the daily ceremonial of the kirton of 
the Koyal Family. The PaUa amanba seem to have been the 
choristers and musicians of Govindji, while the Bamjigi Palla, 
the Mahabali Thakur Palla, the Kallika Debi Palla and the 
Abdanta Prabhugi Palla, the Kammokha Debi (? Kamaikhya 
Debi) ministered unto their Deities. 

Li much the same thorough manner the Brahmins were 
appointed to offices, the titles of which are mostly of foreign 
* Cf. McCuUoch, op. cit., p. 12. 



THE MEITHEIS 71 

derivation. They were equally liable to lallup, their duty 
consisting of ministrations to the Hindu Deities. 

The Bijaya Garot, or Military Court, consisted of the Senapati, 
the Tuli Hal Major, the Tuli Yaima Major, the Tuli Naha Major, 
Bhitna Major, Bishnu Soina Ahal Major, Bishnu Naha Major, 
Top Major, Ayapuren Major, Pihila, Sajor, Subedar, Jamadar, 
Amandar Major, Kut, Agari Holdar, Awondar, Amandar, Garot 
Kothantor, Kothandor. The Tuli-Han regiment consisted of 
twelve companies known by the names of the villages from 
which they came. Tuli Yaima regiment consisted of eleven 
companies, Tuli Naha of twelve companies, Bhitna Tuli of eight 
companies, Bishnu Saina Ahal of nine companies, Bishnu Naha 
of the same number, and the Top Tuli (Eegiment of Artillery) 
of twelve companies. There were other regiments, Kang Tuli 
(eight companies), Kanguao Tuli (seventeen companies), Oinam- 
nong (seven companies), Nawa Tuli (twelve companies). I do 
not know the precise military duties of the Bamdiar who pos- 
sessed a military organization, but were drawn from the four 
pannas. Possibly it was a Service Corps. In addition to duty 
in the Konimg or Fort, there were outposts in charge of the 
military forces of the. State, and it seems that in all there were 
thirty-six such posts. There also seem to be Idllup officers 
attached to certain regiments, but whether they were merely 
put there for the purpose of providing the commissariat of the 
regiment with the necessary supplies or for any other purpose, 
is not clear. Each regiment of the First Class was commanded 
by a Major, whose second in command bore the title Pahila. 
There was one Havildar Major and two Kuts to each regiment. 
Each company was controlled by a Subadar, a Jemadar, an 
Agari Hojdar, a Havildar and an Amandar. The total strength 
of officers in a regiment of twelve companies would thus be 
sixty-five, which seems large. There are no exact figures 
avaUable of the strength of a company in normal conditions, 
but it may be surmised that no " actuarial calculations " would 
explain the inefficiency of the regiment as a fighting unit. 

There are certain villages, such as the Loi villages, which are 
not worked by the ordinary Idllup system, but possess their 
own officials. At Thanga there are two classes of Idllup, the 
one for the service of the Baja, and the second for the Bani. 



72 THE MEITHEIS 

In each class there are fourteen grades. At Iting there are 
eleven grades. Chairen, Hairok, Kokching, (KhtU4en), enjoy 
the dignity of a Ningthou as their chief officer, who at Kok- 
ching is known as the Budhiraj. The second official enjojrs 
the military distinction of Senapati (Commander-ini-Ghief). The 
smaller villages, such as Tangjing, Shuganu, Langathen, Kok- 
ching Yairi, Eokching Ehunao, Andro, Eameng Kokching, 
Susa Kameng, Sekmai Awang, Kuru Khul, Eao taruk, Kameng, 
Ghakpa Laimaram, are less endowed with officers, the chief of 
whom bears the title khullakpa. In the villages or hamlets 
occupied by Lois, especially the twelve salt villages, the chief 
village official is the hanjaba, but then these villages are 
under the care of the Thumjaorungba or overseers of salt, a 
Idilup department of some importance. The list of offices at 
Moirang may be given in full, because while due to Meithei 
influence the Ust shows that the independence which Moirang 
has always claimed for its own affiurs, has reflected on the 
village organization. The chief is the Moirang Ningthou or 
King, a title which at the present time is held by the grand- 
father of the Baja, although the right of the British Govern- 
ment to confer it was bitterly contested. Then in order of 
precedence we have the Ehadarakpa, the Senapati, the Mantri, 
the Pukhramba, the Nongthonba, Ngangkharalq)a, the Okching- 
lakpa, the Ehoyal lakpa, the Khambi-rakpa, the Ngang-ngou- 
rakpa, the Ching-ngai-rakpa, the H^rakpa, the Yaosmakpa, 
the Thanggarakpa, the Kei-rung-pa (four in number), the Phaug 
thou eight in number, and the Lairen lakpa and Lairen hidang. 
At Ningthoukhong, where resides the Piba or tribal head of the 
Kumul clan, we have in order of precedence the Ningthou, 
the Senapati, the Khullakpa, the Luplakpa, the Mantri, the 
Dewan, the Patchahanba, the Achrombi, the' Keirungba, the 
Pakhanlakpa, the Naharakpa, theDulairoi Hanjabaand Hidang, 
the Boro and Choto Gayet, the Akhanba Hanjaba and Hidang, 
Hiruba, Hinaoba, and the Sellungba. The same officials in the 
same order existed at the village of Khangabok. At Sekmai 
we have an officer named the Yupalpa or ganger, who is found 
in all the Loi villages in which yu or spirit is manufactured. 

Note. — ^The word *^Panna'' is used to describe the Revenue Divisioii 
in the Shan State, Keng Tung. Cf. Upper Burma Gazetteer ^ put i. 



THE MEITHEIS 73 



INTERNAL STRUCTURE. 



The Meitheis are divided into seven clans, Ningthaja, Kumul, 
Luang, Angom, Moirang, Khabananba and Ghenglei. The 
verpacular name for these divisions is said* Each of these scdeis 
consists of a number of sub-groups called yumndks, the number 
varying from one hundred and fifteen in the Ningthaja, or 
Eoyal clan, to seventeen in * the Khabananba. There is a 
tradition to the effect that formerly there were ten clans and 
that two, if not three, have been extinguished {mut-khre). In 
support of this tradition, reference may be made to the 
favourite ballad of Numit-kappa or the man who shot the sun, 
where mention is made of the ten kings of the land. The head 
or piha of certain clans is still designated the Ningthou, or 
king of the clan, and it was suggested to me that the ten kings 
of the ballad were the pibas of the ten clans. The small clan, 
Khabananba, is said to be a composite clan. The Kumuls and 
the Luangs are in some remote manner connected, with the 
result that they do not intermjory. It seems probable that in 
earlier days these clans occupied definite areas, as we know to 
have been the case with the Moirangs who still preserve a 
considerable degree of independence and autonomy and are 
mainly settled in the immediate vicinity of their eponymous 
village. Again, Colonel McCuUoch refers to the fact that, 
"Tradition brings the Moirang tribe from the south, the 
direction of the Kookies, the Koomul from the east, the 
direction of the Murrings, and the Meithei and Looang from 
the north-west, the direction of the Koupooees." t It will be 
observed that this quotation seems to assume that the Meithei 
and the Ningthaja are identical, although, as a matter of fact, 
the name Meithei is given to the combination rather than to 
any single unit in it. 

An ingenious theory in explanation of the extinction of the 
two clans which are believed to have disappeared, was once put 
to me by a Manipuri, who argued, that in earlier times the 

voL i. p. 329. It may be derived from the Manipuri root, pan = to 
rule.— T. C. H. 

* ScUei = tribe ; sagei, normally used in reference to a Naga clan, 
means " relationship ; " y\i/mnak = household. 

t Op, citj p. 4. 



74 THE MEITHEIS 

clans occupied definite areas, and that the brunt of the Burmese 
invasions fell on them because they happened to occupy the 
area first attacked by the Burmese, who, as is well known from 
historical records, carried large numbers of Manipuris into 
permanent captivity. The point may be cleared up by a 
careful investigation into the reminiscences and traditions of 
the Manipuri settlers both in Burma and Cachar. 

Another curious circumstance is that among all the hill- 
tribes, we find a similar organization of the unit into sub- 
divisions which are strictly exogamic, and among the hill-tribes 
these sub-divisions bear the Manipuri names, Ningthaja, Kumul 
and Luang. Only rarely do we find the name Angom given 
to a Naga clan or sagei. The name Khaba occurs twice, but 
in both instances among the Tangkhuls. In one village, a 
Tangkhul village named Nungbi, we find Anganba and the 
names Atum and Kasu which are described by the Tangkhuls * 
as Manipuri names but are not now in use among the 
Manipuris. Apart from this, which may be pure coincidence, 
there is no material for holding that the names of the lost tribes 
were Atum and Kasu. 

The Lois are divided into clans in much the same way and 
intermarry with other Loi villages if the industry of those 
villages be identical with that of their own. Thus the Lois 
of the salt making villages would intermarry, but it is not 
likely that they would go to Fayeng, a silk village, for wives, 
nor that Fayeng would give them their girls. Such Loi villages 
as are known to have originated as penal settlements for 
deserving Manipuris, claim a higher status in the world than 
other Lois and always grasp a chance of asserting their fidelity 
to Hinduism. 

One of the earliest tokens of the progress of a Loi community 
towards Hinduism is the abandonment of delicacies in the ¥ray 
of food and drink. This sometimes involves them in serious 
loss when the industry of the community happens to be the 
distillation of country spirit. 

''*' The Chronicles of Manipur make it abundantly clear that the 
Tangkhuls existed as an organized tribe in occupation of much the same 
area as at present, at a period coeval with the establiBhment of the 
Meithei hegemony in the valley^ by the defeat of the Moirang tribeBmen in 
A.D. 1431.— T. C. H. 



THE MEITHEIS 75 

MARRIAGE RULES. 

The Meitheis are exogamous as regards the clans or saleis 
into which they are divided, but are endogamous as regards 
members of other tribes, though there are cases on record of 
marriages between Brahmins and Meithei girls. Such is the 
strict rule, but it may be inferred that it has not always been 
rigorously adhered to, since the Chronicles refer in more than/^ 
one passage to the wrath of the Eaja at the disregard of the 
proprieties and his orders that they " should not marry people 
of their own kins." There were special penalties on breaches 
of this rule in the shape of the loss of the privilege of giving 
water to the Eaja, but their validity was derived, in the first 
instance, from the superstitious fear of divine wrath for the 
violation of an essential tabu (ndmung-ha in Meithei). 

The general rule is amplified by further rules, which may be 
survivals from an order of things which has now passed away. 
Angoms were not allowed to marry with Khabananbas, Moirangs, 
or Luangs. The Luangs were forbidden to take their wives from 
among the Kumuls, and the Moirangs were not permitted to 
many the Khabananbas, and one or two families of the Chenglei 
saZd were also forbidden to them. The family of Moirang 
Laipham seems to have been prohibited to the Ningthaja clan, 
but the case is obscure, and, if genuine, constitutes the only 
prohibition affecting the Ningthajas, In one case only, that of 
the Kumuls and the Luangs, is an explanation afforded by 
tradition, which asserts that once upon a time a Kumul Wazir * 
saved the life of a Luang who had been sentenced to death. In 
the Kumul Ibl, or account of the Kumul tribe, the following 
statement occurs, which may perhaps afford a further clue to the 
difficulty. " Luang Ningthou Punsiba, or the long lived, became 
the King of Kumul, and had two children, Nungthongai and 
Lungba. Lungba became the King of the Kumuls, while 
Nungba became Luang," It may be remembered that the 
modem rule in Manipur is that the succession to titles where 
the right of the strong hand fails to operate is by primogeniture, 

* The use of the Muhammedan title Wazir is curiously paralleled by 
the title Shahi, used by the successors and sons of Garib Nawaz, and has 
been suggested to me as due to a temporary predominance of Muham- 
medan iiSuence in Manipur. — T. C. H. 



76 THE MEITHEIS 

while the heir general is the younger son, as the elder son is 
provided for by gifts inter vivos. 

There seems to be a rule requiring the Meithei Nii^thou to 
be a close connection by marriage of the Ang6m Ningthou, and 
by custom the formal coronation of the latter precedes by a few 
days that of the former. The relationship between the Meithei 
Ningthou and the Ang6m Ningthou, the heads, one of the 
Ningthaja, or Eoyal clan, and the other of one of the most 
important clans, is generally that of son-in-law and father- 
in-law. 

The Meitheis are polygamous,* and the Eaja may have three 
principal wives, with as many as one hundred and eight sub- 
sidiary partners. Debindro Singh, in a short reign of three 
months, managed to amass ninety-six wives, but it is improbable 
that they were simultaneously members of the Eoyal household. 
The titles of the Eaja's wives in order of precedence are, 
(1) Maharani ; (2) Apdnbi (which may mean either the preferred 
one or the one who rules) ; (3) Zaimakhribi. 

Further, there is a rule of general application that a man 
may not marry a woman of the clan from which his mother 
came. The prohibition goes no further than the one generation. 

Colonel Johnstone f states that " they have a curious custom 
by which a man of low caste, marrying a high caste woman, can 
be adopted into her tribe (salei, or clan), the exact reverse of 
what prevails in India, where a woman of high caste marrying a 
low caste man is hopelessly degraded, and her children outcasts." 
The exact meaning of this statement is not quite clear to me, 
but if it means that marriages between Meithei women and 
Nagas or Lois are either common or capable of legitimation in 
the automatic manner implied, it is not in accordance with the 
facts I have observed. No doubt there are cases on record of 
the adoption of men of the subject communities by the Eaja 
and of their subsequent marriage with Meithei women, but the 
important thing is that the adoption precedes • the marriage. 
One of the Naga Lum Subadars was known to have been a 

* The marriage of sisters to one husband is permitted, provided that 
the elder sister's marriage is prior to that of the younger. — ^H. A. 

COLQUHOUN. 

t 0/). cit, p. 98. 



THE MEITHEIS ^^ 

Tangkhul Naga by birth, but he was taken prisoner when quite 
a child, and by his intelligence and good manners attracted the 
notice of the itaja, who not only made him a good Manipuri, 
but gave him office and the privilege of riding in a dodie. I 
made careful inquiries into the accuracy of the statement quoted 
above, and find that there is no system in Manipur which can 
be so dascribed. 

Widows may remarry, but not with their deceased husband's 
brothers. There is no ceremony for the remarriage of widows. 
In polygamous households the husband's attentions to the several 
wives are strictly regulated according to precedence, the eldest 
getting twice the nominal share of the wife next below her. In 
actual practice, I am given to understand that these rules are 
often broken. I have had to adjudicate upon complaints of 
conjugal discourtesy in polygamous households. 



INHERITANCE. 

There are some difficulties which must be cleared out of the 
way before the rules of inheritance, both of ordinary property 
and of offices and dignities, can be considered. In the first 
place it must be remembered that the security of property 
was never very adequately safe-guarded in Manipur, and that 
theories of recent date which assign the property in the land to 
the Baja, tend to destroy the few surviving relics of the earlier 
system. 

The Chronicles of Manipur do not afibrd us much aid in 
ascertaining the rules of inheritance for private property, and 
at the present time the economics of the state are in flux under 
pressure of new ideas political and social. Land is regarded 
as held at the will of the ruling power of the State. As regards 
movable property the general practice seems to be to provide 
for the sons during the lifetime of the father, and to regard the 
youngest son as the heir general if at the time of the father's 
death he is still living in the ancestral home. If he had 
separated and was living apart from his father, the property 
should be equally divided among the sons. Marriage is of 
course the cause of the separation of the sons from the home. 



78 THE MEITHEIS 

and is the occasion of finding provision for them as well as for 
the daughters. Mr. Colquhoun, I.C.S., states that in theory 
the rules of the Dayabhaga are followed, and notes that " the 
Manipuri Courts are not credited with much knowledge of that 
treatise.'' But the improvidence of the Manipuri is such as to 
render the rules of succession to movable property of little 
importance, because even those who are reputed to be rich, are 
very often found to be bankrupt on their decease. It is 
politically unwise to possess the reputation of wealth in a 
country where the conditions of life are as unsettled as they still 
are in many respects in Manipur, and those who held high 
oflSces, had to spend freely to maintain their position which 
might be at any moment taken from them and disposed of to a 
higher bidder. 

Colonel McCulloch* says, "There is no law as to the 
descent of property. It is willed away according to the 
pleasure of the testator, but is generally given to those in- 
dividuals of the family who are most in need of it without 
reference to seniority." 

But the succession to dignities and ofiSces, such as the king- 
ship or the pibaship of the clans, is a matter concerning which 
there is a mass of material of extreme value and importance. 
Up to the reign of Churairomba the royal succession was fairly 
regular, though here and there the direct line was broken by 
some strong intruder. According to the general account the 
crown devolved by the ordinary method of primogenituie. 
There is, however, much mystery about the circumstances of 
the death of Churairomba and the succession of Gharib Nawaz 
(Pamheiba in Meithei style). Dr. Brown gives the following 
version of the facts as given to him : " In that year (1714), 
Pamheiba, who appears to have been a Naga boy brought up 
and adopted by the Baja Churai Bomba, shot his adopted 
father, it is said accidentally, whilst hunting, and sucoeeded 
him" (McCulloch's account, p. 6). The following is the 
account of Pamheiba given by the authorities who deny 
that he was of Naga extraction: — "The father of Pamheiba 
was, they say, the Baja Churai Bomba himself ; the name of 
his mother was Noongtil Chaibee, one of the Baja's wives, 

* Op. city p. 20. 



THE MEITHEIS 79 

but not the head wife or Banee. The custom at that time 
in Munnipore was to kill all male children by any of the 
wives except the Eanee. Noongtil Chaibee concealed the 
fact of the birth of Pamheiba, and anxious to save his life, 
persuaded her father to take charge of him. This he did, 
and carried off the child to a village named Lai Sangkong, 
to the extreme west of the valley. When Pamheiba was 
about four years old, the Eanee heard of his existence and 
sent secretly to kill him. The boy's grandfather escaped 
with him to the village of Tangal in the hills to the north 
occupied by the Quiron tribe of Nagas. Time went on, and 
the Eanee having no family there arose a diflSculty about the 
succession. The Eaja was unaware up to this time of the 
existence of his son Pamheiba, although he had a suspicion 
of the fact. He made a declaration before all his wives that, 
if any of them should have concealed a male child, they would 
be freely forgiven and the child made his heir. The mother of 
Pamheiba promised to make inquiries if the Eaja would swear 
that no harm should befall the child, and on his doing so, she 
confessed to the existence of Pamheiba. The boy was sent for 
and acknowledged by the Eaja and people to be the son of 
Churai Eomba. The villagers who sheltered the boy were 
also rewarded. Churai Eomba, according to the Munnipore 
account, was killed by a poisoned arrow in fighting a tribe 
to the south called Toosook, upon which Pamheiba, better 
known by his Hindoo name of Gurreeb Nawaz, ascended the 
gvddeeJ' * 

The traditions which I have collected, both among the 
Manipuris and among the Nagas, modify the above account 
in some not unimportant particulars. In the first place they do 
not mention any custom by which the son of the Eani alone was 
saved. The reason why the male children of Churai Eomba 
were killed off was that there was a prophecy that he should die 
by the hand of his son. The child Pamheiba was concealed, 
and when the suspicions of Churai Eomba were aroused, he 
ordered all the children from the village of Maikel, where 
young Pamheiba was in hiding, to be brought down to Imphal 
and entertained. They were all bidden to watch the boat-race^ 

* Op cU,, p. 69. 



8o THE MEITHEIS 

from a bridge the supports of which had been sawn asunder so 
that they broke and the children were drowned, but some one 
had warned Pamheiba's guardians and he escaped. To this 
episode they ascribe the origin of the custom which prohibits 
the spectators at the Hi-yang (boat race, irom hi as boat, yang 
= swiftness) from standing on any bridge beneath which the 
rowers would have to pass.* Some years afterwards he returned 
to Manipur and by his charm of manner and readiness of speech 
drew upon himself the attention of the Baja, who made him his 
personal attendant. One day they were out hunting and the 
arrow from the bow of Famheiba killed his father. Then the 
prophecy was recalled to mind, and at last the whole story came 
to light. Now to this day the Nagas of Maikel receive pre- 
cedence over all other Nagas at the annual Naga sports as a reward 
for the protection which they afforded the king in his early 
days. Of course the divine ancestor Fakhangba is brought 
into the affair by the supposition that his accidental death at 
the hands of his son transmitted a sort of tendency to parricide 
to his descendants.t 

The Chronicles do not afford any sort of warrant for either 
of these legends, and there is not the slightest hint that at any 
time was it customary for the succession to be restricted to the 
son of the eldest Eani alone. 

The long reign of Pamheiba, during which the fortunes of 
Manipur reached their zenith, ended by the black tragedy of the 
murder of the old King by his son Jit Shah or Shai. The 
eldest son Sham Shah or Shai was murdered at the same time, 
but the parricide did not long retain the throne, for he was 
driven out by Bharat Shai, who reigned for two years, when he 
was succeeded by Guru Sham. Colonel McCulloch says, and 
the statement is to some extent confirmed by the Chronicles, 
that " This Gouroo Sham was a cripple, and it is related that 
considering himself from his infirmity unfit to be sole ruler, he 

* The custom really belongs to a group of customs which exhibit a 
belief in the peculiar sanctity of the head. — ^T..C. H. 

t In the famous prophecy of ^* all the wonder that would be" that 
was made to Khagenba, Pamheiba is given to the King, ChurairOmbs, 
by the KhuUakpa of Thangal — a Naga village, in the north. Churai- 
romba is also said to be the last of the line of Pakhang1M^ and with 
Pamheiba begins the line of the descendants of SenamehL — T. C. H. 



THE MEITHEIS 8i 

associated with himself his brother Jaee Singh or Chingtung 
Eomba, and that they ruled alternately. This arrangement 
lasted until Gouroo Sham's death, about 1764, when the sole 
authority fell to Chingtung Komba, who held it up to 1798." * 
Once again the close of the long reign of a fairly strong and 
capable king was followed by wild scenes of bloodshed, the 
numerous sons of Chingtung Komba, Eabino Chandra, Madu 
Chandra, Chourjit Singh, Marjit and Grambhir Singh all fighting 
for the throne. After the treaty of Yandabo, t Gambhir Singh, 
who had raised the Manipur Levy among the refugees in Sylhet, 
was recognized as King, and the independence of the State was 
formally guaranteed. On his death, in 1834, his son and heir, 
Chandra Kirti Singh, was a minor, and the Senapati, Nur 
Singh, a descendant of Churairomba, became Eegent The Queen 
Mother is said to have been implicated in a plot to kill the 
Eegent while he was worshipping at the temple of Govindji. 
The plot failed, and the Queen Mother fled to Cachar, taking 
the Minor Eaja with her. Nur Singh was not allowed to 
remain quiet, and had to defend his throne against numerous 
attacks headed by members of the royal family, who, in their 
comfortable exile in Cachar or Sylhet, managed to collect 
adherents and arms. Nur Singh died in 1850, and was suc- 
ceeded by his brother Debendro Singh, although he left sons 
who fled at once to Cachar. They returned with Chandra 
Kirti Singh, who drove Debendro Singh out with their aid. 
He was at once recognized by the people as the rightful King, 
and appointed the sons of Nur Singh to the oifices of Senapati 
and Jubraj. Chandra Kirta Singh had soon to contend with 
his friends and supporters, for Nur Singh's sons turned against 
him, and for some years the Country was constantly harassed 
by attempts made by rival claimants to oust Chandra Kirti 
Singh, who succeeded in consolidating his hold on the throne. 
He had a large family of sons, all of whom held court appoint- 
ments. Before his death, in 1886, the Government of India, on 
the request of Chandra Kirti Singh, acknowledged the Jubraj 
Sur Chandra Singh as the heir and successor. Colonel John- 
stone, who was Political Agent in Manipur at the time, has 

* Op. cit,, p. 7. 

t 1826. Mackenzie, North-East Frontier of Bengal, p. 150. 

G 



82 THE MEITHEIS 

recorded the following account of what happened : " As soon as 
the Maharajah was again able to transact business, he begged 
me to write to the Government of India, and request that the 
Jubraj should be acknowledged by them as his successor. 
I did so, at the same time strongly urging that the guarantee 
should be extended to the Jubraj's children, so as to preclude 
the possibility of a disputed succession at his death. The 
Jubraj earnestly supported this request; but the Maharajah 
preferred adhering to the old Manipuri custom which really 
seemed made to encourage strife. If, for instance, a man had 
ten sons, they all succeeded one after the other, passing over the 
children of the elder ones ; but when the last one died, then his 
children succeeded as children of the last Baja, to the exclusion 
of all the elder brothers' children. All the same, if these 
could make good their claim by force of arms, they were cheer- 
fully accepted by the people who were ready to take any scion 
of royalty." * So far as the Chronicles of the State enable us 
to judge, there has never been a case of such r^ular succession, 
and the facts of all the cases point to one conclusion, that 
the only rule recognized is that the strongest member of the 
royal family held the throne as long ad, and only just as long 
as, he could, and when a stronger man came, his day was done. 

Sur Chandra Singh abdicated in September, 1890, and his 
brother, Kula Chandra Singh, who, till then, had been Jubraj, 
became Eegent. The brothers of the whole blood went to 
British India in company with Sur Chandra Singh, and their 
offices were taken by the brothers of the half blood who threw 
in their lot with Kula Chandra Singh. The circumstances of 
the abdication of the late Eaja finally brought about British 
intervention, and on the unhappy events of March, 1891, the 
Statfe passed into the hands of the Government of India, who, 
after full consideration of all the circumstances, decided to 
place a grandson of Nur Singh on the throne, and to administer 
the State during his minority. 

Such is the history of the succession to the throne of Manipur, 

and from these facts it may be possible to disentangle some 

ideas as to the custom of the royal succession. The one teiet 

that stands out most clearly id that the Baja must belong to 

* Ojp. cU., p. 196. 



THE MEITHEIS 83 

the Ningthaja or royal clan ; but beyond that I can see no more 
than — 

** The good old rule, the simple plan, 
He takes that may, and keeps that can." 

The explanation of the alternate succession of Guru Sham 
and Chingtung Komba is that the physical defects of the 
former made it impossible for him to take part in any of the 
sacerdotal ceremonies at which the presence of the Eaja is 
regarded as necessary. 

With regard to other offices such as the pihaship of one of 
the clans, the succession seems to be determined by primo- 
geniture. This rule does not apply to the ceremonial offices of 
Kings of the clans which may be held by persons who are not 
the pibds. It is abundantly clear from the Chronicles that the 
Eaja appointed whom he pleased to the Kingship of the Angom 
clan, and it is to be remembered that the King of the Angom 
clan is by custom the father-in-law of the Eaja. It is not 
clear that he was always an Angom. The British Government, 
therefore, in appointing the maternal grandfather of the present 
Eaja to the Kingship of the Moirang clan, did not commit any 
unprecedented breach of custom. 

It appears that the executive and judicial offices of the 
country were at one time hereditary ; but Colonel McCuUoch 
remarks that "in these days hereditary /i^m^ans do not suit 
the money-loving views of the authorities, and they are 
made arbitrarily for a consideration and as arbitrarily dis- 
missed when another candidate ofiTers a larger sum. The 
presidency of the Court (the Paja which dealt with cases 
connected with women) appears to be the right of the family 
called Paja Hulbum, which is descended from the royal 
family ; that family, however, now only holds it when it suits 
the Eaja's convenience." * I have had to deal with claims to 
succeed to village offices where the one party would strongly 
contend that the right was strictly hereditary, and the other 
would declare that the brother right prevailed in respect of the 
village offices and that therefore there ought to be a sort of 
general post at the death of any village office-holder. It may 
be pointed put that both contentions have some weight in them, 

* Op. ciU, p. 19. 



84 THE MEITHEIS 

for among the Kuki communities with which Captain Butler, of 
the Naga Hills,* was acquainted, were some which practised 
this method of succession by gradual promotion. Among Naga 
tribes the village oflSces go by primogeniture. The utility of 
fraternal succession has been explained by Sir Henry Mame.t 

Among the Lois the youngest son gets the house and land, 
but movable property is divided among the sons. 



ADOPTION. 

There is still in active progress a movement among the inferior 
tribes, such as the Lois and the Nagas, to seek admission to the 
ranks of the Meithei. The first step taken is to abandon the 
consumption of food and drink which are proscribed to good 
Hindus, and then, after a period of probation, to obtam the 
permission of the Baja to assume the sacred thread. Ciolonel 
McCuUoch remarks that '' The Baja, Brahmins, and members of 
the Royal family, give the thread indiscriminately, but to receive 
it from the Baja, and to become his disciple, seems to be the 
preferred method." :( Circumstances have changed, and the 
position of the Brahmin has become stronger, so that aspiration 
to the honour of Hinduism finds probably more difficulties than 
it did when those words were written. Much disgust was 
excited among the orthodox Hindus by the claims of the Loi 
villages to be allowed to style themselves Hindus when asked 
by the census officers to state their religion. Mr. Colquhoun 
thus describes the actual ceremony of admission : " Outsiders 
are freely admitted by the Meithei, provided that they can 
prove themselves to belong to one of the higher Hindu castes, 
i.e. those from whose hands Brahmins may take water, such as 
the Kahar, or gowalla. The lower castes are, in theory, not 
admissible. The rites of admission comprise ceremonial ablu- 
tion, impression of the tilaJc, and investiture with the sacred 
thread, all accompanied by the recitation of Mantras, which 
may not be divulged. Presents are, of course, given to the 
presiding Guru. The candidate is then admitted as a member 

* Butler, Travels and Adventures in Assam, p. 82. 

t Ancient Law, p. 241 ; Early Law and Ctwtom, p. 146^ 

t Op. cit.y p. 18. 



THE MEITHEIS 85 

of one of the seven Yek or septs, and assumes one of the 
Yumnobk, or family names of that Yeh. He is not at once 
accorded the full privileges of his position, e.g, men of the same 
yumnak will not ordinarily eat with him. Food cooked in his 
house by a Brahman would, however, be generally acceptable ; 
similar principles given (? govern) the admission of children of 
foreigners by Meithei women." 



TENURE OF LAND AND LAWS REGARDING LAND. 

Dr. Brown states* that "The whole land system of the 
valley starts with the assumption that all the land belongs 
to the Eaja, and is his to give away or retain as he pleases. 
Under the Eaja is an oflBcial named the Phoonan Saloomba, 
whose duty it is to superintend all matters connected with land 
cultivation ; he looks after the measurement, receives the rent 
in kind, and transacts all business matters connected with the 
land on behalf of the Baja. The land is subdivided into villages 
and their surroimdings ; the head man of each division or village 
looks after the cultivation, and is responsible for the realiza- 
tion of the tax payable by each cultivator ; he holds no interest 
in the land, and is merely an agent of the Eaja. 

" Besides the land thus directly, as it were, cultivated for the 
Eaja, grants of land are given to officials and favourites, some- 
times for their own lives only, or for a specified time, some- 
times for themselves and descendants. These hold their lands 
on payment of the usual tax in kind. Connections of the Eaja, 
Brahmins, and Sepoys, pay no rent or tax on a fixed proportion 
of land regulated in each case, but on any increase on the land 
cultivated above that proportion rent is paid. 

" The proportion of land cultivated imder what may be called 
the direct system on account of the Eaja is about a third of the 
whole ; rather more than a third is in the possession of members 
of the ruling family, Brahmins and Sepoys : the remainder is 
in the hands of the head men, officials, etc., who hold it by 
favour from the Eaja. Each individual liable for lalloopy or 

♦ Op, cU., pp. 11-13. 



86 THE MEITHEIS 

forced labour for the State, is entitled to cultivate for his support 
one purree of land, equivalent to about three English acres, 
subject to the payment of the regular tax in kind. 

"The tax in kind realized from each cultivator, and which 
goes to the Eaja, is liable to many modifications, although, in 
theory, the tax is a fixed one. The tax, as given by McCulloch, 
varies from 2 baskets to 13 from each purree. I am informed 
that the 2 baskets which nominally should be only taken from 
every one alike, is realized from favourites, and that the average 
from others may be set down at 12 baskets yearly; this is 
seldom exceeded, except in rare emergencies, as war, etc. This 
again will only apply to land cultivated for the Eaja, or held by 
those subject to kUloop, In cases where lands are held by 
officials, etc., as middlemen, the burdens are more severe, running 
as high as 24 baskets per pvrree, which, I am informed, is the 
outside limit. 

** The average yield per purree, or three acres, is about 150 
baskets annually : each basket contains about 60 pounds." 

On the subject of the cultivation of land, etc., Ciolonel 
McCulloch, in his report to Government, dated February 28, 
1867, writes : " The Eaja is the absolute proprietor of the soil, 
and can dispose of it as he likes. No one is prohibited from 
cultivating, but rather the contrary, for every male who comes 
on duty is entitled to cultivate one purree of land, paying a rent 
for the same. The State rent is nominally 2 baskets of rice 
in the husks, the basketful weighing 50 or 60 pounds; but 
usually 12 or 13 baskets are taken. Considering, however, that 
the worst purree of land yields 100 baskets and the best fix)m 
160 to 200, the 13 baskets is not a high rent ; but so long as 
the rent taken by the State is given out as two, every basket 
over this is an exaction, and m^-y be made a matter of grievance, 
as it is now. But this grievance can only be one as long as the 
purree of the cultivator is of the standard measure, which is very 
seldom the case — indeed, it has sometimes been found nearer 
two, and until a survey has been made, neither the Eaja nor the 
people can be satisfied. Seeing the necessity for a survey the 
Eaja has commenced one, but it is much disliked, and, I fear, 
though several persons connected with it have been punished 
for taking bribes, that they will still be taken, and that the 



THE MEITHEIS 87 

measurement will not be honestly done, even if the people 
employed were qualified to do it, which I doubt. 

" The land under cultivation yields sufficient for the wants of 
the people, but the action of the Keiroi-thatt is against the 
extension of cultivation, and unless steadily looked to, would 
lead to its diminution. The latter result might be disastrous 
and though I cannot report any real improvement in the JTei- 
roi'thau* I am glad to say that for some time past attention 
has been directed to it, and I hope, as the Eaja is anxious to 
bring more land into cultivation, for which purpose water- 
courses are to be dug, he will see clearly the necessity of so 
reforming this thau as to make the people willing to take up 
the land which will be thus rendered fit for cultivation." 

These quotations serve to make it clear that the theory of 
the vestment of absolute rights over the land in the Eaja had 
firmly established itself in the minds of the officers who repre- 
sented the Government of India in the State some thirty years 
ago, but the closer acquaintance with the people, which has been 
not the least important of the results of the occupation of the 
State by British officers, renders it no less clear that the people 
themselves are far from accepting this theory in the blunt and 
unqualified manner in which it is stated by the native autho- 
rities, most of whom were interested witnesses. The system is 
one of severalty, as is to be expected in a country where per- 
manent settlement is possible, but the number and importance 
of the protests which have from time to time been made against 
the unrestricted alienation of land by Manipuris to Muham- 
medans and other persons of alien descent, the vigorous denuncia- 
tion of the speculative tricksters, who took out leases for the 
waste lands near outlying villages and charged exorbitant rent 
for grazing or grass cutting, and the strength of the village 
system, afford evidence that the real nature of the tenure of 
non-arable land was communal and joint, while cultivated fields 
were held in severalty, a sure proof that we have to deal with 
a state of affairs halfway between absolute joint tenure and 
perfect severalty. 

* Keiroi-thau = labour of Keis and Lois. 



88 THE MEITHEIS 

LAWS REGARDING OTHER PROPERTY. 

Murder was generally punished with death, but in cases 
where extenuating circumstances were proved, mutilation was 
inflicted. Brahmins who committed murder, were banished from 
the country. In earlier times theft, especially cattle theft, still 
a common offence in the country, was punished with death, 
but banishment to a Loi village, a penalty which, if continued 
for any length of time carried with it degradation from caste, 
became regarded as more appropriate. More than once, cases 
of recidivism occurred which required rather special treatment, 
and perhaps on the principle that prevention is better than a 
doubtful cure, the authorities cut off the right hand of a thief 
on his second conviction, wMLe one notorious housebreaker 
was permanently confined in a strong wooden box, a punish- 
ment which was recommended to us when the prince of jail 
breakers, Apaibi or Fly-away, was causing us some anxiety 
by his exploits. In modem times an improvement in the 
system of punishments was effected by the erection of a jail, 
which the native authorities did not manage on the theory 
that a jail should be a comfortable place for blackguards 
of the country to arrange pleuis of future campaigns against 
the peaceable people. The prisoners were freely employed on 
extramural labour without much serious interference witii their 
health, which seems to have been r^arded as of less importance 
than the protection of property and the prevention of crime by 
deterring the evil doers from a repetition of their misdeeds. 

One of the most reprehensible features of the methods of the 
State was the partiality shown in judicial matters to the 
privileged classes such as the Brahmins and Bajkumars, but 
the blame which attaches to this must be held to be diminished 
by the tenderness they exhibited towards women, for whom the 
only punishments were banishment to a Loi village, which 
entailed at least temporary loss of caste, or the punishment 
known as Khungoindba, which is thus described in the Chronicles: 
" She is made thoroughly naked, only a small bit of cloth tied 
round her waist, she is shaved off her hairs, and her bare head 
and face are painted with lime, ink and turmeric colours, broom- 
sticks are tied on her back with a drum, one man will pull her 



THE MEITHEIS 89 

on the front by a piece of rope tied on her neck, and a large 
crowd will gather on her back beating the drum, at the same 
time her crime will be proclaimed to the public, and thus she 
will walk through the several streets and bazars." It is only 
fair to say that this method of punishment became obsolete by 
the beginning of the last century, and the passage quoted above 
bears the date 1696. 

The methods of capital punishment varied considerably, and 
Colonel Johnstone states* that he was informed that it was 
the custom in Manipur to put a murderer to death in the 
manner in which he had committed the murder, and that by 
his representations he succeeded in persuading the authorities 
to adopt decapitation as the one method of carrying out the 
death sentence. Cases of high treason, when the offenders 
were members of the Eoyal family, were punished by death 
by drowning, the offenders being tied in a sack and thrown 
into a river at some plewe where another river meets it. The 
reason for this is obscure, but certainly connected with the 
belief in the special sanctity of such a spot. 

Special mention must be made of the custom which required 
the presence of a high official at all executions to see that 
the sentence was duly carried out. If it happened that for 
good and sufficient reason no »uch officer was present, it was 
necessary for the fetters and manacles with which the prisoners 
were bound to be struck off by a blacksmith, before the execu- 
tion, and taken to the Kaja as a proof that the order had been 
given effect. The place of execution was either in front of the 
stone Dragons (the Nongsha), which stood before the Kangla 
or Coronation Hall, or under a tree on the bank of the Nambol 
river. When decapitation was employed as the method of 
execution, the prisoner was placed on his back and his head 
cut off by a stroke of a dao across the throat. The executioner 
was a Naga of a special village. 

The laws of the country regarding debt are simple. When 
a sum of money had been borrowed and not returned within a 
year, the sum due was double the sum borrowed, and either as 
a result of this rule, or even perhaps as the cause of it, we find 

* Op. cit.y p. 139, where further information is given on the subject of 
the punishments inflicted on wrongdoers. 



90 THE MEITHEIS 

that the Manipuris have a bad reputation for neglect of their 
financial obligations. No doubt the security was often poor, 
and if the creditor had to wait a long time for his money when 
the rate of interest was high, he required the protection which 
this rule was intended to give him. As a fact, this rule is not 
uncommon among the people of the hills. But in Manipur, if 
it was not possible for an insolvent debtor to discharge his debts 
in full, he was allowed to make himself the slave, as it has been 
unfairly called, of his creditor. Now there were two kinds of 
slavery, the one originating, as I have stated, in simple debt, 
and the other where the slave becomes the absolute property of 
the master. Colonel McCulloch thus describes the two systems : * 
" Many become slaves voluntarily ; some of them with the view 
of discharging a money debt which they cannot otherwise do, 
and some from sheer laziness. They live in the same house as 
their master, eat with him, and are altogether like members of 
the family. To abuse and ill-use slaves is the exception. These 
remarks refer more especially to Munniporees in a state of 
slavery. The hill people occasionally sell themselves ; but more 
frequently they are sold by their relatives. There are two 
descriptions of slaves; the one, the absolute property of the 
buyer, called meenai chanaba,^ the other asdlba, or a slave 
for such time as the money paid to him, or advanced on him, 
may not be paid back. The latter is like giving work in lieu of 
the interest of the money paid, and should the person who 
becomes asdlba get sick he is obliged to give a substitute or 
make good in coin the labour lost in the interval of sickness. 
Of course, to the asdlba no considerable sum would be advanced 
unless he promised to work for at least one cultivating seasoa 
The hill people who are slaves are not perhaps so well treated 
as the Munniporees in a state of slavery, but there are maxLj 
checks on ill use. If not satisfied with their condition they run 
to some other house where slaves are better treated. The master 
makes a point, if possible, of paying their price, usually, how- 
ever, not in full, for the circumstance of a slave running to 
another's protection is considered a sign of his having been 

* Op, cit.y pp. 24, 26. 

t Mi 9iai = to belong to a man ; miiiai = slave ; cka = to eat ; na, suffix 
of mutuality, i.e., to belong to and be fed by a man.— T. C. H. 



THE MEITHEIS 91 

ill-treated, and as justifying an abatement. Slaves, too, often 
abscond to the hills, where they conceal themselves in the hill 
villages; but as they are apt there to be apprehended, they 
usually prefer passing into the British territory, where they are 
at once free. Thus, those who have slaves are under the necessity 
of treating them well, and slavery is much modified." 

In another passage Colonel McCuUoch says that " A man 
can put away his wife without any fault on her part, and if a 
person of influence he may do so without its being noticed. 
The rule, however, is that if a man puts away his wife without 
any fault on her part, she takes possession of all his property 
except a drinking vessel and the cloth round his loins. A man 
and wife may separate by mutual consent, and a wife may quit 
her husband on giving the value of a slave. Women are really 
the slaves of their husbands ; they are sold in satisfaction of 
their debts, and I have heard of men pawning their wives for 
money to purchase some oflBce, or even a pony." * I must say 
that I never came across any case in which the rule mentioned 
above was even cited, and inquiries made among Manipuris of 
good position only elicited a denial of its existence. The 
statutory penalty for adultery carrying with it divorce was fifty 
rupees, the price of an adult slave, and the statement that 
women are the " slaves " of their husbands, receives a curious 
confirmation from the fact that a woman is said to become the 
property of a man (mi-ngonda nai-ha) when she marries. 



DECISION OF DISPUTES. 

The Chief Court which administered the laws and customs of 
the coimtry was the Chirap, which was composed of twenty- 
four or twenty-five permanent members as follow : The Jubraj, 
the Angom Ningthou, the Wangkhairakpa {lahpa^ or manager 
of the north quarter ; wang, north ; khai, division), Khurairakpa 
(manager of the khurai, possibly the skilled workers, khutlaiba 
meaning hand skilful), Mantri, the Jaisagun lakpa, Pukhrumba, 
Nongthonba, the Laiphamlakpa, the Ahalluplakpa, the Khabam- 
lakpa, the Naharup lakpa, the Luang Ningthou, the Moirang 

* Op. ciu, p. 19. 



92 THE MEITHEIS 

Ningthou, Katnam, the Phungnai sang lakpa, the Laipham 
dewan, the Ahallup dewan, the Eliabam dewan, the Naharup 
dewan, the Laipham sanglenlakpa, the Ahallup sanglen lakpa, 
the Ehabam sanglen lakpa, the Naharup sanglen lakpa. There 
were, in addition, other officers of State entitled to or eligible 
for seats on the Chirap. The grand total of Chirfip members 
was between sixty and eighty.* The Paja dealt with all oases 
in which women were concerned, such as divorce, disputed 
patermty, marriage rights, etc., and the president of this Court 
was known as the Paja HtUba.^ The methods employed by the 
Paja in the decision of cases of disputed paternity were simple, 
and resemble those in vogue in Ancient Arabia.^ The Tdp garde 
was the court which tried all cases in which sepoys of the mili- 
tary forces of the coimtry were parties, and was a purely military 
court. The numerous laMoop officers exercised judicial functions, 
but the line which in the State organization divided the judicial 
from the executive functionaries, was so vague and uncertain 
that it cannot be said that there was any real separation of the 
two aspects of government, so that every village officer dealt, 
and was thought to be competent to deal, with all sorts of 
matters which Western methods relegate to a purely judicial 
body. 

llie first thing was to complain {toa kha^tpa, to present the 
story) to the proper authority, and at this, and at every subse- 
quent stage in the proceedings, the offering of gifts was a 
necessary act. These gifts must not be regarded as bribes, for 
native opinion did not approve of the action of a judge who 
allowed himself to be influenced by these gifts. They really 
took the place of stamps and court fees, and were payments in 
kind as often as not. At the hearing and the decision of the 
case (wd khaiba, or the dividing of the stories) presents were 
made to the court by both parties. The employment of an oath 
seems to have been restricted to cases where Nagas or Kukis, 
foolish persons who attached some sanctity to an oath, were 
concerned, and the oaths then used are still recognized by 
them as binding. Water was poured over a gun and a 

* See ** Political Organization," above, p. 65. 

t See McCulloch, op, cit,, p. 19. 

i Robertson Smith, Marriage and KiruMpj p. 169. 



THE MEITHEIS 93 

spear, and the Naga would then drink it, or he would take a 
tiger's- tooth between his lips and swear to the veracity of 
his tale. The use of the ordeal is rare, but the Chronicles afford 
sufficient ground for believing that it was in earlier times much 
more frequent than in the period subsequent to the Hinduization 
of the Meitheis. We read how, in the course of a trial for high 
treason and conspiracy against the Eaja Chourjit in 1804, one 
of the accused persons " pleaded himself not guilty, so he was 
examined before the public, when he put his hands on a burning 
fire saying that * If I be guilty in any way, and if I have any 
connection with this conspiracy, my hands will be burnt, other- 
wise the fire will not injure even a hair of my hands/ To the 
surprise of every one present there they saw his hands were 
quite untouched by the fire, consequently the Maharajah was 
pleased to discharge him." The ordeal by water consisted in 
plunging the parties underneath the water, and in awarding the 
case to the party who remained below longest. In this form it 
is practised by the Nagas. 

WAR. 

The organization of Manipur, as has been stated in a preced- 
ing paragraph,* was at first directed solely for military purposes, 
and during the sixteenth, seventeenth and the early part of the 
eighteenth centuries was the instrument of the aggrandizement 
of the State, which at that period exerted considerable influence 
over the neighbouring territories, extending as far as the Shan 
States on the east and to Cachar on the west. Neither to the 
north nor the south did the sovereignty of the Meithei at any 
time reach beyond the limits which now contain the State. It 
therefore may rightly be held to have been an organized mili- 
tary power, although the numerous expeditions of which the 
Chronicles make mention, seem in many cases to have been 
little better that mere freebooting raids, in no respect different 
from those which, even in recent days, have been made by the 
Xagas and Kukis on the outlying villages in Cachar. The 
specialized organization which was effected by Gambhir Singh,t 
created a small but fairly homogeneous force, which against the 
♦ P. 58. t P. 69. 



94 THE MEITHEIS 

loose and feebly combined array of the Naga tribes of the north 
was able to achieve some useful victories, and which, both in 
the dark days of the Mutiny, and at the anxious time of the 
siege of Kohima, rendered valuable help to the Paramount 
Power. Nevertheless, the inherent defects of the Meithei, his 
dislike of sustained discipline, his preference for diplomatic 
methods, his employment of irr^ular troops, such as the Kukis, 
and the lack of honesty in those who were responsible for the 
equipment and commissariat of the forces, deprived the troops 
of all military value which otherwise they might have possessed 
at the end of the period of independence in 1891. Yet the 
Meithei is far from being a coward, and in happier circum- 
stances, with better leading, might be capable of military 
virtues. 

HEAD-HUNTING. 

The Chronicles afford sufficient warrant for the statement 
that, prior to the introduction of Hinduism, the Meithei were 
in the habit of bringing in the heads of defeated enemies as 
trophies of prowess. Doubtless this custom disappeared when 
the gentler customs which are associated with Hinduism 
became generally adopted in the State. 

MISCELLANEOUS. 

A Meithei, therefore, belonged to the lai4{tp, or militia, 
possibly to the kd-rUp* and always to a Sing-lap, or wood 
club, which anticipated the modem burial clubs in providing 
all that was necessary for his cremation.t There is reason 
to believe that occasionally the Sing-lUps meddled in politics. 
These specialized associations stand in an interesting relation to 
the constituent elements of Naga villages, where the mechanism 
of social union is provided by the " genna " system. J 

* See page 46. t Cf. McCulIoch, op. cit, p. 26. 

X JmimM Anthropologicdl Institute , voL xxxvi., pp. 92-103. 



SECTION IV. 

RELIGION. 

NATURE OF POPULAR BELIEFS. 

Would that it were possible to imitate or transcend the easy 
brevity of Father Sangermano, who declares that the people of 
Cassay worship the basil and other plants after the manner 
of the ancient Egyptians.* Here we have the stately fabric of 
Hinduism with its elastic ease of accommodation, we have the 
fresh, healthy, indigenous system of animism, and as a result 
of the commingling of these forces at this point a medley of 
religious beliefs in which every phase of human imagination 
finds its place. 

Hinduism is of comparatively recent origin, though the 
records of the Brahmin families in Manipur claim in some 
oases that the founder of the family settled in the valley at so 
remote a date as the middle of the fifteenth century. To the 
royal will of Pamheiba, the monarch in whose reign the fortunes 
of the State reached their zenith, Hinduism owes its present 
position as the official religion of the State. At first the 
decrees of the king received but little obedience, and the 
opposition to the change centred mainly round the numerous 
members of the royal family who were supported, not un- 
naturally, by the nmihas, the priests of the older religion. 
Eeligious dissent was treated with the same ruthless severity 
as was meted out to political opponents, and wholesale banish- 
ments and execution drove the people into acceptance of the 
tenets of Hinduism. As a matter of fact the long reign of 
Chandra Kirti Singh witnessed the consolidation of Hinduism 
which had lost much of its hold on the people during the sad 
times of the Burmese occupation. Gambhir Singh once ordered 

* Z7t€ Burmese Umpire. Sangermano, ed. Jardine, p. 110. 



96 THE MEITHEIS 

a Brahmin who had failed to take due and proper charge of a 
pet goose which had been entrusted to his care, to eat the 
bird which had died from neglect,* but in his son's time such 
an order was impossible. 

The old order of things has not passed away by any means, 
and the maiba, the doctor and priest of the animistic system, 
still finds a livelihood despite the competition on the one hanti 
of the Bralmiin, and the Hospital Assistant on the other. 

It is possible to discover at least four definite orders of 
spiritual beings who have crystallized out from the amorphous 
mass of animistic Deities. There are the Lam Lai, gods of 
the country-side who shade off into Nature Gods controlling 
the rain, the primal necessity of an agricultural community ; the 
JJmang Lai or Deities of the Forest Jungle; the Imwag Lai 
the Household Deities, Lords of the lives, the births and the 
deaths of individuals, and there are Tribal Arieestors, the ritual 
of whose worship is a strange compound of magic and Nature- 
worship. Beyond these Divine Beings, who posaetts in some 
sort a majesty of orderly decent behaviour, there are spirits of 
the mountain passes, spirits of the lakes and rivers, vampires.f 
and all the horrid legion of witchcraft. Qtu>t homines, tot 
daemones, with a surplusage of familiars who serve those 
fortunate few who are recognized as initiate into the mysteries. 

It is not sound to regard these beliefs as "survivals'* 

despite the official superstratum of Hinduism which exists in 

Manipur, solely in its exoteric form, without any of the subtle 

metaphysical doctrines which have been elaborated by the 

masters of esoteric Hinduism. The adherence of the people 

to the Yaishnavite doctrines which originated in Bengal, is 

maintained by the constant intercourse with the leaders of 

that community at Nadia. It is difficult to estimate the 

precise effect of Hinduism on the civilization of the people, 

for to the outward observer they seem to have adopted only 

the festivals, the outward ritual, the caste marks, and the 

exclusiveness of Hinduism, while all unmindful of its spirit 

and inward essentials. Colonel McCulloch remarked nearly 

fifty years ago that, " In fact their observances are only for 

* Johnstone, op. cit, p. 140. 

t Hing-cha-bi (hing = living, cha = to eat, bi = honorific or respectful 
suffix), that which eats living persons. — T. C. H. 



THE MEITHEIS 97 

appearance' sake, not the promptings of the heart,"* and his 
criticism seems as true now as when it was written. It is, 
perhaps, too early to predict the influence of British rule upon 
the religious ideas of the people. The Penal Code is in some 
aspects a code of morality resting in native view on superior 
force rather than on divine authority or intrinsic virtue. The 
inevitable rise in morality which ensues from security of life 
and property, from increasing wealth, and from a greater range 
of needs, is slowly becoming evident in Manipur, and must 
sooner or later exert an influence on the religious life of the 
country. The maibas frequently adapt their methods to the 
altered circumstances in which they now find themselves, and 
realize that the combination of croton oil and a charm is more 
efficacious than the charm alone. It is too much to expect 
them to give up the charm all at once.t 

In Manipur where Hinduism is a mark of respectability, it is 
never safe to rely on what men tell of their religion ; the only 
test is to ascertain what they do, and by this test we are 
justified in holding them to be still animists. 

It is curious to note the complete absence of any traces of 
Buddhism in Manipur, although it is reasonably certain that in 
historic times there has been a steady flow of intercourse with 
Buddhistic Burma. The Shans under Samlongpha who invaded 
Manipur in the beginning of the fifteenth century seem to have 
left no trace of their occupation of the State upon the religious 
belief of the people, for the records distinctly show that up to 
the formal introduction of Hinduism in the reign of Pamheiba the 
people buried their dead, ate meat, drank ardent spirits, and 
behaved just like the hill people of the present day. There is 
not a sign of contact with the lofty moral doctrines of Buddhism. 

The Chronicles enable us to know the names, and in some 
cases also the functions, of a few of the popular Deities. Thus 
Panthoibi, to whose service Brahmins were appointed by Pam- 
heiba (Gharib Nawaz), is said to be the wife of Khaba, probably 
the divine ancestor of the Khaba tribe, and to be the Deity of 
birth and death. She is certainly connected with the worship 

* Op, cit.f p. 17. 

t Cf. Sir A. Lyall, Asiatic Studies^ vol. i. p. 113, Lord Avebury, 
Origin of Civilization, 6th ed. p. 24. 



98 THE MEITHEIS 

of the sun. The worship of Sena Mehi by a prince was regarded 
as a sure preliminary to an attempt by the worshipper on the 
throne, and was reserved for the Raja alone. The Deity Lairema 
is associated with oneiromancy, and is also the name given to 
private Deities. Of her magical nature there can be no doubt, 
for the Chronicles state that on the 17th Langhon (September), 
1853, " There was a great fuss about lirema HooidompokpL A 
sepoy reported to the Maharajah, that since Khuraijam established 
his Gk)d, Hooidompokpi, a considerable number of men died. 
The number of widowers and widows increased. The Maharajah 
ordered Losang Ningthou and Nongthonba to cause inquiry into 
this. It was turned out that there were two Liremas." Of the 
Deity named Noongshaba we know that he is associated with a 
stone, and is probably, as his name would show (nong = stone, 
and shaha = maker, lit. maker of stones), the Deity of Creation 
of the rocks and stones. We do not know the reason why 
he, or Yumthai Lai, the Deity whom, on linguistic grounds, 
we may believe to be the establisher of houses, or the Deity 
Taibong Khombi, She who makes the earth to swell, should 
have been allowed to be served by Brahmins, while Pamheiba 
disestablished such Deities as Taibongkhaiba, He who divides 
the earth, or the clan Gods, or such Goddesses as Waihaiba. 
We know that Seua-mehi and Laima-ren are connected, and 
the name of the latter seems to mean " The Great Princess." * 
We may conjecture that the female Deity Laishing-choubi 
was the wife of Laiching, the Deity whose abode is on 
the hill of that name. Of others, such as Wangpurel, Pu- 
thiba, Pukshore, Yumnam Lairema, Sarangthem Lamabi, 
Laisangthem Lamabi, we know little beyond the mere names. 
Some of them may be purely local, and their worship con- 
fined to the members of one family, or of one house, but 
even if nomina only, they are also numina, and rank above the 
vast crowd of hing''chahis or vampires (king = alive, cha = to eat, 
that which eats live men), lais hdlois, or demons, in which the 
people believe and, fear being the basis of their ritual, which 
they try to propitiate. Colonel McCulloch states that there 

* Laima = princess, and ren or len = great, a word not now found in 
Meithei but common in Thado, and also found in turen = great water or 
river, from ttii * water, and khvl-len = big or parent village, from khtU = 
village.— T. 0. H. 



THE MEITHEIS 



99 



were tliree hundred such deities, and that they "are still 
propitiated by appropriate sacrifices of things abhorrent to real 
Hindoos/' * 

Competent ethnologists f declare that the conception of divine 
beings as " Gods " connotes, firstly, the relationship of members 
of a family, subject to one head, who may be Lord of all, or 
attenuated as merely primiis intm' pares ; secondly, their repre- 
sentation in human form; thirdly, the association of moral 
snefit with their worship; fourthly^ their presentation as 
lealized human beings; and, fifthly, their occupation of a 
"definite place in a definite cosmogonic system. Practically all 
lese characteristics are lacking in Manipiu'. Indeed, it seems 
be clear that deities like Panthoibi, Yumthai Lai, Laimaren, 
"and Sena-mehi, are merely names of class spirits, for every 
householder is virtually the priest of these Deities, just as in 
ancient Rome every household had its Vesta. There are images 
of deities hewn from stone, but the more powerful Deities, if we 
except Govindji, the God of the Eoyal family, are represented by 
rough stones, which Manipuris regai^l not exactly as the image 
of the Deity, but as his abode. 

^H If the definition of ancestor-worship is strictly narrowed, we 

^nave in Manipur, among the Meithei only, the form of ancestor- 

I worship which is practised by all Hindus, but if it be enlarged, 

as in the circumstances it ought to be, we find several curious 

phenomena to which attention should Ijo given. 

The worship of the clans which, seven in number, compose 
the Meithei nation or confederacy, clearly consists in the 
adoration and propitiation of the eponymous ancestors of the 
clan. The name of the tribal Deities is given as Luang pokpa, 
or ancestor of the Luangs, Khuman pokpa, ancestor of the 
lOiumans, apparent exceptions to this being the tribal Deities 
of the Ningthaja and Angom clans, which are called Kongpok 
Ningthou, or the King of the East,J alias Pakhangba, whom we 
know from other sources to be the reputed ancestor of the clan 
♦ Op. cit, p. 17. 

t Jevons, Introdu{'iimi to Flufarclt^^ Bonuttts QnmHons, p. ixiii. 
X Perliapa =: the king whose Father ia the Suii,^ — T, C, H, 



THE WORSHIP OF AlfCESTORS. 



lOO THE MEITHEIS 

in question (the Ningthaja), and Pnrair5mba. The aliases of 
the other tribal Deities are Foiraiton, for the Luangs ; Kham- 
dingou, for the Khabananbas, Thangaren, for the TdinwiiiT^t^^ and 
Ngangningsing, for the Moirangs ; and Nungaojumthangba, for 
the Chengleis. 

The Hindu friends of the people have discovered for them a 
respectable genealogy by which they are descended from the 
Guru, the sage who is Lord of the Universe {taihangpdnbagi 
mapu), but the accounts differ. In the version collected by me 
from the lips of a Manipuri, who had been a sdlungba, or court 
officer, the Angdms spring from the brain of the sage, the 
Luangs from between his eyes, the Ehabananbas from his eye, the 
Moirangs from his nostril, the Chenglei from his nose, the Kumul 
from his liver, and the Ningthaja from his spleen. The account 
prepared for me by a very respectable Bengali clerk, states that 
the Ningthaja were bom from his left eye, the Angom from his 
right eye, the Chenglei from his right ear, the Khabananba from 
his left ear, the Luang from his right nostril, the Kumul from 
his left nostril, and the Moirang from his teeth. It is a delicate 
matter to assign a preference to one version rather than the 
other, but the symmetry of the second version is apt to excite 
the suspicion that the orthodoxy of the reporter may have 
misled him. 

In the case of the ancestor of the Ningthaja clan, Pakhangba, 
we have the curious superstition that he still sometimes appears 
to men, but in the form of a snake, which reminds one of the 
Zulu belief that their ancestors assume the shapes of harmless 
brown snakes. Another instance which may help to explain 
the Pakhangba worship is afforded by the classical instance of 
the Eomans, who held that the " genius " of every man resided 
in a serpent. Cicero (De Divinatione, i. 18, 36), tells how the 
death of the serpent, which was the genius of the Father of 
the Gracchi, presaged, and was soon followed by, the death of 
Tiberius. Eecent investigations prove that the genius was the 
" external soul " so familiar in the folk tales of primitive peoples. 
Here the snake is the external soul of the Eaja, the piba of 
the Ningthaja clan, and the head of the Meitheis.* Speaking 

* See also Miss Jane Harrison, Prdlegamena to Cfreek JMigian^ pp. 
327-332. Jevons, op, city p. xlviii. 



THE MEITHEIS loi 

of th© religion of the people, Colonel McCulloch* says that 
" The Eaja's peculiar god is a species of snake called Pakung-ba, 
from which the Eoyal family claims descent. When it appears 
it is coaxed on to a cushion by the priestess in attendance, who 
then performs certain ceremonies to please it. This snake 
appears, they say, sometimes of great size, and when he does so 
it is indicative of his being displeased with something. But as 
long as he remains of diminutive form it is a sign that he is in 
good humour." 

Whether connected immediately, or only remotely, with these 
associations of ancestor worship, I cannot say, but it is at least 
noteworthy that in the hymn which is adckessed to the Eaja 
by the man who is taking the sins of the country upon himself 
for the comingi year, the Eaja is addressed as " Great Grod 
Pakhangba." This may, of course, be merely an honorific phrase 
in harmony with the extravagant language used to the Eaja, 
who on all occasions is addressed as if he were indeed a Deity 
incarnate. 

In contrasting the Meithei belief in Pakhangba with the 
Khasi faith in U Thlen, a clear account of which is given 
by Major Gurdon,t the author of the monograph on the 
Khasis and General Editor of this series, several points of 
interest issue to notice at once. Pakhangba is an ancestral 
spirit worshipped by women, while among the matriarchal 
Khasis, where women are priests, U Thlen is not regarded 
apparently as an ancestor. Both are associated with the fortune 
of the family, but while U Thlen may move from one family 
to another, Pakhangba is associated only with the Eaja directly^ 
but indirectly with the whole State. Both vary in size, and 
it is noteworthy that the occasions when they assume their 
largest and most monstrous form, practically signify much the 
same thing, viz. portents of evil and misfortune. I have no 
evidence of human sacrifices to Pakhangba.} In regard to the 
means adopted to get rid of the thleriy we may compare the 
transfer of sin by passing on the royal clothing with the sacri- 
fice of property, money and ornaments which Elhasis make 
when endeavouring to free themselves of the snake. 

By the side of the road from Cachar not more than a mile 
* Op. cit, p. 17. t pp. 98-102. X But see p. 108. 



I02 THE MEITHEIS 

from Bishenpar, are two small black stones which are reputed 

to be Laiphams, or places in which abides a ''Lai/' a being 

whose exact eqoiTalency is difficult of determination* At 

Hiyangthang, about six miles distance from Imphal, is a 

temple of considerable fame, for here abides the Hindu Groddess 

Durga, who is known to have avenged an insult to her shrine 

by causing the death of the sacrilegious. In this temple is a 

rough black stone which naturally I was not allowed to see 

close at hand, but which, so fiEur as I could distinguish it, was 

entirely unwrought. This was the laipham of the dread Gk)ddess. 

One of the last civil cases that came to my notice was a 

dispute about an ammonite of immense sanctity. In the course 

of the evidence it was proved that it had been looted from the 

Cachar Sajas at the beginning of the nineteenth century, and 

passed into the possession of Grambhir Singh, upon whose 

death it came into the hands of his widow, mother of Chandra 

Kirti Singh, who took it with her, when, after the attempted 

assassination of Nur Singh, she fled to Sylhet. The stone was 

quite small, and its curious markings showed to all but the 

densest eyes that it was a thing of high sanctity. It brought 

good fortune to its possessor, and in the disturbances of 1891 

was seized by Angao Sena, brother of the Baja» who was sent 

to the Andamans, and who gave it to a Brahmin who sold it 

to a Bengali, when it was rediscovered and claimed by the 

heirs of Sur Chandra, who alleged that as it had always been 

kept in the hari of the fioyal Family, it was distinct ficdm the 

regalia, and by the representatives of the present Baja, who 

asserted that it was impartible property attached to the office of 

Eaja, while the Bengali claimed it for value had and reoeived. 

I forget the finding of the learned Court on the case. In pre- 

Hindu times, as mentioned in the Chronicles, the worship of 

stones — perhaps as laipham — was r^ularly practised, and the 

luck of the State was symbolized by the great NOngshi or 

animals of the Sun which, built of masonry to resemble stone, 

guarded the Kangla. In the Chronicles we read that stones 

were looted from defeated Xaga villages and brought down to 

Imphal. Xow, at Maikel or Mekrimi, is a stone which, jealously 

guarded by the khidlakpa, has great virtue in giving strength to 

warriors, and upon which no woman may look. I have heard it 



103 

said in Manipur that it is worse by far to he reputed to be rich 
than to he rich, and the possession of so coveted an object as a 
war stone without do\ibt encouraged aggression and attack. 

Lois worship Sena Mehi, and Laimaren the Imung Lai, and 
offer up pigs, dogs, ducks and fowls to them. The Sun God is 
worsliipped by the people of Fayeng Loi in Sajibu (April), 
when they offer up a white fowl and a white pigeon* At 
Andro Loi, offerings are made to both Sun and Moon, the latter 
being worshipped every month on an auspicious day in the last 
quarter of the moon. They offer up each year a pig in honour 
of the Umang Lai or Deities, who control the prosperity of 
the crops, as Hain and weather Gods. Pan am Ningthou and 
Parairomba are their Umang Lai, while Khabru is the Umang 
Lai of Fayeng, and of Sengmai, where they told me he was the 
Lam Lai or God of the country side. They also worship the 
Clan God, whose namea coincide with those of the Clan Gods 
of certain Meithei clans. Fayeng Lois assert that their ancestors 
were Meng-khong-ba and Hameng-mitpa.* 



EELIGIOUS RITES AND CEltEMONIES. 



^p Colonel McCulloch states tliat "The Dussera, or as it is 
called in Mmmipore Kvjaktalha, is the principal festival in- 
troduced with Hinduism. At it the tributaries lay presents 
before the Eaja and renew their engagements of submission. 
Honorary dresses, plumes of feathers, and other baubles which 
are highly prized, are distributed to persons who, during the 
past year, may have distinguished themselves, or to others who, 
at some former period, had done so, but whose merit had passed 
unrewarded." f Kivdktdlba seems to mean the chasing of the 
crow (from kwak = a crow, and tanha = to chase or pursue). 
The Holi attracts a gay crowd of women to the capital who 
are seldom slow to take due advantage of the licence permitted 
to them, but from the coincidence of so many animistic or 
other festivals with those of Hinduism, a phenomenon which 
admits of an easy explanation, it is perhaps wiser to say that 
attention is paid to all and each of the various festivals which 

• Mtiuf-Jdiong-Ixt = cat-voiced and Hameii^mitpa = gottt-eyed. 
t Op, citf p. 23* 




104 THE MEITHEIS 

are observed by the devout among Hindus of the Vaishnavite 
order. 

The great and general religious festival of the Laiharaclba, or 
the rejoicing of the Gods {Lai ss Deity, and haradba = to be 
merry or to make merry), is thus described by Colonel 
McCuUoch,* "Particular families have particular gods, and 
these at stated periods they worship, or literally ' make happy.' 
This worship consists in a number of married women and un- 
married girls, led by priestesses, accompanied by a party of men 
and boys all in dresses of a former time, dancing and singing, 
and performing various evolutions in the holy presence. The 
women carry in their hands fruits, etc., part of which is pre- 
sented to the deity, and part scrambled for by the girls. In 
some instances the god is represented by an image, but often 
there is no such representation, and a place is merely prepared 
in which he is supposed to be during the worship. The presence 
of the god, however, in either way, impresses the worshippers 
with no awe; on the contrary, it appears to be a cause of fiin and 
jollity." 

The next great festival to which attention is now to be drawn, 
is the Chirouba, a name which my informant, a Hindu of high 
caste from Bengal, stated to be connected with charak puja, a 
derivation with which it is impossible to agree. The festival is 
closely connected with the choice of a chdhitaba or name-giver 
for the coming year, and takes place at the end of the Manipuri 
month, Lamda, which corresponds with the middle of April, 
The Deity in whose particular honour the festival is held, is 
Senamehi, the administrator, as my friend and informant says, 
of the Universe. It is regarded as an auspicious day, and on it 
no work is done except that they clean their houses out very 
carefully. They wear new clothes and break all their old chaphtis 
or earthenware cooking pots and eat alone without any guests. 
It is a day of powerful influence on the coming year, and on 
it takes place the selection of the choMtdbba^ the man who 
gives his name to the year, who bears all the sins of the people 
for the year, and whose luck, good or ill; influences the luck of 
the whole country. The derivation of the word diMitaba is 
obscure. Kum, the word for a year in so many Tibeto-Burman 
* Op, cit., p« 17. 



THE MEITHEIS 



105 



dialects, is not unknown in Meithei, but chain is peculiar 
to it. Some say that it is connected with the word diahi or 
chai = a stick, and tdba, means to count, to count by flticks, 
the practice of the Manipuris being to calculate by means of 
a heap of sticks.* Others derive it from chahi = a year, and 
taba = to fall, because the fall of one year implies the com- 
mencement of a new year* According to another opinion, 
didhi bears the meaning of a year^ and taba is connected with 
the root tdkpa = to show or indicate, to point out — thus making 
the phrase to mean the person who indicates or names the yeax- 

All reckomngs of time are made by ehdhitahas as well as by 
the Hindu system, and there are still men in the State who can 
repeat all the chdkitabas from the institution of the custom by 
Kiamba, in about 1485, who appointed Hiang Loi Kamoi Chaoba 
to be the first ehakildha. 

The 7naibas nominate the man and compare his horoscope 
with those of the Raja and the State generally, and if they 
satisfactorily correspond, as is natural they should, the candi- 
date together with the outgoing chdhitdha appears before the 
Eaja and the assembled multitudes when, after worshipping his 
spiritual director, the Guru and Ms own God (probably his 
tribal deity), the retiring cIidhitdM then addresses the in- 
coming officer in the following terms : " My friend, I bore and 
took away all evil spirife and sins from the Kaja and his people 
during the last year. Do thou likewise from to-morrow until 
the next Chirouba," Then the incoming chaJiitdba thus addresses 
the Eaja: *'0 son of heaven, Euler of the Kings, great and 
ancient Lord, Incarnation of God, the great Lord IMkhangba, 
Master of the bright Sun, Lord of the Plain and Despot of the 
Hills, whose kingdom is from the liills on the east to the 
moimtains on the west, the old year perishes, tlie new cometh. 
New is the sun of the new year, and bright as the new sun 
ahalt thou be, and mild withal as the moon. ^lay thy beauty 
and thy strength grow with the growth of the new year. From 
to-day will I bear on my head all thy sins, diseases, misfortunes, 
shame, mischief, all that is aimed in battle against thee, all 
that threatens thee, all that is bad and hurtful for thee and 

* Omi^nM are hIi^o taken by means of aticks thrown loosely on tho 
gi\>und.— T, C. H. 




io6 THE MEITHEIS 

thy kingdom." The Baja then gives the new chahitaba a 
number of gifts, including a basket of salt.* The chakitaha 
is exempt from Idllup, and receives many^rivileges from the 
State. The chahitaba offers brass plates accompanied by sacred 
offerings of fruit and flowers to the Baja, to the maiba and 
attendants of the Deity Pakhangba, to the maiba Unsang or 
College of the Maibas, (exorcists' office as the term is translated 
by my Hindu friend) to the College of the Astrologers, to the 
Maharani, to the Overseer of the Boyal stores, and last, not 
least, to the Hindu Deity (xovindji, the Family God of the 
Boyal family. 

It is interesting to note that certain classes of persons are 
ineligible for this important office, such as Bajkumars, possibly 
because they are neyer out of the line of succession and there- 
fore undesirable, Panggani^r Manipurl Musalmaiis, Nagas who 
find consolation in an ampler dietary, and Thangjams and 
Konsams, blacksmiths and brassworkers. I can give no reason 
for the ineligibility of the two last classes, except that it is 
possible that they occupy or once occupied so low a position in 
society that they were excluded. 

The appointment of a c\6hitaba rests Q(n the desire to find a 
scapegoat to bear the sins of the community or of the individual 
Baja, the idea which is Qleady. the motive of the scap^oat 
ceremony which takes place at the foot of the holy hill Khabru 
on the grassy plain, to which the significant name Kaithen- 
manbi, the meeting place of the ghosts, has been given 
(Kaithen = market or gathering place, mdnM, from mdriba = to 
resemble, to appear). Thither annually the Baja went in 
solemn procession to sacrifice a white goat, male without 
blemish, to the God Khabru whose abode it was, and to leave 
there fish and an offering of new cloths. But there come times 
when such ordinary devices as these fail of their purpose, and 

'"' Chir^(ynha may thus mean salt-taking. Chi is the word for salt in 
many of the cognate Tibeto-Burman dialects, and rouba = laoba^ to take. 
There are many words which are obsolete or unused in Manipuri, or only 
used in a special sense^ or in combinations, which are in common use in 
the other Tibcto-Burman dialects. The best examples are : UU^ water, 
which in Meithei is found in titren, but is used by Nagas and Kokis ; 
lengha = to go, to move, which, in common use in that sense in Kuki, is 
only used of the Raja in Meithei. — T. C. H. 



THE MEITHEIS 107 

it is necessary to have recourse to special sin-takers. Generally 
some criminal is found to take upon himself the guilt of the 
Eaja and Eani who, clad in fine robes, ascend a staging erected 
in the bazar beneath which crouches the sin-taker * The Eaja 
and Rani then bathe in the screened tent on the stage, and the 
water they use in their ablutions, drops over the man below, to 
whom they give their robes and sins. Clad in new raiment, 
the Raja and his consort mix among their people until evening 
of that day, when they retire into a seclusion which may last 
for a week, and during which they are said to be udmungba, 
sacred or tabu. 

Sometimes the transference of sins has been satisfactorily 
accomplished by the simple device of presenting the Royal 
cloth to a " Sin-taker." 

More than one ethnologist of note has pointed out that 
among communities which are animistic and which subsist by 
agriculture, rain-worship assumes peculiar importance, and to 
this statement the state of things in Manipur is no exception. 
There are Hindu ceremonies, performed by Brahmins, such as 
the milking of 108 milch cows before the temple of Govindji, or 
the presence of the images of Radha Krishna at the river bank, 
when the people cry aloud for rain and the priests mutter 
mantras. But the great characteristic of the rites of the pre- 
Hindu system is the management of these rites by the maiba, 
the piba, or in more important cases by the Raja, who is, in 
fact, regarded not only as a living Deity, but as the head of the 
old State religion and the secular head of the whole people, 
including the Ningthaja or Royal clan. The hill which rises 
to the east of Imphal, and which is called Nongmaiching,t is the 
scene of a rain-compelling ceremony. On the upper slopes 
there is a stone which bears a fanciful resemblance to an 
umbrella, and the Raja used to climb thither in state to take 
water from a deep spring below and pour it over this stone, 
obviously a case of imitative magic. It was said that to erect 
an iron umbrella on the hill was an almost sure method of 
getting rain, when occasion needed. And there are many other 

* Cf. The old Ahom custom^ which was similar. It was called the 
rikkhran, 
t See p. 8. 



io8 THE MEITHEIS 

rites and ceremonies all of which are destined to ]^avide the 
thirsty land with the rain, without which all are about to 
die, and at all of which the Baja should be present. Some- 
times his great radng-boat was dragged through the mud and 
slime of the empty moat with the Baja and his semi-sacred 
father-in-law, the Ang6m Ningthou, seated together in the 
stem. 

The Kangla, the place where the most mysterious rites per- 
taining to the coronation of the Baja were performed, was the 
scene of a ceremony of which I have never been able to get a 
proper or intelligible account. Suffice to say that whatever 
happened there, it was sufficient to give rise to the story that 
human sacrifices had been made in the dire extremity of the 
country, for in older times, as I was told, the blood of some 
captive would have brought the rain. The sacrifice of ponies 
for this purpose may be due to the operation of what has been 
called the law of substitution. But the activity of the people 
does not confine itself to merely witnessing these official ex- 
hibitions. The men, headed on the worst occasions of prolonged 
drought by the Baja, strip themselves of all their clothes and 
stand in the broad ways of Imphal cursing one another to the 
fullest extent of an expressive language. The women at night 
gather in a field outside the town, strip themselves and throw 
their dhdn pounders into a neighbouring pool in the river and 
make their way home by byways. Of course there is the 
legend of a Peeping Tom, for whose outrage on the royal 
decency the country went rainless for a whole year. To some 
maiba the wicked act was revealed in a dream, and then justice 
was done and the country saved. 

The Kumul Ningthou worships the Tribal Deity Okparen on 
behalf of the clan whenever rain is needed. He has to abstain 
from meat of any kind and from all sexual intercourse before 
this puja. To purify him water^is poured over his head by a 
virgin from a new jar which is promptly broken. He does not 
worship Sena Mehi or Laimaren. 

Dr. Brown * states that " in the event of Munniporie Hindoo 
losing his caste from any reasons, . . . the individual has to 
take up liis abode in a Naga village, eating with the inhabitants. 
* Op, cit.y p. 51. 



THE MEITHEIS 109 

... Its object seems to be to start the ofifender afresh from the 
lowest class." This is denied by many "but has all the natural 
appearance of a purificatory rite. Does this throw any real 
light on the " affinities " of the Meitheis ? * 



SACRIFICES. 

Each clan has its tribal Deity, and certain flowers, fruits, etc., 
are set aside for each Deity. Thus the Ningthaja clan oflfer the 
lotus, the lime, the mahasir fish, the mongbot — a small rat, I 
believe. Their special day is Monday (Ningthoukaba), and their 
special month is Inga. 



PBIESTHOOD. 

Side by side with the Brahmin, there exist the priests and 
priestesses of the animistic faith who are called maibas and 
Tnaibis, a word which also connotes, nowadays, the practice of 
the healing art because, as the language of the people clearly 
tells, a man is said to be ill (a-na-ha) when he is possessed by a 
Tiat^ The heads of the clans are priests, and assume charge 
of the ritual of the tribal worship, while the Raja, the head 
of the Ningthaja clan and the head of the whole confederacy, 
is the high priest of the country. 

The Chronicles of the State contain frequent and early mention 
of the maibas, while we have it on the authority of Colonel 
McCulloch that the maibis " owe their institution to a princess 
who flourished hundreds of years ago, but whether they have 
preserved all their original characteristics I cannot certainly 
affirm. At present any woman who pretends to have had a 
' call ' from the deity or demon, may become a priestess. That 
she has had such call is evidenced by incoherent language and 
tremblings, as if possessed by the demon. After passing her 
novitiate she becomes one of the body and practises with the 
rest on the credulity of the people. They put some rice or 

* Seep. 11. 

t In Tibetan, nat or ^md is ** to be ill." The root nat is lengthened in 
Meithei by the suppression of the final consonant. — T. C. H. 



no THE MEITHEIS 

some of the coin of the country into a basket, and turning it 
about with incantations, they pretend to divine from it. They 
dress in white/'* Elsewhere he remarks that the priestess 
looks after Pakhangba the snake.f 

The maiba is for the most part a medical practitioner with a 
good deal of empiric knowledge, which he supplements with 
brazen ingenuity, but he is also the rain doctor to whom men 
turn for help after the failure of all other methods. He is 
employed in all cases where purely magical ceremonies are 
performed, a sure sign of his true position. 

The pibas or heads of the clans are now dignified officers 
holding in the case of the pibas of the Angom, Eumul and 
Luang clans, the title of Ningthou or king. They officiate 
at the annual ceremonies, which seem to be in honour of 
the eponymous tribal ancestor, or which are connected with 
the crops, and special precautions have to be taken against 
any impurity on their part. But pre-eminent above them all 
is the Meithei Ningthou, who is not only the head or piha of 
the Ningthaja clan, but the chief of his people as well. His 
appearances in a priestly capacity are infrequent, and limited to 
some great calamity, such as prolonged drought, when he will 
intercede with the powers that be, on behalf of his people. It is 
needless to say that the sacred person of the Saja is protected 
by many tabus. Some pertain to his royal office, while others 
are as distinctly intended to guard his priestly sanctity from 
pollution. He may in times of special distress avert the wrath 
of heaven by transferring his sins and those of the principal 
Rani to some wretched criminal, who thereby obtains a partial 
remission of his sentence and as a reward receives the discarded 
robes of the royal pair. In this connection it may be mentioned 
that the chahitdba, the man who gives his name to the year, and 
who for the space of one year takes upon himself the sins of the 
whole people, enjoys for the term of his office a sanctity which 
is indistinguishable from that of the priest. Full details of 
the method and rites of appointing the chahitaba are given 
above.J 

* Op. dt., p. 21. t Op. cit, p. 17. J p. 106. 



THE MEITHEIS in 



NATURE WORSHIP. 



ira, the Sky God, has his counterpart in the Meithei 
m, where the Deity Sorarel possesses all the attributes 
ally assigned to Indra, with whom he is now identified 
e ingenious Hindus. The lofty hills which surround the 
|r are named after the Deities whose abode they are held 
. Khabru, on the north-west, looks down on the plain of 
lenmanbi, the meeting-place of the spirits, and thither 
ally, in olden times, the Baja used to go in state to 
tiate the Deity. When the thunder bursts on the summit 
e mountain, men say the God fires his cannon ; when they 
1 winter the snow fall on the topmost peak, the God is 
ding his cloth. There are Thangjing, Marjing, Laiching, 
the sacred hill, Nongmaiching, which seems to be derived 
Nong = sun or rain, niai = face or in front of, and ching = 
and to mean the hill that fronts the rain or sun. Does 
)eity give the name to the hill, not the hill the name to 
)eity ? 

om the ballad of Ntimit kappa we know that they believed 
once upon a time there were two Sun Gods riding on white 
!S, and now the moon is the faint pale image of the one 
was wounded. Beneath the earth lives the earthquake 
^ who shakes the earth, and to whom they pray nga chaJc, 
ire us our fish and rice," whenever he shakes the earth, 
lere are many rain piijas, but there does not seem to be 
one rain Deity. In some cases the prayers of the wor- 
pers are addressed to the tribal ancestor, and the puja 
)rmed entirely by the piba or head of the tribe. If we 
) not a thunder Deity, we have at least the legend of a 
Qder Deity enshrined in the language of the people. In 
thei the word for lightning is nong'thdng-kup-pa, which is 
ved from nong = rain, thdng = dao, kup = to flash, and has 
efore the meaning of the flash of the dao of the Eain God. 
f among the Thados we find the legend of the Eain Deity a 
hty hunter coming home aweary from the chase and thirsty. 
)th was he when he found that his wife had no zu ready for 
, and he brandished his dao at her, roaring hoarse threats of 
ishnient for her neglect of her wifely duties, and then in his 



112 THE MEITHEIS 

haste to quench his mighty thirst, he spilt the drink. It is 
curious to observe the lacuna ; the Thados have the tale but not 
the word/ while the Meitheis have the word but not the tale. 



CEREMONIES ATTENDING BIRTH. 

The Meitheis follow the ordinary rules of modem Vaish- 
navites in the matter of birth ceremonies, but have, in addition, 
a small puja in honour of the Imung Lai or the Household God, 
which is performed by the head of the household. This latter 
ceremony is, of course, non-Hindu. 



NAMING, 

Both Colonel McGuUoch and Dr. Brown give explanations of 
the system of naming employed by the Meitheis, and concur in 
regarding the names as in many cases derived either from &e 
profession or some personal peculiarity of the founder of the 
family. Colonel McCulloch f says that " Individuals are spoken 
of and known by their surnames ; the laiming, or if I may use 
the expression, the Christian name, being seldom known to or 
used by any but the nearest relatives. All but the Boyal family 
have surnames. The Christian name is written last. The.intro- 
duction of surnames took place in the reign of Chalamba. about 
two hundred years ago, and of the laiminff since the profession 
of Hindooism. The surnames are evidently derived from some 
peculiarity in the individuals who first bore them. The oldest 
family of Brahmins in the country is called Hungoibum. 
Eungoi means a frog, and that such a name should be given to 
a person who bathed so much more frequently than Munniporees 
had been accustomed to see, seems very natural. The same is 
the case with almost every family ; all the surnames indicatiog 
either the profession or some peculiarity of its original holder." 

Dr. Brown treats the matter in a different manner, and says 

* Wan aghin is the ThSdo for thunder, and means the noise of the nkyt 
from wan = sky and ghin = noise ; while me aying is their expression for 
lightning, from me = fire and aying = darkness. — T. C. H. 

t Op. cit., p. 22. 



THE MEITHEIS 113 

that *' The names of the Munnipories are given on rather a com- 
plicated system, which may now be explained. In the first place, 
all the inhabitants have what is called a yoom-nak,* or family 
name, corresponding with our surnames ; some of these names 
are evidently derived from the ancestor's employment, as Lairik- 
yeni-bum, corresponding with our English name, ' Clerk or 
Scrivener 't; Phoorit'Sd'hum, tailor;} Thdngjdba,^ smith, etc., 
etc. Next is the Hindoo name given by the astrologers, accord- 
ing to Hindoo custom, and, lastly, a nickname, or pet name, 
given to them when children, and by which they are known all 
their lives frequently. Sometimes the family name is alone 
used, occasionally the Hindoo, and very often the nickname ; 
it is thus no easy matter some times to identify a Munniporie 
by name. I give a few examples of complete names, with their 
meanings when known. 

Family name . . Lairik-yem-bum (writer). 

Hindoo name . . Guneshur. 

Pet name . . . Baboo or Bapoo. 

Family name * • Phoorit-sa-bum (tailor). f 

Hindoo name . . Moonee Ram. 

Pet name or nickname • Tuba Lokpa. 

Family name . . Sai-kom (no meaning). 

Hindoo name . . Kirtee Sing. 

Nickname . . . Ohowba (large^ fat). 

Family name • . Lai-hao-ta-bum (no meaning).§ 

Hindoo name • . Gokul. 

Nickname • . . Cha-yem-ba (thin fellow). ||" 

It thus appears that there is a name which is not permitted 
to be common property, that there is generally a nickname, or 
pet name, which is known to and used by the world at large, 
and that the family, or yumndk name, is derived from either the 
occupation or some peculiarity of the original founder of the 

* Tu/m = house, and ndk is connected with the word nai = to belong 
to, nuk also means near. — T. C. H. 

t Thang = dao, chdn = to manufacture, lairik = book, yem, from ymig 
= to look at. The man who looks at books. — T. C. H. 

X PhAirit = coat^ and sd = to make. — T. C. H. 

§ Probably means giver of the flower known as the Lai-hao. — T. C. H. 

II Op. cit, p. 52. 

I 



114 THE MEITHEIS 

fatnily — that is to say, the yumnak name is in origin descriptive 
in much the same way as the nickname or supplementary name 
now is. 

Furthermore, it should be mentioned that it is customary for 
the Raja to assume a formal name on or after his accession by 
which he is described in all official documents. Thus, the 
Maharaja Chandra Kirti Singh was also known as Nowchingleng 
Nongdren Khomba after the year 1870, though he actually suc- 
ceeded to the throne many years before that date. Thus the 
Eaja, to whose reforming zeal the country owes the introduction 
of Hinduism, is variously known as Gharib Nawaz, Pamheiba, 
or Moianba. Doubtless the explanation of some, at least, of 
the Royal names is that they commemorate some incident or 
exploit which occurred during the reign, such as that of 
Khagenba, whose name may possibly mean " Conqueror of the 
Chinese " (from Khagi = Chinese, and yanba = to slaughter, 
or defeat). 



TOGA VIEILIS. 

The assumption of the sacred thread by a Meithei is regarded 
as proper when a lad has reached man's estate, but it is often 
delayed, and may be postponed without serious inconvenience. 
There is a curious custom which requires the eldest son of the 
Raja, when twelve years of age,- to go into the jungles alone 
as a sign that he possesses the necessary strength and courage,, 
and cut twelve bundles of fire- wood with a silver-hilted dao, 
which, tradition says, was presented to Khagenba by the TTing of 
Pong, that mysterious kingdom whose exact geographical posi- 
tion has vexed the minds of so many inquirers,* who either foigot, 
or were never acquainted with, the peculiar laxity of the Meitheis 
in regard to the geography of unknown countries. The people 
of Pong were the Shans beyond their ken who visited them, 
and it is quite legitimate to conclude that the kingdom of 
Pong meant the powers who at the time were in supreme 
authority in the Shan States with which the Meitheis had 
dealings. 

* Gazetteer of Upper Burma, vol. i. part i. pp. 188/ 198, 265, 269, 270. 



THE MEITHEIS 115 

MARBIAGE. 

The following excellent note by Mr. H. A. Colquhoun, I.C.S., 
gives all that can be desired in the way of an account of the 
marriage rites in vogue among the Meitheis : — ** The usual 
marriage ceremony is that known as Prajapati or Brahma. 
After the parents have settled the preliminaries, the announce- 
ment of the forthcoming marriage or Yathang tJCaha takes 
place. This is followed by offerings of sweetmeats or hdjapot 
on three separate occasions from the bridegroom to the bride's 
family. The actual ceremony is held at the bride's house ; a 
large party assembles, and a Kirtan is held, the bride sitting in 
front of the bridegroom. Mantras are recited, and the ancestry 
of the pairs up to the great-grand-parents is repeated. The 
sapta pradakhsin follows: the bride walking ceremonially 
seven times around the groom and casting flowers upon him ; 
garlands (leipareng) are placed on both, and the company pros- 
trate themselves before them. They are then seated side by 
side, and their innaphi, or ehadars, are fastened together. The 
ffari Kirtan^ and the prostration are again repeated. The 
bride then enters the cooking-room followed by the groom. 
The pair sit on the same mat, and place pan (panna hhutap), 
and subsequently sweetmeats (kangsuU) in each other's mouths. 
Offerings of pan are made to them by friends and relatives. 
The party then marches to the bridegroom's house, the bride 
being carried in a litter at the head of the party. A large and 
substantial wooden bed is a prominent feature of the procession.* 
On the sixth day following there is a feast at the house of the 
bride's family, and the ceremony is then complete. 

"Other forms of marriage are also practised, the Sampati 
Eajbibaha, Eakshasa and Gandharva, the latter being, of course, 
constituted by simple cohabitation." 

Colonel McCulloch states that "Although to become man 
and wife it is not necessary that the marriage ceremony should 
be performed, still it is usually performed, but as often after as 
before cohabitation." t It should be noted that the penalty on 
irregular marriages is the loss of the right to obtain offices about 

* Cf, Robertson Smith, Marriage and Khistiip^ p. 200. 
t Op. cit.y p. 19. 



ii6 THE MEITHEIS 

the Eoyal person and the inquiries which were necessitated by 
the census of 1901, caused some genuine alarm from the 
rumours sedulously spread that, as in the days of that stem old 
despot Chandra Kirti Singh, severe punishments awaited those 
who had taken advantage of the laxity of the British adminis- 
tration in these matters to contract connubial alliances without 
the usual sanction of the Brahmin. The fact is that most 
Manipuris i-egard cohabitation and public acknowledgment as 
sufficient, provided that due regard has been paid to the rules 
restricting marriage to members of the Meithei tribes and 
forbidding the intermarriage of persons of the same clan, scUei, 

Among the Lois gifts are exchanged and a feast prepared 
which culminates in the sacrifice to the Imung Lai, to the Lam 
Lai, and to the Umang Lai. 

At Sengmai, where the manufacture of ardent spirits is the 
chief industry, presents of zu were offered to the girl's parents 
when the marriage was under discussion. If these gifts were 
peremptorily refused nothing further happened, but if the first 
invitation was accepted, the matter came into the range of 
practical politics and omens were taken to ascertain whether or 
not the marriage was favourably regarded by divine authority. 
Eventually the day was fixed, and the bride-price handed over, 
and the feast made ready. 



DEATH, AND DISPOSAL OF THE DEAD. 

All the rites and ceremonies consequent on the death of a Mei- 
thei are in the hands of the Brahmins, and there is therefore no 
feature to which attention should be specially drawn. Sepulture 
is only allowed in the case of children dying under the age of two 
years, and the burial takes place by preference on the bank of 
some river. I agree with Mr. Colquhoun in regarding the use of 
a box-Uke structure on the funeral pyres as a trace of the former 
method of sepulture for adults. It is well known that up to 
the advent of Hinduism, the dead were buried, and the Chronicles 
mention the enactment by Khagenba of a rule that the dead 
were to be buried outside the enclosures of the houses. Gharib 
Nawaz ordered the Manipuris to exhume the bodies of their 



THE MEITHEIS 117 

ancestors, which they formerly used to bury inside their com- 
pounds. At a later date in his reign, in the year 1724, Gharib 
Nawaz exhumed the bones of his ancestors and cremated them 
on the banks of the Engthe Eiver, and from that time ordered 
his subjects to bum their dead. The system of cremation in 
vogue among the Meitheis is very thorough, as Mr. Colquhoun 
remarks, and the frontal bone is preserved and thrown in the 
Ganges at a later date, as opportunity arises. 

The corpse is never carried over the threshold of the main 
door, sometimes a hole is cut in a wall or the tiny side entrance 
used.* 

FESTIVITIES, DOMESTIC AND TRIBAL. 

Mention has been made of the various Hindu festivals such 
as the JDvssera, and of the festival which is tribal in reality, 
known as the Laiharaoha. It is doubtful whether the waritahas 
or parties given by wealthy folk, at which isdsakpas, or wander- 
ing minstrels, recite the stories of the wanderings of Ching- 
thangkhomba, or of the unhappy loves of Khamba and Thoibi, 
or the adventures of Numit kappa, are of a religious nature ; 
but so closely are the threads of religion interwoven in the web 
of life of the people, that strange as it may seem to those who 
are accustomed to a religious system which provides for one 
day of the week only, it is probably just to mention these 
gatherings in this place. Eecited in a dialect which is un- 
intelligible to the listeners, despite the nasality of the tone in 
which they are recited, and despite the jangling accompaniment 
of the 2>^na, these balleids possess something of real beauty. 
The audience knows not the exact import of the words they 
hear, but it knows the sad, the mirthful passages as they 
occur, and greets them with tears or with appropriate laughter. 
Meitheis or Moirangs, they listen with avidity to the trials of 
Khamba and Thoibi, the ballad which cannot fail to remind 
one of the stories of the Trials of Hercules, and which is held 
true by all, for to this day are not the clothes worn by these 
worthies still preserved in the temple at Moirang ? 

* See Jevona, Introditction to Flutarch's Romane Que8ti<yi\Sy pp. 
xxxviii, xxxix. 



ii8 THE MEITHEIS 



GENNA« 



The detrition of the ancient customs which, begun by the 
introduction of Hinduism, has moved on with increasing rapidity 
since the country became the prey of the Burmese forces under 
Aloung Pra and his successors, prevents us from estimating the 
real extent to which the genua customs used to prevail among 
the Manipuris. If to-day they have not the thing itself, they 
have at least the memory of it in the word ndmungba, which 
covers precisely the same range of ideas as the word genim. 
There are even survivals of practices which among Nagas we 
call genna, and these I will now proceed to discuss. 

It will be seen that among Naga tribes the head of the 
clan is divided from the common herd by gennas of food and 
speech. Thus it is namungha for any Manipuri to address 
the Eaja except in a peculiar vocabulary.* We may compare 
this with the prohibition against the use of certain profane 
words by priests and kings.f Again they say that food cooked 
in a pot which has been used before, as ndmungba to the Eaja. 
Indeed, of every prohibition which rests on vague indefinable 
sanctions, they use the term ndmungba. Each clan in Manipur 
regards some object as ndmungba to it, and believes that if 
by inadvertence some member of the clan touches one of these 
objects he will die a mysterious death, or suffer from some 
incurable, incomprehensible disease, pine away and die. The 
object which is tabu to the Ningthaja clan is a reed, that to 
the Moirangs the buffalo, in the case of the Kumuls it is a fish. 
Again, if a man falls from a tree, the elders of his clan may 
gather round that tree and solemnly declare it, even all others 
of its kind, to be ndmungba to their tribesmen. Yet another 
instance of the working of ideas which in other parts of the 
world have elaborated the system of tabu, the trees which crown, 
the tumulus in Imphal, beneath which, according to common, 
tradition, repose the bones of the Moirangs who fell in the last 
great battle with the Meitheis, are ndmungba to the men o£ 
Moirang to this day, and between them no Moirang may go, fox> 

♦ See J. G. Frazer : Gclden Bov^h, vol. i. p. 144, 2nd Edition. 
t Cf. Jevous, Flutarchj Questwii 44. 



THE MEITHEIS 119 

if one were so bold as to venture through, ruin would overwhelm 
his fellow clansmen. 

It is remarkable that to this day the Moirangs whom I have 
described as still clinging to then* independence and separate- 
ness, preserve something like a system of gemm, participated in 
by the whole clan, and, like the Naga gennas, held periodically 
and connected with the times and seasons of cultivation. 

Beyond these few cases it is now impossible to describe the 
genna system as it once existed ; btit I hope I have said enough 
to show that to this present day the fundamental ideas which 
underlie all genna rituals, are alive and active in Manipur. 

To the curious in such matters the relationship of the three 
roots, mang = dream, mung \namungha = n^ = Id = lai = 
Deity + mung\ and mdng = to be polluted or to be destroyed, 
may be commended for further investigation. We know that 
the l^ends of the country declare that the Gods appeared in 
dreams * and gave orders as to all sorts of affairs, thus legis- 
lating through the mouth of the dreamers. Mdng-ha (to be 
polluted) has a religious significance, for it applies to cases 
of ceremonial pollution. If we admitted, and it is temptingly 
easy to do so, that ndmungba is derived from Ld = Grod and 
mung (? = mang or ? = mdng), we should have an interesting 
instance of philology assisting our theory gratuitously. We 
have high authority for connecting the Meithei word isin{f with 
the Tibetan chhu, so that perhaps these humble guesses at philo- 
logical truth are not of the order which neglects the consonants 
and is rude to the vowels. In fact, the connection between 
divine appearances in dreams, sacred prohibitions, tabu and 
pollution, is of the closest. 

* Cf, Note on Moiraiig Chronicle, p. 131. 



SECTION V. 

TRADITIONS, SUPERSTITIONS AND FOLK TAl^ES. 

Dr. Brown has recorded some of the superstitions then current 
among the Meitheis in the following passage : * " The Munni- 
pories are very superstitious. Demons of all kinds inhabit the 
small hills and other parts of Hie valley. They are also extremely 
superstitious with regard to days and dates for setting out on 
journeys in diflferent directions, although on emergencies these 
ideas are put to one side. The following are unlucky days and 
dates for travelling in diflferent directions — 



Monday . 




. East. 


Tuesday . 




. North and East. 


Wednesday 




. North and East. 


Thursday . 




. South and East. 


Friday . 




. West. 


Saturday . 




. North and East. 


Sunday . 




. West and South. 


on which it is 


unlucky to travel are as folio 


To the North 




. 2nd, lOth. 


„ South 


, 


. drd, 4th, 5th, 11th, 13th. 


„ East 


, 


. 1st, 9th. 


„ North-east. 


. 8th, 15th, 30th. 


„ North-west 


. 7th, 15th. 


,, South-west 


. 4th, 12th. '^ 



It is clear from the Chronicles that Manipur is a land where 
strange things are in the way of happening. Now a God fires off 
a cannon, it may be that to-morrow two stars will rush together 
or that thunder will thrice be heard in a clear sky, an occurrence 
which from the times of Ovid we know portends the near 
approach of some great event. It is a land peculiarly liable to 
seismic disorders, and all the folk cry out aloud " ngd cJiak," " fish 
and rice," in order to save their food supplies from the demon who 

* Op. citj p. 51. 



THE MEITHEIS 121 

is shaking the earth« Eclipses are due to the attack of the 
demon dog upon the sun or the moon, a story which is more fully 
explained by the Kabul version. At the death of Major Gordon 
in 1844, so the Chronicler records, a double- tailed star was seen 
in the sky, and in another passage the death of the eldest son 
of the Raja is connected by a sort of post hoc ergo propter hoc 
argument with an earthquake which occurred simultaneously. It 
is common to read of inanimate objects suddenly manifesting 
the power of locomotion. Stones raise themselves, guns fire 
themselves, drums beat themselves, the Eoyal cloth upon the 
loom shakes itself. Yet these things are the work of some Deity, 
for stones are well-known to be often chosen by Deities as places 
of abode, and if the divine inhabitant is displeased by being 
forcibly taken from some similar spot, he will show his wrath 
and produce a scarcity of food. The Boyal cloth is destined for 
a being who is regarded as a God incarnate, and what he wears, or 
even what is destined for his wear before he has actually worn 
it, acquires something of his divine power. Rainbows have 
been known to form around the Eoyal head, and the very bow and 
arrows of the Rain God floated in the water of the moat close to 
the boat in which the Raja was sitting. This, of course, was an 
omen of exceptional felicity. But when rain fell like clay, when 
blood was found on the floors of the temples, when four suns 
were seen in the heaven, misfortune awaited the country. 
Sometimes we are enabled to assign to an omen a definite 
meaning, as when a swarm of butterflies is seen coming from the 
west to the east or when rooks fly from north to south, trouble 
in the shape of epidemic disease is at hand. The mysterious 
portent described in the phrase sangaisel paire or the flight of 
the sangaisel, betokens the death of some rich and important 
personage. It is not easy to ascertain exactly what is meant by 
the expression. One passage of the Chronicles says it is the 
flight of the spirit of a certain God, while in another it is said 
that a flame arises out of a holy stone, and I was informed that 
it was accompanied by a mysterious noise. We have in Colonel 
McCulloch's account the following reference to the supersti- 
tions of the Meitheis in regard to the erection of their houses : * 
" Connected with the making of their houses are many 
* Op. city p. 21. 



122 THE MEITHEIS 

superstitious practices. First, the house must be commenced on 
a lucky day, that day having been fixed by the astrologer ; on 
it (it makes no diflference whether the other materials are ready 
or not) the first post is erected. The post is bound towards the 
top with a band of cloth over which is tied a wreath of leaves 
and flowers. Milk, juice of the sugarcane and ghee are poured 
upon the lower extremity and into the hole in the ground in 
which it is to be fixed are put a little gold and silver. The 
number of bamboos formings the body of the frame for *the 
thatch must not be equal on the north and south sides. K they 
were so, misfortune, they consider, would overtake the family. 
The other superstitions of the same kind are too numerous to 
mention. And it is not merely in reference to their houses that 
they are superstitious ; they are so ia every matter. Super- 
stition constantly sends them to consult their maibees and 
'pundits, who earn an easy livelihood by prescribing remedies to 
allay their fears." It will perhaps show the exact care and 
anxiety with which all house-building operations were carried 
on if a quotation is made from the Chronicles of a passage which 
describes the trouble which happened when something was done 
which ought not to have been done in the course of the erection 
of the kangla or Eoyal enclosure of the Coronation Hall. This 
is, of course, a peculiarly sacrosanct spot, not only from its 
association with the Baja, but as being the abode of the serpent 
as well. On the 15th of Mora, Sak 1771, i.e., in October, 1849^ 
Lairel Lakpa the astrologer declared that the place selected by 
the pandit for the site of the main post of the kangla was wrong 
because it would interfere with the place of the snake annanta. 
The pandit had his way and the hole was dug with the result 
that blood issued, and a bone and a stone were found there* 
Some days later the post was erected, but that night a white 
rainbow was seen over the post. The next day a snake entered 
into the hole where the post was and there was a frog on the 
back of the snake. Weeks later the king elephant went 
mad, and on the 5th of Hingoi (November) a fisherman at 
Wabagai caught in the trap a fish which he put in his bag. He 
was surprised to hear the fish say to him, " You want to eat me. 
I am the lai of the river." The fisherman replied that he had 
caught him in ignorance of his real rank. The fish then said^ 



THE MEITHEIS 123 

"Gk) and tell the Maharaja to do worship on behalf of all the 
people," and jumped back into the water. A swarm of bees 
was seen at the gate of the Fat, and Lairel Lakpa declared that 
all the " bad signs of the kangla had appeared," and then a trial 
was made of the value of the books of the Pandit and the 
astrologer Lairel Lakpa. The test was which book correctly 
gave the depth at which in the reign of Moyang Ngomba 
Maharaja the stone of the tortoise or snake Pakhangba was 
found. The book of the Pandit proved trustworthy, and then 
the evil omens ceased to appear. Indeed, according to the 
Chrouicles hardly an event of real importance ever occurred 
without some previous presage. Thus the shortness of the reign of 
Debendro Singh was foretold by the death of the king elephant 
and by the appearance in the Jcangla of a number of frogs which 
were seen there jumping about. The end of the dynasty of 
Gambhir Singh was foretold by a number of omens which are 
recorded in the Chronicles. " On the 13th of Kalen in the year 
1813, the year of Ahongsangba Durlub Singh (1891, April). 
In the palace here a God's dolai with flag came down from the 
sky before the Bejoy Garode at ten o'clock in the morning ; it 
disappeared at the distance of 40 feet from the ground : the 
people witnessed the scene. The matter was reported to the 
I^aharaja next day. The Maibas and the officers of the Top 
Garode were summoned before the Maharaja, who asked Wikhoi 
Pandit what sort of dolai it was. Wangkhai (or Wikhoi) Pandit 
replied that it was Pakhangba's dolai. Pakhangba's nine arms 
will come down in koongkhookolen (the kangla compound). The 
dolai was the first thing that had come down, and after this the 
country would enjoy happiness and peace, and the king would 
live long. Nongmaitemba Pandit seconded him and urged the 
Maharaja to worship Pakhangba. Touria Ashoiba Hidang re- 
plied that their prophecy might hold good, but it appeared to 
him that a calamity was coming.* Naharup Lakpa upon this 
said that Touria was in terror and could not calculate properly. 
Men said in Maharaja's Sur Chandra's time that Maharaja 
Chandra Kirti Singh was ordained to reign for forty years, but 

* Note the British troops had already reached the valley to avenge 
the murder of the Chief Commissioner and his companions, and this was 
known to all present.-7T. C. H. 



THE MEITHEIS 125 

The ceremony of ascending the throne (phamhan Jcaba, or 
climbing the seat ; phamhan, from phamba, to sit, and Jcdba, to 
climb) was pregnant with varying incidents, all of which had 
their special significance. The Kaja and Eani, clothed in the 
garb of an earlier age,* passed from the house t (sang kai 
punsiba) within the walls to the kangla without, and as they 
went, careful note was taken of the stones on which the Kaja 
trod. The Panji Loisang J then read from them prognostica- 
tions of the reign. Then in the recesses of the kangla was a 
chamber in which was a pipe leading, so I was told, to a 
chamber below, wherein dwelt the snake Pakhangba. The 
longer the Eaja sat on this pipe and endured the discomfort of 
the unaccustomed pose and the torture of the fiery breath of his 
ancestor below, the longer and the more prosperous would be 
his reign. 

The story of Numit kappa is a folk tale, and its peculiar 
interest may afford an excuse for the literal translation which 
I now jrive. 



NUMIT KAPPA (the MAN WHO SHOT THE SUN). 

" my Mother, Mother of the Sun who is the Father of the 
world, Mother of all the Gods. She who was the Mother of 
the World gave birth one day to three sons. The first-bom son 
was destroyed like withered paddy, and became like old dry 
paddy, and entered into the earth, and became even as the ant- 
heaps. Thereupon the Lairemma paddy and the great paddy 
were turned into Morasi and Iroya paddy. Her second-born 
son became rotten even as chicken's eggs, he became as the 
darkening rainbow. His eyes became like unto the eyes of a 
deer. Her third-born son was called Koide Ngamba, the 
younger brother of the Sun. He was of a haughty temper and 
quick in spirit. He fell into a fishing weir and was killed. 
Thereupon his teeth became like the teeth of a wild beast, his 
rib-bones became the long dao of the Gods. The hairs of Ids 
head became like the flowers that men oflfer to Purairomba and 
all the Gods. They became even as the flowers that men fasten 

* See p. 6, supra, t See p. 8, supra, t ^©© P- 69, supra. 



126 THE MEITHEIS 

on the ends of their spears to catch luangs (small hill fish) in 
December, or like to the flowers that the King's wives and 
children present to the fields, such fiowers as the Ang5m Ning- 
thou daily offers up, even as such became the white hairs of 
the God. 

''Now the Sun and his brother Taohuirenga rose and set 
alternately. There was a man Khowai Nongjengba who had 
a slave, a lazy churl named Ekma Haodongla, who was wroth 
because the suns rose and set alternately. He said, 'I am a slave 
and twice have I to fetch wood, twice to bring in my master's 
paddy on my head. I cannot rear my children. I cannot see 
my wife/ So he said to his wife, ' My dear, go, get a bamboo 
from your father.' But her father would not give her a bamboo. 
' Gk) to your uncle and beg a bamboo from the Thongkhongkhural, 
a bamboo that grows on the Khural Bang's SOkpa Ching.* Thus 
he said, and sent her off. The Ehural Lakpa gave him a bamboo 
from the hill. The slave of Ehowai Nongjengba Piba in five 
days made a bow and arrows, and when he bad dried then^ he 
smeared the tips of the arrows with poison, and put the arrows 
in the quiver and rested. Then he said, 'Dear wife, Haonu 
Changkanu, my pretty one, go draw water and put the pot on 
your head. Then as his wife came from the water, he aimed and 
hit the pot on her head. One day he aimed and hit the hole in 
her ear. One day he aimed and hit a sparrow sitting on a heap 
of dhdn. * Wife, make food ready. A big boar has entered the 
field, a great python has come into the field. I will combat those 
strong things. I will kill that boar.' He slept by the side of 
the things he was going to take to the field, and for this reason 
the place is called thongyala mamungshi. The Great Sun set at 
Loijing. His elder brother Taohuireng arose in his splendour, 
and Ekma Haodongla the slave of Khowai Nongjengbet Piba, a 
lazy churl, drew the string to his cheek and though he fiied 
the arrow carefully at the sun, he hit the sim's horse on the 
leg, and it fell near the great Maring village. When the bright 
sun fell by the arrow of the slave of Elhowai Nongjengba Piba, 
he was afraid and hid himself in the earth in a great cave 
by the big village near his father Pakhangba and his mother 
Senamehi. Then the Meithei land was dark by day and dark by 
night. The fields and the whole countryside looked to the Gods 



THE MEITHEIS 127 

for pity because the day remained not. Weeds grew. Women 
that used to go to the fields went no more, women that used 
to toil in the fields went no more. The ten kings (Nongpok, 
Chingkhai, Wangpurel, Khana Chaoba, Thangjing, Sampurel, 
Loyarakpa, Kaobaru, Kaoburel, Marjing), these ten gods knew 
not how to look for the place where the sun was. A woman 
going to the field was holding converse with a woman going to 
sow, * My friend, my companion, what is that fire in the earth 
shining there over by the great village ? ' said she inquiring. 
' Yes, my dear, the Sun is hiding near his father Pakhangba and 
Senamehi.' * It is the brightness of the Sun,' said the other as 
they talked. The ten Gods heard, and when they had returned to 
their own house, they called Thongnak, whose dreams were very 
true. ' Thongnak Lairemma, your dreams are very true, a dead 
person has entered into you. You do judgment on the dead. 
Call the Sun.' With these words they sent her. Thongnak 
Lairemma called the Sun. *0 Sun, by reason of thy disap- 
pearance, the land of the Meitheis is in darkness day and night. 
Bring thy warmth over this land and over its villages.' Thus 
said she, and the Sun made answer to her. ' Yea, Thongnak 
Lairemma, formerly my Mother, who is Mother of all the Gods 
and the Mother of the world, gave birth to five sons. One day my 
eldest brother shrivelled up like dry paddy and was destroyed. My 
second brother became rotten like the eggs of a fowl, my brother 
Koide Gnamba fell into a fishing weir and was drowned. Now my 
elder brother Taohuirengba has fallen by the arrow of the slave of 
Khowai Nongjengba Piba, for his horse was pierced through the 
leg by the arrow which he shot, and so he hides in a dark cave.' 
Thus he spake, and would not come forth. Thongnak Lairemma 
returned to her abode. ' Ye ten Gods, hear. The Sun cannot 
remain alone in the world.' Then the ten Gods hired Panthoibi, 
the daughter of the King, the wife of Khaba. * daughter of the 
King, who art beloved of the King of the country, who causest 
to be bom all the souls of men and dost cause them to die, who 
art the Mother of the Gods and the Mother of all the country, 
thy face is beautiful, do thou go, do thou call thy Father the Sun.' 
When they said this, the King's dear daughter who causes a 
tiower to bloom merely by touching a big white leaf, assented to 
tlieir request. * Ye Ten Gods, if ye bid me to persuade the bright 



128 THE MEITHEIS 

Sun to come forth, make ready the roads, make men to go to and 
fro, build a nuichan five stories high, make the women all join in 
entreaties to him. In the baskets spread leaves carefully and 
set therein white rice, put eggs, fill the wine jars full of wine, 
wrap ginger in leaves and set it down, wrap cowries up in a 
black cloth and put them down near/ Then she took a white- 
cock and all the other things and went to the broad country to 
persuade the bright Sun. 

" * Sun, by reason of your hiding, in the land of the 
Meitheis there is darkness night and day ; by your brightness 
warm all the country to Imphal from here.' Thus she said 
and thus she persuaded him, for he assented, and when the 
white fowl lifted up its foot on the earth, the Sun also raised 
his foot firom the earth five times and clT ^ed to the top of the 
mcichan. Then the ten Gods looked and saw that the sunshine 
was pale. ' Let us make this right,' they said. Then Pakhangba's 
priest sat on the right, and the priest of Thangjing, the G^ of 
Moirang, sat on the left. They took water fix)m the river of 
Moirang, and an egg and yellow grass, and drew water from the 
top of Nongmaiching, and the priests, the children of the Gods, 
made the face of the Sun right, and his eyes and his Sbm^ were 
bright and beautiful. Panthoibi holding the fowl soothed the 
Sun. Then the priest, who formerly guarded the seven branches 
of Nongmaiching, and who lived on that holy hill, whose name 
was Langmai Khoiri, who formerly worshipped the £skce of the 
sun, made prayers to the Sun. ' Thou hast come like the eyes of 
the hill. In the likeness of the eyes of the hill in thy brightness 
thou hast pitied us, the villages of Nongmaiching. like the 
eyes of the Sun thou hast come. Like the eyes of the Sun by 
thy brightness the warmth of the sun has warmed all the ravines 
and jungle and all our villages on Nongmaiching.' Thus said he 
as he prayed. The great village also made prayers to the Sun, 
and its priests sang and prayed. The women also of the great 
village have crossed the river and have gone to the fields. The 
Tangkhuls have taken up their daos. Men see their shadow in 
the water. ' By thy brightness all the paths and all the trees 
and all the bamboos in our great village are warm with the 
warmth of the sun.' Thus said he and prayed. Then the 
brothers, the cunning priests, slaves of Thangjing, prayed to 



THE MEITHEIS 129 

the Sun God, ' thou bom on the stone, bom on the white stone, 
who lightest the jungle, and the water, and who shinest up to 
the top of the loftiest bamboo, with thy brightness make warm 
the heat of the sun on the water of Moirang/ In the south the 
Khumal priest prayed. His father and his forefathers were very 
skilful, and his voice was very good, and his singing carried far. 
Than him there was none greater, his voice was like the cry of 
the crane, and in his singing there was no fault. Thus prayed 
he. ' Sun, now that thou hast come, the trees, the bamboos, 
the grass, all are bright. Sun by thy glorious brightness the 
leaves and the wood are as new, the heart is glad. By thy 
brightness make warm the heat of the sun upon the land of the 
Khumals/ Then the priest of the King of Manipur, who was 
skilled in the songs of the Manipuris, whose voice was like the 
running water, invoked by name his deceased mother, and 
singing sweetly the name of his dead father, having sung the 
names of men that were dead and making them to unite in 
the history, he makes birds and crows that are dead to be among 
the Gods. He knows the souls of men and their names, even 
though they are lost,* he knows them when they have become 
animals, though their names should be forgotten, he calls them 
in his song. Though hereafter the names of men be forgotten, 
he in his wisdom knows them, though they are wandering in 
the abyss among the demons, even though they have joined 
themselves unto swine, he knows them. Thug made he prayer. 
* Sim, Thou alone art beautiful, thou art the Father of all the 
unfortunate, thou art deathless, there is none like thee for truth 
and beauty. I cannot tell all thy names in my song, so many 
are they. Thou art the source of all good fortune, for in the 
scent of the earth is seen the warmth of the sun. Bright 
Sun, thou art the source and the strength of all the world and 
of immortality.' " 

Dr.Grierson gives the following folk tale in the Eeport of the 
Linguistic Survey of India f : — 

" Once upon a time a man had two sons. After some time he 
died leaving behind him a buffalo cow, a pomegranate tree, and 
a curtain. When the two brothers proceeded to divide the 

* Mdng = to be lost, or ceremonially polluted. — T. C H. 
t Vol. iii. part iii., p. 41. 

K 



I30 THE MEITHEIS 

property, the younger brother, who was the more clever of 
the two, arranged the matter in the following way. He gave 
the front part of the buffalo, including the head, to his elder 
brother, and retained himself the other half, from the tail and 
forwards. And he gave his brother the lower part of the pome- 
granate tree, and took himself the top. With regard to the 
curtain, he used it at night, and left it to his brother during 
the day time. When the buffalo ate the crops of other people 
he made his brother give damages, because the outrage was 
done by the head, which belonged to the elder. But he claimed 
for himself the calves which were bom and the milk. And he 
also reserved for himself the fruits of the pomegranate tree. 

"In this way some time passed. The elder brother was 
advised by the neighbours, and one day he went to fell the 
pomegranate tree in order to get fuel. But the younger brother 
now proposed that they should divide the fruits between them, 
and thus prevented the felling of the tree. Now the elder 
brother declared that he would kill his part of the buffiedo 
because it gave him such trouble in eating the crops of other 
people. The younger brother then stopped him, saying that 
they might also take each his share of the milk and of the 
young buffaloes. Then the elder brother took the curtain and 
kept it during the day in water. The other then proposed that 
they should use the curtain alternately. Both agreed, and after 
that time they lived without quarrelling." 



THE HISTORY OF MOIRANG. 

Moirang was created by the God, Thangjing, who came down 
from heaven in the shape of a boar. Seven times did he in- 
carnate himself and rule as King of Moirang. The first King 
of Moirang at the beginning of Kaliyug was Iwang Fang Fang 
Ponglenhanba, who was bom of Moirang Leima IN'angban Chanu 
Meirapanjenlei. He attacked Naga villages, brought Thang* 
nnder his rule, and fixed his boundaries to the north, where tta 
Luang King bore sway. He brought in captives, and buried the 
heads of his fallen enemies in the Kangla or Royal endosuie. 
Then the God Thangjing bethought himself that the King and 






THE MEITHEIS 131 

his subjects were so prosperous that they were likely to forget 
their duties to him, and after taking counsel sent seven Gods, 
Yakhong Lai, to frighten the King and his people. At night 
there were mysterious sounds, but the soldiers at first could find 
no one. Then, when the sounds occurred a second time, they 
became aware of the Gods, the Yakhong Lai, and reported what 
they had seen to the King, who took counsel of his ministers- 
They besought him to call the famous maibi Santhong Marl 
Mai Langjeng Langmei Thouba. She was in the fields culti- 
vating, but came running, whence (says the historian) all the 
dwellers of Moirang say apaiba, i.e., " to fly," instead of chenha, 
" to run " which is the ordinary Meithei word.* The King begged 
the maibi "very respectfully" to raise the Khuyal Leikhong 
which the angry storm raised by the Gods had blown down, and 
by way of showing his respect said : " If you cannot raise the 
Khuyal Leikhong, I shall kill you." The maibi persuaded the 
seven Gods to tell her the mantra, and ordered her to convey a 
message to the King, who was bidden to send all the maibas 
and wAiibis of the country to sleep in the temple of Thangjing 
wearing their sacred clothes. When she went to the Khuyal 
Leikhong she saw Fakhangba there. She raised the edifice by 
means of the mantra and then gave the message to the King, 
who bade the maibas and maibis go and sleep in the temple of 
Thangjing in their sacred clothes. There in their dreams they 
were instructed to divide the people into sections, some for one 
duty and some for others. Then the village ofi&ces were created 
and their order of precedence fixed. The m/zibas chant the 
name of the God and the maibis ring the bell. Then, when 
they had told the King all the wonderful things communicated 
to tiiem in their dreams, they were bidden to do as the God had 
said. Then the King died and was succeeded by his son Tel- 
haiba, so called by reason of his skill with the bow. In his, 
and in the following reigns, there were raids against Nagas and 
various villages. Then we get into complications, for in the reign 
of King Laifacheng we are told, the Khumals were wroth with 

* The logic may be deficient, but we may compare this statement with 
the fact that in the Royal Meithei vocabulary the word ^* to walk " ^' to 
go*' is len^ba, which in Thado means ^^ to fly.'* The incident proves, 
firstly, a dialectical variation, and secondly, the imposition of a tabu on 
the use of the word chenha by the people of Moirang. — T. C. H. 



132 THE MEITHEIS 

Konthounamba Saphaba and compassed his death. They took 
him into a wood and fastened him to a tree and left him, but 
by the aid of the Gtods he broke the creeper and made his way 
to Moirang where he married and had a son« He left Moirang, 
and went to the land of the MeitheL The King kept the child, 
who by favour of the God Thangjing grew so strong that the 
folk of Moirang begged the King to rid himself of the lad, for 
he would supplant the King. So they put the lad in chains 
for seven years, and all that time there fell no rain in Moirang. 
Then the God Thaugjing appeared to the lad and told him to 
ask the King to take off his chains. Then the King set the lad 
free, and the rain fell, but many had died of fever and cholera. 
The King implored the lad to pardon him for his cruelty and 
promised him, that when he was dead the kingdom shoidd be 
his for seven years, even as many years as the years of his 
bondage. So it fell out, and for seven years the lad rdgned as 
King where he had been in chains. 

Baids against Luangs on the west against Naga villages, which 
the historian observes still pay tribute to Moirang, are all we 
have for a brief space covering some hundred years. The God 
Thangjing kept his interest in the fortunes of the kingdom, and 
visited the King in his dreams and instructed him in many 
matters. The village grew and spread, so much so that in the 
reign of King Thanga Ipenthaba the small hill of Thanga was 
broken and the water let out. Then at the instance of two 
Khumal women the King slew the King of the Khumals 
whom he met by chance hunting. In a later reign, Moirang is 
invaded by the Khumals who assembled a force in boats. This 
force was defeated, and in return the Khumal villages were foed. 

In the reign of King Ghingkhu Telhaiba (skilful archer of the 
hill village), a Khumal, Aton Puremba, shot nine tigers with 
his bow and arrows and brought their skins to the King, who 
sought a gift worthy of the hunter's prowess. He would not 
give him clothes or such things. He had no daughter, so he 
gave him his wife, and by her the bold hunter had two children 
Khamnu and Khamba. Both their parents died, and by dint of 
begging from door to door, Khamnu got food for herself and her 
baby brother. Day by day the lad grew in strength and 
courage. So swift was he that none could race against him. 



THE MEITHEIS I33 

So strong was he that he and he alone dared to seize a mad 
bull that was r«^ing in the land, Then Chingkhuba Akhuba, 
brother of King Chingkhuba Telhaiba and uncle of the Princess 
Thoibi, ordered his men to seize Khamba and have him trampled 
to death by the elephant. His sin was that Thoibi had made a 
coat which she gave to Khamba, for she loved him. The (Jod 
Thangjing warned Thoibi of the peril in which her lover was, 
and she arose and threatened to kill her father so that Khamba 
escaped. Then it befell a hunting party that a tiger killed a man 
in full sight of the King, but Khamba killed the tiger single- 
handed, and as a reward the King gave him the Princess Thoibi 
in marriage.* In 1431 the Meithei King slew the King of 
Moirang (at the battle of Moirang-khong in Imphal where 
there is a tumulus beneath which are buried the heads of the 
Moirang tribesmen that were slain in the fray). The later 
entries consist of names of persons who became Kings, and 
against one name is the remark " King Chandra Kirti Singh 
dismissed this King, and for twenty-seven years there was no 
King of Moirang." Last of all is the entry, " In 1813 Shak the 
Political Agent of Manipur appointed Eomanando Singh as 
Moirang Ningthou." 

One or two points occur. All the early Kings marry women 
of the Moirang clan, while even the change of the dynasty, 
when the son of the Khumal refugee became King, is not an 
exception, for the mother of TJrakonthouba was a Moirang 
woman. Later on there are failures in the direct line, but a 
brother is recorded as successor. The incident of Khamba and 
Thoibi has no doubt been worked in by the chronicler, who 
seems to share the view held by Thangjing that the people are 
forgetting their religious duties and need to be roused by some 
calamity. 

More than ordinary interest attaches to the proof here 
afforded of the manner in which the divine ordinances regu- 
lating the structure of society and apportioning the duties of 
the citizens were promulgated as the result of dreams by the 
maibas and maibis — the soothsayers and wise women. 

In conclusion it may be pointed out that there exists in 
Manipur a store of written recoi-ds which, apart from historical 
* See pp. 134, seq. 



134 THE MEITHEIS 

value, possess an ethnological importance as afifording, un- 
consciously and unintentionally, remarkable evidence as to the 
level of culture from which as yet the bulk of the population 
has not emerged. There is yet a rich harvest to be gathered 
in, and, if the workers are few, their labour will be justified by 
its reward. 



KHAMBA AND THOIBL* 

{The superior figures refer to the iwtes aJt the end of (his tale,) 

In the days of Chingkhu Telheiba, King of Moirang, Ching- 
khu Akhuba was Jubraj, and his brother the King had no 
child. The daughter of the Jubraj was Thoibi Laima. And in 
those days Yoithongnai was King of Khun^al and he had three 
sons, Haoramba-hal, Haoramningoi and Haoram-th5l Louthiba. 
On a day it happened that Panji Thoiba,^ the King's soothsayer^ 
and his wife, Chaobi Nongnangma-chak, went fishing in a lake 
at the foot of a hill whereupon there grew a Heibung tree. As 
the soothsayer rested in the shade of the tree, he saw thereon 
a necklace of beads which he plucked down and gave to his 
master, the Khumal King, who set it on the neck of his son 
Haoramba-hal. Then, as the King grew old, he set the neek- 
lace upon the neck of his second son, and then, last of all, upon 
the neck of his youngest son Haoramba-th5l.^ In these days the 
Luang King Funsiba built him a new palace and summoned aU 
the Kings to the great feast upon the day when he was minded 
to enter therein. So the sons of the Khumal King, Haoram**hal 
and Haoram-yeima were bidden, and put on their robes of State. 
And Haoram-hal entreated his mother to lend him thenecklao6y 
and she hearkened to his entreaty. Soon Haoram-thOl came 
home from his sport in the village and found not the neoldaoe 
though he sought for it diligently. Then he was wrath and 
took his father's sword and sought his brothers so that he might 
kill them. Yet to none did he declare his purpose. So he met 
his brothers by the way and slew his brother Haoram-hal, for on 
his neck was the necklace, and Haoram-yeima fled to Moirang, 
where he took two women unto him as wives, and they bore 
• See p. 56 and p. 133 above. 



THE MEITHEIS 135 

him each a son. Now Parenkoiba was the son of the elder wife, 
and Thangloihaiba was the son of the younger wife. In his 
days Parenkoiba took unto him a wife, and she bore him a son 
whom they called Purenba, and in his days he took unto him a 
wife, and his wife bore him first a daughter whom they called 
Khamnu, and thereafter a son whom they called Khamba. 

Now it chanced that upon a day King Chingkhu Telheiba of 
Moirang went a hunting in the jungles, and when the men fired 
the reeds,^ five tigers rushed out, and the men who were with the 
King fled, all save Purenba who slew the tigers with his spear. 
So the King gave him his wife, for daughters had he none. 
And with her he gave rich dowry, even a store of goodly apparel, 
and he set the brave man in high ofi&ce with titles of honour 
that all the folk might know his fame. Thereafter the King's 
soothsayer* chose the names for the children that his wife 
bore unto him, and the King assented to the names. Then it 
chanced that Purenba fell ill, for an evil spirit entered into him ^ 
so that he was vexed with a fever and died. Ere he died he 
sent for his friends, Nongthonba and Thonglen, and commended 
his children to their care, and Nongbal Chaoba betrothed his son 
Feiroyamba to Khamnu.® Then his wife, seeing that her 
husband was indeed dead, could not live when her lord and 
husband was taken by death from her. So she slew herself 
upon his pyre, and Thonglen took charge of the two children, 
but they sorrowed and would not be comforted. So he let 
them go, and they went to their father's house, and were happy 
there. But there was none to help them, so Khamnu went 
among the village folk and husked paddy for them while the 
women gave the breast to Khamba.'' Then one day it fell out 
that Khamnu went to Moirang to the bazar at the very hour 
when the Princess Thoibi was wont to do her marketing, and 
the Princess took note of the strange face, for she knew her not 
and asked her many questions and gave her gifts of food and 
jewellery ; but Kiamba was vexed, for there was nought for him. 
Khamnu met Thoibi again, who bade her come afishing with her 
on the Logtak. When the King heard that the women who bore 
his daughter company were minded to sport on the lake, he gave 
orders that no man might go on the lake. So Khamnu told 
Khamba of this and left him at home the next day. As he slept. 



136 THE MEITHEIS 

in his di'eam ^ the Goddess Panthoibi came to him in the guise 
of Ehamnu, and bade him get the vegetables together. Ehamba 
woke and wondered if he had indeed seen his sister or if it was 
a dream, but the God Thangjing put it into his mind that he 
had indeed seen his sister. So he went down to the lake and 
got a boat there and rowed out, but in a wrong direction, so the 
God spread a veil of cloud over the hill. Anon a storm arose 
and blew the boat towards the place where Thoibi was fishing. 
On a sudden Thoibi turned and saw Khamba standing close to 
her. She asked ELhamnu if she knew the stubborn man who 
dared disobey the orders of the King, but Ehamnu denied all 
knowledge of him. Khamba stood there not knowing what to 
do, but when he heard his sister's voice, he went nearer, and 
Thoibi saw that he was goodly and well fashioned, as if daintily 
carved by some master hand. Khamba, too, wondered at the 
beauty of Thoibi, for it was the will of God that they twain 
should love. Yet again Khamnu denied knowledge of the man, 
for she feared for him that he would be pimished for disobedience. 
Then Thoibi saw that Khamnu was wearing a piece of cloth 
which matched Khamba's pagriy and that Khamba wore the 
bracelet which she herself, but a day before, had given to 
Khamnu. Then Khamnu owned that he was her younger 
brother, and Thoibi was gracious to him and gave him of her 
sweetmeats, and then bade him go home lest the wrath of the 
King visit him, for he seemed goodly to her eyes. When 
Thoibi had returned to the Palace she bade Khamnu show her 
the place wherein she lived. So they went to Khamnu's house, 
and Thoibi saw that the gate was broken. But she sat on a red 
cloth near the post on the north side which men call Hkdldel. 
Khamba hid himself in the far comer where there was a mat, 
for the house was old and full of holes, yet Thoibi said nothing 
in blame, but only that the house was nice. She asked what the 
mat in the corner was hung for, and Khamnu told her that there 
was their God Khumalpokpa ^ (the ancestor of the Khumals). 
Then Thoibi said, " May I pray to him, for I seek a mercy of 
him ? " Then, so that Khamba might hear her words, she prayed 
aloud to the God to give her heart's desire to stay in the house 
and worship him daily. Then Khamba laughed aloud and both 
the women heard ; then Thoibi said, " Your God has spoken to 



THE MEITHEIS 137 

me." She sat down in the veranda and Khamba came out and 
sent his sister to the village to bring some fruit. When she 
was gone, Thoibi bade her maid Senu go to Khamba bearing 
gifts to him, and say, " My Lord, my Lady bids me give you 
these, for she desires to be your servant, and to think of none 
other. To you will she give herself." So he took the gifts and 
they two bound themselves by a mighty oath before the God 
Khumalpokpa, and drank the water ^^ in which the golden brace- 
let was dipped, and each vowed love to the other. Then Thoibi 
called Khamnu sister and bade Khamba go out among the folk 
and show himself to the King's officers. So Khamba went out 
and joined the young men who were learning to wrestle. An 
elder who stood by, saw the strength of Khamba and bade him 
wrestle, and he joined in wrestling, and at last the champion of 
the countryside invited him to wrestle, but Khamba was not 
thrown for all that the other knew many devices whereby he 
had often thrown great men. As it fell out, there passed by 
Nongthonba, the minister of the King, who stopped and asked 
the name of the young man whom the champion could not 
throw. With the great man ^^ were the servants who followed 
him, his clients and those that sought to win his favour. 

Then he sent for the great champion and asked of him the 
name of the young man with whom he strove, " for indeed I know 
him, yet cannot I mind me of his name." " I know not," said the 
other, " yet verily is he a strong man, like a rock so hard is he to 
move, like the might of a river that cannot be stayed." Then 
he asked of Khamba his name and the name of his sire, and 
Khamba answering said, " Men call me Khamba, but my sire's 
name I know not." " What manner of man is this," said the 
King's minister in wrath, " that knows not the name of his sire ? " 
Then Khamba said, " My sire died when I was yet a babe, and 
my sister brought me to manhood. Peradventure she will know 
the name of my sire." Then the King's minister remembered 
the face of the lad, for it was even as the face of one who was 
his friend, and he was sorrowful, for he had spoken sharply to 
the lad in reproof. " True is it indeed that the elephant knows 
not his own brother, and kings forget their sons. Your father 
died ere his prime, even as a tree dies when men strip it of its 
bark." So he loved the lad, and in his delight went not to the 



138 THE MEITHEIS 

King's Durbar, but to his house, where he told the women folk 
of the lad he had met, and bade them take fine clothes and an 
ofifering of dainties, for he was minded that his first-bom son 
should take Khamnu, the sister of Khamba, to wife even as he 
had promised to her father. So they went to Khamnu, who hid 
herself in the women's chamber, and they stood and wept outside, 
and lamented, so that Khamnu relented and spake with them, 
and took from their hands the apparel," a dress for the morning 
and a dress for the time when women gather at the bazar, and a 
dress for the great days when the Gods make merry. Then ere 
Khamba set forth on the morrow, Khamnu gave him sage 
counsel. " If any, jealous, puts a stick in thy path, walk not 
over it, but round it, for they are minded to do thee harm who 
are evil. Jostle not in the crowd, for they envy thee." So the 
lad went with the King's minister to the market-place, where 
the Jubraj sat, and the Minister, with a lowly obeisance, set 
Khamba before the Jubraj, and told of his sire and of his 
strength. Then they set him before the King, who was gracious 
unto him and spoke of his father, and bade them enrol him 
among his servants, and bade them also set the great wrestler 
Kongyamba among his servants, and when, according to the 
custom of the land, they had given largesse to the men of their 
village, the King bade them gather flowers for the service of the 
God Thangjing on the morrow. 

Then they set forth to their homes, and Khamba told Khanmu 
all that had befallen him, and how he purposed to gather 
flowers for the service of the God on the morrow, and the 
Jubraj told his folk of the prowess and might of the son of his 
old friend, how the King had enrolled him, the son orphaned 
in his infancy, the child of a brave man, one who was wise in 
counsel, well versed in matters of state, and a leader of men in 
war, and made him his servant among them that bear office, for 
he was a man of high birth and a glory to his Panna. Then 
Thoibi said to her father, " In truth you should have honoured 
him yourself and built him an house, upon the north of your 
palace,^^ and you should have given him food daily." So she 
went forth and told her mother that the festival of the Gods 
was at hand. But she went to see Khamba, and he told her 
how the King had made him Khunthak Leiroi Hanjaba and 



THE MEITHEIS 139 

had bidden him gather flowers from the hills. " Great trouble 
is in store for you if you essay to gather flowers on the hills. 
Eather will I collect them in the village and in the bazar " ; 
and she cooked him food for the morrow and tied it in a bundle 
of leaves, fastening it with seven diflferent kinds of silk. On 
the morrow KSngyamba came for Khamba and chid him for being 
late, and, being the elder, bade Khamba carry his food. Ehamba 
was wroth thereat, and flung it on the ground. So they went 
on to a place where the flowers grew, and Kongyamba marked 
it with knots tied in the jungle ^* and claimed it as the place 
where his father was wont to gather flowers, and threatened 
Khamba with the wrath of the King. Then was Khamba 
wroth, and asked, " Where is the place where my father was 
wont to gather flowers ?" Kongyamba pointed to the hills yet 
south of where they stood, and thither Khamba went, but he 
found no flowers. So he prayed to the God Thangjing, and the 
God had compassion on his servant's distress, and sent a whirl- 
wind, upon whose wings was borne to the nostrils of Khamba a 
fragrance of many flowers. So Khamba went on and found a 
tree in a valley below whereon grew many flowers. He made 
obeisance to the God and did reverence to the tree ere he 
climbed it. So he gathered the flowers and threw them down, 
and by the grace of the God not a petal was broken. He sang 
on the way back the Khulang Isei, honouring the name of the 
Princess Thoibi, and Kongyamba heard it and questioned him, 
but Khamba said, " I sing of Toibi" ^* Then they quarrelled 
again and fought, because Kongyamba bade Khamba carry all the 
flowers and Khamba would not. Then they desisted and fell to 
eating, for it was late, and the odour of the savoury food which 
Thoibi had prepared for Khamba was very rich, and while Kong- 
yamba questioned Khamba about it, the crows came and ate the 
cakes which Kongyamba had brought for his refreshment. So he 
was wroth, and when he had returned home, he was enraged with 
his younger wife, and would not let her wash his feet. But when 
Khamba had returned home, Thoibi said, " Here is my lord and 
master," and washed his feet and gave him fruit to eat. Mean- 
while Kongyamba sent his men forth to question whence 
Khamba had got such dainty food, and they went to the Palace 
to ask of the Ningon Lakpa^^ if there had been a feast, but 



I40 THE MEITHEIS 

they came back in sore haste, for Thoibi bade the porters drive 
them oflF. Then Kongyamba was minded to vex Khamba, so he 
gathered the village folk at the gateway of Khamba's house, ^^ 
and proclaimed to them all the King's orders, that on the 
morrow, the festival of the Gods, all should be clad in gay robes 
with jewels of gold and of silver. Then Khamnu came forth 
and asked him, " What sayest thou ? " And he answered her 
roughly, " Hast thou no ears ? Have I not proclaimed the will 
of the King all day long till my lungs are dry and my throat 
parched ? Go to." So she wept for shame, and Khamba wept 
too, for the thought that he had no bright garments to wear on 
the morrow. But in the night, as they slept, they dreamed that 
they saw their father and mother standing by them, and that 
they told them to go to the house of Thonglen, for there were 
stored their clothes of honour. So they arose, and even in the 
night went to the house of Thonglen. The men seized them as 
thieves, and haled them before Thonglen in the morning, but 
he knew them as the children of his old friend Purenba, and 
gave them rich clothes to wear and taught them the dance, and 
appointed men to follow Khamba and women to serve Khamnu. 
Also he sent men to build their house anew." Then Senu and 
Thoibi came to the house bearing gifts of raiment and jewellery 
for Khamnu and Khamba, but they were perplexed, for they 
knew not the' house, so well and truly had the men built it 
anew. And Thoibi was sore vexed when she saw Khanmu and 
Khamba in the verandah wearing rich clothes, for she feared that 
Khamba had married the daughter of some rich man. Then 
Feiroijamba, the son of Nongtholba, who was betrothed to 
Khamnu, joined them, and they went to the Pat, where they 
met the Princess Thoibi riding in a rich dooli. Then Kongyamba 
distributed the flowers among the great men, to the King first 
and then to the Queen, and then to the High officers of state. 
And Khamba, greatly fearing, asked counsel of the Maibi 
Hanbi, who first set flowers before the God Thangjing. Then 
Khamba presented flowers to the great ones, first to the King, 
then to the Queen, and then to the High officers of state. Eight 
pleased were they all with the flowers set before them by 
Khamba, and they gave him rare gifts, many times more than 
the customary presents which they had given to Kongyamba. 



THE MEITHEIS 141 

Then the dancing began, and Kongyamba and his wives danced. 

Then Khamba and Thoibi danced and sang before the God, and 

their party was great, and the people gathered together and 

shouted with joy as they danced, whirling together, till at last 

they knelt in salutation before the God. Then Kongyamba 

was wroth and spake bitter words, and on the morrow the folk 

began to practise for the lamchel * and the wrestling, and the 

officers of the Pannas were bidden to choose their champions. 

So they chose Khamba, for he ran steadily in long strides with 

his chest low, even as those run who run far. They set him 

before Nongbal, who ran with his head high, swiftly indeed, but 

for a short distance. Then they ordained that this year the 

race be long. So of the two parties, both of the wrestlers and 

of those who run, Khamba was the chief, while Kongyamba was 

chief of the other parties.^® The Leikeirakpas were bidden to 

watch the start, and all the night Kongyamba talked with his 

men how best they might hinder and overcome the party of 

Khamba for, said he, " Many are the races I have won, and heavy 

will be my disgrace if this year I am second to Khamba." And 

Khamnu feared for Khamba lest the Mends of the other should 

do him harm, for they were many. On the morrow Nongbal 

Kongyamba set forth early with his party, and one said to 

another, " It is evil for the land if a poor man win the race.^^ 

It betokeneth scarcity more than the folk can bear. Let us say 

this among the people ere the race be run." So they hailed 

Elhamba when he arrived, and said, "Hast not heard that 

thou art not numbered among those that run? Thy name 

is not set in the list." And the people that stood by assented 

thereto, and Kongyamba said, " Of evil import is it that a poor 

man such as thou should run, for it betokeneth scarcity in the 

land more than the folk can bear." So Khamba believed and 

returned home very sorrowful at heart, and told his sister all 

that had been said to him. Then Khamnu bade him go to her 

father-in-law and tell him all. Then Khamba met Leikeirakpa 

Nongtholba, who was vexed with him and passed him in scorn, 

but Khamba ran before him and bowed himself to the ground 

before him and told him all. Then they went before the King, and 

the King bade Khamba run if there was yet time. So Khamba 

* See p. 53 supra. 



142 THE MEITHEIS 

and Ills brother-in-law Feiroijamba sped to the starting-place, 
and they saw the runners kneeling and the bundle of grass 
was yet hoisted* So they shouted, "We bear the Bing's 
order," but the people shouted so that the runners started, and 
Kdngyamba taunted Khamba, "Bun with me,'' he said, but 
Khamba answered, " Not yet my friend/' Then they entreated 
the Leikeirakpas, and Khamba went to the appointed place and 
there worshipped the Gods, and then he too shouted, and so 
swiftly he ran that he overtook Feiroijamba whose pony was 
startled and ran away.^^ Then the people of Kongyamba were 
fain to stay him, but he dashed them aside. At last he caught 
up Kongyamba, who ran slowly, for he was tired. Then fifteen 
horsemen, the men from the villages of Kongyamba, tried to 
stay Khamba, and in his mind ThOnglen was aware of the evil 
things they did, and the tears came to his eyes and he started 
up and asked leave of the King to see what things they were 
doing to Khamba. Then Khadarakpa,^ the friend of Kong- 
yamba, and Nongtholba set forth together, and Thoibi gave them 
party a gift for the swiftest in the race. Then turn by turn the 
twain ran, first one then the other, gaining but a little, and the 
women cried out to them. Then Khamnu cried out, "Bun on, 
Khamba, for thy Father's honour," and Th5nglen shouted to 
him, " Here is the lion ® thy Father touched, leap up and break 
his horn," and Khamba saluted the King and leapt up seven 
cubits high and brake the horn of the lion. Then Kdngyamba 
came up and in his turn greeted the King. Yet the King was 
more pleased with Khamba and gave him a gold embroidered 
coat, and the Queen gave him rich apparel, and the King^s 
ministers heaped gifts upon him. So in the wrestling Khamba 
was the champion, and he surpassed all in putting the stone 
and tossing the caber.^ Then he and his sister gave largesse of 
many cloths among the elders of the village. 

Then Kongyamba bethought him how best he might work 
evil upon Khamba. But the Gods taught him no hint of evil 
devices in his dreams, and he despaired greatly. Then he 
built himself a hut,^ wherein he might consult a familiar 
spirit, but this availed him not. Then it fell out that one day 
he met women from Khumal fishing in the river of Moirang, 
and he questioned them* " Ye women of Khumal, why do ye fish 



144 THE MEITHEIS 

ear, and show him this rope of silk." ^ Then Khamba set forth 
to find the bulL At first he found him not among the reeds. 
Then he went to a low hill and saw the bull, and went towards 
him calling him to tease him. Then the bull ran at him, but 
Khamba bent aside a little and the people cried out, ''Art 
afraid ? '' but Khamba answered them, *' I fear not ; I seek a good 
stance." Then he stood on firm ground and caught the bull by 
the horns, and they swayed together as they strove for the 
mastery. Then Khamba rested on the neck of the buU, who 
carried him into the jungle. And Khamba spake his Father's 
name softly into the ear of the bull, and showed him the silken 
rope. Then the bull remembered the name of his Master and 
knew the rope, and himself tied it round his own neck. Then 
Khamba brought the bull to the "place where stood Khamnu and 
ThoibL Then KOngyamba joined him there and isaid, " Let me 
help pull the bull along," and caught the rope, but the bull 
would not move, and Kdngyamba said, ''Look, I have rescued 
Khamba. I share the reward. Khamba had fallen into a 
ditch." Then KOngyamba's friends shouted aloud, " Lo, he has 
rescued Khamba," and the Kings were sore troubled to know 
what was right, so they bade Kdngyamba fight the bull in an 
enclosure, but he was afraid cmd. climbed for safety into a 
machdn. Then Khamba fought the bull bravely ; he caught it 
by the tail suddenly, and then on a sudden let it go so tii&t it 
fell on its knees. Then he seized it by its neck. Then the Kings 
did honour to Khamba and gave him many gifts, rich jewellery 
and clothing, and the Khumal King said to the Moirang King, 
" My brother, childless am I, let this man be my man and live 
with me," but the Moirang King would not, and on the morrow 
Khamba killed the bull in honour of the God Thangjing. Then 
it was ordained that at this festival there should be the archery 
as was customary in honour of the God Thangjing, ^ and that 
Kongyamba should pick up the arrows shot by the King and 
Khamba should gather those shot by the Jubraj. It fell oufc 
that the Jubraj asked Thoibi to give him his coat of gold em- 
broidery, but she had given it to Khamba. On the morrow 
when the target was set, the Maibas ^ sang a charm over the 
arrows and the bow of the King, and the King tried the bow 
and then loosed the arrows from the string. Kongyamba 



THE MEITHEIS 145 

stood there girt ready and ran to fetch the arrows which 
he gave back to the King. Then Khamba girded up his 
loins, and when the bow and arrows of the Jubraj had been 
charmed, the Jubraj shot and so swiftly ran Khamba to pick 
them, that his cloth was loosed, and the Jubraj saw and knew 
the gold embroidered coat below. Wroth, indeed, was he, 
and when Khamba bowed himself to give him the arrow, he 
would not take it and turned his face away from him. Then 
Kongyamba took the arrow from the hand of Khamba and 
gave it to the Jubraj, who was pleased with him and said, " My 
daughter Thoibi is thine to wive. In five days will I send thee 
the marriage gifts." Then Nongtholba asked the Jubraj, 
*' Wherefore art thou wroth with Khamba?" and the Jubraj said, 
" I like him not; I will not see his face." Then said Nongtholba, 
" Is thy daughter a fruit or a flower thus to be given away as a 
trifle of no worth ? On the day when Khamba slew the bull, 
the King, thy brother, promised her in wedlock to Khamba, in 
token whereof I set seven notches upon the lintel of the kanglct^ 
for men to see and know." Then the Jubraj said, " That I know 
not, but what I have said, I have said.^ My daughter I give to 
Kongyamba." Then the King was vexed, and the Jubraj went to 
his house and bade his wives get ready the marriage gifts, "for in 
five days I will give my daughter Thoibi in marriage to Kong- 
yamba." Then, lest Khamnu and Khamba should give him 
gifts on the appointed day, he ordained that none should sell 
fruits but by his leave, and leave to buy gave he only unto 
Kongyamba, and to none other. But ELhamba set forth to the 
village where dwelt Kabui Salang Maiba.^ When he stood at 
the gate, the Nagas who kept watch and ward there, seized him 
and took his load straps from him, and haled him to the pdkhan- 
vdl ^ where sat the Maiba. Then Khamba said, " Wherefore 
have thy men seized me and taken my load straps from me ? I 
am come hither to see my Father's friend the Salang Maiba." 
Then the Maiba plied him with questions and knew that he was 
indeed the son of his old friend, and sent off men to gather fruit 
for him. Then he showed Khamba the spot whereon his Father 
had done great deeds of valour in battle against the Kabuis. 
The men brought in two weighty baskets of fruits, and the 
Maiba added thereto of his store gifts for Thoibi and Khamnu 

L 



146 THE MEITHEIS 

and Khamba. Then Khamba took the fruit home and Thoibi 
set it ready in eleven dishes," and talked with the chief Eani, 
who promised to stand ready with ten of the queens and ten 
maids to receive the gifts. On the morrow Kongyamba brought 
his gifts, but Thoibi lay sick with a fever, for an evil spirit had 
chanced in her path. So the Jubraj sent Kongyamba away, 
saying, " I will send my daughter anon, for she lies sick of a 
fever." After a while Thoibi arose. Then the Jubraj himself 
ailed and lay him down to rest a while. Then Thoibi's maid 
Senu swept clean the northern portion of the verandah,*' the 
place that folk call mangsok^ that is set apart for the women, 
and threw the dust on the southern part that is called phamen, 
which is set apart for the men. Then she smeared the northern 
part with fresh mud. Then came the Banis and sat in their 
places, and Khamba's gifts were set before them and they par- 
took of them and gave of them to the people. And it chanced, 
even as Thoibi had planned, that her Father, the Jubraj, who 
meanwhile had risen and gone with the King to see the men 
shoot in honour of the God Thangjing, returned home parched 
with thirst and craving the juice of some acid fruit. He asked of 
the queens, his wives, " Have ye any acid fruit?" and they said, 
'' Lord, we have none," but Thoibi said, " Father, I have firuit in 
my basket," and she brake the fruit into a silver cup and gave 
the juice to her father to drink, who relished it and said, " What 
fruit are these?" Then said Thoibi, " Men call them did kao and 
mak kaOy* ^^ and her father saw not the guile in her answer and 
again said, " These are strange names. Whence come they ? " 
Then said Thoibi, " Father, dost thou not know the fruit ? They 
are the fruit which Kiamba, thy son-in-law, has set before thee 
on his marriage." ^ At this the Jubraj waxed wroth and threw 
his silver huqa at his daughter. Then Thoibi fainted as if in a 
trance wrought upon her by the skyey influence of Laimaren and 
Panthoibi.*^ The Jubraj was greatly terrified thereat, and the 
women wailed over her. So he said to his daughter, ** Child, 
daughter, wife of Khamba, arise and go to thy husband's kin." 
Then Thoibi arose, and the Jubraj was wroth again. Then he 
sent men to summon Kongyamba, and to say to Khamha, 
" Come to thy Lord, the Jubraj, for he is minded to give thee 
gifts," *^ Then Kongyamba gathered men together and met 



J 



THE MEITHEIS 147 

amba by the way, and said to him, " Art thou minded to 
3 up Thoibi ? " and Khamba answered him and said, ^* Jest 
with me, fori will not give her up." Then. they quarrelled 
. fought, and Khamba threw the man upon the ground and 
lit upon his belly and pressed his throat, and was minded to 
him, but the men that stood by, the friends of Kongyamba, 
5ged him off and beat him and tore his clothes, and bound 
L so that he could not move. Then the Jubraj came up on his 
it elephant and bade the men beat him. Then they made 
L fast to the elephant with ropes, but the mahout who bound 
I, knew that Khamba was innocent, and so bound him that 
yet had space to breathe. Then they goaded the elephant, 
the God Thangjing stayed it so that it moved not. At last 
agyamba took a spear and pricked it so that it moved with the 
a. But it harmed not Khamba. Then the dawn broke and 
men said " Khamba is dead," and they loosed him from the 
)hant and moved him away. In the darkness of the night the 
Idess Panthoibi came in a dream to Thoibi and said, " Dost 
u not know that thy man is bound by thy father's orders to 
elephant and they have nearly killed him." Then Thoibi 
je and girt her petticoat close to her, taking with her a knife, 
t found Khamba still tied, and cut the cords that still bound 
L, and chafed his limbs so that the blood ran through them. 
jn Khamba came to and knew Thoibi, and bade her send for 
aimnu, and one went and fetched her. When she came, she 
)t for sorrow at the plight of her brother. Then Feiroijamba 
le and gave help. Then Nongtholba was very wroth for all 
J had done to Khamba, and bade his son tell it all to the 
rap. Then the slaves of Thonglen told their lord that 
amba was dead, for the men had bound him to the feet of 
elephant, and he was very wroth and went to the Chirap 
h all his men armed and girt ready. Then Feiroijamba told 
Chirap thrice how cruelly men had tried to kill Khamba, 
the Jubraj heeded not the complaint. Yet again Feiroijamba 
I them, and Nongtholba in his wrath said, " Who is this that 
ed to touch my son-in-law." Then said the Jubraj, " I bade 
m kill Khamba, and I believed him dead. Vexed am I that 
still lives and, therefore, am I not minded to hearken to this 
iplaint." Then said Nongtholba, " My Lord, hast thou the 



148 THE MEITHEIS 

power of life and death ? " Then the Jubraj answered and said, 
" Such power have I." Then said N6ngth6lba, " As I live and 
while I hold mine office, none shall dare to kill my son-in-law. 
Upon me is the task of guarding this realm. My counsel lis 
ever before the King. Let us before my Lord the King." So 
they joined hands and went before their Lord the King, and the 
King was wroth with the Jubraj, for Thoibi had told him all 
that they had sought to do to her husband. And the Eang for- 
bade the Jubraj to come in, for he said, " Peradventure he seeks to 
drive me out, and is leagued with mine enemies the Angoms.^ 
When he has killed all my captains that are mighty in battle, 
then will he kill me also." l^en Th5nglen came to the palace 
with all his men armed and girt ready, and vowed that he would 
kill all those who had sought to kill Khamba ; but N6ngthdlba 
pacified him saying, ''Shall a man wrestle with that great 
elephant and not get hurt ? " So Th5nglen laid his anger aside. 
The King sent his own leech to minister to the hurts of Khamba, 
and sent daily gifts of food and money. And in the Durbar he 
asked Nongtholba to give him counsel, and he punished all 
those who had laid violent hands on Khamba, and the Jubraj 
he set in prison, and bade him stay there till Khamba was well 
again. So Thoibi tended her husband and he was well again. 
So the King set the Jubraj free and hoped that he would bear 
no malice against Khamba. Yet the Jubraj called his wives 
and summoned Thoibi, but she was tending Khamba, Then he 
said, '' Better be childless than be the father of this evil girl. 
Sell her to Kubo and let me never see her more." And he would 
not relent for all that they entreated him. So he summoned 
Hanjaba, and bade him take the girl to Tamurakpa,^ and sell 
her and bring back the price in silver and gold. Hien Thdbi 
told Khamba, and said, " Dear husband, for thy sake I go to 
Kubo at my father's bidding. Forget me not, for I will come 
back." At daybreak she did obeisance to her father and 
mother, and wept so that the cry of her lamentations was like 
the thunder, and her mother wept also and all the maids. Then 
she went to Hanjaba, who had the secret orders of her father to 
Tamurakpa. He took away all her jewellery, and set out with 
her. On the way she met Khamba, and he wept with her for the 
happy days that were gone, and the grief of their separation. 



THE MEITHEIS 149 

Then Khamba gave her a stafif to lean on by the way, but 
Thoibi planted it by the road and bade it blossom forth with 
leaves if she kept her love true and chaste for Khamba,**^ and she 
set a mark upon a stone by the roadside as a token. Then she 
reached Kubo, where Tamurakpa counted out her price in gold 
and silver into the hand of Hanjaba. But Tamurakpa had pity 
on her sorrow and bade her go in and be with his daughter 
Changning Kanbi. The evil women of Kubo whispered to 
Changning, and persuaded her to send Thoibi forth to catch fish 
and gather fuel.*® While she was busied with her task, she 
dreamed that Khamba was with her, doing even as she herself, 
but when she woke, she knew that it was but a dream. Then 
the God Thangjing took pity on her, and Tamurakpa bade the 
women weave each of them a cloth, for he heard them wrang- 
ling. Changning sought to reproach Thoibi, and said, 
" Wayward child thou art. Thou had'st the chance of marry- 
ing Kongyamba a goodly man, a scion of a famed race, stout 
and comely, yet thy love turned to Khamba." And Tamu- 
rakpa heard, and his anger was kindled against his daughter, 
and he was fain to strike her, but Thoibi stayed him. So they 
wove together, and in the night Changning tore holes with a 
porcupine quill in the cloth which Thoibi had woven,**^ for she 
was jealous. When Thoibi arose, she saw all that had been 
done, but she sat to and so skilfully mended all the holes that 
Tamurakpa preferred the cloth she had woven, and threw a^ide 
the cloth which his daughter had woven. Then, while she 
worked at the loom, a wind brought ashes far drifting upon the 
loom, and Thoibi knew that they had come from Moirang. Then 
she wept as she thought of her husband and her home, and the 
God softened the heart of her father, and he sent men to bring 
her home again. But he warned Kongyamba and bade him 
meet her by the way. So Thoibi did obeisance to the Kubo 
God, and thanked Tamurakpa courteously as she went back with 
the men her father had sent. And when she had come to the 
place where was the stone on which she had set a mark as a 
token, she worshipped it and put gold and silver on it ; and 
when she came to the place wherein she had planted the staff 
which Khamba gave her, she saw that it had blossomed forth 
with leaves. Then Kongyamba was near and bade his men see if 



ISO 



THE MEITHEIS 



Thoibi was coming, and they shouted, " Lo, the Princess is at hand/' 
Then Thoibi heard the shout and i>ade the slaves that Tamn- 
rak|>a had sent with her as tribute to the King^ ** Go on and sit 
near if the man is Khamba, but far apart if he be Kongyamba/' 
She went on and feigned friendship with him, and sat on his 
red cloth,*^ but placed a stick between them.*^ Then she asked for 
fruit, and Kongj^amlta brought her fruit, Init she would not eat for 
she feigned that she ailed after her sojourn in Kubo. Then she 
asked Kongyamba to let her ride on his pony while he rode in^ 
her dooli. And he was not loth. Then when she was near homejHl 
she gaUoped ofl* on tlie pony to Kliamba's house, and he took 
her and they all wept for very joy. Then Kongyamba was sore 
vexedj for the girl had tricked him, and Ids tiiends availed him 
not, and he sought to win the ICing's ministers to hearken to him, 
but Thonglen and Nongtholba sent men to guard Khamba and 
Thoibi, and on the morrow the matter wag set before the King 
in his Durlmr, and he l>ade them settle the matter by the ordeal 
of the spear, but as he spake an old woman came forth and said. 
" My LorI King, there is a tiger in the jungle hard -by that w% 
fear," and the KiDg said, " Let the tiger bear witness hereiiul 
Unto him that kills the tiger, will I give the Princess Thoibi"] 
So they summoned the hui rai^^ and fenced round jungle, and] 
on the morrow the King and his ministers gathered there in j 
machcms^ So many folk were gathei-ed there that it seemed like a 
white cloth spread on the ground. Then they twain did obeisance 1 
before the King, who laid his behest upon them, and bade them j 
slay the tiger, and he feared for them lest the tiger kill them* I 
So they went and sought the lair of the beast, and in it theyj 
found the body of a girl but newly killed. Then they found the! 
tiger, and sought to spear it, but it turned the spears away asj 
they threw them. Then the tiger sprang upon them and biti 
Kongj^amba so that he died, but Khamba wounded the beast,! 
and drove it off. Then he carried Kongyamba to the macAan, j 
wherein sat his father. And Thonglen taunted Khamba, ** What tj 
art afiraid ? Thy father slew five tigers and thou fearest onel 
Go to, I will come and kill the beast/' Then Khamba entered! 
the jungle once more and found the tiger crouching in a hollow 
half hidden by the jungle, but in fuU view of the macJian of the 
King. As the tiger leapt upon Khamba, he speared it throi 



152 THE MEITHEIS 

11. The technical names of the followers of a great man are : (a) Loin 
or lois who follow ; (6) Khdmin^ or voluntary followers who serve a great 
man ; (c) Haija, persons who have some petition to make from hai to 
speak and ja or cha the suffix of humility ; (d) Chacha are of a similar 
class to the last-mentioned. 

12. Acceptance by Khamnu of these gifts is equivalent to betrothal 
with Feiroi-jaraba. 

13. Each side has a varying degree of importance^ and the north is 
highly favoured. 

14. Puns of this kind are much appreciated in Manipur. The aspirate 
is not very distinct. 

15. The Ningon Lakpa is a Court official who had charge of the young 
ladies. 

16. This is a common method of annoying a neighbour. 

17. These were Lois, and the renovation of a house is no long matter. 

18. Leikeirakpa, an official who looks after leikei or quarters of a 
village. 

19. Superstitions of this kind are common in Manipur and Khamba 
readily believes it. 

20. The bundle of grass is lowered as the signal to start. 

21. The races are not fairly run^ as hustling is permitted. 

22. Khadarakpa is the title of a Court official at M oirang. 

23. The mmhgslia or lion here described is commonly held to be a 
Meithei emblem, but it is here associated with Royalty at Moirang. 

24. The sports of Manipur are fully described above. See pp. 49 se^. 

25. The hut was built of light lattice work, and the process of consulting 
a familiar spirit is technically and euphemistically known as hharai 
cliaiigha, literally to go into the latticed hut. The reason why a latticed 
hut is employed is to permit the spirit to enter and depart freely, which 
was denied to it in heavily-thatched houses or in pucca buildings. It ii 
clear that Kongyamba is recognized as having recourse to very shabby 
devices to defeat Khamba. 

26. Each village has its recognized boundaries, and the jurisdictions of 
such tribal divisions as existed were also demarcated. It is worthy of 
note that the Moirang and the Kiiumal tribes each seems to have been 
associated with a definite locality. 

27. Maibis are priestesses. See section above under "Priesthood,** p. 109. 

28. The use of words of evil import in the presence of the King was a 
dire offence. It is comparable with the old idea that fighting a duel in 
the precincts of the Court at St. James* was treason and punishable as 
such. 

29. The Kangla is the Royal Hall of Coronation. 

30. The curious may parallel this episode in that very modern novel, 
^* The Car of Destiny." 

31. The ceremony u hai kappa (u = wood, kai = split, from khai, and 
kappa = to shoot ; it is just possible that kai = granary) has now been 
absorbed into the ritual of the Durga Puja, and takes place on the last 
day of the Puja. I am inclined to connect it with such a rite as that 
practised by the Kabuis, who place a straw image at the village gate and 
throw spears at it. The success or failure of the village lads affects tiie 
prosperity of the crops. The feature of the rite u kai kappa was that the 



rHE MEITHEIS 



153 



swifteat runnenj gatliered the arrows aa they wore shot and brought them 
back. 

32. Hitj maiha^ are the miniatera of the ancient animiafcio cnlta, and 
chami by their niagic the implements used on all these occaaions. The 
participation even to-day of a Trmiha in any religions ceremony is a sure 
proof that the ceremony is not Hindu in origin. 

33. The exigencies of trarislation have revealed a curious anticipation 
of pohtical oratory. 

34. I do not know whafc were the exjict relationships of the Salang 
Maiba, who aeenis to be a represe!itati\^e of Moirang in a Naga village. 

35. The Pakhanval, or Bachelors^ Hall, is an institntion of very great 
importance in the HiH villages, and there is reason to believe that in early 
times it exiated in Manipur, The question of the social importance of 
this institution will be discussed in a later volume. 

36. The odd number is lucky. Compare the rain piija among the 
TangkhnlSj where the number of persons taking part is eleven also. 

37. Each part of the house has its proper designation. 

38. Mang:idkf the name of the part reserved for the women, is derived 
from mdjig — to pollute and mk = to touch. Fkameu — pftajUt to sit. 

39. cha kao = ch<i, child and kao, to forget ; 7}iak kao = m^yk^ son-in-law 
and kao^ to forget. We may compnre lukhra pdkhra ^ widows and widowers, 
the name given to *'speargrasB " by the Manipuris. 

40. The J libra j had partaken of Kbamba'a gifts, and would be held to 
have recognized him . 

41. LaimarenandPanthoibi are deities of Pre^Hindu days. See section 
above on ** Religion,'* pp. 97, 98- 

42. This is formal recoj[rnition of the tie which had been created between 
the two. It is thus clear that there are two things essential for marriage 
according to the incidents of this story. The first is cohabitation, and 
the second is the exchange of gifts. In the scene in the house of Khamba 
when Thoibi worships the Khtimal God in the conier, they are represented 
as cohabiting. Cf. note 12 above. 

43. This curious association of the Angoma with treasonable practices 
ia iiotiibly exemplified by instances in Manipur history, where the Angom 
Niiigthou was t>ffcen the he<id and centre of disafi'ection and rebellion. 
The Angom Ningthou is almost always closely associated by marriage 
with the Meithei Ningthou, 

44. Tamurakpa is the lakpa appointed to reside at Tamu in the Knbo 
valley» and act as agent there. 

45. The story of the staff that puts forth leaves in proof of the chastity 
of the woman who plants it is well known. 

46. Thoibi is set to these menial tasks in order to humiliate her. The 
women of Kubo are not held in very great esteem by the Manipuris. 

47. Compare Penelope's web. 

48. Persons holding office are entitled to have a red cloth carried before 
them on which they sit. Cf. p. 13, supra. 

49 Wben the man desires to keep separate from the woman whom he 
has married, he may phwse a sword or spear between them. This custom, 
which is described in Emnanitif Vol. 36, No. 141^ pp. 36, aey., 1907» 
[ is connected with the tabu prohibiting intercourse between waniors and 
their wives. This incident here is of importance, as the barrier is raised 
by the woman whose weapon ia th^ stick, ptiasibly the lineal deHcefidnut 



154 THE MEITHEIS 

of the digging-Htick. By doing this Thoibi keeps EOngyamba at a 
distance. 

50. The hnl i-ai are the trackers and scouts. Hut = dog and rat = to 
own. See section on hunting, p. 46, tntpra. 

51. This is the usual signal to call a woman from her house. The mat 
wall is not damaged, and the lady within knows what is meant. 

52. It is commonly believed that both Khamba and Thoibi were of 
giant size. This belief is not borne out by the clothes said to have 
belonged to them which are shown still at the shrine of Thangjing near 
Moirang. I have seen them, and while they do not in genend differ from 
the present costume, the patterns of the embroidery is not modem. 

53. The translation which I possess omits several comic interludes in 
which Nongtholba plays an important part. The interludes tend to 
increase in number, and the recitation of the ballad occupies two days at 
least. The pictures which illustrate it are by Bhudro Sing, a native 
Manipuri artist, who, if my recollection serves me aright, painted them 
while in jail undergoing a spell of imprisonment. 



156 THE MEITHEIS 

satisfactorily proved. So also with regard to the Naga group; 
while of the relations of Meithei to the Eachin group, Dr. 
Grierson remarks that the two are closely connected, and that 
Meithei must be considered as the link between Eachin and 
the Euki-Chin groups. Of its relationship to the numerous 
dialects composing the Euki-Chin group, Dr. Grierson states 
that it must be held to be an independent member of the group 
with points of agreement, not only with the northern dialects 
but with the southern members as well, though differing from 
all in many essential points. 

To make these conclusions more clear it will be useful 
to employ a scheme of comparison by which these facts will 
be exhibited. I propose firstly, to compare the structure of 
Meithei in the following points, (a) numerals, (b) negatives, (c) 
plurals, (d) relatives, (e) order of words, with the corresponding 
points in Tibetan and Burmese, then with the same points in 
Eachari (Bodo), in a typical Naga dialect such as Ao Naga, 
in Eachin in the next place, and lastly, with the same points 
in Thado as representing the northern Chin sub-group, in 
Lushei as typical of the Central Chin sub-group, in Sangkhol 
as belonging to the Old Euki sub-group, and in Ehami as the 
representative of the Southern Chin sub-group. The same 
method of comparison will be employed in order to show 
similarities of vocabulary, although the comparison must be 
limited to a small number of elementary words. It would 
have been impossible to attempt this scheme without the com- 
parative tables in the Linguistic Survey Byport.* 

To the kindness of Mr. J. E. Bridges, Eeader of Burmese at 
the University of London, University College, I owe the notes 
on Burmese and the lists of Burmese words which appear 
below. 

In the sketch of the grammar of Meithei which follows, no 
mention is made of irregularities and unusual forms, which are 
numerous enough and which will be dealt with at length in a 
separate volume. 

* Vol. iii., part iii., pp. 10-14. 



THE MEITHEIS 



157 



TABLE A 1. 



Word. 


Meithei. 


Tibetan. 


Burmese. 


one 


ama 


chig 


tit, ta 


two 


ani 


nyi 


hnit 


three 


ahum 


sum 


thOn 


four 


marl 


Shi 


le 


five 


manga 


nga 


nga 
chauk 


six 


tariik 


dhuk 


seven 


taret 


dun 


kun-hnit 


eight 


nipan 


gya 


shit 


nine 


mapan 


gu 


kd 


ten 


tara 


chu 


ta-hse 


eleven 


taramathoi 


chuchig 


hse-tit 


twelve 


taranithoi 


chunyi 


hs^-hnit 


thirteen 


tarahiimthoi 


chuBum 


hse-thdn 


fourteen 


taramari 


chuzhi 


hs^le 


fifteen 


taramanga 


chunga 
chudhug 


hs^-nga 


sixteen 


tarataruk 


hse-chauk 


seventeen 


tarataret 


ohudun 


hs^-kun-nhit 


eighteen 


taranipan 


chogya 


hs^shit 


nineteen 


taramSpan 


chugu 


hse-kO 


twenty 


kul 


npshu 


hnahs^ 


thirty 


kunthra 


sum chu 


thanz^ 


forty 


niphii 


zhichu 


le-z^ 


fifty 
sixty 


vangkhai 
hiimphu 


nga chu 
dug chu 


nga-z^ 
chauk-hs^ 


seventy 


hiimphiitara 


dun chu 


kun-hna-hse 


eighty 


mariphii 


gya chu 


shit-hs^ 


ninety 


mariphutara 


gu chu 


k6-ze 


one hundred 


chamcl 


gya 


taya 


two hundred 


chani 


nyi gya 


hn&-ya 



158 



THE MEITHEIS 



TABLE A 2. 



Word. 


Mdthei. 


Bodo (Kaoh&ri). 


AoNaga. 


KacLin. 


one 


am& 


m§shl 


ka 


ai 


two 


onl 


mfiginni 


an& 


ni(lakhaung)t 


three 


ahum 


mSgatfim 
m&bri 


dsam 


masum 


four 


inari 


peza 


mail 


five 
six 


mangft 
taruk 


m&boa 
mSdo 


pungu 
terok 


ma-nga 
khru 


seven 


taret 


mSsinni 


tenet 


sinit 


eight 


nipftn 


mftjai 


tl 


masat 


nine 


mftpan 


mSsug^ 


take 


chakhu 


ten 


tftrft 


m&jl 


ter 


si 


eleven 






terika 


shi langai 


twelve 


t&ranithoi 


zakhai thamX* 


teri&n& 


shi lakhaung 


thirteen 


tftrahumthoi 




terifisam 


[shi masfim 


fourteen 


tftramari 


se 
zakhai tham 


ten peza 


shi mali 


fifteen 




ne 
tham 


teripuDgu 


shi mangft 


sixteen 


taxataruk 


zakhai bre 


metsa-mSben 
terok 


shi khifi 


seventeen 


tarataret 


zakhai brese 


metsa-mfiben 
tenet 


shi sinit 


eighteen 


tSranipSn 


zakhai bre ne 


metsa-mfiben 

ti 
metsa-m&ben 


shi masat 


nineteen 


taramapan 


zakhai bre 


shi chakhu 






tham / 


tako 




twenty 


kul 


zakhaiba 


metsa 


khun 
(Eastern) 
hsum shi 
(Eastern) 
nili shi 


thirty 


kunthra 


zakhai sni ne 


senar 


forty 


niphii 


zakhai zu 


Ur 










(Eastern) 


fifty 
sixty 


y^gkhai 
hiimphii 


madan 


tenem 
iGkar 


mangft si 
^br^si 


seventy 


humphiit9T& 


— 


tenem ser 
metsa 




eighty 


mariphu 


— 


liranfisa 


masat si 


ninety 


mariphutara 


— 


telangtakO 


chakhu si 


one hundred 


chama 


raja-shi 


meirang 


la-ch& 


two hundred 


chani 






ni-sa 
(Eastern) 



* Plains Kachari. Cf. Grierson, op, cit, p. 132. 
t See Hertz Grammar, p. 12. 



THE MEITHEIS 



159 



TABLE A 3. 



brd. 


Meithei. 


. Thado. 


Liishei. 


Bangkhol. 


kb&mi. 




amS, 


khat 


pa-khat 


enkat 


ha 




ani 


ni 


pa-hnih 


enni 


ni 




ahum 


thum 


pa-thum 


en tum 


katun 




man 


U 


pa-li 


mill 


mali 




mangS, 
taruk 


nga 


pa-nga 


ringah 


pangnga 




g^P 


pa-ruk 


garak 


ta-u 




taret 


sagi 


pa-sari 


s&rl 


sari 




nipSn 


r 


pa-riat 


garit 


kaya 




mlLpan 


pa kua 


gu6k 


tako 




t&ra 


som 


shom 


sh5m 


hasuh 


1 


t&ramathoi 


som le khat 


shom-leh- 

pa-khat 

shom-leh- 


sh5m le 
kat 


— 


Q 


tS.ranithoi 


som le ni 


shom le 


— 








pa-hiiih 
shom-leh- 


enni 




en 


tarahumthoi 


som le thum 


shom le 


— 








pa-thum 


entum 




len 


tSramari 


som le li 


shom-leh- 
pa-li 


shom le 
mfli 


— 


I 




som le ngS. 


shom-leh- 

pa-nca 
shom-leh- 


sh5m le 
ringah 


— 


n 


taratariik 


som le gup 


sh5m le 


— 








pa-ruk 


;aruk 




been 


tfirataret 


som le sagi 


shom-leh- 
pa-sari 


shom-le 
sS,ri 


— 


jen 


taranip3.n 


som le get 


shom-leh- 
pa-riat 


sh5m le 
garit 


—' 


3en 


taramapan 


som le ko 


shom-leh- 
pa-kua 


shom le 
guok 


— 


y 


kul 


somni 


shom-hnih 


shom ni 


kusuh 




kunthra 


som thum 


shom-thiim 


shom tum 


ku-i-thun 




niphu 


som li 


shom-li 


shom mill 


ku-i-mali 




yangkhai 


som nga 


shom-uga 


sh6m rin- 
gah 

sh5m ga- 
ruk 

sh5m sari 


ku-i-pang- 




humphu 


som gup 


shom-ruk 


nga 


fcy 


humphutara 


som sagi 


shom-sari 





7 


mariphu 


som get 
som ko 


shom riat 


sh5m gailt 


— 


1 


mariphutara 


shom kua 


shorn gu5k 


— 


iindred 


chama 


ya khat 


za khat 


raja kat 


tar& 


imdred 


chani 


yani 


za ni 


raja ni 


•~— 



i6o 



THE MEITHEIS 



TABLE B 1. 



Noun. 


Meithei. 


Tibetan. 


Burmese. 


house 


yum 0?- im 


khyim 


ein 


fire 


mei 


m§ 


ml 


water 


ising 


chhu 


y® . . 


earth 


lei 


bSl 


mye (Jih = nee 


eye 


mit 


mik 


myet 


hand 


khut 


lakpa 


let 


head 


kCk 


go 


gaung 


pig 
dog 


Ok 
hui 


^^ 


wet 
hkwe 


bird (hen) 


yel 


jha 


hnget 


egg 


yerum 


gong-na 


u 


see 


u-ba 


— 


myin 


eat 


cha-ba 


so 


8& 


drink 


tak-pa 


thung 
ser-shu 


thauk 


speak 


hai-ba 


pyaw (hu = to 








declare) 


ask 


hang-ba (ni-ba) 




me 


good 


a-pha-ba 


l^^ 


kaung 


bad 


pha-ta-ba 


hso 


north 


awang (lam) 




myauk 


south 


makha (lam) 




taung 
a-8h6 


east 


nongpok (lam) 




west 


nongchup (lam) 




a-nauk 


woman 


nupl 


mi-mo 


meim-ma 


child 


-cha 


phugu 


kale 


cloth 


phi 


go 


a-ht^ 


tree 


ii (sing = bush- 
wood) 


shing dong 


thitpin 


leaf 


(ii) ma-na 




ywet 


sun 


nong, numlt 


nyi-ma 


ne 


moon 


tha 


dawa 


la 


year 


chahi 




hnit 



THE MEITHEIS 



i6i 



TABLE B 2. 



onn. 


MeitheL 


Bodo (Kaohari). 


AoNaga. 


Kaohin. 


86 


yum or im 


no 


kl 


nt&wa 




mei 


wai 


ml 


wan 


)r 


ising 


dl 


tz& 


kha-nsin 


h 


lei 


ha 


.. 


ka 




mit 


mu 


tenak 


mit-myi 


i 


khut 


yao 
kdrO 


ket 


lata 


I 


k5k 


tokolftk 


b5ng 




5k 


— 


»- 


wa 




hui 


shlsha 


aza 


gui 


(hen) 


yel 


dau-zu 


oza 


^ 




yerum 


dau-dui 


— 


ti 




u-ba 


— 


^■^ 


mu-ai 




chft-ba 


lang 


chi 


sha-ai 


k 


tak-pa 
hai-ba 


— 


lu-ai 


k 


... 





8un-ai 




hang-ba (ni-ba) 


(bi) (sangnu) 


-. 


hsan-ai 


I 


a-pha-ba 


h&mbi 


tazung 


kaja 




pha-ta-ba 


& 


ta-ma-zung 


nlcaja 


h 


aw9ng(lam) 


~^ 


"" 


nda-de kha- 
khu* 


h 


makha (lam) 


"— 


—' 


nda de kha- 
Tin.m de * 




nongpok (lam) 


— 


— 


jan pru dd 


i 


nongchup (lam) 


— 


— 


jan shang d§ 


lan 


nupi 


m&saing ju 


l&r 


num 


1 


-cha 


ansa 


tSnur 


-sha 


1 


phi 


hi 


— 


pun ram 
hpun 




u 


Bangfang 


— 




(u) ma-na 


— 


— 


lap 




nong, numit 


BhSLin 


&na 


jan 


n 


tha 


dSi 


I 


shata 




chahi 


lai-zau 


"■" 


shaning 



* Cf. Hertz, op. cit,, p. 99. 



l62 



THE MEITHEIS 



TABLE B 3. 



j 
Noun. 


Meithei. 


Thado. 


LuBhei. 


Bangkhol. 


Ehami. 


house 


yum or im 


in 


in 


in 


in 


fire 


mei 


mei 


mei 


me 


mai 


water 


ising 


tui 


tui 


dui 


tui 


earth 


lei 


lei 


lei 


emeng 


ka-lai- 
hong 


eye 


mit 


mit 


mit 


mit 


a-mi 


hand 


khut 


khut 


kut 


kut 


aku 


head 


kdk 


lu 


lu 


lu 


abi 


pig 
dog 


dk 


v6k 


v6k 


vok 


wet 


hui 


hui 


ui 


ui 


ui 


bird (hen) 


yel 


S, 


va 


ar 


kava 


egg 


yerum 


atui 


vatui 


ardui 


du 


see 


u-ba 


mu-ba 


hmu 


enroshe 


— . 


eat 


cha-ba 


ne 


ei 


Sfakroshe 


tsa 


drink 


tak-pa 


don 


in 


— 


nei 


speak 


hai-ba 


ti 


thu shoi 


atiroshe 


tape 


ask 


hang-ba 


dong 


zawt 


— 




good 


a-pha-ba 


pha 


tha 


asa 


hui 


bad 


pha-ta*ba 


pha-lo 


tha-lo 


sha-mak 


s'hau 


north 


awSng (lam) 


tui-na (lam) 
tui-ta (lam) 


hmar-lam 


— 


— 


south 


makha (lam) 


chhim-lam 


— 


— 


east 


nongpok 
(lam) 


ni-sho (lam) 


chhak-lam 


mlsaash- 
uok 


— 


west 


nongchup 
(lam) 


ni-hlum(lam) 


thlang-lam 


— 


— 


woman 


nupi 


numei 


hmei chhia 


donmagte 

.(girl), 
naite nai- 


— 


chUd 


-cha 


-cha 


fa 


— 










pang 




cloth 


phi 


pon 


puan 


piin 




tree 


u 


thing 


thing 


ting 


akiin 


leaf 


(ii) ma-na 


thing-na 


hnah 


na ting-na 


— 


sun 


nong, niimit 


ni 


ni 


misa 


kani 


moon 


tha 


hla 


thla 


ta 


la 


year 


chahi * 


kum 


kum 


kiim 


~"~ 



♦ Kum occurs in Meithei as hd-kum = last year. 
Kum is the vegetal year. 



Kum-si = this year. 



THE MEITHEIS 163 

Meithd Numerals, — Of the simple numerals, those for eight 
and nine require special mention. Nipdn and mapan seem to 
mean two '* ofif " and one " ofif " respectively. Something not un- 
like this is found among the higher numerals in Ao Naga and 
Angami Naga.* The addition of what seems to be an otiose 
syllable thM to the numerals, eleven, twelve, thirteen is notable. 
Kul = twenty, is paralleled by the Eastern Kachin word Khun. 
Kunthra = kUti tara. It is possible to equate the Meithei tdra 
= ten with the Ao Naga ter. In Meithei the higher numbers 
above forty are formed by multiplying in scores, the multiplier 
being prefixed to the word jphu = score. Fifty {ydugkhai) may 
be resolved into ydng t = chd = one hundred, and khai = to 
divide, to half, cf. makhai = half. Sixty is three score. Seventy 
= three score plus ten. It will be noticed that the multiplier 
precedes and the addendum follows. In multiplying hundreds 
the multiplier follows the word (chd) for hundred. 

Tibetan Numerals. — The Tibetan system of numerals follows 
a constant rule. The multiplier precedes while the addendum 
follows the theme, which is by decimals. Thus five hundred 
and ninety-two would be five hundreds, nine tens, two.J 

Burmese Numerals. — The Burmese system resembles the 
Tibetan, and is based on tens, not on scores, as in Meithei. 

Kachari Nunurals,^—'KeTQ we have a very curious system 
based on " fours." Thus we have zakhai zu = 40. Zakhai = 
four and zu = ten. For numbers intermediate between exact 
multiplication we have the rule that the multiplier immediately 
follows the "four," while the addendum come next. Thus 
zakhai tham tham = 4 X 3 + 3 = 15. This method carries us 
only up to 40, and is only used by the " Plains Kacharis." 

Ao Naga Numerals. — Eeference has been made to the mean- 
ing of the numerals 16, 17, 18, 19, in this language. || The forms 
for six, seven and ten, resemble those in Meithei. The higher 
numerals are formed on distinct lines. The forms for 30, 40, 50 
and 60 are, so far as I can see, not "multiplied numerals." 

* Linguistic Survey Report^ vol. iii. part ii. p. 266. 
t Cf. feurmese ya. 
X Jaeschke^ p. 15. 

§ Endle, Kachari Grammar, pp. 12, 13. Grierson, op. cit, Govemment 
Census Report, 1891, p. 159. 
II See above. 



i64 THE MEITHEIS 

The form for 70 is aaalysable into 50 + 20 : that for 80 = 
twice 40. I cannot solve the mystery of tdarig tako = 90, for 
telaiig = 100, while tako = nine.* 

Kachin Numerals, — Mention has been made of the similarity 
between the Meithei kul = 20, and Kachin khun = 20. The 
higher numerals are formed by tens, the multiplier preceding 
the ten.t 

Thddo Numerals. — The formation proceeds by tens through- 
out, the multiplier following the ten and the addendum bring 
marked by the conjunction Ze.J 

Lushei Numerals, — The Lushei system resembles that of the 
Thados as above described.§ 

Rangkhol Numerals, — It is interesting to observe that Eang- 
khol, which forms its higher numerals as Lushei and Thado,ha8 
the syllable ruk in its word for six, like Meithei and Lushei, but 
not Thado.ll 

Khami Numerals, — So far as my materials go, it seems that the 
higher numerals follow the use of Thado, Lushei and Eangkhol 
in suffixing the multiplier.1T 

It will be seen that up to one hundred the Meithei numerals 
show points of likeness to Tibetan numerals, where the multi- 
plier precedes, and in the formation of '* hundreds " follows 
the Kuki-Chin system where the multiplier follows the multi- 
plicand. Eesemblances of form as well as of formation are as 
widely and as strangely distributed. 



PLURALS. 

In Meithei the plural sign is often omitted. Where the fact 
of plurality is to be emphasized, the suffix sing is added to 
nouns denoting human beings, as nupi sing = the women. The 
same emphasis is obtained by using words as yam, which means 
many, as ml-yam = a crowd of men. 

* Grierson, op, cit,^ p. 273. 

t See Hertz, Grammar, p. 13. Grierson, loc, cit., p. 519. 

X Hodson, Thado Grammar, p. 17. 

§ Lorrain and Savidge, Lushei Grammar^ p. 8. 

II Soppitt, Grammar, p. 37. 

1[ Grierson, op. cit., voL iii. part iii. pp. 351, 361. 



THE MEITHEIS 165 

In Tibetan the plural sign is often omitted, when, from 
oircumstances, the fact of plurality is clear ; but such words as 
** all," " many," and numerals, are used as plural affixes in addition 
lao the usual affixes nam and dag,"* 

In Burmese the plural of nouns is formed by adding mya 
(which means many) or do to the singular. In colloquial my a 
do are both used together. 

The plural suffix in Kachari is/wr,t which is used with nouns 
denoting inanimate as well as animate objects. 

The plural affix in Ao is the suffix tarn, which may be 
connected with the Thado tarn = many.J 

In Elachin the plural affix is suffixed to the noun and words 
of plurality such as ni, bok, theng, yong, which mean, heap> 
crowd, etc., are used.§ 

The plural affixes in Thado are ho and te, which are used with 
nouns of living objects, and tampi (tarn = many, plus pi the 
magnitive suffix) and nge with other nouns. || 

The plural suffixes in Lushei are te, ho te-ho, ho-te, zong-zong, 
and zong-zong-te,^ 

There is only one plural suffix used in Eangkhol, hai** 

The plural suffixes in Khami are apparently nai and na, but 
words meaning " much " or " many " can be added to convey the 
idea of plurality .tt 



NEGATIVES. 

In Meithei the negatives are the suffixes da or ta, hi (used 
only in the future tense of the verb), and ganu (used in the 
imperative). These suffixes follow the verbal root immediately, 
as root pha = good, pha-ta-ba = bad. The word mai is used in 
common speech as meaning " it is not." This word is derived 
from a lost root mak, a negative form in use among many other 
Tibeto-Burman tribes. It is formed on the known analogy of 
the word lai, which we know to be derived from lak = to come. 

♦ Jaeschke, p. 11. t Endle, op. cit, p. 9. 

X Grierson, loc, cit, p. 273. 

§ Hertz, op. citj p. 6. Grierson, loc. cit, p. 506. 

II Hodson, op. citj p. 9. % Lorrain and Savidge, op. cit, p. 3. 

** Soppitt, op. cit.y p. 34. ft Grierson, loc. cit.y p. 350. 



i66 THE MEITHEIS 

The final consonant is elided as is common, this produces a 
lengthening of the vowel in the root, and the letter i represents 
the verbal sign of present time. 

In Tibetan the prefix ma has a negative force, and is used 
with the verbal root. Negative adjectives are formed by the 
affixes ma, mi, med, and others, which are suffixed to the root 
thus modified. 

In Burmese the negation is expressed by prefixing md and 
omitting the temporal affix tJd in the present and past tenses. 
In the future tense the negation is expressed by using md hok 
(Ut. " not true ") after the future affix myi. 

In the imperative the negation is expressed by md preceding 
the verb, and hnin (colloquial n^) following it . 

In Kachari * the suffix a, which is attached directly to the 
verbal stem, effects negation in all except the imperative tense, 
where the negative affix is da and is prefixed to the verbal 
root. 

In Ao Naga the usual negative is ma which precedes the 
verb, but in the imperative the form ta or te is used.t 

In Kachin the usual negative is n suppressed, which is pre- 
fixed to the word or in compounds to the second part of the 
compound. With imperatives the prefixes hhum and phung 
are used. J 

In Thado the usual negatives are hi and po in the present 
tenses, lo and hi in the past, and po in the future. In the 
imperative hi is used. These afi&xes are found immediately 
after the stem (not the root) of the verb. In the future tenses 
the negative infixes follow the root and precede the tense 
suffix.§ 

In Lushei the negative suffix is loh which is affixed to the 
root, but in the imperative tense the suffix shu is used. There 
are also found in use the suffixes nem and nang.\\ 

In Eangkhol the negative suffixes mdJc, nimdk and Id are 
used.ir 

* Endle, op. cit., p. 24. 

t Grierson, loc. cit, p. 277. 

X Hertz, op. cit., p. 19. Grierson, loc, cit, p. 509. 

§ Hodson, op. cit, pp. 18-24. 

II Lorrain and 8avidge, op. cit , pp. 27, 28. 

T Soppitt, op. cit., p. 44. 



THE MEITHEIS 167 

The negative suffix in Khami is 0, but the suffix lo is found. 
It is probably derived, as Dr. Grierson remarks, from the 
Burmese Zo = to be wanting.* 



RELATIVES. 

The relative construction in Meithei is notable. It consists 
in the use of the verbal root with the suffix pa (or ba). Thus, 
"Ai-na ngarang yei-ba mi adu chenkhre ; " lit. " By me yesterday 
strike man that run away has ; " " The man I struck yesterday 
has run away.*' Or again, " Ai-gi pot hu-ba mi adu pha-rak-pa 
ni-pa adu-da lupa amapi-gani ; " lit. " Me of things steal man 
that arrest come man that to rupee one give will ; " " I will give 
one rupee to the man who arrests the man who stole my 
things." 

The relative construction in Tibetan is effected by a parti- 
cipial construction employing the suffixes po (masculine) and 
nio (feminine), which are sometimes found attached to the 
simple root and sometimes to the participle in pa.1[ 

There is no relative pronoun in Burmese, and its place is 
taken by the adjective connective thaw or thi. The order in 
Burmese of the sentence "The woman who cooked the rice is 
my mother," would be, " The rice cooked who the woman of me 
mother is." 

There is no relative pronoun in Kachari,J and a participial 
construction is employed. 

The suffix ba in Ao and the suffix er are employed as relative 
participles, being added to the verbal root.§ 

The relative construction in Kachin is effected by the 
participle in dai. As in Ao, the interrogative pronoun is used 
as a relative. II 

The suffix pa is commonly used as a relative in Thado; 
but I have found the verbal root with the (conventionally 
termed) antecedent noun immediately following it, having the 
force of a relative. It may be noted that the pronominal 

* Grierson, loc. dt,, p. 354. t Jaeschke, p. 20, 9q. 

X Cf. Endle, op. ctY., p. 21. § Grierson, foe. ct*., p. 274. 

II Hertz, op. cit., p. 10. Grierson, loc, ctY., p. 508. 



i68 THE MEITHEIS 

prefixes which are used with nouns and verbs, are not used 
with the verb in this relative construction.* 

The relative construction in Lushei is expressed by relative 
participles or verbal nouns. Sometimes the demonstrative 
pronoun is used as a " kind of correlative.'* The plural sufi&x 
te can be suflBxed to the verb in order to put the antecedent 
noun in the plural.t 

The relative construction in Bangkhol as in Ao, is occasionally 
evolved from an interrogative pronoun, but more usually from a 
verbal participial.^ 

The relative participle is used in Ehami in much the same 
manner as in Meithei, though the evidence is not as clear as 
could be wi8hed.§ 



INTEREOGATTVE SENTENCES: 

In Meithei we find a grammatical distinction between sentences 
involving as answer a simple affirmative or a simple negative, 
and those sentences which involve an extended answer. As 
regards form, we may say that where it is necessary to use 
interrogative words such as who, why, where, when, etc., the 
form of the verb differs from that used when the simple question 
is asked. Thus — 



Nang Meithei lei-p^k-ta chat-pra, chat-ta-pra. 
You Meithei country to going are, going not ai 
Are you journeying to Manipur or not ? 



Kari-gi damak Meithei leipSk-ta chat-page {or chat-pa-no). 
What of cause Meithei country to going are. 
Why are you going to Manipur ? 

In the written works in Tibetan it seems that the suffix cm 
is employed to mark an interrogative sentence, but it (or one of 
its variant forms) is omitted in the latter member of a double 
question, and when an interrogative pronoun or adverb occurs 
in the sentence. 

In Burmese the interrogative affix law (colloquial la) is used 

* Hodson, op. city p. 32. f Lorrain and Savidge, op. cit, p. 13* 

t Soppitt, op. cit, p. 38. Grierson, loc. cU., p. 185. 
§ Gnerson, loc. cU., p. 352. 



THE MEITHEIS 169 

at the end of the sentence when the answer is simply **yes " or 
" no/' and the aflBx nl (colloquial le) in questions to which the 
answer is not simply " yes " or " no " 

The distinction between simple and extended questions does 
not appear to be recognized in Kachari. 

There does not seem to be any distinction in Ao between 
simple and extended interrogations. 

There is a formal distinction in Kachin between simple 
and alternative interrogative sentences. In the latter the 
particle kun is used, while in the former the interrogative 
particles i ma, and kha, which are suffixed to the verb, are 
employed.* 

In Thado the use of alternative sentences in interrogation is 
very marked.t 

Interrogative particles are freely used in Lushei, but there 
does not seem to be a clear demarcation between simple and 
extended interrogations.^: 

The interrogative particle in common use in Khami seems to 
be mo, and the evidence for any distinction between simple and 
extended interrogations is not clear enough for any opinion to 
be ofifered.§ 



ORDER OF WORDS. 

In simple sentences in Meithei the order is subject, indirect 
object, direct object, verb. The position of the subject and the 
verb is fixed, and between them are placed adverbs of time, 
manner, etc. We may note the order in the following typical 
sentences : — 

Ai-na ma-ngon-da lupa ama pigani. 
Me by him to rupee one give will. 
I will give him one rupee. 

Ai-na ma-bu ngarang u-re. 

Me by him yesterday seeing was. 

1 saw him yesterday. 

* Grierson, loc. cit, p. 609. t Hodson, op. cit,, p. 34. 

:t: Lorrain and Savidge, op, cit,, p. 15^ and pp. 26, 27. 
§ Grierson, he, cit,, p. 363. 



I70 THE MEITHEIS 

It may be noted that if it were desired to emphasize the fact 
that I saw the man yesterday , the order in ordinary speech 
might be " Ngarang ai-na ma-bu u-re " = " Yesterday I saw him." 

Jaeschke states the invariable rule in Tibetan to be, that in a 
simple sentence all words must precede the verb, while the 
order in which the subject, direct and indirect objects are placed 
is not so strictly defined. Adverbs and adverbial phrases of 
place and time are put at the head of the sentence.* 

In Burmese in a simple sentence the subject or the object may 
come first, according as emphasis is placed on the one or the 
other, but the verb with its particles is always placed last. 

The relative clause always precedes the noun or pronoun 
which is its antecedent in English. 

In a complex sentence the principal clause is always placed 
last, and the subordinate clauses precede it ; but the subject of 
the principal clause may be placed before the subordinate 
clauses. 

In Kachari t the verb is placed last. The subject may or may 
not come first, for the position of other words in a sentence 
seems to be determined largely by the emphasis placed on them. 

As regards Ao, the verb usually comes last in the sentence, 
and the other words are placed as the necessity of the speaker's 
thought requires. J 

The order of words in Kachin is subject, direct object, indirect 
object, verb. Adverbs generally precede adjectives, and verbs 
and adjectives usually follow the noun they qualify.§ 

In Thado the order is first the subject and last the verb. 
The indirect object, the direct object and adverbs come in 
between them in the order mentioned. Adjectives follow 
the noun. II 

The order in Lushei is usually subject, indirect object, direct 
object, verb. Adjectives follow the noun. In interrogative 
sentences the direct object is placed before the indirect object. 

Here again, following Dr. Grierson in this as in practically 
the whole of this collection of notes, the order in Khami seems 
to be subject, direct object, indirect object, verb.lT 

* Jaeschke, op. city p. 42. f Of. Endle, op, city p. 40. 

X Grierson, loc. cit., p. 277. § Grierson, loc, cit., p. 509. 

II Hodson, op. rit., p. 33. 1 Grierson, loc, cit., p. 354. 



THE MEITHEIS 171 

SKETCH OF MANIPURI (MEITHEI) GRAMMAR. 

The Article. — There is no definite article in the language. 
The demonstrative pronouns {q. v.) are used if any definite object 
is to be emphasized. The suffix di has an " intensive " action 
which seems to give it almost the function of a definite article. 
The functions of the indefinite article are performed by the 
simple numeral amd (one), but only when the fact of singularity 
is to be emphasized. 

Number. — The ordinary plural suffix is sing (used only with 
personal nouns). The personal pronouns have the suffix khoi. 
Sing is only used when definite persons are referred to, as 
lukhrdbi 5= widows, while lukhrdhi-sing = the widows. The 
word ydMy which means " many," is used as a plural suffix, both 
with such words as ml = man and with nouns of animals, as 
Tni-ydm, many men = a crowd, and oh-ydm = many pigs = a 
drove of pigs. 

Gender, — In general there is only the "natural gender." 
But in cases where the gender is not evident, the words nipa = 
male and nupi = female, are used with nouns denoting human 
beings, while the genders of animals is shown by words as 
ambm = female and a-ld-ba = male. Thus from root cha = child, 
we get ma-clm nipa = his son and ma-cha nupi = his daughter. 
Sixgol a-ld-ha = a horse and sagol ainom = a mare. 

Cases, — There are six cases, instrumental or nominative, accu- 
sative, the case of the direct object, dative, or the case of the 
indirect object, which is also the locative case, showing the 
place or time at which the verbal action takes place, an ablative 
case indicating motion from, a genitive or possessory case, and 
a vocative case. In each instance the case is indicated by 
means of a suffix. 

Instrumental or Nominative Case, — The suffix na corresponds 
to the Thado suffix in and the Lushei suffix m, and exercises 
similar functions to these suffixes.* It is possible that in 
Meithei this suffix is not used when the verb is of the order to 
which Aryan grammarians give the title "intransitive," but 
even this statement cannot be dogmatically asserted in face of 

* See Thado Grammar, pp. 9, 11, and 12 ; and Lorrain and Savidge, 
Lushei Grammar, p. 4. Cf. Jaeschke, op, cit.^ p. 21. 



172 THE MEITHEIS 

passages in native texts. In common speech the suffix is often 
dropped, but it is most persistent in the past tenses of the 
verb. 

Case of the Direct Object. — The suffix is bit. " Nang-na ai-hu 
Hok'Uy lit. *' You by me as to touch was," " You touched me." 
But its use seems to be commonly reserved for personal pronouns 
and nouns denoting human beings. In other cases the order 
of the words seems to indicate the "object" with sufficient 
clearness, so that two linguistic tendencies are at work, the 
one indicating the functions of words by affixes, and the other 
by fixed arrangements of words. 

Case of the Indirect Object, — The suffix is da, but the personal 
pronouns and the word mi (man) lengthen it and the ablative 
suffix by adding the syllable ngon. Thus mipida = to the 
woman, while mi-ngon-da = to a man. The suffix is also used 
to indicate the " locative " case. 

The Ablative Case. — The suffix of the ablative case is dagiy 
which is also used with nouns of place to denote motion from. 

The Genitive or Possessory Case. — The suffix- gi denotes 
possession, and is affixed to the governed word which precedes 
the governing word. Often the suffix is omitted, and the 
relationship of possession indicated by the mere juxtaposition of 
the two words. Nouns of relationship and of the parts of the 
body, and the word yum ( = a house) enjoy pronominal possessory 
prefixes {i for the first person, na for the second person, and ma 
for the third person). 

The Vocative Case. — Sometimes the noun without any affix is 
used in the vocative case. The prefix he and the suffix o, which 
we may also regard as exclamatory affixes, indicate the 
vocative case. 

Pronouns. — Pronouns are of three^ classes, personal, demon- 
strative and interrogative. 

Personal Pronouns. — The personal pronoun of the first person 
is ai singular and ai-khoi plural, of the second person Ttaiig 
singular and na-khoi plural, and ma singular and ma-klwi 
plural of the third person. 

The Demonstrative Pronouns. — The demonstrative pronouns 
are masi or asi = this, indicating proximity, and adu or madu 
= that, used of persons or things at a greater distance. In the 



THE MEITHEIS 173 

locative case ad and adu are used as equivalent to " here '* and 
"there." 

Interrogative Pronouns. — The simple interrogative pronouns are 
kand = who, and kari = what. The range of interrogative words 
derived from these two forms is large, as by the use of suflBxes 
words may be constructed from them. We have karigi = why, 
which is derived from Jcari = what. The word is in reality an ab- 
breviation of slovenly speech, as the suffix damah, which means 
" on account of," is omitted. Eef erence may be made to the verb * 
for the special changes which occur in the verb when these interro- 
gative words are used. " Where " and " whence " have forms of 
their own which are notable. Kadei-da = where and kadei-dagi = 
whence. Kadaungei = when. Kadomda and Kadomdagi are 
honorific forms, and equivalent to Kadeida and Kadeidagi, 

Adjectives. — Two things issue to notice about the adjectives 
in Meithei. The first is that all, or nearly all, assume the 
prefix a which we have seen above as the pronominal or posses- 
sory prefix of the third person, and assume also the so-called 
participial suffix, jpa (ba). The second is that all are, or appear 
to be, capable of elementary modifications similar to those of the 
verb. The position of the adjective is but loosely determined. 
If, as is often the case, it precedes the noun, the case suffixes 
are attached to the noun, whUe if the adjective follows the 
noun, it receives the case suffixes. Occasionally feminine 
gender is denoted by the suffix &^.t Comparison is effected by 
either the use of adversative sentences as, " this man is short, 
that man is tall," which give the idea of comparison, or by the 
use of the adverb hen-na, which is derived from a root Tien = to 
exceed, together with the suffix dagi (ablative case), which is 
suffixed to the noun compared. The superlative or absolute 
degree of comparison is effected in the same manner by 
employing, as the noun of comparison, some word meaning 
"all." Thus "this hill is high, all (others) are small," or (2) 
" this hill is higher than all others." 

Adverbs. — ^Adverbs of manner are formed from the root of 
adjectives by the addition of the suffix 71a. This suffix is also 
added to the stems of participial forms belonging to the verb, 
which acquire thereby an adverbial sense. So, again, it is used 

* See below, p. 178. 

t ** jB* " is also the magnitive or honorific suffix (see page 176), 



1/4 THE MEITHEIS 

as the suffix of instrumentality or agency with nouns with as 
wide a range of employment as the corresponding suffix in of 
Thado or LusheL Adverbs of place are formed from the 
demonstrative pronouns by the suffix da (suffix of the locative 
case) and the suffix dagi (suffix of the ablative case denoting 
motion from). These last are not true adverbs of place, as in 
each instance we often meet, in common speech, with the same 
construction, but with some word such as mapham = place, 
preceding the demonstrative pronoun which appears to be an 
adverb only by reason of the ellipse of the noun. 

Simple adverbs of time are formed by the employment of 
the demonstrative pronouns in the locative case with the noun 
ma-tam = time, thus, matam advrda = at that time. Some, 
again, are formed by the addition of the suffix ria to the root of 
adjectives, while a temporal force belongs to some forms of the 
verbal participles with the suffix da. 

Many adverbs of "time" are irregular in formation. The 
termination mah, which is associated with some of these irregular 
adverbial forms, appears in the adverb mah-ta == only, as the 
root of an adverb. 

Numerals, — The table of numerals on page 157, shows clearly 
the method of notation in Meithei. With the exception of a- 
hdn-ha, which means first, the ordinals are formed regularly from 
the cardinals by suffixing su-ba, which probably means " com- 
pleted." Thus ani-sHha = second. 

Numeral adverbs are formed by the addition of the suffix lak 
to the cardinal, thus, ahum-lah = thrice. 

Verbs, — The verb in Manipuri ranges from very simple forms, 
as tou'iy to lengthy structures, such as tim-ja-rvyra^a'dabar-ni, 
the synthesis of which can be determined without difficulty. It 
is not complicated by variations exhibitive of number, or person, 
or voice. The truth is that the Meithei verb seems to be what 
Aryan grammarians designate impersonal — an explanation 
given originally by Jaeschke of the verb in Tibetan.* The 
simple tenses, the present and the past, consist of the verbal 
root with, in the present, the suffix i or K, and in the past the 
suffix Ic, Thus — 

toU'i — I am doing. tou-re = I did. 

• Jaeschke, op. cit., p. 21. 



THE MEITHEIS 175 

The imperfect tenses are derived from these forms by the 
introduction of an extra syllable lam or ram, thus — 

tovrram'li = I was doing, and 
tou-rain'le = I had been doing. 

These simple forms receive various additional significations 
by the interpolation between the verbal root and the tense 
suflBx of infixes which are notable. The principal are — 

hhi = action at a distant place. 

ht = action at a distant pmce. 

la = action with purpose. 

chaX = action personally, also humility. 

ri = present current action. 

lu and khra = completed action.* 

khat = gradual action. 

gcd and ram = repeated action. 

tok or hanf = causality. 

11a - reciprocal action. 

ningf = desiderative. 

pit = honorific force. 

man = excessive or intensive action. 

The future tenses are formed by the syllable ga, which is 

placed between the verbal root and the tense sign (present only). 

An intensive form denoting immediate action is produced by 

the addition of the syllable ge to the verbal root. A sense 

of necessity is imparted by the addition of the suffix daia as — 

chat-ka^d = I shall go. 
chat-ke = I shall go at once. 
chat-kordaba-ni = I shall have to go. 

Future tenses with the modifications shown above as due to 
infixes, are also found, as chat-khi-^e, chat-cha-ge, chat-lu-ge, A 
future perfect tense is formed thus, chat-la^ge = I shall have 
gone. In ordinary use it means, " I am going now." 

We also find a form, ga-doure, as tcyii-ga-doure = I am about 
to do. This seems to be in reality the future stem with 
toure, the past tense of toit = to do, added. 

* These forms are used only with the past tense, and of the two the 
latter is more emphatic. 

t These infixes are used independently as verbs — a fact which helps to 
the belief that the other infixes may originally liave been capable of 
similar use. 

X Cha and pi are the diminutive and magnitive suffixes used with 
nouns. Of. Thado Grammar, p. 8. They are by transference used with 
" verbs " to express humility and importance, and are often contrasted in 
antithetical sentences. 



176 THE MEITHEIS 

The negative forms are produced by the infix ta in the present 
and past tenses, and their derivatives, and by the infix loi in 
the future tenses, and their derivatives. Thus — 

chat'te = I am not going. 
cJuU'lam'dO'ri, abbreviated to 
chat'lam-dri = I was not going. 
chat'loi = I will not go. 

The imperative form (positive) is produced by the suffix lu 
{r2i) added to the verbal root — 

chat'lu = go ; tmtrru = do. 

The negative imperative form is produced by the sufl&x kanu, 
or ganUj added to the verbal root — 

chat-hanu = do not go ; tourganu = do not do. 

The positive hortative form is produced by the sufl&x si, 
added to the verbal root — 

chat-si = let us go. 

The negative hortative form is produced by the introduction 
of the negative infix ganu (hanu) between the verbal root and 
the hortative suffix d — 

ton-ganU'si = let us not do ; cltat-kanusi = let us not go. 

Participials — There is an abundance of participial forms, the 
constant element in nearly all of which is the sufl&x na, which 
we know to be the suffix, firstly, of the agent case, and, secondly, 
of the adverbs derived immediately from adjectives. We have 
also negative participials in which the negative infix is ta (da), 
with present or past forms, and loi (roi) with future forms. 
Thus— 

hai-na and hai-du-na = saying. 
chat'ta-na and chaUta-du-na =not going. 

The future forms, present and past, are undifferentiated, 
the one form (in reality a past form) being la-ga^ as chat-la-ga, 
which really means, " when I shall have gone." It must be 
remembered that the difference between present and past time 
is not very strongly marked in the simple forms of the verb. 
Connected, at least in form, with the future tense is the 



THE MEITHEIS 177 

" gerundial " participle^ — which is formed by the addition of the 
syllable ddba, to the future tense form in ga (or loi in . the 
negative) as — 

tou-ga-daha = shall have to do. 
tou-roi-daha = shall not have to do. 

The temporal participial has the locative case suffix da, and 
is formed by the suffix lingai (ringai) thus — 

toit-ringai-da = at the time of doing. 
chat'liiigai-da = at the time of going. 

The negative temporal participials are two, and each possesses 
a distinctive meaning ; they are — 

(1) toU'da-riiigei'da = at the time of not doing. 

(2) touram-dei'da = at the time of not doing. 

The first has gradually acquired the sense of "some time 
before doing," while to the second is now attached the meaning 
of "just before doing." 

Purpose is shown, firstly, by a typical construction in the 
future with the participle haiduna = saying, as ma-na ai hi hat 
Ice haiduna chat-hhie = he set out to kill me ; and secondly by 
participial constructions as (a) gaddba-gi and (&) na-naha, 
thus — 

ai-hu hdt-ka-dahagi chatkhre, and ainhu hat-na-naha cJiat-khre 
= he set out to kill me. 

It may be noted that the participial form gadaha-gi is in- 
complete, as from the use of the genitive suffix gi, it is clear 
that some word, such as damah = for the sake of, has been 
elided. 

The participial bani-na means " by reason of," as — 

tou-hani-na = by reason of doing. 
The conditional participial is ba-di, thus — 
ai na-chat'pa-di = if I go. 

The suffix di, it will be remembered, has an intensive force, 
and may thus here mean, " I go, indeed, then," etc. 

The suffix sung, which is denasalized in ordinary speech, has 

N 



178 THE MEITHEIS 

a concessive force. The potentiatives, hd-ha = to be intellectu- 
ally able, and tigam-ha = to be physically able, follow the 
verbal stem in &a, which we may conventionally regard as the 
infinitive form of the verb, and receive the usual suffixes of 
tense, as — 

Meithei lairik-pd-ba hei = l can (I know how to) read a Manipuri document. 
ai'chat-pa ngam-la-roi = I shall not be able to go. 

The verb yd-ba (to be permitted, it is agreed) has also the 
same construction. 

nangna-chat-pa-ydi = you may go. 

Td-na-ba in the reciprocal form means "to be mutually 
agreed" — 

makhol'tia ydiiei = they ha^e come to an understanding. 

The inceptive hao-ba requires the governed verb in the 
infinitive, but it is also used idiomatically when affixed directly 
to the verbal root, thus — 

lei'hdo-re = I remained behind, and 

Khotig hao-dre = I knew nothing at all, I had not begun to know. 

The affix of the infinitive, (to use the conventional though, in 
this connection, misleading terms of Aryan Grammar), is la. 
We get toU'ba = to do, and tovrda-ba (negative) = to abstain 
from doing. Combined with yd-ba, we get sentences such as 

this — 

Khajona-pi-Ja-ha ydi. 
Lit. Rent not to pay is permitted. 
You are exempted from rent. 

The interrogative form of the verb varies, if the question 
asked be capable of a simple affirmative or negative, or if it 
requires an extended answer. Or, to put it in a more formal 
way, if an interrogative word is used, the form of the verb in 
the sentence differs from that in an interrogative sentence 
where no interrogative word is used. All sentences where no 
interrogative word is used should strictly be in pairs, thus 
nang chat-ka-dra, nang-chat-loi'dra = will you go, will you 
not go, are you going or not. In the present tense the suffix is 
hra, thus — 

natig u-bra^ nang-u-da-hra = do you see him or not. 



THE MEITHEIS 179 

With interrogative words, as — why, when, where, whence, 
whither, etc., the suffix is lage {x>(ige\ as — 

ivang kadei-dagi Idkpage = where do you come from. 

Sbnor^fie forms. — The Meithei is a ceremonious person, and, 
in his intercourse with persons acquainted with the niceties of 
etiquette, observes certain rules which will be only briefly 
summarized here. In addressing the Eaja* and members of the 
Eoyal Family, a special vocabulary is used ; in speaking to men 
of equal and superior rank, the speaker addresses the person 
spoken to (if a man) as i-pu = my grandfather, and if a woman 
as i'he, while i-be-ma = my dear, is familiar. If the speaker 
is addressing an officer of state, he speaks of himself as na^ 
nai = your slave, and introduces into the verb the honorific t 
suffix jpi or W, and the suffix ja or cha which conveys a sense of 
humility. Thus — 

Na-ivai-na khat-ja-ning-i. Noriuiigi wd td-hi-u. 
Your slave desires to make a complaint in person. 
Be pleased to hear the complaint of your slave. 

All verbs are regular except the verb " to ba" The verb lei-ba 
= warden rather than sein in the present tense, for which the 
word ni is used. In the past tenses lei-ba is used as equivalent 
to sein, while oi-ha in all its tenses is identical in meaning with 
warden. 

The relative construction is a function of the verb, and is 
formed by the suffix ^a to the verbal stem, and almost produces 
the effect of an adjective, as ngarang = yesterday, chen-khi-ba 
= having run away, ni pa = man, adu = that, hal-lak-le = has 
returned. 

Ngarang chen-khi-ba ni pa adu hal-lak-le. 

The man who ran away yesterday has returned. 

The order of words is usually subject, indirect object, direct 
object, verb. Adverbs usually precede the verb immediately, 
but their position in the sentence may be altered if additional 
emphasis is to be laid on the verb. 

All speech is reported direct, thus avoiding the bewildering 
maze of pronouns which disfigures oblique narration. The use 
of adversative sentences, both in interrogation and comparison, 
* See M*Culloch, op. cit., p. 22. t See note above^ p. 175. 



i8o THE MEITHEIS 

is notable. It is common to have the verbal root repeated, as 
if some greater emphasis were gained thereby, as — 

ikai'kai-re = I am ashamed ; iloi-loi-re = it is quite finished. 

Meithei vocables are for the most part composed of mono- 
syllabic roots. There are some di- and poly-syllabic roots. 

A specimen of Meithei literature is given below in 
Appendices II. and III. The Chronicles (Ningthou-rol) have 
also been translated, and, apart from their value as historical 
records which has yet to be determined, are documents of 
singular ethnological interest. Excerpts from the history- 
such as those which record the " wars " with Burma or with 
Tippera, or those which narrate the steadfastness of Ching 
Thang Komba — are very popular. Translations of passages 
from the Indian Epics have been made, and the influence of 
Hindu ideas upon the growth of the literature of the country 
is considerable. 

An Alphabet of the Meithei Character is given by Dr. 
Grierson on page 22, Volume III., Part III. of the Eeport of the 
Linguistic Survey of India. Its origin is said to date to the rise 
of Bengali influence in 1700 A.D., but local tradition declares 
that the Chinese immigrants in the reign of Khagenba first 
taught the art of writing. I understand that the Meithei word 
che = paper is of foreign origin — not Indian. 

LIST OF AUTHORITIES CONSULTED IN SPECIAL REGARD 
TO THE CHAPTER ON THE LANGUAGE AND GRAMMAR 
OF THE MEITHEIS. 

(1) Grierson, Dr. G. A., C.I.E., PH.D. 

Report of the Linguistic Survey of India, vol. iii. parts ii. 
and iii. 

(2) Primrose, A. J. 

Manipuri Grammar. 

(3) Damant, G. H. 

Notes on Manipuri Grammar. 

Journal Asiatic Society of Bengal, vol. xliv. p. 173, seq, 

(4) Jaeschke, H. A. 

Short practical Grammar of the Tibetan language. Kyelangt 
1865. 

(5) Endle, Rev. S. 

Outline Grammar of the Kachari language. Shillong, 1884i 



J 



THE MEITHEIS i8i 

(6) Hertz, H. F., c.i.e. 

Practical Handbook of the Kachin or Chingpow language. 
Rangoon, 1902. 

(7) Hodson, T. C. 

Thado Grammar. Shillong, 1906. 

(8) Lorrain and Savidge. 

A Grammar and Dictionary of the Lushai language. Shillong, 
1898 

(9) Soppitt, C. A. 

Grammar of the Rangkhol Lushei Kuki language. Shillong^ 
1887. 

(10) Assam Census Eeport, 1891. 

Notes by A. E. Gait and A. W. Davis. Shillong, 1892. 

(11) M'Culloch, Major W. 

Account of the Valley of Munnipore. Selections from the 
Records of the Government of India, No. xxviii. Cal- 
cutta, 1859. 



APPENDIX I. 

THE ORIGINS OF THE SEVEN SALEIS OR SAGAIS (KINSMEN OR 
A COLLATERAL RELATION).* 

Ewgamons Ghroups. 

The originator of the Seven Saleis : (1) Ningthouja, (2) Angom, 
(3) Chengloi, (4) Ngangba, (5) Looang, (6) Khoomon, and (7) 
Moirang, is Grooroo (the most excellent Spirit). 

The Seven Saleis were brought forth from the different limbs 
of the Gooroo, i.e. — 

(1) Ningthouja was born from the left eye. 

(2) Angom from the right eye. 

(3) Chengloi from the right ear. 

(4) Ngangba t from the left ear. 

(5) Looang from the right nostril. 

(6) Khoomon from the left nostril. 

(7) Moirang from the teeth. 

The pedigrees (or genealogical tables) of the seven brothers or 
saleis are as follows : — 

List of the Yumnaks of N"o. 1. Salei Ningthouja. Shandilla 
Grotra. 



1. Enkhom 


13. Nowrem 


2. Kaithel lakpom 


14. Ipoo-Shangbom 


3. Khoirom 


15. Le-u-Shoongbom 


4. Nahakpom 


16. Khoomon-lambom 


5. Thongabom 


17. Khoianam 


6. Shanglen-moum 


18. Shingam 


7. Mairenbom 


19. Namoijom 


8. Fairenbom 


20. Mayang-lambom 

21. Nowroibom 


9. Eroom-Hairom 


10. Khongnam 


22. Kanga-Shenbom 


11. Nowkon Shangbom 


23. Ohong-ning-Henbom 


12. Ta-yumjom 


24. Nga-ri-yanbom 



* Lists prepared in connection with the census, 1901. — ^T.C.H. 
t Or Khabananba. 



APPENDIX I 183 


26. Loitam 


71. Ningthoiijom 


26. Kham-langba-Shangbom 


72. Na-kanbom 


27. Erom 


73. Shingam 


28. Laishongbom 


74. Shoram 


29. Thingnam 


76. Ensheubom 


30. A-khom 


76. Thoudam 


31. Khoondrakpom 


77. Hodam 


32. Kangabom 


78. Sagonsem 


33. Howkhom 


79, Senasam 


34. Shanoujom 


80. Namoirakpom (Moirang Ning- 


35. Lai-Kangbom 


thoumoum) 


36. Wa-reppom 


81. Paobom 


37. Lourangbom 


82. Fouroongbom 


38. Eangnoo-Eaibom 


83. Sangai-Senbom 


39. Shairem 


84. Khoonjahanbom 


40. A-khongbom 


86. Sanabom 


41. Sho-yam 


86. Waikhom 


42. Mutum 


87. Khang-Jrakpom 


43. Hairang-Khongjom 


88. Eng-pokpom 


44. Haisnam 


89. Feejam 


46. Hooi-rongbom 


90. Thang-gan-Shabom 


46. Kongbajom 


91. Ahaibom 


47. Sapom 


92. Wangkhei Falambom 


48. Ahanthem 


93. Fe-leni 


49. Laichonbom 


94. Lourembom 


50. Kaisam 


96. Tjaitonjom 


51. Erengbom 


96. Moichem 


52. Satokpom 

53. Choribom 


97. Houdeijom 


98. Khoinoojom 


54. Loitombom 


99. Nowtam 


56. Atom 


100. Lantham 


56. Paonam 


101. Kontha Howbom 


57. Eroongbom 


102. Shorenshonbom 


68. Lookram 


103. Khoondom 


69. Laimram 


104. Shingkhangbom 


60. Nongthonbom 


106. Shaikhom 


61. Fanidom 


106. Khoori-eanbom 


62. Hemnam 


107. Shouka-rakpom 


63. Cherom 


108. Chanjanbom 


64. Khoidongbom 


109. Nongmai-kappom 


66. Namoi-rakpom 


110. Tensoobom 


66. Huidram 


111. Wangkheirakpom 


67. Yumnam 


112. Khooai Rakpom 


68. Laimapokpom 


113. Wangkhei mourn 


69. Khoomon-Cha-rappom 


114. Sharoongbom 


70. Langpok-Lakpom 


116. Kanghoojom 


Tiist of the Yumnaks of No. 2. 


Salei Angom. Goushik Gotra 


1. Longjom 


6. Ningonbom 


2. Lairen Lakpom 


7. Laitonjom 


3. WangKhem 


8. Hooirem 


4. Kashuwam 


9. Eumlembom 


5. Akoijam 


10. Longmaithem 



1 84 



APPENDIX I 



11. Longmaithem(Telongba Shang- 

bom) 

12. Hidam 

13. Sheram 

14. Naroombom 

16. Pong Shoombom 

16. Achoowam 

17. Hai-Haibom 

18. Ngarenbom 

19. Ongnam 

20. Hongnem-Shoongbom. 

21. Kongbom (Khoira t.e. eldest) 

22. Chakprom 

23. MangShaTam 

24. Aengbom 

25. Wanglembom 
20. Chingangbom 

27. Terem 

28. Loitanthem 

29. Shairom 

30. Khangembom 



1. Thangjom 

2. Tongbrom (Khoira i.e. eldest) 

3. Aekpom 

4. Shoorai shorn 

5. Loishangthem 

6. Chongtham 

7. Kha-Gokpom 

8. Now Shekpom 

9. Yumgoodom 

10. Shorangthem 

11. Wairokpom 

12. Chanam 

13. Elangbom 

14. Chinga khom 

15. Maiba Thiam 

16. Shamnom 

17. Tourangbom 

18. Thoom Gan bom 

19. Ngathem 

20. Loushigam 

21. Hooi wam 



31. Kaikonbom 

32. Nongthonbom 

33. Nakpok-Hanchabom 

34. Elhoimom Tabom 

35. Thangjom 

36. Moirang Laishangbom 

37. Ekhoi Shangbom 

38. Achoibom 

39. Poshangbom 

40. Nganglenbom 

41. Angom Yumkhaibom 

42. Nganoo Kappom 

43. Khana Ohoubom 

44. Kho-Younthen 

45. Moong khom 

46. Shangombom 

47. Poo ton jom 

48. Shangdon jom 

49. Kiam 

50. Mandingbom 



List of the Yumnaks of No. 3. 
Gotra. 



Salei Chengloi. Bharadaj 



27 

28, 



22. Loitam 

23. Moinam 

24. Sharak Khaibom 

25. Elharaijom 

26. Konsom 
Langon Jam 
Moiang Lambom 

29. Maibram 

30. Khoisnam 

31. Hai-wam 

32. PotSangbom 

33. Konthoujom 

34. Howrokcham 

35. Thangjom you pambom 

36. Wakambom 

37. Konjengbom 

38. Loktambom 

39. Yanggoijom 

40. Hemoibom 

41. Amam 



List of the Yumnaks of No. 4. 
Gotra. 

1. Maihoubom (Khoira i.e. eldest) 

2. Tekchom 

3. Thongam 

4. Ahaibom Thongam 



Salei Ngangba. Noiniisha 



5. Hentakpom 

6. Howbajom 

7. Thinbom 

8. Langonjom 



APPENDIX I 



I8S 



njeeram 
iborambom 
tiaidem 
doomoo Jom 
>ejam 



14. Wangbajom 

15. Khoondangbom 

16. Nongjenbom 

17. Khooroijom 



tof the Yumnaks of No. 5. Salei LooaDg. Kasshop Gotra. 



diangbom (Khoira i^ eldest) 

*aiilbom 

nbijom 

lirongjom 

>ibijom 

joojom 

ayengbom 

)rit Khinbom 

XK)bom 

3iigthonbom 

)ongraijom 

vangom 

>oang Shangbom 

anglenbom 

aitham 

un-mi-hanbom 

lamang Jan 

akongthem 

boonjao Mourn 

ambang Mourn 

laugjam Shoran 

hooniook Cham 

iiroi Jom 

liam 

lembangjom 

aikhom 

aiboong Lakpom 

lonbam 



29. Maisnam 

30. Maitram 

31. Yumlembom 

32. Tbounoujom 

33. Athokpom 

34. Hijam 

35. Salam 

36. Nong pokpom 

37. E-a-Ngambom 

38. Ohingan bom 

39. Howrongbom 

40. Laishom 

41. Thangjom 

42. Thoudoijom 

43. Nahakpom 

44. Loukbom 

45. Nowroibom 

46. Wahengbom 

47. Laikaugbom 

48. Nanbom 

49. Lairenjom 

50. Loija-e-ang-bom 

51. Ngoubom 

52. Ohingjabom 

53. Ningchitpom 

54. Khoknam 

55. Shambam Tooram 

56. Khoibom 



Salei Khoomon.* Madhoo- 



t of the Yumnaks of No. 6. 
k Gotra. 

mtha Maibom (Khoira i.e. 13. Oenam 

eldest) 14. Maini&m 

iioidingjom 15. Khamnam 

inglem 16. Ahong Shangbom 

iingoojom 17. Chaboongbom 

3okrem 18. Thongram 

iirenbom 19. Ahongbom 

liandam 20. Hekroojom 

inkhaijom 21. Seuam 

!ongjom 22. Thongbom 

angdem 23. Eang-noo eaibom 

gangbom 24. Hanglem 

kangjom 25. Karam 



r Khumal. I have not interfered with the writer's spelling.— T. C. H. 



1 86 



APPENDIX I 



26. Laikhooram 

27. Thoudem 

28. Konom 

29. Shougaijom 

*S0. Ashem ]Nga kha khoi mourn 

31. Wa-reppom 

32. Taipongjom 
;33. She-atpom 

34. Houbijom 

35. Kabo-ranibom 

36. Thangjom 

37. Pookrambom 

38. Maitan-keishongbom 

39. Likmabam 

40. Maibom 

41. Thingom 

42. Moiang Lambom 

43. Chingkhooam 

44. Maifuuam 

45. Amakcham 

46. Charoibom 

47. Khoolem 

48. Akooain 

49. Khoirislioongbom 

50. Laniabam 

51. Tourem 

52. Yaithingbom 

53. Lang-Gam 

54. Shamook cham 

55. Thingbaijom 

56. Khoirom 

57. Na-maran 

58. Howbom 

59. Mairengbom 

60. Hentakpom 

61. Neprom 

62. Im-goo-doom 

63. Laisram 

64. Amom 



65. Tonjam 

66. Pooyam 

67. Shangkhom 

68. Moijem 

69. Langhaibom 

70. Fanjom 

71. Paloojom 

72. Lantham 

73. Eam-bem 

74. Tourem 

75. Nga-Sheppom 

76. Shantham 

77. Toumom 

78. Pang Ngambom 

79. Tokpom 

80. Shan-Shen-bom 

81. Kadam 

82. Enshenbom 

83. Ohingtham 

84. Sha-ka-pom 

85. Howronbom 

86. Lantham 

87. Thangjam eou sham 

88. Thangjam 

89. Khoomonthem 

90. Wankom 

91. Ahaibom Tonbom 

92. Eanglaibom 

93. Polembom 

94. Terem 
96. Tonthrom 

96. Howaibom 

97. Thangang shabom 

98. Khoothaibom 

99. Langkhombom 

100. Shoram 

101. Ha-wai-bom 

102. Shendam 

103. Akham 



List of the Yumnaks of No. 7, Salei Moirang. Atreya Gotra, 



1. Chongtham 

2. Melem 

3. Wa-enbom 

4 . Pookrambom(Khoira Le. eldest) 

5. Mairang Narengbom 

6. Narengbom 

7. Kabo-rambom 

8. Thangjam Shangkhom 

9. Moirang Nongthombom 

10. Poothem 

11. Konjengbom 

12. Chakpa-fiam 



13. Ley-u-jom 

14. Namboojom 

15. Wangbijom 

16. Kaba-jom 

17. Ngangnom 

18. Noongleppom 

19. Thangajom 

20. Ningthou-khongjom 

21. Kong-kham 

22. Moirang-Kaithel-Iakpom 

23. Okrom 

24. Eaikhom 



APPENDIX I 



187 



25. 
26. 
27. 
28. 
29. 
30. 
31. 
32. 
33. 
34. 
36. 
36. 
37. 
38. 
39. 
40. 
41. 
42. 
43. 



44. 



Kumabom 

Hanglen Ohakpatabam 

Moirang thein 

Thongjom 

Akhoo-eaibom 

Namoojom 

Wanglembom 

Fairenjom 

Moirang yumkhaibom 

Khoo-Youm-them 

Moongkhom 

Khoieangbom 

Howronffbom 

Laikhoojom 

Eao-renbom 

Konjengbom 

Akooram 

Lisham 

Moiang Lombam 

(Moirang Anouba is included 

into Moirang Salai) 
Thock chom 



46. Polem 

46. Shoibom Pookrambom 

47. Shoibom 

48. Maifooam 

49. Laifrakpom 
60. Laireninoum 

51. Nga-Ngom 

52. Khoinaijom 

53. Laimajom 

64. Wangkhem 

65. Hitom 

56. Shingkhangbom 

57. Ha-wai-bom 

68. Kaithel-Lakpom 

69. Ngangkhom 

60. Ahaibom 

61. Ngasep-pom 

62. Moirang Mourn 

63. Laima-khoojam 

64. Khooai-rakpom 

66. Ashem 
66. Khondram 



APPENDIX II. 

NUMIT KAPPA. 

The version in archaic Meithei followed by a translation into 
modern Meithei with (as far as possible) a word for word 
rendering in English.* 

1. Haya he he liklai o oima-yai taodalba mapal 

2. He ima he taipangbanbagi mapa oiriba numit 

3. O Mother, O world of Father that is sun 

1. korounongbu kholbi malem leibu lambina korou 

2. mama lai pumnamakkisu mama oiribi taipangbanbagi 

3. mother Gods all of also Mother that is world of 

1. numitmada mapari ama satle haidabara. Mapari 

2. mama oiribina nongmagi ntimitta macha nipa ama 

3. mother that is sun of day on child male one 

1. hanna satpa amadi thangyigum chi satna loi-mom- 

2. poke. Tao. Macha nipa hanna pokpa amadi phao 

3. bore. Hear. Child male firstborn one paddy 

1. gum hamgangnare malem loida kumana loison khoimit 

2. akangbagtim mangkhre, phao ahamba phaohamgumle 

3. dry like destroyed (was) paddy husked paddyhusks 
became like. 

1. manaba oikhia. Thangyi ahangba loimom achaobigi 

2. leipak manungda changduna leishao mapi manba onkhire. 

3. earth inside entering white-ant nest like became. 

1. hoina motunginna thangyi morashi loimom madangbu 

2. Phao lairemma phao achaoba adugi mattinginduna 

3. Phao lairemma phao achaoba these behind following 

* The lines marked 1 are archaic Meithei. Those marked 2 are 
modem Meithei. 



APPENDIX II 189 

1. salonakhi. Mapari konna satpa amadi kairoi arum 

2. phao morasi phao iroya onkhire. Macha nipa k5nna 

3. phao morasi phao iroya turned to. Child male afterwards 

1. tugu mababu pumkangnare korou chumithang wangbal 
2 pokpa amadi yelgi marum gumna ptimkhre, chumthang 
3. bom one fowl (its) seed like swelled, rainbow 

1. numidang oina salonakhi. Aroi sangai lalabicha 

2. amamba onkhre. Sangai sangai adugi mamit giimna 

3. dark turned to. Deer deer them of eyes like 

1. yaoroi motunginna sangai ahingmitbu salonakhi. 

2. sangai mamit onkhre. Tao. Macha nipa ama pokpadi 

3. deer eyes turned to. Hear. Child male one bearing 

1. Haidabara. Mapari ama satpadi numit manao Kaidangba 

kaoa. 

2. numit manao Kaidengamba kaoe. 

3. sun brother Kaidengamba called (was). 

1. Numit manao Kaidengamba mama hukamala hamalaba 

2. Numit manao Kaidengamba mana phingmanba thakmanba 

3. sun brother Kaidengamba he proud very swift very 

1. yang mala paimalabagidamak thingnang lepalu 

2. ithak thak manbana moianggi lepna * changba yaba 

3. swift swift very (meaning very indistinct) allowed 

1. kaojao soraruda changna nong haimale. Yarel khong 

2. soraruda changsinduna sire. Maya aduna sagi may a 

3. weir into entering died. His teeth beast of teeth 

1. phoi tolana likao maya manaba oikhia, nakalao 

2. manba leikon oikhre, nakanggi saru aduna laigi 

3. like cowries became, side of bones it by God of 

1. moiphangtuna thangsang nain manababu salonakhi. 

2. thang asangba oikhre. 

3. sword long became. 

1. Tangjam masamtouana chingnung chinga chanukhunda 

2. Makoktagi masam-na chingda haoba Pureirombadasu 

3. His head from hair hill on growing Pureiromba to also 

• Text obscure. 



190 APPENDIX II 

1. loi Kaba loikham loi lambu khamaba purumarai nong 

2. katpa lei luang phanaba takhakta happa laisam manba 

3. ofier flower Luang catch to spear on fasten (rod hair like 

1. bala lou khamba phabi khokalang tolong loi oibu 

2. Wakching thada ningthoumatu machana louda katpa 

3. Wakching month in King his wife his children by fields to present 

1. wakching loima mangsa hombi khaloi loukoi loi 

2. lei Angom Ningthouna lamthong khudingda katpa lei 

3. flowers Angom King by field gate daily offer flowers 

1. angouba ningthou tora thonglen laikham loi laisam 

2. laisam angaoba oikhi. 

3. God hair white became. 

1. tolong angaobabu oikhia. 



1. Oima yai taodalaba sena khomba dal atolabaga masabi 

2. Numitka numitki mayamma Taohuirengba ntimit anina 

3. Day day of his elder brother Taohuirengba day two by 

1. Taohuireng ahalabaga numit ani chayonna thabi leng 

2. sinna sinna niimit anina amuk thak amuk tana thok-labagi 

3. exchanging suns two again rising, again setting 

1. leng sinana palobagi Khoainongjengbam paija Ekma 

2. Khoainongjengba migi manai Ekma-hao-dangla atal-ba-na 

3. Khoainingjenba man of slave Ekma-hao-dangla laziness by 

1. haodangla namupongba raj atalabana wa oirokoi 

2. saoe, numit asina numit ani sinna sinna amuk thak 

3. wroth is Sun this by suns two by exchange again rises 

1. Oi mayai taodalabana numit ani chayonana thabi ani 

2. amuk tare. Ai di minai oibanina uyting sing put 

3. again sets I indeed man slave being because wood root firewood 

bundles 

1. asibu lengsinanoia. Ai di tayum minai oibanina 

2. kokthong anirak halle, phaokok thongsu anirak 
.3. liead load twice caused, paddy head load also twice 



APPENDIX II 191 

1. langbol uyung singjalpot anirak hal waia tara lou 

2. halba ngamdre. Ichanipa Haodongkhu ichanupi 

3. cause cannot. My child male Haodongkhu my child girl 

1. chanpotsu anirak onde ngamde, ipari Haodangkhu 

2. Haodonghanba yokpa ngaindre, nupi itu Haonuchaug- 

3. Haodonghanba rear cannot, woman my wife Haonuchang- 

1. imom Haodanghalbu noak phade moumanu taloi oirambi 

2. -khanubu tinnaba Dgamdre haiduna saokhie. 

S. khanu converse with cannot^ sayings wroth became. 

1. Haonuchangkhanubu lang kao pha de, haina we oikhie 



1. Khoai nongjembom piba Ekma Haodangla namupangbaroj 

2. Khoainongiemba piba Ekma haodoDgla minai atalbana 

3. Khoainongjemba chief Ekmahaodongla slave lazy being by 

1. kadambana momanu taloi marumbibu phao kaokhie 

2. nupi matubu kaoduna hai, itu nupi pema Haonuchang 

khanu 

3. woman his wife calling said, my wife woman dear Haonungchang 

khanu 

1, oibunai momanupema Haonuchangklianu 



1. safbio napam wabu wa ni ruo napam seloi longmai 

2. phajabi napamdagi wa niru 0, napamo-Nongmaiching 

3. beautiful your father from bamboo beg, father Nongmaiching 

1. wa longmai khuchum miyum wa niruo, haina thaosikhi babu 

2. dagi aphaba wa niru haiduna chathankhibabu wa pirakte 

3. from good bamboo beg, saying sending though bamboo gave 

not 

1. wa pirakhate mopum thongkhong laralawabu wai niruo 

2. mamaga pokminaba mamada thongkhong kuraldagi wa 

3. maternal uncle gate ditch Kurftl from bamboo 

1. haina thousikhibu thongkhong karala wa karala 

2. niru haiduna chathankhibabu Kural Ningthou sh6k 

3. beg, saying sending though KurSi Ningthou 



192 APPENDIX II 

1. Ningthou sokpamba maching lei Kural lakpa thoumala 

2. pagi chingda haoba, Kural lakpa magi chingda haoba 

3. belonging to hill on growing, Kiiral lakpa his hill on growing 

1. taoba maching sangda pamba wabu wa nibabu wa pirakke. 

2. wa nibabu wa pirake. 

3. bamboo asking bamboo gave. 

1. Khowainongjembom pibana korou numit manganibu 

2. Khowainongjembom pibana numit mangani lirung tel 

3. Khowainongjembom chief by days five bow arrows 

1. likhai tel khaikhi. liphao tel phorabaga 

2. sai. Lirung tel adu phaodoklaga 

3. makes. Bow, arrows that sharpened having 

1. 

2. tel tongda hapsinduna ngaiduna leire 

3. arrows quiver in placing standing was 

1. hugatoi paloga thongna ngaimakhie. Oibunai momanu 

2. tel machinda hu teire. . . . Itu nupi 

3. arrow head on poison smeared. My wife woman 

1. pema Haonuchangkhanu sa pa bi o nangbu laij 

2. pema Haonuchangkhanu phajabi nang ising soktuna 

3. dear Haonuchangkhanu beautiful you water drawing 

1. ipal langma pulolang loroi thongloko hania 

2. pul adu nakokta haplako haiduna 

3. pot that your head on place saying 

1. thousikhie. Momanu kaloi marumbina lonai 

2. chathankhi. Nupi matu aduna isingdagi 

3. sent. Woman his wife that by water from 

1. hinson karakabada pulalang loroi thongbabu 
2 changjaoda ptil makokta haplakpa adubu 
3. getting pot her head on placing her 

1. pachare kaorao numit madi momnu taloi 

2. pandambada palle. Nongma numit amana 

3. shooting hit. Day day one on 



J 



APPENDIX II 193 

1. mamunbigi chomlang kaobi manasibu 

2. nupi matu adugi chomlang manada siba 

3. woman his wife that of hole her ear in pierced 

1. patambasing paehure. Korao numit madi sentang 

2. aduba pandambada palle. Nongma ntimit amana sentang 

3. it shooting hit. Day day one on sparrow 

1. khrapalbalu tongpatumbasung paehurubagi. Khawai 

2. phaorada tOngba adu pandambabu palle. Khawai 

3. dhan floor on riding it shooting hit. Khawai 

1. Nongchengbom naija yeakma Haodongba Khaba 

2. Nongchengba manai Ekma Haodonglana itu nupi 

3. Nongchengba slave Ekma Haodongla by, my wife woman 

1. phaldongna yoipunai momuu taloi arimbio tara 

2. itu nang chak chaiom yommo yusu yukhomda hallo 

3. my wife you food edibles collect wine also wine gourd in pour 

1. Chacomo wanglei khombalo, Oklel taba lonehangba 

2. ok achaoba louda changle, lairel achaobasu 

3. pig large field in entered python big also 

1. loutababu leia. Thinglou soknaruge, oklel 

2. louda changduna leire. Akamba sing adu s5knaruge 

3. field in entering was. Strong cunning that I will encounter 

1. hanamge hania khomlang thengkoo — nikna 

2. ok adu hatluge haiduna yu-khom pugadaba pot ka 

3. pig that I will kill saying wine gourd to carry things 

1. yata khie, adu nongibu thengya lomnungshi kaoe 

2. loinana hipkhre. Adugi damak Thongyalamanungshi kaoe 

3. together slept. That of cause Thongyalamanungshi called is 

1. Thengyalamanungshida tangja lorn phangle. 

2. Thongyalamanungshida ngairure. 

3. Thongyalamanungshi at he woke. 

1. Lil lana thetrol labada yorinayai taodalba sena 

2. Lottuna leirabada numit ti lam achaoba Loijing 

3. hiding remaining on sun region vast Loijing 



194 APPENDIX II 

1. Khommadal di lomlci roiehing sarada tareng tareng 

2. mauuuda tarang tarang takhre 

3. shade in falling falling fell (set). 

1. leitha khie. 



1. Moshabi Taohuireng ahalbadi numit mashong 

2. Mayamma Taohuirengna ntimit mangalna 

3. Elder brother Taohuiring sun glory on 

1. Choona ahel karaklabada khowai-nong-chengbom piba 

2. thoklaklapada Khowai Nongjengba piba 

3. Setting on Khowai Nongjengba chief 

1. Ekma Haodongla namu pongpalacha aking 

2. Ekma Haodongla migi manai akalbana liri adu 

3. Ekma Haodongla man of slave strong by bowstring that 

1. tolpama liri thamoiting laka telmoi lakna 

2. thamoi yaona chingduna telna numitpu tamna 

3. chest up to pulling arrow by sun at full 

1. yorinayai Taodalbabu tomna kapkhibabu taodalba 

2. kapkhibabu numit ki sagol satong aduda telna 

3. shooting sun of horse beast riding that to arrow by 

1. lang koi makhumelta tel pallabagi damak 

2. palluraduna 

3. hitting (or being hit) 

1. Maring khun birakta loture — Angalba Sena 

2. Maring khun birakta takhre. Angalba numitsu 

3. Maring villages among fell. Bright sun^also 

1. Khommadalsung Khowai Nongjengbam Piba 

2. Khowai Nongjengba pibagi telna tarabada kiraduna 

3. Khowai Nongjengba chief of arrow by falling on being afraid 

1. waira matelchabu song kirabagi damak laimmral 

2. leipak maral tarukta leikha mangada lam 

3. country away from (?) six days [^cavem five day country 



APPENDIX II 195 

orokta lei haoral mongada Lemlel khulbi lomda 
chaoba khonbirakta mapa Pakhangba Senamehi 
krge villages among his father P&khangba Senamehi 

lapal lariel taororinai tubi mayanungda shul 
enamehi Pakhangbagi manakta lot-tabada 
enamehi Pakhangba of his vicinity in hiding 

buplabagi poiroi miltri machil wangma thamle. 
leithei leipakta nungthilsu mamle, ahing 
[eithei country in daytime also dark was^ night also 

Dmpu tupu laikomthal nekta shoiona narol 

aamle lousu lamsu ngakoina ure. Nungthil 

ark was fields also folk also terrified looked. Daylight 

ingloulabagi haikhu loukumbira loukumda 
laidarabada napisingbi haoraduna loukumbiua 
ot being by grass jungle growing cultivators 

laichek loutadara haki. 

oukumdare, loutabina louda tarabagi. 

Lid not cultivate cultivators field in falling. 

^ingthou Pongba taramana yoimayai taodalbagi tang ja 
^ingthou Pongba taramana lai taramana niimit ki 
iings ten Gods ten sun of 

nakhong khulbu thi khongdarabada khomia mata heiku 
eiphambu thiba khongdarabada mata lou kumbi 
oeing place search knowing not then cultivator 

lou kumbana haichek loutabi aminana hania ngamme 
lou taba anina ngangnaramme. Ita loinarakhibi 
cultivator two by conversing were. Dear companion 

Khonion ita ngairoinaio lomlel khulbi lomda lomu 
lam achaoba khunbirakta leipakta ngalliba 
listance great villages among earth in shining 

Qiltush leinil hao ngaltum ngalba asibu karimemo 
^ibu karamba meino haiduna hangbabu hoi ita 
that what kind tire is saying asking yes dear 



196 APPENDIX II 

1. haina pao hangbabu hoida khoinao itao, taodalba 

2. numitna mapa Pakhangba Senamehigi ma-nak-ta 

3. Sun by his father Pakhangba Senamehi of vicinity in 

1. Lena khomdalbu mapal lairel taoroinagi 

2. lotlie, numit-ki mangal arabane — ^haiduna 

3. hid is sun of brightness far is saying 

1. tubi mayanungda salthupba numit mangal 

2. wa ngangnarambabu lai taramana 

3. word conversing Gods ten 

1. tarabane haina paomelna ngambabu 

2. taraduna mayum mayumda homlaklaga 

3. hearing their house house to gathering having come 

1. Ningthou Pongba taramana natarabagi malrol 

2. Thongngak Lairemma mamang yamna 

3. Thongngak Lairemma her dreams very 

1. aide lamlabada chakpa lomlaug meipi 

2. chumbibu kaokhi. Thongngak Lairemma 

3. true are called. Thongngak Lairemma 

1. mangpat chadang yapibu pao kaokhie. 

2. namang yamna chummi asibana nangonda 

3. your dreams very true are dead by you to 

1. Chakha Lomlang meipi khomlel mangchang 

2. changlaklibani asibabu bichar toubi 

3. entering come is dead as to trial who doest 

1. thaobi khamnung chatwai tambi amal 

2. nang numit-pu kao-thaklo haiduna 

3. you sun call saying 

1. Kham butla lapinang lao o yoimayai 

2. chathankhi. Thongngak Lairemma numit pu 

3. sent Thongngak Lairemma sun to 

1. Taodalbabu pao kaoro'o haina thousikhie 

2. kaothoklie — numit nangna thorak-tareduna 

3. called sun you by happening not 



APPENDIX II 197 

1. Chakpa lomlang maipina Taodalbabu pao 

2. Meithei leipak asi nungthilsu mamle ahingsu 

3. Manipur country this daytime also dark is night also 

1. themelue, yoimayai Taodalba Sena Khomdal 

2. mamle, lam achaoba khunbigi leipak mathak 

3. .dark in distance great villages of country it upon 

1. nongbu nangna sal thupbagi poiroi chiltuchil 

2. asida nungsa sararu asumna haijababu 

3. this in sun heat make hot thus speaking 

1. wangngam thamle lomlel khulbi lomgi malem 

2. nUmitna khumilake hoi Thongngak Lairemma 

3. Sun by answered Yes Thongngak Lairemma 

1- manamsida nong salaru asum pao thembabu 

2. mamangeida ima lai pumnamak-ki-su mama 

3. formerly my mother gods all of also their mother 

1- angalba Sena khomdalsu pao khulake, hoida 
2. oiribi taipangban-bagi mama oiribina macha 
3- being universe of its mother being by her children 

1- lehakpa lomlang maipi lahal palem ima korao 

2- nipa mangabu poklamme nongmagi numitta 
^' males five bore day of sun on 

1- nongbu khalbi malem hiburmbina mapari 

2. iyamma hanna pokpa amadi phao akangba 

^' my eldest brother first bom one indeed paddy dry 

1- mangamabu hothae korao numitmadi ishabi 
2. gtimna mangkhre, phao ahamba gum phaoham 
•^' like perished, paddy dry like paddy husks 

1. hama satpa amadi thang ekum chitsatna 

2. oikhre iyamma konna pokpa amadi 
'^' became my elder brother next born one indeed 

1. loimomkum hamkongnare, ishabi konna satpa 

2. yelgi marum gumna pumkhare iyamma 

•^- fowl of its seed like swelled my elder brother 



198 APPENDIX II 

1. amasung kaie lei yelrum gumbabu pomkongnare 

2. Kaidengambasu moianggi lepna changba 

3. Kaidengamba also 

1. ishabi kaide gumba suug thongnang chatlu 

2. yaba soraruda sire. lyamma Taohuirengsu 

3. weir in died. My elder brotlier Taohuireng also 

1. kaocliao soraruda nonghanule. Ishabi Taohuireng 

2. Khowai Nongjengba pibagi telna taraduna 

3. Elhowai Nongjengba chief of arrow by having fallen 

1. ahalbasung khowai nongchengbom Piba waira 

2. ntimit ki sagol satongda telna pallabagi 

3. Sun of horse animal riding on arrow by hitting of 

1. matelchana numit langkoi makhunetta 

2. atinga dagi amamba leikhada 15tlie 

3. fear from dark earth cave in hiding is 

1. tel pallabagi koraomakhalma wangpal 

2. 

3. 

1. mololta salthuplie 

2. 

3. 

1. Taipang nongshapalda numit item lep ngamlaroie 

2. Taipangbanbada numit itomtana thokpa ngamlaroi 

3. Universe on sun (I) duly light shall not be able 

1. hania wakallabada chakha lanlang maibisung 

2. haiduna yaramdarabada Thongngak Lairemma su 

3. saying not consenting on Thongngak Lairemma also 

1. maral onde rakle. Ningthou Pugba taramao 

2. maytimda hallakle. Lai tarana numitti 

3. her house to returned. Gods then sun indeed 

1. yomiayai Taodalbana taipong palda numit itom 

2. taipangbanbada numit matomatana thokpa 

3. universe in Sun duly light 



APPENDIX II 199 

1. lepugam laroi hania paoa ngamde haidibara 

2. ngamlaroi haiduna yaramdre tao. Lai 

3. shall not be able saying agreed not. hear Gods 

1. Ningthou pongba tara mana tompha wangmalal 

2. taramana ningthougi macha nupi 

3. Ten King of his child girl 

1. khabi lengmao khombitu thaonebkhie. Tompha 

2. Panthoibi-bu thaoneki 

3. Panthoibi summoned 

1. wangmalal khabi lengma Khombibu lubi 

2. Ningthou macha nupi kabada onglubi 

3. Kling his child girl coming on Mistress 

1. ngaye chanu toula nongtonglengpi kuyal 

2. ningthoucha chanu leipak ningthou gi 

3. King child child woman country King of 

1. phaitangloupi korao nongnea halbi malem 

2. mabemma mi pumnamakki thouaibu 

3. his dear men all doings 

1. leibu halbi angalba helloi changbio 

2. amuk pokhanba amuk sihanba lai 

3. again betime cause again die cause Gods 

1. mapal lairel taurimaiba pimama piro'o 

2. aikhoigi imasu oiribi leipak pumnamakki 

3. us of our mother also being earth all of 

1. wahalabada tompha khonguing pibu yoibu 

2. mama oiribi masaksu yamna phajabi 

3. its mother being her appearance also very beautiful 

1. una chambi pamel intha raobi tompha. 

2. nangmak chatpio napa ntimitpu 

3. you yourself go please your Father sun 

1. wangngam louner pao yarabagi Ningthou pongba 

2. kaothak-piru hairabada ningthoucha chanu 

3. call please saying on King child child woman 



200 APPENDIX II 

1. taramana angalba Sena khommadalbu pao 

2. u mana aohaoba anouba amabu hekpairabada 

3. wood its leaf big new one even seizing on 

1. themo heirabadi malem leipi khong wai shemi 

2. lei hekma oihambi ningthougi macha nupina 

3. tiower even to be causing king of his child woman by 

1. paki parom tabada pdlik manga sabio. Moaki 

2. wa adu yare. Lai taramana o angalba numitpu 

3. word that agreed. Gods ten by O bright sun 

1. nuran tabina pao themo, phairoi mang 

2. thembu hairabadi Iambi semlamu 

3. persuade say if roads prepare 

1. ngariak ngai khongdalba manoruk 

2. nipanasu chatnabasu semu. Sagai mathal 

3. men by also go in order also prepare. Machan stage 

1. manemg khomo irukta chamba loraloth 

2. manga saromo. Nupibasu them-halamusu 

3. five build. Women also persuade also 

1. ngaithing yoio ching ngonpa hamna yel rum 

2. lukmaida thum mukta la ningthina tharaga 

3. basket in basket in leaves beautifully having spread 

1. koing khilna khabi khoinka halshing singlaka 

2. ching angaoba happu. Yerumsu happu yusu 

3. rice white put egg also put wine also 

1. yepo saret malaire kailei angoubabu nakta 

2. ytikhom thamna hallaga happu singsu lana 

3. gourd full up pouring put ginger also leaf in 

1. yepha mangpat chatangpuna lomlel khulbi 

2. yomlaga happu, selsu kakup thumsu kakup 

3. wrapping put sel also covered salt also covered 

1. lomda malem leibikhal waikumna mapal 

2. happu phi amubana kupsindo yel 

3. put cloth black in wrap up (cover) fowl 



APPENDIX II 20I 

1. leirel taoroinaibu penemlue. Angalba 

2. angaoba puduna Athelpat yaona lam 

3. white bringing Athel lake up to distance 

1. mahui taoparoibu pao themlue Taodalba 

2. achaoba khunbirakta pumnamakka loinadana 

3. great villages among all accompanying 

1. Sena Khommadal naogna sal thuplabagi 

2. mapa numitpu themlue angalba ntimitpu 

3. her father sun persuaded bright sun 

1. poiroi chiltum chil wangngam thamle 

2. themlue numit nangna lotluna leirabagi 

3. persuaded Sun you by hiding being of 

1. lomlel khulbirom malem levialphaona kanglei 

2. Meiteida ntingthilsu mamle, ahingsu mamle 

3. Meitei (land) in day also dark is, night also dark is 

1. pumna ngalna nongshallaru haina paothembabu 

2. lam achaoba khunbirakki leipak maralshi 

3. country large villages among of land even from 

1. hoi yarabagi macheng kairoi angaobana 

2. phaona Konung pumnamaksu ngalna ntingsha 

3. up to Palace all brightness by sun warmth 

1. malem leibi khoug wai amaga nakhong 

2. saroro haiduna thembabu hoi haiduna yarabagi 

3. make warm saying persuading yes saying agreeing of 

1. khenabaga yoimoyai taodalbasung malem 

2. yel angaobana leipakta makhong-amuk thang- 

3. fowl white by earth on its foot again lifting 

1. leibi khongwai mangaga pathum taruk tal 

2. lakpada numitsu leipaktagi khongthang 

3. on sun also earth from footraising 

1. palak manga gana angalba sena khanmadalua 

2. mangarak thanglaktuna. Sagai mathal mangamada 

3. five times raising machan its stories fivefold 



202 APPENDIX II 

i. ning ining khel karaklababu ningthupongha 

2. nuinitna tarang tarang thaklakpabu lai taramana 

3. sun by by degrees lighting Gods ten by 

1. taramana inityeng sal kheibabu numit mamai woke 

2. yengbada ntimitki mamai makle numit 

3. looking on sun of his face dim was sun 

1. thabi mamai taie yoimayai taodalba numit 

2. mamai makladuna ntimitki chop sabisi 

3. his face dim being sun of virtue let us make 

1 . masansabu sabiahe haina nongda lairel 

2. haiduna Pakhangbagi maiba Konderak 

3. saying Pakhangba of maiba Konderak 

1. Pakhangbagi mama ifa koldel makthangmai 

2. Thangmai Leikang Leikalbana yetlomda 

3. Thangmai Leikang Leikal by right side on 

1. leikang leikalbana sarel yettompham keke 

2. phamle Moiranggi Lai Thangjinggi maiba 

3. sat Moirang of God Thangjing of maiba 

1. mana ifa thingkal man phaobiyacha 



9 



Khuyal Urakalbana oiromda phamduna 



3. Khuyal Urakalba by left side on sitting 

1. langchinglang maiba khuyal urakalbana 

2. Moirang-gi ttireldagi isingga yel marum 

3. Moirang of river from water with fowl its seed 

1. somu oirompham purem Chingyai koirel 

2. amaga napi napu matol Nongmaiching dagi 

3. one with grass orange its top Nongmaiching from 

1. iga kaileipa mayelrumga yempong phaipangbabu 

2. isingsoktuna maibana nouhing kaoba napi 

3. water drawing maibas by nouhing called grass 

1. phai tolyampa thinkhai thingna tao o namai 

2. singbi yaona Laigi nipasing aduna numitpu 

3. grass up to God of boys those by sun 



APPENDIX II 203 

1. nana tangba nouhing nahakpa sheda nadaba 

2. chop sabirabada angalba numitti mamit 

3. virtue making on bright Sun indeed his eyes 

1. yaona laiba thou Ipi yashengna numit 

2. mamai iseng sengle. Ntimit gi mamai 

3. his face cleanness clean were. Sun of his face 

1. machupsalu salriabada angalba Sena 

2. phajere. Numitpu Panthoibina yel 

3. beautiful was. Sun as to Panthoibi by fowl 

1. Khommadaldi numit lunaga thabi hennaga 

2. angaobabu paiduna themlui, mamangeida 

3. white taking persuades formerly 

1. numit mamai lure thabi mamai palle 

2. Nongmaiching chingsu taret longba laigi 

3. Nongmaiching hill also seven (branches) God of 

1. Taodalba Sena khommadal atolba tombuwang 

2. chingda leiba langmai khoiri kaoba lam adugi 

3. hill on being langmai khoiri called district that of 

1. ngam lonna macheng kailei angaobabu nangba 

2. ahal nongmaibu latpa maibana numitpu laishi 

3. old sun face worshipping priest by sun as to Divinity 

1. yepua paothumphababu lahal mayumshel 

2. laithollabadi chinggi mamit manna thoklake 

3. God praying if hill of its eye like happened 

1. loi asaba mapal taretchinggi lairu phaheha 

2. chinggi mamit manba aikhoibu chanbire 

3. hill of its eye resembling us as to pitied 

1. sang chinggi Khongyaphabicha langmai 

2. nonggi mamit manna thoklake nonggi 

3. Sun*of his eye likeness in happened sun of 

1. khoiri haiba chiugba kaosing ngamba 

2. mamit manba nanggi na-ngal-na Nongmai 

3. his eye resembling you of your brightness by Nongmai 



204 APPENDIX II 

1. langmaithel bung lat pana yoimayaibu 

2. ching-gi khun aikhoigi lok sadu ching 

3. hill of villages us of ravines and jungles hills 

1. tenthabadi chinggi mamit manana thoklakle 

2. pumnamak ngalna nungsa sare haiduna 

3. all brightness by wami wsp^med saying 

1. Chingmit malgi yoirelba nongi mamit 

2. laishi lai tholli. Heirem Khoalcbaina 

3. Divinity God prayed. Heirem Khoalchai-by 

1. manana thok lakle nongmitmalgi yoingalba 

2. numitpu laishi laitholbadi Heirem khoan- 

3. Sun as to Divinity God prayed Heirem khoan 

1. selloi ayumnakpu thaobi lokmaithel sadu 

2. chan-gi maibana matomta isai saktuna 

3. chan-of priest by alone sing singing 

1. chinglai ngalna nongsalao hani tengthanei 

2. laishi laitholbadi Heirem Khoanchan-gi 

3. Divinity God praying if Heirem Khoanchan of 

1. Mayum Heirem Chaopapung Khoalchang 

2. nupina ttirel lanna lou kum laokre 

3. women by river crossing (by) cultivation cultivated 

1. sangba yaida Yoimayai Taodalbabu teng 

2. Tangkhul-su thang paire, isingdasu 

3. Tangkhuls also dao took up, water in also 

1. thabadi Heirem aseiba khoalchal tengthaba 

2. nami ure, Heirem khul chan aikhoigi 

3. shadow seen was^ Heirem village chan us of 

1. lengnao haokhomba haotang pungtoiba 

2. khuUak leirak sadu ching pumnamak 

3. village up to paths jungle, hills all 

1. kangku naocha thingkal manasu 

2. umang wamang ngalna nungsa sare 

3. wood jungle bamboo jungle brightness by suns warmth warmed 



APPENDIX II 205 

1. phaklang lol chaningda matom wari wakaa 

2. haiduna Laishi lai tholle Heiromdasu 

3. saying Divinity God prayed Heirom at also 

1. tengthabadi mayum Heirem kei manung 

2. matointa laishi lai thonjai Shanthong-pangba 

3. alone Divinity God pray Shanthong-pangba 

1. leima khulchal thong kal telhaiba chanu 

2. Moirang leipakki ahal luchingba khul 

3. Moirang country of chieftain village 

1. turel namphao machan khabi loukum 

2. aduda pokpa Thangjinggi manai 

3. that at bom Thangjing of his slave 

1. loukashi Tangkul mara thangkul khut 

2. isaisakpa machi manao pokbadagi atolba 

3. song-maker elder and younger brother born from younger 

1. naija chakmitsel apaba o ayum Heirem 

2. maiba ningthougi mikal Thagonbana 

3. priest king of direction Thagonba by 

1. chaobapungbu thaobi lekmaihel sadu 

2. numitpu laishi laithonbadi nunggi inathakta 

3. Sun as to Divinity praying stone of its top on 

1. Chinglai ngalua pamel ukhanglouna 

2. pokpa nung achaobagi mathakta 

3. bom stone big of its top on 

1. nongsharo haina tengthanue. Heirom ashaibana 

2. poklaba tonna khoirelba ising mathakta 

3. bom younger by winding water its top on 

1. tengthabasung matom tengthanue Haoroi nong 

2. ming thalba wanglaba wagi maton 

3. name full lofty bamboo of its top 

1. chup khana pangba ramda ke ke chambapung 

2. yaona thorakpa Moiranggi isingda 

3. up to lighting Moirang-of water in 



2o6 APPENDIX II 

1 . inoirang sangba yaida tengthaba khuyal 

2. ngalna nungsa saroro haiduna asunina 

3. brightness by sun warm make warm saying thus by 

1. chumaba cheima mukiba muyam 

2. laishi laithoUe Moirangda laishi 

3. Divinity God prayed Moirang at divinity 

1. safaba hao wangpong manao lihal 

2. laitoDSu matOmta laishi lai thoUe 

3. God prayers also alone Divinity God prayed 

1. khoirisu maroi kachenglom thengai 

2. makba pangba Khumal leipakta numitpu 

3. south (being) Khumal country in sun as to 

1. thongai atolba ke ke pung yang chumaba 

2. laishi Iaith51badi Ehuinalgi maiba laishi 

3. Divinity God praying Khumal of priest Divinity 

1. mingba cheimaba cheima asheiba kaning 

2. laitholba mapa mapu achaobana pokpa mapa 

3. worshipping his Father his ancestors big by bom his Father 

1. mikaowangna yoimayai Taodaldabu 

2. mapu yamna heisingbagi macha magi 

3. his ancestors very cunning of their son his 

1. tuigthabadi nungmu thakta naopangba 

2. ma-khan-jilsu yamna pha-ba mana 

3. his voice also very good him by 

1. nuugmu Raja angaoba munggao thakta 

2. sak-pu sol-bada lam yamna ninba 

3. Song as to invoking distance very steep 

1. nao naoba nungngao Eaja asheiba 

2. mabu hen-ba leitaba ainu-gi makhal 

3. him as to exceeding not being crane of his voice 

1. pana lam thang thaona khoiralba 

2. gumba mana sakpu salbada chit-thaba 

3. like him by song as to invoking fault 



APPENDIX II 207 



1. laija ipak thakta me hoalara langlel 

2. leitaba maibana laishi lai thol-la-badi 

3. not being priest by Divinity God praying 

1. kongyang watal thokta ming takpa 

2. ntimit nangna thokpa-da u wa 

3. Sun you by lighting (happening) wood, bamboos 

1. maibu mayum ke ke chanba pungbu 

2. napi singbi angal ngalle. Ntimit 

3. grasses brightness bright were. Sun 

1. laija irai ngalna nongshalao hania 

2. nang-gi amengba na-ngal-na mana 

3. you of clear your brightness by its leaves 

1. asum tengthanai heayum ke ke chaoba 

2. ma-sing i-nao-naore pukning 

3. its wood newness new are stomach- wish 

1. pungda tengthabasung motom tengthanei 

2. nungaire Khumal leipak-ta ngalna 

3. pleased was Khumal country in brightness by 

1. haoroi khaneipangba ramda mongyai 

2. nungsa saroro haiduna laisbi 

3. day warm warm make saying, Divinity 



1. paobapung atol shangba yaida 

2. lai thoUabadi Meithei ningthou 

3. God praying Manipuri King of 



1. yoimayai taodalbabu tangthabadi 

2. maiba isai sakpa mama Likshisuna 

3. priest song maker his mother Likshisu by 

1 . nongyai ashaiba khumal tengthaba 

2. pokpa Meithei isai heiba makhalsu 

3. bom Manipuri songs knowing his voice also 

1. mapal shoalon ngahongba chami paima 

2. pha-ba ising chenba giimba mama 

3. good water luniing like his mother 



2o8 APPENDIX II 

1. lei koigi thoibalang khomsu chikham 

2. si-khribabu maming panduna sakpa 

3. deceased as to her name taking siDging 

1. uirishu Chenwak thoubal thonkaba 

2. mapa si-khrabagi mamingbu pha-ja-na 

3. his father deceased of his name as to well 

1. lomloi waklom kaba watha wak 

2. isai sakpa mi si-khrabagi mamingbu 

3. song singing man deceased of their names as to 

1. yenkhom moinuwak hiitrugun 

2. saklaga puronda tin-han-ba 

3. having sung the chronicles in making to join 

1. langwak imu khongkonwak tolba 

2. tichek koak oiduna paDglei 

3. birds crows being 

1. Thang chingsu nonghao mapu khumal, 

2. leirababu lai marakta tin-halli 

3. being as to Gods among makes to join 

1. adusung khadomde naodabal ashaibana 

2. thowai ming manglabu sba oikhriba 

3. names having perished animals having been 

1. tengthabadi yoimayai Taodalba yellangpangi 

2. takpa oinaduna lamlakta chenduna 

3. showing being country among in running 

1. paiyaoba chaokhongpangi narekpa 

2. khonglaba ma-mingsu manglababu 

3. having known their names also having been lost though 

1. yonshing toiki taraba lairel yoishom 

2. mana saklaga kake migi maming 

3. him by having sung man of his name 

1. ping khe shorn peng leihaoba yoikhom 

2. ma tha mangkhrababu mana khongsi 

3. his work (?) having been lost though him by knowing 



APPENDIX II 209 



1. thokkhom thokna lonba yoibaleng 

2. lamlakta leiriba ok-ka tinnaraba 

3. country in being pigs joining together 

1. leishangba nongyai ohaoba pungbu 

2. lairel marakta lam achaobada 

3. pythons them among in country large in 

1. puna ngalna nongshal o, haina tengthanei 

2. chenduna leibabu khonglabana 

3. running being though knowing by 

1. poiroi tamthong mapungkoi lemthong 

2. laishi lai thol-la-badi numit 

3. Divinity God praying sun 

1. maphaipakpa pungda tengthabadi poiroi 

2. nongma chaoraktaba tha amada 

3. Sun big growing not moon one in 



1. asheiba wangngam tengthaba poUem 

2. sanglak-tabana sang-lakte. Numit 

3. high growing not high grow not. Sun 



1. makhong leima likshishu Paima lilkoigi 

2. ningthiba numit paiduna laishi 

3. beautiful sun taking Divinity 

1. poiroi leishei thon ahalbama wakmanarao 

2. lai thon narakpani numit yai 

3. praying sun blessings 

1. lemba maka lilou thoiba langlel tana 

2. pUmnamak ki mapu oiba 

3. all of their ancestor being 

1. thon kumba poUem pinung manglababu 

2. punsiba nang-gi natik artiba 

3. long-lived you of your equal difficult 

1. khayom leina thana poUem pisakpa 

2. ningthibabu yaona haiba ngamdre 

3. beautiful up to to say cannot 



2IO APPENDIX II 

1. palthon panung manglababu lonyom 

2. Qumit sakpada thaba ngamlamde 

3. sun singing in count cannot 

1. waDgngam lima thana paltham pasakpa 

2. ntimit yaigi maru leipakki manam 

3. Sun blessings of their source country of its smell 

1. leii*ak khonglen maril tatlababu huirel 

2. asida nungsa saba meini. Angalba 

3. this in warmth making lire are. Bright 

1. khomshilol tourang lomthana paral matangka 

2. ntimit taipang-panbagi ptinsigi 

3. Sun world of longevity of 

1. palbi youtampaina koakpui tingkhong 

2. chen-chel oiriba yaigi maru 

3. material (source) being blessings of their source 

1. narababu leirak chenantana khongkhong 

2. ptinsibagi mathoujalgi ptinsi 

3. longevity of material longevity 

1. pairam yaipung mingmanglababu yaoroi 

2. thoujalbu phangjaningre laimaral 

3. material get humbly desire is divine 

1. satokpa tokmu meishangbu langpal 

2. lal kubio aina ijabasi wa roubiganu 

3. me by writing humbly blame not 

1. shaoikoi leipungkoi chalaobana ya kanarababu 

2. nanai angang apisak lousing 

3. your slave child little intelligent 

1. lamejal chenna talna pungknangba chingya 

2. pharak iba aina ijabane. 

3. duly writing me by writing humbly is. 

1. thelaming khemglababu shapu makhut 

1. chumba lang heitel palbana shapu chelonehal 



APPENDIX II 211 

1. langhei yathangbiun chingyathelming 

1. manglababu chingya chelnadana thelkhangbu 

1. lamyaikei mingmanglababu oklel hum yania 

1. lairel hum thimarababu lamyai chehatalna 

1. kaikhangbana tengthabadi yorinayai 

1. Taodalbana karon muning mapuchaokapa 

1. lachao lakte loidani thapung mapu shanglak 

1. kapala shanglakte younayai Taodal chumba 

1. sheichal ningthiba yoimayai tao haina teng 

1. thamrakpa meine, yoimayai lairel shedababu 

1. ma khommadalbu chimomduna tengthajarake 

1. lairel shedabagi yoikhang mashanom 

1. migthibabu namugamda tapta sua mangai 

1. thonghe sheiomapu tha ngamde yoimayai 

1. taodalba nongthil liklu yaiomba malem 

1. manamshina nongshaha mime angalba sua 

1. khommadal taipong pulshi chungchel kuina 

1. yai lairel shedabagi maralkubu pulshi 

1. marulkubu leiwainashi pithraipi ashembi 

1. shem khutsha khongloubigunu nanai nao 

1. ashisha lonshing matamlakpana ijabane. 

Note. — ^The archaic version is reproduced without diacritical vowel 
marks or consonantal emendations. I do not know enough of the archaic 
language to venture on these tasks. — T.C.H. 



INDEX. 



Abdanta Praibhugi Palla, 70. 
Achan hhuba, 68. 

kh'dd, 68. 

Achramha^ 68. 

Achromha {AchromM), 68 ; order of 

precedence, 72. 
Adoption, 84 et seq. 
Adultery, 91. 
Affinities, 10-13. 
Agar, 29. 
Agari Eoldar, 71. 

Agriculture, 39-44, 86 ; imple- 
ments, 42. 
Ahaiba, 69. 
Ahullup lakpa, 65. 
Ahalup (Ahallup, Aharup, Ahul- 

Loop), 58 ; boat-races, 52 : Chirap, 

65, 66 ; Lallup, 63. 
Airdba^ RajaK 9. 
Akhanha Hanjaba, 72. 

Hidang, 72. 

Akhonbay 70. 

Alcohol, manufacture, 32, 60; as 

marriage gift, 116 ; tabu, 47. 
Amandar, 71. 

Major, 71. 

Ametpa, 69. 

Ammonite, 102. 

Anam Sang, 67. 

Ancestor worship, 96, 99-103. 

Andro, deities, 103; expedition 

against, 9 ; officials, 72 ; origin, 9. 
Angom, deities, 99-100; genealogy, 

100, 183 ; marriage, 75 ; rebellions 

of, 153 ; structure, 73. 
Angom Hanba, 68. 
Angom Ningthou, 9 ; marriage, 76 ; 

status, 65 ; succession, 83. 
Angonfambam, 69. 
Anik Loisang, 70. 
Animals, 2, 46; as food, 47; as 

sacrifice, 103, 109; worship of, 

100-101. 



Animism, 95 et seq* 

Anklets, 18. 

Anthropometric AL Data, 3.' 

Ao Naga LANGUAaE, Comparative 

structure, 163-170 ; comparative 

vocabularies, 158, 161, 
Apaibi, 88. 
Apampa, 68. 
Apunbi, 76. 
Apple, 40, 44. 
Apricot, 40. 
Ardmba, 20. 

Ardhgba (Arongba), 70 ; duties, 68. 
Archery, 47 ; in folk-tale, 144. 
Architecture, 8, 25, 26. 
Argus pheasant, 16 
Armlet, 28. 

Arms. See Weapons. 
Army, 58, 61, 93 ; regiments, 71. 
Art, 29. 

Arts and Crafts, 22-39. 
Asdlba, 90. 
Ascending the Throne, ceremony, 

125 ; costume worn, 6, 8. 
Asin, 62. 

Aton Puremba, 132, 135. 
Atum, 74. 
Awa purel (Awa puren, Aya 

PUREN), 59 ; functions, 61 ; status, 

71. 
Awondar, 71. 

Ayapuren, See Awa purel, 
Ayokpa, 63, 64. 

Babroobahan {Bahrvbahan, Bubra 

Baha), Rajah, 5, 7. 
Bdgh Mash, 46. 
Ballads, 117; ^^ Numit kdppa"^ 

translated, 125; idem in Meithei, 

188-210. 
Bxmboo, 25. 
Bamdiar, 71. 
Bamjigi Palla, 70. 



214 



INDEX 



Banishment, 88. 

Bao mdsh^ 45. 

Barak f river, 1. 

Hazar, 18, 23. 

Bebosta, 68. 

Bed, 25, 27 ; in marriage procession, 
115. 

Bee, 47. 

Beetroot, 40. 

Bengal, 4. 

Bengalis and Meitheis, compared, 4. 

Betel-nut tree, 48. 

Betrothal, 116, 138. 

Bhadra, 62. 

Bhandari, 70. 

Bharat Shai, Rajah, 80. 

Bhitna Tuli, 71. 

Bijaya Oarot, 61, 71. 

Birds, 2. 

Birth, ceremonies, 112; deities, 
97, 127. 

Bishenpur, 102. 

Bishnu Naha, 71. 

Saina {Soina) Ahal, 71. 

Black C088, 29. 

Boats, 33, 52. 

Boat-races, 51-53 ; costume, 8, 16. 

BoDO, linguistic affinities, 11, 155 
et seq. 

Boldeb Seina, 69. 

Boro Oayet, 72. 

Bow and Arrow, 20; in Chronicles, 
47; in folk-tale, 126, 144. 

Bracelet, 18, 19. 

Brahma, marriage ceremony, 115. 

Brahjiiedev, 5. 

Brahmin, 70; prohibition from 
Lamchel, 53 ; and Lallup, 60, 61, 
63, 70 ; land tenure, 85 ; legal posi- 
tion, 88. 

Breech-loading Gun, 20. 

Bribery, 24. 

Bricks, 26. 

Brindahon Chandro Pujari, 70. 

British Occupation, 11, 81, 82, 97. 

Brown, Dr., on caste, 108 ; costume, 
13; crime, 24; facial character- 
istics, 2 ; Gharib Newaz, 78 ; land 
tenure, 85; manufactures, 28; 
naming system, 112 ; origin of 
race, 7 ; ornaments, 18 ; salt, 33 ; 
silk, 30 ; superstitions, 120. 

Buhra Baha. See Bahroohahan, 

Buddhism, 97. 

Budhiraj\ 9, 72. 



Buffalo, 41. 

Building, 25 ; superstitions, 122. 

Bull in folk-tale, 143. 144. 

Burma, invasion of Manipim 29; 
Meithei colonies in, 4; Meitbei 
invasion of, 4, 58, 59; silk trade 
with Manipur, 31. 

Burmese language, affinities with 
Meithei, 11, 155; comparative 
structure, 163-170 ; comparative 
vocabularies, 157-162. 

War, First, 19. 

Butterfly, 121. 



Cabbage, 40. 

Cachar, Meithei settlements, 4, 23. 

Camphor, 29. 

Capital punishment, 88-89. 

Card playing, 66. 

Carpentry, 28. 

Carrot, 40. 

CoMay Horse, 19, 20. 

Castanets, 57. 

Caste, 84 ; food and drink, 32, 47 
and Lois, 10; marriage, 76 
punishments involving loss of, 88 
purificatory rites, 108; reed in- 
struments, 57; silk manufacture, 
30. 

Catapult, 21. 

Cattle theft, 24, 88. 

Cavalry, 19. 

Census of 1901, 2, 182. 

Ceremonies, sacred, 103 et seq.; 
physical defects a disqualification, 
83. 

Chahon, 67. 

Ckadar, 14, 15. 

Chahitaba, 104-107; sanctity of, 
110. 

Chairel (Chairkn), 9; administra- 
tion, etc., 60, 72; pottery manu- 
facture, 32. 

Chairong, 43. 

Chakkon, 70. 

Chakpa Laimaram, 72. 

Chalamha (Chalumba) Rajah, dress 
reforms, 17 ; intrcnluces surnames, 
112. 

Chandra Kirti Singh (Nowchingleng 
Nougdren Khoniba), 81, 114; 
creates foreign minister, 59; and 
Hinduism, 95. 

Changam Ningthou, 66. 



INDEX 



215 



Changning Kdnhi^ 149. 

Chaobi Nongndngmorchak, 134. 

Chaphu, 104. 

Charairomha. See Churairomha. 

Charang Fat, 70. 

Chenglei (Ghengloi), adminiBtra- 
tion, etc., 73 ; deity, 100 ; genea- 
logy, 100, 184 ; marriage, 75. 

Cheshire, 33. 

Chest, 27. 

Chikhong. See Seekong, 

Children, 79 ; costume, 14, 15 ; food, 
48 ; sepulture, 116. 

Chin Bills, 1. 

Chinese, introduce colour stamping, 
15 ; introduce dhotie, 17 ; introduce 
gunpowder, 21. 

Chinga Makha, hill, 124. 

Chingkuha Akhvha, 133. 

Chingku Tel haiba, Kajah, 132, 134. 

Ching-ngai-rakpa, 72 

Chingtung Komba (Ching Thang 
Koniba, Jaee Singh), Rajah, 81; 
in ballads, 56 ; coinage, 37. 

Chibap, 59, 60 ; costume, 15 ; 
officials, 65, 66, 91, 

Chibouba, 104. 

Chitra Ketoo, 5 

Hat, 5. 

Sarba, 5. 

Vanoo, 5. 

Chitrabij (^Chitrabija), 5. 

Chitradhaja, 5. 

Chitranggada, 5. 

Chongkhanba, 67. 

Choto Qayet, 72. 

Chour/eet Singh (Chourjit Singh) 
Rajah, 81 ; coinage, 37. 

"Chbonicles of the State of 
Manipub," brick walls, 26 
costimie, 17 ; deities, 97 ; games, 
56; inheritance, 77 et seq. 
irrigation, 42; Loi villages, 9 
origin, 4, 5 ; religion, 102, 109 
superstitions, 120-124 ; sepulture, 
116; women, 75, 89. 

Chudder, See Chadar. 

Chundrakong, 33, 35. 

Churairomba (Charairomha) Rajah, 
78-bO ; coinage, 37. 

Cigarette smoking, 48. 

Clan gods, 98 ; see also Deities. 

Clay, 28. 

Clock, 29. 

Cloth manufacture, 27. 



Cock fighting, 23. 

Cohabitation, 115. 

Coiffure, styles of, 3. 

Coinage, 36-39. 

Coining, 24. 

Colour stamping, 15. 

CoLQUHouN, H. A., on adoption, 84 
marriage, 115. 

Conchshell, 57. 

Copper coinage, 38. 

Coronation Hall, architecture, 8 ; folk- 
tale, 122 ; see also Kangla. 

Cossiahs, 10. 

Costume, 13-18; boat-race, 8; and 
individuality, 3 ; Loi, 18 ; Pang- 
gan, 18 ; Captain Pemberton on, 
6; Eaja and coronation, 6, 8; 
festivals, 104. 

Cotton, 28. 

Counting, 105. 

Cowry, 38-39. 

Creation, 5. 

Cremation, 94, 116. 

Crime, 24. 

Crops, 40-44 ; deities, 96, 103. 

Da^a, 4. 

Dal {Dhal), 40, 43. 

Bam, 38. 

Dammer, 29. 

Dances, Dancer, Dancing, 54 ; 

costume, 16 ; in folk-tale, 141 ; 

travelling, 23. 
Dao, 19, 32, 39; in folk-tale. 111. 
Dapar Jug, 5. 
Dart, 20. 

Days, superstitions, 120. 
Dead, Death, customs, 116 ; deities, 

97, 127 ; omen, 121. 
Debendro Singh {Debindro Singh) 

Rajah, 81, 123; wives, 76; and 

Yim tinaba, 64. 
Debt, 89. 
Decapitation, 89. 
Deer, 2. 

Defects, physical, 81, 83. 
Deities, 96, 98 et seq,, 103. 
Demonology, 98, 120-124. 
Design, in costume, 14, 15. 
Dewan, 36 ; status, 61. 
Dhal. See Dal. 
Dhananjai, 56. 
Dhobi, 69. 

Dhotie (Dhutie), 14, 17. 
Distribution, geographical, 4. 



2l6 



INDEX 



Divorce, 91. 

Bolai-roi (Dularoi), 68. 

Hanjaba, 59 ; order of pre- 
cedence, 72. 

Hidang, 72. 

Drawing, 29. 

Dreams, divine sanction in, 119, 
131 ; interpretation of, 124, 

Dress. See Costume. 

Drink, 47. 

Drought, 107-108. 

Drum, 55, 57. 

Duhol, 70. 

Duhon Loisang, 70. 

Dulai-paha, 68. 

Dulairoi Hanjdba, See Dolairoi 
Hanjaha, 

Hidang, See Dolairoi Hidang, 

Durga, 102 ; festival of, 49. 

Dussera, 102. 

Dyeing, 29. 

Earring, 18, 19. 
Earth-goddess, 98, 125-129. 
Earthquake, 35 ; animistic belief, 

111, 120. 
East India Company, 29, 38. 
Eclipse, superstition, 121. 
Economics, 22 ; and Lallup, 58, 59. 
Education, 24. 
Eharoi Loi, 9. 
Ekma Haodongla, 126-129. 
Electro-plating, 29. 
Elephant, 2 ; in folk-tale, 145. 
Endren-Lakpa, 66. 
Enoog Howha Chonoo, 5. 
Exchange, 38. 
Execution, 89. 

Eaichareng, 18. 

Fanekf 14 ; Panggan, 1 8. 

Fauna, 12, 46. 

Fayeng^ 9 ; deity, 103. 

Fdda, 67. 

Feiroij'amha, 135-138. 

Festivals, 16, 49, 117. 

Fish, Fishing, Fisheries, 44-46, 
industry, 30, varieties, 45. 

Firearms, 20. 

Fireplace, 25. 

Flora, 1, 44. 

Folk-tales and legends, 5, 7, 120- 
124 ; " Khamha and Thoibi;' 134- 
151 ; history of " Moirang," 130- 



134; ''Numit Kappa,"" 125-129; 

" Numit Kappa;' in Meithei\ 188- 

210. 
Food, 47. 

Foot hockey, 49, 64. 
Foot race, 62-58 ; 141-142. 
Frontal bone, 117. 
Fruit, cultivation, 40-43, 44; as 

marriage gifts, 146, 146. 
Furniture, household, 27. 



Oambhir Singh (Gumbeer Sing) 
Haj'ah, 63, 81; end of djmasty 
foretold, 123; and Lallup, 68; 
military levy, 93. 

Gambling, 23, 56. 

Games, 49-57 ; boat races, 8 ; Na- 
tional, 16. 

Qandharva marriages, 115. 

Qdriaangy 68. 

Geese, 2. 

Genna, 118, 119; marriage, 75; 
Nagas, 94; rain-compelling cere- 
monies, 108; and Kajah, 107,124; 
warriors, 163. 

Geometrical figures, 14. 

Gharib Newaz (Pamheiba, Motanhttf 
Gurreeb Newaz) Rajah, 18; and 
animism, 97, 98; coinage, 37; 
cremation, 116 ; Hinduism, 9, 95, 
114; and Kokching, 9; Lalltlp, 
58; legends concerning, 78 etstq,'y 
murder of, 80; and Nagas, 11; 
succession of, 78. 

Ghurrah, 28. 

Gifts, betrothal, 138; in law cases, 
92 ; marriage, 1 15. 

Gnd rao, 45. 

rel, 46. 

tel 46. 

Goallee, 45. 

Gobinda (GovindJi\ 70, 99. 

Goldsmith, 19, 22, 28, 30. 

Gourosham, See Guru Sham, 

Grammar, Meithei, 171-180. 

Grierson, Dr., on language, 11 ; on 
linguistic affinities of Lois, 12. 

Guava, 40. 

Gulap machu dhoti, 15. 

Gumbeer Sing, See Gambhir Singh, 

Gunpowder, 21. 

Gurreeb Newaz. See Gharib Newaz, 

Guru (the Lord of the Universe), 
100. 



INDEX 



217 



Ouru Sham (Oourosham, Gouroo 
Sham) Bajahf and East India 
Company, 38 ; reason for joint 
rule, 83 ; reign, 80. 



Habitat, 1, 2. 

/^air-dbessing, 3. 

ffairoJc, 72. 

Hameng-mitpa, 103. 

Haojaopam, 70. 

Haoma^ha, 70. 

Haonu CJiangkunu, 126. 

Haoramba-hal (^Haoram-hal), 134. 

Haoramningoi {Haoram-yeima)y 134. 

ffaoram-thol Louthihay 134. 

Haoram-yeima. See Haoramningoi. 

Hari Kirtan, 115. 

Havildar, 71. 

Head-dress, 17, 18. 

Head-hunting, 94. 

Head, sanctity of, 80. 

ffeijapoty 115. 

Heir, inheritance of property, 77 ; 

succession to titles, 78. 
ffiang Loi Namoi Chaoba, 105. 
Hidakphanba (Hitakphalba 

Hitakphanba), 58 ; boat-races, 

52 ; duties, 64, 67. 
liidang, 66. 

High treason, 89 ; in Chronicles, 93. 
Hijaha bangmaiy 68. 
Hijarakpa, 72. 
HiUs, holy, 106, 107, 111 ; legends 

of, 124. 
Hill tribes compared with Meithei, 

5 et seq. ; linguistic affinity with 

Meithei, 10-12. 
Hinaoha, functions, 61 ; status, 72. 
Hinduism, 7, 95-97; ceremony of 

admission, 84 ; and Lois, 10, 74 ; 

result of, on Meithei, 5, 47. 
Hiroi Lamgang, 33. 
Hiruha, functions, 61 ; status, 72. 
Hiruhinaoba, 67. 
Hisang, 69. 
Hitakphalba^ Hitakphanba. See 

Hidakphanba, 
Hiydngthdng, 102. 
Hockey, 49, 54. 
Hodgson, B. H., 10. 
Hogaibiy 26. 
Holi, 103. 
Honey, 48. 
Horn, 57. 



House, arrangement, 25, 146, 153 ; 

deities, 96, 98; furniture, 27; 

structure, 25 ; superstitions re 

building, 121. 
Huidru Hanba, 66. 
Hui-rai, 46. 
Huirai Hanba, 66. 
Huirai Hidang, 66. 
Hum^i^ 42. 
Humai-roi, 68. 
Hume's pheasant, 16. 
Hunting, 46, 47. 

Imphal, river, 9. 

town. Bazars, 23 ; education, 24 ; 

population, 26 ; tumulus at, 118, 

133. 
Implements, 39 et seq., 42. 
Imports, dried fish, 48 ; salt, 33. 
ImUng Lai, 96 ; birth ceremony, 112 ; 

worship, 103. 
Indian hemp, 48. 
Indigo, 40. 
Indoo Muni, 5. 
Indra, 111. 
Inheritance, 77-82. 
Innaphi, 14, 115. 
Irdk-Lakpa, 66. 
Iron Smelting, 9, 30, 3L 
Irrigation, 40-42. 
Iseisakpas, 55, 56, 117. 
Iting, Lallap, 72 ; origin of, 9. 
Ivory, 29. 
Iwang Fang Fang Fonglenhauba, 

King, 130, 131. 

Jackfruit, 40. 

Jaee Singh. See Chingtung Komha. 
Jail, labour, 88 ; statistics, 23. 
Jaisagun Hidang, 66. 

Lakpa, 65. 

Jamadar {Jemadar)^ 71. 
Javelin throwing, 20, 51. 
Jem/adar. See Jamadar. 
Jesmrni, 1. 

Jewelry, 18 ; manufacture, 28. 
Jit Shah (Shat) Rajah, 80. 
Jobista. See Fdkhangha. 
Johnstone, Major-General Sir 

James, K.C.S.I., on brick-built 

walls, 26 ; on capital pimishment. 

89; on education, 24; on racial 

affinities, 8. 
Jubraj, meaning, 65 ; puberty customs, 

114 ; status, 59. 



2l8 



INDEX 



Ju-gi mairi dhotis 15. 

Jungle gods, worship of, 69, 96, 103. 

Jute, 44. 

Kabo Banha, 68. 

Kachari language, comparative 

structure, 163-170; comparative 

vocabularies, 158, 161. 
Kachin language, affinities, 11, 

156 ; comparative structure, 164- 

170 ; comparative vocabularies, 

158-161. 
Kahar, 84. 
Kairungha (Keirungha), 68 ; status, 

72. 
Kairungha maroi, 67. 

yairek sang, 67. 

Kaithenmanhif scapegoat ceremony 

at, 106, 111. 
Kali Jug, 5. 
Kallika Debi Palla, 70. 
Kalycy 43. 
Kamertg, 9 ; administration, etc., 72 ; 

iron ore, 32. 
Kameng chatpa dhoti, 15, 16, 17. 
Kameng Kokching, 72. 
Kammokha Debi, 70. 
Kung drum, 50. 

hu, 49. 

Kangla architecture, 8 ; coronation 

rites, 108; erection of, 122. 
Kangnao Tuli, 71. 
KangpOt, 42. 
Kmig su-na-ba, 55. 
Kangsubi, 115. 
Kang Tuli, 71. 
Kao Taruk, 72. 
Kaphum, See Khubum. 
Kasu, 74. 
Kathe, 1. 
Katnam, 92. 
Kattim^ Qd, 
Kazi, 70. 
Keeyamba Rajah. See Kiamba 

Bajah. 
Kei, administration, etc., 70; duties, 

63, 64; Lallup, 60; land tenure, 

87. . 
Kei-roi thau, 64, 65. 
Keirungba, See Kairungba. 
Keirup, 46, 94. 
Keisham, 69. 
Kekere ke sanaba, 56. 
Kekre Hanba, 66. 
Hidang, 66. 



jre««, 28. 

-ff^afta, 97. 

Khabam. See Khdbum. 

Khdbam Sanglen, 61. 

Khabananba, administration, etc., 
73; deities, 100; genealogy, 100, 
184; marriage, 75. 

Khabru, 103, 106. 

Khabum (Kaphum), administration, 
etc., 63 e^ seq. ; boat-races, 52 ; 
meaning, 58. 

Kliddarakpa, 142 ; status, 72. 

Khagenba (Khagi-yen-ba Kha- 
kamba) Rajah, 26; boat-races, 53 
burial law, 116; Chinese, 15 
coinage, 37; dress reforms, 17 
gunpowder, 21 ; houses, 26 ; Lois, 
9 ; polo, 49 ; Sena Kaithel, 23 
table equipage, 30. 

Khamba, 56, 117; in history of 
Moirang, 132, 133. 

Khamba and ITioibi, folk tale, 134- 
154. 

Khambirakpa, 72. 

Khamdingou, 100. 

Khami language, comparative 
structure, 164-170; comparative 
vocabularies, 159, 161. 

Khamnu, 132, 133, 135-154. 

KhangabOk, 72. 

Khangjing sanaba, 67. 

Khanton-Lakpa, 66. 

Khasi, 10; belief in snake con- 
trasted with that of Meitheis, 101. 

Khessaree, 43. 

Khetri Hanchaba, 66. 

Khoi-haoba, 3. 

Khongjai Lamhus, 69. 

Khong kangjei, 49. 

Khoomon, See Kumul. 

Khooi Ningon, King, 26. 

Khoot naiba, 63. 

Khowai Nongjengba, 126. 

Khoyal lakjpa, 72. 

Khubeiseisakpa, 54. 

Khudong, 70. 

Khul Chaoba, Rajah, 9. 

Khidlakpa, 72 ; house, 8 ; status, 60, 
66. 

Khumal. See Kumul. 

Kuuman. See Kumul. 

Khumanthem sagei, 68. 

Khundang Hidang, 66. 

Khundin, 62. 

Khungoinaba, 88. 



INDEX 



219 



Khunjahanha, 60. 

Khuraijam, 98. 

Khurai-rakpa duties, 91 ; status, 65. 

Khutheiba Loisang, 68. 

Khutlai, 39. 

Khuyal Leikhong, 131. 

Kiamha (Keeyamba) Bajah, insti- 
tutes Chahitabas, 105 ; coinage, 37. 

King cobra (Ophiophagus celaps), 2. 

Kingship, 78, 101, 106, 110, 118. 

Kiriana, 70, 115. 

Koibi Namthou, 47. 

Koide ngamba, 125-129. 

Kbirengba Rajah, 58. 

Kokching (Khul-len), 9 ; administra- 
tion, etc., 72. 

Kkunao, 72. 

Yairiy 72. 

Kongdbam, 69. 

Kongjamba. See Kongyamba. 

Kongsang, 69. 

Kongyamba (Kongjamba), 138, 139. 

Konsd Hanba, 66. 

Konsam, 69, 106. 

Konthounamba Sdphaba, 132. 

Kookie, See Kuki, 

KoomuL See Kumul. 

Koorta, 14. 

^orat, 36. 

Kosshop Muni, 5. 

Kothandor, 71. 

Kotwul, 59. 

Koupooee, 6. 

Kuarangba, 67. 

^w65o, 31. 

^wZ>o kaZZey, 1, 148. 

Kuki (Kookie), gunpowder manu- 
facture, 21 ; habitat, 6 ; language, 
6 ; succession to village offices, 84. 

Kuki Chin languages, 11, 156. 

Kula Chandra Singh, 82. 

Kumul (Koomul, Khoomon, Khu- 
MAL, Khuman) administration, 
etc., 72, 73 ; genealogy, 100, 185 ; 
genna, 118; habitat, 6; history, 
5, 132 ; marriage, 75 ; religion, 99, 
100, 108, 110. 

Kunda Sang, 70. 

Kupass, 29. 

Kura Khul, 72. 

Kut, 7L 

KVVAKTALBA, 103. 

Lai, 102. 

Lai bhandari, 70. 



Latching, 98. 

Laifa^heng, Rajah, 131. 

Lai/am, See Laipham, 

Lai haraoba, 104, 117; costume 
worn, 16 ; in " Khamba and 
Thoibi."138. 

Laikai, 63. 

Laikhong Siphai, 70. 

Laikhu Hidang, 66. 

— — Rakpa, 66. 

Laimakhubi^ 76. 

Ldimd-nai^ 67. 

Laima-ren, 98, 99, 103. 

Laima Semba, 67. 

Laipham (Lai phum, Laipam), 
(name of Panna), administration, 
etc., 65, 66 ; boat-races, 52 ; 
Lalltip, 63. 

Lai'pham, meaning of, 102. 

Lairel, 2. 

Lairema (Lirem% Hooidompokpi, 
Thongnuk Lairtmmd) in Numit 
Kappa, 125-129 ; worship of, 
98. 

Lairen hidang, 72. 

lakpa, 67 ; status, 72. 

Lairik Yengbam, 26 ; duties, 69 ; 
status, 66. 

Lairik-yengba Eanchaba, 66. 

Lai Sangkong, 79. 

Laisangthem Lamabi, 98. 

Laishing-choubi, 98. 

Lake spirits, 96. 

Ldkpa, 60 et seq. 

Lallijp (Lalloop), 58 et seq, ; 
Brahmins, 6 1 ; definition, 31 ; ex- 
emption from, 53 ; land tenure, 
85; Col. McCulloch on operation 
of, 22; military service and, 59; 
salt manufacture, 36; vernacular 
statement of, 62. 

Ldllup chingba, 60. 

Lalmi (Lalmes) and Chirap, 66; 
lallup, 63 ; organization, 61. 

Lamchel (Lumchel), 52 et seq,, 141. 

Lamkhang poak, 15 ; introduction 
of, 17. 

Lam Lai, 96. 

Lammi Loisang, 68. 

Land, inheritance laws, 77. 

Land Tenure, 85 et seq, ; and l&Uap, 
65. 

Langathen, 72. 

Langol, 42. 

Langpon, 62. 



220 



INDEX 



Language, aflmities, 6, 10-13 ; com- 
jmrative vocabularies, 155-162. 
dialect in songs, 117; tabus on, 
118, 131. 
Lao mi hidang, 61. 

rakpa, 61. 

Laws, 88-93, see Costume. Dress, 

Inheritance, Land, Marriage, etc. 
TiCather, 28. 
Leikai Laisang, 68. 
Leikeirakpa, 141. 
Leima Nanghan Chanu Meirapan- 

jenlei, 130. 
Leipareng, 115. 
Leopard, 2, 46. 
Lightning, folk tale. 111. 
Liman Sang, 68. 
Lime, 40. 
Limestone 32. 
Lingha, 41. 

Lirema Hooidompokjn. See Lairema, 
Lock-making, 29. 
Loee. See Lot. 
Loee-il, 63, 152. 
Loeening, 43. 
Logtuk Lake, fauna, 2 ; fishing, 45 ; 

origin of villages on, 9. 
Loi (Lui, Loee) administration, 
etc., 71 ; boat - making, 33 ; 
characteristics, 3; costume, 18; 
deities, 103 ; fishing, 46 ; foot-race, 
53; Hinduism, 84; history, 8 et 
seq. ; Lallup, 60-63 ; language, 12, 
13 ; marriage, 116 ; origin, 12, 65 ; 
pottery, 3i, 39 ; silk, 27, 30 ; suc- 
cession laws, 84 ; timber, 33 ; Yu 
manufacture, 32. 
Loisang, 69. 
Looang, See Luang, 
Jjoukhanif 69. 
Loukhumta, 70. 
Lourungsang, 67. 

Luang (Looang), adininiHtration, 
etc., 65 ; deities, 99 et seq, ; 
genealogy, 100, 185 ; habitat, 5, 6 ; 
marriage, 75. 
Luhup, 17. 
Lui. See Loi. 
Lumchel, See Lamchel, 
Lup-lakpa, 60, 66. 
Luplengka, 25. 
Lushai Hills, 1. 

LusHEi language, comparative 
structure, lf)4-170; comparative 
vocabularies, 159, 161. 



McCuLLOCH, Colonel, on agriculture, 
40 ; art, 29 ; costume, 13 ; houses, 
25 ; kangsanaba, 55 ; Lalltlp, 62; 
land tenure, 86 ; Lois 30 ; maibis, 
109; marriage, 116; naming 
system, 112; nomenclature, 1; 
original occupants, 5; law of 
property, 78; religion, 98 et seq.; 
slave system, 90; superstitions, 
121. 

Machi Manao, legend of, 124. 

McLennan, J. F., 12. 

Madu Chandra, 81. 

Magic, 107, 128. 

Mahahali Thakur PaJla, 70. 

Mahaharat, 7. 

Mahardni, 76. 

Mahindrapahar, 7. 

Mahindrapore, 7. 

Maiba, 95, 96, 106, 109, 110, 153; 
Idl-lup, 69. 

Maibi, 109, 110, 131 ; IdUlup, 69. 

Maifengha, 68. 

Maikd''{Mek;r%mi), 79; precedence 
of, 80 ; war-stone, 102. 

Manang Usang, 70. 

Mango, 40, 43. 

MdngsOk, 146. 

Manipur (Mannipub, Manipore, 
MuNNiPOK, Kathb, Me&le, 
MoGLAi, Mahindrapore, Mahin- 
drapahar), administration, 58- 
72; agriculture, 39-44, 85; 
census, 2; chronicles, 4, and 
passim; coinage, 36-39; crime, 
23, 88; economics, 21; educa- 
tion, 24; feasts and festivals, 
16, 49 et seq., 103 et seq., H? ; 
fishing, 44 ; flora and fauna, 1, 43, 
44 ; hunting, 46 ; history, 78,133; 
(see also special headings, eg. 
GharibNewaz, British occupation); 
land tenure, 85-87; laws, 88-93; 
manufactures 27-36 ; military 
organization, 59, 61, 71, 93; 
minerals, 31; name, origin of; 
penal settlements, 4, 9, 22, 74; 
prison system, 23, 88; salt-wells, 
33; slavery, 90; topography, 1. 
For religion, customs, etc., see 
Meithei. 

Manipuri. See Mkithki. 

Mannipur. See Manipdb. 

Mantri, 65, 72. 

Mantri Sebok, 70. 



INDEX 



221 



Manufactures, 27 et seq* 

MaOy 1. 

Maolong, 1. 

Mapanthongy 70. 

Maram, 11. 

Marangha, Rajah, 37. 

Marjit Singh, 81. 

Mar%hdkja<joij 54. 

Maricht Muniy 5. 

Marriage, 75, 92 ; Brahmins, 75 ; 
Loi, 74 ; Maram, 11 ; Nagas, 11, 
76 ; rites, 115, 137 ; tabu, 153. 

Married women, coiffure, 3 ; status, 
91. 

Matchlock, 20. 

Matriarchy, 101. 

Mayang Hanha, 68. 

sajik, 69. 

Medicine-man. See Maiba. 

Meenai chanaba, 90. 

Meithei (Manipuri, Munnipori, 
Moitay), affinities, 4 et seq., 10 
et seq, ; ancestor worship, 99-102 ; 
appearance, 2 et seq, ; art, 29 ; 
caste, 30, 57, 84 ; character, 23, 94 ; 
clan organization, 73 et seq, ; cos- 
tume, 13-18 ; courage, 46 ; death, 
116; deities, 95-99; domestic oc- 
cupations, 22-24; folk tales, 56, 
111, 117, 125, 132, 188; genua, 
118 ; geographical distribution, 
4; habitat, 1 et seq.; Hinduism, 
46 et seq,, 95 et seq, ; houses, 
25-27 ; industries, 27 et seq, ; 
jewelry, 18 ; lallup, 59 ; mar- 
riage, 75, 115 ; marriage with 
Nagas, 11 ; music, 57 ; name, deri- 
vation of, 10; origin, 5 et seq,; 
political organization, 59 et seq, ; 
rites and ceremonies, 103; sports 
and pastimes, 16, 49-57, 103, 117 ; 
superstitions, 120-124; weapons, 
19-21 ; women, see under Women. 
Meithei language, 155-181 ; 
affinities, 10 et seq. ; grammar, 171 ; 
"Numit kappa" in, 189. 
Meithei Leipak, 1 ; submersion 

theory, 7. 
Meitdn-sangf 69. 
Mekle, 1, 

Mekrimi. See Maikel, 
Meng-khong ha, 103. 
Mera, 62. 

Military organization, 58, 61, 70, 
71. 



Militia, 58, 59. 

Minerals, 31, 32. 

Mi-ngonda nai-ba, 91. 

Minstrelsy, 55, 56, 117. 

Moglai, 1. 

Moianha, See Gharib Newaz, 

MoiRANG, administration, 65, 72, 73 ; 

deities, 100; folk tales, 130-133, 

135-154; genealogy, 100, 186; 

genua, 118, 119 ; habitat, 5, 6 ; 

history, 6, 59, 133 ; marriage, 75. 
Moirang-khOng, battle of, 133. 
Moitay, 10. 
Mongeanha, 23, 124. 
Moon, worship of, 111. 
Moongh, 43. 

Muhammedans. See Pangoans. 
Mukna Kanha, 70. 
Mulberry tree, 44. 
MuNNiPOR. See Manipur. 
MuNNiPORiE. See Meithei. 
Murder, 88, 89. 
Mumng, 6, 16. 
Music, 55 et seq. 
Mustard, 40. 
Mutilation, 88. 

Nadia, 4. 

Naga, administration, 60; chahitaba, 
106; cloth trade, 27 ; genua, 118; 
Gharib Newaz, 11, 79 ; Hinduism, 
84 ; lallup, 60 ; linguistic affinities, 
11, 156; marriage, 11, 76; and 
origin of Meithei, 6 et seq, ; Moi- 
rang, 130 ; ordeal, 93 ; pottery, 33 ; 
succession to village offices, 84. 

Nahdrakpa, 61 ; duties, 67 ; order of 
precedence, 72. 

Naharup (NiHAROOp), administra- 
tion, 65 et seq, ; boat-races, 52 ; 
lallup, 63 ; meaning, 58. 

Nakap-lakpa, 66. 

Nakappa Hidang, 66. 

Nakon Hidang, 66. 

Namhol, river, 53. 

Naming system, 112 et seq,; pre- 
Hinduism, 135. 

Namung-ba, 118, 119; meaning, 
107 ; penalty for breach, 75 ; rain- 
compelling ceremonies, 108. 

Nandeiba loisangba, 68. 

Napity 69. 

Narayan^ 5. 

Natch Ohar, beams, 1 ; conatruction, 
20. 



222 



INDEX 



Nature worship, 95, 96, HI, 112; 
deities, 103; " Ndmit Kuppa," 
125 ; rain-festivals, 107. 

NavHi Tuli, 71. 

Necklet, 18. 

Ngangha, See Khuhanuha, 

Ngangkharakpaf 72. 

ygangningsing, 100. 

Ngang-ngourakpa, 72. 

NiHAROop, NiHARUp. See Naharup. 

Ningailj 33 et neq, 

Ningkham furi, 18. 

NiNQTHAJA (Ningthouja), adminis- 
tration, etc., 73; deities, 99; 
genealogy, 5, 100, 182 ; marriage, 
75 ; sacrifices, 109 ; tabu, 118. 

Ningthau selba, 63. 

Ningthem porohit, 68. 

NiNGTHOU, 60 ; status, 65, 72. 

Ningthoukhong, 72. 

Ningthou phisuba, 69. 

NOngbal Ghadba^ 135. 

Kongyamha. See Kongyamba. 

Nongmai-Ching hill, 9 ; meaning, 7 ; 
raiu-puja, 107. 

NongpOk Ningthou, 99, 100. 

Nongsha, 89 ; symbolism of, 102. 

Nongthonha (Nongtholha), 65, 72. 

NongthOn Hidang, 66. 

Noongshabttj 98. 

Noongtil Chaibee, 79. 

Nose ornaments, 19. 

Nowchingleng Nongdren Khomba, 
See Cliandra Kirti Singh. 

'*NuMiT Kappa," 56, 111; literal 
translation, 125 et seg.; Meithei 
version and translation, 188 et seq. 

Nungaoyumthungba, 100. 

Nungbiy 74. 

Nur Singh, 81. 



Oak, 44. 

Oath, 92, 137. 

Occupation, 22' et seq. See Manu- 

fnctures, Fishing, Games, Internal 

Structure, 
Oinumnong, 71. 
Okchinglakpa, 72. 
Omen, 105, 120 et seq.; marriage, 

116. 
Oneiromancy, 124 ; deities, 98 ; 

connection with genua, 119. 
Onion, 43. 
Ophiophagus Oelaps. See King cobra. 



Opium, 40, 48. 
Orange, 40, 43, 44. 
Obdeal, 93. 
Ornaments, 18. 

Origin, Lois, 8 et seq, ; Meiiheis, 5 
et seq, ; Panggans, 4. 

Pagrij {Puggree) introduction, 17; 

laws, 14 et feq, 
Fahila, See Pthtla. 
Paijasubaj 68. 

Paikomba Pajah. See Pikhoniba. 
Painting, 29. 
Paja, 83, 92. 

Eulbum, 83. 

Pakhangba (The Jobista, Pak- 

HUNGBA, Pakungba), Coinage, 37; 

genealogy, 5; Lois, 9; parricide 

legend, 5, 80 ; snake legend, 5, 101, 

125 ; as tribal deity, 99 et seq, 
PdkJian-lakpa, duties, 67 ; meaning, 

60 ; order of precedence, 72. 
Pdkhanvdlf 145. 
Pakunoba. See Pakhangba. 
Palla amariba, 70. 
Palla-han, 70. 
Palla nahdf 70. 
Pallayeima, 70. 
Pallum Hidang, 66. 

Pureuy 66. 

Pamheiba. See Gharib Netvaz. 
Panam Ningthou, 103. 

semha, 67. 

Panggan, administration, 70 ; chahi- 

taba, 106; costume, 18; lal-lup, 

60 ; origin, 4. 
Panggan Mall, 70. 
Pang phel, 41. 
Panji Loisang, 69, 125. 
Panna (PunnahX administration, 

65-67 ; de6mtioo, 52 ; l&llup, 

58-63 ; national sports, 49. 
Pdn sooparee, 48. 
Pantheism, lllet seq. 
Panthoibi, in ** Numit Kappa," 127, 

128 ; worship of, 97, 99 
Parenkoiba, 135. 
Parricide, 5, 80. 
Pdtcha Hanba, 72; duties, 68. 

Loisang, 68. 

Puts, 45. 
Pea, 40, 43. 
Peach, 43. 
Peepa. See Piba. 



INDEX 



223 



Pembebton, Captain, on agriculture, 
39 ; iron smelting, 31 ; on origin 
of Meithei, 6. 

Pena, 55, 56. 

Penakhonyha, 69. 

Penal settlements, 9, 88. 

Pepper, 43. 

Fhambankdba, See PhumbdnJcdba, 

Phamen, 146. 

Phammi Ahal, 67. 

Nahd, 67. 

Phamtokcha, 66. 

Phangthou, 72. 

Phao intok, 42. 

Phaorunghaf 67. 

Pheasant, 2, 16. 

Phi-ge-napu dhoti, 15. 

Philological Notes, 7, 16, 17, 26, 
33, 39, 43, 46-49, 53, 64, 67-69, 
73, 76, 80, 90-92, 98, 103, 104, 
106, 109, 111-114, 119, 125, 131, 
152-154. 

Phoonan Saloomba, 85. 

Phoongnai (Phungnai), 63, 64, 67. 

Sang lakpa, 65. 

Phouraily 43. 

Phumhdnkdba (Phamhdn kaba\ 6, 
125 ; costume worn, 8. 

Piba (Peepa), 72, 73; functions, 
110; lallup, 63 ; succession, 83. 

Pigeon fighting, 56. 

Pihila (Pahila), 71. 

Pikhomha (Paikomha), Rajah, 17; 
coinage, 37 ; shooting prowess, 
47. 

Pineapple, 40, 43. 

Plantain, 43. 

Plough, 41. 

Plum, 43. 

Poiraiton, 100. 

Political orqanization and ad- 
ministration, 58-72. 

Polo, 49,50; costume, 16; pony 
49 ; stick, 49. 

Polygamy, 76. 

Pomegranate, 40. 

Pong, Kingdom of, 114. 

Pony, 49. 

Poong hul, 41. 

Potato, 40, 43. 

POtsavgha (POtsungha), administra- 
tion, 67 ; boat-races, 52 ; duties, 
64, 67 ; meaning, 58. 

Pottery industry, 32, 33. 

Prajapati, 115. 



Priesthood, 95, 96, 131 ; functions, 

109, 110; genna,118. 
Primogeniture, 75; kingship of 

clans, 78, 83 ; Nagas, 84. 
Prison, statistics, 23 ; system, 88. 
Property, Keal and Personal, 77. 
Puggree (Pagrt), 14, 17. 
PuM, 70. 
Pukhrumba, 65. 
Pukhrvn Hidang, 66. 
Pukshore, 98. 
Punnah. See Panna. 
Punsiha, King, 134. 
Purairomha, 100, 103. 
Puren (PureT), 66. 
Purenba. See Aton Puremha, 
Purree, 86. 
Puthiba, 98. 
Python, 2. 

Qutron, 79. 

Rahino Chandra, 81, 

Races, 51-54. 

Radha Krishna, 17. 

Radish, 40. 

Rain, deities, 96,103; legend. 111; 
as omen, 121 ; pujas, 8, 107. 

Rainbow, 121. 

Rajah, boat-races, 16, 52 ; chShitaba, 
107 ; genna, 118 ; installation of, 
6, 8, 125; land tenure, 85-87; 
marriage, 76; name, assumption 
of, 114; rain-pujas, 107; salt- 
wells, 35; servants, 63 64, 67; 
snake-worship, 100 ; succession, 78 
et seq. ; tabu, 107, 110, 124. 

Rajkumar, 15. 

Rakshasa, 115. 

Rdmbai, 20. 

Rdmhai hunba, 51. 

Ranee (Rani), chahitSba, 107 ; 
costume, 6, 125; marriage, 76; 
servants, 67. 

Ranee mash, 45. 

Rangkhol language, comparative 
structure, 164-170; comparative 
vocabularies, 159, 161. 

Rds, 54. 

Raspberry, 40. 

Recidivism, 88 

Reed instruments, 57. 

Reed jungle, 25. 

Regiment, 61, 71. 



224 



INDEX 



Religion, 94 ; ancestor worship, 99- 
103 ; deities 95-99 ; rites and cere- 
monies, 16, 103-109. See also 
nature- worship, priesthood, etc. 

Rice, cultivation, 39 et seq. ; cooking, 
47 ; varieties, 43. 

Riddles, 50. 

Rikkhran, 107. 

River-pools, legends of, 124 ; spirits, 
96. 

Roads, 34. 

Bomanando Singh, 133 

Roof, 25. 

Rook, 121. 

Boul Loisang, 70. 

Royal Family of Manipur. See 
Ningthaja. 

Rubber, 1 ; cultivation, 44. 

Runner, 15. 

Rupee, 36, 38. 

Russeirs viper, 2. 



Sacred thread, investiture with, 84, 

114. 
Sacrifice, animal, 103 ; human, 108, 

and Ningthaja clan, 109. 
Saddle, 28; polo, 49. 
Sagai. See Salei. 
Sa-gol (Sa-kol), 19. 
Sagol Hanjaba, 59. 
Sagonsang^ 6B, 70. 
Sagorisem sagei, 6S. 
Sagontongha, 68. 
SajoTf 71. 
Salai Hanba, 68. 
Salei (Sagai), 73, 182-187. 
Sallungsavg, QS, 
Salt, 30, 33-36 ; imported from 

Cheshire, 33. 
Salt-wells, 34-36 ; and lal-lup, 60. 
Samlongpha^ 97. 
Sampati Bajhihaha, 115. 
Sam a Hanjaba, 59. 
Sdmusang, QS, 
Sandal wood, 29. 
Sandstone, 28. 
Sangairen, 67. 
Sangaisel paire, 121. 
Sang-cha-Ioi, 69. 
Sanggai sdnghn, 70. 
Sanggoiba Hanjaba, 67. 

Hidang, 67. 

Sangguba, 60, 67. 
Sanglakpa,66, 



Sung-Kai punsiba, 8, 125. 
Sanglakpa, 66. 
Sanglen, 66, 67. 

Hidang, 66. 

Lakpa, 61, 65. 

Sanglinba, 69. 

Sangom Loisang, 70. 

Sanjem, 69. 

Sanjoiba, 54. 

Santhong Mart Mai Langjeng Lang- 

mei TJiouba, 131. 
Sapta pradakhsin, 115. 
Sarangthem Lamabi^ 98. 
Scapegoat Ceremony, 106. 
Schools, 24. 
Sebok-palla, 70. 

pukei, 70. 

Seekong (Chikhong), Khul Chaoba, 

9 ; salt-wells, 33-35. 
Sekmai. See Sengmai, 
— r- Awang, 72. 
Sel, 30, 36 et seq. 
Sellungba, duties, 68 ; order of pre- 
cedence, 72. 
Sellungba ahal, 67. 

, naha, 67. 

Sena Kaithel, 18, 23. 
Sena'Mehi,{estiyaXto,10i; in"Nuinit 

Kappa," 125-129 ; worship of, 97 

et seq,, 103. 
Senapati, 59, 60 ; functions, 61, 72. 
Sengmai (Sekmai), administration, 

72;. deities, 103; marriage, 116; 

situation, 9 ; stills, 32. 
Sennakhal, 67. 
Separation (marriage), 91. 
Sepoy, land tenure, 85 ; miUtary 

organization, 61. 
Sept, 85. 

Sepulture, 116. ♦ 

Serao, 2. 

Severalty, 85, 87. 
Shaboma Muni, 5. 
Sham Shah (Shai), 80. 
Shan race, influence on Manipuri 

culture, 10 ; and religion, 97. 
Shan, vel Syan, 10. 
Shield, 20. 
Shoe, 28. 
Shuganu, officials, 72; origin, 9; 

pottery, 32. 
Silk, 30. 
Silkworm, 31. 

Sin, Transfer of, 101, 104 et seq, 
Sing-Uip, 94. 



INDEX 



225 



Singpho, 32. 
Sinysu Hanba, 66. 

Hidang, 66. 

Singsvha Ahcd, 67. 

Sky god, 111. 

Slave and Slavery, desertion of, 

23; lallQp,60,64,65; two systems 

described, 90. 
Snake, 2; worship of, 100, 110, 125. 
Snipe, 2. 
Soldier, cavalry, 19 ; equipment, 

28; lalmi, 61 ; Bijaya Garot, 71. 
Songs, 55, 56. 
SooprabahoOf 5. 
Sorarelt 111. 
Spear, 20. 

Spirit industry, 23, 30, 60. 
Spirits, 96 ; see Keligion. 
Six)rt, 2, 46. 
Sports and pastimes, 16, 49-57, 

103, 117. 
State officials, 59 et sej. 
Sticks, omens and calculations by, 

105 ; tabu, 150. 
Stones, deity, 98, 99 ; superstitions, 

121; forecast from, 125 ; worship, 

102. 
Strawberry, 40. 
Suhcdar (tfu&otiar), 71. 
Sugarcane, 40, iZ. 
SuMPTUAEY LAw-rf, 13 ct seq., 39. 
Sun god, in " Numit Kappa," 125- 

129 ; legends. 111 ; worship, 97, 

103. 
Sungsa rot, 63. 
^ureiMiTiTEONS, 120-124. 
Sur Chmidra Singh^ Rajah, 81, 82. 
tSurja, 5. 
Surreng, 45. 
Surrong Koibee, 46. 
Survey, Land, 86. 
Susakameng, inhabitants, 9 ; oflicials, 

72. 
Sylhet, colonies, 4, 23. 



Tabu, 118-119; marriage, 75; rain 
ceremonies, 108 ; rajah, 107, 124 ; 
sticks, 150. 

TaI UACES, 10. 

Taihauijhdnhfigi nuipu, 100. 
Taihongkhailmt 08, 
TmboTtg Khtlmbi, 98. 
Takhen Hanha, 68. 
Takhen pungaiha, 69. 



Tampuk mayum, 70. 

Tangal, 79. 

Tdngjing, 72. 

Tangkkul, 74. 

Tdnglei, 2. 

Tanning, 28. 

Taohuirenga, 126-129. 

Tattooing, 18. 

Tax, land, 85-87. 

Tea, 1, 44. 

Teak, 1. 

Teal, 2. 

Tdhaiba., i;JL 

Tethi Banjaba, 61. 

ffidang, 61. 

Tempi.i^, (Jot., Sir Richard, on 
currency, 38. 

Til m pie, 2^, 

Tcngkhul Loimng^ 69. 

Ihtgkui^ B J, 64, 

IhtsH^Eanha^ 6G. 

Thado folk tak, 111. 

language, comparative struc- 
ture, 164; comparative vocabu- 
laries, 159, 162. 

Thungd, lalhlp, 71; Moirang con- 
quers, 131 ; origin, 9. 

Thdngaren, 100. 

Thdngchao, 43. 

Thdnggung sdha, 68. 

Thdnggurakpa, 72, 

Thdnggol, 43. 

Thdngja pdnnaha, 68. 

TJiiiugiing, 128, 130, 134. 

Thdnglmkailxt^ 135. 

Tkftngmt'Hfinba^ 66. 

Thaufichiiigha^ 57. 

Theft, laws, S% ; statistics, 24. 

Thioetan lakguaok, affinities, 10, 
155; comparative structure, 163, 
170 ; comparative vocabularies, 
157-162. 

Thiagnung, 70. 

Thobalj 41. 

Thoibee ('fhoibi Laima), 56, 133, 

Thfiughn^ 135, 140, 

Thotig-hi-sang^ U7, 

Thoiu/nak Laircmifid, See Lairema. 

Thoitbanr-tong, 69. 

Thumjao Jiungba, 60, 67, 72. 

Thunder, 111, 

TiBKTO-BURMAN LANGUAGES, 10. 

Tiger, 2, 46, 135. 

Q 



226 



INDEX 



Tilah, 84. 

Til hatha, 47, 131. 

Tilli-loi-sang, 61). 

Time, reckoning of, 105. 

Tingriy 70. 

Title, 59 et setf. 

Tobacco, 40, 43, 48. 

Toe-ring, 18. 

Toosookf 79. 

7 op garde, 92. 

Top Tuli, 71. 

Tossing the caber, 51. 

Tourongham, (59. 

Traditions. See Khagenba, Origin, 

Takhangba, Pamheiba. 
Travelling and superstitions, 120. 
Treason, comparative statistics, 23 ; 

punishment, 89; example of trial 

of, in Chronicles, 93. 
Trihal deities, 99 ei seq. 
Truthfulness, 23. 
Tali- Han, 71. 
Tali Nahdy 71. 

, Yaima, 71. 

Turnip, 40. 

Ukai atidlha, 42. 

IJ-kai kappa, 144, 152. 

U/cai samjety 42. 

Umang Lai, 96; feast, 69; worship, 

103. 
Umbrellas, use of, 39. 
Uinu Hidang, 66. 
Uina Khullakpa, (S(S. 
United Provinces, India, Meithci 

settlements in, 4. 
Urakonthouba, 132, 133. 
Urangha Loisang, 68. 
Usdha, 68. 

Utensils, household, 39. 
U-Thlen, 101. 
Utong chuk, 48. 

Vaishnavism, 96, 104. Sec also 
Hinduism. 

Vampire, 96. 

Vanda caerulea, 16. 

Vapeea, 4(). 

A^ERELST, Governor, 29. 

Villages, administration, 60, 61, 
71 e^ seq, ; origin of administra- 
tion, 131 ; described, 26 ; Keis, 70 ; 
land tenure, 85-87 ; Loi, 9, 32 et 
seq, ; 71 et seq, ; succession to 
offices, 83. 



Waddell, LL.D., C.B., C.T.E., 
COLONlCL L. A., 3. 

Waihaiba, 98. 

Waikong, 33, 35. 

Wdkching, 13, 70. 

Wall, 26. 

Wdnching, 13. 

Wdnghon Ningthoukhong, 70. 

Wdngkhai Bidang, 66 

, 7XLkpay duties, 91 ; status, 65. 

Wangmanai, 68. 

Wangpurd, 98. 

WdritdbaSy 56, 117. 

War stone, 102, 103. 

Watt, K.C.I.E., Sir George, 44. 

Wax, 29. 

Wanir, 75. 

Weapons, 19 et seq. 

Weaving, 23, 27, 28. 

Wheat, 43, 44. 

White fowl, iu "Numit Kappa," 
128. 

Widow, 77. 

Wild duck, 2. 

Women, appearance, 2; coififurc, 3; 
coinage, 38 ; costume, 13 et seq. ; 
dancing, 16, 17, 22, 54; divorce, 
91 ; economic position, 22 ; educa- 
tion, 24 ; fishing, 45 ; jewelry, 19 ; 
Law Courts, 83, 92 ; laws, 77, 
91 ; marriage, 75, 115 ; pastimes, 
16, 55 et seq,; pottery, b2; as 
priestess, 101, 109, 110; punish- 
ment, 88, 89; rain-compellin;2; 
ceremony, 108; tabu, 102, 153; 
weaving, 22, 27 ; status as wives, 
91. 

Wood turning, 28. 

Woodcock, 2. 

Wrestler, Wrestling, 54; costume, 
16; in "Khamba and Thoibi," 
137-141 ; iDagri, 15. 



Yairihok Ningthounai Kei, 70. 

Yaithihi, 70. 

Yakhong Lai, 131. 

Yandabo, Treaty of, 58, 59, 81. 

Yaosurakpa, 72. 

Yaphi ahal, 67. 

Naha, 67. 

Yaripok, 9. 

Chdba, 70. 

Yathang thaha, 115. 
Yeina phak, 43, 



J 



INDEX 



227 



Yek, 85. 
Ymtik, 43. 
Yim Chau, 6. 
Yim tinaha, 04. 
Yoithongnai, 134. 
Yot, 43. 

Yu {Zu\ manufacture, 32, 60; as 
marriage gift, 116. 



YumjiUoi, 68. 

YuMNAK, 73, 86 ; lists, 182-187. 

Ynmnam^ 98. 

Ynmthai Tjai, 98, 99. 

Yupalpaj GO, 72. 



Zu. See Yu. 



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