The Founding of Chingjaroi

The Founding of Chingjaroi

Resu, the founder and first Khullakpa, originally lived on Khundei hill. From there he moved to what is now the site of Phaibung Khunao. One day he went hunting, and wounded a large deer. He followed the tracks to a pool of water near the present site of the Khullakpa's house.

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Resu, the founder and first Khullakpa, originally lived on Khundei hill. From there he moved to what is now the site of Phaibung Khunao. One day he went hunting, and wounded a large deer. He followed the tracks to a pool of water near the present site of the Khullakpa's house. He climbed a tree and found millet, which he took. Next morning he went home, and his wife offered him rice and zu, but he refused it. That night he sought omens in a dream, and the dream told him to change the site of his village. He was to tie a rope round the neck of his mithan and a stone to the other end, turn the mithan loose and follow it. When the stone fell off, the site was reached. However, he found a suitable site behind the present one, and did not wait for the stone to fall. As he was clearing his house-site many lice came up from the ground, and after he had settled there tigers came and killed his cattle. Then he remembered the omen of the lice, and moved up to the present site of Chingjaroi, where he built a house in the position of the present Khullakpa's.

He prospered in his new home, and had many cattle and was very rich. Seeing this, a man from the Phaibung direction came with only his dog and offered himself as Resu's man. He became one of Resu's clan, and was the ancestor of the Tamanchui. Another man came from the Lai-i direction, and was the ancestor of the Khansungchui; one from Kharasom way (Kharasom village was founded three generations before Mosem's time) and he was the ancestor of the Amuniuma. Lastly a man came from the direction of Jessami and Lozaphemi, but he had no house and went with the Kharasom man, and so the clan he founded, the Lasema, are a sub-division of the Amuniuma. All these clans are sub-divisions in their turn of Resu's clan, the Yangnuma, into which their founders were adopted; and so they may not intermarry with each other. They all live in the upper part of the village, and are called Yangnuma in their own language, and Krrugnameh by the Angamis.

House with carved front and genna post, Chingjaroi Khulen village. Ursula Graham Collection 1937-46

Resu had a younger brother called Rasu. Their mother was very old and could not walk in the jungle. When Resu founded his new village his mother and brother came to join him; but when they got into the jungle and the old woman could not get along, Rasu killed her and cut off her head, which he put in a cloth and took to Resu. When he arrived Resu asked: "Where is out mother?" and Rasu said: "She could not walk. What could I do? If I had left her she would have died; if I had stayed with her we should both have starved, so I killed her and cut off her head, and here it is." So Resu said: "You have killed our mother, and you cannot stay in my village" and drove him out. Rasu went to the site of Luchai and settled there, and some men from his brother's village came and joined him. A war broke out between the two villages, and in the end Rasu was defeated. He moved further east, and founded Somra village.

Resu's son and successor, Kadiva, had seven sons and seven daughters. He was very proud of them, but one night he had a dream in which a "god" told him he was too proud of them, and till the seventh generation such a thing will not come again. Mosem and his brother are the seventh generation, and it is believed that one of them will fulfil the prophecy. Hence Mosem is usually referred to as the seventh in descent, whereas he is actually the 8th, and the 9th Khullakpa

Soru, Kadiva's great-grandson, died childless and was succeeded by his brother Sangsa. There was a great earthquake on the day Soru died; it began as the body was being borne to the grave, and all the men carrying it were thrown to the ground. The earthquake lasted for days and spoilt the fields lying below the village.

The lower half of the village is mainly descended for Tangkhul colonists. The Rezama are descendants of men from Ukhrul who went first to Pungam and then to Chingjaroi. The Srumchui's ancestors came from Luchai direction, but not from Luchai itself.

There is a separate Khullakpa for the lower village, but Mosem is the red cloth Khullakpa, and seems to exercise authority over all the villages. When a cow is killed, both Khullakpas are entitled to a leg, Mosem getting the right leg.

Intermarriage is allowed between the two halves of the village, but they may not marry into their own halves - e.g. Yangnoma into Yangnoma or Akhelo into Akhelo. Either half can marry into Lai-i, Phaibung or Chingmai, apparently without restraint; they do not marry into Kharasom or Jessami.

Extracted from Notes on the Tangkhuls by Ursula Graham Bower


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