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Dated Kuki Zale'n-gam, 4 August 2012



Revised Edition with Additional Text





The Kukis

The Schedules of India


The Tribes of Zale地-gam:
Aimol, Anal, Chiru, Chongloi, Chothe, Changsan, Doungel, Guite, Gangte, Haokip, Hangsing, Hmar, Kom, Kipgen, Khoipu, Kolhen, Lhungdim, Lhangum, Lhanghal, Lamkang, Lunkim, Lenthang(Telein), Thangeo, Thadou, Milhem, Maring, Mate, Muzon- Monshang, Paite, Simte, Tarao, Touthang, Vaiphei, Zou.

Culture and tradition

The Political Backdrop

Galngam Kuki痴 Imprints in Zale地-gam

Eastern Zale地-gam


Kuki People of Nagaland



Kuki People of Assam


Zale地-gam - Kangleipak Equation

Anglo Kuki Wars

Kuki rising 1917-1919
The Kuki - German Relation
The Preparation for the War
Sajam Lhah and Thingkho le Melchapom
The Chassad Conclave
The Jampi Meeting
The Oktang and Phatang Durbars
Episode of Mombi (Lonpi)
The Longya Meeting
The Sita Episode

The Battlefronts of the War of 1917-1919
The South Eastern Sector (Lonpi area)
The Eastern Sector (Chassad)
The Battle of Gotengkot
The war against the  British in other parts of Zale地-gam ,1917-1919
British India and British Burma Fought against the Kuki痴
The Burma Sector
The Upper Burma Sector
The North Eastern Sectors (Near Aisan, adjacent to Ukhrul)
The Southern Sector (present day Churachandpur district)
The Western Sector (Laijang and Jampi)
The Events of Chalson Tengnoupal
The Northern Sector (Athibung area in present day Nagaland)
The Assam Sector (North Cachar Hills and Karbi Anglong)

The Second Phase of the war Operations
The Western Sector (Laijang and Jampi)
The South-Central Sector
The Burma and Eastern Sector         
The North Sector (Aisan)

The Aftermath Of the War of 1917-1919
The First Trails and Sentences of The Kuki Chiefs and War Commanders
The Second Trails and Sentences of the Kuki Chiefs and War Commanders
The Effects of the War of 1917-1919 on the Kuki People
The Reasons for the Defeats of the Kukis
The Hardships Faced by the Jailed Kuki Chiefs and Leaders
The Awards Issued by the British Government to the British Officers and Sepoys.

The Other Kuki Contributors Who Distinguished Themselves in the War

The Second Kuki rising, 1942-1945
The Kuki Japanese Alliance
The Kuki Indian National Army (INA) Alliance

The Kuki Tragedy


A Brief Profile of Kuki National Organisation



Manifesto of the Kuki National Organisation



Ideological Aspects of Zale地-gam



My Vision for the Kuki People

Annexure  I
News and Reports

Annexure II

Annexure III

Zale地-gam Letters



The Kukis

The Kukis: An Introduction

The Kukis are indigenous people of Zale地-gam, Land of Freedom. Zale地-gam refers to the contiguous ancestral lands situated in present-day Northeast India, Northwest Burma and the Chittagong Hill tracts in Bangladesh. The Kukis lived in this part of the Indian sub-continent without being separated by international boundaries up until the early part of the twentieth-century. They were an independent people comprising numerous clans, each governed by its chieftain according to Kuki law, customs and tradition. Beginning from 1937, the British colonial administration broke up Kuki ancestral territory and incorporated the upper Chindwin and Kale Kabow valley in present-day Sagaing Division to Burma, the Chittagong Hill Tracts to East Pakistan (now Bangladesh), and the adjoining Kuki Hills stretching from present-day Manipur to parts of Nagaland, Karbi Anglong and North Cachar Hills in Assam, Tripura and the former Lushai Hills to India.

The dismemberment of Kuki territory and its incorporation within the three independent nations: India, Burma and East Pakistan (now Bangladesh), has caused immense socio-economic and political hardships to the people. The effects continue to haunt the people to this day. Another major impact of this state of dispersal concerns the people痴 identity. However, despite the absence of a known script, and consequently a lack of written contemporaneous history, the oral tradition, recognized as a key stone in the reconstruction of communities dispossessed of written documents (Vansina, 1985), has served to retain vital elements of the Kuki people痴 past and their identity. Other aspects that connect the people with the earlier period are their shared history, the mutually intelligible dialects, a common culture, customs and traditions, which have remained intact. Folklore, genealogy and traditional forms of compositions and musical instruments have also remained unaltered. These characteristics of the people define them as a distinct entity and combined with the oral traditions, help to preserve the people痴 shared past and ethnicity. Carey and Tuck (1978 (reprinted), p2) observed that the (Kuki) people痴 rich traditions, wealth of manners and customs all point to one origin.

Who Are The Kukis?

Various scholars and British colonialist officials broadly describe the Kukis as belonging to the Mongolian stock. Fro example, Yule (1885), Col Phyre (1886) and McCabe) concluded that the Kukis belong to the Indo-Chinese family, and Capt Forbes and GA Grierson categorise them as belonging to the Tibeto-Burman group. Taw Sien Kho, a lecturer at Cambridge University classified the Kukis as a sub-family of the Turaneans, which include the Japanese, Chinese and Siamese. A pertinent query that arises is how the term 銭uki came to denote a particular ethnic group. According to Col Reid (1893), the term 銭uki is a Bengali word meaning 蘇ill-men or 蘇ighlanders. In his view, from the time of Warren Hastings, 銭uki had come to be regarded as a conglomeration of various tribes. Capt Lewin (1870), the then Deputy Commissioner of Chittagong Hill Tracts, observed that the Kukis are a powerful and independent people. MacCrea described the Kukis as a nation of hunters and warriors, ruled by their principal hereditary Chiefs or Raja, but divided into clans, each under its own chief.

Regarding the categorisation of Kukis, William Shaw (1929), a British civil servant, stated that the Koms, Aimols, Khotlangs (Kholhangs), Thadous, Lushais, Pois (Pawis) Paites, Gangtes, Darlungs (Darlong), Khelma, Biete and several others are undoubtedly all connected. Lt Col Shakespear (1912, introduction) noted that the term 銭uki has come to have a fairly definite meaning, and we now understand by it certain closely allied clans, with well-marked characteristics, belonging to the Tibeto-Burman stock. In Shakespear痴 view the term Kuki includes Aimol, Chothe, Chiru, Koireng, Kom, Purum, Anal, Lamgang (Lamkang), Moyon, Monsang, Gangte, Vaiphei, Simte, Paite, Thadou, Hmar and Zou. According to GA Grierson, in Linguistic Survey of India, the tribes connoted by Kuki includes Anals, Aimols, Chirus, Gangte, Hmars, Koms, Lushais, Paites, Purums, Raltes, Suktes, and Thadou, each able to understand the other痴 dialect and having a common social and cultural life and place of origin. A classification of Kuki by Prof JK Bose (1934), a renowned anthropologist, includes Chiru, Chothe, Anal, Kom, Tarao, Aimol, Purum, Lamgang, Wainem, Thadou, Lushai and Paite.

In independent India, the above classification that highlight the fact of common ethnicity and identity has been represented under 羨ny Kuki Tribes in the Constitutional Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes lists of 1951 in the states of Assam, Manipur, Tripura, Meghalaya, Mizoram, and in Nagaland simply as 銭uki. However, the Constitution Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes Lists (Modification) Order, 1956, The Schedule, Part X Manipur, recognizes the various clans as separate individual 奏ribes. This tribe modification order has exacerbated the identity crisis caused by the international boundaries that divide Kuki country.

In ethnological terms a 奏ribe denotes a people with distinct culture, tradition and language. By these criteria, in the state of Nagaland the Constitutional Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes List classify the Ao, Angami, Lotha, and Sema, all of which have  distinctive cultures, customs, traditions and languages as different tribes. By the same criteria, the Kuki clans, which share a common culture, customs and traditions, and dialects with the same root language need to be collectively identified as a single 奏ribe, not separate 奏ribes. The error of the tribe modification order of 1956 was rectified in the year 2003 by 禅he Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes Orders (Amendment) Act, 2002, No. 10 of 2003, in Part X Manipur, which reintroduced 羨ny Kuki Tribes.

羨ny Kuki Tribes also helps to dispel the anomaly introduced by the Constitution Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes Lists (Modification) Order, 1956, which recognised Thadou, a sub-clan, to represent the various related sub-clans who speak the same dialect. The anomaly essentially relates to varying accounts of genealogical origins.

Efforts to bridge the gap of identity that prevailed from 1956 onwards has led to a rather frantic quest for alternatives to Kuki as a common identity. Nomenclatures, such as 銭hul, 閃izo, 禅ribal League, 禅uhbem Som, 舛hikim, 岨omi, 岨o, and 薦imi were experimented with, but to no lasting avail. The re-introduction of 羨ny Kuki Tribes provides an avenue to generate the much-needed unity among the people, particularly in reference to the dire political condition prevalent in present-day Manipur state. In specific regard to the existing predicament faced by the people, the present may prove to be an opportune moment to reconsider the credence of Kuki as a historically bona fide identity. With regard to Kuki痴 historicity, reference can be taken from, and as published in The Telegraph (17 Jan 1994), the Pooyas, the traditional literature of the Meitei people of Manipur, which testify that 奏wo Kuki Chiefs named Kuki Ahongba and Kuki Achouba were allies to Nongba Lairen Pakhangba, the first historically recorded king of the Meithis [Meiteis], in the latter痴 mobilisation for the throne in 33 AD. When Kuki chiefs wield such prominence in 33 AD (referred to above), it can safely be assumed that the Kukis and the identity, Kuki, existed preceding that period. The Kuki identity is also endorsed by eminent personalities associated with the Kukis in the past, such as Grierson (1904), Shakespear (1912), Lewin (1856), and Mackenzie (1884). Their accounts provide a rich cultural heritage of the Kuki people and their identity. Their narratives are also singular indicating that no other nomenclature existed to be regarded as an alternative identity for this group of people. In other words, owing to its antiquity, Kuki痴 appropriateness as a terminology for the collective identity of the people is self-evident. The Kuki identity is particularly important with regard to the crisis of identity in Manipur. It forms the basis of indigenity of the people and the ancestry of their land ownership. Besides, identity is an inheritance endowed by history, best preserved and gainfully promoted to rightfully claim the rights and heritage associated with it. It hardly matters what the term connotes. What matters more is the wisdom to utilize the identity by which history testifies a group of people as a collective to bargain for the Socio-political and economic rights of the collective.

Kuki Indigenity with Specific Historical References

Historians such as Majumdar and Bhattasali (1930, 6-7) refer to the Kukis as the earliest people known to have lived in pre-historic India, preceding 奏he 泥ravidians who now live in South India. Comparatively, the Aryans, who drove the Dravidians towards the south, arrived in the Indian sub-continent around BC 1500 (Thapar, 1966, 29). Apart from the reference to the Pooyas dating back to 33 AD, Cheitharol Kumaba (Royal Chronicles of the Meitei Kings) records that in the year 186 Sakabda (AD 264) Meidungu Taothingmang, a Kuki, became king. This is supported by the statement of Prof JN Phukan (1992, 10) who writes:

If we were to accept Ptolemy痴 禅iladae as the 銭uki people, as identified by Gerini, the settlement of the Kuki in North-East India would go back to a very long time in the past. As Professor Gangumei Kabui thinks, 壮ome Kuki tribes migrated to Manipur hills in the pre-historic times along with or after the Meitei advent in the Manipur valley' (History of Manipur, p24). This hypothesis will take us to the theory that the Kukis, for that matter, the Mizos, at least some of their tribes, had been living in North-East India since the prehistoric time, and therefore, their early home must be sought in the hills of Manipur and the nearby areas rather than in Central China or the Yang-tze valley.

In the second century (AD 90 168), Claudius Ptolemy, the geographer, identified the Kukis with Tiladai who are associated with Tilabharas, and places them 奏o the north of Maiandros, that is about the Garo Hills and Silhet (Gereni, 1909, 53). Stevenson痴 (1932) reference to Kuki in relation to Ptolemy痴 The Geography also bears critical significance to its period of existence. In the Rajmala or Annals of Tripura, Shiva is quoted to have fallen in love with a Kuki woman around AD 1512 (Dalton, 1872, 10).

The Wingspan of Ancestral Kuki Territory

According to Capt Pemberton (1853), the Kuki territory stretches from the southern borders of Manipur valley to the Northern limit of the province of Arracan. Meerwarth (1835) observed that the Kukis occupied the hill ranges south of the Naga Hills, to the east the tribes of upper Chindwin and the Chin Hills, on the south those living on the hill tracts of Chittagong, while on the west they are bounded by the plains of Sylhet and the hills of North Cachar. William Shaw (1929) stated that the Kukis live in a large area of hilly country bounded by the Angami Nagas of the Naga Hills District in the North, the Province of Burma in the East, Lushai Hills in the South and the districts of Cachar in the West. Dalton (1872) had noted that the Kukis are the neighbors of the Nagas in Assam and in contiguity with the Mugs of Arracan. The Hill country occupied by them extends from the valley of the Kolodyne, where they touch on the Khumis to the Northern Cachar and Manipur. Similarly, DN Majumdar (1944) also observed:

The Kuki Chiefs rule over the country between the Karnapuli river and its main tributary, the Tuilampai, on the west, and the Tyao and Koladyne boundary is roughly a line drawn east and west through the junction of the Mat and Kolodyne rivers and their northernly villages are founded on the borders of the Silchar district.

The Encyclopaedia Britannica (1962, Vol 13, 511) records, Kuki, a name given to a group of tribes inhabiting both sides of the mountains dividing Assam and Bengal from Burma, of the Namtaleik River.

The wingspan of the Kuki territory as noted by Grierson (1904) is reproduced as follows:

The territory inhabited by the Kuki tribes extends from the Naga Hills in the north down into the Sandoway District of Burma in the south; from Myittha River in the east, almost to the Bay of Bengal in the west. It is almost entirely filled up by hills and mountain ridges, separated by deep valleys. A great chain of mountains suddenly rises from the plains of Eastern Bengal, about 220 miles north of Calcutta, and stretches eastward in a broadening mass of spurs and ridges, called successively the Garo, Khasia, and Naga Hills. The elevation of the highest point increases towards the east, from about 3,000 feet in the Garo Hills to 8,000 and 9,000 in the region of Manipur. This chain merges, in the east, into the spurs, which the Himalayas shoot out from the north of Assam towards the south. From here a great mass of mountain ridges starts southwards, enclosing the alluvial valley of Manipur, and thence spreads out westwards to the south of Sylhet. It then runs almost due north and south, with cross-ridges of smaller elevation, through the districts known as the Chin Hills, the Lushai Hills, Hill Tipperah, and the Chittagong Hill Tracts. Farther south the mountainous region continues, through the Arakan Hill tracts, and the Arakan Yoma, until it finally sinks into the sea at Cape Negrais, the total length of the range being some seven hundred miles. The greatest elevation is found to the north of Manipur. Thence it gradually diminishes towards the south. Where the ridge enters the north of Arakan it again rises, with summit upwards of 8,000 feet high, and here a mass of spurs is thrown off in all directions. Towards the south the western off-shoots diminish in length, leaving a track of alluvial land between them and the sea, while in the north the eastern off-shoots of the Arakan Yoma run down to the banks of the Irawaddy. This vast mountainous region, from the Jaintia and Naga Hills in the north, is the home of the Kuki tribes. We find them, besides, in the valley of Manipur, and, in small settlements, in the Cachar Plains and Sylhet.

Kuki chieftains reigned supreme in Zale地-gam, the undivided ancestral lands, and their people lived in peace traversing its entire expanse like a grand eagle in flight.

A list of the Kuki People of Zale'n-gam in Manipur, Mizoram, Tripura, Assam, Meghalaya and Nagaland

The Constitution (Scheduled Tribes) Order, Govt of India, dating back to 1951, lists a complete Tribes Schedules of the six states in Northeast India: Assam, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Manipur, Nagaland, and Tripura. In all these states the various Kuki clans are collectively recognised as 羨ny Kuki Tribes or 銭uki (Please see lists below). Latterly, exceptional to this collectivity, there was an unprecedented development regarding the state of Manipur: 禅he Constitution (Scheduled Tribes) (Part C States) Order, 1951, The Schedule, Part XVI Manipur, throughout the State, was categorically deleted; the substitute set in place was 禅he Constitution Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes Lists (Modification) Order, 1956, The Schedule, Part X Manipur. This Schedule, in contrast to those preceding it, listed each Kuki clan as separate tribes, thereby inducing a state of grave internal division. The divisive impact that lasted nearly 50 years was rectified by 禅he Gazette of India Extraordinary, Part II Section I, New Delhi, January 8, 2003 (p 6), (f) in Part X. Manipur, 羨ny Kuki Tribes. This Gazette restores the legitimacy of Kukis existence in Manipur in congruence with the status of the Kukis in the other five Northeast states.


The Schedules of India
Accordingly, a comprehensive listing of the Kuki people of Zale地-gam is included in the following Schedules:



The Constitution (Scheduled Tribes) (Part C States) Order, 1951
The Schedule, Part XVI Manipur, throughout the State

1. Any Kuki Tribe
2. Any Lushai Tribe
3. Any Naga Tribe

The Kuki people in Manipur are listed in alphabetical order:
Aimol, Anal, Changsen, Chiru, Chongloi, Chothe, Doungel, Guite, Gangte, Hangshing, Haokip, Hmar, Kharam, Khoipu, Koireng, Kolhen, Kom, Kipgen, Lamkang, Lenthang (Telien), Lhanghal, Lhangum, Lhouvum, Lhungdim, Lunkim, Maring, Mate, Milhem, Monshang, Muyon, Paite, Purum, Simte, Thadou, Tarao, Touthang, Vaiphei and Zou.

The Gazette of India Extraordinary, Part II Section I,
Ministry of Law and Justice, New Delhi, Wednesday, January 8, 2003

(f) In Part X. Manipur, (p 6) 羨ny Kuki Tribes



Extraordinary, Published by Authority, Govt of Manipur
Secretariat: Law & Legislative Affairs Department
Imphal, 14th April, 2003

(j) In Part X. Manipur, (p 6) 羨ny Kuki Tribes

____________________       ____________________


The Constitution (Scheduled Tribes) (Union Territories) Order 1951 [Ministry of Law Notification No. C.O. 33, dated the 20th September 1951, Gazette of India, Extraordinary, 1951, Part II, section 3, Page 1198 G]
The Schedule, Part II Mizoram, Throughout the Union Territory

1. Chakma
2. Dimasa
3. Garo
4. Hajong
5. Hmar
6. Khasi & Jaintia (including Khasi, synteng, or Pnar, War, Bhoi or Lyngngam)
7. Any Kuki Tribes, including:
i) Beite, Biete ii) Changsen iii) Chongloi iv) Doungel v) Gamalhou vi) Gangte vii) Guite viii) Hanneng ix) Haokip or Haupit x) Haolai xi) Hengma xii) Hongsungh xiii) Hrangkhwal or Rangkhol xiv) Jongbe xv) Khawchung xvi) Khawathlang or Khothalong xvii) Khelma xviii) Kholhou xix) Kipgen xx) Kuki xxi) Lengthang xxii) Lhangum xxiii) Lhoujem xxiv) Lhouvum xxv) Lupheng xxvi) Mangjel xxvii) Misao xxviii) Riang xxix) Sarihem xxx) Seinam xxxi) Singson xxxii) Sitlhou xxxiii) Sukte xxxiv) Thado xxxv) Thangngeu xxxvi) Urbuh xxxvii) Vaiphei

8. Lakher
9. Man (Tai speaking)
10. Any Mizo (Lushai) tribes
11. Mikir
12. Any Naga tribes
13. Pawi
14. Synteng

____________________       ____________________


The Constitution (Scheduled Tribes) Order, 1950 [Published in the Gazette of India Extraordinary No. 40, New Delhi, Wednesday, September 6, 1950; S.R.O. 510 read with Act. 81 of 1971 and Act of 1976]

The Schedule, Part XV Tripura

1. Bhil
2. Bhutia
3. Charmal
4. Chakma
5. Garo
6. Halam
7. Jamatia
8. Knasia
9. Kuki, including the following sub-tribes:
i) Baite ii) Belalhut iii) Chhalya iv) Fua v) Hajango vi) Jangtei vii) Khoreng viii) Khephong ix) Kuntei x) Laifang xi) Lentei xii) Mizel xiii) Namte xiv) Paitu, Paite xv) Rangchan xvi) Rangkhol xvii) Thangluya

10. Lepcha
11. Lushai
12. Mag
13. Munde, Kaur
14. Noatia
15. Orang
16. Riang
17. Santal
18. Tripura, Tripuri, Trippera
(Published by MKTRDC, Church Road, Imphal)

____________________       ____________________


(Source: Scheduled Tribe Atlas of India, Census of India 2001, p 91, Govt of India, 2004)

In the autonomous districts:
1. Chakma
2. Dimasa, Kachari
3. Garo
4. Hajong
5. Hmar
6. Khasi, Jaintia, Synteng, Pnar, War Bhoi, Lyngngam
7. Any Kuki Tribes including:
(i) Biate or Biete (ii) Changsan (xx) Kuki (iii) Chongloi (xxi) Lengthang (iv) Doungel (xxii) Lhangum (v) Gamalhou (xxiii) Lhoujem (vi) Gangte (xxiv) Lhouvun (vii) Guite (xxv) Lupheng (viii) Hanneng (xxvi) Mangjel (ix) Haokip, Haupit (xxvii) Misao (x) Haolai (xxviii) Riang (xi) Hengna (xxix) Sairhem (xii) Hongsungh (xxx) Selnam (xiii) Hrangkhwal, Rangkhol (xxxi) Singson (xiv) Jongbe (xxxii) Sitlhou (xv) Khawchung (xxxiii) Sukte (xvi) Khawathlang, Khothalong (Hmar) (xxxiv) Thado (xvii) Khelma (xxxv) Thanggeu (xviii) Kholhou (xxxvi) Uibuh (xix) Kipgen (xxxvii) Vaiphei

8. Lakher
9. Man (Tai speaking)
10. Any Mizo (Lushai) tribes
11. Mikir
12. Any Naga tribes
13. Pawai
14. Syntheng

____________________       ____________________


(Source: Scheduled Tribe Atlas of India, Census of India 2001, p 93, Govt of India, 2004)

1. Chakma
2. Dimasa, Kachari
3. Garo
4. Hajong
5. Hmar
6. Khasi, Jaintia, Synteng, Pnar, War; Bhoi, Lyngngam
7. Any Kuki Tribes including:
(i) Biate, Biete (xxi) Lenthang (ii) Changsan (xxii) Lhangum (iii) Chongloi (xxiii) Lhoujem (iv) Doungel (xxv) Lupheng (v) Gamalhou (xxvi) Mangjel (vi) Gangte (xxvii) Misao (xxiv) Lhouvun (vii) Guite (xxviii) Riang (viii) Hanneng (xxix) Sairhem (ix) Haokip, Haupit (xxx) Selnam (x) Haolai (xxxi) Singson (xi) Hengna (xxxii) Sitlhou (xii) Hangsing (xxxiii) Sukte (xiii) Hrangkhwal, Rangkhol (xxxiv) Thado (xiv) Jongbe (xxxv)Thangngen (xv) Khawchung (xxxvi) Uibuh (xvi) Khawathlang, Khothalong (xxxvii) Vaiphei (xvii) Khelma (xviii) Kholhou (xix) Kipgen (xx) Kuki

8. Lakher
9. Man (Tai speaking)
10. Any Mizo (Lushai) tribes
11. Mikir
12. Any Naga tribes
13. Pawi
14. Synteng Khotha
15. Boro-Kacharies (1987)
16. Koch
17. Raba, Rava


____________________       ____________________


(Source: Scheduled Tribe Atlas of India, Census of India 2001, p 93, Govt of India, 2004)

1. Naga
2. Kuki
3. Kachari
4. Mikir
5. Garo



____________________       ____________________





The Aimols

(As narrated by Pu Ralngam)

The Aimols trace their origin to Khul, a mythical cave or passage through which all Kuki tribes are said to have emerged from a netherworld. They are listed as Old Kukis. The Aimols have lived in close proximity with the Chothe, Purum and Maring Kukis. Their social structure, culture and customs and lifestyle are similar to the Chothe痴. Like their other Kuki brethren, the Aimols also use the Goshem, a musical instrument. The Aimols fought bravely in the Kuki Rising, 1917-1919 and also in the Second Kuki rising, 1942-1945, to defend Kuki Zale地-gam. Their display of peculiar Aimol-variant of Kuki traditional dance forms to the stirring tune of traditional music that can be witnessed during the annual celebrations of Kut, a post harvest festival of the Kuki tribes, is a reminder of the rich heritage and variety of Kuki custom and culture. The Jansen, Mahau, Lutar and Unapal of the Chandel district are close in lineage to the Aimols.


The Anals

(As narrated by Pu Ralngam)

The Anals are one of the Kuki groups that originated from Khul (cave). The Anals constitute a prominent Kuki clan. They form a significant group amongst the oldest Kuki people, and continue to be a prominent constituent of the Kuki tribes.

The Anals do not eat the meat of Sasan (wild goat) like their Lushei Kuki cousins. This is an important indicator of the closeness between the Anals and the Lusheis. The Anals are also known as Pakan. The British identified the Anals as the 前ld Kukis. They came from Southwest Manipur and settled at Pheljol village, within Zale地-gam. The present inhabitants of Pheljol did not set up village. It was originally settled and named by the Anals. The Anals migrated from Pheljol in two groups: one group settled at Anal Kholen, Chandel District, the other group settled at Naphou.

The Anals are legendary warriors. In pre-history, the Anals of Naphou constantly waged war against the Moirang King. They also participated very bravely in the Kuki Rising, 1917-19 and in the Second Kuki rising, 1942-45. They fought against the British to preserve the sovereignty of Zale地-gam. They also joined the Indian National Warriors (INA) in great numbers.


The Baites (Beite)

(As narrated by Pu Thonglet Baite)

The Baites trace their origin to Khul as most Kuki tribes do. They are a small yet notable Kuki clan. Pu Suantak is regarded as the progenitor of the Suantaks. Pu Suantak was the great chief of Khovaiphei. When his descendants grew in number, Pu Suantak left Khovaiphei to set up another village by the name of Phaija. He also established another village called Bongnoi, from which was formed another village called Nathel. Nathel was a grand and prosperous village and from there the Baites spread out to different places in Zale地-gam and into other parts. Today, the Baites are in Assam where they follow a variation of the Baite dialect and are called Beite. However, the Beite of Assam and the Baites of Manipur are one and the same people.

The Baites have a rich repertory of legends. Among them the story of Hensei and Hanneh, Pi Vungneng and Pu Kondem Baite deserves mention:
Hensei and Hanneh are two brothers. They netted a white Dahpi (big gong) from the river called Gun (Gundung or Imphal River) while fishing. The Dahpi was said to be owned by the demons. The demons came after the Dahpi by following the sound, wherever it was struck. The Dahpi is a treasured cultural item for the Baites. Pi Vungneng was a very beautiful Baite maiden. She used to have extraordinary dreams. Pu Mangvung married Pi Vungneng. They had many offsprings, resulting in a tremendous increase of the Mangvung population. Pi Vungneng, it is said used to wear Long chang (a kind of nut that served as an ornament) on her braided hair. Her daughters followed the tradition of wearing Long chang on their hair. Today, the Baite women keep up this tradition of wearing Long chang. It has also become popular among the Mangvung Haokip women.

Kondem Baite was a prominent chief. He was a great leader of Zale地-gam and served in the war against the British during the Kuki rising, 1917-1919. After the war, he was jailed at Tuanggyi Jail in Burma for three years, under torturous conditions. Among the Kukis, the Baites were one of the most devoted fighters for the defence of Zale地-gam.

Pu Thangchung Baite, Chief of Tengnoupal Chalson was a renowned marksman. He fought valiantly in the Kuki Rising, 1917-1919. The Baites presently live in the following areas within Zale地-gam: L.Sareikhong, Lamlai Chingphei, Mongbung, Mongneljang, Toljang, Ch. Tengnoupal, Moreh, Maipi, Dongjang, Khengjang, Khomunnom, etc. There are many Beite villages in Assam also. One of the oldest known villages of the Baites was Sadih (Sachih), in Eastern Zale地-gam (Burma).


The Chirus

(As narrated by Pu Ralngam)

The Chirus also trace their origin to Khul. In order to escape from Khul, the Chirus, it is said, let fly Phulim (a variety of small insects) to distract the tiger that was guarding the exit. While the tiger was distracted by the phulim, the Chirus seized the moment and made good their escape. This incident is remembered as Pulim, meaning 禅he great escape, and they came to be known as Pulum. As the years went by, Pulum changed to Purum, and Purum changed to Chiru. The Chirus are close to the Chothe, Purum and the Komrem, as well as to the Lushei and Hmar.

General Thangal: Among the Chirus there was a great man called Pu Thangal. His father died when he was only a child and so was raised by his mother. Pu Thangal was a famed and legendary warrior. He was renowned for his bravery and for his excellent skills at forming grand military strategies. He was promoted to the rank of General within the rank of warriors of the king of Manipur. He fought against the British for the independence of Manipur. General Thangal was arrested in battle and hanged by the British. General Thangal is remembered as a great martyr of Manipur. In his honour a premium part of the Imphal bazaar is named the Thangal Bazaar.

As a part of the Chiru 祖ultural history, it seems appropriate to indulge briefly in an anecdote: While still settled in east Zale地-gam (i.e. present day Burma) Chiru happened to be involved in stealing some salt from the Purums. Landing themselves into a mess, they asked Chothe to mediate. The matter became worse when Chothe asked Chiru to swear innocence by hah (a form of oath taking). At this, Chiru had no choice but to plead guilty and sought forgiveness. Chothe then declared, 礎ecause you had earlier denied your guilt, from now on you shall be named Chiru. 


Chongloi and Hangshing

(As narrated by Pu Ngamjang Haokip, Khamenlog, Manipur & Pu Nguljalet Chongloi, Khaibung, Nagaland)

The Chongloi and Hangshing clans trace their originto the mythical Khul along with Pu Chongthu and his party. They are one the prominent clans among the Kuki tribes. Chongloi and Hangshing clan represent descendants of Chongloi and Hangsing, the younger brothers of Thalhun. The sons of Thalhun are Haokip, Kipgen and Thadou. The Chongloi and Hangshings elder brother Thalhun married while they were all living at Lhungjang village. Thahlhun痴 wife died prematurely. Consequently, the Chongloi and Hangshings helped to raise their nephews Haokip and Kipgen. Chongloi and Hangsing maintained close relationships after leaving Lhungjang village. Their descendants multiplied and spread to every nook and corner of Zale地-gam.

Chongloi痴 descendants set up Jangnoi village in upper Chindwin (Burma) in Zale地-gam. The name of the village, Jangnoi, has been preserved for generations. It is also used to name a village in the present day Sadar Hills, Manipur.

Hangsing痴 descendants also established two villages, namely Khovang and Khotin. Both of the villages prospered. Khovong village was located close to the Tiddim Road. A beautiful ballad has been composed in its memory:

Kakho pacham chie chei-je,
Vongkho pacham chie chie-je;
Jo-pan changsel asutna,
Vongkho (Khovong) pacham chie chei-je.
Free translation

My village Khovong is beautiful,
My village where my father killed mithuns
Is beautiful indeed.

The Chonglois and Hangshings have multiplied in great numbers and have set up many new villages where they fully follow their ancient customs and traditions.


Once upon a time, there was a young girl belonging to the Chongloi or Hangshing clan named Japhal. Japhal was exceedingly beautiful, and her fame spreaded far and wide. One day while working in the fields with her mother, Japhal was thirsty and so wanted to go to a stream to drink some water.

The stream flowed along the Molphei hill, the abode of the Molphei deities. Therefore, Japhal痴 mother did not want her to go alone. She wanted to go with Japhal and so told her to wait until the work at the field was done.

Meanwhile, Japhal was getting thirstier by the minute. Impatient and not getting a response after having asked her mother a second time, she went off to the stream on her own.

When her mother was done, she looked for Japhal to go to the stream. But alas, Japhal was nowhere to be found! Searching every where in vain until nightfall, the grief stricken mother wept and wept, and she fell asleep.

In a dream that night, the deities of Molphei revealed themselves to Japhal痴 mother. They said to her that Japhal had been taken to be a Molphei bride. In return, the deities gave Japhal痴 mother an Indoi (a magical box made of woven bamboo holding spells and charms).

The Indoi brought the Chongloi and Hangshings great prosperity and good health. Whenever the Chongloi and Hangshings held a celebration, the Molphei deities would visit them in the form of Gohong (heavy rainfall).

Noticing the health and prosperity that Indoi brought to the Chongloi and Hangshings, other Kukis also began to acquire one. In due course, Indoi gained the status of a totem and became an item of worship, in every Kuki household. The Chongloi and Hangshings used to take oath in the following fashion: Chongloi 禅ah Chapa, Chongloi Tupa, Lutsong Chapa Kahi. Hangsing 禅ah Chapa, Hangshing Tupa, Songthang Chapa Kahi.

The Chongloi and Hangshings have spread far and wide in Zale地-gam. Many of them are settled among the other Kuki clans. They are progressive and have led the way in the sphere of education and development among the Kukis.

Vomhel and Kapja were two exceptional young men of the Chongloi and Hangshings. Vomhel was a strong man who performed many feats of glory. He was a champion wrestler and during his lifetime excelled in various competitions held in Zale地-gam. Kapja, besides being endowed with great physical strength, was gifted with the special ability to see and communicate with the spirits. He befriended the spirits residing on Thingbung range. Kapza attended the ceremonies and social functions of his friends, the spirits of Thingbung range, which greatly amazed his people.

At present, the Chongloi and Hangshings are settled in the following villages of Zale地-gam: Jangnoi, Thingphai, Mongken, Twidim, Khengjang, Chaljang, Napphou, Janglenphai, Khomunnom, Tingpibung, Haijang, Taphou, Vakotphai, Khunkho, Kangchup-Chingkhong, etc., in Manipur state. They are also settled in many areas of North Cachar Hills and Karbi Anglong in Assam, as well as in Nagaland, and in Burma.

During the Kuki Rising, 1917-1919 the Chongloi and Hangshings under the leadership of their great chiefs fiercely defended the Sadar Hills sector. The names of the chiefs are as follows: Pu Lenpu Hangsing, chief of Vongjang; Pu Ngulkhojam Chongloi, chief of Maval; Pu Amjapao Chongloi, chief of Kholen; Pu Nguljalhun Chongloi, chief of Thingphai; Pu Hangsing, chief of Tingpibung.


The Chothes

(As narrated by Rev Reanghang Chothe)

The Chothes also trace their origin to Khul. They constitute one of the oldest of the Kuki people. The British listed the Chothes as Old Kuki. According to Kuki mythology, a tiger obstructed the exit of the Chothes through Khul, the mythical passage from the underworld. It is said to devour every single person that tried to pass through the cave. Legend has it that the Chothes therefore devised a plan to elude the tiger by using the Ampi pon / Thangnang pon (a shawl with intricate and mesmeric pattern). The tiger compared the patterns of the shawl with its own stripes, and finding its stripe inferior, no longer dared to kill them. Thereafter, the Chothes emerged safely from the cave. The first man to pass through Khul was deemed a great and courageous victor. He came to be known as Ralngam (Galngam), whose valiant exploits is told in all Kuki folk tales till today.

After emerging from the Khul around BC 200, the Chothes settled at different parts of Zale地-gam. They migrated from Western Zale地-gam to Central Zale地-gam, in the hills of present day Manipur. Around BC 90 to BC 30, Chothe Thangvan Pakhangba a great Chothe chief was crowned King in Moirang, Manipur. Apart from being known as Thangvai Pakhangba, pre-historic tales of Moirang also recounted Chothe and uses his name as Ivang Puri Lai Thingri Nachouba. In modern history, as written by TC Das in The Purums: An Old Kuki Tribe of Manipur, published in 1045 (1945?) at Calcutta University, Chothe is also referred to as Purums. In the book Das highlights the Purums Kuki identity. McCulloch, the Political Agent of Manipur, describes the Chothes as Kukis. The Chothes and Aihang Haokips fought together against the British, during the Kuki Rising, 1917-1919. They fought to protect Zale地-gam their land, and the ideals of freedom they cherish. To preserve the same ideals, the Chothes fought the British again in the Second Kuki rising, during WW II.

There are about fifteen Purum Chothe villages. It is astonishing that such a great Kuki clan whose history is traced back to the BC era should number so little today. The explanation is as follows: There has been a change in the Chothe identity through process of mass assimilation, mainly amongst the Meitei and the Nagas:

The Chothes were assimilated in large numbers into the valley Meitei community of Manipur. This took place during the pre-Hindu period. Today, they are among the present day inhabitants of Kakching, Moirang, Nambol phoijang, Keishamthong (Kabui and Meitei), Langmaiching (Nongmaijing), Andro, Thoubal, Leimakhong, etc.

The Purum Chothes were assimilated between the Inpui Mei (Inpi) among the Rongmeis and Purul among the Nagas (Purul being a corrupt form of Purum).


The Doungels

(As narrated by Pu Hemkholun Doungel)

The Doungels are generally referred to as Khulkon people, which mean they are people who originated from Khul. The Doungels are regarded a respectable clan. In order of genealogy, Doungel is the younger brother of Guite.

In Zale地-gam, the Doungels settled in a place called Aisan. Up to the time of the chief Pu Doungel Chengjapao, they ruled over Aisan. Aisan encompasses a vast territory. It spread from the present day Manipur痴 Ukhrul District-Chingai sub-division to Nagaland痴 Pochuri Region. They ruled over the Aisan up until the Kuki Rising, 1917-1919. The Tangkhuls and the Pochuri Nagas paid Se-le-kai (taxes) and Samal le changseo (tributes) to the Aisan chief. It was during the reign of Pu Doungel Chengjapao that Aisan痴 glory reached its zenith and was most powerful in all of Zale地-gam. The British India government acknowledged the paramountcy of the Aisan chief among the Kukis and proclaimed Pu Doungel Chengjapao, the Kuki Rajah (Kuki King).

During the Kuki Rising, 1917-19, Pu Guite, the elder brother of Pu Doungel, was settled in Eastern Zale地-gam. The epicentre of the conflict was in Central Zale地-gam, the domain of Pu Doungel Chengjapao. Therefore, it was by virtue of the location and activities during the war in Zale地-gam, that Pu Doungel Chengjapao was given charge of the Supreme Commander of the Kuki force. Pu Chengjapao demonstrated tremendous courage and distinguished himself by the quality of leadership he provided to the Kuki people.

Following a prolonged and bitter struggle, the Kuki resistance was finally broken in the third year of the war. Many chiefs and leaders were apprehended and imprisoned for several years. Pu Doungel Chengjapao, being Commander in Chief of the war was held in prison for an extra year after the release of his compatriots. Following the defeat of the Kukis, the British imperialists completely burnt and destroyed Aisan. This was done as a mark of crushing the symbol of Kuki nationalism.

The sub-clans of the Doungels include the Haolais, Sahum, Lotjems and Tubois. The Doungels are settled in Aisan, Molkon, Chaljang, Bunglung, K. Mollen, Thingsat, and Chingphei in Manipur and Bungsang in present day Nagaland. They are also settled in North Cachar Hills and Karbi Anglong in present day Assam.


The Gangtes

(As narrated by Pu Anton Gangte)

The Gangtes also trace their origin toKhul. In the old days, the Gangtes lived in Ganggam, Zale地-gam where they prospered.

According to folklore, the Gangtes worshipped the serpent. Therefore, the serpent blessed the Gangtes and made them numerous in numbers, with many strong and healthy young men and beautiful young women. An annual post-harvest festivity was held in honour of the serpent, in the course of which it would emerge from its den to grace the occasion.

With the passage of time, the Gangtes, it is said, became indulgent in their prosperity. They began to be complacent and neglected their worship of the serpent. The irate serpent threatened to haunt them wherever they go. Having given up the worship of the serpent, the Gangtes turned to worship the sun hoping it would bring them better fortune, progress and prosperity. In order to see the sun more closely and to facilitate its worship, they began to move towards the east, as they noticed that the sun rose from that direction. Contrary to their hopes and belief of getting closer to the sun, they discovered the huge ocean span before them. Not being able to procede any further, yet determined to get close to the sun,  they headed west in the hope of getting close to the sun where it sets. True to its warning the serpent followed them in their journeys both to the east and to the west, wreaking destruction and death over them to the point of their extinction. It is said that the serpent distorted their intellect and senses so that they were incapable of facing adversities or taking any kind of logical action. This had a devastating effect on the Gangte population - large numbers of them died in many different incidents that followed. Some of those are related here as follows:

While living at Saitol village, a rogue elephant entered their settlement. In normal circumstances they would have chased it with proper weapons, but under the influence of the serpent they attacked the elephant with knotted cloth. Eventually the elephant was brought down, but the settlement was left with scores of trampled victims.

On one occasion the wife of the chief injured herself with an axe. At this the whole community was driven into a rage of stamping the sharp edge of the axe, in an attempt to blunt it. This incident left countless numbers of casualties. Once, a thirty-arm length pine tree was being felled. It was to be obtained in one piece to serve as the main beam for the chief痴 house. In order to prevent the tree from snapping, the men were made to line up in a row to break the fall of the tree with their bare shoulders. That incident led to yet another disaster, causing a high casualty.

During the war with the Suhte and Poi people, they were subject to mass hypnotism: they dived off a high cliff to swim in the thick mist below.

Many such stories abound among the Gangtes. They reflect their sense of humour and true character of spirit in the face of adversity. The fable of the angry serpent god is faintly and reluctantly recalled as a cause of the many misfortunes they have experienced. Had their numbers not dwindled, for one reason or another, the Gangtes would have been one of the most numerous and dominant clan among the Kukis.

Despite their small population, the Gangtes are the most committed torchbearers among the Kukis. Late Pu Demkhoseh Gangte was a pioneering leader in the efforts to re-establish the glory of Zale地-gam, during the Kuki-Mizo movement in the 1960s. The Flag of the Kuki National Assembly (KNA) was designed and introduced by Pu Haokholal Thangjom. In the face of pressure from various corners, many of them have maintained an exemplary sense of commitment and dedication to Kuki unity.

The main settlements of the Gangtes in Zale地-gam are as follows: Longpi, Teikhang, Leikot, Phailen, Phaijang, Pangen, Santing, Phaikholum, Chengkonpang, Khanpi, Thingmun, Vantungbung, Bunglon, and Khousabung.


The Guites

(As narrated by Pu Hembul Guite)

The Guites trace their origin to Khul. In the Songthu genealogy, Guite is the eldest. Therefore, the Guites are regarded as the head clan among the Kuki clans. 

According to folklore, Guite was born of Nigui (the rays of the Sun), and thus the name follows Nigui: Guite. Many of the Guite traditional folksongs bear reference to 全ons of the Sun痴 rays or 全ons of the Sun. The mystical birth of Guite is narrated as follows:

After conceiving Guite, his mother is said to have a series of very strange dreams.

In one such dream, the rays of the early Sun shone brightly upon a holthing (a tree, particularly good for timber) just below her kitchen garden. The rays penetrated the hollow of the holthing, as the rays of a rainbow would. Upon learning of this dream, Guite痴 father looked up the hollow of the tree to find an egg-sized, smooth and round Salung (a mystic stone, which can reproduce and grow and is believed to bring prosperity to the one in possession of it).

From that day on, Guite痴 father is said to have incredibly good fortuneand he began to worship the Salung (Legend has it that this practice of Salung worship thus originated).

In another dream of Guite痴 mother, the soft rays of the early sun shone on the Salung that was kept on the rice-basket, whereupon it appeared luminous. She then saw a baby born from the Salung and heard it cry. She rose to hold the baby but still did not come out of her slumber.

One night Guite痴 mother dreamt that she grew as a gourd vine. The growth was so good that it filled the house. The fruit from it appeared as good as an oil shell, smooth and healthy. The Sun痴 rays shone through a gap from between the clouds and focussed upon a spot on the ground, which burst out revealing a newborn baby.

In yet another dream, Guite痴 mother saw a bright and radiant object falling from the sun. It was like a meteor and it landed upon her. She shrieked in fear but did not wake up, as the legend goes.

After having these strange series of dreams, she gave birth to a son. Feeling blessed by the Sun and the Moon and convinced her son was conceived with the rays of the sun, the child was named Guite, derived from Nigui.

(It is a Kuki custom to name an offspring beginning with the last syllable of the person whom the child is being named after. The person is normally the grandfather in the case of a male child, and a grandmother in the case of a female child. It is also customary to name a child after a dear one.)

Guite痴 father died prematurely and so he and his mother moved to Aisan to stay at the chief痴 house. According to Kuki custom, Guite being of elder lineage, the people of Aisan approached him and his mother to accept the responsibility of the 蘇ouse, in other words, to accept the responsibility of being head of the family. Therefore, in keeping with the custom, Guite and his mother were asked to receive sating (a portion of meat taken from the spine of an animal, given by a younger sibling to the eldest of the family - a symbolic gesture indicating who the eldest is).

Guite and his mother refused to accept the responsibility, claiming that as an orphan and a widow they were not in a position to do justice to the position. However, unawares, they ate a meal prepared with the meat from Sating, cooked with ginger. Consequently, thereafter, Guite was obligated to accept the responsibility of being head of the lineage. Birthright is not considered alterable by any means, including orphanage or widowhood. Guite was thus accorded the position of head of the Kukis. Today, the Doungels give Sating as well as Salu (animal痴 head) to the house of Guite. Salu symbolizes being head of clans or of lineage, and so it is given to the Guite痴 as head of the family.

In relation to their being head of all kuki clans by lineage, it is fitting to mention that, by an unusual turn of events, the Guites in central Zale地-gam (i.e. present day Churachandpur district) have regarded themselves as head of the Paite clan only, rather than the head of all Kukis that have originated from Khul. This has contributed to the confusion over the identity of the Kuki people.

The Guites are found in the East, West, North and South of Zale地-gam. They are also found in the present day North Cachar Hills and Karbi Anglong in Assam.


The Haokips

(As recorded by The Haokip Inpite Insung Kiloikhom - HIIK)

The Haokips also trace their origin tofrom the mythical Khul. They are one of the great Kuki sub-clans and are numerous. They are mostly settled in Central and Eastern Zale地-gam. The villages under their major chiefs are as follows: Lonpi, Longya, Henglep, Loikhai, Phoilen, Songpi, Tuitawng, Laijang, Loibol, Saitu, Tingkai, Goboh, Joujang, Khotuh, Phailengjang, Tuisom, Sita, Molnom, Phaisat, Maokot, Chassad and many others. The territory of the Chassad Chief was the largest of them all, although the other Haokip chiefs also owned vast tracks of land.

Thalhun married Nemdim, the daughter of the chief of Lajang. Nemdim gave birth to male twins. As Chongloi and Hangsing took their older brother Thalhun to Lhungjang Village before the birth of the twins, there was nobody left to name the newborn babies. Therefore, it was decided that the twins would be named after their maternal uncles, and were called Chonghao-Haokip and Chongkip-Kipgen. In the meantime, at Lhungjang village, Thalhun married a second time. This time he was married to Neinem, and she gave birth to a son.

Haokip, Kipgen and their mother lived in Lajang village. Being twins, they were very similar in physical look and comparable in their strength. They were in constant rivalry. At the time of birth, apparently it was not made entirely clear as to which of the two brothers was the elder. The matter not properly reconciled, there was rivalry regarding who was senior. In the efforts to resolve the issue, the two brothers agreed that they would hold a contest and the winner would earn the birthright of seniority. They competed at high jump, shot put, wrestling, etc., and Haokip is said to have always been the winner. However, the issue of seniority remained unresolved. Ultimately, the two brothers decided they would sit on the Kemchon (a raised wooden platform) and wait for their mother to call them, and the person whom the mother called first was to be the elder. When it was suppertime, their mother called out, 践aokip, Kipgen come and eat your dinner. Haokip happily went saying, 選 told you so! and ate his dinner. But Kipgen was crestfallen and went away to their father in Lhungjang village.

Following the death of their mother in Lajang village, Haokip felt that his brother Kipgen should bury her. Therefore, Haokip asked Kipgen to perform the elder son痴 role in the funeral. Kipgen declined the invitation and instead sent word: 前ne, who has a son, let her son bury; and one who has a mother, let him bury his mother. After receiving this reply, Haokip took charge of the funeral in the traditional manner. He killed a ram to be served on the occasion, in accordance with the Kuki custom. Following the funeral rites, to set things right, Haokip spread the news that Kipgen is his elder brother. However, there was no response from Kipgen. Neither has Kipgen, since, shown the initiative to carry out his responsibilities as the elder. It is perhaps for these reasons that on 19th December 1997, the Haokips finally decided to give Sating to the Doungels, as a sign of acknowledging an elder brother. (For the Haokips the event of giving Sating to the Doungels is a way of establishing that they are of the younger lineage. Having made the effort on several occasions to offer the birthright of seniority to the Kipgens but not receiving any positive response, the Haokips have taken the appropriate alternative of recognising Doungel as the rightful older brother.)

Haokip continued to live at Lajang village. His descendants multiplied in great numbers. From Lajang village, the descendants of Haokip spread far and wide in Zale地-gam. The Head of the Haokips reigned as the great chief of Chassad. The Chassad Chiefs remained in authority in their land of Zale地-gam until the advent of the British colonialist, in the early part of the twentieth-century.

Chassad is synonymous with Haokip. A focus on the glorious reign of the Chassad kingdom is representative of the other great contemporary Kuki kingdoms that flourished in other parts of Zale地-gam.

The Chassad kingdom

(As narrated by Pu Sng. Haokip and Pu Jangmang Haokip) The eldest of the Haokip brothers ruled the Chassad kingdom. His kingdom extended over the central and southern parts of the Ukhrul District of present day India, as well as other areas of Zale地-gam such as the upper Chindwin region in present day Burma. The Chassad Chief痴 authority also stretched over the regions ruled by his younger Haokip brothers, but he gave them autonomy over their own domains. The Chassad Chief痴 council was the highest court of appeal among the Haokips. His advisors and ministers (Semang Pachong) helped him to exercise authority in the Chassad council. His councillors consisted of senior clan members, who efficiently administered the unwritten laws of the Kukis. Whenever a case was not solved among the Haokip sub-clans, it was brought to the court of the Chassad Chief, where it would be settled. The wise elders and councillors helped to solve the cases without discrimination and in exercise of truth and fairness, befitting the customary laws of the Kukis.

The Chassad Chief levied an annual tax on the Naga people living within his domain. The rate of tax was a one rupee coin per house. Each of the villages also paid an annual village tax. The payment was in the form of one animal and a certain amount of paddy, per village. The Chief痴 councillors administered the collection of taxes, accompanied by the Chassad overlords. Whenever the Chief went on tour, the people of the village carried him on a tollai (palanquin). The village people always welcomed him warmly. They killed pigs in his honour and served the best liquor especially reserved for him. The Chief, in turn solved the disputes amongst them and administered justice. Apart from providing the Tangkhul Nagas protection, the Chassad Chief also ensured that there was no inter-village warfare among them. For generations the Chassad Chiefs ruled over the Chassad kingdom with justice and fairness, and there was peace and harmony in the land.

The Chassad Chiefs maintained warriors of able-bodied men to protect the land and its people. All the brave Haokip youths served in the Chief痴 warriors. The youth received special training in warfare, taught by their leaders in Sawm and Lawm (the youth halls). The Chassad Warriors maintained a full compliment of guns, gunpowder and ammunitions that they manufactured themselves. In the Kuki Rising 1917-1919, the Eastern Sector of Zale地-gam was supplied arms and ammunition mostly from Chassad.

Several departments were set up to run the household establishment of the Chassad Chief. They are as follows:

The Hunting department
The youth of Chassad village proper and the Tangkhul Naga youth shared the task of hunting animals. They supplied meat regularly to the Chief痴 kitchen.
The Fishing department
Fishing was entrusted to the Tangkhul villages of Bongpa and Chahong. Fish was supplied on a regular basis, including during the flooding season.
The Agriculture and fuel gathering department
The Phenge Tangkhul Nagas were assigned the responsibility of agriculture and fuel gathering. They produced plenty of rice, enough to eat and for brewing liquor as well.
The Brewery
The Sampui Tangkhul Nagas was responsible for the brewery. They made rice beer, which was always available in plenty
The Famed Kitchen of the Chassad Chief
The Chassad Chief痴 kitchen was famed for its size and the incessant activity of meal preparations that went on. Altogether, there were seven hearths for cooking. The fire in the hearths was continuously stoked up. The flow of water from the kitchen and bathrooms was continuous. As a result, a community of crabs thrived where the wastewater collected beneath the kitchen floor. The saying: Shi-ai-akaileu ve refers to the grandeur of the kitchen, symbolised by the 祖ommunity of crabs, reflecting the height of the Chassad Chief痴 glory.

So great was the Chassad Chief痴 household that the chefs had little time for break, and the Tucha Bechas (customary helpers) had no time to attend to their personal needs, such as tending their own fields. The brewers were also constantly engaged. They produced various types of rice beer, which were served in large quantities to councillors and guests, adding to the conviviality of social occasions.

A Tale of the Chief of Chassad and the Chief Meitei of Manipur
The Chassad people once travelled with their women and children through the valley of Manipur (the Meitei kingdom). The Meitei king sent his sepoys and seized the beautiful daughter of the Chassad Chief, from among the group of people. The Chassad men folk refrained from retaliating, as helpless women and children could be hurt. Instead they offered a bargain to the Meitei Chief and said, 糎e will give you what you want, but you must return our daughter to us. The Meitei Chief responded by saying that he did not want money or gold, but wanted the head of the king of Ava (Burma).

The Chief of Manipur being defeated in battle by the king of Ava had been seething with rage and wanted to be avenged. The subsequent events show that the Chassad people were very brave, coming to the aid of the Meitei Chief. Thanglet, a prince of Chassad, had a reputation of being faster and stronger than the tiger. He agreed to set out to sever the head of the king of Ava and give it to the Chief of Manipur, in return for the daughter of the Chassad Chief. Thanglet set to plan. He instructed the men that he would go into the fortress of Ava, behead the king and escape with the head shouting Ku Ku Ku. The man outside the fortress should repeat the same sound Ku Ku Ku, which was to be repeated in turn by the others in line right up to the last man, waiting in the far hills. This would give the impression to the guards of the fortress that judging by the sound trailing into the hills; the man has run away at great speed disappearing into the hills. Accordingly, to carry out this effect, Thanglet positioned his men in a row, starting by the walls of the Ava fortress and into the hills.

As planned, Thanglet entered the king痴 house. After engaging in a clash of swords, Thanglet beheaded the King. He then carried the head, leapt over the walls of the fortress and ran shouting Ku Ku Ku. The plan was carried out with precision and the sound Ku Ku Ku reverberating through the hills fooled the sepoys of the Ava King. They believed that the swift attackers were already far out of reach, and decided not to pursue.

According to the agreement, the Chassad Chief presented the head of the Ava king to the Meitei Chief. In return, the Meitei Chief released the Chassad Chief痴 daughter. Following this incident, the Meitei people and the Chassad Kukis maintained good relations.

The Chassad Kukis also helped the Meitei Chief in the war against the Kamhao chief of the Northern Chin hills. Thenceforth, the Meitei king always offered a royal seat to the Chassad Chief, whenever he visited Imphal. In the year 1949, when the Meitei Chief was being pressurised by the Indian Government to sign the 閃anipur Merger Agreement, the Chassad Chief sent two hundred and fifty Kuki sepoys to support the Meitei king.


The Hmars

(As narrated by Pu Ngulkhojang Hmar)

The Hmars also trace their origintoKhul, or Sinlung. They constitute one of the prominent groups among the Kukis. True to their shared origin with the rest of the Kukis, the Hmars have named their newly formed district in Mizoram the Sinlung Autonomous District. Sinlung means Khul, i.e. cave.

The settlements of the Hmars have been in close proximity with the Singsons. There has been inter-marriage between the Hmars and Singsons and are closely connected to each other. The Hmars are also referred to as Kholhang (Kho-village, lhang-south or below) because their settlements were to the south of the Singson villages.

The British officials such as Hudson, McCulloch and Sir Johnstone recorded the Hmars as Kukis. The reference made by these scholars regarding the Kuki migration towards the north into Manipur, in the 18th Century when driven out by the Lusheis in Mizoram, applies to the Hmars. The Singsons intervened against the Lusheis and prevented further atrocities on the Hmars. Today, the Hmars live in peace with their Kuki brethren in Zale地-gam, in present day Manipur.

A common feature that also binds the Kuki people is Manmasi. Manmasi, i.e. Manasseh is the second son of Joseph, the youngest son of Jacob (Israel). The Kukis are amongst those who claim to be one of the ten lost tribes of Israel, specifically the descendants of Manasseh/Manmasi. In Hmar Folktales (1995) Prof Lal Dena writes, 羨t this time there was a voice from above saying, 溺anmasipa, cut down the hanging leaf above you with your sword. As Hrangchal did so, the huge trunk of the elephant was cut off.


The Kipgens

(As narrated by Pu Lunjapao Kanjang village)

The Kipgens also trace their originto Khul. They are one of the great sub-clans of Kukis. Kipgen is the twin brother of Haokip. The first Kipgen village was called Khogalpa or Khovalpa, located between the villages Lazang and Lhunjang. The Kipgens multiplied in great numbers and set up new villages in all parts of Zale地-gam.

The Kipgens are a clan of patriots. They fought bravely in the Kuki Rising 1917-1919 and also in Second Kuki rising, 1942-1945, to protect the sovereignty of Zale地-gam. The Kipgens are pioneers in the field of education among the Kukis. Among the Kukis, the first Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer in independent India is a Kipgen. The Kipgens are one of the most advanced clans in the modern era.

The Kipgens spread out from their original village Khogalpa and set up many villages such as Leikot, Molnoi, Tujang, Phaijang, Boljang, Jangmol, Chaljang, Tujang-Vaichong, Haipi, Hengbung, Kumbi-Pukhri, Munpi, Bongbal in Central Zale地-gam (in present day India) and also, Leivomjang, Teijang, Selsi, etc., in Eastern Zale地-gam (in present day Burma).


The Kolhen

(As narrated by Pu Ralngam)

The Kolhens also trace their origin toKhul. They form a distinguished clanwithin the Kuki clan-fold. According to traditional mythology, the ancestors of the Kolhens, a man and woman, leapt out of Khurpui (the cave) along with a basket and a spear, and dwelt at Talching. The couple conceived a son and a daughter and named them Nairung and Shaithatpal, respectively. Their direct descendants are the Kolhens.

Among the Kolhens, the chiefship is not hereditary. At the death of the chief, if his sons are unfit, the successor is normally chosen from other members of his family, for example, his brother痴 line. The appointment of a new chief is celebrated with a feast, in which the entire community takes part. A pig is killed for the occasion that is provided by the new chief. The young men and women make merry with lots of dancing and singing.

The Kolhen are divided into twelve families, divided into two groups. Exogamy is prohibited. The Kolhen痴 Keidun festival is in the month of April. During the first day of the festival called Karamuidai or Changritakhoi, the young men bring in two long creepers.

The Kolhen observe Chamershi for two days in the middle of the monsoon, either in July or August. A pig and a rooster are sacrificed in the chief痴 house, which is eaten only by the men. The Kolhen celebrates a festival called Ratek, in the middle of August. On this occasion, the Thempu (priest) sacrifices a pig and a dog outside the village, facing the Koubru hill.


The Koms

(As narrated by Pu Songchung Kom)

The Koms also trace their origin to Khul, similar to their Kuki brethren. They are a prominent clan among the Kukis. Their settlements were stately and grand, mainly along the banks of the river Chindwin in Zale地-gam. The Kom people speak a common dialect. They lived peacefully together before being scattered following the Tak Ava war. The British classified the Koms as old Kukis.

The Koms are a cultured and sophisticated clan. They exude humility and are generally friendly towards their fellow beings. A Kom household is marked by their meticulousness: they are tidy and organised. Their sense of orderliness is also reflected in the contribution they have made to the Kuki culture. For example, the Koms have designed the most popular traditional Kuki shawls. They are the Thangnang Po地 and Saipi Khup. The pattern for the Thangnang is taken from the white python, and the Saipi Khup from the black python. In the Kom dialect, the men痴 shawl Saipikhup is called Pase po地; the women wear Thangnang Po地, and Khamtlang, which is called Po地 kop-hoi.

The origins of the patterns for these traditional items of clothing are related in a folktale:

There was once a Kom village by the river Twitak. In the village lived a beautiful Kom maiden, named Jangnu. One day Jangnu went to fetch some water from the river.

On the way, she met a handsome young man. The young man, who was actually a python in disguise, showed Jangnu exquisite patterns that fascinated her. Jangnu stayed with the handsome young man for three days and three nights and learnt to weave the patterns.

Jangnu began to weave the patterns into shawls, and loincloths that are worn by women, but was unable to complete them as she turned blind on failing to observe certain rites prescribed by the priest.

Chongnu, another accomplished Kom lady, who conformed to the prescribed rites, is credited with successfully completing the weaving of the patterns onto the traditional items of clothing. These items are sophisticated and aesthetically pleasing. They constitute an admirable part of the Kuki culture. The other cultural traits of the Kukis exhibited by the Koms are Tuhcha (the men wearing their long hair rolled and knotted into a bun, at the nape) and the women痴 hairdo: hair braided in two strands and knotted at the top of the head. The Kom men and women use earrings, similar to their Kuki brethren. They also use the traditional musical instruments such as Theile (flute), Pengkul (trumpet), Lhemlhei (a variation of the flute), Dah (gong), and Khong (drum), etc. Rengngam and Rangsai and Khupting and Ngambom are folktales that are common among the Kukis.

The chiefs are traditional rulers of the Kom villages. Pu Neithothlal was a famous Kom chief who ruled gloriously in Tripura. Zampher was a big Kom settlement. It was a city-like village in Zale地-gam. Zampher witnessed a period of great prosperity and was self-sufficient in all respects. The Koms also established another big township called Keirap. At the height of its glory, reputedly, a dove could not fly cross the township in a single flight. At present, the main Kom settlements are Kom Keirap, Senpangzar, Sagang, Rakumbi, Khoirentak, Kangathei, Tuiringphai and Tonsen in Manipur. There are also several Kom villages in Assam and Tripura.

Koireng, Chiru, Aimol, Purum, etc. are all sub-clans whose lineage is traced to Kom. They are united under the Komhrem Organisation.


The Lamgangs

(As narrated by Pu Ralngam)

The Lamgangs also trace their origin toKhul. They are a notable clan and they take a leading role in the Pakan Association. They are closely related to the Muyon Monsangs and the Anals. The Lamgangs enlisted as brave Kukis in the Assam Rifles. The Mangvum Haokips also used to hire some of the Lamgangs, among whom Pu Serkanang Senkhil may be mentioned.

The Lamgangs have fought very bravely in the First and Second Kuki rising, during 1917-1919 and 1943-1945 respectively. The Lamgangs are great sepoys and experts in the use of the bow and arrow, as well as the spear.

Many of the Lamgangs adapted to the Meitei痴 way of life and have been assimilated in the process. The Chairen Meitei of Sugnu is said to be of Lamgangs lineage. Presently, the Lamgangs are settled mainly in Chandel District. They form a very important clan of the Kuki people.


The Lhungdims

(As narrated by Jamkhohen Lhungdim)

The Lhungdims also trace their origin to Khul. They are a notable Kuki clan. They are known for their qualities of truthfulness, compassion and humility. These traits enabled them to live in peace with others such as Zou, Haokip, Chongloi and Hangshing, Simte, Paite, etc., with whom they widely mixed.

During the glorious reign of the great chief of Loikhai, a young Lhungdim famously prevented a Dahkang (a big gong, white in colour), the chief痴 prized possession, from being taken away by other envious chiefs.

During the Kuki Rising, 1917-1919 the Ukha fort was fiercely guarded under the leadership of a brave Lhungdim commander of the Kuki Warriors. The Lhungdims also fought bravely in the Second Kuki rising, 1942-1945.

Pu Hemthang Lhungdim (father of late Ngulkhohao Lhungdim) spread the Gospel message among the Haokips in Thangting hills. He endured a great deal of hardships. The fruit of his efforts are clearly expressed in a song that he composed:

All over the Thangting hills, a cup of black tea could be hard to find,
And now, milk like water flows as from a spring.


The Lunkims, Changsans, Lenthangs, Thangeos, Lhangums and Lhanghals

(As narrated by Pu Ngamlet Lhanghal)

The Lunkims, Changsans, Lenthangs, Thangeos and Lhangums all trace their origin to Khul. They are known to be the first group to pass through Khul. They are also credited to be the first to acquire the knowledge of fire they provided Songthu and the thirty men with him, who left the subterranean dwelling through the passage Khul with ember to start their own fire.

Lunkim, Changsan, Lenthang, Thangeo, Lhangun and Lhanghal are great hunters. It is a common practice for them to adorn the front porch of their houses with trophies of various kinds of animals. In ancient lore, during a long period of darkness called Mujinlhun, they were able to survive by sustaining themselves with warmth and light from burning the huge amount of animal skulls and horns they had accumulated. During Mujinlhun one normally died if sleep took over. In the twentieth-century, notable among the Lunkim, Changsan, Lenthang, Thangeo, Lhangun and Lhangghal people are:

Lengjang Kuki: a signatory to the Simon commission of 1929, in Nagaland. He represented the Kuki people.
Rev. Dr. T. Lunkim: who translated the the Holy Bible into a Kuki vernacular. It is called Lekhabu Theng.


The Marings

(As narrated by Pu Ralngam)

The Marings are one of the oldest Kuki groups that are said to have originated from Khul. They were referred to as Khongsai like the rest of the Kukis in Manipur State. According to Maring folklore, it was possible for them to come out of Khul only when the mithun (sel) of the Chothe chief opened the gate.

The reference to Kukis as great warriors is to be attributed largely to the Marings. The Marings, attired in their war outfits and carrying shields and swords, perform a very impressive war dance. The accompaniment of their war dance with the trumpets bears the traditional significance of going to battle. The Marings are genealogically closely linked to the Pois who live in the Chin Hills and Mizoram. The Phimi and Phingsang clans among the Marings show the direct connection with the Haka Pois in the Chin Hills. The Khoipu clan of the Maring Kukis is related to the Klang Klang clan in the Chin Hills.

The contribution of the Marings in the Kuki Rising 1917-1919 was immense. They conducted a joint operation with the Sita Haokips against the British. Their efficient supply of food in the form of dried meat and fermented beans to the warriors sustained the fight against the enemy. As true Kukis, the Marings fought along with the Indian National Warriors (INA), during the Second Kuki rising in 1942-1945.

The Marings, as in the past, steadfastly maintain their Kuki identity. Their kinsmen and close lineage includes Nambasi, Sote, Kasung, K.Tangkhul, Mairing, Poirou, Lukhumbi, Kharan, Leihao, etc., who are mostly found in the present day Ukhrul District.


The Mates

By Pu HH Mate, Gold Medallist (Pu Jangkhosei Mate, Advisor of Mate Insung Kiloikhom, has endorsed the text.)

The Mates are also said to have originated from Khul. They are a prominent Kuki clan. The term Mate: Ma means 素ront, and te 奏o strike. Literally, Mate means 素ront beaters, or more appropriately it means 叢athfinders: people who moved ahead in the process of migration. The Mates are a trans-border people of present day Burma. Racially and linguistically they belong to the Kuki-Chin family. More broadly, they belong to the Tibeto-Burman group of the Mongoloid race, as the rest of the Kuki-Chin people.

Mate is the head of the Gangte clans. In the genealogical tree of the Gangtes, there are seven sub-clans: i) Mate, ii) Mangte, iii) Thanglun, iv) Thangsing, v) Hilkheng, vi) Neishiel, and vii) Thangzom.

The Mate clan consists of a further twelve sub-clans: i) Chethang (head of the Gangtes), ii) Langsun/Langgen, iii) Seileai, iv) Chingthat, v) Houlim, vi) Limso, vii) Limsong, viii) Sonlim, ix) Phut-hao, x) Hoimun, xi) Khumjel, and xii) That-hil.

The Mates who are at the head of the Gangte clans settled in different regions of Zale地-gam. Their main villages are: Tengnoupal, Tuibong, Sahomphai, Tuisomjang, Tuilumjang, Sehlon, Changpol, SL Changpol, Khangtun, Urangpat, Lamjanjg, Chehlep, Leiten (Lonte), Leisen Tengnoupal, Bileijang, Nabil, Manatou, Nungkam, Sigam nom, etc.

The Mate population is comparatively small, but their contribution to Kuki society is significant. They are an adventurous and outgoing people and are to be found in different countries.

It is worthy of mention that the British India Government awarded Pu Nehhol Mate a Bronze medal, for bravery and heroism.


The Milhiems

(As narrated by Pu Seikhopap Misao)

The Milhiems also trace their origin to Khul. The Milhiem population is significantly high. They are the descendants of Hangmi. Hangmi had three sons named Lupho, Lupheng and Misao. The Lupho, Lupheng and Misao have adopted Milhiem as their common identity.

Prior to the legendary saga of Moirang Thoibi and Kumbi Khamba, which was two thousand years ago, the Milhiems were settled at the place called Phubala. Phubala is at the foothills of the great Thangjing hill, near Moirang.

Folklore: At Phubala, the Milhems worshipped an idol, representative of a local deity. The deity blessed the Milhiems. It bestowed upon them many brave young men and beautiful maidens.

The neighbours, in particular the Moirang people, were curious about the source of the blessings. They were filled with jealousy and envy and so decided to find out. They discovered that it was the deity of the Thangjing Hill that blessed the Milhiems, and were set to possess it. So, the Moirang people without warning descended upon the Milhems.

A battle between the Milhiems and Moirang people ensued, which lasted for several days. Not expecting such a turn of events, the Milhiems were eventually suppressed by the Moirang people. The Moirang people snatched the Deity from the Milhems and started worshipping it.

Like the Milhiems, the Moirang people were blessed with many brave men and beautiful young maidens.

The legendary beauty of Thoibi remains to this day. Many beautiful maidens are said to be have descended from Thoibi who are among the Moirang people. In the old days, the people of Phubala and the people of Moirang communicated with a single dialect. Their customs and culture were also the same. The other Kuki people in Moirang at the time are the Chothes. King Chothe Thangvai Pakhangba was also known as Thangvai Pakhangba or Ivang Purik Lai Thingri Nachouba. He ruled Moirang from BC 90 to AD 30, as recounted in the pre-history of Moirang.

According to folklore, the Milhiems and the Chothes were in constant rivalry. The Chothes were assimilated to the Moirnag people, partly prompted by the strenuous relations with the Milhiems.

Following the battle with the settlers of Moirang, the Milhiems moved to settle in other parts of Zale地-gam. The major Milhiems villages are Maphou, Tonglhang, Misao-Lhahvom, Thangkanphai, N. Zilphai, Lungphou, Molkon, Kangpokpi, and Molvom in Nagaland. They are also settled in North Cachar Hills and Karbi Anglong in Assam.


The Muyon Monshangs

(As narrated by Pu Ralngam)

The Moyon Monshangs also trace their origin to Khul. Among the Kuki tribes, the Moyon Monshangs are closest to the Anals. They have formed an association called Pakan in recognition of their oneness with the Anals.

The Moyon Monshangs are masters in archery. They are also very adept in the use of the bow and arrow, as well as the spear. The Moyon Monshang used these instruments effectively during the Kuki Rising, 1917-1919. They also joined the Indian National Warriors (INA) as a Voluntary force. In 1942, Pu Mono Monsang, chief of Luwachaning was the General Secretary of the Kuki National Assembly (KNA). Linguistically, the dialect of the Moyon Monshangs is similar to the dialects of the Tarao, Sailed, Kholimon, Nambashi, Kasung Khotton, Khonglo-Tangkhul, Maring (Meilong) Leihao Pairou, Kabrang and Lukhumbi.


The Paites

(As narrated by Pu Hembul Guite)

The Paites also trace their origin to Khul. The Paites, who also constitute the Zomi 組roup, are composed of the following people from the Kuki subtribes : Guites; Thangsing and Tonsing who are brothers of the Haokip family; Hangzos and Khuptong who are brothers of the Hangsing family; and Zou, Vaiphei, Simte, Chin, and several others, who are all Khulkon people, or people who originated from Khul.

Genealogical investigation reveals the absence of the term 善aite. This is because Paite is not a clan name; it is a name of a 組roup of people. According to our history, Paite was a name given to a group of people; Paite means a group from the community of people that went ahead of the rest, in the long process of the migratory period.

The Guites are recognized as the head of the Paites. The Guites are also the head of the 創ew Kukis. In the Kuki tradition, the Guites are the repository of Sating*, being the eldest within the 創ew Kuki lineage. The Guites receive Sating from the Doungels.

The Paites, by virtue of the Guite headship shared with the various Kuki clans that they embody, are of immense significance. They constitute an integral component of the Kuki people. Every Paite is linked to their Kuki brethren by descent.


The Sitlhous, Lhouvums and Singsits

(As narrated by Pu Thangngam Sitlhou, Sopakai)

The Sitlhous, Lhuovums and Singsits also trace their origin to Khul. They constitute one of the great clans of the Kukis. Thadou痴 eldest son was Sitlhou. Lhouvum was the second son, and Singsit was the youngest sibling. They multiplied in numbers. Their chiefs were very powerful and their clansmen spread out to all corners of Zale地-gam, establishing large settlements. The main settlements are Jampi, Khongjang, Sangnau, Ponlen, Chongchin, Aithuh, Songbem, Jolpi, Sanvon, Twithang, Dulen, Lasan, Parbung, Lungthulen, Shirima, Taloulong, etc.

Among them, the Singsit sub-clan is most numerous. Among the Singsit sub-clans, the Singsons spread in various directions. The Singsons have assimilated among the Kabui (Milong) in great numbers. The descendants of Shokhojam known as Sogaijam are assimilated amongst the Meitei people of the valley of Manipur. The Singsons are also found in Siam (Thailand) where they are known as 舛hingsuans. As a result of this assimilation, today their population is considerably smaller.

The Singson chiefs were powerful and prosperous. The territory under their domination was extensive. They received huge taxes, perhaps the highest among the Kuki clans. The excessive tax levied on the Hmar Kukis was a factor responsible for the Thadou - Hmar conflict.

The Sitlhou, Lhouvum and Singsits fought vigorously in both the First and Second Kuki rising 1917-19, and 1942-1945, to preserve the sovereignty of Zale地-gam. They were also the first among the Kukis to be converted to Christianity, and consequently some of them sided with the British during the two wars. They were also the first people among the Kukis to receive western education as a result of their conversion to Christianity. Pu Nagulhao Thomsong translated the Bible into their dialect, which ushered in Christianity among the masses including the Kabui Nagas of Tamenglong district.


The Simtes

(As narrated by Pu Ngulkhopao Simte, Indian Postal Service)

The Simtes also trace their origin to Khul. Simte literally stands for 叢eople of the east (Sim means East, te means group or people). The Simtes comprise one the oldest Kuki tribes. The Thangsings, amongst them, are a part of the Haokip family.

The Simtes are settled mostly in the Southwest of Zale地-gam. Their main villages in Zale地-gam are: Lungthul E, Songdai, Maokot, Bolkot, Alu Singtam, Toitengphai, Lamka Simveng, Thanlon and several other villages around Thanlon. They are also in Karbi Anglong and North Cachar hills in present day Assam and in Eastern Zale地-gam (present day Burma).


The Taraos

(As narrated by Pu Ralngam)

The Taraos are also known to have originated from Khul. Among the Kuki groups the Taraos are very close to the Narum, Saibol and Kholimon clans. They are regarded as one of the eldest clans among the Kuki tribes. This accords them a high status among the Kukis even though there are only around four Tarao villages, with a population of not more than 700. An explanation given for the demographic inferiority of the Taraos is that they were assimilated into the Metei culture in great numbers. The most prominent among the assimilated Taraos among the Meiteis is the Waikhongs.

In terms of their culture, they represent a vibrant and meaningful part of the Kuki culture.

The Tarao population is relatively small, but their efforts for Zale地-gam in the First and Second Kuki rising of 1917-1919 and 1943-1945 respectively, cannot be ignored in the annals of Kuki history.


The Touthangs

(As narrated by Pu Ngamkhai Touthang)

The Touthangs are also said to have originated from Khul. They are a major Kuki clan. Formerly they were known as Kamhow, which changed to Lhamhao. Lhamhao means a wealthy people, not lacking in any item of worldly possession. The prosperity of the Lhamhaos was legendary. On one occasion when it was revealed that they had every kind of wealth except lice, it was promptly acquired at the price of a Khipi (traditional bead of high economic value) per lice! At the time the value of one Khipi was equivalent to that of a calf. As descendants of Pu Touthang, they later came to be known as Touthangs. Gamngai was a grand settlement of the Touthangs in Zale地-gam. Later, they shifted to Khoikai, which grew very prosperous.

On one fine day, the men of a Touthang village set out to collect honey from a steep cliff off a mountainside.

The cliff was very steep indeed and the beehives were in the middle of the steepest part of the cliff.

In order to get to the honey, a number of them were lowered from above in a large cane-basket tied to a rope.

A fire that was lit beneath the cliff, to smoke out the bees from their hives, began to spread and set the whole Cliffside ablaze, and a good number of them died in that fire.

The population of the Touthang clan is smaller compared to some of the other Kuki clans. This is attributed to the calamitous incident at the cliff, related in the folklore. The surviving Touthangs, it is said, later settled in a place called Singcha in northern Zale地-gam (in present day Ukhrul district of Manipur).

Today, the Touthangs in Zale地-gam are mainly settled in Thanaphai, Phaikoh, Tuichin, Moltuh, Dinglen, Denglen, T. Gamnom, Valpabung, Monjol, Belei, Galmol, Vakonphai, Gamnom Khoikai, Mollen, Bijang, Teijang, Khengjang, etc.


The Vaipheis

(As narrated by Sonneithang Vaiphei)

The Vaipheis also trace their origin to Khul. They are a respectable Kuki clan. In the Kuki custom, a clan name or the name of an individual is derived from the eldest member in the family. The Vaipheis however opted to name themselves after a village, named Khovaiphei. According to tradition, they would be called Suantaks.

Khovaiphei was a prosperous Suantak settlement. The prosperity of the Suantaks was legendary: it is also referred to in the tales of other Kuki clans. A number of other clans of the Kukis were also settled in the village. It is believed that as they were the most powerful clan in the village, they named themselves from the name of their village 銭hovaiphei.

Pu Suantak (also called Suantakpa, meaning chief of the Suantaks, also used as an endearing and deferential term) collected taxes and revenues such as Sel-le-kai, Ssamal-leh-changseo in Khovaiphei.

Pu Suantakpa had an unusual way of collecting Samal (hind leg of the animal killed on an occasion or on a hunt). He required the person giving Samal to dress it and also to cook it, as directed.

One fine day, Pu Gangte went to give Samal to Pu Suantakpa. Pu Suantakpa wanted dried meat, and so he asked Pu Gangte to slice the Samal into thin strips and smoke it dry over a fire. This was not a customary practice among the other clans of Kukis. Therefore, Pu Gangte was offended.

In anger, Pu Gangte flung the Samal at Pu Suantakpa, who being very old died instantly as he was hit.

Pu Gangte was filled with remorse for his action that caused the death of his elder brother Pu Suantakpa. And so, Pu Gangte and his family left Khovaiphei and went to Gangam, another part of Zale地-gam.

Following the death of Pu Suantakpa, his people became reluctant to be named after their chief Pu Suantak. Being the dominant clan in Khovaiphei, the Suantaks claimed the title of the village and named themselves the Vaipheis. Befitting their historical status, the Vaiphei people take immense pride in their identity.

While the Vaipheis ruled over Khovaiphei, the Suktes and the Pois declared war upon them. Following a bitter and prolonged battle, the Vaipheis were suppressed and they left Khovaiphei, the village they were deeply attached to.


The Zous

(As narrated by Pu Lamjahao Chief of Mongken)

The Zous also trace their origin to Khul. They are an important Kuki clan. There are about twenty sub-clans within Zou, namely: Manlun, Mantuang, Tungnung, Tunglut, Tungte, Phiamphu, Taithul, etc.

The Zous are renowned for their bravery. They are regarded as the bravest of the Kuki warriors. The Zou tribesmen fought tenaciously against the British colonialists in the Kuki Rising, 1917-19, referred to as ZOUGAL in Zou dialect, to defend the sovereignty of Zale地-gam. When the war was over, they evaded imprisonment by claiming that they were the mere Sepoys of Tintong Haokip. The British were only interested in imprisoning the leaders.

The Zou tribesmen also fought in the Second Kuki rising, 1942-1945 by joining the Indian National Warriors (INA). During WWII, the Zous joined the INA because they saw the opportunity to regain the sovereignty of Zale地-gam.

Due to their martial quality, the Zous have frequently been involved in wars, wherever it may be. They have fought in different parts of Zale地-gam and consequently have settled in East Zale地-gam (present day Burma) as well as in West Zale地-gam (present day India). This has resulted in a lack of cohesiveness in the Zou society.

Nantal Neino is the oldest known Zou village from where they are said to have dispersed to other parts of Zale地-gam. The British India Government granted the Zous a reserved territory called the Zou Reserve, similar to the Haokip Reserve they granted to the Haokip chiefs.

The following are the main settlements of the Zous in Zale地-gam: Behieng, Hengtam, Molhem, Munhoi, Tuimanjang, Behiengjang, Singngat, Simuh, Songkong, Kullen, Belpon, Jabellei Buhsao, Khajang, Tuining, Singtom, Gelngai, Buhsau, Likhai, Chiengpi, Zoveng, etc. A significant number of the Zou people also live in east Zale地-gam (present day Burma).


The Kuki People of Tripura

The Scheduled Tribe list of the state of Tripura includes a number of tribes under the Kuki nomenclature. In Tripura there has been a conscious effort by the various Kuki tribes/sub-tribes to unite through an acceptable language, based on common usage. To this effect, the people are organised under the umbrella of the Tripura Halam-Kuki Socio-Culture and Linguistic Organisation (THKSCALO).

The Constitution Drafting Committee members of THKSCALO, Pu B.K. Hrangkhawl, Chairman and Pu HT Kluma Darlong and Pu SK Darlong, have drafted a booklet entitled: 舛onstitution/By-law of the Tripura Halam-Kuki Socio-culture and Linguistic Organisation.

The booklet was approved and adopted on 31 May 1992, by the Central Executive Committee of THKSCALO.

The Kuki tribes of Tripura organised under THKSCALO are as follows:

i) Molson ii) Kaipeng iii) Hrangkhawl iv) Bongcher v) Darlong vi) Ranglong vi) Dab viii) Halam (Khoknu/Nabin) ix) Cholai x) Longhai xi) Morsophang xii) Korbong xiii) Saihmar xiv) Sahkachep xv) Thangachep xvi) Bong

Under the faithful and able leadership of Pu BK Hrangkhawl, the objectives of THKSCALO include the consolidation of the common Kuki identity of the above tribes. This is judged critical in view of the general tendency of the Kuki tribes to drift apart due to the absence of a single unifying common Kuki identity.

The Kuki People of the Chittagong Hill Tracts, Bangladesh

The origin of the term Kuki is considered to be in the Chittagong Hill Tracts. The first recorded usage of the term was by the Bengalis of Sylhet, who used it to refer to the hill tribes of the Chittagong Hill Tracts. The British India Government, in the course of the eastward expansion of their empire subsequently reinforced it. The British applied the term Kuki as a common nomenclature for all the ethnic clans they came in contact with in the region. The Kukis of the Chittagong Hill Tracts are the original group connoted by the term.

The Bawm people are one of the Kukis of the Chittagong Hill Tracts. They are among the numerous ethnic Kukis, also identified by their clan or named after their habitat. Kuki has persisted from antiquity as the collective terminology to identify the clans and groups irrespective of geographical divisions initially created by the British colonialists, and latterly reinforced by international boundaries in the post-colonial era.

The Chittagong Hill Tracts form a significant part of Kuki country delineated in the Encyclopaedia Britannica (vol 13, p 511): 銭uki, a name given to a group of tribes inhabiting both sides of the mountains dividing Assam and Bengal from Burma, south of the Namtaleik River. A more detailed geographical account of Kuki country is given by Grierson (Tibeto-Burman Family: Specimens of the Kuki-Chin and Burma Groups, Linguistic survey of India, Vol. 111, Pt.111, Published by Office of the Superintendent, Government Printing, India, Calcutta, 1904):

The territory inhabited by the Kuki tribes extends from the Naga Hills in the north down into the Sandoway District of Burma in the south; from Myittha River in the east, almost to the Bay of Bengal in the west. It is almost entirely filled up by hills and mountain ridges, separated by deep valleys.

A great chain of mountains suddenly rises from the plains of Eastern Bengal, about 220 miles north of Calcutta, and stretches eastward in a broadening mass of spurs and ridges, called successively the Garo, Khasia, and Naga Hills. The elevation of the highest point increases towards the east, from about 3,000 feet in the Garo Hills to 8,000 and 9,000 in the region of Manipur.

This chain merges, in the east, into the spurs, from which the Himalayas shoot out from the north of Assam towards the south. From here a great mass of mountain ridges starts southwards, enclosing the alluvial valley of Manipur, and thence spreads out westwards to the south of Sylhet. It then runs almost due north and south, with cross-ridges of smaller elevation, through the districts known as the Chin Hills, the Lushai Hills, Hill Tipperah, and the Chittagong Hill Tracts. Farther south the mountainous region continues, through the Arakan Hill tracts, and the Arakan Yoma, until it finally sinks into the sea at Cape Negrais, the total length of the range being some seven hundred miles.

The greatest elevation is found to the north of Manipur. Thence it gradually diminishes towards the south. Where the ridge enters the north of Arakan it again rises, with summit upwards of 8,000 feet high, and here a mass of spurs is thrown off in all directions. Towards the south the western off-shoots diminish in length, leaving a track of alluvial land between them and the sea, while in the north the eastern off-shoots of the Arakan Yoma run down to the banks of the Irawaddy. This vast mountainous region, from the Jaintia and Naga Hills in the north, is the home of the Kuki tribes. We find them, besides, in the valley of Manipur, and, in small settlements, in the Cachar Plains and Sylhet.


Location and Topography:

The Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) [map] is situated in the southern part of Bangladesh. The area is covered with lush green hills, innumerable scattered fountains and hundreds of mountain streamlets. It is bounded in the east by the Arakan (South of Chin State) of Myanmar, Mizoram state of India, in the north by Arakan state of Myanmar, in the west by Chittagong District, and the southern boundary is delineated by the Cox's Bazar District in Bangladesh, rising as high as over 4000 feet in places, the hill ranges contain limited cultivable lands that are distinct from the very fertile multi-yielded alluvial plains of Bangladesh in terms of fertility. The CHTs, now comprising three districts (Rangamati, Banadarban, Khagrachari), are situated between 21025 and 23045 north latitude and between 91045 and 92050 east longitude. It has a total land area of 13,181 square kms (5,089 sm) and is by surface the largest district in Bangladesh. The districts comprises seven main valleys formed by the Feni, Karnafuli, Chengi, Myni, Kassalong, Sangu and Matamuhuri rivers and their tributaries, and numerous hills (Kiukarotlang, Chinchirmawitlang, Chimbuk), ravines and cliffs covered with dense vegetation (trees, bushes, creepers, jungles etc.) which are in complete contrast to most other districts of Bangladesh, which consist mainly of plain alluvial lands.

Fauna and Flora:

Once upon a time the Bawmram (now called Chittagong Hill Tracts) was famous enough in the country in terms of flora and fauna. It was known as the hunting ground of the Kuki-Chin nation. A wide variety of mammals, carnivores (boars, foxes, weasels, wolves, jack, etc), insectivores (wild bears, gayals, and cattle), rodent (flying squirrels, baboons, porcupines, flying lemurs) are found in deep forests and primates are now hardly or frequently found. Tigers, leopard, rhinos and elephants are found mainly in the deep forests across the borders of Myanmar and India. There are a large number of reptiles viz. Gharial, Python and Cobra. The forest cover of Bangladesh is only 17%. The deepest forest in the country located in Bawmram (*Bawmram is generally considered as the Bawm inhabited region).The forest is neither coniferous nor grassland like the selva or savanna; rather it is fluffy and hilly forest that enrich the mountains with greenish scenic beauty throughout the year. Since the forests in this area provide hiding places for preying, most animals that live there are sharp-sighted and fast moving.

Ethnic Identity:

There are eleven ethnic multi-lingual minorities in the greater CHTs. They are Bawm, Pangkhua, Lushai, Khumi, Mro, Khyang, Chakma, Marma and Tripura. They have been divided in to three groups. The Bawm, Pangkhua, Lushai, Khumi and Mro, Khyang are Kuki-Chin or Kuki group. The Tripura, Riang are Tripura group and the Chakma, Marma, Tonchangya, Chak are Arakanese group. These groups differ from each other in terms of languages, customs, religious belief and patterns of social organization. The population of the hill people in the CHT is divided into as many as three groups. The Arakanese and the Tripura groups are numerically superior in that order. The Kuki group is the third in numerical strength.

The Kuki group (Bawm):

Kuki group, are called themselves as Tlangmi or hill people (they are Bawm, Pangkhua, Lushai, Khumi, Mro, Khyang). They are known as Chin in Burma and Mizo in India. The Kuki group linguistically and culturally differs from other valley-living people or Jumma (Arakanese and Tripura groups). They belong to the Kuki-Chin branch of the Tibeto-Burman language family. They are an unbridled freedom-loving nation. They live on the ridge of hills. They chose different habitats for themselves from the early days of their community-life. This is why the British administrator Capt T.H. Lewin designated them as 禅ongtha (child of the hills). They are the earliest inhabitants in the hill tracts (see the settlement history). The Bawm (Kuki group) are mainly Christian. Some of them are animists.

Tripura and Arakanese Groups:

The Arakanese and Tripura groups now call themselves 遷umma. They live in the low lands. Most of them till today are concentrated in the low land or on the riverbanks. Capt. T.H. Lewin, therefore, gave them the designation of Khyangtha (child of river). The Chakma, Marma, and Tripura are, on the other hand, valley-dwellers who will settle in higher regions only when pressed for lack of land (loffler, p.39). Although they prefer to call themselve Jumma, they are principally concentrated in the low lands and on the bank of rivers. They hardly dwell in the hilly region. According to Lewin, the Arakanese group moved in the hill areas in 17th century during the Burmese war. They came to the hill areas from the plain lands of Chittagong. Until the beginning of the 18th century Chakma Chiefs still sought to have their position confirmed by the Arakanese king; and only at that time did an ancestor of the present chieftain line, who was returning from exile in Arakan, moved his residence as far north as Rangunia on the Karnafuli (Loffler 1986). According to Prof. Bessaignet, among the Arakanese groups, the Marma came in the CHT leaving the plain areas in 1826. The Tripura came to CHt from the Tripura state of India. They are dependent tribes and British subjects. They paid tax-money or tributes to the British. Chakma (Tanchangya), Marma, Chak are Buddist. Tripura (Riang) are Hindu.

The Bawm Life Style:

The Bawm people have been living in the hill regions by practicing a kind of agriculture on the hill-slopes known as 銑otuah (shifting cultivation). They depend on 銑otuah for their subsistence. So Lo (cultivable hill) cultivation is absolutely vital for the economy of the indigenous people which others are dependent on gardening and horticulture. They produce ginger, papaya, banana, guava, black-berry, cashew nut, jackfruit, mango, etc. As a consequence of improper decisions and programs implemented by the government deforestation became the ultimate result. The soil are sterile and eventually it terminates to mountain (unfertile-soil on draught) that results in famine in these areas inhabited by the most underprivileged Bawms (Pang, Lushai, Khumi, Mro and Khyang). Moreover, the 1997 peace accord, signed by the Bangladesh Govt. and the JSS (Jana Samhati Samity) for bearing political stability or calm in the CHT area, could not bring any kind of gain for the Bawm population at large.


A brief history of the CHT:

The Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) had been a terra incognita to the Aryan people or the plainsmen till the Mughal period and the invasion of British colonial rulers. The hill dweller and unbridled freedom-loving Kuki-Chin nation or Kuki group (Bawm, Pangkhua, Lushai, Khumi, Mro, Khyang) had too remained an unknown aboriginal to the so-called plain people. Before the coming of the Kuki group, the inhospitable land remained undefiled, unploughed and unpopulated. The Kuki group, who were fascinated by the wild beasts in the hills and jungles, lush green valleys and numerous rivers and streams, first came and discovered the terrain. They, afterwards, settled and inhabited the entire tracts. Till the British invasion, the Kukis predominantly inhabited the entire regions of the hills. In an initial period of their settlement, the CHT was known as 践unting ground of the Kuki-Chin that means the land of the Kuki-Chin nation. The Bengali historian Shree Gopal Halder also substantiated this reality in his book 'History of Bengali Literature in page 141 that the CHT is the land of the Kuki-Chin nation. During British annexation, the CHT was also known as 'Karpas Mahal' by the Bengal and the British administration.

According to the Bangladesh government Chittagong was definitely incorporated into the Mughal Empire in 1666. Although Shaishta Khan, the Mughal governor of Bengal, incorporated it in 1666, the empire could not penetrate into and bring the CHT under its control. CHT was, at that time, under the control of freedom Kuki group and the land remained ultra vires till British invasion. On 1st August 1860, according to Bengal Government Act xxii 1860 the hill area was separated from the Chittagong district due to the Kuki rebellion and created the new district (W.W. Hunter, p.7 & Satter, P.135). Bengal was incorporated into the Mughal Empire in 1576; it was ruled independently of the central government within ten years of the death in 1707, of the last significant Mughal emperor, Aurangajeb. By that time, the wealth of the region had attracted the interest of the European powers, which had begun their penetration of India in1757. The British India Company annexed Bengal in 1760 until the independence of India and Pakistan.

The CHT, historically, was a segment of Cin National Territory (Chin-Lushai Land) which was ruled by British India. The British ruled Chin Territory together with India and Burma till 1937 from British India. In 1937, the British divided its administration into two parts, known as British Burma and British India for its administrative convenience. Thus, one part of Chin Territory was ruled from British India and another part fell under the rule of British Burma. This separated Chin Territory into two parts. Again, on 15th August in 1947 the CHT had, due to the partition of the sub-continent on the basis of two-nation theory was completely segregated from the mainstream territory. And the CHT was, thus, incorporated into the East Pakistan without the informed consent of the Kuki people. Since Bangladesh gained its independence, they have been considered part of that country's territory. The Chin National Territory (Chinland) is, today, situated in western part of Burma (now Chinland), northeastern part of India (now Mizoram), and southeastern part of Bangladesh (now CHT). Before British annexed it in 1890, Chinland was an independent country with its own administrative structure, religion, and culture since time immemorial. The Chin people call the Chin hill of Burma as Lairam, while the Bawm people call (called) the CHT as Lairam (now Bawmram). Again, by 18th century, both Lushai hills (now Mizoram) and the CHT were known as Kukiland by the plainsmen. It is evident that the CHT had, once, been a part and parcel of the Chin heartland.

The Bawms (Kuki group):

The Kuki groups in the CHT are, today, known as Chin in Burma and Mizo in India. The Mizo hills are inhabited by a group of tribes including Lushais, Hmars, Pawis, Lakhers, Paihtes and Raltes. They are generally known as Mizos. Although Mizo is a generic term meaning high Lander (A Biswas, 1985). All the Chin or Mizo groups are known as Kuki by the Aryans. According to R Vanlawma, 'The Mizo group of people who occupy the hill areas between India and Burma are called by Burmese as Chin and by the Bengalese or Indian as Kuki. Chin or Mizo people in the CHT consist of six tribes introducing themselves by various names viz. Bawm (Lai), Pangkhua, Lushai, Khumi, Mru, Khyang.

In the recent past, the Bengali and the Chakma knew all the Mizo or Chin people in the CHT as Kuki. Although they have, in course of time, been split into various sects and segregated from the main heartland, they still live closely with each other in harmony. The Bawm people always comprise of all Kuki group (Sunthla and Panghawi). According to them (Bawm), the Bawmzo or Bawm comprised of all the Kuki groups or the ethnic group who belong to Chin or Mizo and who are linguistically described as Kuki-Chin. An ancient historian noted that the similar tribes of Lai, Pang, Lushai, Mro, Khumi, Khyang belong to both Sunthla and Panghawi clans. So, Bawm has comprised of two main clans of Sunthla and Panghawi .The term 'Bawm' means unity or united tribes and 'Zo' means highland. The term Bawmzo, therefore, mean the united people of highland. In fact, the people of the highlands who have, from various sects belonging to the Chin, become one or in unity are, in fact, called Bawmzo or Bawm. Through all of CHT the Bawm populated or dwelling region are (were) known as Bawmram (former Lairam) or Bawmland by the Bawm people. The Kuki tribe scattered throughout the CHT, but a majority of them live in Bandarban district. Most of the Kuki group can now be found in the upper most and the eastern most hill region of the entire CHT such as Kiukarotlang (Keokradong), Chimbuktlang, Chinchirmoitlang (Tajindong), Sippitlang (Ramjumpahar), Tatpawngtlang, Sajek Valley and etc. The hill dwellers include the Lushai, the Pangkhua and the Bawm. They are never attracted to the valleys and their villages are nearly always found on the hill tops and the spurs of hills. The Mro, The Khumi, the Khying are generally found in the traditional areas on the lower crests of hills (Loffler, 1986). The Kukis were in the past, wandering about from one tract to another in search of fertile land and to get rid of mautam (famine). The Bawm litterateur Pu Zirkung Shahu designated them as forest wandering tribe. The Kukis are designated as free hill tribe, particularly Bawm, Pangkhua, Lushai by Lorenz G. Loffler and as Tongtha (child of hill) by Cap. T. H. Lewin. Intruders also knew them as head hunting tribe. They never paid tax levied by the British administration. Lewin mentioned that Mru and Khumi pay tribute to Bohmang. But reports of the British administrator like T.H. Lewin and his successors in the hill areas contained several ethnographic errors regarding the minority Kukis. Since the British could not contact directly and had no good relation with the Kuki group, the administration tried to contact with the Kukis through the majority group so-called Arakanese group and their chiefs. So, Lorenz G. Loffler asserts that both authors (T.H. Lewin & Hutchinson) dealt mainly with the larger groups residing in the major valleys: the Chakma, the Marma, the Tripura. Less information is offered on the smaller groups: the Mru and the Khumi, the Bawm and the Pangkhua, the Khyang and the Sake.

Settlement history of the Bawms (Kuki group):

Zo (Chin) people migrated from western China-Tibet to the Valley of Chindwin and Irrawaddy and then to the Kalay-Kabaw-Myittha valleys. The earliest people Kuki group (Mizo or Chin) moved into the hill tracts around 14th century. According to the book 'The Structure of Chin Society' written by F.K. Lehman, a senior professor at the Department of Anthropology, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, U.S.A, in chapter 1, A.D 1397, around 14th century from the Chin hill we first hear of the Shan fortress city of Kalay (the Burmese Kalemyo).we do not know, of course whether the Chin of these plains were as Luce has suggested, pushed up into the hills. Though he could not ascertain how and when the Mizo group (Chin) was pushed up to the hills, it appeared that the Shan occupied the area after the Mizo group left the areas. So, we can presume that the Mizo groups entered the hills in or about 1400 A.D. (R. Vamlawma: Zalen Cabin). It is very obvious from the opinions of the Chin historians like F. K. Lehman and Luce that the Mizo group movement in the up hill regions seem to have been around 14th century. It can be presumed that the Chin people moved into the Lushai hills and CHT around 14th century. It is assumed that the movement of the Kuki groups in the CHT was not in synchronization. According to other English writer the Bawms (Laimi) came to the CHT in the month of October in 1338 from Chin Hills. Anthropologist Lorenz G. Loffler delineated in his map that the Bawms (Lai) and the Lushais moved to the CHT via Mizoram from the adjoining areas of Haka (capital town of Chin heartland). The Khumis and the Mrus came from Kaladan of the northern Arakan (Lower Chinland) in 17th century. T.H. Lewin wrote in 1870 that the Mru and Khumi came to the Chittagong hills District two generations ago. The Masho (Mro) settled in the north Arakan-southern Zo country during 11th century. One Mro was king of Arakan during the 14th century, which suggests that they were powerful. The Lakher came in the CHT around 17th century.

The Kuki group movement in the CHT was thought to have been in three phases. At the very early stage of their movement, they (the eastern hunting and sylvan tribes Bawm, Panghkua, Lushai) came and occupied the tracts by hunting wild beasts and collecting fruits and roots around 14th century. In the second phase, due to Mautam and Thingtam famine, they moved to the fertile land and cultivable deep forests of the hills with a view to settle by practicing Lotuah (shifting cultivation) and domestication. In the third phase they (Khumi, Mro) poured into the hills along with the Arakanese group (Chakma, Marma) around 17th century during Burmese war. But Hutchinson opined that they are (Mro and Khumi) the earliest inhabitants in this district. Among the Kuki group, the movement of the Khyang in the hill areas is not certainly known, but many rivers in the hill areas are signified in Khyang language namely- Kassalong, Assalong, Massalong, Suvolong, Kyasolong. Only the Khyangs call the river as 'Long'. So, it is presumed that they moved in the hill areas earlier than those of the Arakanese and Tripura groups. It is presumed from the theses of some Bawm degree holders, the Bawm movement lasted till 17th century. To their statements a few number of Bawm entered in the hill tracts areas even in the 17th century. They mentioned some Bawm entered the CHT led by Liankung Bawi or Chief. Z. Hmunga wrote, Van Hnuai thlirh, the father of Liankung Bawi or Chief, the successor of Bawm came from Chin Hills of Burma and settled in CHT, Bangladesh inhabiting 'Uiphum tlangdung'. According to Aryan people (Bengali), most of the tribal people migrated from areas now in Burma between 15th and the middle 19th centuries. Bengali annalists and writers like Dr. Abdur Rab, Professor of the Department of Geography and environment of the University of Dhaka and Dr. Mizanur Rahaman Shelly, Chairman of Center for Development Research, Bangladesh (CDRB) and Editor of ASIAN AFFAIRS, hold a firm substantiation as to the earliest settlement of the Kuki group in the hill region in the book of 'Oh Hill! Oh Chittagong!! the souvenir of the CHT issue. To their statements it is evident that before the Aryans and the plain tribal groups intruded and settled, the easterly hunting and forest wandering sylvan tribes belonging to the Kuki group had already settled in the rugged terrain of the hill tract. As they have assumed the Kuki group movement have been around 13th or 14th century. The plain people started to contact with them in Mughal period around 17th 18th century. In addition to the Kuki group, all the other tribal people are comparatively new settlers in the hill areas. The plain people, who could merely penetrate in the hills, were known as novus homo and intruder to the Kuki group. After being contacted, the plain people coined a term to refer to them i.e. 銭uki by which they meant 'ferocious' or 'savage'. But it is not certain as to the coinage of the term Kuki and whether it really meant 'savage'. The term or word 'Kuki' is neither of Bengali nor Chakma origin. But anthropologist and linguist Dr. Grierson noted that 奏he term Kuki is of Assam use or Bengali origin of some antiquity.

As historical literature suggests, 奏he earliest people稚o move into the area seem to have been the Kuki group (viz. Bawm, Pangkhua, Lushai, Khumi, Mro, Khyang). The second movement was of the Tripura group (viz. Riang, Tripua tribes), and the last movement was of the Arakanese group (viz. Marma, Chakma tribes). According to Prof. Perrie Bassaignet, Head of Sociology Department of Dhaka University and Hutchinson, 'the different tribes belonging to the Kuki group appear to be earliest arrivals in the area now known as the CHT. They yielded to and were driven to north-east by the invasion of the Chakma who had gained settlement in the southern portion of the district of Chittagong, but who, during the time of the Burmese wars, were ousted by the Marmas from Arakan and forced to enter the Hill Tracts, while their former possessions were absorbed by the Marmas'. Analysing the historical records of the CHT, it is known that the Kukis were driven or pushed up by the Arakanese group with the assistance of the British and the then Administrators. For instance, Chakma chief Harish Chandra, with the collaboration of Captain T.H. Lewin, fought against the Kuki people in 1871-72. In reality, the Kukis had to move to the uphill regions of the CHT with the invasion of the British, which was historically known as Chin-Lushai Expedition.Historical records suggest that the Kukis, having settled in the CHT, had never been driven or conquered by other valley-living tribal peoples or Bengalis. But acconts showed they fought each other for clan supremacy. For this reason, they were, in the recent past, known as internecine groups in the CHT.

The Bengali settlement in the region began in the later part of the 17th century. According to Dr. Shelly, the Bengali movement into the CHT date back to the 17th century when braving the natural disadvantages, a small number of Bengalis started settlements in the inhospitable terrain of the region upon the invitation of the Chakma chief. So, it is perspicuous that the Kuki groups in the CHT are the first inhabitantsand autochthon of the CHT. The others are, according to various Bengali writers and historians, new comers or intruders.














Edward Burnett Tylor is reputed to be the first to provide a clear and commonly acceptable definition of culture. In 1871 he wrote, culture is 奏hat complex whole which includes knowledge, belief, art, morals, laws, custom, and any other capabilities and habits acquired by man as a member of society (Lexicon University Encyclopaedia). A long-standing debate has nonetheless ensued since Tylor痴 definition among anthropologists and sociologists. However, there is consensus that culture is learned behaviour in contrast to genetically endowed behaviour. For the purpose of this text, culture may be stated to represent human life portraying human achievements; shared learned behaviour that refers to a group or community痴 way of life and outlook of the world, their values, norms followed and the material goods they create. Elements of culture that commonly feature in ethnological literature are language, customs, beliefs, values, artefacts, symbols, religious practices and rituals, material traits, mythology, art, marriage, and inheritance.

Culture has been considered a unique possession of human beings that represent one of the most distinguishing traits of human society. Culture, however, differs from society to society, each having one that is unique to it. The Kuki people痴 attitude to life, death, family, friends, and society also make them a distinct ethnic entity. Whether humanity should celebrate diversity of ethnicities or mould a homogenous society is worthy of thought. An example regarding this matter is the mix of communities originating from different ethnic nationalities that make up the population of the United States of America. The question is whether the country should be a 僧elting pot or a 壮alad bowl? In this scenario, the former would entail garnering a monocultural and therefore a monotonous society, while the latter celebrates diversity. This condition or perhaps dilemma is illustrated in Peter de Rosa痴 fable The Best of All Possible Worlds (Niles: Argus Communication, 1975). In the story, a god called IIorgath, in wanting to create the best possible world made all creatures look exactly alike, and everything else identical. After a lapse of time, the people became bored of the monotony and so begged him to diversify his creation.

The Kuki people痴 unique identity is based on their common culture, customs and traditions. In other words they have a typical way of conducting their normal daily lives. For example, there are certain regulations observed when a new village is to be established or in selecting a new area for swidden (jhum) cultivation. There are also rules pertaining to the manner in which a house is swept clean. Detailed customary regulations are to be observed by the male in propositioning marriage to a prospective wife. Customs and traditions are observed at the birth of a child and death of an individual. When a hunter kills an animal, there is a rich and beautiful tradition of welcoming and honouring him. The hunter adheres to specified customary requirementsthat regulate which parts of the slain animal should be offered to the owner of the gun, (if the gun has been borrowed) the head of the clan, and other members of the village. Every aspect of a Kuki痴 life from the cradle to the grave is governed by customs and traditions, and specific rules and regulations. The numerous Kuki clans, despite subtle regional variations in certain aspects of culture, retain these vital elements of Kuki culture as a common heritage. Besides, all Kuki clans speak dialects that are mutually intelligible. Some of the traditional rituals commonlyby observed by most clans include Sa-Ai, Chang-Ai, Chon le Han, Hun, Kut, and Semang. The Kuki languages also have a rich heritage of idioms and phrases, proverbs and allegorical gems. This is exceptional considering most of these have been passed down generations in the absence of written scripts. A couple of proverbs in one of the many Kuki dialects are Uililoh in twi asuneh in, ngachun, ngaha地 athi lo e (Tiny tadpoles muddied the pond, causing the death/capture of the big fishes), Benglam in den a nisa lep ah ako-e (Benglam seeks the warmth of the sun in the shade).

Haosa or Chieftain:

Each Kuki village is held together by social, economic, religious and political bonds. The Kuki Haosa or chieftain system of administration embodies the core of Kuki polity and is the epitome of Kuki custom and tradition. The chief, who is the head of the village administration, has the responsibility to provide security to his villagers socially, politically and economically. All Legislative, Executive and Judicial powers are vested in him. However, in the actual day-to-day conduct of administration, the chief and his council of ministers are entirely guided by customs and conventions. The customary laws govern all criminal and civil cases.

Household Council:

The institution of Household Council comprising a three-tiered relationship, among tucha, (tucha means nephew or son-in-laws), becha (be means a close relative and ch refers to the two individuals consisting the relationship), and sunggao (a term used to denote one痴 mother痴 brothers or their sons), is one of the most unique and vital institutions of Kuki society. This three-tiered relationship is derived from the marriage between families, and is prevalent in every Kuki household. Every member is assigned built-in duties to be performed, necessitating their participation without hesitation, regardless of status held in society. Therefore, when a function is held at a relative痴 house, duties do not need to be assigned; each member already knows precisely what needs to be done. For instance, tucha takes charge of fetching water required in the preparation of dishes and when a family member of the in-law dies, preparations for the ceremonial cleansing of the corpse and its burial. A Kuki family normally has a number of tucha. One of the tucha is designated as tubul (head of tucha), who need not necessarily be a son-in-law, but must have at least a women of the clan to which he is tubul as his wife; if he does not have one, one of his brothers or uncles must.
Bepa is the term used by those in the becha relationship to refer to each other. A bepa represents his family on occasions when the family to which he is bepa may be befallen with misfortune or at an event of celebration, especially when the head of the family concerned may be indisposed. At a given feast, bepa, who is vested with power and authority, acts and speaks on behalf of hisalter ego, and is therefore regarded as representative of the alter ego. The duties performed by tucha and becha are not for financial or material gain, but are based on a chain of relationships and lineal bonds. Tubul, tucha and becha cannot be ordinarily changed. The eldest sons in each family retain the relationship in their respective generation. Sunggao on the other hand is the guest of honour, in the sense that he does not perform any ceremonial duty at functions held at the houses of his sisters and aunts. Sunggao are not supposed to eat within the house of their tuchas or receive gifts from them. Yet they are respected and honoured and occupy a prominent place at social functions and ceremonies performed by the tute. This unique institution of household council is in practice across all clans in Kuki society.

The attire of Kuki men:

In appearance, Kuki bear similar features as other peoples of the Mongolian race. In the olden days, the mature men folk wore long hair tied in a knot at the nape, which was called tuhcha. Tuhbemsom, a description of this style of hairdo, was commonly used to refer to Kukis. Those who wished to cover their hair donned Diel Kop, a turban like headgear. The male children痴 earlobes were pierced at birth; in each ear a cornelian bead was worn, fastened by a piece of cotton string. A type of neckwear called Sa-o was sported from which hung a tiger痴 tooth and a rooster痴 feather or two. Boitong, a sleeveless shirt, usually white in colour, resembled the modern waistcoat. The men also carried additional clothing, slung over either shoulder or both. A loincloth quite like the Indian Dhoti covered the lower body. Chempai or sheath bearing a Chempong or machete was loosely strapped around the waist by a leather belt or a cord. This paraphernalia produced a sound klak-klok, klak-klok that indicated a Kuki male was passing by within earshot. Paipeh or a sort of shoulder bag woven from bamboo or cane was used to carry odds and ends, including the ubiquitous tobacco (used by both men and women) and food items like boiled rice, dried meat and some vegetable. Paipeh was normally fitted with a leather strap and slung from the right side shoulder.

Kuki women痴 apparel:

Bare-footed like the men, the Kuki women wear a knee-length ponve, a type of lungi or wrap-around. Ponve is wrapped from above the breasts with one end tucked-in under the left arm. A string at the waist fastens a petticoat named Nih of red and black stripes. Khi or necklace made of red and blue beads was a popular adornment. The hair was properly greased with animal fat, neatly combed, braided in two strands parted at the centre and brought round either side of the head and knotted above the forehead. The fabric for making the apparels was woven from cotton grown on the lands and spun at home by the womenfolk. A woman skilled in weaving was highly prized and much sought after for a wife by eligible young men. Every Kuki girl therefore learnt the skill of weaving; it was rare to find one unskilled in the art. Attired in these set of clothes, in the olden days, one was able to distinguish Kuki women from women of other communities. Today, conscious efforts are made to preserve traditional Kuki clothing (sometimes with imaginative modifications), culture, customs and tradition for posterity痴 sake. Traditional dresses continue to adorn the women at Kuki festivals, social functions and other formal occasions.

The ceremonial meat and its sharing:

Certain norms are followed in the distribution of the ceremonial meat of animals slaughtered for an occasion for particular categories of people in the community. For instance, tucha is always apportioned the waist portion, because he is born of a woman from the family of the ego. This specific is termed konglo sa, meaning a reward of the labour of the waist of women. The neck portion called sangong is always earmarked by custom as the share of the mother痴 brother, father, or her male offspring, who are all sunggao to the ego. This expresses recognition that because of the woman of the sunggao, the family of the ego came into being. It is believed that just as the neck is the source of survival of animal, the maternal kinsman is considered the source of life of the family of the ego. Becha are entitled the rib portion as it is in close proximity to the heart; becha being the personification of the ego is entitled this portion. Similarly, the flesh on the spine is the preserve of head of the clan. The upper portion of flesh on the spine called themsa is given to the village priest and sakeng, the right front leg of the animal, goes to the village chief as recognition of his authority in village administration.


Shom is a Kuki term for institution of learning and bachelors dormitory, which was normally set up in a household. It was an active and effective institution for the Kuki youth where the mode of instruction largely was the oral tradition. In shom the youth also learnt about their role in society and other essential responsibilities. Its contribution to Kuki society has been invaluable in the political, military and economic spheres. Shom, in contrast to similar institutions in other communities practiced a tradition of several of its members collectively courting unmarried girls in their homes. However, typical of chauvinistic Kuki society, there was no shom or an equivalent institution for the girls. Shom-Upa, the leader, was responsible for the management of shom and was obeyed and respected by all its members. The village chief was the de facto authority of shom by virtue of his position, but did not interfere in its day-to-day administration. Each shom had two strata of members, namely seniors and juniors. The seniors who were well versed in Kuki lore and tradition passed on their knowledge to the juniors, who in turn assumed a similar role when their time came.
Shom was also like a family institution and its members performed household duties and chores, such as repairing of baskets, preparation of cane splits to make strings called naang, and collecting building materials from the forest. Shomnu or female at shom on her part mended the young men痴 clothes, arranged sleeping places, provided night blankets woven at home, offered tobacco leaves and combed their hair (Kuki boys and men traditionally sported long hair and were known as tuhbemsom). Despite the intimate relations and close association at shom, promiscuity or cases of unmarried pregnancy were unheard of. Politically, the institution of shom was the backbone of the village; militarily it was the defence force and standing army, and educationally it was the centre for learning discipline, moral and psychological training and social virtues. In spite of its educational value and social relevance, the institution of shom has faded in Kuki society. However, the manifold qualities of shom and the activities continue to be an inherent part of Kuki society.


Lawm is another important Kuki social organisation. Lawm is a vocabulary in a Kuki dialect, literally meaning 奏eam work or 祖orporate labour. Lawm is comprised of Kuki youth, both male and female members of each household in the village. The members of Lawm used to work in each other痴 fields in rotation regardless of the capability of each individual. It was a collective social service aimed at developing a sense of responsibility among the youth. It was an important institution around which revolved the socio-economic life of the village. A set code of conduct prevailed and whoever violated them bore the brunt of the members.
Lawm had many office bearers to whom specific duties were assigned. Lawm-Upa, the leader was the main functionary of lawm, whose duty was to maintain discipline among the members. Next in the hierarchy was Lawm-Lhangva or Tollaipao, the spokesman who used his Taithing Tenggol (walking stick) to maintain discipline among the members from morn till dusk. Lawm-Pengkul Mut or trumpeter, who sounded his instrument once early in the morning to wake up the Lawm members, and the second time in the evening to announce supper was ready to be served, followed next. Sounding his trumpet the third time, he would proceed toward the Lawm-Khomol, a gathering point outside the village, where the trumpet was sounded thrice, following which everyone proceeded to work in the fields. Other office bearers include Lawm-Upanu or leader of the female group, whose main duty was keep strong vigilance on the proper wearing of dresses by lady members. They were also responsible for preventing improper liaison developing among the womenfolk and members of Lawm-Becha/Tucha or supervisors, who distributed wine and prepared food at social functions and festivals of Lawm, and also Lawm-Twuikhai or water supply groups. The younger members of Lawm were normally assigned the duty of supplying water regularly for the use of the members. The main objective of Lawm was to bring economic development in the village by working together in the fields on a rotational basis. Lawm also served as the training centre for the youths to learn methods of cultivation, acquire the habits of charity so as to extend help to the needy, the destitute and widows in the village. The institution also acted as an agency for reforming character, motivating them in the art and spirit of teamwork and making them responsible and disciplined persons whose characters are moulded by the qualities of Lawm.


The richness and beauty of Kuki culture also lies in the plethora of dialects that are mutually intelligible. The dialects have a common root-language, which is tonal. Quite similar to the English language, some of the same words with the same spelling have multiple meaning and tones. For example, lei (bridge), lei (tongue), and lei (earth). Adverbs are important part of Kuki dialects. Depending on its usage, an adverb can describe an ugly subject in a rather beautiful form and vice versa. For instance, ahoimo sise-e or ahoimo selsul e (rough translation: The object is quite charmingly ugly!) and ahoi hen hun e, which roughly means pervasively charming (honestly, this expression defies interpretation to reflect its original meaning in English!)
La Pao, a lyrical expression of traditional songs is an embodiment of the richness and beauty of Kuki culture. An example in La pao is the description of God:
Nipi kot a mang, lhapi kot a mang Nilhum sahthei, khovah sahthei Pen kipatna, poh kipatna Alhum penna, ael penna Nichchen penna, paitin penna Nipi chunga mang, lhapi chunga mang Leipi thosom le tholi chunga mang Vanpi thosom le tholi chunga mang

It is asserted that in every fifteen days, a language disappears. Certainly, a language or a culture will not disappear just like that! They will disappear only when those who speak the language or practice the culture do not seek to preserve them. If a language disappears, there is not only the danger of the culture disappearing, but also their ethnicity.

The naming of a newborn child:

Every traditional Kuki person痴 name bears a meaning of significance. Following the birth of a child a temporary name is assigned. After a few days, a simple ceremony called Nao-Andop is performed in reception of the child. Kuki names are normally formed of a combination of three to four syllables. This traditional form of naming a child ensures continuity of his or her lineage. The eldest son is named after his paternal grandfather, the second son after his maternal grandfather; the first daughter is named after the paternal grandmother, the second daughter after the maternal grandmother and son on. In this form of naming, in the case of the firstborn male child, the last syllable of his paternal grandfather is taken to form the beginning syllable of the child痴 name, and the second son痴 name beginning with the last syllable of his maternal grandfather. For example, if Thangkhosei is the grandfather痴 name, the grandson痴 name will without exception begin with the ending syllable 全ei and continue with a preferred middle 遡ho and an ending 鼠un (Seikholun) or any other combination of the second and third syllables bearing appropriate meaning.
In exceptional cases, the naming of an offspring is derived from the name of a close relative, a close friend, or someone thought to be worthy of remembrance by the child痴 parents. At any rate, appropriate and meaningful names are given to the child with the view that the child may live up to the name. On a day convenient to both the families, the child is taken to the maternal grand parent痴 house for blessings in a ceremony called Naopui.

Community festivals:

In the olden days Kukis used to celebrate a good number of festivals, which could carry on for over a week. The festivals are primarily about thanksgiving and dedication to Pathen/Pasian or the Supreme God. The main thanksgiving festivals were Chang Kut (paddy), Mim Kut (Job痴 tear), Pawl Kut (general harvest), Chapphou/Chapchar Kut (in preparation for jhum or swidden cultivation, which involves clearing of the land by slash and burn method), Lawm Sel Neh (a celebration by young people after the season痴 work is over) and Hun or Ahkangtha (celebrated after planting of grains and vegetables, an occasion of worship in which a white rooster is sacrificed without breaking any of its bones). The other two important youth festivals were Shom Kivah and Lawm or Lawm Kivah (members of Shom and Lawm are feasted for their dedicated work). Prior permission of the chief was essential for actual preparations for any feast to begin.
A convivial atmosphere with drinking of ju (normally rice beer), feasting, dancing and singing were integral parts of the feasts. These occasions also helped to maintain continuity of culture and tradition (with their deeper meanings and purposes) than just the outward show of pomp and merry-making would suggest. Another important purpose of the feasts was to offer thanks to Pathien/Pasian (God), who it was believed bestowed blessings of good health and prosperity. The young men would find the longest, straightest and biggest wild bamboo available and erect it at a central place where the Lawm festival would be held. Festival time was a break from months of hard work for the village youths. They would compete in various sports, such as wrestling, pestle-throw; high jump over a mithun or bison (made immobile by being fastened securely to very stout and solid poles) was a major highlight.
Most of the traditional festivals, which in the past reflected a state of peace and prosperity, are not widely celebrated at the present time. An exception is Kut, a harvest festival, which provides an occasion for many of the Kuki clans to come together and celebrate their common ethnicity. Kut is celebrated on 1 November in the state of Manipur. Mim Kut is held in the state of Nagaland on 17 January. Both these dates have been declared State holidays.

Feasts of Honour:

Besides the various community festivals, there were others pertaining to individual achievements, which served as social indices. The most important among them were Chang Ai (a celebration of bounteous rice harvest in which a lady of the particular household is given pride of place), Sa Ai (marked a persons bravery and success as a hunter) and Chon (celebrated by only those who performed the first two feasts of merit, Chang Ai and Sa Ai).
Chang Ai was a feast dedicated to womenfolk痴 achievement. It was celebrated as thanksgiving for a bountiful harvest, the fruit of their labour. As in other feasts of honour, a special pot of ju was prepared, which only those who had performed Chang Ai feast could partake of. The woman who celebrated the last feast of Chang Ai was given the honour of being the first to drink the ju served in a specially made earthen jar using a bamboo reed as straw.
Sa Ai denoted a man痴 wealth, skill, and bravery in hunting. A man performing Sa Ai must have killed many wild and dangerous animals, such as the tiger, bear, elephant and bison. Such a man who celebrated Sa Ai was assumed to obtain an advantageous position in the after-life at a place called Mithi kho (village of the dead). He was also supposed to gain possession of the spirits of his enemies and the wild animals he had killed during his lifetime on earth. A special jar of ju was given to the man, not only during the celebration but also at every such feast.
Chon was the most expensive festival of all. It could be executed only by those who had performed Sa Ai thrice. During this festival every single aspect had to be repeated seven times. For instance, seven mithuns were to be killed and everything else had to be in multiples of seven. Even the traditional songs and genealogical trees were to be repeated seven times. At the death of the persons who had performed these feasts of honour in their lifetime, the body was carried about and bounced up and down (called Lap) nine times on the way to the tomb before finally being buried. A most significant and moving moment of these celebrations was the drinking of a special wine called Dokheng Ju. This ritual symbolised unity in any eventuality even at the cost of committing one痴 own life.

Musical instruments:

The Kukis have different kinds of musical instruments for different occasions. The most important of these are Khongpi (big drum), Khongcha (small drum), Dahpi (big gong), Dahcha (small gong), Pengkul (trumpet), Gosem (similar to the Scottish bagpipe, but made from a hollowed gourd with cane reeds serving as pipes), Theile (flute), Theiphit (whistle), Lhemlhei used exclusively by the females). These musical instruments enhanced the festive spirit as well as add a sense of solemnity.


There are many folktales that are common among the Kukis even though they have been geographically dispersed far and wide. Legendary tales of kuki heroes and heroines, such as of Galngam/Rhalngam and Hangsai, Khupting and Ngambom, Pujil and Langchal, Benglam, Jonlhing and Nanglhun, Chemtatpa/Temtatpu, Changkhatpu and Ahsijolneng, Khalvompu and Lenchonghoi have regaled many generations. Folklore of Zale地-gam, the Kuki country, abounds with Kuki warriors courting heavenly beauties, such as Moultinchan, Ahsijolneng, Jonlhing and Jolphal. These stories have been passed down to generations upon generations through the oral tradition. Numerous imprints of Galngam and his pet animals are evident across the length and breadth of Zale地-gam. Zale地-gam: The Kuki Nation (1988) lists 24 such locations. The pugmarks left by Galngam痴 dogs and mithuns are also featured. The mithun and the hornbill respectively represent the national animal and bird of Zale地gam.


Culture and tradition are elements that preserve a people痴 identity. They are characteristics that distinguish one people from other peoples. The world is blessed with diversity; and diversity must be celebrated. This is how the dreaded monotony of existence, exemplified in the story of IIorgath, is kept at bay. The unique and rich variety of Kuki culture and tradition make them distinct from their neighbouring communities. Their folktales are a part of the precious strand that links the Kukis dispersed within India, Burma and Bangladesh.
Modernity and globalisation are realities of life pervading most of today痴 communities around the world. These forces may have significant influences on the way people choose to live, but respect and appreciation of one痴 own culture and tradition and of other痴 can help maintain a healthy balance. Japan, which is a highly industrialised and modernised nation, is a positive model. Japan is an Asian nation that is modernised, but not necessarily westernised. The country retains its glorious traditions and old values and is eclectic in what it assimilates. Emulation of this Japanese way by communities, such as the Kukis with a rich heritage of culture and traditions would be highly beneficial.










The Political Backdrop

In sovereign Zale地-gam the Kukis地eighbours, that is, the Tangkhul people incessantly raided, plundered and razed each other痴 villages. This happened among the Rongmei Naga people as well. In the prevailing headhunting and inter-village rivalry among the neighbouring tribes there was no security of life and property, especially in the smaller villages. Due to this many of the Naga tribes shifted into the sanctuary of Zale地-gam. In due course many of these tribes developed
jawl-le-gol (camaraderie) with the Kukis. In those days there was no ethnic animosity between the Kuki, Tangkhul or Milong (Kabui Naga).
The Kukis treated the Naga tribes as jawl-le-gol and provided them refuge in Zale地-gam. In return the tribes paid se-le-kai (tax) to the Kuki Chiefs, in their respective territories. For example, se-le-kai was levied by the Aisan Chief over the Pochurys and the Tangkhuls; the Chassad Chief over the Tangkhuls; the Joujang Chief over the Somra tribes; and the Laijang, Jampi and Sangnaote chiefs over the Milong Nagas. Similarly, several other big Kuki chiefs also levied taxes and received tributes from other tribes in different parts of Zale地-gam. The status quo prevailed for a long period, interrupted only by the arrival of the British colonialist in the latter part of the nineteenth-century.
Discussions and interviews with several Kuki elders have further confirmed the above events. The accounts of these elders are based on personal experiences. Some of the elders interviewed are:
1. Pu Lunkhothang Kuki, 80 years of age, an Indian National Army (INA) pensioner and one time President of Haokip People痴 Council, Manipur;
2. Pu Semjalet Haokip, who is about 90 years old, very religious and still active in Christian work;
3. Pu Yangkhosei Kuki, who is about 70 years old, also an INA pensioner and still very popular in the locality.
4. Pu Jamkhochung Haokip aged 97, from whom the most vivid account of the socio-political scenario of the period has come. He was formerly an INA member and
Assam Rifles sepoy. The meeting with Pu Jamkhochung was held at Moreh on 14th May 1997.

A revealing anecdote was collected from Pu Ngamjapao Haokip, Chief of Yangmun, on 21st May 1997 at Moreh (Pu Ngamjapao was a Sub-Divisional Officer, in the Naga National Council and a contemporary of Pu Lesimu Pochury, Kilongser a Minister in the Naga National Council, during the 1960s). Pu Lesimu Pochury had recounted the anecdote to Pu Ngamjapao. It was an account by Pu Pochury痴 father regarding the payment of tax and tributes to the chief of Aisan. A paraphrased quote of Pu Pochury痴 account is as follows:

Whenever we hear the sounds of gunshots from Aisan, we knew that it was time for us to go and pay our taxes and tributes. The grain collected as a part of the tax was plentiful, so much so that in order to measure it one needed a spear to reach the top of the mound. On the occasions that the chief of Aisan paid a visit to the village, our people would carry him on a palanquin. The chief was always carried on a palanquin on his tours of the villages. On these tours the villagers would hide the pigs, lest they might have to hand them over to the chief. That is how it was -whatever the Aisan chief saw and found pleasing he could ask for and there was no question of refusing him.
The sovereign Kuki state of Zale地-gam, with its complete system of government was already in existence prior to the establishment of the League of Nations and the United Nations. This was the land of the legendary Khupting and Ngambom; Ahsijolneng, Kuntamte and Changkhat-pu; Lenchonghoi and her brothers; the sisters Jollhing and Jolphal and Maneithangja; Galngam and Hangsai; Pujil and Langchal; and the Lendou brothers. It was a land of great beauty and valour, a land of seven mountains and seven valleys full of mystery and adventure, a land of peace and tranquillity. The legendary warrior Pu Galngam had marked the suzerainty of the Kukis in all corners of the territory of Zale地-gam. The marks that he left still exist, and will remain for posterity. In total twenty-four sites have been discovered. It was around the mid-nineteenth-century that the colonial British arrived in Zale地-gam where the Kuki people had been living in blissful existence for the past millennium. The 1850s and the 1860s witness the first series of clashes between the British and the Kukis in Western Zale地-gam, namely in the present day lower Assam and the Chittagong Hill tracts in Bangladesh. Col. E.B. Elly in 禅he Great Kuki Invasion of 1860s has recorded these conflicts. The British in their usual pompous manner referred to these clashes as a consequence of raids by the Kukis. The Kuki people regard this as warding off trespassers on their territory. In due course of time, the Chittagong hill tracts and Tipperah came under the sway of the British imperialist. The British putsch into Zale地-gam continued into the following decades. It was firmly resisted by the Kukis at all stages. The resistance climaxed in the 銭uki rising 1917-1919, which occurred during WW I. After the war, the Kukis were made to pay dearly for what is termed by the British imperialist as 喪ebellion. As a part of the repressive policy of the British, the Kuki chiefs and other leaders were sent off to prisons in faraway Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Sadia in Assam and Tunggyi in Myanmar. This was done to ensure that the authority of the imperialist would not be challenged in Zale地-gam. The Kuki villages were burnt down and the people were scattered. Many of them were put into concentration camps. Zale地-gam itself was severed into two: the Eastern part was put under British Burma administration, and the Western part was put under British India administration. The Kuki people痴 hopes of recovering their lands and lost prestige were briefly revived during Second Kuki rising, 1942-1945. The Kukis joined Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose and his Indian National Army (INA), who had teamed up with the Japanese that were advancing from Singapore. The Kukis took an active part in the war led by Netaji against the British, in the hope that after the war Zale地-gam would be restored to them. More than one hundred and fifty Kuki INA pensioners remain. They bear testimony to the great efforts to be set free from the British yoke. The defeat of the Axis powers brought a crushing blow, yet again, to the Kuki people痴 hope for independence. This was a great set back for the Kukis as a nation. The period after 1919, and finally 1945, has been a period when Zale地-gam fell into disarray, with all of its great chiefs and leaders either fallen in action or taken to prison. The general population was completely dispersed and displaced from their strongholds. Many became refugees. This period also witnessed the rise of Naga nationalism. The neighbouring Tangkhuls and Milongs joined the tide of Naga nationalism and took advantage of the disarray in Zale地-gam. Today, we witness that the same Manipur Naga people who were treated with sympathy, hospitality and provided sanctuary in Zale地-gam are turning against the Kukis and claiming the land as their own. However, the spirit of Zale地-gam is alive and its territorial boundary is indelible in the hearts of its people. The sufferings and the legends of our forefathers have become a source of our strength and guidance. Therefore, the Kuki National Organisation (KNO) has been established with the avowed aim of hoisting the flag of Zale地-gam amongst the flags of all the other free nations. The Kuki Armies are the defence wing of Zale地-gam and they are committed to pursue the resurrection of Zale地-gam.







Galngam Kuki痴 Imprints in Zale地-gam

The imprints of Kuki mythical hero, Galngam, in Zale地-gam

Over 2,500 years ago, it is believed, in the free Kukicountry, Zale地-gam, a son was born to a Pu le Pi Senleh, of Molphei village. The couple named their son Galngam. Galngam痴 birth and childhood were said to be extraordinary. As he grew up, he excelled his friends in all walks of life. His father, Pu Senleh, while impressed with his son痴 feats, was equally bewildered, wondering whether to garner hope or to despair. Galngam grew up to be a legendary figure, extremely strong and swift. He was also known to be a very good sculptor. Besides, Galngam is famed to possess magical powers and to have fraternised with Hangsai, the lion-man. Hangsai was the strongest of the lion people. None except Galngam, who was much feared for his magical prowess, could live among the lion-people. Among the Kuki clans, Galngam is known by different names depending on the dialects spoken by Kuki communities inhabiting different regions. He is called Ralngam, for example, among the Lushei and Anal people. During his lifetime, Galngam scaled the length and breadth of Zale地-gam. There are various imprints attributed to Galngam, some on rocks and stone slabs; some in the form of sculptures and several phenomena in nature which can all still be witnessed in Kuki country till today. Till recently,some twenty-four such imprints have been discovered.

They are listed under two categories: a) imprints and sculptures, and b) natural phenomena. They are as follows:

Imprints and sculptures.

1) Pu Galngam lived wherever he pleased in Zale地-gam. He had numerous herds of cattle and Siel (mithun). He left his footprints in certain places where he tended the animals. Legend has it that he caused the stones to bear his footprintss and those of his herd of animals by spells of his magic. In Central Zale地-gam (i.e. present day Churachandpur District), such marks are visible on the rocks along the river Tuilelon, near Valenkot (Valpakot) Village. 

2) Whenever Pu Galngam went hunting, as the legend goes, he used to take a team of dogs. The paw marks of his dogs can be still be seen on the Machi hillock in Central Zale地-gam (i.e. present day Chandel District).

3) In Tamenglong District (Central Zale地-gam), the footprints of Pu Galngam are on a large rock, near Buning village.

4) On a mountain called Letsikhan, which is near Khampat town in Eastern Zale地-gam, (present-day Burma), there is a bowl-shaped block of rock. Pu Galngam, according to legend, washed his hands in the bowl after an afternoon snack during one of his hunting tripsby carving the bowl out of a block of rock.

5) Near Chahong Village in North Central Zale地-gam (i.e. present day Ukhrul District), there is a river in which Pu Galngam pierced a rock to set his fish traps. The hole in the rock is still used by people to trap fish.

6) During one of his sojourns in Zale地-gam, as the leend goes, Pu Galngam spent a night near Nakecheng village in Central Zale地-gam (Tamenglong District) where he sculptured a figure of a woman. The sculpture remains till today. It is a piece of work that reveals Pu Galngam痴 artistic qualities.

7) The legend also recounts how Pu Galngam left a big menhir as a marker, now located near Hengkot village in Central Zale地-gam (i.e. present day Churachandpur District). It still stands upright to this day.

8) At Thangjing range in Churachandpur district of Central Zale地-gam, there are imprints on a slab of rock on which Pu Galngam and his dog are said to have lain for the night - the marks of his posterior and the dog痴 testicles remain visible on the slab.

9) On one occasion, the legend goes; Galngam and his wife were on a journey, related to be in the present day Tamenglong District of Central Zale地-gam. En route, they spent the night in a cave on the banks of the river named Tuilong. The walls of the cave, white in colour retains the stains of their spittle. The spittle is formed of the juices of the tobacco leaves they chewed. The chewing of tobacco leaves that has been treated through a fermentation process is a part of the Kuki people痴 culture. It is especially popular among the middle-aged men and womenfolk.

10) On Twilong river of Central Zale地-gam, there is a waterfall. Below the waterfall there is a sculpture of Suvai ke nu痴 vagina made by Pu Galngam. This sculpted vagina bears the reputation of being able to engage men痴 penises of all shapes and sizes, for simulated sexual intercourse.

11) The paw marks Pu Galngam痴 dogs and the hoof marks of his goats are still traceable near Khonghang and Phaijangsung villages in Central Zale地-gam.

12) The paw marks of Pu Galngam痴 dog are still visible between Goboh and Vomsi villages, along the ridges.  

13) In Churachandpur District of Central Zale地-gam, Pu Galngam痴 stone stool at Kapei Range still remains. There are imprints of his bottom and private parts on it. In the same area, Pu Galngam set a menhir. It is said that a group of Meitei people tried to dig it out, but they all died in the process.  

14) In between Lukhanpi Kabui and Langkhong Kuki villages of Tamenglong District, there is a basket of Pu Galngam. The basket was used to carry pigs. It was placed near a big rock, and it is still there today.
15) In Churachandpur District there is a sculpture of a woman痴 breasts on the walls of a narrow pass. The aesthetic quality of the sculpture is such that every one that passes by is enamoured by it. This sculpture is attributed to Pu Galngam, as yet another one of his artistic creations.

16) Near Phaikoh village (i.e. present day Ukhrul District) Pu Galngam built a rest house out of stone. It is still in good condition and it continues to function as a rest house for travellers.

Natural Phenomena

1) In Singhat sub-division of Central Zale地-gam, there is a spot of land that, according to legend, Pu Galngam, in a fit of rage, set ablaze. The devastation caused by the fire was so great that the land was left completely parched. The area, known as Zalenphai today, is never enveloped by mist. Legend attributes this phenomenon to Pu Galngam痴 deed.

2) Near Bungpilon village in present day Thanlon sub-division (Central Zale地-gam), one can see the water channel that Pu Galngam is said to have laid. The water continues to flow properly till today.

3) On Tohpa range, in Churachandpur District (Central Zale地-gam), Pu Galngam, through his magical powers, is said to have bound up the wind to stop its blowing.
When Pu Galngam released it, the current of the wind was exceedingly strong. The wind current has not changed since.
4) On one range of hills located at present-day Kangpokpi, Sadar Hills in Central Zale地-gam, Pu Galngam, it is said, laid a great trap. While laying the trap, much bothered by the frost and cold, he set fire to the whole place. There is never any mist or fog in this particular area now. This phenomenon is also attributed to Galngam痴 deed. A similar incident took place near the river named Twilang, near Kangpokpi.
5) Pu Galngam set up fishing nets along the Tuivai River of Central Zale地-gam. At this point of the river, today, even though it is wide and deep, it is difficult for bigger boats to ply.
6) Pu Galngam left some beads from his necklace in a cave near Nakacheng village of present day Tamenglong District (Central Zale地-gam). Although it appears easy enough to retrieve them, nobody has been able to do so.
7) Near Nakacheng village of present day Tamenglong District, Pu Galngam kept a cistern beneath a large rock. The water from this cistern can quench the thirst of many a weary traveller. But if one tries to take it away, the water ceases to flow.
8) Along Jiribam Road in Tamenglong District, there is a particular spot where Pu Galngam left three of his slingshot pellets. When one of the pellets was accidentally cracked, blood began to ooze out from it. There are two pellets left at the same place.

The above list is not an exhaustive one. Currently, twenty-four historical sites attributed to Pu Galngam have been discovered in Zale地-gam. These are
corroborated by kuki folktales. The Kukis, as in certain other cultures, regard that folktales are an embodiment of the traditional events and represent oral naratives of history of a people. According to our folktales, Pu Galngam left other tracks of his exploits in many different parts of Zale地-gam. These will be included in future
publications, as they become known.

For generations, our elders have extolled the exploits of Pu Galngam in traditional folksong. Pu PK Haokip (1997, pp.144-146) has compiled some of them as follows:

Galngam len-na Jaang gamlei lel lhinglaai.
Thaatui dungpang Twiningkun Seitol-gamlei Twile-loundung
Gaalngam tonglam jangma Sonna/nona.











The Eastern Zale地-gam (in present-day Burma)

The independent Kuki Nation痴 glorious capital was Hanlen. Hanlen city prospered during circa BC 100, in Eastern Zale地-gam. During that period, a female child was born in the household of the great Chief. The child was named Hanlen Lenchonghoi, who grew up to be a woman of exceptional beauty and charm. The stories of Lenchonghoi痴 beauty spread far and wide, and they have been told over the centuries among the Kuki people in Zale地-gam.
The news of her beauty also spread as far as Burma. Tatkong, a king (known as Khalvompu among the Kukis) from a neighbouring Burmese kingdom who had heard of Lenchonghoi痴 beauty wanted her for himself.
Pu Jampu was the first ruler of Hanlen. His reign was glorious and successful. After Pu Jampu痴 death his son Pu Jammang succeeded him. Pu Jammang痴 reign was more resplendent and famed than his predecessor痴. Pu Jammang ruled for around 35
years; his son Pu Jamkhai succeeded him in c. BC 35. The city of Hanlen was at its peak of glory during Pu Jamkhai痴 rule. The Tatkong king was deeply envious of Hanlen. The Tatkong king wanted to capture at least half of Hanglen and also wanted to possess its beautiful queen Lenchonghoi. As the Tatkong King could not defeat the Hanlen king at war, he proposed a game of dice. It was agreed between the two kings that whoever would win two consecutive games out of three would receive half the kingdom and wife of the looser. Pu Jamkhai won the game of dice twice in a row, but
the Tatkong king did not want to honour the agreement. The Tatkong king therefore wanted to deceive Pu Jamkhai. He told Pu Jamkhai that he needed to go away to attend an urgent matter; that he would fulfil the terms of their agreement upon his return. On this pretext, the Tatkong king went to persuade the Burmese Mon King to wage a joint war against the Hanlen kingdom. Being the elder of the clans, the Mon king agreed to help the Tatkong king.
The Hanlen king did not suspect the Tatkong king not to honour his promise. He did not anticipate any war and made no preparations for it. He was content with his own kingdom that was prosperous, and was very pleased with his beautiful, intelligent and charming queen. Being unprepared for war, after a long and arduous
battle, the combined forces of Tatkong and Mon Kingdom overcame the Hanlen kingdom in Eastern Zale地-gam. The Tatkong king occupied Hanlen, but was not able to get the queen. Subsequently, the people of Hanlen kingdom who had lived in prosperity for a long period of time were now scattered. They settled in remote places such as Peju (near present Mandalay). They are now known as Okchin, which means southern Kuki or southern Chin people. Another group crossed over to Jakhaing State and today they are known as Matupi, Kamplet, Khalkha, Falam, etc.
A third group followed the river Chindwin northwards and set up a large village called Kholkip, which is said to be on the site of present day Kalewa town. While living at Kholkip, the Tatkong and Mon Kingdoms continued to attack them, and so they shifted to Kholjang, which later became the city of Kalemyo. The enmity between the kingdom of Eastern Zale地-gam and the Tatkong-Mon continued for a long time.
The Kukis of Kholjang lived prosperously for sometime but they did not forget the sufferings at the hands of Tatkong-Mon alliance; they wanted to avenge their defeat. Besides, the Tatkong-Mon people always wanted to wage war against the Kuki. The able-bodied men of Kholjang started an expedition against the Tatkong-Mon alliance, leaving their womenfolk and children behind. At the same time, the Tatkong-Mon alliance also came to attack Kholjang. However, finding only helpless women and children, there was no battle. The Burmese king, puzzled by the absence of Kuki warriors, named Kholjang, Kalemyo, which means city of small children. During their settlement at Kholjang, the Kukis faced attacks from their enemies on various occasions and they suffered greatly. It was not possible for the people to carry out work normally for fear of sudden assault. Consequently, they shifted again to a new
place called Chimnoi. They prospered at the new site and after many years their village developed into a big town. This was possible as they no longer faced
enemy attacks and could devote their time for development purposes and other constructive activities. During this peaceful period there were many occasions of festive merry-making and singing that their neighbouring communities called them
Khongjai, which means 租rum beaters. The population of Chimnoi multiplied greatly at this time and new settlements were set up one after another in many parts of Eastern Zale地-gam, i.e. the whole of Upper Chindwin in the present day Sagaing Division of Burma. This period of peace and prosperity for the Kukis is said to have lasted more than a thousand years. There was no outside interference during this
period. It is envisaged that their rich Kuki culture, customs and traditions were formed during this golden era of Zale地-gam.
During the period of the Hanlen kingdom in Eastern Zale地-gam, the Kukis of Western and Central Zale地-gam had also established their suzerainty. In the records of Moirang pre-history in Manipur, Chothe Thangvan Pakhangba who was also known as Ivang Puril Lai Thingri Nachousa ruled for one hundred and twenty years (BC 90 to AD 30). The section will be dealt with in chapter four.
In present day Burma the Kuki population is widely spread out in the Upper Chindwin. Some of the notable Kuki dominated areas in Burma are as follows:
1. Half of the Layshi Township.
2. Homelin township (the West Bank of Chindwin river)
3. Phongpyin (West Bank of Chindwin river)
4. Moleik (West Bank of Chindwin river)
5. Kalewa township (West Bank of Chindwin and Myitta river)
6. Kale (West Bank of Chindwin and Myitta river)
7. Tamu (West Bank of Chindwin and Myitta river)

Comprehensively, the Kuki area of eastern Zale地-gam extends from the Indo-Burma
international boundary up to Chindwin River in the East, Myitta River in the South and Nantaleik River in the North. In the reign of King Moe Kong of Burma, fifteen
prosperous villages of the Kuki people existed in the Kale-Kabaw Valley. This is found in an inscription called 銭ung Thaung Record. The ruins and remnants of ancient Kuki villages are still visible in Eastern Zale地-gam, i.e. the present day
Kale-Kabaw valley of Burma. It is also on record that in 1752 the Kuki warriors helped King U Aung Zaya, when he fought the Kings of Assam and Manipur.
During the golden era of the Kukis, the British who were expanding their empire in Asia, annexing new territories, started to encroach into Zale地-gam. In order to preserve their independence, the Kukis fought bravely against the British and their supporters in the Kuki rising, 1917-1919. After a prolonged and bitter struggle, the might of the British Empire ultimately began to prevail upon the Kuki people. The British arrested the Kuki leaders and chiefs of Eastern Zale地-gam and sent them in large numbers to Homalin Jail. Thirteen of the main Kuki chiefs were jailed for three years at Taungyi Jail. Following the suppression of the Kukis, the whole of Eastern and Western Zale地-gam was kept under the jurisdiction of the British Burma and British India, respectively. During the time of WW I, no other community either in present day Northeast India or present day Northwest Burma resisted the British like the Kukis had done, in order to protect the sovereignty of Zale地-gam. The British ruled over Zale地-gam. They took away the power of Kuki chieftains while selectively allowing some other princely states to have some autonomy. The Kuki rising, 1917-1919 took place during the reign of the last Burmese king Min Do Mein. At the end of the war, the Burmese king awarded a Pung long to the Kukis, in recognition of their heroic resistance struggle. The Pung long is now found in Pakohu (or Pakhup village). However, while the recognition of the Burmese king is appreciated, the Kukis cannot reconcile themselves to the loss of Zale地-gam and its division into two parts by the British.
In 1939, World War II erupted in Europe and spread to the whole world. In India and Burma, Netaji Subash Chandra Bose and Aung San led the struggle to attain freedom from the British. The Kukis who had lost their independence were always restive since the 1917-1919, Kuki rising. Therefore, when the opportunity presented itself, the Kukis under the leadership of Pu Onkholet Haokip alias Japan Pakang,
joined the INA-Japanese alliance in order to regain Zale地-gam. All the Kukis of Eastern and Western Zale地-gam allied themselves to the Axis powers during
WWII, unlike Burma and India that supported the British. As a result, after the warended in 1947, the British, while granting independence to both Burma and India, split Kuki Zale地-gam between the two newly formed countries. During the talks to grant independence to Burma, the British Prime Minister Lord Clement Atlee enquired
whether Gen. Aung San had consulted the different ethnic tribes of Burma. To reach a settlement with the various tribes, a conference that came to be known as 禅he Pinlon Conference was held at Panglong City. Pu Onkhomang and Pu Ngamkhothong represented the Kukis. However, after gaining independence, the Burmese betrayed the Kukis yet again (the first time being the betrayal by the Burmese king of Pu Jamkhai by not honouring the agreement of ceding half his kingdom and his wife after loosing the game of dice). This time the Burmese did not grant the Kukis
self-rule and a state, which had been promised at the 善inlon conference.
When the British left Zale地-gam and Burma, they gave most of their arms to the Karens, who later waged guerrilla warfare and captured parts of Rangoon city.
The Burmese Prime Minister U Nu sought the help of the Kuki Col. Hrangthem to suppress the Karens. In return, U Nu made two promises: a) to give his daughter in
marriage to Col. Hrangthem, and b) the Chins would get half of Burma. With these assurances, the Chins fought bravely and won the war against the Karens. During the
Karen-Burmese war, Col. Hrangthem was injured in the foot. The Burmese medical team intentionally did not treat the wounds properly and let him die. It has been alleged that U Nu was responsible for Col. Hrangthem痴 death in order to avoid keeping the promises he had made. Including this incident, the Burmese betrayed the Chins in this war. On the basis of history that involves the Burmese, the Kukis realise that they are a people who never keep their promises and are not to be trusted. The Burmese people perpetrate sufferings on the Kukis. Currently, it is the Military Junta of Burma that is continuing the harassment of the Kuki people. The Kuki people would have reconciled to live in peace and work for progress in whichever country they presently are. However, perpetual harassment and discrimination by the Military Junta of Burma is beginning to make the Kuki people realise that peace and progress is not going to be possible for them in Burma. The Military Junta would need to demonstrate a drastic change of attitude and take positive steps to allay the concerns of the Kuki people. Neither of the Governments, of India nor of Burma has taken into account the need and aspirations of the Kukis for a self governed geographical entity.
The Kuki Students Democratic Front, Burma (KSDF) has submitted in 1993-1994 a representation highlighting the Human Rights violation perpetrated on the ethnic Kuki community by SLORC. The following recent historicalincidents testify the discriminatory treatment of the Kuki people by the Burmese government:

1. In the 1947 re-organisation of an independent Burma, a Committee was formed to examine the formation of a Kuki State in the Sagaing Central Division. Pu Somkhothong and Pu Ngamjang represented the Kukis at the concerned Committee along with the Somra Naga tribe representatives Pu Jasocho and Pu Tobee. Due to conflicting views between the two tribes, the Committee could not conclude and the matter has been left pending.


2. The Kukis remained persistent in preserving their own distinct territory. In 1949, the proposal to amalgamate the Kuki areas of Sagaing Division with the Chin Hills State did not materialise because the Kukis resisted. They insisted on their demand for a separate autonomous Kuki State. However, the Burmese Government has been hesitant to grant autonomy to Kukis in Burma. Instead the government has adopted a concerted policy to dispossess the Kukis of their land by transferring ethnic Burmese population to settle in the Kuki regions. The Burmese settlements set up by the Military Junta in the Kabow Valley, a Kuki region, are as follows: Onchija, Tanan, Myothit, Nanaugow, Mantong, Ywatha, etc. These settlements primarily seek to dispossess the Kukis of their land and symbolises the ongoing discrimination against the Kukis. They constitute part of a deliberate design of the government to forcefully dominate the Kuki people.
3. In 1967, General Ne Win痴 Government of the Revolutionary Council penalised 20,000 Kuki people. This was carried out in the 銭hadawmi Operation led by U Muang, in the pretext that the Kukis were not in possession of, or are holding forged National Registration
and Family Registration cards. As a result many Kukis were forced to leave Burma.
4. Since 1990 the State Law and Order Restoration Committee of Burma has been extracting forced-labour from the Kukis in the Kabow Valley. The Military Junta
has dispersed many Kuki villagers from their traditional lands. One such example occurred in 1992 with the village of Watsu.

5. In1993, Nungkam, a Kuki village was burnt and bulldozed. The village Church was also burnt down. The apparent reason for this was that the Kuki people refused to convert to Buddhism. A new military settlement, Saya San Ywo, was established at the site of Nungkam village.
6. At Phailen, a Kuki village in the Kabow Valley, the 89th battalion Burmese army were based. One of the sepoys deserted the camp carrying away with him a few rifles and ammunitions. As a consequence, a platoon of Burmese soldiers stormed into Phailen village and killed four people. They also arrested twelve Kuki religious leaders of Phailen Baptist Church. The warriors demanded a ransom of 200,000 Kyats for the release of the church leaders. Pu Mangpu (45); Rev.Yangkholet (48), Chairman of village; Pu Thangkhai (28), Pastor of Phailen Baptist Church, and Pu Haopau (25) were all brutally tortured to death, in the first week of August 1993. Pu Maungpu痴 house was demolished and his cows and domestic pets were used as ration for the Burmese soldiers. His wife was imprisoned in Monywa jail. She remains in prison till
date. BBC Burmese Section broadcast this news on 11th August 1993.
7. The Military Junta has changed the name of Kuki villages into Burmese names. This has been done with a view to erasing any memory of Zale地-gam. The
following are the names of the Kuki villages that have been replaced by Burmese names:

KUKI                                                       BURMESE
i) Motjang                            Inchinkong
ii) Teijang                             Kyunpintha
iii) Valpabung Chulknetgyi
iv) Lallim                              Namunta
v) Yangnouphai                     Ye Aye
vi) Haipijang                         Ye Nam
vii) Vokso                            Wetsu
viii) Cheti
ix) Namminhan
x) Namphalong
xi) Maitong
xii) Towa
xiii) Thamanti
xiv) Khampat
xv) Tongcho
xvi) Swelaybo
xvii) Twisa Kanmahji

8. Furthermore, in order to erase the history of the Kuki nation, the Military Junta has adopted an educational policy that has no provision for including Kuki literature, neither at the primary nor higher level syllabi at school, or in the University courses.
9. The Military Junta has also adopted policies to ensure that the Kukis would remain educationally backward. There is not a single Junior High School, High School, College, or University in the Kuki areas; there are only Primary Schools in the Kuki areas. This is yet another Burmese method of suppressing the Kuki nation.
10. The Military Junta has not provided any administrative or developmental centre in the Kuki areas. These are, on the other hand, located in the Burmese populated areas despite their population being less than the Kuki areas. This is a deliberate attempt to keep the Kukis backward.
11. The Military Junta has not provided Health centres in the Kuki areas, whereas they exist in the Burmese areas. This inhumanity is designed to ensure that the Kukis lead unhealthy lives and gradually disappear from the land. In the meantime the Burmese people would literally grow in strength and number and completely overtake the Kukis.

All these incidents of harassment, torture and discrimination by the Military Government have been a matter of deep concern for the Kukis. The Kukis are
shocked because they have never raised the banner of rebellion against independent Burma, unlike the other ethnic groups. The treatment of the Kukis as anti-national elements is confounding. The only rational one can think of is the issue of religion:
the Kukis are being persecuted because they are Christians and refuse to convert to Buddhism. This is rather odd because Burma has at no time declared itself as a theocratic Buddhist State. Buddhism teaches non-violence, but the actions of the military regime are contradictory to their teaching. The repeated harassment of the Military Junta has alienated the Kuki people. They no longer feel a part of Burma. Consequently, they have begun to assert their self-determination. It is now clear that Kukis will not have peace or a sense of security until they regain their traditional
territory and be recognised as a Nation-State.








            To quote S.C Jamir, Chief Minister of Nagaland, in the Nagaland Post, the Kukis constitute 30,000 in Nagaland.


           In Nagaland today, Kuki settlements are concentrated in Peren Sub-Division, and Medziphema Sub-Division. In his Book 鍍he Angamis Nagas Published 1921- J.H Hutton, Deputy Commissioner of the then Naga Hills, recorded 鍍he Kukis were migrating north when the Sarkar came into contact with the Angamis and the Kacha Naga villages. The fact that emerges from this is that the Kuki Tribes had migrated and were entrenched in the Naga Hills long before J.H Hutton痴 Commissionership and long before the then Naga Hills was carved out from North Cachar and Nowgong District in 1876 ref. Gazetteer of India, Nagaland, Kohima District by Dr.H.Boreh (P.167). It is also a fact that till the recent ethnic killings the Kuki Tribes in Nagaland enjoyed peaceful co-existence with their neighbours, mainly the Zeliang Tribes. It is on record that the Kukis and Khonoma village entered into a 撤eace Treaty by drinking water through the barrel of gun friendship gifts like spears were exchanged the Kukis helped Khonoma, Semoma Khel, in their construction of a fort, called Semo-Kunda which still stands today.


          B.C. Allen in his book 哲aga Hills and Manipur written and published in the year 1874-75 on  page No.33 has made the survey of the population of Naga Hills as under:

        Tribe    No. 0f Villages     Average Population

        Angami      64                   450

        Lotha        61                   293

        Ao          52                   578

        Rengma      10                   420

        Kacha Naga   26                   248

        Sema         9                   523

        Kuki         26                   128


          Based on B.C. Allen痴 account it can be seen that the date and the antiquity of the advent of the Kukis to the present day Nagaland cannot be far behind the other sister tribes. Further the present population structures also tend to tally with the account of B.C.Allen.


          Against the backdrop of this spirit of aged friendship, the recent killings came as a surprise to the Kukis, and they were literally caught unawares. Some of them are listed below:

i)                    Cold blooded killing of 12NNC workers at old Chalkot village on 13.8.92.

ii)                   Abducted and killing of Late Thangkhongam Hangsing and Late Letlal Hangsing of Phanjang village around 12 April, 1993.

iii)                 Killing of Late Paokhokam Singson, (Executive Member NNC) at Athibung on 23.5.93.

iv)                 Attack of Phanjang village on 5.6.93, burning down 20 houses and a number of granaries, spot killing of one old man Late Chunglim Kuki, injuring 5 persons mercilessly.

v)                  Attack of Old Chalkot village on 14.6.93, burning down 27 houses and killing 6 person(1 NAP, 5 villagers-all Kukis) which includes Nguljang Hangsing Chief of Chalkot.

vi)                 Assassination of Late Mangkholen Hangsing Senior I.A.S officer, the Commissioner and Secretary to the Department of Taxes and Excise at his resident in Signal basti, Dimapur on 18th September 1993 at 8:30 a.m..    Pu Hangsing was assassinated in cold blood by three men belonging to NSCN-IM cadres around 8:00 AM inside his residence at Signal Basti in Dimapur, Nagaland.

Pu Mangkholen was a political visionary: as president of Kuki Students Federation of Nagaland, Assam and Manipur, in 1959 he linked up with Kuki leaders, such as BK Hrangkhawl in Tripura, and others from Burma and the Chittagong Hill Tracts in Bangladesh. As a sportsman, he was a team player and demonstrated excellent skills, particularly in football. In 1964, Pu Mangkholen obtained first position in MA English literature in Guwahati University. He was also the topper in the Nagaland Public Service Commission examinations in 1965, and extraordinarily began his career as Extra Assistant Commissioner, rather than as Circle Officer. He was awarded the President gold medal for meritorious service in 1976.

At Pu Mangkholen痴 funeral service, Pu Tobu Kevichusa, general secretary, Naga National Council, remarked that he was compelled to make a statement: Isak and Muivah, leaders of NSCN-IM have proclaimed among the international community that the Government of India have killed innocent Nagas and abused their human rights. On the contrary, here is a stark example of their role of engaging in fratricidal activity by killing blameless people like Mangkholen to benefit their sectarian policy. One begs the question: if Isak and Muivah were true leaders of the people, why are they concerned with creating 壮mall houses only to serve as tiny pockets for a select few rather than build 鼠arge houses to accommodate the whole nation? Such activity reflects the narrow-minded politics of NSCN-IM.

Sadly, on 4 June 1996, Pu Tobu Kevichusa, who firmly stood for peace and unity of the people, was also eliminated by the NSCN-IM at Dimapur. PS Haokip, President of Kuki National Organisation, sent a letter of condolence to the President of Angami People痴 Organisation.

vii)               Killing of Late Paosei Singsit, President Kuki Students Organisation (KSO), Nagaland and Late Paokholam Chongloi between Zalukie and Saijang village on 23 October 1993. Pu Paosei Singsit was founder of Kuki Students Organisation, Delhi and its first president. He was deeply concerned for the Kuki people and committed to improving their lot politically. En route to Athibung Kuki area Pu Paosei and Pu Paolam Chongloi, KSO痴 general secretary, were murdered by the NSCN-IM between Zalukie and Saijang. They were on a mission to encourage their people, who were terrorised by the NSCN-IM to pay taxes; several people had already been killed, too. As a mark of respect to his memory, an annual Pu Paosei Singsit Award is given by KSO in Delhi to individuals who have contributed significantly in social services.

viii)              Killing of Late Heljang Singson Chief of Shirima, Late Onthang Haokip Govt. Officer, Evangelist Thanghen Singson, Paokai Haokip college student with two minor boys on 15.12.1994



Participation of Kukis in Nagaland

Kukis, as indigenous people in Nagaland, have from the outset participated actively in the pursuit of independence for Nagaland. Kukis were members of the Naga army much before Muivah appeared on the scene of Naga politics. For example, Pu Lengjang Kuki was a signatory of the memorandum submitted by the Naga Club to the Simon Commission in 1929. Kuki was one of the five tribes that formed the Naga Club in 1919, which later changed to Naga National Council. In 1946, Pu Seikhohen Kuki and Pu Jangkhosei Kuki (Ex-NPSC member) were elected as members of Naga National Council. NNC was the prime mover of Naga nationalism. The late Pu Seikhohen Kuki was also one of the selected members of the constitution Drafting Committee of NNC. He was also included in the first Naga Delegation that went to Delhi to meet Jawaharlal Nehru, Prime Minister of India, to discuss the issue of Naga Independence.

Participation of Kuki in the Naga Plebiscite held in 1951

The Naga Voluntary Plebiscite was completed on 16 May 1951. The Kukis in Nagaland participated in the plebiscite, voting in favour of Naga Independence. This marks Kuki痴 unflinching support to the undisputed leadership of Phizo. The Kuki leaders of the time, many of whom have passed away, are Onpao Kuki (President, Kuki Union), Paochung Kuki (Chief of Khaibung), Dr Lenzalal Kuki (Chief of  Bungsang, father of late Seikhohen Kuki) and several other Kuki Chiefs. Indelible historical records exist to bear witness to Kukis indigenous status in Nagaland.

Khaplang, leader of NSCN, has made the following observation (On Naga Hoho痴 Naga Integration, dated 5 June 2002, p7):

Simon Commission: The 1929 memorandum submitted to Sir John Simon by the Naga and considered as another footstool of Nagas right to political existence and Sovereignty had other Nagas but not the Tangkhuls. Had the Tangkhuls been Nagas then, what were these Tangkhuls doing then? The Kukis has been erased to almost nothingness had the NSCN not been there but remember, Kukis were the main participants of this Commission. However, the Tangkhuls who have never been Nagas and immediately taking identity of a Naga and running criminalism against the Kukis is undeniably Terrorism. And, if the Kukis, the main participant can be deprived of Naga identity for the sake of Tangkhuls then, what about the Tangkhuls who never participated? Absolutely no to Tangkhuls!

Despite the cordial relationship that has prevailed between Kuki and Naga in Nagaland, Muivah has unremittingly pursued a racially motivated campaign to malign and discredit Kuki. Relevant to the history of Nagaland, Ms Adino, President Naga National Council (NNC) and daughter of Phizo, in an interview with, pointed out that Tangkhuls did not want to join the Naga movement, preferring to remain with Meitei in Manipur. On Naga Hoho痴 Naga Integration (p12), too, it is clearly stated that the Tangkhuls were given the opportunity from 1964 to 1972 to join the union of Nagaland. However, in 1972 Rishang Keishing denounced such an idea as deplorable, and declared that Meiteis and Tangkhuls were brothers and that they were inseparable. Further to that, Mr Keishing, as a Chief Minister of Manipur, passed a Bill, which confirmed that not an inch of Manipur would be merged with Nagaland. Tangkhul is also referred to as the elder of Meitei (p8). All of these leads to the question: Why are Tangkhuls, both civilians and those who are members of Muivah痴 NSCN faction, engaging in terrorist activities on Naga soil?

In 1995 two Angami men from Khozuma village of Nagaland were persuaded by Tangkhuls to go and purchase buffalo from a Kuki village in Manipur. This was at a time when NSCN-IM was engaged in killing innocent Kuki villagers in great numbers. The Kuki villagers were unaware of the two men痴 activity. However, when the people of Khozuma realised the two men had not returned they assumed Kukis had killed them. Consequently, in 1995 the Angami People痴 Organisation (APO) served quit notice to the Kukis of Nagaland, the deadline being set for 25 July. At Delhi, on 24 July 1995, the Kuki Students Organisation went on a rally and presented a memorandum to the National Human Rights Commission, appealing for intervention. Fortunately, the intervention took place in the nick of time and the Angamis, realising foul play was involved, retracted the quit notice. The Kuki National Organisation is grateful to the Angami people for their timely discernment and positive action. The organisation also appreciates the role of Pu SC Jamir, former Chief Minister of Nagaland, in resolving the sensitive issue.

Relationship between Zeliang people and Kuki people

The Angamis did not welcome the Zeliang people, who arrived in Naga Hills from Assam. The Khonoma Angamis therefore assaulted the Zeliangs, raping their women while the men folk were made to stand nearby and bear the lighted torch. On the strength of their relationship, the Kuki chiefs dissuaded Angamis from abusing Zeliangs. It was this humanitarian intervention that enabled more and more Zeliang population to migrate from Assam and establish their settlement in Nagaland. In the 1950s, more Rongmeis arrived from Manipur.  

The Zeliangs were settled in Kuki land. As owners of the land, Kuki chiefs received tax from the Zeliang tribe. In the Insoung region, tax was paid to the Kuki chief of Jolpi; in M鍛oulo and Boulo regions, to Kuki chief of Sailhem; in the Inkeo range, to Kuki chief of Sinjol; in the Tening range, to Kuki chief Bombal. In 1968, Kuki chief of Tolbung received from Basampui (Neisempui) tax for the last time. At a solemn ceremony it was decided that payment of tax would discontinue and the two peoples would live together as jol (traditional form of friendship).

However, today, we experience a rather ungrateful attitude, which is also unsettling. Rather than show gratitude to Kukis, Zeliangs, have soiled their hands by joining Muivah and went on the rampage against Kuki, killing as many as 150 of them. That Zeliangs should treat the Kukis in such a manner is inconceivable. Muivah has managed to reduce the Zeliangs to such a dehumanized state that they are now capable of treating the Kukis this way. The Zeliangs also mercilessly burnt down 14 Kuki villages. To make matters worse, influenced by Muivah痴 racist anti-Kuki ideology, their villages in Peren sub-division are subjected to a humiliating forced payment of Rupees fifty, every five years, per village, in order to acknowledge the landownership of Zeliangs!!! (Govt. Nagaland, NO.CON7/86, countersigned by Wepretso Mero, Additional DC). This illegal act was carried out at gunpoint, and will not be countenanced by anybody. It will also be inadmissible in any court. If Zeliangs ever want to redeem their status a decent community, they must free themselves from Muivah痴 manipulations.

In contrast to Phizo痴 broad-minded Naga nationalism, mean-minded Tangkhuls, who share similar traits as Muivah, have exhibited a narrow outlook. This has primarily been because of their emotionally charged sense of vendetta against Kuki since 1950s. On 26 May 1987, Pakang Haokip of Maokot in Ukhrul District was assassinated by the NSCN-IM. Following this incident, the Kukis decided to form a Consultative Committee of Kuki Leaders (CCKL), on 4 July 1987. In order to raise awareness on the Kuki plight, the committee submitted a memorandum to Rishang Keishing, Chief Minister of Manipur, which included the list of 42 Kukis killed and 64 of their villages uprooted (see APPENDIX II). Needless to say, no concrete measures were taken up by the government to help the Kukis. The apathy of the government was followed by the onslaught against Kuki led by NSCN-IM from 1992-1997. As pointed out above, unable to bear the continued badgering and the realization that government would not be able to provide protection, the Kukis started to fight back. This act of self-defence against the aggression of NSCN-IM, unfortunately was reported as 祖onflict between Kukis and Nagas. It must be reiterated that there is no 粗thnic conflict or 祖lashes between Naga and Kuki; there is only aggression by the NSCN (IM) and defence by the latter.

It is worth mentioning that Naga casualties (as a result of Kuki retaliation to Naga aggression) do not include women and children. This was owing to Kuki tradition to maintain honour in war. During the 銭uki rising, 1917-1919, at the Oktan durbars, Pu Tintong, C-in-C of Kuki army, strictly forbade his men to kill JC Higgins, the British political agent, who had gone to meet the Kukis in relation to recruitment for the Labour Corps. Pu Tintong is recorded to have remarked that it was against Kuki custom and a cowardly act, too, to behave like the Meitei people who in 1891 invited the British Chief Commissioner to their court for a meeting and killed him and his entourage in cold blood. The above list of Kuki casualties confirms that NSCN-IM, contrary to the claim of Muivah, was deliberately engaged in afflicting civilians. It is time for Muivah to try and exercise a degree of self-respect, and also try to serve his followers with some honour. He must therefore discontinue falsifying data and seek professional psychiatric help to try to overcome his pathological disposition to lie. Muivah alleges that various Indian newspapers have falsely accused him of committing many crimes. The evidence cited above are corroborated by the media in several Nagaland newspapers, such as Nagaland Post, Ura Mail, Naga Banner as well as in other local and national newspapers. Relatives of victims who have died at the hands of NSCN-IM- led Manipur Nagas are still alive to provide eyewitness accounts.



A clarification concerning Kukis in Nagaland

The Kuki National Organisation explicitly states that issues concerning Kuki in Nagaland are separate from those related to Kuki in other parts, such as in present-day Manipur, Assam, Tripura and Burma. In a press release on 13 March 1994, the Kuki Inpi of Nagaland categorically stated that the Kukis of Nagaland are not a part of the Kuki movement that is taking place elsewhere. Muivah痴 attempt to mix up Kuki politics, intended to whip up anti-Kuki sentiments in Nagaland, must be categorically ignored.












The North Cachar Hills District of Assam, covering an area of 4890 Square Kilometres was carved out of Cachar district and is surrounded by Nowgong and Karbi-Anglong in the north, Cachar district in the South, Nagaland, Manipur and Karbi- Anglong in the east and Meghalaya in the west.


The present-North Cachar district has been home to different ethnic groups like Dimasa, Kuki, Zeme Naga, Karbi, Jaintia and even the non-tribal Bengalis and Nepalis. According to the 2001 General census of India, the total population of North Cachar Hills is 1, 86, 189. Six distinct tribes of North Cachar, listed with a record of their populations under reports of AJ Moffat Mills and Allen, are tabled as follows (Mackenzie, 1884, 145):

                                                                                                                                   Mills (1854)                         Allen (1859)

Hill Cacharis                                      3, 940                                                       6, 735

Hozai Cacharis                                  1, 170                                                       3, 200

                      Mikirs                                                                             1, 820                                                       5, 076

                      Old Kookies (Kukis)           3, 335                                                       3, 709

                      New Kookies (Kukis)          7, 575                                                       4, 763

                      Aroong Nagas                                                                 3, 505                                                       5, 885


In 1875 the population recorded was as follows: Cacharis: 10, 824; Kukis: 15, 080; Nagas: 7, 536, Mikirs: 4, 335 (Op cit, 145).


As indicated by the Government records above, the Kukis are the first settlers in the areas forming the bulk of present-day North Cachar Hill District. Owing to some vested interests a few writers of Assam have projected Kuki habitations to be part of the Dimasa Kingdom, basing their judgment on the present demographic profile of the region. There are no historical records of the existence of any kingdom other than indigenous peoples, such as Kukis, who settled in these territories from prehistoric times. Concrete evidence of settlement found are of Kuki villages like Teikhang at the foot of Borail, Ginbeng near Retzol, Jampi at Lailenbung (now Nariadisa) and Ngente village. Their settlement into this area began in 1859, with seven villages. Many more Kuki settlements were in existence as the region form part of the Kuki ancestral lands, which were included in political boundaries established by the British. The Dimasa settlements in the area began only after the Ahom invasion of Dimapur. When the Ahom King invaded the Dimasa King with his capital at Dimapur, presently in the state of Nagaland, the Dimasas fled to Maibang and built a temporary palace there in the early part of the 17th century.


During the early part of 18th century, due to the repeated raids and invasions by the Ahoms, the Dimasas shifted their capital to Khaspur. Badly defeated in one of the Ahom invasions, Shri Tamradhvaj, the Dimasa King, fled his capital Maibang and reached Khaspur, where he established his new capital. Following the Ahom invasion, some Dimasas joined their King at Khaspur, the new capital, while a considerable number moved into and settled in the North Cachar Hills or NC Hills. 


The North Cachar Hills was annexed to the British territory in the year 1832. From about 1828 and 1829, Tularam Senapati became the Chief Principal of the Dimasas in the North was constant engaged in feuds with Raja Govind Chunder of Cachar. Many of them moved further to the west up to the present Jaintia Hills of Meghalaya through Sangbar area of NC Hills.


After the British annexed NC Hills and brought the administration of the land, Tula Ram Senapati was recognised as the Chief of the hills in the north after David Scott persuaded Raja Govind Chunder of Cachar. Thus, the North Cachar Hills became an British India government痴 administrative unit in 1829. Tularam was entrusted to look after a specified area of the hills covering about 2000 sq. miles. In 1875, according to records available the total population of Dimasas in the province was a mere 10, 824, whereas the Kuki population, as shown above, stood at 15, 080. Zeimi Nagas numbered around 7536, all of whom were driven into the North Cachar Hills by Angami Nagas. The Mikirs (now Karbi) numbered 4335 out of the total population of 37775.


The overall population of NC Hills over different periods as per available data is given below:

1856: 24, 369        1857: 29, 428       1857: 37, 775

1951: 39, 663        1961: 54, 390       1971: 76, 047                       

1981: 1, 07, 089      1991: 1, 50, 801    2001: 1, 88, 079


The increase in population during a period of 76 years from 1875 to 1951 is negligible, an increase of only 1, 888. The population of all original hill peoples formed the bulk of NC Hills demography till 1952, when the status of Autonomous District Council, under the Sixth Schedule of the Indian Constitution, was accorded to the district. Since then, the population of North Cachar Hills increased by leaps and bounds. Dimasas, in several waves of migration from plain areas like Hojai, Cachar, Lanka, poured into the district to take advantage of the new ADC. They steadily outnumbered not only the Kuki population, but also the total population of all the original hill peoples. Mills and Allen痴 reports cited in the table above also clearly show the detailed break-up of the population of North Cachar Hills showing hill Kacharis (Mills: 3, 940 + Allen: 6, 735 = Total: 10, 635) and plains or Hozai Kachari (Mills: 1, 170 + Allen:3, 260 = Total: 4430) as vastly differently. The population of the plains Cacharis was just about one-third of the hill Cacharis. Today, the demographic change of NC Hills is stark. For example, of the total population of 1, 88, 079 the Dimasa population (as per census 2001) has crossed 65, 000 while the Kukis are approximately 32, 249.



KUKI Defence of their land IN NORTH CACHAR HILLS


The continuous raids and atrocities on the Dimasas and the Kacha Nagas (better known as Zeme Nagas) by the Angamis desolated many Dimasa villages and threatened peace in the area. The Government failed to contain the situation, as the British troops were inept at jungle warfare. Meanwhile, Tularam Senapati had handed over his responsibilities to his son Nakulram Barman and Brajnath Barman. Both made all endeavours to win over the Angamis, but without much success. On 3rd April 1853 the Angami warriors attacked Semkhor and killed 86 Dimasas, captured 115, wounded many, and looted and burnt 5 villages. Nakulram Barman led 300 followers and proceeded against the Angami Nagas for retaliation. A bloody encounter ensued where Nakulram was trapped and cut to pieces, and many of his followers slain.  


Lieut Bivar, the Junior Assistant of North Cachar, in recognition of Kuki ownership of land and their superior war tactics, submitted a plan to the Government of Bengal envisaging the establishment of a Kuki colony as a buffer at the east of the river Langting (which became known as Diger Kuki Area later) to check the Naga raids. The plan was recommended by Col Jerkins, commissioner of Assam and approved by the Lieut Governor of Bengal.


The Kukis were hard working and self-reliant people. Their deep association with their ancestral lands was reflected in their earnest efforts to defend it. They were the only tribe capable of defending themselves against the Angami Nagas. Kuki chieftainship engendered a strong sense of discipline among the people, which made their administration efficient, which the Angamis acknowledged. It may be noted that the Kukis and Khonoma Angamis became bonded friends. They drank wine from the barrel of the gun, broke the skull of the animal and intestines killed for the feast to signify that any side breaking the agreement of peace and harmony would similarly face the barrel of the gun and have his skull and intestines broken.


Taking advantage of Kuki people痴 innate inclination to keep their land peaceful and their camaraderie with the Angami Nagas, the British Officers saw an opportunity to bring peace to the region. They offered waiver from taxes for 10 (ten) years (renewed afterwards to 25 years) and firearms with ammunition to the Kukis if they would agree to move some of their settlements to east of the river Langting in order to form a buffer between the haggled Dimasas and the raiding Angamis. The Kukis agreed with the terms and conditions, because for them, there could be no better deal than getting such bonuses for doing something that they would otherwise also have done as a duty, to protect the peace of their own country:  Kuki 僧ilitia 100 strong was raised as a protection against Angami raids (Ibid).


Thereafter, the Angami incursions ceased. The Dimasa settlements in North Cachar Hills to be seen today owe their existence to Kuki protection. The entire region is referred to by the Kukis as 溺AP GAM which means land free of taxes. Later on, when the Dimasa villages, which deserted during the Angami raids were re-settled, the area was put under the Diger Mauzaudar, a quasi-judicial authority. Diger is one of the oldest villages of the Dimasas beyond the river Langting. But this Mauzadar could not handle the cases pertaining to the Kukis because of difference in custom, culture and language. A separate Mauzadar, a Kuki, was appointed for the task. Late Haokhomang Changsan, also known as 禅HINGVOM TE, which denotes his position as the principal chief of the area, was the first such Mauzadar. His eldest son, Pu Chungjahao Changsan, who is still alive and is the chief of Thingvom village, is the Mauzadar of the area at present. The creation of a separate Kuki Mauzadar Area symbolises and provide document to the age-old peaceful co-existence between the Kukis and Dimasas. The area was officially known as Diger Kuki Area till early 2007. In place Diger Kuki Area the new MAC constituency, named DIGER CONSTITUENCY was created in a malicious design to obliterate Kuki affinity to the land.


Besides the defence of the NC Hills, the British also sought the assistance of Kukis to defend South Cachar from incursions. In 1850 a 200 strong Kuki levy was raised from the local Kukis of Cachar at the request of Maj Lister, to assist the armed police battalion in controlling and protecting the borders. Several check post manned by the Kuki levy were established along the Cachar frontier to check incursion from the neighbouring people. The Cachari King of Khaspur in Cachar also approached the Kuki chief, namely, Sanvung of the Lhangum clan, a Kuki tribe, in times of desperation caused by Muslim invaders from Sylhet in Bangladesh. The Kuki chiefs helped the Raja of Cachar by deploying 800 Kuki fighters against the Muslim invaders to protect and save the Cachari kingdom at Khaspur. The Raja succeeded in driving out the invaders with the help of Kuki warriors and gave gold souvenirs as a token of appreciation and respect to the Kuki chief. These items are still preserved. 


A 100 strong Kuki Militia was also installed at Gunjung about 40 kms off Halflong for the same purpose when Gunjung was the headquarters of the North Cachar Hills. During Sambhudan insurrection of 1881-82 against the British officers where two servants and a sick policeman were killed at Gunjung on 15th January 1882, the Kuki Militia left Gunjung as the menace was created by the Dimasa group themselves under the leadership of Sambhudan, not by other invaders, as they were supposed to check the Angamis and other outside invaders.


A brief compilation of historical facts testifying to North Cachar Hills being part Zale地-gam, Kuki ancestral land, are given below.


1.                      The British called the Kukis Hill men. Lt Col F Jenkins (Agent to the Governor General, North-east Frontier), in his letter to AJ Moffat Mills, Judge of Sudder Court, in 1853 stated that the Kukis were the first settlers in North Cachar Hills.

2.                      The Dimasas were called Sons of River as the word 船i(in Dimasa) means river, 僧a great and 壮a son, i.e. the son of the great river, which signifies that they are originally plain tribes, residing in river valleys, not the hills.

3.                      In the book Cachar under the British rule in Northeast India (Radiant Publishers, New Delhi), by Jayanta Bhusan Battacharjee, which was first publish only in 1977, the Dimasa Kingdom covered a vast territory from Sadya to the present North Cachar Hills, with its headquarters at Dimapur, after Pushya Varman, the founder of Varman Dynasty, expelled them from Kamrup in 4th century AD. This is an absurd distortion of history because there is no trace of the existence of any Kingdom in North Cachar Hills till the Dimasas were driven out by the Ahoms from Dimapur and fled to Maibang in north Cachar.

4.                      The Kukis, who lived in the hilly region, were not easily accessible. Historians had no knowledge of them and therefore were unable to write about them. However, their settlement of the region and the protection they provided to people around them much before the British arrived are well known. Historians can only hazard faking ignorance about these facts. Legendary Kuki folk tales of Lengbente and Zamdilte were feats of Kuki Heroes enacted in NC Hills.

5.                      The British officers did not advocate ownership of land by any particular tribe. Their duty was to look after the land and its people and to defend their administered area from outsiders. Tularam Senapati wanted to occupy Khaspur by driving out Govind Chandra, the Cachar Raja, and ignited an internecine war in the region. With a view to achieving long-lasting peace, David Scott, a British officer, convinced the Raja of Cachar to allow Tularam to be appointed as the chief in the hills of the North in 1829. Since then, the north Cachar Hills got its identity as an administrative unit. This was done as a temporary appeasement for managing the region. The Kukis were defending the NC Hills against outside invaders, and the British meanwhile were appropriating authority over their land to others in a deliberate effort to contain the Kukis.

6.                      KARBI- ANGLONG: The Kukis came to know that they had no enemy and thus extend their settlements north ward into the present day Karbi Anglong region of Assam. During those days these areas were fraught with danger emanating from outside invaders and wild beasts. Only after Kuki people had ventured to settle the lands did the Karbi people follow, filtering in by batches. Today, they are more in number and without considering the history of their settlement they forcibly declare the whole area as Karbi Anglong. This is the home of the Kukis and there are 105 (One hundred and five) Kuki villages in present-day Karbi Anglong of Assam.









1. Bhattacharjee, J B (1977), Cachar under the British Rule, Radiant Publishers, Delhi

2. Mackenzie, A (first pub 1884, reprint 2007), The North East Frontier of India, Mittal Publications, New Delhi, India

3. Kukis of North Cachar Hills, published in 2006 by Dr.Thangkim Haolai, Jt Dir, Assam Institute of Research for Tribal痴 and Schedule Caste, Guwahati-22, Assam

















The Zale地-gam and Kangleipak Equation


The hills and mountains surround the valley called Kangleipak or Manipur. From pre-historic days, the valley has been a melting pot for all of the races and tribes of people who migrated over a period of time, and from various directions. It is on record that king Naothingkhong, who reigned circa AD 760, wanted to unite the nine petty kings and their respective clans. In pursuit of this plan, king Naotinkhong married the daughters of four different kings of the hill tribes, namely Siloi Langmai, Khumen, Moirang and Mangang. The matrimonial bonds formed by king Naotinkhong served the process of assimilation and established a reign of peace. It also led to the eventual formation of a Meitei nation in the valley of Kangleipak or Manipur.

In an earlier period, c. AD 33, during the reign of King Nongda Lairen Pakhangba, a man named Poireton came to the land of Kangleipak, with ambitions of assuming kingly status. He managed to organise a sizeable force, consisting mainly of a confederacy of the chieftains from the Kuki hills of Zale地-gam surrounding Kangleipak, and declared war on King Pakhangba. Although Poireton did not defeat Pakhangba, he brokered an honourable treaty: his sister was married to Pakhangba. Following the matrimonial alliance, Poireton and his people were assimilated into the kingdom of the valley of Kangleipak, and, Poireton was made prime minister.

It is difficult to come by concrete evidence regarding the assimilation of the Kuki people into the fabric of the valley culture of Kangleipak. This is perhaps because at the time the people may have not been identified as Kukis. Prior to the introduction of the term 銭uki the people were known either by the names of their villages, chiefs or clans. In the period preceding Pakhangba, the Kukis appear to have been known as Chingburoi, meaning owner of hills. In AD 33, following Poireton痴 arrival in the valley of Kangleipak, the Kukis came to be known as Hao. Later on, the term Khongjai developed as yet another nomenclature to identify the Kuki people. Historians such as Majumdar and Bhattasa1i refer to the Kukis as the earliest people known to have lived in prehistory India, preceding 奏he 泥ravidians who now live in South India. The Aryans, who drove the Dravidians towards the south, arrived in the Indian sub-continent around BC 1500. According to the Pooyas, the traditional literature of the Meitei people, 奏wo Kuki Chiefs named Kuki Ahongba and Kuki Achouba were allies to Nongba Lairen Pakhangba, the first historically recorded king of the Meithis [Meiteis], in the latter痴 mobilisation for the throne in 33 AD. Cheitharol Kumaba (Royal Chronicles of the Meitei Kings) records that in the year 186 Sakabda (AD 264) Meidungu Taothingmang, a Kuki, became king. Another theory suggests that the term Kuki is of recent origin, introduced by the Bengali people of Sylhet around the sixteenth-century, and reinforced by the British in the latter part of the nineteenth-century.

However, viewed from the perspective that the Kukis, like other communities on the planet earth, who were at one time in the process of migration, it is reasonable to consider that some of them would have found their way into the Kangleipak valley in different phases. The assimilation of the Kukis into the pre-Hindu fabric of the valley would have been very natural. This is because at the time the valley people and the people of the hills were not distinguished or segregated socially by the caste system of the Hindu religion.

The Kukis, who came into the valley, however, did not maintain a homogenous identity. This was because they came in very small groups and at different periods, which made the process of assimilation easy. Among the nine kings of Kangleipak, a few of them were Kukis. Perhaps, the process of assimilation was accelerated by this fact. By the time a centralised Meitei kingdom emerged in Kangleipak, the Kukis in the valley had completely lost their own identity, being subsumed by the larger identity of the valley Meitei people.

The advent of Hinduism into the valley of Kangleipak brought about deep transformations in the society. Besides creating distinctions based on social and economic factors, it also erased any trace of the original identities of the hill people. In other words, Hinduisation systematically separated the people who had been assimilated as Meiteis, as separate from the people of the same stock not yet assimilated. The Hindu caste system and its various social prohibitions led to the end of the assimilation of people from the hills into the Meitei community.

The use of the term Manipur appears to be conterminous with the Hinduisation of Kangleipak. Hinduism and the accompanying sanskritisation made the people arrogant, conceited and insular. It prevented the mixing between 素ellow-tribesmen from the surrounding hills of Zale地-gam.

There are several facts, which highlight the Zale地-gam-Kangleipak equation. The Meitei ritual of Sagei Khunthoklon illustrates that two-thirds of all Meiteis were assimilated Kukis. If all the Bengali and Hindi vocabularies are removed from the Meitei language, the remainder is part of a Kuki dialect. The Linguistic Survey of India, Vol III, Pt III, which classifies Meitei as a Kuki dialect/language, substantiate this. The stories of different Kuki tribes like Milhem and Chothe, for example, provide evidence that the Kukis are aborigines of Manipur.

In pre-history Moirang, Chothe Thangvai Pakhangba a Kuki king, known as Ivang Purile Lai Thingri Nachousa is recorded to have ruled for one hundred and twenty years (BC 90 to AD 30). During the 羨va war in 1810, the Meitei king Chourajit was not fully equipped to fight his enemy. He therefore sought the help of Kukis and declared, Chingna koina pansaba, Haona koina panngakpa, Manipur sana leimayol (The hills surround Manipur the Golden Land, and like a barricade the hill people guard the valley (free translation from the vernacular)). In AD 1820, the Kukis of Zale地-gam pitched in their might to help King Herachandra prevent the Ava incursions (Burma) into Kangleipak. The Kukis sent five hundred warriors, while there were only three hundred Meitei to fight the battle. Therefore, it is proper that victory in the war should be attributed to the contribution of the Kuki warriors. That would render appropriately a deserved recognition.

During the reign of King Chandrakirti (1851-1852), Kamhau, the Sukte Chin King declared war on the Meitei Kingdom. The defeated King Chandrakirti was taken prisoner to land of the Chin people. Upon receiving news of the Chandrakerti痴 capture, the Kukis of Zale地-gam sent 1,200 warriors and fought against the Kamhaus. The Kukis successfully returned Chandrakirti to Kangleipak and restored him to the throne. Following the event, king Chandrakirti held a grand occasion at which the honourable people of Zale地-gam and Kangleipak were invited. King Chandrakirti acknowledged the various occasions in the past on which the Kukis had helped the Meitei Kings.

For example, Pu Thanglet went and collected the head of the King of Ningthi in Burma and gave it to the king of Kangleipak. Secondly, during the war against the King of Assam, the Kuki chiefs of Zale地-gam extended help to the king of Kangleipak. In the war against the people of Kohima, too, the Kuki chiefs of Zale地-gam again helped the king of Kangleipak. The present-day Kohima War Cemetery is the location where the Kukis were entrenched. This trench was known as 銭uki Picket or 銭uki Qitla in the local pronunciation. During the Ava War of 1810, the Kuki people of Zale地-gam in a neighborly gesture aided King Chourajit Singh of Manipur. . In 1820, King Herachandra was again helped by five hundred Kuki braves. Therefore, in appreciation of all the help rendered by the Kukis, King Chandrakirti announced his recognition of Zale地-gam as the Kuki nation (Source: as related to Kuki elders, such as Pu PK Haokip, Ex-MLA and Pu Jamchung Haokip, INA pensioner).

In the war of Kuki Rising 1917-1919, the Kukis fought a full-scale war against the British India Government to preserve the sovereignty of Zale地-gam. The Kuki Inn (The Kuki House) at Imphal was constructed with funds sanctioned by the Government of India as a commemoration of the Kuki Rising, 1917-1919 and a monument to the brave Kukis and their struggle for freedom. However, significant as the Kuki Inn is symbolically, sadly in real terms that it is the only concrete recognition accorded to the Kuki people for their defence against colonialism. No other people in the Northeast region of present-day India fought the British as long a period as the Kukis. Less deserving people have been given statehood only because they wielded firearms and followed a militant stance against the Government of India. To the Kuki people, the Kuki Rising, 1917-1919 and the commemorative Kuki Inn is representative of the sovereignty of Zale地-gam.

The Kukis acknowledge the sovereignty of Kangleipak, despite Kangleipak losing its sovereignty to the British in the Anglo-Kangleipak War of 1891. The Kukis do not recognise the authority of the British India Government. Zale地-gam and Kangleipak were parallel sovereignties that existed side by side and were complementary to each other. It is of significance that a Kuki-Meitei war did not occur in history. There was always mutual recognition and respect for the other痴 right to self-determination.

As mentioned above, at the time of Manipur痴 annexation to India in 1949, the Kukis sent two hundred and fifty armed warriors to help the king of Manipur resist merger to the union of India. Pu Holkhomang Haokip wrote an article (27 October 1993, Haokip Veng, Imphal, Manipur) to recount the event. An excerpt:

I take this opportunity to write a few lines in connection with the Manipur Merger issue. It is an attempt to focus on the last minute events before Maharajah Budhachandra Singh had to leave for Shillong, to sign the Agreement against his will.

It is a fact that it was a group of Kuki Chiefs, particularly Haokip Chiefs, who determined to help the Maharajah to resist the Merger. Here, to be specific, a group of Kuki Chiefs was led by the Haokip Chief of Chassad, whom the Chief of Aihang, Chief of Nabil, Chief of Lonpi and many other Haokip villages supported. These Chiefs went to the extent that about 200-300 volunteers with muzzle-loading guns were kept at the gate of Palace to protect the Maharajah and his kingdom.

The leader of Akhil Manipur Hindu Maha Sabha organised strikes and procession to force the Maharajah to relinquish his throne and to merge with India. There was almost a clash between the volunteers of Haokip Chiefs on one side and A.M. Hindu Maha Sabha on the other. Meanwhile, 2 or 3 telegraphs reached/came to Maharajah from the then Home Minister of India, Shri Sardar Vallabhai Patel, but the Maharajah refused to go to Shillong.

Unfortunately, on that eventful day, against his will, supported by the fact that Maharajah turned back 2-3 times to God, then into his car, he made ready for his journey to go to Shillong to sign the said Agreement.

People of Manipur or any historian have not recorded such important events of those decisive moments, which took place at the palace gate. The Maharajah, out of his love for his supporters: the Haokip Chiefs and volunteers who stood by him for his protection and independent Manipur during those eventful time/moments till the last minute, have granted the Haokips to settle at Haokip Veng which itself is an axiom. (Source: Annexation of Manipur 1949, 1995, p.182, Published by the Peoples Democratic Movement, Manipur)

The above conduct of the Kuki Chiefs during that critical period is a clear manifestation of the Zale地-gam and Kangleipak relationship: it was one of mutual recognition. The relation between the powerful Kuki kings of Aisan or Chassad with the king of Manipur exemplified this. The Kangleipak Kingdom ruled no part of Zale地-gam, and the Kuki Kingdom ruled no part of Kangleipak. The Kukis had the foresight that the fate of Zale地-gam would be linked with that of the Meitei King, in the post-British scenario. Therefore, they were anxious to dissuade the King from responding to the call of Sardar Patel. The preservation of a sovereign Kangleipak was integral to the preservation of Zale地-gam, because the British had left the fate of Zale地-gam in the hands of the Manipur raja. As in the events of 1840s, 1860s, 1917-1919, and 1942-1945, the Kukis of Zale地-gam had been a perennial thorn on the side of the British. Therefore, it was only logical for the British to dismantle the Sovereignty of Zale地-gam. They put the Kukis under various administrations, in the hope that there would not be another Kuki uprising. Thus, the British resolved to submit the fate of Central Zale地-gam to the Manipur raja.

The British annexed Zale'n-gam following the Kuki rising of 1917-1919, which includes the entire present-day hills of Manipur. Although the British deprived the Kukis of their sovereignty, they continued to recognise their exclusive ownership of lands by issuing land deeds locally known as Pattas to each Kuki chief. Till date, the Kuki chiefs remain in possession of their Pattas.

There is ample evidence in history regarding the relationship between the Kukis and the people of Kangleipak. It must be noted, however, that help provided was one-sided: it was always the Kukis of Zale地-gam extending help to the Meiteis of Kangleipak. History cannot be erased. The people of Kangleipak cannot feign ignorance of our common past; if they do, justice may not be in their favour. Both communities are worthy peoples. It is appropriate that they celebrate their past and continue to maintain an honourable relationship.






The Anglo - Kuki Wars

1. The Anglo -Kuki War, 1845-1871

When the British Empire expanded in India in the early 19th century, they began their incursions into the borders of Western Zale地-gam, namely in the Chittagong Hill tracks and Assam. The British wanted to expand their rule in the area that was under Kuki dominion. In the first instance, they began the Kukis right to tax collection in New Cachar Hills and the Karbi Anglong areas. Predictably, the Kukis resented
the aggression upon their territorial suzerainty. The resolution and determination to drive back the alien presence was passed to all of the Kuki clan members. That was the genesis of the hostilities between the Kukis and British.
To deal with the challenge posed upon their supremacy, the Kukis of Zale地-gam held meetings at various places in the hills in order to organise a concerted campaign against the British. They fought the British as early as 1845-1871, to drive them out
of Zale地-gam. A series of raids were launched against the British out-posts.
The British have chronicled the account of the war as 禅he Great Kuki Invasion of 1860s. Col.EB Elly, Asst. Quarter Master General, (in 閃ilitary Report on the Chin 豊ushei country, p. 8), writes:

In 1845, 1847-1848, 1849-1850 and 1850-1851 there were raids, culminating in what is called the Great Invasion of 1860s, where 15 villages were burnt or plundered, 188 British subjects killed, and 100 carried into captivity. In 1864 raids recommenced, and
were continued in 1866-1867, 1868-1869, 1869-1870, and in 1870-1871.

The spirited struggle of the Kukis against an imperialist government eventually proved a great strain. In strength and resources, the Kukis in Tripura and Chittagong hill tracts unable to sustain the state of conflicts had been effectively kept at bay by the 1870s. In the decades that follow, the Lusheis and Pois in the south, the Naga tribes in the north, as also the Meitei kingdom in the Manipur valley were all eventually subjugated by the colonial British. After this war, the British suppressed the Kukis of North Cachar Hills, Karbi Anglong, Tripura and Chittagong Hill tracks.







The Kuki rising, 1917-1919

The British recorded 禅he Kuki Rebellion 1917-1919 refers to the Kuki rising, 1917-1919. This is the perspective of the victors, who inevitably are the writers of
history. To represent the view of the British, the following extracts are quoted: 禅he Kuki rising of 1917-1919, which is the most formidable with which Assam has been faced for at least a generation. 禅he suppression of the rebellion has cost Government Rs. 28,00,000, and had absorbed men, money and material which should have
been devoted to the great war. The next defence against the British imperialist was
in central and eastern Zale地-gam. Kuki encounters with the British had been horrifying in the past. The Kukis were left with no option but to prepare for the defence of their sovereignty, against the insatiable colonial thirst for territorial
expansion. Aware of the British expansionist policy, the Kuki people realised that Zale地-gam would not be spared. Battle with the British was inevitable. Having already experienced the powerful might of the British imperial machinery during the 1860s, the Kukis knew that they needed help and must manufacture more
effective war weapons.
The great Kuki chiefs of Aisan, Pu Chengjapao Doungel and Pu Lhukhomang Haokip alias Pache chief of Chassad, as well as, Chief of the Haokip clan, took upon themselves the responsibility to defend Zale地-gam. They began to organise political meetings at regular intervals. During one of these meetings, with a view to forming an alliance against the common enemy, feelers were sent to Bengali militants. Positive response to the initiative was received. An instance of such activity is recorded by Maj. Gen. D.K. Palit (1984, p.62): 腺engali Nationalist Organisation from Sylhet and Cachar sent emissaries to the Kuki chiefs of the Southern clans encouraging them to resist the high handed methods of the British.On subsequent meetings, secretly attended by militant nationalists from Bengal, the Kukis were greatly encouraged that British colonialism was deeply resented by many other kings and nations of the world. The Kukis were well informed about the Axis powers Germany, Japan, Austria, and many others who agreed to wage war against the British. The Bengalis encouraged the Kukis to join hands with the others in the war. The Bengali leaders prepared the way for the Kukis and helped them to set-up an understanding with the Germans.
As the Bengalis and the Kukis began to establish a close tie, their papers, i.e. Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) were somehow leaked to the British. Consequently, due to British intervention the Bengalis could not extend help to the Kukis. However, during the Second Kuki rising, 1942-1945 (i.e. during World War II), the Bengalis and the Kukis, under the banner of Indian National Warriors (INA) and along side the Japanese, fought against the British. The leader of the INA was Netaji Subash Chandra Bose. Pu Onkholet Haokip, alias Japan Pakang, led the Kukis.

The Kuki - German relation

The British entered what are now called Bangladesh, Tripura and Assam, and annexed parts of the territories in those regions ruled by the Kukis. In the given circumstance, the Kukis were desperate to find allies. With the help of the Bengalis the Kukis made contact with the Germans. The Germans appear to have indicated agreement to extend co-operation to the Kukis. However, this was to happen after the war in Europe was won. The evidence of German-Kuki links is noted by Maj. Gen. D.K. Palit (1984, pp. 81-82), an excerpt follows:

An interesting fact about the motivations of the uprising came to light during the course of the operations. Mention has been made earlier that the Kukis had been encouraged by emissaries from Bengali nationalist in Assam, but any thought that the Germans had also had a hand in it had not occurred to any one. However, at Tamu in May 1918 after the first phase of operations, Medical Officer on his round of inspection came upon some Sikhs of the Burma MP in a hut tearing up some papers they said they did not want. The M.O. picked up some of the papers and found among them photos of two Germans, one in uniform. On the back of one of them was written in Hindustani: 的f you fall into rebel hands show these and they will not harm you. The Sepoys could only state that when they were leaving Burma for the scene of the disturbances a 鉄ahib had given them these papers. No one ever found out who the 鉄ahibs were - or if any of them had visited the Chindwin valley.

The Kukis hoped that the Axis powers would win the war in Europe. They anticipated help from the Germans to boost their military strength to fight against the British forces in Zale地-gam. Unfortunately, the Axis power lost World War 11 and subsequently there was no German support to the Kukis. It may be argued that had the British been defeated in WW 11, the history of the Kukis with regard to a sovereign Zale地-gam would have been different. Under those circumstances it is not difficult to imagine a free Zale地-gam, recognised by the rest of the World. In the absence of known contemporary accounts of the Kuki-German relations, one is left with versions handed down by the oral tradition, with the exception of the documentation by Gen. D.K. Palit. Further research will perhaps reveal more in the future.

3. The Preparations for War

In the preparations for the Kuki rising, 1917-1919 the people of Zale地-gam痴 priority were to increase their armoury. Therefore, many more guns were manufactured and large amounts of gunpowder prepared. The British became aware of the activities and promptly collected many weapons from the Kukis. As many as 1,195 guns of the Kukis were confiscated by the British between 1907 and 1917 (Manipur Administrative Report, 1918-1919, p.2). However, the Kukis were able to continue their activity of gun and gunpowder making secretly. The British Brigadier-General C.E.K. Macquoid writes with regard to the preparations of the Kukis for war:

The enemy to be dealt with were, in their own way and manner of fighting, by no means lacking in courage. In the art of lying concealed and laying ambushes they could not be excelled. They scarcely ever showed themselves, yet their presence could always be felt.  The Kuki stockades were all well-planned and sited, having 礎olt-holes for escape, and provided hitherto unusual, with flank defence. The fact that the troops engaged had been armed with a rifle of great penetration than that of the Martini-Henry must have been known to the tribes, as the thickness of the stockades had been increased and generally was found sufficient to stop the penetration of the M.L.E. rifle. Our opponents did not fear the 2.5 seven-pounder M.L. gun.

In the manufacture of ammunitions, the Kukis used admixture of indigenous ingredients. They also made their own form of cannon (Pumpi), from the hide of the large animal, the mithun. Col. LW Shakespear (1929, p.215) gives a description of the Cannon:

They also used a curious sort of leather cannon made from a buffalo痴 hide rolled into a compact tube and tightly bound with strips of leather. A vent is bored in the proper place, their own rough powder poured in, and a quantity of slugs or stones is then inserted. The weapon is usually fastened to a tree so as to command a turn in the track up which the enemy is approaching, and is either fired by hand at the head of the party as it appears in sight, or is arranged to be fired by a trip cord which our flankers may touch, and which drops a stone on to a percussion cap on the vent which fires the charge hoped to hit our men coming up the path.

The Kukis were experienced in the art of cannon making. They could manufacture many in a single day. They also made Song Khai and Songpel Thang (a form of trap, using stones). Song khai and Songpel involved the collection of great numbers of huge stones, which were placed on wooden planks. These planks were fixed to a rope tied against a tree just above the paths the enemies were likely to pass through. Food reserves consisting of rice, maize, corn, bread, dried meat and dried fish were stored at specific locations in various parts of the deep jungle. Sajam Lhah was also performed in different places.

i) Sajam Lhah and Thingkho le Malchapom

Sajam Lhah is an important customary oath-taking rite of the Kuki people. It is a unique Kuki tradition followed to symbolise commitment to a common cause. According to the tradition, a mithun is killed for the occasion, where the Kuki Chiefs, elders and leaders are present. Each of the Chiefs is given a portion of the meat. The apportioned meat is called Sachan. The Chiefs and their contingent return to their respective village with the Sachan where a token-piece is distributed to every household. This act signifies the allegiance of the entire community to the cause of the nation.
Besides the broader functions of Sajam Lhah, there is an added feature, which is extraordinary: it is the eating of the liver and heart of the animal. The liver and the heart represent the 蘇eart or 祖ore of the matter; the eating of which behoves moral accountability. The Kuki Chiefs and leaders participated in this solemn and ritualistic event as a mark of their resolve to protect the sovereignty of Zale地-gam against British imperialism. In the recent history of the Kukis, the first major Sajam Lhah was performed to cover the entire people of Zale地-gam in the Kuki rising, 1917-1919. The First World War started in Europe in 1914. At the time, both India and Burma were under the occupation of the British. Two senior Kuki leaders of Zale地-gam, namely, Pu Chengjapao Doungel, Chief of Aisan, and Pu Lhukhomang Haokip alias Pache Chief of Chassad (who was also Chief of the Haokips) decided to look for allies. They established contact with the Bengali people, who were in touch with the Germans.
Through the Bengalis the Kuki leaders sent emissaries to the Germans. An agreement was reached between the Kukis and the Germans: the Germans would supply arms and ammunition to aid the Kukis in their War of Independence. Photographs were exchanged during the secret meetings. Following the secret agreement with the Germans, Pu Chengjapao Doungel and Pu Pache met at Aisan, in the first week of March 1917. The two leaders decided to start formal preparation for the war, and a meeting was held. The following are the agreements of the meeting:
1. All of the Kuki people must take part in the war.To ensure that everyone participated, all of the Kuki Chiefs should perform Sajam Lhah in their respective area.
2. If any Chief was unwilling to participate in the war, he would be dispossessed of his title and his village would be burnt down.
3. Every village should start stocking arms, ammunition and gunpowder.
4. Every village should be fortified.
5. Every village should stock sufficient reserves of food grains.                                     As leaders of the Kuki people, Pu Chengjapao and Pu Pache were the first to perform Sajam Lhah. Pu Chengjapao performed the rite in Aisan. Pu Pache performed it in Chassad, to include the Chiefs of Eastern Zale地-gam. On the occasion, Pu Pache invited the eldest leader of the Kuki tribe, Pu Chengjapao Doungel to grace the ceremony.

The other areas in Zale地-gam where the Sajam Lhah rite was performed are as follows:
1. Laijang and Jampi, Central Zale地-gam (present-day Tamenglong)
2. Henglep, Central Zale地-gam (present-day Churachandpur)
3. Mombi (Lonpi), Central Zale地-gam (present-day Chandel)
4. Joujang, Somra Area in Eastern Zale地-gam (present-day Burma)
5. Phailengjang, Upper Chindwin in Eastern Zale地-gam (present-day Burma)
6. Haflong of North Kachar Hills, and Karbi Anglong in Western Zale地-gam (present-day Assam)
7. Mechangbung Area, Western Zale地-gam (present day Athibung area of Nagaland)

The Kuki rising broke out on 7 March 1917. To inform the entire people of Zale地-gam regarding the day to go to war against the British, the Kukis resorted to the original and traditional means of Thingkho le Malchapom (red-hot chillies tied on to smouldering firewood). Thingkho le malchapom signalled war against the British. It was relayed from one village to another, which covered the entire area of Zale地-gam. The Chassad Conclave preceded the passing of Thingkho le Malchapom.

ii) The Chassad Conclave;
Pu Jamkhochung Haokip, aged 97, is an ex-Assam Rifles soldier; he was also a member of the Indian National Army (INA) during World War II. He now resides at Saikul bazaar, in the Sadar Hills Manipur. At his age, he is physically fit and mentally alert. On 14th May 1997, a meeting was held with him at Moreh. A very respectable man, he reminisced about his six months sojourn in jail in the last World War. Pu Jamkhochung also vividly recounted the Chassad resolution of 7th March 1917, as was related to him by late Pu Laso Haokip, chief of Selmei, who was a participant in the resolution. According to Pu Jamkhochung痴 version, before the Oktan Durbar (meeting), there was a great and significant gathering of all the Kuki Chiefs of Central and Eastern Zale地-gam at Chassad (Kamjong), the principal village of Pu Lhukhomang Haokip, alias Pache, Chief of the Haokip clan. Accounts of Pu Pache痴 exploits as recorded by Col. L.W. Shakespeare (1929, p.225) is as follows: ...both columns then moved and attacked Kamjong, Pachei痴, principal village, in which action several casualties occurred and Lieut. Molsworth (Burma M. P.) was killed. Under the leadership of the Aisan Chief and the Chassad Chief, a lengthy discussion took place regarding the preparations for the Kuki rising, 1917-1919.
Among the Kuki Chiefs who had attended the conclave are:
1. Pu Chengjapao Doungel, Chief of Aisan
2. Pu Lhukhomang Haokip, alias Pache, Chief of Haokip
3. Pu Letjahao Chongloi, Chief of Khomunnom
4. Pu Kondem Baite, Chief of Sadih
5. Pu Paokholen Kipgen, Chief of Bongbal Kholen
6. Pu Ngulbul Haokip, Chief of Longya
7. Pu Haokhopao Kipgen, Chief of Molvailup
8. Pu Tukih Lupheng, Chief of Tonglhang
9. Pu Kamjahen Haokip, Chief of Phailengjang
10. Pu Letkhothang Haokip, Chief of Khotuh
11. Pu Semkholun Haokip, Chief of Phaisat (Phungyar)
12. Pu Tongkholun Haokip, Mantri (Minister) of Phailengjang
13. Pu Sonkhopao Haokip, Chief of Twisomjang
14. Pu Jalhun Haokip, Chief of Molvom
15. Pu Thongkhomang Haokip, Chief of Phunchong
16. Pu Doujapao Mate, Chief of Thomjang
17. Pu Vumtong Haokip, Chief of Maokot
18. Pu Laso Haokip, Chief of Selmei
19. Pu Lenpu Hangsing, Chief of Vongjang
20. Pu Ngulkhojam Chongloi, Chief of Maval
21. Pu Amjapao Chongloi, Chief of Kholen
22. Pu Nguljalhun Chongloi, Chief of Thingphai
23. Pu Paokai Hangsing, Chief of Tingpibung

Apart from the chiefs mentioned above, a number of chiefs from Eastern Zale地-gam, i.e. present Myanmar (Burma) also participated in the conclave. The main items of discussions included:  

i)                    the formations of a united Kuki stand against the British,                              ii) the manufacture of weapons: guns and gunpowder, and                                   iii) the stocking of food reserves.                                                                       
 On the occasion, Pu Lhukhomang, the Chief of Chassad killed a Mithun (the traditional animal used by Kukis for such solemn functions) for the people to feast on. H.W.G. Cole, P.A., Manipur (vide his letter D.O. No.5.C, dated 17-03-1917, addressed to B.C. Allen, Special Officer, Assam Shillong), made note of the event:

Lhukhomang alias Pache, Chief of Chassad lived most of his life in independent territory. He killed a Mithun in March before he was called on to send coolies and sent the flesh to other Chiefs urging them to refuse to recruit men for the labour corps. Shortly afterwards Ngulkhup of Mombi and Khutinthang of Jampi sent beads to Pahce with a message inviting him to resist. Pahce sent a message to these two chiefs inviting them to come to his village and discussed matters. Subsequently, I learn on good authority that he sent a bullet to the Chiefs of Jampi, Ukha, Paosum, Henglep and Loibol with instruction to resist forcibly any attempt to impress coolies or to burn villages. Paokholen, Chief of Bongbal Khulen, Paboi, Chief of Sita, are satellites of Pachei with considerable influence among the Vaiphei villages bordering on the valley.

The Chiefs who attended the Chassad Conclave participated in the eating of the heart and liver of the mithun, as a promise to fight in unity against the British. Thingkho le Malchapom was sent to the Kuki Chiefs to indicate the declaration of war against the British. A Mithun was killed and Sajam was distributed to each and every Kuki Chief in the entire length and breath of Zale地-gam. Sajam, as mentioned earlier, was used for taking an oath of commitment to the cause of war, whereupon Kuki warriors of the respective villages took a symbolic bite. Pu Jamkhochung Kuki said that they also sent one bullet and an earring to their Chin brothers in the Chin Hills, to signal the war against the British and to seek their support. The response to the call is recorded by in Maj. Gen. D.K. Palit (1984, p.67), as follows:

Twelve hours later came an urgent wire to Shillong from Falam, the headquarters station in the Chin hills, saying that the southern Chins had risen and that Haka station was surrounded; it asked for urgent assistance, a few days later another urgent wire from Falam called for even stronger reinforcements.

Following the distribution of Sajam and the dispatching of Thingkho le Malchapom, there was a mass preparation for war over all of Zale地-gam. Every Kuki contributed in every possible way. They manufactured guns and ammunitions, built Pumpi (cannon), prepared the Songkhai Thang (stone-traps) and other forms of traps while others engaged in stocking reserves of a variety of foods. At the Chassad Conclave, Pu Chengjapao Doungel, Chief of Aisan, by virtue of being the Piha or Pipa (head of the Kukis), was authorised to issue orders to all the Kukis. Accordingly, Pu Chengjapao issued the orders:
哲o Kuki should response to the call of the British to go to France, but rather they should make preparations to wage war against the British. The order was received and followed over all of Zale地-gam. During the preparations for war, the younger brother of Pu Khupkhotintong (Tintong) Haokip, Chief of Laijang was unfortunately killed in an accidental blast, possibly while making gunpowder. The good network of the Kuki chiefs and the effective traditional mode of communication by Thingkho le malchapom provided the means for the message to reach the destinations within three days. It enabled every Kuki Chief to fully prepare for war. Following the declaration of war, the important British outposts, rest houses, Post and Telegraphic offices, Police Stations, etc., were systematically raided.
Mr. Higgins, the Political Agent was impressed at the speed with which the Kukis could mobilise for war. He rightly credited this to the indigenous method of Thingkho le Malchapom.
The spontaneous patriotic response of the Kuki people from all over Zale地-gam to the call to war pleased the leaders, Pu Chengjapao and Pu Pache. To immortalise the occasion, they composed the following verses, sung in a traditional tune:
Phai chungnung kol kimvel弾,
Kolmang tol kon,
Ikal lhang phai thin eisem gom em?
Lhepon bang kitho tin,
Nam chem khat in vabang pao tadite.

(Free translation)
From beyond the valley of Imphal,
And from across the plains of Burma,
Aren稚 we served together?
United like folded layers of sheets,
Let us take up sword as one nation as the birds in
unison enounce.

While the Kukis in Eastern Zale地-gam were deeply engaged in preparing to defend the sovereignty of Zale地-gam, the British Government persisted in requiring the services of the Kukis in Western Zale地-gam. Therefore, the Kukis of North Cachar Hills and Karbi Anglong in Assam, Tripura and Chittagong Hill tracts in Bangladesh that were already in the hands of the British had no choice but go to France. The British were able to take as many Kukis from those areas, as they did with the Lushais and the Nagas.
In Central Zale地-gam, by April 1917, at various places firm resistance had begun with raids on major British outposts. All over the hill areas surrounding Manipur valley, villages were informed to switch their loyalty from the British to the Kukis. Threats were issued against villages, should they be disloyal. One British Officer was severely assaulted in July 1917 and a Kuki captive was rescued from official custody, carried out under the leadership of Pu Ngulkhup, chief of Lonpi (Mombi) and Pu Ngulbul, chief of Longya. These incidents took place at the initial stages of the war.
The new British officiating Agent realised that none of the Kuki Chiefs had sent their people for the war effort in Europe, and was enraged. He therefore planned a meeting of the Chiefs. At the meeting it was explained that those who obeyed and served the British in France would receive incentives in money and kind. There were no takers. The meeting was locally known as the Oktan and Phatang durbars.

iii) The Jampi Meeting

Late Pu Ngulkhohao Lhungdim, Ex. Member of Legislative Assembly wrote about The Jampi meeting in History of Manipur. The Jampi meeting is also recorded by Pu Jamthang Haokip in Manipur a Gospel leh Kuki ho Thusim (written in the varnacular), as well as by an elder Pu Vangkhosei Haokip, aged 92, at Chavangphai, Moreh on 27 May 1997. The following account of the Jampi meeting is based on the on their work. Soon after the death of the brother of Laijang Chief, all the Chiefs of North-central Zale地-gam met at Jampi village. The Jampi summit was held in the second week of March 1917 hosted by Pu Khotinthang Sitlhou alias Kilkhong, Chief of Jampi. The Kuki Chiefs who attended the meeting are:

1. Pu Khotinthang Sitlhou alias Kilkhong, Chief of Jampi
2. Pu Khupkhotintong (Tintong) Haokip, Chief of Laijang
3. Pu Songchung Sitlhou, Chief of Sangnao
4. Pu Lunkholal Sitlhou, Chief of Chongjang
5. Pu Vumngul Kipgen, Chief of Tujang
6. Pu Lhunjangul Kipgen, son of Vumngul Kipgen
7. Pu Enjakhup Kholhou, Chief of Thenjang
8. Pu Leothang Haokip, Chief of Goboh
9. Pu Mangkho-on Haokip, Chief of Tingkai
10. Pu Heljason Haokip, Chief of Loibol
11. Pu Onpilen Haokip, Chief of Joupi
12. Pu Onpilal Haokip, Chief of Santing
13. Pu Jamkhokhup, Chief of Boljang and Pu Nguljahen Haokip of Boljang.                                                                                        
                                                                                    The Western Sector of the Jampi and Laijang areas of western Zale地-gam covered the whole of Tamenglong district and the western Sadar hills, of the present day Manipur State. In this sector, Maj. Marshall, Capt. Montifiore, Lt. Waler, Lt. Needham and Lt. Sanderson commanded the British forces. This region was the territory of Pu Khupkhotintong (Tintong) Haokip, Commander in Chief and Deputy Commander-in-Chief Pu Enjakhup Khollou. The foremost Kuki leaders led in the war against the British in this area.
On the occasion of the Jampi meeting, Pu Khotinthang Sitlhou, Chief of Jampi killed a Mithun, the customary animal, the meat of which is served on such solemn occasions. Following the resolution at the meeting, as a declaration of war Thingkho le Malchapom was sent from Jampi to every nook and corner of Northwest Zale地-gam. The Chiefs Summit and the Sajam ceremony for the Jampi and Laijang areas were organised in accordance with the call of the head Chief (Pipa), Pu Chengjapao Doungel. The Jampi meeting was also attended by a number of regional elders and village volunteers. The meeting was concerning the preparations for the coming Kuki rising 1917-1919, following the order issued by the king of the Kuki people, Pu Chengjapao Doungel and Pu Lhukhomang Haokip alias Pache, Chief of the Haokips. In his address, Pu Khotinthang briefed the assembled Chiefs of the directions given by Pu Chengjapao Doungel and the agreement made with Pu Pache at the Chassad Summit. The proceedings involved passionate discussions and debates concerning the war. During the meeting Pu Songchung Sitlhou, Chief of Sangnao, stood in front of all great Kuki Chiefs and stated:

The head of our Tribe who is the greatest of the Kuki Chiefs Pu Chengjapao Doungel has issued an order to prepare for an impending war against the British. However, I would like to express my doubt that we could successfully fight the British since we are subordinates and inferior to them in every way. If we annoy the Government by rebelling against it, we may face innumerable hardships in the future.

As the chiefs expressed their opinion one after another, Pu Vumngul Kipgen Chief of Tujang stood up and remarked: 腺rothers, with the guns at our disposal we may not beat Sapkangte (British) in war. At this remark, in anger Pu Khotinthang Sitlhou, Chief of Jampi shouted at Pu Vumngul, 塑ou are a coward! It is better that you dissociate yourself from us. Pu Songchung Sitlhou expressed a similar view, 腺rothers, may we not underestimate the British, for if we are to fight them, we may not win. At such remarks, Pu Khupkhotintong (Tintong) Haokip Chief of Laijang exclaimed, 禅ah Chapa! (An exclamation of resolve literally meaning, 層orthy son I am! or 層orthy son of Zale地-gam!. Am I not Laijang Tintong Haokip? and fired his gun (musket) into the air. He then swore in the name of his forefathers, and bursting in a song of valour (kiminlah) declared, 膳ictory or defeat, we shall show the might of our race to the British. Pu Tintong added, 糎inning or losing is another matter; regardless we must protect our sovereignty. I will not be afraid to fight to the last of my bullet. I shall fight the British to the end!  After such a demonstration of bravery and commitment, Pu Tintong gained the respect of his fellow Chiefs and was unanimously appointed the Commander-in-Chief. Pu Enjakhup Khollhou of Thenjang was appointed to be Deputy Commander-in-Chief. Pu Tintong and Pu Enjakhup ensured proper military training was given to all the young Kuki warriors. Pu Tintong was reputed to be a born warrior and had extensive knowledge regarding strategies of warfare. Pu Ennjakhup had once enrolled in the Assam Rifles. He was a great soldier and especially skilled in guerrilla warfare. His experience served well in providing training to the Kuki warriors. Pu Tintong and Pu Enjakhup invited Pu Lenkhokam Chongloi, from Halflong, Assam, who was an expert in gun smithy. With Lenkhokam Chongloi痴 skills, in no time the Kukis were able to make a large number of guns.
Bulwarks were built around the Kuki villages and fortified with pumpis (cannons). Thus, within a short span of time, the Kukis in western Zale地-gam stood prepared to fight the British force for their motherland.

iv) The Oktan and Phatang durbars

J.C. Higgins, hoping to persuade the Kuki chiefs in the Southern region, went to Kangchup in October 1917, writes Col. L.W. Shakespeare痴 (1929, p.210), 套..directed to explain to the Chiefs the reasons why their men were wanted, the nature of the work required of them, pay to be received there etc., to which end he arranged for a Durbar and invited the Kuki Chiefs to attend. According to Dr. T.S. Gangte痴, lecture on The Kuki Rising, 1917-1919 Symposium Day, 12 May 1997 at Moreh, the Kuki chiefs had a meeting in Oktan rather than at Kangchup, which was earlier proposed by the Political Agent. The focus of their discussion was recruitment for the Labour Corps in France. Mr. Higgins had informed the Kuki chiefs that he would not bring along any guards with him, except, for his self-defence, he would carry a handgun. Accordingly, he rode a horse and went alone towards Oktan. He also took along a good amount of
Jukha (local alcoholic beverage), as a gift for the chiefs. During the meeting, some patriotic Kuki youth wanted to kill Higgins. But, Pu Khupkhotintong (Tintong) Haokip, chief of Laijang, restrained them. On this occasion, Pu Tintong cited the adverse consequences that followed when in 1891 the Manipuri King killed the British Chief Commissioner in cold blood, after inviting him to his palace for a meeting. More significantly, the chief of Laijang said, 展e Kukis are not chicken hearted, not even a single hair of our guest should fall today. The chief warned the youths that should anyone touch the guest; the person will face instant death.
During the meeting, Mr. Higgins tried to persuade the Kuki Chiefs to send some people for the Labour Corps going to France. Mr. Higgins told the Kukis that if they agreed to the proposal, he would give a gun to every Kuki chief, plus much more. However, the Kukis having received a message from their leader Pu Chengjapao Dougnel, Chief of Aisan that Kuki Sovereignty must be maintained at any cost, refused to accept Mr. Higgins drink and turned down his proposal. They informed Mr. Higgins that the Kukis are warriors, not menial labourers and therefore would not join the Labour Corps. In those days, the Kabui Nagas were under the Kukis and so Mr. Higgins suggested that at least the Kabui Nagas be permitted to join the Labour Corps. This request was also turned down. To end the durbar honourably and in an amicable manner, the Kuki chiefs offered traditional gifts to Mr. Higgins, comprising of Dahpi (gong) and Dangka (silver). Mr. Higgins did not accept the gifts. The Oktan Durbar ended dismally, without concrete results for either party. The Tangkhul Nagas who were under the rule and protection of the great Kuki chiefs of Aisan and Chassad, heard that the Kukis were waging war against the British. Therefore, on 10 October 1917, they made a pledge to assist their Kukis rulers. The Tangkhuls killed a buffalo to seal their pledge. But, in order to reverse the 10th October decision of the Tangkhuls, Mr. Higgins and Rev. Pettigrew called a meeting with the Tangkhul leaders at Phatang. Thereafter, the Tangkhuls reneged on their commitment to the Kukis; they submitted to the British, who rewarded them with provisions of salt, oil, sugar, etc. 
Mr. Higgins wanted to take revenge against the firm-minded Kukis by using the Assam Rifles. However, this did not materialise because most of the forces deployed in British-India and British-Burma had gone to France, to fight the Germans. The Assam Rifles was then newly formed and so it was difficult to deploy them to fight in Manipur (Central Zale地-gam).
Therefore, a regular warriors the 2nd Gorkha Regiment, comprising of three British Officers and two hundred armed personnel replaced the Assam Rifles in Kohima and Imphal. They were sent to fight the Kukis in Zale地-gam. The imperial forces were under the command of Brig. Gen. Macquiel. In total, 5,400 British Forces comprised of 2,400 from India and 3,000 from the Burma Military Riflemen fought against the Kuki warriors in Zale地-gam. Initially, the British did not believe that the Kukis would have enough weapons because they had confiscated a large number of their guns before 1917. The underestimation of the strength of the Kukis resulted in the British forces being able to contain the Kukis on all fronts, in the initial stages of the war.
However, as the war carried on, the superior organisation and equipment of an imperial power began to gain the upper hand. Towards the end of two long years the Kuki resistance gradually broke down. In April 1919, Pu Pache Chief of Chassad, after being pursued all over the hills but never apprehended, suddenly came to Imphal and gave himself up. This was followed by the capture of Pu Tintong Chief of Laijang and Pu Enzakhup Chief of Jampi area. On 20 May 1919, the long and bitterly fought Kuki rising came to a close.

v) The Episode of Lonpi (Mombi) and Longya: Mrs Cole痴 initiative to appeal to the Kuki chiefs.

To convince the Kuki chiefs to allow their men to go to France, the British Political Agent called a durbar. Two of the great chiefs from Southern Zale地-gam: Pu Ngulkhup Haokip, chief of Mombi (Lonpi) and Pu Ngulbul Haokip, chief of Longya, refused to attend the meeting. They sent a message to the Political Agent that if force were used upon the Kukis to make them serve the British in France, they would be compelled to retaliate in kind. Thus, Pu Ngulkhup and Pu Ngulbul resolved to defend the rights of the Kuki people.
After receiving Pu Ngulkhup and Pu Ngulbul痴 message, in September 1917 the British sent the new officiating Political Agent Mr. Higgins, L.G.S., and the 4th Assam Rifles personnel (one hundred strong) under the command of Capt. Coote to Lonpi, which was six days walk from Imphal. They were greeted with open hostility. A skirmish followed between the Kukis of Lonpi and Capt. Coote痴 sepoys. Lonpi village was ultimately razed to the ground. Enraged by the outcome of the war, Pu Ngulkhup declared, 践enceforth, the Kuki country is closed to the British. Next, the British contingent while enroute to Longya was ordered to return to base and to take no further action upon the Kukis. Both Maj. Gen.D.K. Palit (1984, p.62) and Col. L.W. Shakespeare (1929, p.210) refer to the incident. Col. H.W.G. Cole was in charge before Higgins the new Political Agent arrived. Cole went to France, to lead the first contingent of the labour corps. He and his wife had good relations with many Kuki Chiefs. As the situation between the British and the Kukis Chiefs grew tenser, Mrs. Cole made an attempt to intervene in order to bring about an understanding. Mrs. Cole痴 acquaintance with the Kuki people gave her confidence to persuade them to accept the terms of the British. She sent a messenger to the Pu Ngulkhup, asking him to meet her at Sugunu, the foothills of Monbi. Sugunu was four days walk from Imphal. Pu Ngulkhup out of courtesy to a lady accepted the proposal and met Mrs Cole, who was with an interpreter, at Sugunu. Pu Ngulkhup was accompanied by three of his associates. At the meeting, despite their good relations, Pu Ngulkhup politely but firmly conveyed to Mrs. Cole that he and his colleagues do not accept the proposal of the British. The disappointed Mrs. Cole returned safely to Imphal.

vi) The Longya Meeting

In the preparations for a united stand against the British, the Kuki Chiefs of Southeast Zale地-gam met at Longya Village, under the leadership of Pu Ngulkhup Haokip, Chief of Mombi (Lonpi).  The various Chiefs and prominent leaders of the Kuki clans present at the meeting are as follows: 
1. Pu Ngulkhup Haokip, Chief of Mombi (Lonpi)
2. Pu Ngulbul Haokip, Chief of Longya
3. Pu Doungul Taithul, Chief of Gotengkot
4. Pu Henjalal Zou, Chief of Sinam
5. Pu Kenlun Anal, Chief of Tholcham
6. Pu Thangchung Baite
7. The Chief of the Zous
8. The Chief of the Marings
9. The Chief of the Anals
10. The Chief of the Lamkangs
11. The Chief of the Chothes
12. The Chief of the Aimols
13. The Chief of the Muzons
14. The Chief of the Monsangs
15. The Chief of the Taraos

At the meeting the members present agreed to uphold the Chassad resolution to fight the British. To commemorate the event a mithun was slaughtered to feast on. At the same time, a similar meeting was held at Khongjang village, in the south of Henglep area, where Pu Ngullien Singson, Chief of Khongjang killed a mithun for the occasion and performed Sajam Lhah with the Kuki Chiefs in the region. It was also resolved that espionage or disloyalty to the cause would not be tolerated: betrayers would, if necessary, be beheaded! Moreover, if any Kuki village chief is found not to co-operate, his chieftainship would be taken away and the village destroyed. Pu Ngulkhup, chief of Lonpi and Pu Thangchung Baite, Chief of Chalson Tengnoupal were both present at the Longya meeting. Pu Ngulkhup killed a mithun for the occasion of the meeting. He had tied the mithun in the middle of his courtyard and the Chiefs who were present were impressed at the grand preparations arranged by Pu Ngulkhup. At the meeting the Chiefs decided there was going to be an attempt to predict whether the war against the British would be won. For this purpose Pu Thangchung, who was renowned for his sharp-shooting ability was to shoot the mithun in the courtyard, aiming for the forehead. To facilitate hitting the target, i.e. the 礎ull痴-eye, the Chiefs suggested the rope around the mithun痴 head be parted at the centre of the forehead, which Pu Thangchung indicated, that would not be necessary. Pu Thangchung rather casually took aim with his gun and fired: he hit the target, the bullet entering right between the ropes. All the Chiefs present were pleased at this demonstration. They took it as a good omen for victory in the war.

vii) The Sita Episode

In the First Kuki war of independence, there was an overwhelming response from the Kuki people, in all parts of Zale地-gam. Every able-bodied person performed to the best of their ability. However, according to my grand uncle, late Jamjathang Haokip and Rev. Dr. T. Lunkim *, the Sita episode was an anathema to the Kuki people. The event as related by them is as follows:                                                               
                                                                            Pu Paboi Haokip, Chief of Sita village, abstained from the battle while the rest of his brethren were actively involved. The news spread widely. When it came to the knowledge of Chief of the Haokips, Pu Lhukhomang Haokip alias (Pache), and to the Kuki king, Pu Chengjapao Doungel, they proceeded to Sita to assess the situation. Pu Paboi did not seek to justify himself. Bowing down with folded hands at the feet of the two elder Chiefs Pu Paboi sought forgiveness for his conduct. Pu Lhukhomang wanted to punish the Sita chief and took out his sword to chop him, but Pu Chengjapao intercepted. Judgement was passed on the Sita chief, which entailed the killing of the mithuns belonging to his village. The number of mithuns killed equalled the number of houses in the whole village. To humiliate the chief of Sita, the tails of the dead mithuns were cut off and hung in front of his house. The tails of the mithuns were counted and the people were ordered not to eat the meat. This was because the mithuns were killed as an act of punishment, imposed upon Sita, a Haokip village, for breaking rank. According to the established rules, if any Chief did not take part in the war, his Chieftainship was to be taken away and the village burnt. However, as a gesture of mercy because the concerned chief asked forgiveness, the mithuns were 壮acrificed instead. Following the judgement, Pu Paboi joined hands with Pu Chengjapao and Pu Pache in the continuing war. 

ii)                     On 22 January 1918, the British under the leadership of Capt. Hebbert and the officiating Political Agent set out from Imphal to recapture the Burma Road. The road had been under the control of the Kuki Warriors. A pitched battle ensued in which a number of British forces were killed. The Sita village is located very close to the Burma Road. Had the Sita chief not kept away from the war along with his satellite villages, the road would have remained under the control of the Kukis. The British ultimately got the upper hand. By the middle of February 1918, the Burma Road came under British control.

The Battlefronts of the War of 1917-1919

1. The Southeastern Sector (Lonpi Area)

This southern sector is in the area of Lonpi (present day Chandel District), stretching to the Chin Hills. The two Kuki leaders Pu Ngulkhup Haokip, Chief of Lonpi and Pu Ngulbul Haokip started the Kuki rising, 1917-1919; the Chief of Longya led the Kukis. Pu Toitung-Semkhothong Haokip, Pu Thongkhopao Haokip, Chief of Aibol; Pu Doungul Taithul, Zou, Chief of Gotengkot; Pu Mansom Baite, Chief of Maipi and Pu Henzalel Zou, the Anals, Marings, Monsangs, Chothes, Lamkangs, Muzons took active part in the war. The Commanders of the British forces in this region were Capt. Coote, Ashwith and Lt. Halliday. These Commanders led one hundred and twenty sepoys each. The British received reinforcement under Capt. Steadman from Lenakot and they reached Haika. Capt. Steadman was seriously injured during the war.
According to Palit (1984, p.62), in September 1917, the battle of Mombi took place. Capt. Coote of 4th Assam rifles with one hundred men burnt Mombi. However, according to (OIOC), the battle of Mombi (Lonpi) broke out on 17th October 1917. During the battle, Mombi was set ablaze. Between the dates given by Palit and (OIOC), the former is more consistent with the version of the Kuki people.
On 19 December 1917, Ithai, the Government Forest Station was attacked. Sometime later, the Itall Police station near Sugnu and the Moirang Police station were also attacked. Capt. Halliday and Capt. Coote were despatched to Lonpi and Henglep sectors with eighty sepoys each under their command. When Capt. Halliday and his eighty men were crossing the river Chakpi near Suganoo (Sugunu), the Kuki warriors with Pu Ngulkhup were waiting on the other side of the river. They well prepared to avenge the destruction of Lonpi. When the enemy Sepoys were at close range, they fired the pumpi. The Sepoys retaliated and there was heavy fighting. According to the people of Lonpi village, they killed twenty sepoys and injured around twenty seriously.
Contrarily, according to Col. L.W. Shakespeare, the casualty list included only three British sepoys killed and a few injured. Capt. Halliday was seriously injured and returned with his Sepoys to Imphal. On that day Pu Ngulkhup composed an ode to the

Haochan pallhang kanang e minthan jang len,
Bom twi chungmang naobang ka.
Amang naovang kakasah haocha minthan jang lei, Phung gol lunglhai nam?
Phunggol umi lunglhai nam minthan janglei bom,
Twi chung hon thing jan kase.

Free translation
I the son of a Chief defended the fort with great courage and honour,
I made the enemy cry like children floating in the river.
I made the glorious White chief cry like a child, are all the clans pleased?
Are all the Clans pleased with such fame and honour?
I piled up the enemy like firewood in the river.

The victory at Lonpi enabled the Kuki warriors to retain control over the present day Chandel District of Zale地-gam. They destroyed the Government Rest Houses and attacked the Police stations, one after another. As the command of the Kuki warriors increased steadily, they took control of the Burma Road, which connects Imphal with Pallel and Tamu. The road passes through Western Zale地-gam until Kalemyo Highway and Kalewa (in present day Burma). The Kuki control of the National Highway, which was of strategic importance, presented a major crisis to the British.
Due to the dire conditions the British were now in, Col. Shakespeare took over the post of Dy. Inspector General, and was based in Imphal. Col. Shakespeare requested his counterpart in Burma to immediately dispatch reinforcement to assist him. At that time, the Kukis had the upper hand in the Kabow Valley and Chindwin Valley. These particular places are referred to by Maj. Gen. D.K. Palit (1984, p.65):

In December the Mombi and Longya Chiefs, seeking revenge for the wanton burning of Mombi, began a series of small raids into the southern end of Manipur Valley. The Chiefs of villages to the Southwest of Imphal soon joined them. After a serious raid on a police station near Pallel, the Political Agent decided that punitive measure would again have to be taken. Accordingly, two detachments from the 4th Battalion at Imphal, each 80 strong, were sent out one to Mombi and the other south -west to Henglep. Neither detachment succeeded in inflicting much punishment on the Kukis; on the contrary, both columns returned after suffering initial reverses. The detachment under Captain Halliday suffered some casualties at the Chakpi River crossing near Mombi-and had to withdraw, leaving behind the bodies of their dead. The unseemly retreat served to put the Kukis tails right up Soon the whole of the southern and southwestern hills had risen in arms and had begun to mount raids, destroying government rest houses and damaging the telegraph line. In the process they closed the Burma Road (which ran from Imphal, through Palel and Tamu, down to the Kabaw and Chindwin valley). It was time for more effective measures to be taken.

Col. Shakespeare, the newly appointed D.I.G., went to Imphal and began a systematic drive to organise the available resources of men and materials for the operations against the Kukis. His counterpart in Burma promised immediate reinforcements. By then the Kuki disaffection had begun to be felt in the Kabaw and Chindwin valleys as well. The most important military setback faced by the Kukis was the means of communication and transport. Col. Shakespeare arranged for a Naga labour corps about (eight hundred) strong, to employ in the Western Zale地-gam (present day Manipur) operations. The labour corps from Kohima was escorted by a rifle platoon down to Imphal. Capt. Montifore and one hundred and fifty men had already been sent from Kohima to the Chin Hills, via Aizawl (capital of present day Mizoram). From Silchar, in Assam the 2nd Assam Rifles dispatched a column of reinforcement consisting of one hundred men under Capt. Cloete. The Manipur Battalion, like the Assam Rifles, was overload with both older men and young half-trained recruits (due to the pressures of the war in France). An intensive three-week jungle warfare course was started for all Assam Rifles personnel. A training cadre for porters, to teach them to carry the seven-pounder mountain guns and for other specialised tasks such as casualty evacuation was also hurriedly organised.
In January 1918, the columns were set out in the fields, one such British force set up base camp at the foot hills of Pallel and another at Suganu, where supplies and medical stores were stocked for operations. It was decided that the priority tasks would be, first, to join hands with a Burma column which had been dispatched from Tiddim, in the north Chin Hills; and second, to open the Burma Road which was in the Kukis command. Capt. Hebbert was given the task to dispel the Kukis and open the road to Burma. He was also assigned to punish the Kuki villages in the neighbourhood of Tammu. Capt. Hebbert痴 column was arranged to accompany the officiating Political Agent. The strategy of the British under Capt. Coote was to first run over Lonpi and Longya, and to go forward to join the Burma column under Capt. Steadman. This column accompanied the Deputy Inspector General and the Assistant Political Officer. The Upper Chindwin and Chin Hills (in present day Burma) were under the territories of Eastern Zale地-gam. As the war spread, it became an increasingly difficult for the British forces to fight
the Kukis. Maj. Gen. D.K.Palit (1984) explains this situation:

In early December 1917 the DIG Assam Rifles received a wire from the Superintendent Chin hills inquiring if he had any knowledge of likely trouble on the Chin Lushai border. The DIG replied that he had no such knowledge. Twelve hours later came an urgent wire to Shillong from Falam, the headquarters station in the Chin Hills, saying that the southern Chins had risen and that Haka station was surrounded; it asked for urgent assistance. The DIG then ordered Captain Falkland, Commandant 1st Assam Rifles Aizawl, to immediately proceed towards Haka along with one hundred fifty sepoys. Within a few hours, they set out for Haka, a sixteen daylong journey by foot. A few days later, another urgent wire from Falam called for even stronger reinforcements. As active trouble had not as yet started in Manipur, Captain Montifore with one hundred fifty rifles of the 3rd Assam Rifles at Kohima was order to the Chin hills, travelling as rapidly as possible - by rail to Chittagong, by steamer to Rangamati, country boats to Demagiri, whence onwards there was still a fortnight痴 hard marching to Haka. As neither Falkland nor Montifore could reach the disturbed area till well after Christmas, details of their movements and actions in the Chin Hills did not reach Shillong for several weeks.

Further Encounters at Lonpi (Monbi)

On 23 January 1918, two groups of British forces, consisting of one hundred twenty each, arrived from Imphal Headquarter to fight against the Kukis. Each of the two contingents was under the command of Capt. Coote and L.C.S. Higgins. During the four days trek from Imphal to Sugunu, the British encountered incessant Kuki guerrilla attacks. They suffered heavy casualty. Maj. Gen. D.K.Palit (1984, pp.68-69) writes:

Accordingly, Captain Coote痴 column left Imphal on 23rd January. Higgins, the A.P.A. and Colonel Shakespeare, the D.I.G., accompanied this force. A three-day forced march brought them to Shuganu, the forward supply base at the foot of the tribal hills. The column then entered the hills and made for the Chokpi (Chakpi) river crossing, just short of the village of Mombi (Lonpi). The crossing was found to be undefended, but a gruesome sight met the men of the armies. They found the badly mutilated bodies of the men Halliday had lost a few weeks earlier, flung into a small ravine. Aware that the direct route to Mombi (Lonpi) was strongly stockaded, Coote decided on an outflanking march over a high ridge to the east. The column began its climb in single file, the only way to advance up a steep spur covered with small trees and scrub jungle.
After going for about an hour several shots rang out in front, to which the advance guard replied. Not a single Kuki was seen, but they had wounded three riflemen and vanished. Crossing the top of the ridge the same thing occurred but this time without effect. As it was already dusk, the column camped in a small but friendly hamlet. It was subjected to sniping during the night, in which one man was mortally wounded, dying the next morning. The next march was along a ridge covered with the long grass of disused cultivation, at the far end of which the village of Nampho Khuno (Ngampao Khonou) came in sight, field glasses showing the presence of many armed Kukis in it. At this point, firing was suddenly opened on the column from both flanks accounting for three more wounded-one rifleman and 2 (two) carriers. Again, no enemy could be seen in the long grass. The area was thoroughly searched, while the mountain guns open on the village 900 yards. The first round plumped into the place dispersing all in it; it was then destroyed. While this was going on Coote noticed a great column of smoke far to the southwest. This could be Longya village being burned though it was doubted if Steadman痴 column from the north Chin Hills could have reached it so soon. A steep descent followed by a most fatiguing climb brought Coote on to Mombi (Lonpi) hill the following afternoon. A few ineffective shots were fired from the forest en route, but the stockade defence was found empty, as also the site of the village burnt the previous September. Here the column bivouacked for the night.

Lonpi village is situated at about 1,300 meters above sea level. From Lonpi, one can get a good view of the Southern region, as well as of the hills surrounding Lonpi. Using mirror signals, the British forces searched around the hills hoping to find Capt. Steadman and his men. Unable to find them the Sepoys headed towards Khaiting village. The British were low on ammunitions, as well as food supplies and porters. To replenish their resources before meeting the Kukis for battle at Lonpi, some of the men went to Suganu, where the storehouse was located. Capt. Coote took twenty sepoys with him and headed towards Tujang. On the way, the Kuki Warriors attacked them. In this instance, four of the British Sepoys and one Kuki were killed. The British thought that many Kukis might have been killed, judging by the amount of bloodshed.
Since, the Kuki Warriors who died was properly dressed and carried good guns, the British thought one of the war leaders of the Kukis was in the area. Therefore, the dead bodies were carried up to Lonpi village. At Lonpi Higgins and a Meitei officer confirmed that the body was indeed of a great Kuki leader. A fierce battle was fought at Lonpi. The British were ultimately victorious. Lonpi was the Kuki Warriors base, and the village members had deserted the village before the battle. The following day, a gunshot was heard in the far-away hills. The British thought, Capt. Steadman and his men might be fighting the Kuki Warriors. But due to strong winds, it was not possible to determine the exact direction of the gunshot. The next day they sighted the new Lonpi village, situated below the eastern hill slope, about six Kilometres from the old Lonpi. When they reached the new Lonpi village, cannons and gunfire welcomed the British forces. Four Sepoys personnel died in front of the fort. However, the British forces continued to fight. Pu Ngulkhup and the Kuki Warriors were seething for revenge for the previous burning down of Lonpi. They fought believing that the bullets of the British could not kill them. However, the Kuki Warriors had to also think about the safety of their women and children. The British forces razed the new Lonpi village. The British camped the night where the village was. Late at night, the Kuki Warriors caught them unaware and opened fire, but none were killed. The Kuki Warriors at Letkholun and Khailet village ambushed the British forces under the command of Capt. Coote, who had gone to Suganu to fetch supplies. Heavy fighting took place, but the British forces with their reinforcements, were a force for the (by now beleaguered) Kuki Warriors to reckon with. Capt.Steadman set Longya village on fire after attacking the village. He was with one hundred and twenty strong warriors that came with him from the Chin Hills.

2. The Eastern Sector (Chassad)

In March 1918, there was to be a discussion on the joint operation of British-India and British-Burma, at Tamu. Col. F. French Muler, Burma Deputy Inspector General (DIG) and Col. Shakespeare, followed by one hundred and fifty riflemen went to attend the meeting. At the meeting, both the Colonels planned to group the four existing British forces into two. Both were to advance from Burma and India to invade the whole of Chassad Area. The groups led by Capt. Patrick from Kangal Thana and Maj. Hacket from Homalin supported the two leaders on either side. From Imphal, Capt.Coote led another force and advanced towards the northern region of Chassad and kept fighting till the Somra area. Capt. Coote had moved in advance to pursue the Chassad Kuki Warriors. As reserve, the D.I.G. sent orders to Aizawl to dispatch one hundred sepoys of 1st Assam Rifles to Bongmol, situated on the border of Chin Hills and Manipur. This Column was to be deployed at Henglep area, South of Imphal. After these arrangements were completed, Col.Shakespeare and his column returned to the Headquarters at Imphal. On their way at Chahm弛l near Tengnoupal, the Kuki Warriors attacked them. The Kuki Warriors used their pumpi, but unfortunately it misfired. Later, Col. Shakespeare and his Warriors discovered the leather made cannon and brought it to Imphal Headquarters. Had the cannon fired, our grandfathers say not a single one of from the British column would have survived. The British forces headed towards the Imphal headquarters again. Being attacked at unsuspected places, they kept alert all the way and finally reached Imphal with great fear and trembling.
After his return from the tour of the headquarters, Col. Shakespeare and the Burma D.I.G. made plans of invading the whole of Chassad Area, in the Eastern Sector. The British force with Col. Shakespeare consisted of one hundred fifty personnel of the 2nd, 3rd and 4th Assam Rifles. Over and above this, the officers and personnel of Lt. Parry and Mr. Higgins joined Col, Shakespeare. Together, they headed towards Chassad region in the Chindwin Valley passing through the villages in Ayapural area. From Kohima, a two hundred strong British force from the 3rd Assam Rifles, under the command of Lieutenants Prior and Sanderson followed the Tizu river-Nantalit (Somaleng dung), passed through Melomy (Meluri) and entered the Saramathi ranges. The dispatched forces were to go ahead and set traps for the Kukis from the Chassad Hills. They were to take shelter in the forest of Saramathi hill areas. The forces under the command of Captains Coote and Patrick joined at the river Mangha, to the north of Kangal Police Station. These two forces were to attack Kamjong, the largest village under the rule of Chief of Chassad. Kamjong was one amongst the greatest villages under the reign of the Kukis, surrounded by a well-guarded fort. The Chassad Chief ruled his kingdom from Kamjong. All the surrounding Tangkhul villages paid their tributes to him in the form of yearly Tax and various tributes. The Palace of Chassad was about sixty yards long and the Royal Kitchen had (seven) furnaces that never ceased to function. It is also said that the Chassad fort was large and well built.There was a round-the-clock vigil by the strong Kuki Warriors, who were under Pu Chungkhojang Haokip, Commander-in-Chief of the Chassad Warriors. The British were quite hesitant to attack such a well-built fort. The fort was situated on a highland, and was quite inaccessible. It was also hard to predict what lay within it. When the British did attack the fort, a number of them were killed while they were still a long way off. The firing of the pumpi shook the whole region. This incident remains a great legend, especially among the elder generation.The cannons and the stone-traps killed about fourteen British Sepoys. Maj. Gen. D.K. Palit (1984, p.75), writes of the event, 舛oot痴 and Patrick痴 column met up on the Mangha river north of Kangal Thana and the combined force moved up to attacked Kamjong, the main village of the rebel Chief Pache. A brisk action followed in which a British Officer Lieut. Molesworth was killed. However due to the experience gained in the long fought wars in the hills, the Sepoys did not loose heart and rather continued to march on. From within the fort, Pu Lhukhomang Haokip alias Pache, Chief of Chassad (Kamjong) and under the leadership of Pu Chungkhojang Haokip, the Kuki Warriors started firing at the British forces with pumpi and other guns without fear. The combined British forces from India and Burma also attacked. They had enough guns and ammunitions in the form of the seven-pounder mountain guns, smaller guns and various bombs and other types of arms. Utilising such heavy artillery, they attacked the Kuki armies in Kamjong, the Capital village of Chassad. In Zale地-gam痴 Kuki rising, 1917-1919 the Chassad encounter is one of the greatest between the Kukis and the combined British-India and British-Burma forces. Besides Capt. Molesworth, thirty sepoys were killed and many more injured. The Kuki Warriors also suffered heavy casualties. The fort was ultimately broken into. Pu Pache and Pu Chungkhojang, along with the Kuki Warriors abandoned the fort and headed towards the Upper Chindwin forest. The British forces burnt down the fort. The Sepoys had thought that the Kuki Warriors could be easily killed once the fort was forced-opened. On the contrary, they were unable to trace any of the Kuki warriors. In this battle, the Kuki Warriors killed three British officers. But this is denied and not included in the British records. They mention only the death of Lt. Molesworth. The important war leaders in the Kuki Warriors during the Kuki rising, 1917 - 1919 in the Chassad Area or Eastern Sector of the Zale地-gam are:
1. Pu Lhukhomang Haokip alias Pache, Chief of Haokip clan
2. Pu Haokhopao Kipgen, Chief of Molvailup
3. Pu Letkhothang Haokip, Chief of Khotuh
4. Pu Semkholun Haokip, Chief of Phaisat
5. Pu Paokhohen Kipgen, Chief of Bongbal
6. Pu Thangkhothong Haokip, Chief of Maokot
7. Pu Chungkhojang Haokip of Changlei, was the Commander-in-Chief of Chassad
8. Pu Vumtong Haokip of Maokot.

These leaders stood united to fight the British force in defence of Zale地-gam, in the Chassad Area and up to Somra region, now in Burma. The leaders composed a war song in memory of the battle:
Phaipi tolkon sap sepai,
Atwi Nganam dung kun na,
Hon thing jan seng nge.

Free translation
English痴 Warriors from Imphal town,
From Nganam river source,
I値l pile you up like fence log.

There was also heavy fighting at Chattick, followed by another at Maokot. The British had seen the bravery of the Kuki Warriors in the Chassad (Kamjomg) battle, and hesitated to engage in war with the Kuki Warriors again. However, the war had only just half-begun, and so they were compelled to continue. Although they were unenthusiastic, they had to set out on the offensive against Chattik. Though the battle at Chattik was not as much a horror as that in Chassad, the fighting was nonetheless heavy. The fighting lasted a long time. Ultimately, the Kukis could not withstand the combined British forces, which burned down the village and the fort. The British next set out for Maokot. The Chief of Maokot was Pu Thangkhothong Haokip, a man of great courage. The fort of Maokot was guarded under the leadership of a courageous warrior of the village, Pu Letchung Haokip. The British forces launched a surprise attack on the fort, but could not make a break-through. A long fight followed with one British officer killed. Pu Letchung killed two others. Amazed at the bravery of Pu Letchung, after killing him the British apparently cut out his heart as a sign of triumph over a great foe, similar to headhunting among some tribes or scalping by the Native American Indians. Following Pu Letchung痴 death, the Kuki Warriors and the Maokot villagers moved out of the fort. Subsequently, the British burned down the village and the fort.
The Kuki Warriors led by the Chassads attacked the British forces that had gone to attack Khongkan fort, between Phaikoh and Aisi. As the combined British forces reached the place, Onkhodom immediately shot dead a British officer and the Sepoys dispersed. Following the incident, the British forces carried the dead body of the officer and headed towards Tamu, instead of to Khongkan, and buried him there. Since a white officer had been killed, without fulfilling their mission, the British forces headed towards Tamu for the funeral. The river where the British officer was shot was named Sap-thi dung, meaning the river where a white officer was killed. The name of the river remains the same today. The Kukis continued to make preparations for war secretly. The Kuki warriors were based at Chanchaku, located on a hill called Lhangmol (in present day Burma). Chanchaku was a part of Chassad. The Kukis sent a Burmese to pass false information to the British. The arrangement for this was made through another Burmese named Chingbung, who was at one time an interpreter for the British. The information was that a mithun was tied at Chanchaku as a sign of welcome to the British with whom the Kukis wanted to sign a peace treaty. The British accepted the invitation and went along with a Meitei, who was aware of the plan. As they drew closer, Pu Henkholet made a sound with his se値 long (cowbell) to signal to the Meitei man to bring the British quickly. The British were terribly deceived. Pu Thanglhu of Maokot fired on the British officer, who was hit him on the chest and died instantly. Pu Jamkho fired and killed another soldier who was behind the officer. The British carried their dead and went to Homalin. On that day, the people of Maokot composed a ballad to mark the event:

Kumpi ni tolkon sapkang te,
Tuma dougal sel lhang soh,
Dougal sellhang nasoh e selung lemin,
Kaheije mang selung nguita,
Amang selung kanguisah mang,
Tongkai kasan mon hang kasel tai

Free translation

On the great day of battle, the British were a trophy war
An enemy of yesteryear, moving up the mountain like a mithun,
My enemy, you have come up to the hill for nothing.
I turn the dream of the British into sadness,
I turned his dream into sadness with my gun,
Making him speechless, I overthrow him.

The Maokot people built a big fort on the Mongpi hill. The British fired at the fort with the seven-pounder guns, but the Kukis inside the fort did not immediately retaliate. Their plan was to fire when the British came nearer to the fort. As the British drew nearer the Kukis fired two pumpi at the same time, and the whole area was covered in smoke from the gunpowder. Firing followed simultaneously from various directions. Five British Sepoys were killed. The fighting continued all day and all night. The fort was heavily fortified and the British could not break in, and so they retreated. They fired at the fort with the seven-pounder guns, but they missed. The shots landed beyond the fort. This made the Kukis think they were surrounded. Therefore, they quickly escaped from the fort through secret passage. When the fort was finally broken into, there was nobody inside. The British then burned their dead in the fort. At this battle, there was a man named Pu Letchung form Maokot. Pu Letchung and three of his associates set out to spy on the British. On their way they came across the enemy near Matijang village. Pu Letchung痴 men not being confident suggested that they should run away. But Pu Letchung said, 糎hy should we run from the enemy? If you are scared, you run, I will stay and fight. The three men ran away leaving Pu Letchung to fight on his own. Pu Letchung took position in a small gorge and shot dead one subedar. The British returned fire and injured Pu Letchung in the thigh. Being in agony Pu Letchung screamed. The British then moved in to the scene not expecting the man to be able to move. But to their surprise Pu Letchung fired again and killed one soldier. Thereafter, Pu Letchung was overpowered and his head was cut off. The body of Pu Letchung was brought to Chahmun camp where the British kicked around the head they had cut off. They also cut his fingers. Pu Letchung had extra fingers in his hand. Choisan, an interpreter who had served the British, has related the incident. Pu Letchung had composed an elegy, before he was killed:

If we live courageously, we will never tire of narrating the tales of war against today痴 government.

As a mark of respect to Pu Letchung, Pu Lhukhomang alias Pache Chief of Chassad and the Haokips killed a mithun at the funeral. Pu Tongkholun of Chassad also killed a pig at Phailenjang to pay his respect to the dead Kukis in the war. During the war several forts were built in the Chassad area and the Eastern Sector. The most famous among them is the Makan fort. The British attacked the Makan fort on three occasions. On the third attempt, heavy artillery was used to avoid another failure. When the fort was finally captured, there were only three Kuki men inside. The three men had been fighting courageously making it look like there were more men in the fort. In later years, the Kukis established a village on the site of the fort in its memory and named it Kulbung, meaning 詮ort Hill. At Kultuh (Fort village) in anticipation of heavy battle a great fort was built. The battles with the British also took place at Phunchong, Phaisat, Molnoi and the Kongkan police station. The Kukis fought very hard, but pitched against an imperial power in the long run they were suppressed. However, the casualties on the side of the British were considerable. The casualty at Matijang is an example. The Kukis placed some poisoned meat, which the hungry forces of the British consumed. Only five survived out of the entire group of fifty. The reinforcements that arrived the following day were subjected to songkhai thang that killed many British Sepoys. To mark the incident, the river near where the trap was set is named Songkhai Dung (Songkhai River). The British overran the whole of Chassad area and the Eastern Sector. However, the Kukis of Zale地-gam remained resolute to defend their sovereignty and they remained a force to be reckoned with. At the exhortations of Pu Pache the Kuki warriors regrouped and prepared for further campaign against the British in Zale地-gam.

3. The Battle of Gotengkot

Late Pu Vungjalean Hangsing, Chief of Mongken narrated the events of the battle of Gotengkot to me, in January 1974, at his house in Mongken village. The battle was also referred to in a speech delivered by Pu. Dr. T.S. Gangte, at the Symposium on The Kuki rising, 1917-1919 held at Moreh:

Capt. Steadman began his operation from the Chin Hills along with one hundred twenty strong British forces, heading towards Gotengkot in the Southeastern Sector.He crossed over the Chin Hills and passed through Behieng, Mongken, Ngaljang, and finally arrived at Singat. From Singat, he passed by Hengtam and Paldai and headed to the Southeastern Sector. Capt. Steadman, was faced with a united Kukis stand in all these parts of Zale地-gam. He and his men had to fight hard all the way. A few of his men were killed and many injured. By the time they crossed over the Southeastern Sector, of the one hundred twenty sepoys only a hundred remained.
In the Southern Sector, Capt. Steadman and his men crossed over to the Southeastern Sector from Paldai and kept moving towards Gotengkot. At the time, the chief of Gotengkot was Pu Doungul Taithul, the great and passionate Zou chief. He was also a very distinguished warrior. When Capt. Steadman and his warriors entered the territory of Gotengkot, they sensed a difference in the atmosphere. All of sudden, cannon were fired at them followed by more gunfire coming from different directions. In panic, they fired back blindly, not a single Kuki warrior was visible. However, the attack continued. At various passes and steep slopes, stone-traps (songkhai thang) were used in which many of them were killed. Eventually, the British forces made it to Gotengkot. Gotengkot was a big village, surrounded by a fort on all sides. The place was well fortified with sufficient Kuki forces armed with a good number of guns, plenty of ammunition, and the dreaded indigenously built cannons (pumpi). As Capt. Steadman and his warriors arrived at Gotengkot, the Kuki Warriors under the leadership of Pu Doungul opened fire at the approaching enemy. After a prolonged combat, Pu Doungul and his men began to run low on ammunitions. They secretly evacuated the women and children from the village to a safer place. While the evacuation went on, Pu Doungul and the fighting continued. In due course, the British forces armed with modern weapons drew closer to the village. Pu Doungul ordered his men to move away, while he remained inside the fort and kept fighting. Such was Pu Doungul痴 valour and sacrifice to defend Zale地-gam. The battle of Gotengkot is said to be one of the most intense battles fought in the Southeastern Sector of Zale地-gam. In the battle, twenty British forces were killed and over thirty were injured. However, it was a known fact that in each of the battles, the British put their death list much lower. The deaths were stated to have often been caused by diseases. The bravery of Pu Doungul is legendary and remains fresh in the memory of our people.

On 17 April 1997, Pu Ngamkholet Haokip, President of Mangvung Insung (household), Manipur, 70 years of age, related his personal knowledge about many of the Kuki war heroes. Pu Ngamkholet said, 善u Khupkhotintong (Tintong) Haokip, chief of Laijang, Commander-in-Chief of Zale地-gam toured all parts of the land. He took action against the Kuki Chiefs who refused to participate in the war and pressurised them to join immediately. Pu Tintong was an inspiration to the Kuki people. He inspired confidence and strength in the face of war. At this point, the war in the Southeastern Sector had taken a serious turn because Pu Doungul, Chief of Gotengkot had been killed. Pu Tintong went with two hundred and fifty strong Khongsai Kukis warriors towards Gotengkot. When they arrived at Gotengkot Pu Tintong met the villagers and comforted them. He also encouraged the people to not lose hope, as the Kukis would continue to defend its nation Zale地-gam. Pu Tintong also went to visit the other affected villages and war victims in the nearby area. He motivated the village Chiefs, war leaders, and the people to go on fighting the British forces wherever possible.
Pu Ngamkholet continued, 前n hearing about the death of the honoured Pu Doungul Taithul, the great Zou Kuki Chief, and the damage done by Capt. Steadman and his warriors to the people of Gotengkot, Pu Thangkhopao Haokip, Chief of Aibol was overwhelmed with sorrow and deeply angered. To avenge his beloved chief of Gotengkot and the village folk, he secretly gathered information concerning the whereabouts of Capt. Steadman and his men. When he received the necessary information, Pu Thangkhopao went with some his men and took position along the route the British forces were to pass. Two days later, Pu Thangkhopao and his Kuki Warriors released the songkhai thang (stone-traps) and opened fired upon Capt. Steadman and his Sepoys. Intense fighting followed between Pu Thangkhopao痴 Kuki warriors and Capt. Steadman痴 Sepoys, which carried on for a long time taking its due toll. This incident is referred to by Pu Jamthang Haokip, in Manipur a Kuki Gospel leh Kuki ho Thusim, pp.39 - 40: Pu Thangkhopao Haokip, Chief of Aibol, had a dream: Kolgam minthang Thangkhopao vuisai mang弾, khupong len kap ing kate minthang Thangkhopao. In simple translation the meaning of the dream is: the famous Thangkhopao of the land swept the dust away, let me take a big war-trophy, I the great Thangkhopao. The following day, during a skirmish, he was shot in the foot. He then rolled down into the nearby gorge. The Sepoys wanted to take him alive, but when they approached him, he shot dead one of the men. The Sepoys returned fire at Pu Thangkhopao. He remained quiet and loaded his gun. The British forces thought he was dead and went closer towards Pu Thangkhopao who again fired and shot dead one more. A Jamendar of the Sepoys climbed up a tree to locate the exact place where Pu Thangkhopao was hiding. The Jamendar was also shot down from the tree. Finally, when they had no option left, the Sepoys threw a hand granade and Pu Tahngkhopao was killed. This great Kuki War hero killed all together one British Jamendar and three sepoys.

The British regarded Pu Thangkhopao Haokip, Chief of Aibol as one of the greatest amongst the Kukis warriors.
On one occasion, when the Kuki warriors ran short of ammunition, five of them fought only with their swords and cut the throats of several British forces. Capt. Steadman seeing the incident with his own eyes was filled with anger. Deeply humiliated, Capt. Steadman set out towards Longya village with the remaining warriors. The British forces thought that because of the number of villages already burnt by them, the other villages would have been abandoned. But, the Kukis were not to be discouraged or scared off by such incidents. Rather, they became more determined to fight the enemy. Having been greatly inspired and encouraged by Pu Tintong, the Kukis resolved to fight the Sepoys to the bitter end. When Capt. Steadman and his Warriors reached Longya village, a fierce battle broke out which lasted for a long time. Ultimately, due to their superior weapons, on 27 January 1918, the British forces with great difficulty captured Longya village and set it completely ablaze, yet again.
Thereafter, Capt. Steadman and his men went down to the ravine and after crossing it, headed towards Haika Village. Capt. Steersman痴 plan was to capture the Anal Kuki village and then join Capt. Coote and his party. But on the way, he found another well-built Anal Kuki fort. The British forces had not understood the techniques of Kuki warfare, and they tried to enter the fort from the front gate. At the entrance of the gate the cannons blasted them. There was heavy firing. The brave Kuki Warriors of the Anal Haika village killed eleven British forces. The Burmese Officer who accompanied the British forces was severely injured. Col. L.W. Shakespeare (1929, p.219) writes of the incident:  A very long stockade barred his path, against which Steadmen made a frontal attack and failed to take it, losing 11 (eleven) killed and many wounded. Steadman, the only British officer with them, was badly wounded in three places, the carriers began to bolt, and the Column was obliged to retreat to Lenakot - a most unfortunate incident, due to inexperience of the British officer in command.

Due to heavy casualty, Capt. Steadman and Capt. Coote could not meet at Khailet village, as planned for a joint attack. The Kuki Warriors had critically hampered their strategy. Since he could not join hand with Capt. Steadman as planned, Capt. Coote marched towards Lonpi village with his warriors to capture the Chief. Capt. Coote and his warriors had recovered information that the chief Lonpi, Pu Ngulkhup Haokip, was hiding at Nungoinu village. Capt. Coote and his warriors took about five days climbing up and down the hilly terrain, trying to find Pu Ngulkhup. Nungngoinu and the surrounding villages had already been well prepared for the war and built forts around the villages. When the Kuki Warriors saw that British forces were approaching, they started firing on them from within the fort. The approaching Sepoys retaliated and heavy fighting carried on for quite a long time. Due to shortage of supplies, the Kukis could not continue the fight much longer. There were also women and children in the fort, whose safety was a concern. Therefore, they left the village quietly through a secret passage. The British forces were unable to trace Pu Ngulkhup or any of the people.
On 7 February 1918, the British forces again set out for Nungngoinu village in pursuit of Ngulkhup. They passed through a dark and thick forest. When they reached the middle to the forest, bullets rained on them causing much confusion amongst them. Unfamiliar with the terrain, the Sepoys could not make progress in the jungle. The jungle was also full of huge rocks and heavy timber, which the Kuki Warriors used to set rock and log traps. The British were stuck in the middle of the dark jungle, trapped as if inside a fort. Whenever they tried to make their way over the logs, the Kuki Warriors would shoot them at. In the process two of them were killed and several were injured. In this fight, Kukis were armed with about one hundred home made guns. Though the British forces tried their best to capture the Kukis, they were unsuccessful. Where the British forces took position, there was no way out on either side of the hill. But, Capt. Coote took Jamedar Kalga Singh痴 platoon and tried to find his way through one side of the hill, while the remaining kept firing from the middle where they were trapped. For sometime the firing stopped, and as Capt. Coote and his men moved on, at one place they found some guns and drums left behind by the Kukis. They figured these were left behind in order to carry away the injured. From the general commotion around the battle spot, the British forces estimated there might have been around three hundred Kuki Warriors. Maj. Gen. D.K. Palit has recorded this incident (1984, pp. 70-71):

On 7 February, as his column was threading its way along the top of a densely wooded ridge, shots rang out and the leader of the left flankers was killed. The advance guard extended and was soon busy. No enemy or position could at first be discerned and pushing through the tangled jungle it was found that a high ridge of rocks crossed the hill at right angles. A dip in the centre through which the narrow track led was heavily stockaded and the space in front of the rocks for some 40 or 50 meters was littered with a mass of trees felled by the rebels, forming a serious obstacle to negotiate. Two of the advance guard was killed and several wounded at the near edge of this obstacle. At this juncture both Mr Higgins and Colonel Shakespeare decided to take the field as junior leaders. With a group of riflemen they tried to turn the flanks, but the ground being very precipitous and covered with dense thorn jungle, no way could be found. For three-quarters of an hour heavy firing went on, so the gun had to be brought up to break down the stockade. At the third round the gun Havildar, the gun layer and two others of the gun team were badly hit. This effectively put the gun out of action, while Higgins received a somewhat severe contusion on his shoulder from a spent bullet. All that could be seen of the enemy were the muzzles of muskets thrust through interstices in the rocks, fired, and rapidly withdrawn again. The Kukis must have had some 70 or 80 muskets and the whole time the most astonishing din of men shouting and drums beating arose from their position, adding to the noise of the action. As no way round either flank was possible, Coote decided to rush the position with Jemadar Kharga Sing痴 platoon on the left, covered by the fire of another holding the front. With the Jemadar went the D.I.G. However, to 喪ush was impossible, as each man had to climb over or under the innumerable tree trunks thickly littering the ground. One outburst of fire came from the rocks as the platoon broke cover, but no one was hurt. Then there was a sudden silence in the position, and as the first lot of men began climbing the rocks, Coote痴 firing ceased. The enemy had bolted, carrying their wounded (for many blood patches were found), but they had left behind some weapons and drums in their hurry. The position, by nature strong, had been rendered still more so by the piling up of loose rocks and timber breastworks at weak spots, while the passage through was stockaded with a double row of heavy timber posts, loop-holed. From the large number of firing platforms, the trampled state of the ground and the food left behind, it could be estimated that there were probably some 300 Kukis holding the position and of whom there was now not a single.

About a mile from the battle spot, the Sepoys soon reached a big village called Khengoi (Khengjoi) village. The Chief of Khengjoi village was Thangkhohen Haokip, a well-built man and a great warrior. Khengjoi village is situated at a beautiful location. From Khengoi village, there is a good view of Eastern Zale地-gam痴 Kale and Kabow Valley. When the British forces arrived at the village, they found the belly of a tiger, at the gate痴 entrance. Oddly, it looked as if the tiger belly was set as a sign of welcome. However, not a single villager was to be found. By the time the British force reached Khengjoi village, they had already run out of their food supplies. They used a mirror to reflect signals to their friends. Their friends at Tamu recognised the reflection made by the mirror and realised that their friends were in need of help. Tamu, (a border town between present day India and Burma) is only thirty Kilometres away from Khengoi. The British force at Tamu supplied sufficient food grains to Waithok village in Central Zale地-gam (now situated at the Border of India and Burma). Capt. Coote and his men set fire to Khengjoi village and headed towards Waithok.
Capt. Coote and his Warriors took it easy as they moved towards Waithok. They did not anticipate that they would be attacked on the way. At a certain place, the Kukis unleashed stone-traps and fire upon them. Four of the British forces were killed on the spot. After a time of firing from both sides, the Kukis left the place and returned to a safer place. The British force, being rather helpless against guerrilla warfare, continued to move towards Waithok. Waithok is a small Burmese village surrounded by teak forest, coconut trees, and Khangra. It is an ideal resting-place.

4. The War against the British in other parts of Zale地-gam, 1917-1919

A Burmese Civil officers named Myouk met Capt. Coote and his men. He took them among the paddy fields and showed them the ready-made hiding places. At that place, supplies of food-grain and other essential items of war were stored. The Burmese officer also showed them a bungalow, built to accommodate the three British Officers. In that bungalow they rested for about two days. Both, Capt. Grantham (a Burmese Police officer) and Lt. Kay Mouatt (a Burma-Bombay Training Coy) were in the British Reserve force. They had arrived from Tamu, a distance of about 35 Kilometres. These two officers brought a number of bullock carts for transporting war weapons for Capt. Coote and his Warriors. The two officers also informed the Capt. Coote that, the 銭uki rising has spread all over the Upper Chindwin & Kale Kabaw Valley because the Kukis will fight to defend their land at any cost.               The British officers also added that the Warriors stationed in Burma have also prepared for the war against the Kukis in Tamu and surrounding areas. A reinforcement of the Sepoys would set out from Tinzin under the leadership of Capt. Patrick. They were to fight the Chassad Haokips in a joint effort. The Chassad Kukis had already burnt down the Kangal Thana (Police Station) and the Government Rest houses at Homalin nearby. They had also cut off the telegraph lines and killed several people. The two Officers also said that according to the news received from Imphal, the Kuki warriors had already declared war in Northern Zale地-gam, up to the Kohima border as well as in Western region of Zale地-gam, the present day North Cachar Hills and Silchar areas of Assam. It was reported that the Kuki Warriors had destroyed all the rest houses and blocked the Imphal-Kohima-Silchar Road. A message was also received that Maj. Cloete and his warriors from Soda tried to re-open the Silchar-Kohima-Imphal Road. This highway was one of the longest highways of British India. It was immensely important, as it was the only means of communication and transporting essential supplies for the British forces stationed in that region. The loss of control over the road seriously handicapped the British India Government. Maj. Gen. D.K. Palit (1984,p. 72), notes:

They brought the news of the spread of the rebellion to the Chindwin valley. They also said that a Burma column was being formed at Tamu, which would shortly be joined by another coming up from Tinzin under Captain Patrick, both intended for operations against the Chassad Kukis who had begun serious raids near Kangal Thana and Homalin. News was also received from Imphal to the effect that the rebellion had spread northward into the hills towards Kohima, and that the Silchar road had been closed, with many rest houses destroyed by the Kukis.

On 11 February 1918, Capt. Coote and his column left Waithok village and moved northwards. This was Kuki rising (Zale地-gam痴 War) and the Burmese were not part of the war. They helped the British as they were under them already. Capt.Coote and his warriors passed through the deep forest of Zale地-gam, full of teak, sandalwood, khangla, yangngou and many other rich forest produces. It is said that the British wanted to capture Zale地-gam because they saw the riches of the land. The British forces were well supplied with food grains and ammunitions. In their passage through Zale地-gam, they were attacked and obstructed every inch of the way by the Kuki Warriors. The British forces had no time to take their war victims. They often simply left the dead bodies behind without burying them. The British forces set fire to Changbol (Changpol), Gnarjang (Ngeljang) and Pantha (Panta) villages. They then proceeded towards Rekchu Hill (Lonpinu gamvetna), a mountaintop where they camped. The mountain Rekchu is about 1,750 meters above sea level. While the British were resting there, the Kuki Warriors attacked in the middle of the night. Heavy fighting took place throughout the night. It was only at dawn that the shooting stopped. From there, the British forces were to take a road through steep hills, but that did not seem bother them anymore. They had been fighting the Kukis long enough and gained some experience of hill walking.
Following a skirmish Capt. Coote and his column set out towards their destination. They had to pass through a steep road on the Rekchu hill where the Kuki Warriors had already set various traps. When the British forces arrived at the spot, they were fired with pumpi and guns. The songkhai thang were also released on them. The Kuki guard manning the cannon had triggered it a little earlier, which caused it to miss the main target. A number of the British forces were injured. Several of the enemy sepoys were shot dead and a few were killed by the songkhai thang set for them. The last Kuki village that Capt. Coote and his men burnt down after a long fight was Pantha (Panta) village. From Pantha village to their next destination Pallel also they had to fight the Kuki Warriors all the way. They could not reach Pallel as planned. In spite of it being only a day痴 journey, it took them four days to reach Pallel. From Pallel, they passed through the Manipur valley and finally arrived at Imphal, their headquarters. Having been through sharp thorns and thick grass, it is said that when they arrived at Imphal, their clothes were badly torn. However, they were greatly praised afterwards for having to fight and overcome the Kukis. Maj. Gen. D. K. Palit (1984, p.73), records:

The defence of Rekchu hill was evidently intended to be a big affair, the enemy having prepared a line of breastworks and shelter pits commanding the track up which the column was toiling. However, they had not noticed the flankers and opened fire too soon. The flankers were also in ignorance of the presence of an enemy until the shooting started; and each little party found itself on the right and left of the Kukis. The latter, on seeing their flanks turned, bolted down the far side of the hill after the first brief interchange of shots. From Pantha (Panta), the last rebel village punished in this area, the column left the hills and descended into the Manipur valley at Pallel, whence two marches brought it-now a ragged and, in many cases, a bootless crowd-to Imphal, after an extremely hard five-week operation. However their experience has vastly improved the training, efficiency and morale of all ranks.

5. British India and British Burma Fight against the Kukis

When Capt. Coote and his Column arrived barefooted at Imphal from the Southeastern Sector; they needed quite a long rest at their Headquarters. They believed that the war with the Kukis in different parts of Zale地-gam might have already been subdued. But in the Northwestern part of Zale地-gam, the war had become worse and was spreading like rapidly. The Zalen-gam Kuki Warriors had already cut-off the telegraphic lines. Government rest houses and Police Stations were burnt down. The British and the other residents of the adjoining hills and Manipur valley were panic-stricken. The Kuki Warriors attacked and burnt down the villages that sided with the British forces, sparing none. The battle against the Kukis of Zale地-gam coincided with World War 1. Most of the Sepoys were sent to fight the war in Europe. They badly needed more sepoys for the war against the Kukis. The British forces stationed in Lushai hills, Assam and from Burma were called in to fight against the Kukis.
Maj. Cloete and his column, which were entrusted with the mission to clear the Kuki Warriors occupying Imphal-Kohima-Silchar road, were obstructed on their way by attacks from the Kuki Warriors. As a result, they could not advance further towards Imphal. It was about forty Kilometres to Imphal, and news of their injuries and deaths were reported at the headquarters. Maj. Cloete and his Sepoys were to reach Imphal and proceed towards Mapithel area to fight the Kuki Warriors there as well. As the war progressed, the Kuki Warriors defending Zale地-gam became emboldened. The British forces had already suffered heavy casualties. More reinforcements were to arrive from Kohima and Sadia. Furthermore, in order to fight the Kuki Warriors in Chassad, the Deputy Inspector General had to rely on the help of the Burma Military Police. The Chassad Area covers the present-day Ukhrul District of Manipur (in present day India) and the Chindwin Valley up to Homalin (in present day Burma). After the war, the British split Zale地-gam. A part of it was included in India, and the rest in Burma. During this period, the situation became worse in the Barak valley (Jampi and Laijang Area). The Deputy Inspector General sent an urgent message and dispatched one hundred fifty personnel of the British 3rd Assam Rifles from Kohima, under the command of Lt. Sanderson. The British 3rd Assam Rifles under the leadership of Lt. Sanderson headed towards Dulen village, the heart of the Kuki war against the British. The Kuki warriors at Dulen had anticipated the British Force. Fighting broke out. The British force being better armed, eventually were no match for the Kukis armed with flintlocks. The Kuki Warriors moved away from the fort for the safety of the women and children. After they left, Lt. Anderson and his warriors burnt the village. The Kuki Warriors leaving Dulen village went towards the Northeast and cut off the Imphal-Kohima Road. This caused a major crisis for the British Government. In order to clear this road, reinforcement was sent, both from Imphal and Kohima. After a long struggle, the British managed to regain control of the Kohima-Imphal Road. To prevent future Kuki capture of the road, the British Government set up two new Warriors posts at Kangpokpi and Karon (Karong). The Kuki Christians and western missionaries in the area extended help to the British.

6. The Burma Sector

The Burma Sector covered the present Sagaing division up to the Chin Hills. The British commanders in this sector were Capt. Falkland and Capt. Montifore, from the 1st and 3rd Assam Rifles. They had fifty Sepoys each under their command. In this sector there was also other high-ranking officer, namely Col. Abby, Maj. Burma and Mr. Wright, superintendent of Chin Hills. A contingent under the command of Maj. Hackett from Homalin also arrived at Sayapoh (Saihaphoh). Maj. Hackett had to fight his way through Homalin. The villages he passed through, such as Leivomjang, Mengdong, Khomunnom, Thamanti, Sopakai, Phoilen, Joljam and Khotuh were all well fortified. Maj. Hackett痴 men who were very well equipped and in good number, were met with stiff opposition from the Kuki Warriors. Maj. Hackett faced the most difficult battle at Dansagu (Chanchaku), and was unable to reach Sayopoh (Saihaphoh) in time to join the other British contingents.
The Kukis in this region vowed to defend Zale地-gam. This was in accordance with the resolution adopted at the Phailengjang or North Chassad meeting. At that meeting, the Kukis delineated responsibilities and encouraged one another. Following the resolution, the orders of Pu Chengjapao to defend Zale地-gam were issued to the Kuki chiefs of the region. To mark the occasion, a mithun was killed and the customary Sajam were distributed to all the great Chiefs and petty Chiefs in the region. In preparation for the war, the symbolic Thingkho-le-Malchapom was sent to the surrounding villages.
The significant Kuki Chiefs from Phailengjang or North Chassad present at the meeting are:
1. Pu Kamjahen Haokip, Chief of Phailengjang
2. Pu Jalhun Haokip, Chief of Molnom
3. Pu Haokhopao Kipgen, Chief of Molvailup
4. Pu Vumngul Kipgen, Chief of Tujang
5. Pu Letjahao Chongloi, Chief of Khomunnom
6. Pu Tongkholun Haokip, acting Chief of Phailengjang

The war of Zale地-gam reached its peak in this tropical region in mid April. It is the time of year when the heat is strong and dry. The rains are still a few months away. Such climate was not favourable to the British officers. At this point, the Kukis made fresh preparations to continue the war, while the British returned to their respective headquarters to recuperate. Capt. Coote and his Sepoys sailed down the river Chindwin up to Kendat (Kentat). A battle took place in the Kabaw valley and the Jangmol Hills at Molkengkai against between the Zale地-gam warriors and the British Sepoys. From Tamu Capt. Coote and his men headed towards the Imphal Headquarter. Pitched battles were also fought at, Naugkatek, Nang- Khauh-Khauh, Sabozisin, Khampet, Tingkaza (Tuisa), Canan, Natjang, Tuivang, Tuidumjang, Khomunnom, Jangouphai, Haipijang, Changkap and Tuikhal. A number of Sepoys were killed in these battles. Most of the Kuki villages were burnt down. The Kukis were not as well equipped as the enemy and so they had to leave and hide in the deep jungles of the Jangmol hills. As told by our forefathers, in the deep jungles of Jangmol the Kukis prepared safe hiding places for their women and children with sufficient food reserves. Capt. Coote and his troop reached Tammu exhausted. From Tammu, they headed towards Imphal Headquarter. By the time they reached Imphal, it was already the middle of May. An episode that occurred during this period worth mentioning:                                                            The Kukis surrounded Haka village, one of the major camps of the British forces. This incident happened in early December 1917. Capt. Falkland and Capt. Montifiore, with the 1st and 3rd Assam Rifles went to rescue Haka from the hands of the Kukis. Enroute, they passed through the Lushai Hills. Fifteen days later, they arrived at Haka. Before arriving at Haka, they received information that Haka village has been liberated by the Kukis. The British Burma Military Police became aware of the situation at Haka through a SOS message. The Burma Military Police from Rangoon, the capital of Burma arrived at Haka in great numbers. When the Kukis went to block the Burma Military Police force as they were approaching Falam. However, the approaching enemy were much greater in number and so the Kukis had no choice but to retreat. In the skirmishes that followed, a number of the Sepoys along with members of the Burmese Military Police were killed and injured. The British forces continued towards Haka but were faced with another Kuki opposition - they were suddenly attacked at close range with pumpi. They were also victims of songkhai thang. A number of them were killed again. The Kuki warriors did not suffer many casualties as they always attacked from their hidden posts. After two consecutive stiff resistances the Kuki warriors could not repulse the Sepoys from Haka. However, it is to be noted that Haka remained impregnable by the British force for a long time. Capt. Falkland already received the news that Haka had been regained from the Kuki Warriors while he was still on his way. Capt. Falkland and his troop were sent to fight in southern Chin Hills, alongside the Burmese Military Police under the leadership of Capt. Abby. Mr. Wright, superintendent of Chin Hills was also sent along with them. They were to fight in Yokwa and Kappiaton areas in southern Chin Hills. In the battle that followed between the Kukis and Falkland痴 Sepoys, Mr. Wright and another British civilian Mr. Alexander were injured. A number of Sepoys were also killed and many more were injured. After a few days Montifiore and his column arrived at Haka. They were sent to subjugate the Kukis in Bawkwa area near Tao Peak. Towards the end of February 1918, the Burmese Military Police and Assam Rifles were grouped together and sent out towards Lenakot (Denlakot) along the border of the present day State of Manipur. This column was sent as reinforcement to Capt. Steadman and his troop at Lenakot, who were on the verge of being squashed by the Zale地-gam warriors. Capt. Steadman痴 Sepoys comprised of those from India as well as Burma.
Apparently, this had made him more popular than his colleagues in other battlefronts. Capt. Steadman and his men inflicted innumerable hardships on the Kukis. The Kuki elders say that was done in revenge for the heavy casualties the British suffered earlier. Capt. Steadman and his Sepoys fought with the Kuki warriors at various places, but the most fierce and hard to forget of them all was the one at Haka. This battle in Haka occurred at the Longya fort. The Longya fort was very well built and guarded round the clock by the Kuki warriors under the command of Pu Ngulbul, Chief of Longja. There were a number of pumpi installed in the fort. Pu Ngulbul was a fearless man and was most patriotic. Capt. Montifiore and his men had heard about the glories of Pu Ngulbul and were eager to see him. The Sepoys moved out to attack Pu Ngulbul and his men who fought hard to defend Zale地-gam, using each and every available gun and other weapons they had. The women also participated in the battle. They used whatever weapon they could lay their hands on. The old and the aged also helped by repeatedly loading the muzzleloaders. However, after a long battle, the Sepoys being greater in number and better armed, captured the fort. When it had become clear that the fort could not be held any longer, Pu Ngulbul ordered some of the men to evacuate the women, children and the aged from the fort. During the evacuation, Pu Ngulbul and a few of the Kuki warriors continued fighting. When they were running out of ammunition, Pu Ngulbul ordered his men to get away from the fort. The sepoys began to break into the fort. While trying to scale the fort in order to escape from the British, Pu Ngulbul who was carrying his little child in his arms was shot dead. 
Shakespeare has recorded the above incident (1929, p.228):  He successfully attacked and destroyed the big stockades near Haika, incurring a few casualties and causing much loss to the Kukis, amongst whom was the redoubtable Ngulbul, Chief of Longya, shot while trying to escape from the stockade with his little son in his arms.                        
                                                                  There are other versions of the way Pu Ngulbul Haokip was killed. Pu Ngamkholet Haokip痴, (President of Mangvung Chandel District, Manipur) version recorded on 18 April 1997, is as follows:
After the fall of Longya fort, when the people inside the fort had run away, the British Force did not pay attention to any of them excepting Pu Ngulbul. He was running along with his daughter, and being a little girl she could not run fast. For the love of his daughter, he did not leave her behind, even though he knew the British were specifically after him. When they passed through the thick forest on the bank of the river Tujang, his daughter was too exhausted and could run no farther. The sepoys caught her and made her call for her father. The girl called, crying out that the British has caught her. Her father heard the cry of the girl that echoed through the forest. Pu Ngulbul, deeply moved ran towards his daughter. It was then that the British sepoys intercepted and killed him by cutting off his head. Pu Ngulbul痴 daughter was made to carry her father痴 head in a longkai (cane basket) up to Hengjang village. At Hengjang, the British sepoys were made to dump the head of Pu Ngulbul to feed the crabs. When the wife of the Chief of Hengjang came to know of this incident she composed an elegy:

Kol Ko値 phungchong lim noija,
Mangvan choi sajang nalap;
Teddim Pumjamang.

Pu Semyil Haokip, Chief of Khongbung also heard about the death of Pu Ngulbul Haokip, Chief of Longya, and deeply moved he also composed an elegy:

Bullen mang cheng kiling un,
Laija toimang long louna,
Simmang saijute.

7. The Upper Burma Sector

Capt. Prior and Lt. Rees commanded the British forces in the upper Burma sector (in present day Somra track, Burma). The Kuki Chiefs, in response to the call of their Supremo, Pu Chengjapao Doungel to defend Zale地-gam, were to commune and deliberate upon war efforts. Sajam was performed at Joujang Khopi (Joujang Township).  The prominent chiefs who attended the summit at Joujang Khopi are:
1. Pu Tongkholun Haokip, Chief of Joujang
2. Pu Jalhun Haokip, Chief of Molvom
3. Pu Letkhothang Haokip, Chief of Khotuh
4. Pu Semkholun Haokip, Chief of Phaisat
5. Pu Sonkhopao, Chief of Twisom
6. Pu Tukih Lupheng, Chief of Tonglhang
7. Pu Laso Haokip, Chief of Selmei

The Kuki Chiefs respected the word of their Bulpipa (the senior most in clan lineage) Pu Chengjapao Doungel, Chief of Aisan. Pu Tonghao, the host Chief gave a feast to his fellow Chiefs by killing a mithun. In a most sacred ceremony they took part in the eating of the liver and heart of the mithun, symbolising their unity, solidarity and commitment. Sajam was circulated to all the chiefs of the region. The speedy circulation of Thingkho le Malcha as a declaration of war followed this. Any Chief who refused to comply with the order of Pu Chengjapao would have his chieftainship forfeited and his village burnt.
On the basis of the pledge taken at the Joujang Summit, the war preparations began. Each and every village was heavily stockaded. The Kukis being gifted in the art of warfare were adept in manufacturing their own guns and gunpowder. Guns, bullets, gunpowder, foodstuffs and all articles of necessity were stocked in abundance. Outside the enclave of the village, songkhai Thang (stone-traps) and Songpel thang (catapulting stone trap) were laid at many strategic points, for example, in narrow gorges or at the edge of a cliff. Ngahmun (camps) were also set up at safe places to protect the women, children and the aged from the hazards of war.
The sons of Zale地-gam痴 upper Burma had completed their war preparations. The British forces under Capt. Prior and Lt. Rees were also set for the war. They were bent on subduing the Kukis. In the course of the war the British forces suffered heavy casualty and fell easy prey to the stone-traps. On many occasions, before a single shot was fired many of the British sepoys had already sustained broken limbs from the traps. The British sepoys were panic-stricken. It was only the superior arms and sheer numbers that later turned the tide of the battle in favour of the British. During the monsoons in August 1918, Gen. Keary and Col. Macquoid returned to Shillong where they adopted certain changes in their war policy. They went to Burma to inspect the bases of the forces stationed there. Lt. Sanderson was instructed to march southward, down to the river Nantalit or Tizu. He was to set up three bases to the north of the rivers Keramy, Niemi and Matung. These camps were intended to check the northward movement of the men of the Haokip clan Chief Pache from Chassad Area of the Somra tract. Beginning in April, the constructions of these base camps were completed the following year in June 1919, and were fully manned by the British sepoys.
In August 1918, when Subedar Hangspal Limbu was in command of the Niemi camp, the Chassad Kukis were in a state of northward movement being pushed from Northeastern Zale地-gam. The Subedar, having received information of this from his informers, came on the heels of the Kukis. In a series of encounters that followed, the British forces lost many of their men at the hands of the valiant Kukis.  Pu Laso Haokip killed five British sepoys. He is well remembered for his indomitable ability to fight and to go without meals for days on end. The fateful day for the Kukis however came while the fight was on at Zoro Choro. As Pu Laso was escorting the women, children and the aged across the river Tizu or Nantalit, they were taken by surprise by the party of Subedar Hangspal who was helped by the Pochury Nagas. They mercilessly butchered forty Kuki people. This is accounted by Col. Shakespeare (1929, p.232) as follows:

的n August Subedar Hangspal Limbu, commanding the post at Niemi, on receiving information from 素riendlies that a larger body of Chassad Kukis was approaching to cross the river, met them and in a sharp fight killed thirty of them and drove the rest back into Somra. This incident was most gruesome. Though Shakespeare gives the impression that the people killed were fighting men, in actual fact the butchered were helpless women, children and old people crossing the bridge. This incident is alive in the memory of many Kuki people. The river Tizu turned red from the blood of the people killed. Heaps of the slain bodies lay scattered across the riverbanks and were a gruesome sight.                                                             
Lundei, grandmother of late Pu Paulun Haokip, Chief of Akhen, who survived the massacre, recounts:
When the war finally broke out and cries of woe rent the air, I, being blind and feeble, was left behind to take shelter beneath a huge rock by the side of the riverbank. There, I remained silently with my dog, listening to the commotion created by the people crossing the bridge. Then came the cries of pain and sorrow. I heard Chungkhojang痴 mother abusing the men twice, before she was no longer to be heard. She was a woman of wealth, adorning herself with necklaces of beads. I heard the clear crunching sound of the many beads of her necklaces, caused by the repeated hacking to her neck. Her head must have been lopped off when the necklaces shielding her neck gave in.

Such excesses of the British forces, in utter violation of war ethics, not sparing children, women and old people, but using them as soft targets during the First Kuki War of Independent, was just beginning. After this sad incident, Pu Laso Haokip led his surviving people into safety near Molheh camp (presently in the Akhen and Kanjang area of Nagaland, on the Burmese border), where they remained in solitude and tried to console themselves in their time of sorrow. The place has since been known as 銑aso camp.

8. The Northeastern Sector (Near Aisan, adjacent to Ukhrul)

The territory under the reign of the Aisan Chief Pu Chengjapao Doungel, King of the Kukis in Zale地-gam includes the adjoining areas of Chassad. It is now under Chingai sub-Division of Ukhrul District. Pu Chengjapao痴 area also includes the region connecting up to Kanjang, Akhen and Meluri areas, in present day Nagaland. In this sector, the leader of the British forces was Lt. Mawson. The Villages that were under the reign of Pu Chengjapao in the present day Chingai sub-division of Ukhrul District are: Toljang, Haijang, Chahjang, Vahong, Kharasom-Kuki, Kolhui, Paosei, etc.; in the present Meluri area of Nagaland: Aisan, Mollen, Thenjang, Molnom, Haijang, Nungphung-Kanjang, Saisopakho, Khomunnom, Akhen, Songvom, Daithang, etc. The Kuki-British war was fought in most of these villages. The Pochury tribe living in these areas wanted to take advantage of the presence of the British to throw off the Kuki yoke. Therefore, some of them went to the British officer in Kohima and complained against the Kukis. The British dispatched a column of British sepoys under the Col. G.S. Burrow, to attack the Kukis. The British forces terrorised the Kukis and rounded them up. This took place in the Chassad Hills. In the Vahong region, the British sent Col. G.S. Burrow with a platoon to destroy the Kuki camp and to capture Pu Chengjapao. While col. Burrow and his men marched through a gorge, he was ambushed and killed by the Kukis under Pu Haolhun Lotjem. This incident occurred at the treacherous and steep pass of Khomanglhang. The road was at the very edge of the steep hill. Pu Haolun Lotjem shot the leader at close range. The British were after Pu Chengiapao, but as their leader was killed, they retreated. Pu Haolun composed a ballad for to commemorate the occasion:

Van theisen le sen angkol thongnu seng,
Namin lunglel laija selum sung nge;
Nathing noija doungal bonang tohing,
Lhangvai mangpa lhang nonang ka selle.
Gam sihtwi bang kale lonsah ngonne,
Kangthal panin moltina jan cham ming;
Pupa gamlei gujang ka chu na hi.

Free translation

Leaving behind my beloved wife and children at home,
I now stand holding my shield at a place where none else dare.
Walking beneath the overhanging vines in the jungle,

I came face to face with the white man (Col. G.S. Burrow).
I knocked him dead, and he fell down to the ground.
When I knocked the Englishman he fell like a log,
I felt as if the current of the river began to flow in the opposite direction.
Taking my weapons, I have passed many nights in many a mountain.               I do these to recover the domain of my forefathers.

The Kukis under the leadership of Pu Chengjapao fought the British forces at Aisan, Kharasom Kuki, Toljang, Haijang, Kolhui, and Vahong. The greatest battle took place at the Aisan village. Aisan was well fortified and inside there were a good number of guns and ammunitions stored. The Kuki Warriors was in great numbers too. They were thoroughly prepared for the war. The British could not break into Aisan in one attempt. In the second attempt, many of them died. On the third attempt, Pu Chengjapao痴 warriors ran short of ammunitions, and had to give up the fort. The fort was burnt to ashes.
Pu Chengiapao received Changseo (rice- tax), Samal (the thigh of an animal killed for an occasion or on a hunt) and many other tributes from the villagers. This made a number of our people envious and disgruntled. Amongst those dissatisfied with the Kuki king were Pasut Singson and Mr. L. Pochury of Nagaland. When the war with the British started, these two leaders started working hard to end the rule of the Aisan Chief. With the help of Subedar Hangspal, they started collecting the guns around Aisan. Of the collected guns, seven hundred belonged to Aisan. According to Pu Jamkhochung Kuki, aged 97, the collected guns were burnt under a mango tree, below Meluri village. Pu Jamkhochung added, 塗ad the British force not collected seven hundred guns from Aisan, even on the third attempt, they would not have succeeded in breaking into the Aisan fort.  The British forces led by subedar Hangspal Limbu destroyed the Kuki villages in Kanjang and Akhan area (in present day Nagaland). After the war, the British rewarded Letkholal Singson and Sutmang Singson alias Pasut as Mujdars, in these parts of the Kuki areas. Letkholal Singson and Pasut Singson were given the posts of Mujdars for two reasons: a) because the former had gone to assist the British Force in France and b) for help extended to the British as and when it was required. With the approval of the British, Haijang Village was changed into Kanjang, and the people began to settle there.

9. The Southern Sector (present-day Churachandpur District).

This sector covered the whole of the present Churachandpur district of Manipur. Capt. Goodal, Capt. Fox, Lt. Carter and Lt. Hooper commanded the British forces in this sector. At the counsel of the Kuki Pipa (Head of the lineage) Chief of Aisan, Pu Chengjapao all the Chiefs within the sector assembled on March 1917, at Ukha. On this very day, as ill luck would have it, a party of Zou and Haokip youths in search of a mithun accidentally encountered the British. There was a skirmish between the two parties. The meeting was therefore adjourned. Another meeting was held at Henglep. By May 1917, all the chiefs that gathered at Ukha met at Henglep. Among the notable Haosalen (great chiefs) were:
1. Pu Pakang Haokip, Chief of Henglep
2. Pu Semchung Haokip, Chief of Ukha
3. Pu Semkholun Haokip, Chief of Loikhai
4. Pu Goulun Manlun, Chief of Hengtam
5. Pu Langjaching Manlun, Chief of Behiang
6. Pu Tongjalet Haokip, Chief of Teiseng
7. Pu Semthong Haokip, Chief of Songpi
8. Pu Vungjalen Hangsing, Chief of Mongken

The Semang le Pachong (the Chiefs Council of Ministers) accompanied their respective chiefs at the summit. Some of the Chiefs were not convinced concerning the decision for war. They did not voice their disapproval at the summit, but it later became apparent, as the war progressed. As in Joujang village, Pu Pakang Haokip, Chief of Henglep, feasted his fellow chiefs on mithun meat. Sajam was performed and accompanied by Thingkho le Malchapom, to proclaim to the Chiefs of the war and to appeal to their undivided loyalty to fight against the British. In their bid to defend their motherland Zale地-gam, the Kukis in this region, led by their Chiefs swooped down to Imphal valley and made the offensive. They attacked the police Thana (station), damaged the telegraph lines, destroyed government property and killed several of the telegraphic office personnel. Soon after these acts were committed, they retreated to the hills and prepared for war. When news of the Kuki offensive reached the authorities, the Deputy Inspector General (DIG) summoned Capt. Goodall, Lt. Carter and Subedar Bhavani Singh to march from Aizawl. This party arrived at Bongmol village by March 1918. In Singngat area the Zous and Haokips together fought against the British. This has been recorded by Pu Jamthang Haokip (1984) in Manipur a Gospel le Kuki ho Thusim (An account of the Gospel and the Kukis in Manipur):

The Zou Kukis also joined the Haokip Kukis. Two of the Zou men died in the war. In this war against the British their clan Chief Pu Langzaching, Chief of Behiang, led the Zous. They stockaded their villages of Hengtam and Lhite. In an exchange of fire that lasted for a whole day in these two fortified villages, Sokvel a Zou lost his life on the banks of the river Goon (Imphal River). Another man Sokam Mate, from Khajang village also died in this encounter. It is believed that the British must have also been killed. But since they fled the field, not leaving anything behind, it is difficult to say. One thing however is clear: the Zou Kuki is gallant and patriotic. They fought fighting for the love and independence of their motherland. Later, when the British Government imprisoned the Haosalens (notable chiefs) and leaders of the war, the Zou Chiefs had not been jailed. It was reported that this was the case because of their declaration that they were only sepoys of Tintong Haokip.

Pu Letkhai Haokip, aged about one hundred, witnessed this battle. He narrates:

The fight against the British was most intense and fierce. The united resistance put forth by the Zous and Haokips will remain a memorable event in history. On hearing the advance of the British forces from Aizawl and their advance towards Beheing, Pu Khupkhotintong (Tintong) Haokip, Commander in Chief, led a band of one hundred and twenty Kuki warriors to Hengtam. These men came from the western sector of the Laijang and Jampi areas. All along his way to Hengtam, Pu Tintong saw how each section of the Kuki warriors stood their ground against the British forces at Henglep, Ukha and the Loikhai areas. Several days later, the British forces under Capt. Goodal, Lt. Carter and Subedar Bhavani Singh stormed the heavily stockaded fort of Hengtam. The Kuki warriors did not lose time in firing their pumpi at the storming party. Smoke from the pumpi fired enveloped the sky in darkness. The British forces resorted to their seven-pounder mountain gun and fired indiscriminately on the Kukis. The heavy exchange of the gunfire resembled a crackling bamboo forest on fire. It was a pitched battle and a long-drawn, which eventually turned in favour of the British forces. This was only due to the superior arms and ammunitions the British possessed.

Dr. T.S. Gangte in the Moreh symposium held on May 3, 1997, spoke of the bravery of a young Zou Kuki youth in this fierce battle. The young Zou was said to have braved the bullets of the British as if they were powerless against him. He was then hit on the head by shrapnel from the seven-pounder mountain gun. In this battle alone the British forces were said to have wasted more than 2,000 bullets. Their arms and ammunitions were enough to put an entire region down. On the other hand, the Kuki warriors, no matter how brave and daring had to evacuate the fortress when their supply of ammunitions started running short. After the fortress was deserted, the British forces overran the village and burnt it down. However, the British forces were not left unopposed. Under the leadership of Henglep and Loikhai, a further mobilisation of men was carried out from the adjoining areas of Hengtam. At one point between Singngat and Sumchinvum, the British forces were taken by surprise. They were said to have lost many sepoys, including officers, in the ambush. There was no casualty on the Kuki side in the Southern Sector. Henglep and Ukha were the two strongest bases of the Kukis. Their locations were extremely strategic and the forts strong. Two abortive attempts to capture the forts were made by the British forces. Having failed to break in on two previous occasions, they made elaborate preparation for the next attempt. As Ukha was on the way to Henglep, as well as to a few other villages in the southern sector, it became the first major target for the British. Anticipating attack, the men from Hengtam and Ngaljang marched towards Ukha, as reinforcements. A war veteran Pu Ngamkhothang Lhungdim led the Kukis. A strong contingent of the British forces under Capt. Goodall, Lt. Carter and Lt. Hooper were soon on their way to attack Ukha. The Kuki warriors from Henglep, Leimatak and Loikhai also came to the aid of Ukha. A fierce battle ensued between the Kukis and the British that lasted for twelve long hours. Against the superior arms of the British forces, the Kukis put up a brave fight in defence of Zale地-gam. They successfully kept the British at bay for as long as their supply would last. Here too as in other places of battle, when supplies began to run out the Kukis evacuated the village and retired to the jungles. This particular attack witnessed the participation of the Meiteis with the British forces, despite the fact that the Kingdom of Manipur was taken forcibly by the British in 1891. In the wars to protect Manipur, three Haokip Kuki men lost their lives helping the Meiteis. Dr. T.S. Gangte at the 閃oreh Symposium highlighted these facts 3 May 1987:

What became of Loikhai in the hands of the British enraged Semkholun Haokip Loikhai. He led a band of men and pounced upon the advancing British sepoys in the vicinity of Teijang village in the Thingpilen slopes. Panic stricken, the sepoys fired aimlessly in all directions. They lost five Sepoys in the hands of the Kukis and thereupon abandoned their march to the hills of Zale地-gam and retreated. Besides the sepoys, the Kukis killed two men of the Postal Department, who were secretly working as informers to the invaders.                      
                                                                     The British forces under the same command set out once again from the valley of Manipur towards Henglep and Leimatak areas of Zale地-gam. Before arriving at Henglep, the British set up camp by the banks of the river Leimatak, where the plan of attack was drawn up. Before the British could execute their plan, the Kuki warriors who were under the leadership of the Chief of Henglep attacked them. Many of the sepoys fled the camp to save their lives. The bullets of Pu Ngulkhodong Haokip of Songphu, in the Lushai (present day Mizo) hills hit one of them, a white soldier. After firing several rounds, the Kukis retreated to their base. The surviving British sepoys camped at another place close by. Before they could re-group, they busied themselves chalking out future plans. The news of the approaching forces had been known in the Henglep area. The Kuki warriors stood in position awaiting the attack. The British had to pass through Khengjang, which was a steep climb from the river Leimatak. When they arrived at the village, song khai (stone-traps) were released. Ten British sepoys went rolling down the Cliffside. Many of them suffered broken limbs. Undaunted by these initial reverses, the advancing British sepoys continued to climb the steep hills that led to Khengjang stockade. After covering about a Kilometre or so, the British were on top of the mountain from which they saw the Khengjang stockade, still at a distance. At this point, three of them were shot dead by pumpi. When the British forces gained ground, the Kuki warriors manning the stockade retreated to Henglep. The British sepoys were too exhausted to pursue them and halted at the overtaken fort. Henglep was still a long journey away. The following day at the break of dawn, the British forces set out for Henglep, leaving Khengjang in flames. After a six-mile journey, they reached the banks of Peko値 stream, nearby which was a village called Thangsie. The chief of the village knowing well before hand that the sepoys would cross this path had organised an ambush. Two sepoys were killed and five fatally wounded. However, despite their valiant efforts, the small band could not check the British sepoys for too long. The Kukis later reorganised themselves without losing time. More men were summoned from the neighbouring areas; then they retreated into the walls of Thangsi, where they waited to pounce upon the advancing British sepoys. Women, children and the aged were moved to safety after which a fierce encounter followed. The British sepoys right away resorted to their mountain gun to counter the Kuki pumpi. Some of the Thangsi folk today recount the thunderous echo of these guns through the deep ravines of the river Leimatak. Both sides suffered heavy loss of life and sustained serious casualties. The British forces having finally gained the upper hand, the Kukis evacuated the stockade and retreated to Henglep. The village was later reduced to ashes by the victors. Thirty domestic mithuns were said to have perished in the fire. Henglep, the main base of the Kuki warriors, was not far from Thangsi village. The fierceness of the resistance put up by the small band of Kukis at Thangsi and the difficulty with which they overcame the resistance began to induce doubt and fear among the British Sepoys. The prospects of their success in storming the fortress of Henglep were very little. Besides, their strength had been put to a severe test and they were greatly reduced in number in the previous two encounters. With many in their ranks wounded, they were in no position to advance further. They halted for a number of days during which their porters transported the wounded back to the valley. They then reorganised themselves and set out for Henglep, which by now was within a day痴 journey. They had earlier failed to take Henglep and thus, their preparation this time was massive and formidable.
In numerous strategic and hidden spots, groups of Kuki warriors were positioned to ambush the advancing Sepoys. By setting off and triggering song khai, raining arrows or by firing pumpi, the Kuki warriors managed to kill many of the sepoys. Thus harassed and checked all along the way, the British sepoys could not reach Henglep as planned and arrived only after three days.
On arrival, the British sepoys under Capt. Goodall, Lieutenants Carter and Hooper, were welcomed with pumpi fire from the strong fort of Henglep; then bullets followed which scattered them in all directions They suffered heavy casualties even from this initial shift. Their rifles failing to penetrate the huge blocks of timber used in the fortifications, they resorted to their mountain guns. Pu Pakang Haokip at the other end exhorted his men to fight to the last drop of their blood, in defence of their motherland, Zale地-gam. It was a fierce battle and gunfire did not cease for a moment. After a long- drawn battle, the exhaustion of the Kuki ammunitions paved the way for British victory. Evacuating the camp, Pu Pakang Haokip led his warriors to safety. Infuriated with the heavy casualty, the British sepoys torched the camp. Many brave and strong Kuki warriors also lost their lives for Zale地-gam in this battle. The sepoys committed further excesses by killing the mithuns in the village. This was done because the pumpi (canons) were made from the mithun hides, rolled around bamboo barrels. After the fall of Henglep, the stockades of Gouthang, Songphu and Nabil fell in quick succession. These villages were also reduced to ashes. Meanwhile, in western Zale地-gam, the British forces under Lt. Hooper carted large supplies of provisions from Silchar to Imphal. This movement of supplies came to the knowledge of Pu Tintong, who organised a band of Kuki warriors and garrisoned Kaopum (Khopum) under his command to cut off the supplies. Pu Mangkhoson Haokip, Chief of Tingkai and Pu Heljason Haokip, Chief of Loibol joined hands with Pu Tintong. Heavy fighting followed. The Kukis having controlled these areas checked further movement of Lt. Hooper痴 sepoys. A rescue operation was planned under Lt. Waller and a band of fifty British sepoys were despatched from Imphal to relieve the party of Lt. Hooper. After a few days detention by the Kukis, they cut their way through to the Imphal headquarter. The late Ex-MLA, Ngulkhohao Lhungdim, in 践istory of Manipur p.136, wrote:

However, some among the Kuki Chiefs, for instance Tongjalet, Chief of Teiseng, despite his pledge were won over by the British with offer of a gun, a red shawl and the rank of a Havildar. They became informers to the British, leaking secret information about the movement of the Kukis. Semthong Haokip of Songpi and Tintong Thouthang were also such other Chiefs. The former was supposed to have provided vital information to the British. His decision was however prompted by his reluctance to undergo the trials of war rather than any sympathy for the British. He also enlisted several men to serve as labour in the French front during the Great War.

Pu Ngulkhohao continues (p.153):
Tendering an apology to the British for remaining hostile, Tongjalet even chose to become a Havildar at least during wartime, and a gun and a red blanket was later offered for his services to the British. The British with his connivance burned seventy houses of Loikhai village. Thus the Kuki Chiefs sang:

Lamtol changsel mei nasat
Phungmin nalo tong lam ah,
Gollang naluppin, Teiseng Tongjalet.

Free translation
Oh! Teiseng Tongjalet,
Though you had cut the tail of the mithun
And sworn in the name of your ancestors,
You have slept without accomplishing your task.

Under the guidance of Tongjalet and Tongkhothong the British led Assam Rifles marched via Monglham and Mongken, to subdue the village of Loikhai. The Kukis however secretly sent a young man by the name of Pu Lun-ot to mislead the Assam Rifles. On approaching the village, Pu Lun-ot signalled their arrival. The Kukis killed twenty sepoys and the rest of the sepoys retreated. Pu Lun-ot and Pu Doujang were hailed as heroes of the village. But soon after this incident, more British sepoys came and seized Loikhai. Despite the destruction of all major bases in the Southern sector or Henglep areas, the leaders of the Kukis did not lose heart. Instead they gave fresh orders to their men to fortify their respective villages. They also exhorted their men to make fresh preparations, some to making gunpowder and others to manufacture ammunition.

10. The Western Sector (Laijang and Jampi)

In 践istory of Manipur, p.121, late ex-MLA Pu Ngulkhohao Lhungdim wrote about the war in the western sector:

Places where fighting occurred: Sangnao, Loibol, Leimata, Khopum, Khimuching, Laijang, Zoupi, Dulen and Kanukin. The British as well as the Kukis lost many of their men fighting in this sector. In April 1918, Sepoys of one hundred fifty of the 3rd and 4th Assam Rifles advanced towards Manipur under Major Vickers and Lieut. Sanderson and reached till Henema village, a point which Major Coote failed to cover. On their journey back via Amiol they were ambushed and cut off at Buolkot. In the surprise attack, one British soldier was killed. Halting for three days in Amiol they continued their march, passing through Laijang. Here they found only three women and a man and took the man along to Tamenglong, where the Kabuis killed him. Thence, the British Sepoys moved towards Jampi. The Chief of Jampi despatched a troop of forty youths to thwart the advance of the British. Lengsei the Kuki hero killed three British sepoys. He was then injured and the British Commander wanted him captured alive. Lengsei bit the neck of the man who attempted his capture and as such the commander ordered him to be beheaded. The British carried his head away and the Kuki Sepoys recovered his remains and buried him at Taloulong.

Here, mention may be made of Pu Vumngul Kipgen, Chief of Tujang, who owing to his differences with the Chiefs, migrated towards the East in the Burmese territory. However, as the war extended to that part as well and he could not escape fighting. He put up a brave fight and was among those Chiefs jailed in Burma Taunggyi Jail for three years. Meanwhile, Pu Vumkholal Kipgen and Pu Mangkhong Sitlhou attempted to bring an understanding between the Kuki Chiefs and the British. But such attempts having failed, the Assam Rifles marched towards Taloulong. In a newly dug grave they discovered the body was of Pu Lengsei. They immediately burnt down Taloulong and over ran a stockade about five miles away. There was heavy exchange of fire that lasted for a period of twelve hours, in which four sepoys of the Assam Rifles lost their lives. There was however no casualties among the Kukis. The Assam Rifles next marched to Buning. The Chief of Buning, Pu Thangjakhai Kipgen offered to make peace with the British. He slaughtered a goat and offered wine. But as soon as the negotiations were over, in a breach of faith, the British sepoys opened fire and torched thirty houses in the village. They also harassed the children and women folk. From Buning the British Assam Rifles proceeded to Iting and halted a week. They made preparations to attack the nearby village of Kolkang. The way to Kolkang was uphill and very steep, and at a narrow strait songkhai thang had been set. The traps were released, instantly killing twenty sepoys. Some of the other sepoys fled the place. Anticipating the fall of the stockade, Pu Jakholet Haokip gave word to his men to lead the children and women to a place of safety. The Assam Rifles had again regrouped and were making a fresh offensive from another quarter. In this encounter, Pu Jakholet lost his life, fighting courageously for Zale地-gam. The British Sepoys next marched towards Sangnao. Pu Letkholal Singson and Pu Onkai Sitlhou volunteered themselves to defend the British invasion. But anticipating imminent defeat, the chief offered terms of peace to the British and the village was saved from destruction. But the Sangnao Chief was however fined a penalty of Rs.1, 100 a Kuki gong, five mithuns and six guns. The British occupation of Sangnao and the treacherous betrayal of its chief demoralised the Kuki Chiefs in the western areas. Thus when the British passed through Haipi, there was no longer any resistance offered to the British. Pu Ngulkhotinpao Kipgen of Haipi shot a British sepoy dead. He composed an ode to mark the incident:

Khat in vabang kamaove,
Twibang longte ngoibang kating-e;
Singcha lhah lamkailong honthing vumme.

Pu Letkholal Doungel relates an account of Pu Lengsei Doungel:
Pu Lengsei Doungel ventured out to fight the British from Khaochangbung village. The village folks honoured him with a shawl, killed a pig in his honour and set him off to face the challenge. In the land of Jampi, he sat and waited under the thickets of a Banyan tree. He ambushed the advancing British sepoys and killed a frontline soldier. Before he could launch a second attack, he was shot in the leg. Shifting himself to the nearby edge of the cliff, he was pursued. But before re-loading his gun, he was apprehended. The British beheaded him and his head was dressed in his turban, and his beads taken. He is one among those who sacrificed their lives for Zale地-gam, in the war against the British.

Until this time the two roads linking Manipur with the rest of the world - the Silchar- Imphal road and Kohima-Imphal cart road, were not proper highways. It was through these two roads that provisions including foodstuffs and equipment for the British forces were transported. These roads lay within the Western sector of Zale地-gam. Pu Khupkhotintong (Tintong) Haokip, and Pu Enjakhup Kholhou, sat together chalking out war plans. On one occasion, it dawned on them that control of these two lines would jeopardise and weaken the British force. To this end, all government rest houses were burnt down and all communications lines, including the Telegraph lines, were destroyed. Totally cut-off, the British forces were in complete disarray. All supplies from Silchar (the Silchar Convoy) were shut off, which paralysed the headquarters at Imphal. As this road was of immense strategic importance to continue the war, the British force made a great effort to regain control. In the attempt to regain control the British forces lost many sepoys. The Kuki warriors and the British was quite a match in this area as the battles proved to be inconclusive. When Pu Tintong of Laijang successfully fought the battle against the British, an ode was sung in his praise:

Amin kithang thang Tintong,
Veicha khoso mol tin a;
Hanjei soh vui kai

Free translation
The most famous Tintong!
Poems in your honour has echoed over the land
In the territory of your enemies

Tintong痴 reply:
Hanjei soh vui kaideh tang,
Phunggol batphu kalah nin
Thangvan dong nol ing

Free translation
Of course, my fame must echo everywhere,
Tales of my might touches the sky,
The day I avenged the death of my brethren.

At the Jampi meeting, Pu Onpilen, Chief of Joupi and Pu Onpilal made a proposal to set up Kul (a base) near Joupi. While Pu Tintong and Pu Enjakhup found the proposal agreeable, the other Chiefs present did not. Kul was made instead at Dulen. Pu Onpilen and Pu Onpilal were upset by this development and in order to ensure the survival of their people they collaborated with the British officer at Taning village. They represented Joupi, Santing, Boljang, Chalwa and Geljang. According to the agreement, the British who set out from Taning to fight the Kukis spared the area of Boljang and attacked the Dulen fort. There was heavy fighting and eventually Dulen was overtaken. To avenge their defeat at Dulen, the Kuki warriors planned to attack the British at Tamah (Tamei). They wanted to kill the British officer. As the officer stepped out of the Tamah camp, a Kuki warrior aimed at the forehead and fired his gun. Unfortunately, the shot missed the forehead and hit the officer on the ear instead.
Towards the end of such a long drawn battle, the continual flow of British sepoys could not be checked. The control for the Silchar-Imphal road once again passed into the hands of the British. On the other hand, the Kukis under Pu Enjakhup Kholhou, Deputy Commander-in-Chief gained control of the Imphal-Kohima cart road. They also burnt Government rest houses and cut-off telegraph lines. It amounted to another serious problem for the British. However, no matter how heavy the casualties caused by the Kukis on the British, towards the end they proved stronger. The British regained control of the Kohima-Imphal cart road. By May 1918, though most houses in the villages in the Western Sector (Jampi and Laijang Areas) had been torched, the Chiefs were never demoralised. They were committed to the cause. As the war to defend their land Zale地-gam began with the call of Pu Chengjapao Doungel, it was also for him to decide when the war was to end. Preparations were made afresh - rebuilding of stockades, making arms and ammunitions, to face British yet again.

11. The Events of Chalson Tengnoupal

Pu Chalson Baite established Chalson Tengnoupal in 1887. During the Kuki rising, 1917-1919, Pu Thangchung was the chief of Chalson was a great ruler. He was the son of Pu Chalson. At the time when the chiefs of Ayapurel area gave in to the British due to severe hardship, Chalson remained faithful to the cause of Zale地-gam and persevered in the war. As the war progressed, eventually the British overtook Chalson. Since Chalson did not submit to the British the village was burnt on the fourth day of resistance. The British also shot fifty of the mithuns. The British left the meat of the mithuns to rot. However, they cut off the tongues and took them along.
The village of Chalson not only endured to the bitter end of the war. They also contributed by way of manufacturing weaponry items such as two Pumpi and several kilograms of gunpowder. They also prepared thoroughly in terms of allocating responsibilities to those who were to go and fight and those who were to guard the village. Pu Thangchung痴 younger brother Pu Thanglun Baite was made one of the war leaders. He was also a good marksman like his older brother. At the river Chakpi, the Kuki warriors positioned themselves to fight the British sepoys. Pu Thanglun Baite was selected to be the 壮niper. He was to be the one to signal when to open fire on the advancing British sepoys. However, this plan was abortive because some of the young Kuki warriors by some freak incident opened fire before receiving the signal as planned. Therefore, the Britsh were spared from being completely annihilated. Among the many other places of war that Pu Thanglun Baite took part in, the incident at Songpel is worth mentioning. At Songpel Pu Thangchung and the Kuki warriors fought a pitched battle, which lasted a long time. They killed many Britsh sepoys.

12. The Northern Sector (Athibung, in present day Nagaland)

Areas under this sector were in the Naga Hills of present day Nagaland State. Lt. Prior and Lt. Sanderson commanded the British forces in the Northern Sector. Two hundred sepoys of the 3rd Assam Rifles were placed under their command. Paohen Lotjem and a few other Chiefs led the Kukis. Areas of the Kukis in present day Nagaland were the present Zeliang and Kuki areas. The places where fighting occurred were Kandung, Songlhuh, Songsang, Mechangbung, Paona, Sinjol, and Chalkot, Selseu River and several other places. In those days, one of the best arts of warfare for the Kukis was the Songkhai lain along narrow paths or edges of cliffs. These were the terrains the British Sepoys were expected to take. Many British soldiers perished as victims of these traps. On receiving instructions, the Kuki villages built stockades and guarded each village with guns and pumpi. The Kukis of the northern sector suffered from severe limitations of supplies.

13. The Assam Sector (North Cachar and New Cachar Hills)

This sector covered Kuki inhabited areas in North Cachar Hills and Karbi-Anglong of Assam. Capt. Copeland was the British commander in this sector. News of the Kuki offensive reached DIG Col. Shakespeare at Kohima, while on his way to Shillong from Imphal. It was reported that six belligerent Kukis started attacking Government institutions and property, and were harassing the British government servants. They also brought down telegraphic lines, attacked Police Thanas and killed many policemen. As the post offices served as the main communication medium between the British and their allies, the offices were attacked and many of its personnel killed. To the extent they could, the Kukis burnt down and damaged whatever they could lay their hands on.
The labourers hired by the Government for tea plantations were not spared either. They were attacked and driven away from the gardens, thus creating acute scarcity of labour. Within a short time the Kukis spread terror in the North Cachar Hills and Karbi Anglong areas of Assam. In dismay, Railway Volunteers also evacuated the town of Haflong (later learnt from the words of Capt. Copeland). The Kuki warriors in a group of 70-80 people went about freely, terrorising people loyal to the British and to attract attention, wherever they went. To counter this, the DIG despatched one hundred rifles of the 2nd Assam Rifles under Capt. Copeland, to Haflong. The heroism displayed by the Kukis in defence of Zale地-gam in North Cachar Hills and Karbi-Anglong areas of Assam was not prompted by a decision of their own. It was a positive response to the clarion call of Pu Chengjapao Doungel, Pipa (Head) of the Kukis. The Chiefs of the region assembled at Halflong by the week ending April 1917, to make deliberations in response to Pu Chengjapao痴 call. The instructions of the Kuki Pipa were notified to all the chiefs. The Haflong chief slaughtered a mithun for the occasion. By partaking in the consumption of the liver and heart of the mithun in the Sajam ritual, it was agreed that all the Chiefs of the region should co-operate in the defence of Zale地-gam. In the event of a refusal (as in other parts of Zale地-gam), the village concerned would be burnt down and the existing chiefship removed. According to the agreement reached, instructions were circulated regarding the fortifications of the villages and position to be taken in battle. It was only after elaborate plans and chalking out of strategies that the Kukis fought the war. It was a war that shook the entire region. Thus, the Kuki warriors and the British forces were engaged in many battles. The British force of ten sepoys (2nd Assam Rifles) led by Capt. Copeland suffered loss of lives and a few were fatally wounded. To keep the Kukis in check, the British garrisons were stationed at Laitek, Hangrung and Baladan on the Manipur border. These garrisons remained until November 1918, when the situation subsided. 


The Second Phase of the War Operations

After the first phase of the war, the British as well as the Kukis re-organised themselves for another phase of war in Zale地-gam. In Shimla, the summer capital of British India it was decided that Maj. Gen. Sir H. Leary (appointed GOC in Burma for the next phase) should be the overall in command of the next phase of the British operations. Col. Macquiod was to take command in Manipur (i.e. central Zale地-gam). The DIG was ordered to complete all preparations before winter arrived. 
As fresh preparations got underway, Maj. A. Vickers of 3rd Assam Rifles offered his suggestions, which were duly accepted. His suggestion for the war operations was the division of the whole of Kuki Zale地-gam into regional units. Groups were to be formed to fight in the regional units. Elaborate plans were laid out in such a way that the Kukis might be effectively tackled. Provisions and reinforcements for every unit were to be prepared. The following are the units created by the British force:
1. Jampi or Western Sector supply base and headquarter at Bishenpur, Henema and Tappo (Taphou)
2. Henglep or Southern Sector, HQ at Moirang
3. Mombi (Lonpi) or Southeastern Sector, HQ at Shugunoo
4. Burma Road Sub-Area/Ajapural, HQ at Pallel 5. Chassad Areas or Eastern Sector, HQ at Jangaipokpi (Yaingangpokpi)
6. North Tangkhul towards Kohima /Aisan Area, HQ at Tadapa (Tadubi)
7. Somra-Tizu sub-area / Nantalit area, HQ at Melomy (Meluri)

In between the vast stretches of land bordered by Chindwin (or upper Chindwin, i.e. within present day Burma, carved out of the territory of Kuki Zale地-gam) and Chassad area, the Kukis created their own groups and bases:
1. Leishi and Joujang areas supply base and headquarter at Joujang
2. Tonglhang, Mengdong and Khomunnom areas, HQ at Thamanti
3. Phailengjang, Sadih (Sadih), and Molvailup areas, HQ at Homalin
4. Chetti, Nampalong, Mantou (Kuki), and Phaijang, HQ at Khampat
5. Twisa, Jangmol and Lallim, HQ at Zoumun

Gen. Keary left for Shillong in August 1918. He was accompanied by Col. Macquod, who was on the verge of receiving promotion to Brigadier-General. They submitted their proposal to the headquarters, regarding the complete routing of the Kukis of Zale地-gam during the coming winter. The GOC endorsed the proposal and duly consigned the Assam Rifles for the mission. Escorted by Col. Shakespeare, Gen, Keary left for Burma to co-ordinate the British forces in India with those of the Burma Military Police. After these meetings, the British were ready for the second phase of operation against the Kukis. The period concurred with the last days of the First World War in Europe. A considerable number of Kukis, who joined the first labour corps recruitment to serve in France, returned. Letkholal Singson, Ngulhao Thomsong, Vungkang and Tenthong Touthang were a few of them. Unfortunately, a majority of these Kukis sided with the British. The second phase of the Assam Rifles offensive against the Kukis began with Sangnao being its first target. At that juncture, the son of the Kanjang Chief, Letkholal Singson and Onkai Sitlhou, the Songdo Chief - both trusted persons of the British - convinced the Chief of Sangnao to submit to the British. As the Sngnao chief was won over, his village was saved from destruction. He was, however, fined five mithuns, a gong, six guns and Rs.1, 000 by the government of British India. While the battles were fought in full intensity, villages were burnt down, heads were chopped of and limb-less body spread all around. The act of betrayal by a responsible chief infuriated the Kuki leaders. The Chief of Sangnao was among those who promised loyalty to the cause in the Sajam ritual at Jampi. It had been agreed that villages showing disloyalty would be burnt down and its chief stripped of his title. As per the resolution, some villages that failed to remain loyal had been already razed to the ground and their mithuns killed. But even before such penalties were carried out on the Sangnao chief, he expressed his fury in lyrical form:

U le nao vin Solkar douuh hite eitin;
Sum-minthang kavan mang kalha tai.

Free translation
Our Kuki brothers told me to defend our sovereignty,
But alas, I have lost all my wealth instead.

Many brave Kuki warriors lost their dear and loved ones, including their villages. However, despite such losses they continued to fight for Zale地-gam to the bitter end. The breach of faith by Pu Songchung Singson of Sangnao was received with a sad note. Rather ashamed of him, they adopted a cold attitude and ex-communicated him. Pu Khotinpao, Chief of Taloulong, losing two of his sons in battle replied in an elegy:

Sum minthang le navan mang nachanle,
Kei toi kamkei hoija vaitham hitai me?

Free translation
If you lament the loss of your money;
What about my beloved sons who were like
the young Leopard?

Pu Songchung Singson being a big Chief should have been one among the front-ranking leaders to fight. He would have won the accolade of his people, but for his act of surrender, he had their rebuke instead. Therefore, he remained unknown among the ranks of the Kuki leaders. He lost an opportunity that would have made him one among the great Kuki heroes. Many Chiefs shared similar feelings of being let down and were in fact demoralised by the act of the Sangnao Chief. For this very reason, when the British forces were passing through the village of Haipi, they were not resisted. But Pu Ngulkhotinpao Kipgen, his heart heavy with rage secretly pursued the British forces and took them by surprise at the path leading to a Kabui village. He fired volleys from his guns and killed a British Officer.
Over this heroic deed, he composed a ballad:
Khat in Vabang kamaove mar Lhangjola,
Twibang longte ngoili bang kating弾,
Singcha lhah lamlai long hon thing vum弾.

Free translation
As a love bird hummed over the western hills,
Sepoys like flowing water as a dam I checked
In the middle of Kabui road lay corpse like stalk.

After the surrender of Sangnao, the British forces and a band of twenty-five Kuki warriors were engaged in a fierce fight at Dulen. The Kukis resorted to their pumpi but it unfortunately misfired, but they still killed a rifleman. Sir Nicholas Beatson Bell in his Report to J.E. Webster, Letter No.6810, Dt. 27.5.1919, records this incident:

Our columns had marched through hostile country over coming opposition and destroying enemy villages, and property but they had killed or captured every few of the enemy and no Chief of importance, while the causalities on our side were on the whole heavier than the enemy痴. The opposition showed little signs of slackening, and it was clear that unless the Chiefs came of their own and surrendered, which seem unlikely, further measures would be necessary.

The large contingent of the 4th Assam Rifles left Dulen for Nakacheng. On the edges of the cliffs leading to the village, songkhai thang were laid. But as the guard on duty was not alert the British Sepoys entered the village. There was no alternative left for the village but to surrender. From Nakacheng the British forces proceeded to Chongjang and Khungpum. In these villages intense battle took place. The Kuki Warriors lost three sepoys and four were fatally wounded. Pu Tintong, the Commander-in-Chief sought help from the Angami-Naga and Kabui-Naga, but to no avail. With Akhui-Nagas, the Khoutum Kukis had a good relation. A pig was killed on which they feasted together to strengthen their ties. The relation between Akhui-Kabui Nagas and the Kukis of Khoutum was however short lived. The Akhui-Nagas raided the Kuki village of Natjang, and burnt down the entire village, killing all its inhabitants excepting
two who were away at that time. In return, Pu Tintong and Pu Enjakhup along with their men burnt the Kabui villages of Natop, Khungakhun and Choloi.
A few Kuki Chiefs and Kabuis co-operated with the British, making movement for the Kuki warriors most difficult. Based on secret information received, Jamedar Bokul Thapa, Lambu, Dongpu and five sepoys along with armed policemen and set out in search of the Kuki leaders. The Dy. C-in-C, Pu Enjakhup Kholhou however had already escaped. But, Pu Lenkhokam Chongloi from Assam was captured. Pu Lengkhokam was invited by Pu Tintong and Pu Enjakhup to make guns for the Kukis.
On 19 July 1918, the British India Government acting on behalf of the British Empire announced from Calcutta that if the Kuki Chiefs leaders of the war should surrender before the month of November 1918, they would be granted general amnesty, including their families. With this declaration Pu Ngulhao Thomsong who led the labour corps to France started to influence Pu Kilkhong alias Khotinthang Sitlhou to submit to the British. Initially, Pu Kilkhong refused, but was later convinced and led to Imphal headquarters by Ngulhao Thomsong, where he surrendered thirty guns. The surrender of the villages of Sangnao and Jampi, to a great extent weakened the Kuki forces. The Chassad Chief Pu Pache Haokip after considering the future of Zale地-gam and the Kuki people, arrived at the conclusion to end the war, but provided the British government would agree to his terms and conditions. In such an endeavour, Pu Pache sent a representative to the British Government. His proposal was not accepted. The terms and conditions offered by Pache Haokip to the British Government for Zale地-gam was as follows:
a) Acknowledgement of the existence of Zale地-gam

iii)                 b) General amnesty for all.
This event is recorded by Maj. Gen. D.K. Palit (1984, p.80): In the south Chief Pache offered surrender under certain terms but was refused, whereupon his tribe began new series of raids on villages in the Ukhrul region. Pu Pache wanted the British Government to leave Zale地-gam to the Kukis as before, i.e. as a sovereign territory in which its people governed themselves in their own ways.
When the British did not accept his terms, Pu Pache was all the more provoked and he started the destruction of telegraphic lines, the government rest houses, etc. yet again. They began attacking any supporters of the British. The battle was drawn to greater intensity than the earlier phase and it brought absolute chaos and turmoil in Zale地-gam. Much disorder and destruction had been brought in by the provocation of Pu Pache. To counter Pu Pache, the British forces deputed the 3rd British Assam Rifles. During the negotiation period, the Kukis had reorganised themselves. They collected sufficient arms and ammunitions, pumpi and re-fortified their camps. However, the British forces were better equipped and thus the battle was theirs in the end. Pu Pache and his men were unable to withstand the onslaught of the British force. They retired to the Kabaw valley in Eastern Zale地-gam, now in present Burma. The First World War had just ended in Europe. The British forces returned to India and reinforcements were created to fight the Kukis. It was the hope of the Kukis that the Germans would emerge victorious over the British in Europe and come with sufficient weaponry to help them win the war. But unfortunately for the Kukis it turned out to be otherwise. After the victory of the British over the Axis powers, the British forces had sufficient arms and ammunitions with unlimited manpower.
Maj. Gen. D.K. Palit recorded the event (1984, p.80): In October 17, extra British Officers (mostly from the Indian Warriors reserve of Officers, many of whom had served in various theatres of the great war) joined the rifles to take up their duties with the units. Reinforcements from Sadiya and Aizawl were received in Manipur so that by early November the Assam rifles force for the Second Phase of the Kuki operation reached a total of 30 British Officers, 55 Indian Officers and nearly 2,400 rifles. The 17 extra British Officers were: major H.D. Marshall, Captain N.B. Fox, Captain W.P. Reid, and Lieut. R.G. Black, Lieut. G.D. Walker, Lieut. Scott, Lieut. E.J. Ashwith, Lieut. C.F. Jeffreys, Lieut. P.A. Armstrong, Lieut. G. Longden, Lieut. Goldsmith, Lieut. Mack (Transport), Lieut. Willis, Dr. Crozier.

On November 1918, a command was placed in the hands of Brigadier-Gen. G. Macquiod. The other command in parts of Zale地-gam (in present day Burma) was given to Gen. Keary. He formed his headquarter at Kendat. By mid-November, they were all set to launch their operations against the Kukis. At each of the supply bases provisions including arms and ammunitions, foodstuff and other necessities were stored sufficiently. Their basic strategy was to fight the Kukis continuously with no gap in between to enable them to re-mobilise. Having tested the ingenuity of the Kukis in warfare, the British made elaborate plans. The operations in Zale地-gam in their full details would be too voluminous. However, it would be appropriate to highlight a few of the notable events.

1. The Western Sector (Laijang and Jampi)

The British forces in this sector proceeded from Kaopum (Khaopum) to Laijang and Jampi. The British forces were hot on the heels of Pu Khupkhotintong (Tintong) Haokip, Commander-in-Chief and Pu Enjakhup Kholhou, Deputy Commander-in-Chief, and the remaining Kuki warriors. The Kukis remained elusive, constantly leading the British forces into the most hazardous terrain where songkhai thang were laid. The traps continually claimed a good number of victims. News reached the British camp that Pu Tintong and Pu Enjakhup were in hiding at the village of Loibol. A strong force set out to apprehend the two men. The Kuki warriors lay in waiting for the British advance near the village of Kolkang. Shots fired from a distance by Pu Letjatong and Pu Somjadou sent the British captain, fixed to his binoculars, rolling down the Jiri valley. Five more British sepoys were killed in the ensuing conflict. The idea of ravaging Laijang the village of Pu Tintong and of proceeding further was therefore altogether abandoned. Later, the British
forces approaching from three directions attacked Laijang. The villages were set to flames and the British forces went on to pursue the chiefs of Laijang and Thenjang. However, Pu Tintong and Pu Enjakhup, along with Pu Heljason Haokip escaped. The British forces had to start their pursuit all over again. At this stage, the Kabuis and a few faint-hearted Kuki chiefs had begun to collaborate with the British. It became increasingly difficult for the Kuki leaders to remain in hiding. While the British force was preoccupied with the capture of Pu Tintong and Pu Enjakhup and the Loibol chiefs, there were other encounters at Kebuching. Already short of ammunitions, the Kuki were under pressures to fight much longer. Meanwhile, the British officer Montifiore with a strong force from Tapao (Taphou) clashed the forces of Pu Tintong and Pu Enjakhup in the fields between Dulen and Laijang. Here too, the British failed to capture Pu Tintong and Pu Enjakhup.

2. The South-Central Sector

For the third time, in March 1919 Capt. Coote led a large contingent of British forces into the territory of Mombi (Lonpi) Longya and Ayapurel. Pu Ngulkhup Haokip Chief of Mombi (Lonpi) had earlier banned the British from his country. This closure brought them untold repercussions - great suffering and misery - from the British. But undaunted, the Kukis chose to keep up the fight. One of the memorable events in these fights was the loss inflicted on the British sepoys at the Pangsang gorges, near the present village of Chahmol. Fifteen sepoys of the British forces were killed by the stone-traps. Many more sepoys sustained fatal injuries. After the dead of the Chief of Longya, Pu Ngulbul Haokip, the strength of the Kukis in this region weakened to a great extent. With the belief that the war would come to an end after the arrest of Pu
Ngulkhup, the British forces were desperately after him. The British force burnt Lonpi village. Pu Ngulbul being a prominent leader was always accompanied by strong Kuki warriors, which made his arrest very difficult. He was a fugitive for five consecutive days. He covered a good distance of over one hundred fifty miles while in hiding. He was ultimately cornered and he had no alternative but to surrender to the British commander at Tamu. With the surrender of Pu Ngulkhup, Chief of Lonpi, the war in the Southeastern sector came to a close. Pu Ngulkhup, after his surrender at Tamu was taken back to his sector, in the Southeast. Seeing their leader captive of the Sepoys, the people were moved with great sorrow. He was later taken to the Imphal
During the journey, they halted for a night on the banks of the Imphal River (Gun dung) where he composed a melancholic song:

Isung sih-al kai noija,
Gu地 peu lum song katang khop,
Joljil soh thei lou.

Kangai mel a namule,
Lung ngui pheiphung asontai,
Hinti oh Gu地 twi nu.

Free translation
Under the twinkling stars I slept,
By the side of the river;
Using a rock as my pillow,
Which is not like my beloved made.

If you ever meet my beloved,
Tell her that I walked away with a
longing heart,
Oh! Maiden-river.

3. The Burma and Eastern Sector

The series of incidents in the Chassad region of Zale地-gam from March 1919, originated from the circumstances that resulted from the British refusal to the terms and conditions for an end to fighting, submitted by Pu Pache Haokip. The indiscriminate raids carried out by Pu Pache and his daring warriors of  Zale地-gam on the British provoked them Offended by these acts, a large British force was despatched, enough to vanquish the whole of Chassad
area. The Kuki warriors retaliated to defend Zale地-gam, inflicting heavy losses on the British. Of the many battles fought in this front, the most notable were those at Langli, Poshing, Chattik-Khongkhan hills and Makan stockades. In thesebattles, many sepoys on both sides were either killed or fatally wounded. It has to be noted that there were some Kuki people who surrendered and sided with the
British force; namely, Thongkholun Haokip, Chief of Boljang and Mangleng Vaiphei. It became exceedingly difficult for the Kukis to make further plans in secret. They built a palao (a type of tent) in the vicinity of their villages. The people of Phungchong, under the leadership of their Chief Thongkhomang Haokip, burnt these Palaos. The Vaipheis composed a song on this account:
Sapkang sat ding Phunchong ten
Vaiphei palao ahal-e

Free translation
The people of Phunchong,
Declared to fight the British,
Instead, they burnt a Vaiphei Palao.

Konhol and Konngam attempted to kill the British informer Chungkhojam, from Boljang. But as the man pleaded for mercy, they refrained. For this, Pu Helngam rebuked them. The rest of the chiefs who were loyal to the cause of Zale地-gam to the very bitter end are as follows:
Pu Thongkhomang Haokip, Chief of Phunchong; Pu Jangkhopao Haokip, Chief of Makan; Pu Chungkhojang, Chief of Molnom; Pu Doujapao Mate, Chief of Thomjang; Pu Jamkholun, Chief of Khongkhan; Pu Chungkholet, Chief of Mollen; Pu Tongkho, Chief of Sangkholen; Pu Vumtong Haokip, Chief of Maokot. Meanwhile, Gen. Keary from the Kendat (Kentat) headquarters pushed the Kukis, and finally merged with the other British forces of the Chassad region. As the British forces were swelling in numbers, Pu Pache and his men retired to the jungles of Somra. He took refuge in Joujang, the territory of his clan brother. Joujang was well garrisoned with fortified walls. It was a strong and powerful chiefdom in the upper
Chindwin region. The village of Joujang was very powerful in the upper Chindwin region. It received kai (tax) from the Somra Nagas. During the times of Pu Tunghao Haokip, the Burmese king offered to recogniseJoujang, but Pu Tunghao Haokip replied that he needed no such recognition from anybody. Instead, he tried to offend them by killing their mithuns, elephants and rhinoceros. The name 全omra is derived from the term kai: Joujang village exacted roughly som lah (1:10). Thus came Somlah, pronounced 全omra.
Pu Tongkhu Haokip, Chief of Phailengjang in Burma, extended Chief Pache help. As a token of this joint endeavour to fight the British, the former sent a chemcha (knife) and bilba (earring) to the latter. Together, they terrorised all the Burmese villages in upper Chindwin and damaged many government properties. As a result of the chaos unleashed by these two Kuki Chiefs, life in general remained disrupted in the Kabaw valley of Burma. People were terror-stricken at the prospects of a full-scale war. Its inhabitants out of sheer fright deserted a village called Thaungdat. War broke out practically everywhere and the battle fought at Molvailup was said to be most awesome. The Kuki Warriors stationed in this village, fearing impending invasion by the British force, fixed two canons to a tree on the way to their village. Pu Helkholam Kipgen was entrusted to trigger-off the canons on the arrival of British sepoys. He patiently waited for the enemy to appear. As anticipated, after a couple of days the British sepoys appeared at a distance. Pu Helkholam instantly pulled the trigger. The explosion of the gunfire shook the tree and he fell down and remained nconscious for a moment. The shot killed twenty British sepoys, including a junior commission officer. Many more sepoys were badly wounded. As it was necessary to be informed of the enemy痴 plans and movements, Pu Jangkhothang Kipgen was entrusted with this task. But, the British became aware of this and Pu Jangkhothang was killed. Bongbal villagers, Pu Tongkhogin Kipgen and Pu Onkhogin Kipgen, however, instead of assisting in the defence of Zale地-gam, went to Homalin and surrendered to the British. As the war continued in Kabaw valley in Zale地-gam, a combined force of British India and British Burma entered the village of Simol. The Chief of Simol, Pu Hellhun Kipgen and his son were taken hostage. As they were led away, Pi Nengjalhing Kipgen with her infant son, Dongkhosat on her back, without fear followed. She repeatedly pleaded to the British force officer to release them for the sake of her infant child. The officer was deeply moved and amazed at her love and devotion to her husband. The officer therefore showed compassion and released them. Zale地-gam was progressively under pressure from the British forces from different directions. The Kuki Chiefs and war commanders, especially those from Upper Chindwin therefore moved into the fortifications of Joujang. The British came to learn of this move. The British believed that the Kukis were as good as defeated and that they would now surrender. But the Kuki Chiefs although having suffered much loss of life and property, refused to give up. They set up a camp by the bank of the river Chohchol, and waited for the British forces to appear. When they appeared, the Kukis jingled the bells tied around the neck of the mithuns. It was meant to be a sign of peace and of submission (similar to raising a white flag). Though the British were deceived on earlier occasions, they suspected no foul play this time. They expected the Kukis to surrender. With that belief, they continued their approach. But, as soon as they were near the bank of Chohchol, they were taken by surprise. A good number of sepoys, including a white one, were killed immediately. Enraged by this deception, the British now made it their point to storm into the Joujang fortifications to kill and capture as many men as they could. Steep slopes surrounded the village of Joujang and its fortified walls on all sides. The gate was guarded with a canon and the British force could not penetrate the walls for quite sometime. From a distance, the
mountain guns did not prove effective. At last they decided to cut their way through by digging up the steep hill. As the British force were occupied with this digging, the Kukis sang:

Ma恥 gam khomjang te sat din,
Noija hungkon sapkang ten,
Lamlen lamlen alai je.

Free translation
The British are constructing a passage and approaching,
To attack the Khomjang fort,

Spending a number of days on this task, the British made a path wide enough to cart in bulky weapons and equipment. With their huge guns, they moved towards the fortified enclave of Joujang, where the last of the Kuki Chiefs and warriors took refuge. The Kukis had also made good use of the waiting time and made more guns, ammunitions, and replenished their gunpowder reserves. The ensuing war lasted several hours. There was exchange of fire between the Kuki pumpi and the British Mountain guns. Late PuTunghao Haokip, Chief of Joujang recounted, 選t was such a deafening roar. After a great deal of fighting, the fortifications of Joujang began to break down. The women, children and the old people were quickly escorted to safety. The Chiefs and Commanders and older men were also moved away. The young men remained and put up a brave resistance. When the fortifications were on the brink of collapse, the rest of the Kuki warriors also escaped to safety. The determination of the British forces to capture and kill as many as possible was unsuccessful. When they finally stormed into the enclosure, to their amazement, it was empty. This fierce battle, in the Joujang stockade, was fought in the beginning of May 1919. It was the last of the significant battles fought in the Kuki rising, 1917-1919.

4. The North Sector (Aisan)

This sector was in the territory of Aisan. The people of Mollen and the Haolais fought together heart and soul. Kanjang and Akhen in the Meluri areas of present-day Nagaland and Chingai sub-division of Ukhrul district of present-day Manipur were under the authority of the Chief of Aisan. Like those mentioned earlier, this region also put up a brave fight, but was also rather disunited. In 践istory of Manipur, p.130, late Ex-MLA Pu Ngulkhohao Lhungdim wrote:
Pasut and Letkholal Singson joined the side of the British as scouts and in fact led them, in storming the stockades built by the Kuki Chief Chengjapao Doungel and Laljasong Haolai who were commanders of the war here. When, in time, more Kukis crossed over to the side of the British, secret plans and moves were revealed easily and it became immensely difficult for the Kukis to carry on fighting. After the British war had come to an end, Pasut and Letkholal Singson, both were rewarded at Kohima by J.H. Hutton and were asked what they wanted. The former chose a gun and the latter preferred to have land. But as there was no available land, the village of Haijang, which he asked for, was cleared of its inhabitants and after having it burnt down was handed over to him. Today, Kanjang stands village over the earlier Haijang. But the problem still persists, and it is still known by its former name. On top of that, the people of Haijang were punished with a punitive fine of Rs.6 per year, for three years.
When many Kuki Chiefs had surrendered and when still more were apparently about to follow suit, it became hard for Pu Chengjapao Doungel to continue the war. As head of the Kuki Chiefs, Pu Chengjapao Doungel decided to come to terms with the British. In the anticipation of more lenient terms for himself and his subordinate Chiefs, he purchased a huge elephant tusk from a Kipgen villager in Burma for Rs.300. He had this ivory presented to Mr. Higgins in Imphal headquarter, as a sign of surrender. He requested to the political agent Mr. Higgins: 羨s head among the Kuki Chiefs, I request you to pardon me and my brothers from the penalty of waging war, in defence of our country Zale地-gam. The political agent Higgins replied that it was not within his authority to pardon. But he assured that he was pleased with what Chief Chengjapao Kuki had done and would reduce the punishment due to him and the others, to a certain extent. At a time when the British forces were preoccupied with the capture of the rest of the Kuki Chiefs, some among those who had already surrendered themselves. These chiefs kept the British continually posted on the movements of the Kukis and made it impossible for them to remain in hiding, or to continue waging war. In such a situation, Pu Khupkhotintong (Tintong) Haokip and Pu Enjakhup Kholhou were finally captured with Pu Mangkho-on in the village of Tingkai. With their capture, the Kuki resistance in the western front came to a close. It was already mid-May 1919, but the capture of Pu Pache was yet to be accomplished. Chief Pache being the head of the Haokip Chiefs readily found shelter with anyone of them. A man of strength, courage and skill, he led the British force on a wild goose chase for a long time. But when all of his fellow chiefs and brothers had been captured, he preferred to surrender and join in their suffering. He therefore went to Imphal town just before 20th May 1919 and surrendered to Gen. Keary. With chief Pache痴 surrender, Gen. H. Keary KCIB, KCIE, DSO declared the end of the Kuki rising 1917-1919 on May 20, 1919.  In 閃anipur a Gospel leh Kuki ho Thusim; (An account of the Gospel and the Kukis in Manipur), p.44, Jamthang Haokip wrote:

While the British imprisoned all the Chiefs in the Imphal jail, the Kuki folks from the hills visited them and brought dummom (tobacco leaves) for them to chew. When all the other Chiefs kept their tobacco for themselves, Tintong Haokip Commander-in-Chief, used to distribute his among the other chiefs. The other Chiefs were pleased with Tintong and a ballad was composed in his praise:

Jang a Dumom ngaipet na;

Chan gol soh eh, Laijang pa minthang gol chungnung.

Free translation
Whenever tobacco was desired,
Always distributed his share among the others,
Laijang chief, the greatest of the chiefs.

Being the Commander-in-Chief of the Kuki rising 1917-1919, people placed much faith on Pu Khupkhotintong (Tintong) Haokip, Chief of Laijang. He declared at the Jampi Summit, 層hether we win the war or not, we will show our might. In similar manner, during the war he exhorted the war commanders under him; toured all the Kuki bases in Zale地-gam; helped the weaker, encouraged the demoralised; and comforted the old people, women folk and the children. As a leader, he worked extremely hard and all were there to see for themselves. Some of those captured before and after the war answered, 前ur leader is Pu Khupkhotintong (Tintong) Haokip and only at his word did we fight. The Zous who said, 糎e are sepoys of Tintong Haokip, were freed from any further incrimination. On account of the statements received, the case of Pu Khupkhotintong (Tintong) Haokip was taken more seriously. He therefore carried most of the blame for the war, and was severely tortured in jail. For his unparalleled devotion and heroism in the protection of Zale地-gam, the Kukis held Pu Tintong in great esteem. He was their hope and pride. Many a ballad was composed in his praise. The notable ones among those are as follows:
Laijang Tintong bullun mang,
Pupa khan gol seh in lang,
Jalai gol dep min.

Free translation
Great leader Tintong of Laijang,
Follow the footsteps of our fathers,
Surpass the multitudes.

Jalai gol dep tei in lang,
Singcha kai golseh douna,
Kai gol lhing tei hen.

Free translation
May you be victorious among the multitude,
In your fight against the enemies,
So that our people may live in peace and prosperity.

During the Kuki rising, two strong
young men of Maokot, Pu Vumtong Haokip and Pu Thangjang Haokip, stood up to the expectation and hope of the people. The Haosanu (The Chief痴 wife) of Saihaphoh village composed a ballad in praise of them:

Thim hung jing弾 deidon dongkot hong umlou,
Singhison chan deidon dongkot a hong弾.
Deidon dongkot a hong弾 toini gel,
Amang tolla jang toni gasa hen.

Free translation
War has broken out, but there is no one to lead,
Sons of Telsing have come forward to
lead the people into battle.
Two Telsing youths lead the people into battle,
Let them shine as bright as the sun in
the courtyard of the British throne.

When the British forces finally arrested Pu Vumtong and Pu Thangjang, they said, 層e only waged war at the instance of our brother Pu Thangkhothong
Haokip, who is the Chief. 践ence, the Chief in question was arrested and imprisoned. But, being blind, detaining him in custody proved more of a
problem. He was released shortly. The captured Kuki Chiefs, Commanders and other leaders in the war were severely tortured. The types of statements they furnished acquitted some, while the others became all the more entangled. The war commanders and Chiefs were detained, awaiting trial.

Chapter XV

The Aftermath of the War, 1917-1919

1. The First Trials and Sentence of the Kuki Chiefs and War Commanders

After a brief period of detention, the British force carried on the trials of the Kuki Chiefs and the war commanders. In the trials, many claimed to be either
sepoys of Pu Khupkhotintong (Tintong) Haokip or referred to him as their Supreme Commander. These statements added more grounds for the conviction of Pu Tintong. He was sentenced to twenty years imprisonment. Soon it began to emerge that Pu Tintong was junior to Pu Pache Haokip, Chief of Chassad (trials were carried on the lines of seniority in the clan lineage). For this reason, Pu Lhukhomang Haokip alias Pache, Chief of Chassad and the senior-most among the Haokip clans - who formed the biggest fighting units - was subjected to relentless torture. After these tortures, he was sentenced to twenty years of imprisonment. Pu Chengjapao Doungel was also sentenced to twenty years imprisonment. The other Kuki Chiefs and leaders were also subjected to severe punishments and torture.
The prison sentences are as follows:
1. Pu Ngulkhup Haokip, Chief of Mombi (Lonpi), 15 Years
2. Pu Chengjapao Doungel, Chief of Aisan, 15 Years
3. Pu Lhukhomang Haokip, alias Pache, Chief of Chassad, 20 Years
4. Pu Khupkhotintong (Tintong) Haokip, Chief of Laijang, 20 Years
5. Pu Khotinthang Sitlhou, alias Kilkhong, Chief of Jampi, 15 Years
6. Pu Pakang Haokip, Chief of Henglep, 15 Years
7. Pu Enjakhup Kholhou, Chief of Thenjang, 15 Years
8. Pu Heljason Haokip, Chief of Loibol, 15 Years
9. Pu Mangkho-on Haokip, Chief of Tingkai, 15 Years
10. Pu Leothang Haokip, Chief of Goboh, 15 Years
11. Pu Lunkholal Sitlhou, Chief of Chongjang, 15 Years
12. Pu Semchung Haokip, Chief of Ukha, 15 Years

While the prisoners were detained in Imphal Jail, in order to ascertain whether the Kuki Rajah, Pu Chengjapao Doungel of Aisan was the Pipa (head) of the Kukis, the British paraded him enchained in the streets three times a day, for three consecutive days. As he was paraded, he was made to announce these words aloud, 滴e, who, among the Kukis, is elder to me, let him come and take my place; take these chains off me, suffer in my stead and be bestowed with the honour that is mine. As no response to such an announcement came, the political Agent, Mr. J.C. Higgins recognised Pu Chengjapao Doungel, as head of the clans among the Kukis. In eastern Zale地-gam (in present day Burma), the Kuki Chiefs and leaders were detained in Homalin Jail and tortured. As leaders of the war, they were
each sentenced to fifteen years imprisonment, at Taunggyi Jail. Their names are as follows:
1. Pu Kamjahen Haokip, Chief of Phailengjang
2. Pu Letkhothang Haokip, Chief of Khotuh
3. Pu Semkholun Haokip, Chief of Phaisat
4. Pu Vumngul Kipgen, Chief of Tujang
5. Pu Haokhopao Kipgen, Chief of Molvailup
6. Pu Tongkholum Haokip, Mantri of Phailongjang
7. Pu Tukih Lupheng, Chief of Tonglang
8. Pu Sonkhopao Haokip, Chief of Twisom
9. Pu Letjahao Chongloi, Chief of Khomunnom
10. Pu Kondem Baite, Chief of Sadih (Sachih)
11. Pu Jalhun Haokip, Chief of Molvom
12. Pu Nohjang Kipgen, Chief of Saisem

While the Chiefs were waiting to be sentenced for their terms at Taunggyi Jail, Pu Kaijahao Kipgen composed an ode to them:

Toni bang sa solkar te kitemtoh in,
Phungtin paocheng changsel Lenbang Kaije.

Free translation
The British Government has gathered all its forces,
And has waged a great-war against our people;
Carrying away our Chiefs and leaders as mithuns.

After the trials had been completed and sentences passed, those in the Imphal jail were transported to India. On the way, while crossing the bridge at Karong Pu Khupkhotintong (Tintong) Haokip, Chief of Laijang was deeply nostalgic. According to an account by late Ex-MLA Pu Ngulkhohao Lhungdim in, 践istory of Manipur, p.138: Tingtong Haokip, the Laijang Chief, one who had never known what melancholy, was filled with nostalgia when they crossed the bridge at Karong on the way to Kohima from Imphal.

At Kohima the British Political agent named Jameson, asked the Kuki Chiefs to reveal the name of their main chief. The Chief of Chassad, Pu Lhukhomang Haokip alias Pache told the Political Agent that the main chief is Pu Chengjapao Doungel, Chief of Aisan.  Pu Lhukhomang also answered Jameson痴 query in the following verse:

U Palhunle Tonglhu la vang段n lan,
Namtin kaina kahui mang dong tan:
Namtin kaina kahui mang dong jongle chun.
Mitin penna Aisante kitinte.

Free translation.
The two old and elderly persons, Palhun and Tonglhu
are now living in a distant place.
(Jameson痴 question could be answered, as per Kuki custom, only by
the senior most elder like Palhun and Tonglhu, who were unavailable)
You may even ask the Chief Administrator of all the people (of Kohima)
If you ask him, he would also reply that it is the Chief of Aisan.

Pu Chengjapao Doungel, taking it in a rather personal way replied in the following verse:

Thampi khul a kapen nin luncha hing,
Kachung誕 che ah um naovai mo,
Ka chung a che la mi um sampon tin,
Chungtoni le chung chollha bou chente.

Free translation
I was great the day I descended from the Mythical World.
Is there anybody walking above me?
Except the sun and the moon, nobody will walk above me.

The meaning of Chengjapao痴 song that only the moon and the sun will walk over him need not be mistaken as conceit. It meant that the Kukis of Zale地-gam had never been under any authority, other than their own. During the war, Pu Chengjapao Doungel shouldered the headship of the Kuki tribe. Therefore, the severest of tortures and additional years of sentence were meted out to him. From Kohima, the Kuki chiefs were taken to Golaghat in Assam, where they halted briefly. Pu Semchung Haokip, Chief of Ukha before being transported to Golaghat, breathe his last at the Kohima Jail. His mortal remains were, by the order of the Government, brought back to his ancestral home of Ukha village. At Ukha, Pu Semchung was buried in the full customary tradition with honours. Pu Semchung was one of the most well to do among all the hill peoples. He also was one among the leading commanders of the Southern sector in the Kuki rising. While at the Golaghat Jail, Pu Chengjapao Doungel, filled with a sense of yearning for his Zale地-gam composed the following verses:

Golaghat Banglow khom a kingai jing,
Lhangvai sisum chollha bang val nan jong;
Nitin a leng a kavai jong aman poi.
Kaina mang saoson noija kingai jing,
Angkoi dei le toidem lha vang ngaijing,
Angkoi dei le toi dam lha vang ngaijing,
Selung thal naobang leng弾 kilhim mon.

2. The Second Trial of the Kuki Chiefs and War Commanders

In the second trial, the previous terms of sentences passed on the Kuki Chiefs were reduced. The Cellular Jail in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands were used as the 舛onvict Colony. The Kuki leaders of Western Zale地-gam were imprisoned there. Similarly, the Taunggyi Jail in Burma served as a kind of 舛onvict colony. The Kuki leaders in Eastern Zale地-gam were shifted from the Homalin Jail to Taunggyi Jail. The Kuki leaders were also imprisoned in Sodia (Sadija) Jail. Later, those serving terms in Sadija Jail were shifted to the Cellular Jail in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. After the change in sentences, the terms were as follows:
At the Cellular Jail of Andaman and Nicobar Island
1. Pu Chengjapao Doungel, Chief of Aisan, 4 Years
2. Pu Lhukhomang Haokip, alias Pache, Chief of Chassad, 3 Years
3. Pu Tintong Haokip, Chief of Laiyong (Laijang) 3 Years
4. Pu Enjakhup Kholhou, Chief of Thenjol, 3 Years
5. Pu Khotinthang Sitlhou, alias Kilkhong, Chief of Jampi, 3 years
6. Pu Pakang Haokip, Chief of Hinglep (Henglep) 3 years
7. Pu Heljason Haokip, Chief of Loibol, 3 years
8. Pu Mangkho-on Haokip, Chief of Tingkai, 3 years
9. Pu Ngulkhup Haokip, Chief of Mombi (Lonpi), 3 years
10. Pu Leothang Haokip, Chief of Goboh, 3 Years
11. Pu Ngulkhokai Haokip, Chassad 3 years

12. Semchung Haokip, Chief of Ukha 3 years


iv)                                               The terms of imprisonment for the Chiefs in Taunggyi Jail of Burma
1. Pu Kamjadem (Kamjahen Haokip, Chief of Phailengjang I) 3 years
2. Pu (Letkwatang)Letkhothang Haokip, Chief of Khotuh 3 years
3. Pu Semkwalun (Semkholun Haokip, Chief of Phaisat) 3 years
4. Pu Vumnul (Vumngul Kipgen, Chief of Tujang), 3 years
5. Pu Suku (Tukih Lupheng, Chief of Tonglhang) 3 years
6. Pu Haokwapao (Haokhopao Kipgen, Chief of Molvailup) 3 years
7. Pu Zahlun (Jalhun Haokip, Chief of Molvom) 3 years
8. Pu Tongkwalun (Tongkholun Haokip, Chief of Phailengjang II) 3 years
9. Pu Notzang (Nohjang Kipgen, Chief of Saisem) 3 years
10. Pu Ngulkolun (Ngulkholun)               3 years

v)                                                The torture meted out to the Kuki leaders at various jails, following the Kuki rising 1917-1919; remain in the memory of the Kukis. The portraits of the Kuki Chiefs who led in the war are displayed at the Queen Victoria Memorial hall, Calcutta, which belonged to the erstwhile British Empire. The same portraits are also kept at the British Museum in the United Kingdom. After India gained Independence, the Government in recognition of the bravery shown by the Kuki heroes and in memory of the war they fought, sanctioned for the construction of the 銭uki Inn. The Kuki Inn stands today at the heart of Imphal, capital of Manipur State. Most recently, on 27 August 1997, a memorial statue of the Kuki King Pu Chenjapao Doungel was erected at Moreh, the heart of Zale地-gam. This statue was also erected in memory of the Kuki rising, 1917-1919 and the Kuki Chiefs and leaders who fought in the war.

3. The Repression and Sufferings of the Kukis of Zale地-gam

The Kukis fought for three continuous years in defence of their land Zale地-gam. They fought hard and endured untold sufferings, miseries and repression during and after the war. The punishment meted out to the Chiefs through imprisonment was not the end of the repression. In the aftermath of the war, all the guns in Zale暖am were seized, on the charge that they were utilised in the war. Those villages suspected to have been involved were burnt down again. As a consequence, the children, women and the old people suffered untold hardships. The destruction of property was extended to the livestock as well: they were destroyed. The atmosphere had become so grim that neither the barking of dogs nor the crowing of roosters were heard. The villages being burnt, the cattle and live stock slaughtered, arms ammunition seized, the children, women and old people were then led to concentration camps at Ningel, Tengnoupal, Bongmol, Mombi (Lonpi), and Nungloa. They were heavily repressed in these camps. Children and women were made to suffer the cold nights outside the camps. From dawn to dusk they had to dig the drainage (gutters) and were whipped with cane. Women were not given time to breastfeed their infants. Many became susceptible and succumbed to many diseases and perished in the concentration camps. One of the concentration camps may be quoted from the record of the enemy, a British.

This is found in, 禅our Diary of W.A. Cosgrave, Esq. I.C.S., Political Agent, Manipur for the month of April:

April 14th, Imphal to Ningel and back via Thoubal 42 miles, 8:30 A.M. - 4.30 P.M. Accompanied by the State Engineer who wished to inspect roads and bridges. I drove out to Captain Montefiore痴 advanced base in the Western Chassad area Ningel. Some 200 Kuki women and children belong to 3 Kuki villages the men of which have been put in Jail by General Officer Commanding Burma have been concentrated here in small huts besides the outpost. The General Officer Commander who makes over political charge to me tomorrow had told me that I could do what I liked with these people. I went to Ningel to see if it was necessary to detain them there or if they could be allowed to return to their villages. After discussions with them, I have decided that it is much better to let them go back to their villages where I believe that they will be able to exist all right, especially as I intend selling them out a low rate surplus coolie rice which is no longer required at Ningel as all the Naga Hills coolies have returned to Kohima. As the direct road to Yaripok and Ningel was very heavy, I returned to Imphal via Thoubal and the Burma Road. Rain is urgently wanted on this side of the valley for cultivation purpose.

Among many concentration camps, the one at Mombi (Lonpi) deserves special mention. This was the base where the British lost their men for the first time. The repression here was said to have been heavier than in any other places. People were tied in their loins with long ropes, about two to three feet apart in the formation of a ring. From dawn to dusk they were made to walk in the rugged uphill, with heavy loads on their backs. They were paraded in chains and when asked to move quickly, those who stumbled and failed to rise up were crudely dragged on and walked upon. These harsh punishments claimed many lives. At the end of the day痴 work, they were not given time to bathe or wash. The food that was provided was meagre in portions. Whenever the surviving Kuki elders and the aged relate their sufferings and bitter experiences here, they always get lumps in their throats and are filled with emotion and tears.
This account has been well documented in 禅he consultative Committee of Kuki leaders (1963). An excerpt on p. 28 reads as follows:
The most serious tortures were given to the people of Mombi (Lonpi) village, the Kuki centre of the South. Here a concentration camp was opened at Kuljang, in the vicinity of the present Mombi village. The Kukis kept in this camp were tied together with one another by their loins (the distance of the next being two feet or so) and made to proceed in a long chain. Heavy loads of rice bags were put on their backs and shoulders, and they were then driven in herds as beasts of burden, up the steep hill along the road for about a mile. The process was repeated several times for a stretch, right from sunrise to sunset when they were given several lashes on their rear ends. Unable to bear this torture, many Kukis succumbed to the pain. Even to this day Kuki elders who experienced these worst days cannot but hold back bitter tears, when they relate the sad tale of those punishments and torture meted out to them.

Before and after the war there were no developed roads in Manipur and Zale地-gam. The few that were opened for traffic were only cart roads. At the end of the war three sub-divisional headquarters were created. The Kukis built the routes connecting the headquarters with Imphal, entirely on free and forced labour. The total length of the roads measures about 4,700 miles. The tools used to build the roads were very inadequate and crude. One can imagine the amount of labour that would have been required for the completion of such an arduous task.The routes constructed include:
1. Imphal to Tamu Road
2. Imphal to Churachandpur Road
3. Imphal to Laijang (Tamenglong) Road
4. Imphal to Ukhrul Road

A song was composed to reflect the pain and suffering endured by the Kukis:                                                   
A thing ding in kuva le lamkhong hin,
A song ding 訴n ko値 mang khum lhan val段n,
Ko値 mang khumlhan ko値 kimvel alhang lhan,
Nathim thua lut lou mi abeije.

Cultivation for food products came to a complete halt in the Kuki Hills during the entire three years of the war. When their houses were burnt down and their labour forcibly acquired for the construction of roads, a small number of people could take to the task of cultivation. Famine visited the people and they had to move into the jungles to gather wild foodstuff for their survival. The acute scarcity of food grains continued for a long period after the war.

4. The Effects of the War of 1917-1919, on the Kuki People

The Kuki rising began on 7th March 1917 and ended on 20th March 1919. The war affected different parts of Zale地-gam in different degrees and magnitude. These effects can be explained under two separate headings, namely: direct and indirect Effects.

Direct effects:

a) The Kuki rising, 1917-1919 claimed many lives including women and children; thereby leaving many orphans, widows and widowers.
b) All the prominent Chiefs were arrested and sent to Sodia and Taunggyi jails where they languished for many years. The absence of such prominent leaders and chiefs created a vacuum in the Kuki leadership. Consequently, it brought about the downfall of Kuki supremacy and sovereignty in Zale地-gam.
c) Kuki villages were burnt down and all the livestock destroyed for having dared to oppose the colonial power.
d) The sovereignty of the Kuki nation Zale地-gam was thus destroyed and divided into two. The western part was included within British India and the southern part to British Burma. The western part of the former Zale地-gam state was divided into three sub-divisions in the present Manipur state. The three sub-divisions came to be known as Ukhrul, from what was formerly Chassad; Tamenglong, from what was formerly Laijang; and Churachandpur, instead of Lamka. Eastern Zale地-gam came to be known as Tamu and Homalin under the Sagaing Division of Burma.                                                      e) Many innocent Kukis, including women and children were captured and put in various concentration camps. They were subjected to inhuman treatment. They were subjected to forced labour. For example, the innocent Kuki inmates of the concentration camps constructed the roads in Manipur connecting Imphal and Tamu, Ukhrul, Tamenglong and Churachandpur, measuring 4,700 Km. in total. They were not paid for their labour.
f) Until the subjugation by the Colonial forces, the Kukis, owners of the land used to collect Re 1/- (Rupee one) as Annual house tax from their Naga subjects. The Naga people carried the Kuki Chieftains on palanquins whenever they were on tour, from one village to another. These rights of the Kukis were taken away along with their land and suzerainty. The British encouraged the Nagas to stop acknowledging Kuki supremacy over them.
g) For a Kuki man, possession of a gun symbolises pride, dignity and the ultimate manhood. The mass confiscation of their guns during the war had a devastating effect on their pride and morale.
h) The age-old customary laws and traditions, which formed the very foundation of Kuki administration in their sovereign land, were undermined, resulting in the disintegration of the Kuki nation.
i) There were traditional institutions for learning called Sawm. Sawm was a time-tested institution of the Kuki youth and served as the most effective place of imparting knowledge and skills. Sawm was a kind of dormitory, where young boys lived in separate quarters with the older ones, taking on the role of teaching and guiding. The war brought an end to the traditional process of learning.
j) Since the Kuki loyalty to the British colonial power was not to be voluntarily gained, the British deliberately sidelined and neglected the Kukis in all the developmental activities.

Indirect effects:

a) The suspension of all agricultural activities during the war, and the continued raids on villages even after the war, brought about a severe famine all over Zale地-gam. As a result, the most prosperous Chassad Chief and his family had to subsist on jungle roots called Ha and other types of wild vegetables and herbs. b) The Kukis in concentration camps were kept in unhygienic conditions. As a result, many of them perished with the outbreak of cholera, malaria and small pox.
c) Even after the war ended, the British sepoys continued to raid the main Kuki villages. This resulted in the disintegration of all the big settlements into several smaller, weaker, scattered villages. This legacy, left by British colonial rule, continues today in the form of small Kuki settlements.
d) The loss of sovereignty and fragmentation of big villages resulted in poverty and backwardness of the Kuki people.
e) Under the British Colonial policy of 船ivide and Rule, Kuki Zale地-gam was divided between the two sovereign countries of India and Burma, where they are treated as landless people with no State of their own.
f) The government of India follows the same policy on the Kukis, as its previous colonial master. Turning a blind eye to the plight of the Kukis who today are victims of the systematic ethnic cleansing propelled by the Tangkhul Naga led Nationalist Socialist Council Nagaland - Isak and Muivah (NSCN -IM). As a result, hundreds of Kuki villages have been burnt down in Manipur and Nagaland, thousands uprooted of Kukis from their hearth and home, where they lived for generations. These people are refugees in their own country.
g) Hundreds of innocent women, children and old people have been killed in the most heinous of ways.
h) Christianity was introduced among the Kukis with the initiative of the manipulative Tangkhul people who wanted to uproot the strong social and organisational base of the Kuki community痴 culture, customs and traditions.

5. The Reasons for the Defeat of the Kukis

The reasons for the defeat of the Kukis at the hands of the British forces are due to the following:

a) The defeat of Germany in Europe in the First World War; consequently, the Germans could not come to the aid of Kukis as planned.
b) The combined forces of British India and British Burma proved too strong for the Kukis.
c) Since the war was fought on Kuki soil, the plight of the women and children hampered the Kuki warriors from fighting effectively. The British forces had no such preoccupation.
d) The British forces had the advantage of superior weapons and abundant manpower, whereas the Kukis had to rely on country made weapons. Manpower was limited too.
e) The Nagas sided with the colonialist instead of supporting their own Masters and countrymen (the Kukis). They served as informers and guides for the British.
f) The Kukis who had recently been converted to Christianity also sided with the British, against their own brothers.
g) A small number of self-seeking Kukis traitors acted as informers for the British forces, thus, revealing important war plans, etc.
h) The British Forces received uninterrupted supply of rations. The Kukis had to depend solely on the produce of their land. When the war was extended beyond two cropping seasons, the Kukis naturally ran short of food supply. The combination of the above reasons is responsible for the Kukis defeat. However, against all odds, the Kukis nonetheless fought valiantly for two and a half years and lost the war honourably.

6. The Hardships Faced by the jailed Kuki Chiefs and Leaders

Many Kuki Chiefs were arrested and put at the Sodia Jail, the Cellular Jail of Andaman and Niccobar islands and the Taunggyi Jail (Burma). They were made to languish in the prisons for years. They were thousands of miles away from their homeland and at that time there were no modern modes of transportation and communication. However, telegraph facility was available at Imphal in Manipur, and Homalin in Burma. As most of the people were illiterate letters were not written. The telegraphic facility was the only mode of communication and was occasionally used. One such communication by the telegraph was a lamentation between Pi Nemjavei and her jailed husband Pu Lhukhomang Haokip alias Pache, Chief of Chassad:

Pi Nemjavei:
Kahui Borosap Koma,
Veigam lekha kathol thot,
Ngaikom thong lhung nam?

Free translations
Country (High official) of Kohima,
My letters to my beloved,
Have they been safely delivered?

Pu Pache:
Ahung, ahung thong lhunge,
Amang lungthim gui khaovin Tongdone.

Yes my beloved, yes,
Your dear messages
Have been wired by telegraph.

Pi Nemjavei:
Laija chin mang henkol kai,
Achun naovang kap inte,
Mang lung Kihijin.

To think of his son in chains,
His dear mother would be in tears,
Won稚 you have a change of heart?

Pu Pache:
Mang lung kiheitah sang in,
Lhang a mangkang sap thim thu,
Choiphal go barg aham e.

Far from having a change of heart,
The mind of the British,
Became stiff as the bow.

Pache addressed this message to the people at home:

Phung gol lai dip dam hih un,
Lha Kakih nileh sitlei cheng,
Janglie ling nante.

Free translation
Don稚 get disheartened my kinsmen,
The world would tremble,
If they would ever be able to kill me.

After surrendering to the British rulers by offering
an elephant tusk, Pu Chengjapao Doungel composed the
following ballad:

Pupa gamlei toi golleng thei sot tai,
Ka neng ju le gou saiha lutne;
Thimthu homin lhang thing sol khai jing,
Kavanga neng ai don cheng na mongin.

Free translation
In the land of my forefathers my brothers are facing
With my elephant tusk and wine I am surrendering to
my adversaries.
All my people, who had been drinking wine at my
behest, may now live in peace.

Pu Chengjangul, Chief of Mollen composed the following
ballad, at the time when Pu Chengjapao was taken to
Sadiya jail:

Khavang che na chung Pathenin choijin,
Bol na gamlei lai umtong na nemhen;
Phung mang lai sal lhang chimang hung damin,
Dou gam leija va bang pao kit nao te.

Free translation
May God guide you,
May all the evil spirits be good to you,
Where ever you would stay.
You are the shining one amongst all the Chiefs.
May you come back healthy and hearty, at the time
when we would be
The Rulers of this battle-torn land.

After three years, all the Kuki leaders excepting the Kuki Raja, Chengjapao Doungel, was set free from the Cellular Jail and the Taunggyi Jails. The families and Kinsmen were duly informed who turned out in great numbers to welcome them home, both at Homalin and Imphal.

The people composed the following welcome ballad:

Hao cha mang cheng thong lhun nin,
Phaicham setlie kiling e.
Kaina mang tolla.

Free translation
The homecoming of the great Chiefs,
Caused the people to tremble with joy,
Over the valleys and the hills.

The great Kuki warriors and Chiefs finally returned
home to their beloved people and villages whereupon
they were welcomed back with tears of joy.
The following verses were sung to welcome them:

Henkol kaipin thimthu tamlel tavinte,
Keja henkol jangkhen thih hija ham?
Keija henkol jang khen thih hiponte?
Longtui cham chang cheng Khaobalou hinte,
Lorgtui cham chung cheng khao balou hiponte,
Lhang a Mang lung kihei loulai hinte.

Free translation
My fellow prisoners, whose hands were shackled,
Would now be free to talk, as they like in
their village.
My handcuffs! Is it made of strong steel?
No, it is not.
The ropeway for me to cross the river is not yet laid,
The British lord is not yet done with me.

Nihei chang bang hungpal lo,
Len lhang kum kho,
Pupa gamlei ma gahno tadinge.
Pupa gamlei ma gahno tadinge.

Free translation
Let the days and seasons,
Hurry past like an early crop,
Let me hasten to the land of my forefathers,
Why should I take shelter under some authority?

The absence of the Kuki Chief Pu Chengjapao Doungel, who was kept in Cellular Jail, made the administration of the village very difficult for Pu Chungjangul, the Headman of Haolai.
He thus composed the following verses:

Chollha Pibang len lhang a selang soh chun,
Chihmang namin jang lojang athang e.
Chihmang namin jang lojang athang e,
Pupa gamlei gujang hinchu teiyin.
Khavang chena chung Pathen in choijin,
Bolna gamlei laijin tongna nemheo.
Phung lai mang laijin lhang chimang hung damin,
Dougam leija vabang paokit naote.

Free translation
Like the great moon shining over the hills,
Your famous name is heard all over the land.
Your famous name is heard all over the land,
Keep up the fight for the land of our forefathers.
May your kindly presence be felt again over our abode?
May you be safe and free for the greatness of your tribe,
May we surely meet again, in this war torn land of

Finally, Pu Chengjapao Doungel was set free on
completion of his term. The good news spread all over
the land and the people turned out in great numbers at
Imphal town to welcome him.
Overwhelmed with joy, he composed the following ballad:

Kache langin jang huivan kamaovin,
Kahung langin pigo nun nel kaij.
Tonglam eidot namtin pibang kimna,
Laija bulve ge bang in Kaneme.

Free translation
When I was leaving my country,
I was overwhelmed with sadness.
On my return to my country,
All my people in welcome wave like the bamboo in the
All the people were there to welcome me.
In my joy I felt as light as the fluttering feathers
of the Vakul (a type of bird).

Overcome with joy, Chengjapao Doungel, Chief of Aisan, managed to forget all the hardships and lonely years in jail. Taken on a palanquin by his people, accompanied by all the heads of other Kuki clan members, he reached Aisan Village to a resounding welcome by his beloved people. On arrival at his village, Pu Chengjapao composed another ballad:

Namtin khelin kumkho sothen kalkai jing,
Lalna gamlei muna thonglhung kitne;
Pupa jil sa kalen chom solang ngui sa,
Solna gamleo gamva jing thou kithen.

Free translation
I was imprisoned, unlike the others, for a long
I have now come back to my own land.
The drums made by my forefathers remained silent so long,
May the joy of life return to the land again,
And may the birds sing once again.

7. The Awards Issued by the British Government to the British Officers and Sepoys:

The following British Gallantry Awards were instituted at the end of the war:
1. C.I.E 1
2. O.B.E. 1
3. A.I.D.S.M.S. 14
4. King痴 Police Medal 1

The British Government also put the following on record:
Villages wiped out - 86
Villages Burnt - 120
Villages Wiped out by Kukis themselves - 15
Weapon confiscated (India) - 970
Weapons confiscated (Burma) - 600

The above record does not include the number of weapons deliberately destroyed by fire because it was difficult to transport them across the hilly terrain.The number of weapons captured both in India and Burma is estimated to be over 5,000. The number of weapons belonging to Aisan burnt near Meluri village under a mango tree alone was over 700.

Col. Shakespeare recorded the following casualties of the British forces:

(Western Zale地-gam, Central and Eastern Zale地-gam)
Number of officers killed in action 1
Number of officers wounded 1 4
Number of Riflemen killed in action 47
38 Number of Riflemen wounded and died later 84
99 Number of Porters killed in action 7 Not killed
Number of Porter wounded who died later 393
Not wounded Total: 533 142

The above given figures do not tally with the records of the Kukis based on eye witnessed accounts. In the battle fields the Kukis counted 500 riflemen and 10 officers killed in action. Col. Shakespeare seems to have suppressed the actual numbers for reasons unbeknown to the Kuki people. Col. L.W. Shakespeare gave ample evidence what transpired after the war. Zale地-gam was occupied, the Chiefs were jailed and the villagers were used as labour force. To quote Shakespeare (1929, p.237), 禅he Kukis were now made to open up their country by constructing fair bridle paths through their hills connecting with points in the Manipur and Chindwin valley (Burma), and also connecting with the various posts with each other. The accounts of Col. Shakespeare clearly testify that the Kukis were a fiercely independent race that was subjected by the mighty colonialist as a result of their victory in the Kuki rising, 1917 - 1919. The British occupied Zale地-gam after the war. The Kuki areas were known as the hills of Manipur, North Cachar Hills and Karbi Anglong (in present Assam) and Upper Chindwin in present Burma.
The day the Kukis were defeated in 1919, was the saddest in their history. They have not been able to come to terms with it till today. Upon the burning down of his village by British sepoys, Pu Ngulkhup expressed his anger in the following words: 禅unia kipat nin British ho a dingin Zale地-gam kakhah tai. (I declare the Kuki country out of bound for the British from today). The most tragic outcome of the war was a) Zale地-gam was forcibly occupied; b) it was further divided between India and Burma.
It is the moral obligation of the free nations of the world to determinate the restoration of Zale地-gam to its rightful Kuki owners!






Chapter XVI

The Other Kuki Contributors Who Distinguished Themselves in the War

1. Pu Lethao Haokip
Pu Lethao Haokip was Chief of Girihang village. He was an undisputed expert in the skills of making firearms. He made weapons of superior quality. His contribution to the Kuki cause by way of manufacturing guns was tremendous and very much appreciated. When the British Government came to know about his activities, he was arrested and put in Imphal Jail.

2. Pu Ngamkhothang Lhungdim
Pu Ngamkhothang Lhungdim was a brave soldier. He commandeered the Southern Sector. Under his leadership, the Kuki Warriors defended the Ukha Fort valiantly until it finally fell. The fort fell to the Sepoys due to their huge numbers and superior weaponry. He also led the ambush near Moirang where many British sepoys were killed. The survivors fled leaving behind their arms and ammunitions. Unfortunately for the Kukis, during the course of the war, he was made to languish in jail for several years as an under trial.

3. Pu Tong-ngam Doungel
Pu Tong-ngam Doungel was the younger brother of Pu Chengjapao Doungel, head of all the Kuki Tribe and Chief of Aisan Village. He was commander of the Kuki warriors in the Chingcharoi and Kanjang forts. He successfully defended the forts against the British sepoys. He was captured and jailed by the British for a number of years.

4. Pu Laljasong Haolai
Pu Laljasong Haolai was Chief of Haijang and Second in Command to Pu Chengjapao Doungel, the Commander of the Kuki Forces of Northeastern Zone of Zale地-gam. He later took command of the area when the British arrested Pu Chengjapao. After the war the British Government meted out severe punitive measures by burning down Haijang Village and also confiscating his land and property, to be given away to other people. Furthermore, before being arrested and put in the Imphal Jail, he was forced to pay double the usual land tax for his role in the war.

5. Pu Lenkhokam Chongloi
Pu Lenkhokam Chongloi was a resident of Haflong in North Cachar Hills. He was one of the best-known experts in gun smithy. Pu Khupkhotintong (Tintong) Haokip, Commander in Chief and Pu Enjakhup Kholhou, Deputy Commander in Chief of the Western Sector requisitioned his services. He was a close associate of the two great commanders. The British forces later captured him while they were in pursuit of the two leaders. He was jailed for several years.

6. Pu Langjachin Zou
Pu Langjachin Zou was the Chief of Behieng and Head of the Zou-Kuki Tribe. He was also commander of the southwestern zone, comprising of Behieng, Hengtam, Lhite and several other fronts in the area. His contributions to the war were immense. He is remembered as one of the great commanders. The fact he was not captured and jailed by the British does not make him any less than those captured. He outsmarted the British and escaped capture by claiming to be a mere soldier of Pu Khupkhotintong (Tintong) Haokip. His modesty and presence of mind to claim the status of an ordinary soldier, in spite of being a great commander of a very big area, was expedient and remarkable.

7. Pu Goulun Manlun
Pu Goulun Manlun was the great Chief of Hengtam. He was a prominent Zou hero of the Kuki Tribe. He was an excellent military strategist. He was commander of the Hengtam area. Pu Tintong, Commander in Chief of the Kuki Forces paid him a visit during the War. The British Forces raided his village twice but failed to cause much damage.

8. Pu Sumkhothong Haokip
Pu Sumkhothong Haokip was Chief of Toitung. He was also Commander of Southeastern Sector. He had the additional responsibility of punishing the pro-British Kuki Chiefs. When he was arrested and questioned as to why he fought the war, his famous reply was: Kagam leiset eilahpeh go sapkang te khatbeh toh-thithading tia gal kasat ahi (I am fighting in the hope that I would not die in vain, but to take with me at least one white aggressor with my death, a white man who is trying to snatch my precious land away).                                                       The British were shocked at his honest and straightforward reply, unlike many others who claimed to fight the war under compulsion. He was released forthwith and treated with honour. He was later appointed as advisor to the British Administration, Manipur. The Maharaja of Manipur presented him Khamenchep sangkhol and Delchol (Royal garments) for his services as commander of the Manipuri Forces, assigned to capture wild elephants. In this task, Pu Semthong Haokip, Chief of Songpi, another great Kuki leader, assisted him.

9. Pu Laso Haokip
Pu Laso Haokip was the Chief of Selmei. He served as Commander of the Burma sector, covering Somra area. He killed five British India sepoys and three white sepoys. He was said to have fought the war for ten continuous days without food. Col Shakespeare痴 reference, in 践istory of the Assam Rifles, p. 232, that one British Subedar, Hangspal Limbu, killed 30 Kuki sepoys in Tizu River area, was refuted by the evidence of Pu Laso. Pu Laso said that the victims were not sepoys but women, children and old people who were under his care, and numbered not thirty, but forty! The Zoro Choro tribesmen of the area are also said to have participated actively in the massacre of the defenceless people. The legendary hero, Laso Haokip is still vividly remembered by Pu Jamkhochung Haokip alias Jampu, an ex-Assam Rifleman. He later became a freedom fighter in the Indian National Army (INA). The 97-year-old ex-INA member gave the following account to the author:

Laso was of medium height, very strong and courageous. He was lion-hearted and had peculiar blue eyes, which seemed to shine brighter in the jungle. He had super-quick reflexes, like that of a wild animal. He refused to be reconciled to the loss of many of his kinsmen at the hands of the enemy. While I was posted at the Assam Rifle Camp at Kanjang Village, he approached me for help in procuring arms and ammunition. I went to Dimapur to buy gunpowder and lead metal to be used in the manufacture of bullets.Well equipped and well prepared; Laso proceeded to take his revenge by killing and wiping out the whole village of the enemy.

Upon returning to Molheh, Pu Laso sang a victory song:

Kathange, lamsaha, kapang khin khen ne,
Lamlhang kungbul kasatne.
Tah chapa!
Kip hison cha keibou kathange,
Mollai lojang kathange,
Natah in nem?
Tah chapa!
Napun la kapu joulou
Napan la kapa joulou
Nangin kei neijo deh ding ham?

Free translation
I am great and victorious, keeping post at the North,
Attacking the Southern enemy.
True son of my father!
Kip Heson痴 son is victorious,
I am victorious all over,
Do you dare me?
True son of my father!
Your grandfather wouldn稚 dare mine,
Your father wouldn稚 dare mine,
Would you dare me?

Pu Laso Haokip was reputed to have killed the maximum number of enemy sepoys. His contributions to the war for the Kuki cause will always be well remembered. He escaped capture by the mighty British Forces only due to his skilful ability to dodge the enemy. He hid in the most far-flung and inhospitable of terrain to outwit the enemy.

10. Pu Chungkhojang Haokip
Pu Chungkhojang was a young man of exceptional qualities. He was brave, courageous and had great physical strength. The Chassad Chief appointed him as Commander of the Kuki forces of Chassad. When the First Kuki War of Independent broke out, he served in the Eastern sector of Zale地-gam. Since he was not one of the Chiefs, after the war, he escaped to the Somra track and took shelter with Pu Laso Haokip, his cousin.

11. Pu Vungjalen Hangshing
Pu Vungjalen Hangshing was the Chief of Mongken, in Singhat area of present day Churachandpur District in the Southern Sector of Zale地-gam. When war broke out, he mobilised a large number of warriors and fought shoulder to shoulder with the Zou-Kuki Forces. After heavy fighting, his village was burnt down by the British. Instead of losing heart, he managed to re-group his forces and made Hengtam his fort. He continued to fight for Zale地-gam to the bitter end.

12. Pu Thangchung Baite
Pu Thangchung Baite, Chief of Chalson Tengnoupal was a great Kuki warrior. His contribution in the Kuki rising, 1917-1919 was immense. He is reputed to have shot many British sepoys during the course of the war. Besides his war exploits, Pu Thangchung was famed for his marksmanship. He was able to hit any chosen target from a great distance, making it appear an effortless task. He was much respected for his skill among the Kuki people. This carries much significance because the gun holds pride of place among Kuki warriors. Therefore, a man who was an expert in the use of the gun was highly regarded. Pu Thangchung held this place of honour, which is a tribute to the Baite people, but especially so among the Kuki people.
The occasion of Pu Thangchung shooting the mithun of Pu Ngulkhup at the Lonpi meeting in 1917 is legendary. It is fondly remembered in Kuki history, and is often referred to.

13. Pu Goulian Zou
Pu Goulian Zou was a renowned Kuki warrior in the Kuki rising, 1917-1919. He demonstrated his valiance in many parts of Zale地-gam. The ode below shows the great exploits of Pu Goulian:

Tui zum zeli dou hung khange,
Tuang lan a ma tan inge.

Tuang lam a ma tan inge,
Tui bom a lai luang onge.

A sin puang e a lung puange,
Lal lung thung dim in puangne.

Lal lu thung dim in puange,
Za lai lawi bang thang inge.

13. Pu Mangjathang Zou
Among the Zou Kuki warriors, Pu Mangjathang, like a lion zealously stood his ground to protect his Zale地-gam. He vehemently declared his intention to safeguard his land at any cost. The ode below vividly reflects the spirit of Pu Mangjathang:

Tui zum mang kang kil bang hung kahng,
Zou ta kual zil bang nung lin pian na,
Ka gam lei hiai phal singe.

Pian na kagam lei hia phal sing ka nam,
Tem san sin zele ngal liam vontoi,
Ka lou louh lai e.

14. Pu Paokhomang Haokip
According to Pu Ngulthong Haokip (aged 106), of Khokon village, in present day Sadar hills, Manipur, Pu Paokhomang Haokip was one of the great leaders during The Second Kuki rising, 1942-1945. He led the Kukis to fight the British in many areas of Zale地-gam. He and his men joined the Indian National Army (INA) to liberate Zale地-gam from British dominion. He was later captured by the British forces and sentenced to life imprisonment. During his trial, prior to being sent to the Cellular Jail in Andaman and Nicobar Islands to serve his sentence, he composed a song to express his longing for his wife Pi Veijating. He sent word to her through a friend. The translation of the song reads:

When news of my imprisonment,
Reaches my beloved, She would be hurt beyond imagination.
Oh, how painful that would be!

During his incarceration at the Cellular Jail, he composed a song of despair concerning the fate of his countrymen who had lost the war against the British.A translated version of the song follows:

Though they have imprisoned me on an island,                                 Surrounded by the deep blue sea,
My spirit returns to visit Zale地-gam,
In my dreams, my beloved lands.

The people will remember Pu Paokhomang痴
sacrifices for the liberation of Zale地-gam.
They serve as glorious examples for all true Kuki
patriots and freedom fighters to struggle with a
greater zeal in order to achieve our ultimate aim of
regaining our sovereign Zale地-gam.









The sovereign nation of Zale地-gam, the land of the Kukis, was lost to the British in the Kuki rising, 1917-1919. It was annexed to the British Empire after the suppression of the Rising. Suspicious that the Kukis would rise up against them, various pre-emptive measures, but repressive policies were vigorously carried out by the colonial Raj. By now the colonial presence in the Kuki areas was made real and direct. The Assam Rifles outposts were created in the heartland of the Kuki Rising佑hassad, Longpi (Mombi), Lamka (Churachandpur), Tamenglong, Hengthan, Ukhrul and Nantiram with a stipulated regular patrolling system in the areas to prevent any anti-colonial activities. However, by far the most devastating policy of the British was the rigorous implementation of its infamous 租ivide and rule policy. Immediately after they annexed Zale地-Gam, the British colonial government divided the Kuki territory into six administrative units or sub-divisions, four in present India and two in Burma. In India, the sub-divisions of Ukhrul, Tamenglong, Churachandpur, and Sadar were created, and Tamu and Homilin sub-divisions in Burma. Not satisfied with this arrangement, and being in constant fear of another uprising, a well laid out policy was put into place to divide the Kukis in 1936 by drawing an international boundary between British India and Burma in the heart of Zale地-Gam. This divides the Kuki territory into two equal halves and rendering a devastating blow to their unity. It should be noted that this was the final assault on the unity of the Kukis, which began since the advent of the British colonial power in the region.


The efforts of the colonial power to separate the Kukis did not end here. The British knew that the chief strength of the Kukis lay in their social compactness, closely bonded by their strong emphasis on genealogy jealously guarded by the Kuki chieftainship government. In order to control the Kukis effectively it was the colonial policy to break this social compactness at all cost by bringing claims and dissensions within the community. This came with the publication of William Shaw痴 Notes on the Thadou Kukis by the Asiatic Researches (1929). Shaw was himself a colonial administrator (sub-divisional officer) and he was commissioned to write on the Kukis with the objective of bringing dissension. Note that the original project was to be undertaken by experts under JH Hutton from whom it was hijacked. Hutton introduced Shaw痴 book anyway, but he disagreed with him on many points. As it was pre-mediated, Shaw痴 work soon impacted Kuki unity in a most fatal manner. His outrageous error was that he relegated all the Kuki clans under the Thadou sub-clan, which asserted 奏hose of the inferior lineage were all under the wing of the Thadous and so included under that term (Op cit, 1929, 30).


The clans and sub-clans not belonging to the Thadou lineage immediately made their protest against Shaw痴 work. They made a representation to the Asiatic Researches and the Asiatic Society of Bengal to withdraw or correct Shaw痴 error. However, the intervention of the government must have compelled the reputed Society to keep the valuable memorandum unattended on their shelves at Calcutta. This crucial protest being deliberately ignored, the divisive policy of the Raj was now deeply entrenched within the Kukis. The beginnings can be traced with the creation of the pro-British Kuki Chief Association in 1935/36 with the tacit support of the colonial administrations. The Association was limited to those few chiefs who were already under the influence of the British. The absence of any political agenda until independence shows that the Association was mainly meant as a bulwark against the hostile Kukis chiefs. The forum served to bring about further dissensions within the Kukis as these pro-British chiefs made the platform a launching pad to legitimise Shaw痴 error. This resulted in the agnate clan members defining their respective identities. Thus, the colonial government was quite successful in bringing about social fragmentation within the Kuki society, which was briefly stalled during the II World War. This process made its hydra-headed division in 1956 under independent India. This will be discussed later in this chapter. 


The annexation of Zale地-Gam into the British Empire severely denuded the powers of the Kuki Chiefs and brought extreme suffering to the Kuki public. The Kukis were now subjected to intensified colonial presence and exploitation. The policy of preventing further fragmentation of the Kuki villages was now rigorously implemented, curtailing their freedom of movement from place to place in search of fertile land. In addition to lambus, who became a virtual local potentate by now, there was a hierarchy of colonial officials: the Sub-Divisional Officers, lam subedars, mohorirs, interpreters, etc. Many odd taxes were now rigorously collected. Other forms of exploitation such as forced labour, extortions, tortures, etc. were rigorously carried out. This situation intensified immediately before the Second World War. The Kukis were 訴mpressed for various military projects as forced labour. By the autumn of 1942, the Army employed up to 5000 daily labourers in the hill alone and contractors employed another 6500. Rigorous repairing, widening, and construction of new roads, bridges, and culverts were taken up on a massive scale. The existing tarmac road from Dimapur to Imphal was widened to take two lines of traffic, and the road from Imphal to Pallel was tarmaced. The bridle paths from Pallel to Tamu and down the Khuga valley towards Teddim were also converted into all-weather roads in which motor vehicles could ply. Other bridle paths such as to Ukhrul, Khurasom, Sita, Mombi, and from Bishnupur to Jeribam (the Silchar track) were made passable for jeeps. In the Sadar Sub-division, it was recorded that 3356 labourers were engaged and in Tamenlong Sub-division 31,409. The Kukis were particularly opposed to such forced labour as it was against their prestige to work for other people. Thus the British were successful in bringing down the Kuki image in the sight of the Meitei and Burmese people. By favouring one against the other the British could practically destroy the unity of the various tribes who belong to the same ethnic group.


Under British Rule, the Kukis were subjected to innumerable hardships but they refused to remain suppressed for long. They started making contacts with like-minded leaders from Bengal and Germany. When the Second World War broke out in Europe in 1939, the Kukis took up one cause with the Indian National Army (INA) forces under the leadership of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose to overthrow the British. The coming of INA and Imperial Japanese Army was considered to be a godsend opportunity to overthrow the colonial regime. The Kukis supported the INA and Japanese armies because they knew they would free them from the British. Accompanied by the Kukis the Japanese and INA forces did not face any hurdle in crossing the inhospitable jungle terrain.

The Kuki and Japanese Alliance

The Kukis joined the Japanese forces on the agreed and signed conditions of a formal war pact. In 1943, when the Japanese army was in the Chindwin valley of Burma, Tongkhothang, Chief of Haokip sub-clan, and son of Pache, one of the leaders of the Kuki Rising of 1917-1919, immediately sent his emissary assuring Kuki support if the Japanese are willing to liberate Zale地-gam after the war. Tongkhothang and the Japanese counterpart met on two occasions at Koija and Molly camps, respectively on the 5 and 12 November 1943 and concluded the war pact. The Kuki Chiefs and the Japanese officers solemnised the occasion according to Kuki traditional custom of taking vows by Humha-pe (swearing by biting a tiger痴 tooth) and Saba (feasting on the heart and liver of a Mithun). Altogether 55 chiefs and 88 others were present at the Koija camp meeting, and a larger participation of 135 chiefs and 30 others at Molly camp. As part of the agreement 400 rifles were placed at the disposal of the Kukis to fight the British. The Kuki fighters were then trained in the use of Japanese weapons. These Kukis fought along with the Japanese and INA forces until they retreated; many Kukis followed them till Rangoon. Several Kukis were also trained for the intelligence services under the Japanese officers. More than fifty Kukis were formally recruited in the Japanese intelligence organisation called Nishi Kikan operating in the frontiers region.


Following the ceremony of alliance, the Kuki chiefs decreed that all Kukis must fight along with the INA and Japanese army. They also called upon all the Kukis to leave their official service under the British. The relationship between the Japanese agents and Kukis began before the beginning of WWII. Kuki knowledge of the topography of the region was of great help to the Japanese as well as to the INA. Dressed in Kuki traditional dress, the Japanese officers carried out reconnaissance trips to different parts of Manipur and the Naga Hills. The advance party, in the same dress, constructed roads and bridges at crucial places.


In response to the call of the chiefs, many Kukis, who joined the British Volunteer Force and the Assam Rifles deserted and joined the Japanese or INA camps. Kuki fighters like Pakang Haokip, Jamthang Kuki, Hemkholet Kuki, Somkhai Haokip, and Chongjadem Haokip, were few of the British V-Force who later deserted and joined the Japanese army. Similarly, several of the Kukis who were in the Assam Rifles such as Vumkhothang Haokip, Mangkhohen Kuki deserted their services under the British and joined the INA-Japanese forces. In the Chin Hill Battalion and the Falam Levies many Kukis also left their office jobs and joined the INA or Japanese camps. ETD Lambert, a Central Intelligence Officer noted that out of 2000 strong Kukis in the said levy, only about 400 pro-Allied Kuki volunteers remained by the middle of 1944. The accounts of seventy-eight Kukis published in the Freedom Fighters of Manipur: Who痴 Who are living testimony of all those who participated in the ensuing campaign. Of these, sixty-three of them actually fought the Allied forces; six were in intelligence agency; seven were interpreters and guides, and two of them were responsible for organising rations. These men were given three to five months training by the Japanese. After the war those arrested were imprisoned for six months to one year.


The Kukis also helped their allies in collecting rations and also served in its labour force, all voluntarily. The Kukis never took money in exchange of rice and other food items from the Japanese and INA soldiers during the campaign. When there was shortage of rations, Kukis went into the jungle and collected roots and other wild vegetables to sustain the Japanese and INA soldiers. They also nursed the dying soldiers who were injured and inflicted with diseases. They took them to the nearest hospitals at Moreh, Tamu and Maymyo. Many of the Kukis especially women, children and aged people sought shelter in Map Gam (unadministered areas), which was under the control of the Japanese, but the able-bodied men remained in the field to continue fighting. It was estimated that more than six thousand Kuki soldiers fought in the ensuing war alongside the INA and Japanese forces.


Prominent leaders of the Kukis

Tongkhothang Haokip, head of Haokip sub-clan and chief of Chassad was the leader of the Kukis during the Japanese war. With the help of Japanese rifles and pistols he organised Japanese V-Forces as local scouts to operate against the Allied forces. He was the main channel for the distribution of guns in the hills of Manipur among the Kukis. He was also the principal figure under which an agreement was signed with the Japanese officers at Chindwin. Chassad, his capital, became headquarter for the Japanese agents even before the invasion. Onkholet (Pakang) Haokip, was the commander-in-chief of the Kuki army. Formerly he was a member of the British V-Force. He provided vital information about the British set up at Somra to the Japanese. He was given the rank of Lieutenant in the STA and made the Liaison Officer in the Somra Tract and in the area North and East of Ukhrul, where the 31 Division of the Japanese army was deployed. After the War he followed the retreating Japanese army and did not return home.


Palet was the leader in Sita area. He planted landmines on the road to Sita village as a result of which some Allied jeeps were destroyed. Seilet provided information about the Tangkhul Co-operation Committee. He was the Second Clerk of the SDO痴 Office at Ukhrul, but engaged with the 5th Columnist work even before the Japanese invasion. He also campaigned among the Indian soldiers of the Allied forces stationed in the areas to join the INA and Japanese forces. His main role was in mobilising the people, especially among the Tangkhul Nagas. Lamkhothang joined 4th Assam Rifles in 1939, and in early 1944 he deserted and joined INA and Japanese forces at Mawlaik in Burma. He was given the rank of Captain. He was said to have been moving about the Kuki villages, passing off under various names, and was one of the chief Kuki 5th columnists, who left with the Japanese during their retreat. He was arrested in 1946 and confined at Imphal Jail for one and a half year.


Other Kuki leaders who fought in the Great War shoulder to shoulder with the INA and Japanese forces include the following:

Eastern Zale地-gam (Burma)

1. Pu Pakang Haokip of Phaimol village
2. Pu Khaikholun Haokip of Toljam village
3. Pu Mangkholet Haokip of Phailengjang
4. Pu Vompu Haokip of Phailengjang
5. Pu Limkhojang Haokip of Kotlen
6. Pu Jamlet Haokip of Kotlen
7. Pu Sokhothang Haokip of Tonglhang
8. Pu Pabem Haokip of Phailenjang
9. Pu Onpu Haokip of Phailengjang
10. Pu Lamkhotong Kipgen of Molvom
11. Pu Amjalet Haokip of Molnoi
12. Pu Onkholet Haokip of Molnoi

Western Zale地-gam (India)

1.                                  1. Pu Ngamkhotong Haokip of Matijang
2. Pu Thongkhopao Haokip of Maokot
3. Pu Thongkholet Haokip of Maokot
4. Pu Jamkhongam Haokip of Maku
5. Pu Jamkholet Haokip of Na-ang
6. Pu Thongkhongam Haokip of Aisi
7. Pu Somkhai Haokip of Maku
8. Pu Hongjadou Haokip of Chassad
9. Pu Mangkhosei Haokip of Na-ang
10. Pu Mangjangam Haokip of Sakoh

The Kuki INA soldiers who received pension from the government of India are listed below:

SL NO.  Name               Father name             Address
1. Jamthang Haokip                         Churachandpur
2. Otkhosei Haokip     Lhunlet Haokip    Haokip Veng
3. Haojathang Haokip  Ngamhao Haokip  Bethel, Churachandpur
4. Jamkhochung          Doujang         Tusam, Ukhrul District
5. Lengkhothang Kuki    Onkhojam        Chassad, Ukhrul District
6. Semkhohao  Haokip   Semso Haokip   Loikhai, Churachandpur
7. Helkhopao Guite   Thangkholet Guite   Chingdai Khollen
8. Ngulkhohem Kuki     Daikhojam Kuki   Gilchingnang
9. Saht  Kuki                  Jamlhun      Thingjang
10. Lunhem Kuki              Mangkhosei  Lakhan Khumnou 
11. Jangkholun Kuki    Semkhoon Kuki    Twikong   
12. Achung Kom                              Khoirentak, Churachandpur 
13. Ampu Kom      Rengba Kom           Khoirentak, Churachandpur   
14. Rengba Kom     Arhmen Kom           Khorentak, Churachandpur   
15. Nguljalet Haokip         Semso Haokip  Loikhai, Churachandpur  
16.Vumkhothang Haokip  Kamson Haokip  Laijang, Churchandpur   
17. Lamkhothang Haokip Nohhao  Haokip  Wajang, Chandel
 18. Henjakhup Haokip     Semsa Haokip   K. Mongjang 
 19. Ngulkholet Haokip                         Teiseng, Churachandpur
20. Konkhothang Haokip                       Dopkon, Churachandpur
21. Nguljangam Haokip     Tensum Haokip  Lanchah, Ukhrul District
22. Onkhojang Haokip                         Dopkon, Churachandpur
23.Pumjakam                   Nguljakhai    Toitung, Chandel

24.Kamhang Mate  Thangjakham Khankol,Churachandpur  Dist                                                                            225.Lhunkholet Mate      Hemjangam        Gelmol, Churachandpur
26. Jamkholet                  Nguljatong    Aihang, Chandel
27.Letlun Chongloi                             Imphal
28.Holkhothang                Jamdou        Loni, Ukhrul
29. Jamkhoson Kuki                           Samukhong,Chandel
30.Ngamkhojang                               Maokot, Ukhrul
31. Seikhup Kuki        Songkhosem        Ichaigoyang, Saikul
32. Ngamkholun         Shojam             Khonomphai
33.Thangsei Haokip      Paothang Haokip   Molvailup, Ukhrul
34. Shohol Kuki            Hemngam         Songjang, Chandel
35. Lunkhoson                  Ngamso      Tollaibung, Chandel
36. Hemjathang Haokip       Ngulkhothang  Aishi, Ukhrul
37. Mangkholun                Letjathang     Songjang, Chandel
38. Chungtong                                   Samukon
39. Lunkhojang Khongsai                       Gallam
40. Satkam Singson     Jonjathang Singson  Imphal
41. Thangjadong Haokip  Lokhojang Haokip  Lakhan Khuman
42.Nungkhopao Neishel                        Churachandpur
43. Jangchung Haokip                          Waikhong
44.Bumkopao Tuboi      Limtong Tuboi       Bunglung
45. Doulam Dimngel                             Ichaigojang
46. Mangkhohen Haokip  Mangjapao          Haokip veng
47. Jamsho Haokip        Lethel Haokip       Maokot, Ukhrul District
48. Chungkhosei Haokip  Manghol Haokip    Bongjang, Tengnoupal
49. Ngamkhotong Haokip Haokhohem Haokip  Lamphei, Tengnoupal
50. S.Hemkholet Haokip  Limkhoson Haokip    New Lambulane
51. Jangkhosei Haokip    Songkhokhai Haokip  Chassad Avenue, Imphal
52. Jamngam Hangsing                             Imphal
53 Hemkholet Kuki        Sonhol Kuki             Churachandpur
54. Tongngam Kuki        Sheikhojang            Gojang, Saikul
55. Nehkhothang Haokip   Helchung               Wajang, Chandel
56. Lhukhothang Kuki       Otkhojang              Maokot, Ukhrul
57. Haopao Kuki            Onkhopao              Khaochoubung
58. Lhunkhosat Kuki        Ngamjapao             Kasung, Ukhrul
59. Tolkhothang Haokip    Heldong Haokip        Imphal
60. Tongkholun Haokip     Soankhojang Haokip   New Lambulane
61.Lhunkhosei Haokip      Jamngam Haokip       Songjang, Churachandpur
62. Jamkhojang Haokip     Sonkhojang Haokip    Saikul, Sadar Hills
63. Onjathang Touthang      Sojam Touthang      Saikul, Sadar Hills
64. Lungngam Lhungdim                               Bongmol Tampak, Tengnoupal
65. Jangkholet Haokip        Ngul-on Haokip        Chassad, Ukhrul
66.Thongkhongam  Haokip Songkhothang Haokip  Maokot, Ukhrul
67.Thongkhomang Kuki        Daikhojam            Gilchingnang
68.Otkhosei Guite             Thangjalhun  Guite    Thingjang
69.Lenghao Mate              Jam-ot Mate          Twisomjang
70. Onkholet Mate             Thangkho-on Mate   Twisomjang
71. Khuppao Kuki                Letjaseh Kuki         Ichaigojang
72. Helkholet Touthan       Chalso Touthang         Denglen
73.Haotung Haokip           Jil-ot Haokip              Chasssad, Ukhrul
74. Lhunkhojang Haokip     Jamngam Haokip         Pihang, Ukhrul
75.Chongjangam Haokip      Limkhothang  Haokip   Pihang, Ukhrul
76. Thongkhomang Haokip    Chongjathang Haokip  Kultuh, Ukhrul
77. Thongkhomang Haokip                               Loni, Ukhrul
78. Loikhojang Kuki            Heltong                  Twidam
79. Lunkhothang Haokip      Letkhojang Haokip       Chassad Avenue, Imphal
80. Otkhothang Haokip      Nehkhokhai  Haokip      Jalenbung, Ukhrul
81. Hempao Haokip         Nehkhokhai Haokip         Jalenbung, Ukhrul
82. Jamsei Haokip           Tongkhosei Haokip         Aigijang, Chandel
83. Jamlhun Touthang      Thangkhohem Touthang   K.Mollen
84.Tholet  Touthang            Limngam Touthang  Saikul, Sadar Hills
85. Thongjam Touthang        Ngamdou Touthang  Khoikai, Ukhrul
86. Thongkhojang Haokip    Letkhosei haokip       K.Mollen
87. Jamkhothang Haokip      Somkhojang Haokip  Lhangsom
88.Paokholet Haokip          Somkhojang  Haokip Lhangsom
89. Thangkholet Haokip      Ngulkhohem haokip   Gamnomphai
90. Jamlhun Haokip          Ngulkhohem  Haokip  New Lambulane, Imphal
91. Doujangam Haokip        Ngulkhohem haokip  Happy Valley
92 Hemkhojam Haokip        Thonglhun Haokip    Sapermaina, Sadar Hills
93. Hemkhosei Haokip        Haokhojam Haokip    Keithelmanbi, Sadar Hills
94. Dongkhothong Haokip    Lhusho Haokip     Mongpijang
95. Otkhothang Kipgen            Seikhojang    Chandmari
96.Otkhopao    Kipgen              Seikhojang  Keithelmanbi
97. Hensei Haokip                                  Songlung
98. Letkam Haokip                                  K. Songlung
99. Pakhai Thadou                  Helkholun    Haipi, Sadar Hills
100. Letkhopao Haokip                            New lambulane
101.Tongngam Touthang            Onthang    Gelmoul
102. Mangkhup Kuki                               Chanmu, Ukhrul
103. Thongkholim                                  Matejang,  Churachandpur
104.Letkhothang                                   Molnom, Churachandpur
105. Ngulkholet                                     Gangpijang
106.Limkholet Haokip                              T.Thanglunpa
107.Paokholal                                       Langa Koireng
108.Hemlhun haokip                                Sita, Tengnoupal
109. Thongkhosei Haokip                          Maokot, Ukhrul
110.Chunglet                                        Bongmol, Churachandpur
111.Mangkhup                 Songkhothang      Kingkin, Churachandpur
112.Thangkholim              Chungkhojam       Matalambulane, Churachandpur
113.Chungkhojam            Semkhothang        Matalambulane, Churachandpur
114.Akhup Kom                                      K.R.Lane
115.Shokhup Kipgen                                 Saparmaina, Sadar Hills
116.Tinsei Haokip                                   Haokip Veng, Imphal

117. Ngamjathang Touthang      Thanghol              Gelmol
118. Smt. Lunkholhing             Doukhomang         Chassad Avenue, Imphal
119. Smti. Tingkholhai              Hemkhopao         Gamnomphai
120. Haokhongam Haokip          Jamkhokhai         Haokip Veng, Imphal
121. Seikhomang Kipgen           Jangkholun          Chassad, Ukhrul
122.Sonkhomang Touthang        Ot-hao                Chassad, Ukhrul
123.Haokhothang Haokip          Tunkhojam           Chajang
124. Jangkhopao                    Tollam                 Thowai
125. Khupjalam Haokip             Jam-ot                  Imphal
126.Toljasei                          Jam-ot                 Imphal
127.Jamkhosei Haokip              Pakhai                 Chassad, Ukhrul
128.Haojalam                                                 Tusam, Saikul
129.Letkhosei                                                 Tusam, Saikul
130.Jangkholam                                              Tusam, saikul
131. Jamkhosei                                               Gampum
132.Semthong                                                Gampum
133.Jangkhosei                                               Changoubung, Sadar Hills 
134.Semkholet Haokip                                       Molnom

135.Hemkholun Kuki              Letkhosei                Thungtha
136.Hemkholun Kuki                                         Kultuh, Ukhrul
137.Palet Haokip                                             Haokip Veng, Imphal
138.Sailutchung Kom                                        Khonomphal
139.L.D.Maring Kuki                                          Imphal
140.Hoihat Kuki                                              Bongjang
141.Onsei Haokip                                             Molnom, Tengnoupal
142.Jamvum Haokip                                         Khengyoi, Chandel
143. Jamkhothang Haokip                                  Molcham, Chandel

144.Haongai Kuki                                            Songel
145.Jamthong Lhangum                                     Lonpi
146.Jamneng Haokip            w/o Holngam             Maokot, Ukhrul
147.Chungkhojam                                            Matijang, Ukhrul

148. Jamthang Haokip                              Churachandpur

   At a later stage of the war, while the Japanese and INA forces were engaged in crucial battles, the Burmese people started to side with the Allied Forces. The INA and Japanese forces failed to attract the mass support they had hoped to mobilise once they landed on Indian soil. At this point, the 鮮on-violence Movement under the towering leadership of MK Gandhi, Pandit Nehru and others, was becoming increasingly popular and successful. As a result, the Japanese occupied Burma became unsafe for people of Indian origin. These people started to leave in great numbers from Kalemyo, Kalewa, Mandalay and Rangoon, travelling mostly on foot. Thus, the roads leading towards Manipur, the only existing route to India were filled with refugees. Thousands died of hunger, thirst and disease. Anecdotally, it is worth mentioning here that the well-known Hindi film actress Helen was one of the refugees. Later, she found fame and fortune in Bombay. The Assam Rifles set up refugee camps at several places, but they were inadequate to meet the demands of such a multitude of helpless humanity. The most heart-rending scene was of babies still suckling their dead mothers lying on the roadside.


The Kukis continued to give their unflinching support to the Japanese forces and a close affinity and affection developed between them. This relationship is immortalised in an immensely popular song:

Theilou Koljang toni lep banna,

Ging deng deng弾 Japan lenna huilen kong.


Pego Lhemlhei saigin bang

Mao deng deng弾 van thamjol Japan lenna.


Amao deng deng弾 Japan lenna mongmo,

Vailou kon sunsot selung hem tante.


Atwi theikhong tabang ging deng deng,

Ging deng deng弾 Japan lenna huilen konggin.

Free translation:

Beyond the hills from an unknown land,

Floats the sweet humming sound of Japanese planes.

Like the musical notes of the flute,

Flying high in the blue sky.

The sweet melodic hum of the Japanese planes,

Fill the lone farmer痴 heart with melancholy.

Like the sweet melody of the water mill,

Floats the sweet humming sound of the Japanese planes.

The sound of the Japanese planes hums in the air.

To quote the Consultative Committee of Kuki Leaders (the Apex body of the Kuki people) Annual Magazine (1963), this song is so popular among the Kukis that almost all, irrespective of age or sex used to sing or hum it, but particularly the young people. This song was so deeply etched in the hearts of the Kukis that threats of bitter punishment by the British to those who sang the song failed to produce any effect. This may be compared to the popularity of Bande-mata-ram, a patriotic song of the nationalist Indians. Though the Japanese failed to liberate Zale地-gam, this song remains alive and warms the hearts of the Kukis.


Besides the regulars, few selected Kuki men were trained in the Japanese camps for five months in the neighbouring states of Zale地-gam. On completion of the training, the Kukis performed the traditional presentation ceremony of Delkop (headgear) to the Japanese officers. Delkop signifies strong bonding for a common cause. Thereafter, reconnaissance for shorter route to Kohima and Imphal, where they planned to launch the final assault into mainland India began. After a year痴 preparation in Burma, the Japanese and the INA forces, with active participation of Kukis, marched towards Imphal and Kohima. The passage through Zale地-gam was smooth and they reached Imphal and later the outskirts of Kohima. However, the INA and Japanese forces failed to occupy Kohima and Imphal due to the support given to the Allied forces by Nagas and Meiteis.
During the course of the march, two Kuki warriors belonging to the escort party led by Pu Somkhai Haokip and Pu Chongjadem Haokip encountered a British patrol at Jangmol Hills. All of the patrolling party was killed, except for one soldier who escaped to 閃el Camp. The soldier reported to HQ the participation of Kukis with the invading Japanese. The same British soldier later shot these two warriors dead while crossing the river between Homalin and Ningthi. They were formally identified later as Kukis from their Pounmangvom (Kuki shawl) and Golong (tobacco pipe). The official confirmation of Kuki participation with the Japanese led to the arrest and torture of many prominent Kuki leaders.


The three Japanese Divisions with the INA and Kuki forces took the following places:
1. Northern Zale地-gam: Thamanti, Khotuh,Leijum, Molheh, Kanjang, Jessami and Kohima.

2. Central Zale地-gam: Tamu, Moreh, Sita, Tengnoupal and Imphal.

3. Southern Zale地-gam: Falam, Behieng, Singat, Bishenpur, Nambol and Imphal.


The failure of the Japanese led forces against the British could be attributed to the refusal of the Indian sepoys to desert and join the INA, which was under the leadership of Subash Chandra Bose. The onset of the heavy monsoon season and the lack of support of other local tribes also played a major role in hindering the success of the operations. The Government of independent India, however, decided to honour the Kuki warriors with the title of 詮reedom Fighter. The plan of Gen Mutaguchi, Commander of the Japanese forces, to capture Kohima and Imphal, as stated by Maj Gen DK Palit (1984, pp140 -150) is as follows: 禅he general plan of Lieutenant-General Mutaguchi痴 Fifteenth Japanese Army was to launch a surprise invasion of India with three infantry divisions moving along jungle tracks and self-contained for three weeks.



The popular feeling vis-a-vis the hopes and aspirations of the Kukis is best illustrated by their songs composed during the war, locally known as Japan Gal La (song of the Japanese War). They were communicated through the folk memories and songs among the older sections of the population. These songs, which were composed in praise of the Japanese, seem to have a magical effect on the minds of the Kukis. Some of the songs are dedicated solely to the Japanese plane that symbolised the Japanese power. The planes were compared with the Kuki痴 favourite birds. They tried to reproduce the sound made by the planes with their musical instruments. One such song goes as follows:

Theilou koljang toni lep banna;

Ging deng deng弾 Japan lenna huilen kong;

Peogo lhemlhei saigin bang;

Mao deng deng弾 vanthamjol Japan lenna;

Amao deng deng弾 Japan lenna;

Mongmo vailou kon sunsot selung hemtante,

Atwi theikhong taa bang ging deng deng;

Ging deng deng弾 Japan lenna huilen konggin.

Free translation:

Beyond the realms of Burma valley,

Floats the sweet note of the Japanese plane;

Like the musical notes of the harp,

Japanese planes hummed from the blue sky.

When the Japanese plane floats its sweet notes;

The hearts of depressed farmers will become glad,

Like the sweet melody of the watermill,

The Japanese plane floats its sweet note.


Ami huikong leng cheh nan;

Japan Huikong len gin in namtin khul a lut.

Free translation:

Despite many other planes;

Only the sound of the Japanese planes enters the hidden-caves.


Agam thimthu jing nan jong;

Huilen kong chunga lunghem jangvan ahung lenge;

Lunghem ja a nahung len leh;

Tolkum tado lunglha gol tongkai sah na ding;

Japan mangpa tolsonin tolsonin;

Vankikhup noi namtin cha lonlhi longlou umponte.

Free translation:

In the darkness of the land;

The Japanese plane comes like the charming bird;[1]

If you come because of my sorrow;

To the ground, to console your disgraced friend;

Mighty Japan! To the ground! To the ground!

Everyone will greet you joyfully.

The plane was also compared with the kite and the horn-bill:

Heimei khumlhang cham chungah;

Japan huikong thimu bangin lam deng deng.

Free translation:

Over the Meitei valley;

Japanese planes hover like the dancing kite.


Amin veleh jangpholva ham tinte;

Leng van sanga phol ngou lenglai dung sunne;

Phol ngou lenglai dung sunnin;

Lhajen jenne mangkhum lhan ajonne.

Free translation:

People think that it is the hornbill;

Like the white hornbill they hover in the sky;

Flying like the white hornbill;

They descend to the graveyard.


 Noija hungkon Japante;

 Nahun tolthing sem neme;

Pummei chang dang ijat nin hatjong leh;

 Japan Meipum chang sanga hatjo ding umlou;

 Hungkon uvo Japante;

 Thingmang damnoi sunsot hijang kangah uve

Free translation:

As you come from the South;

Your glory humbles the forest;

Of all the cannons;

No one matches the Japanese;

Japanese! March on;

We are waiting for you in the deep forest.


With this expectation, they challenged the British forces and made fun of them:

Hungkon uvo Sapkangte;

Nalailo ding Japan sepai kikhou somme

Free translation:

Britishers! March on;

Japanese soldiers are here to kill you.


Japan galhat meltheisa;

Tulai solkar mangkang in thonom;

Lungdei gol angkoi ponte.

Free translation:

I know about the Japanese bravery;

The British government wants to imitate them;

But it is useless.


Jangmol dingpi vummah aume;

Ging deng denge japan lenna huilen kong;

Japan lenna huilen kong ging deng deng;

Phaichung nung gam thimpi jing hen natimo;

Phaichung nung gam thimpi jin sah leu chun;

Vaigam jang manochal nange natimo;

Vaigam jang manochal ding kinem hih vo;

Sung gil kel leh lai-um bei a na dong nem diu;

Sung gil kel le lai-um keu hilou ding;

India vaichan tuibang ting ding kihan lo弾.

Free translation:

From the horizon of Jangmol range;

Floats the sweet note of the Japanese plane;

Japanese plane floats its sweet note;

Are you planning to bring darkness to the Imphal valley?

When you bring darkness in the valley;

Are you expecting to run over the Indian plain?

Do not hope to conquer the Indian plain;

You will die of hunger and thirst;

Not only with hunger and thirst;

The Indians vowed to stop you like the water dam.


Japan selang asoleh;

Kiaan hiho sapmangpa;

Kikhulsino setleijah

Free translation:

Because of Japanese defeat;

Do not hold high yourselves, O Britishers!

Dig your own grave, too.

Sanga itida ding ham, Noija hungkon Japan sapmang pan ban lenpuh suija


There is no wonder if the poor Kukis starve even the mighty Japanese begged for food.


This way the Kukis expressed their view and perhaps these songs are most representative of their inner feeling.

      Namtin sitlei 鼠elminthang Japan te

      London MANGKAAG goulchung choun

      Doulai Kulpi Lotaang natim

      Doulaai Jangmaan naotang natim

      Koum lo taaang natim SINGAPUL tol [Singapore city]


Shaw痴 error regarding Thadou and its impact on the Kuki people

A major assault on the unity of the Kukis occurred when the Government of India recognised the claims of some clans, who resented Shaw痴 infamous remark 爽nder the wing of Thadou. This resulted in the introduction of the Constitution Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes Lists (Modification) Order, 1956, which recognised the Kuki clans into separate tribes. Formerly, by the 1951 Constitution (Scheduled Tribes) (Part C States) Order, the clans were grouped under 羨ny Kuki Tribe. By the efforts of many conscientious Kukis who wanted to restore unity among the Kukis, in 2003 羨ny Kuki Tribes was reintroduced by the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes Orders (Amendment) Act, 2002, No 10 of 2003. Now, any Kuki, who is resentful of Shaw痴 error, as well as those elder than Thadou in the lineage can receive a tribe certificate under 羨ny Kuki Tribes. Formerly, they were forced to apply for a certificate under Thadou tribe or in some other agnate tribe痴 name if their particular clan was not included in the tribes list. Besides, with the re-introduction of 羨ny Kuki Tribes, not only is the existence of the Kukis re-established, it also legitimizes the use of Kuki by the various armed organisations.


As emphasised at the beginning of this paragraph, the anomalistic situation created by Thadou has been responsible for the disintegration of Kuki community. It is hard to comprehend that in this day and age there still exist people who want to deliberately perpetrate that anomaly. It is also incomprehensible that while Doungel exist, who is the elder in the lineage, Thadou should have contested that position in the first place! 禅he Shitlhou Chief, who contested the headship recently, used himself to pay Shathing[2] to Chengjapao [Doungel] till 1918, and on taking his case into court in Manipur in 1928 had his claim to priority laughed out of court (Shaw, ibid, ft note 2, 30). Were the Doungel line really extinct, Thomlhun, Haolai and Dimngel exist to continue the lineage and even after them also there are Haokip and Kipgen who has to continue the lineage. Thadou has no legitimacy in any respect to claim seniority in the lineage. The disastrous effects of this irregularity committed by Thadou are not confined to the particular lineage and those who share the same dialect. By virtue of this group being the most populous among the ethnic group in Manipur, disunity within itself has failed to promote Kuki unity. Consequently, misery and pain have beset the Kukis, socially and politically.


Kuki people have a highly sophisticated social system characterised by longstanding sets of customs and tradition. For example, in Kuki custom the right of inheritance belongs to the eldest, not the youngest. Therefore, Doungel痴 position of the eldest in the lineage cannot be Thadou痴. Thadou, motivated by short-sighted clannish tendencies, usurped that position. Alarmingly, despite the pathetic state of affairs resulting from the anomaly, in certain quarters, continued assertion and desire to perpetuate Thadou persists.


Notwithstanding our dire experiences in recent years, a new dawn is upon the Kuki people. A reversal of trends has begun: the myopic outlook that dominated our people痴 identity that bred clannishness and disunity is being replaced by maturity and a pervading positive sense of nationalism. This is particularly perceptible among the younger Kuki generation with proper education and exposure. A heart-warming trend is also emerging among the old school category of ethnic Kukis, who realise the futility of perpetuating clan-based identities. This category, which dominated the mindset of about two-three generation of the ethnic group are beginning to see the wisdom of admitting that discords owing to clan-based identities, which are detrimental to our people, will persist if they continue to resist change. In other words, there is growing consciousness and realisation across the spectrum of our community that building upon unity by sacrificing obsessions pertaining to sectarian clan-based identities and promoting a national Kuki identity, which is historically legitimate, is the way forward.

A few socio-political factors that can be attributed for this development among Kukis are education, intellectual honesty, exposure, and an acute sense of political consciousness amid increasingly pressing circumstances. The future of the Kuki people is in the hands of a generation who possess these qualities.




KK Ghosh, Indian National Army: A second front of the Indian Independence movement, Minakshi Prakashan, Meerut, 1969

SK Bose (ed.), A Beacon Across Asia: Biographies of SC Bose, New Delhi, 1973

LA Gordon, Brothers Against the Raj: A Biography of Sarat and Subhas Chandra Bose, New Delhi, 1990

JC Lebra, Jungle Alliance: Japan and the Indian National Army, Asia Pacific Press, Singapore, 1971

Lal Dena, 的NA movement in Manipur: Myth or Reality Proceedings of Indian History Congress, (35th Session) 1974, pp365-369

N.Lokendra Singh, Manipur During World War II (1941-45): Socio-Economic Change and Local Response, Published by Manipur State Archives, Imphal, 1993

Who痴 Who of Freedom Fighters of Manipur in Indian Struggle for Freedom, Freedom fighter Cell/Department, MPCC (I), 1986 (Hereafter Freedom Fighters of Manipur)

Maj. Gen. DK Palit, The Sentinels of North-East India: The Assam Rifles, Hansraj Gupta & Sons, New Delhi, 1984, p143

Alexander Mackenzie, The North-East Frontier of India, (1884), Mittal Publications, New Delhi, 2007

 Joyce C Lebra, Japanese-Trained Armies in Southeast Asia, Heinemann Educational Books, Hongkong, 1977. Karl Hack and Tobias Rettig (ed.), Colonial Armies in Southeast Asia, Routledge, London, 2006

C Bayly and Tim Harper, Forgotten Wars: The end of Britain痴 Asian Empire, Penguin, Allen Lane, 2007

Gautam Bhadra, 典he Kuki (?) Uprising (1917-1919): Its causes and Nature, Man in India, vol.55,1, Jan-March, 1975, pp.10-56

Col. LW Shakespear, History of the Assam Rifles, (first print:1929 and reprint by  Firma KLM Pvt. Ltd., Aizawl, 1977)

Tour Diary of C.Gimson, the Political Agent of Manipur, 1943-44

Administration Report of Manipur State (ARM), 1943-44, by EF Lydall, President, Manipur State Durbar, Manipur State Archives, Imphal








The present conditions in which the Kukis are found is a poor reminder of a people who played significant roles at various turns and points of history. A people whose past had been a story of great kings, chiefs, warlords, of heroic struggle and selfless sacrifice are today a degraded people. Denied of the place they deserved, their very existence has, in recent times been threatened. Some vested interests have even been prompted to project and label the Kukis as nomads, a people with no history. This is a sad irony and a misleading projection and is a manifestation of the unfair deal they are subjected to. The erstwhile country of Kuki Zale地-gam, as indicated earlier, remains identifiable through historical remnants, and through various sites and markings. The British by the Treaty of 1834 handed over a huge part of the Kuki country to Burma with the sole object of appeasing the Ava (Burma) king. The Kukis had never trusted the British and therefore resisted their advance into the Chittagong Hills and Lower Assam during 1840s to1860s. However the Kukis could not withstand the colonial might and were gradually pushed back into the eastern interiors. For the British too, the Kukis always posed a major impediment to their imperial designs. Therefore, with the aim of weakening them further a boundary commission was instituted by the then officiating Political Officer of Chin Hills, B.S. Carey, in 1894, to demarcate the boundary between Manipur and Burma, while completely ignoring the existence of Zale地-gam in between. The demarcation, which came into effect in1898, drew the boundary down the middle of Kuki country leaving its severed parts under separate administrations.

Two years after the end of the Great War, a new era dawned for the people under the British Empire. But for the Kukis it turned out to be the beginning of problems, not to mention the repression and miseries they already suffered in the hands of the British. Administrative units of the previous colonial regime became the edifices upon which the new order was built. Thus, when boundaries of administrative districts were, with slight or no modifications, converted into state boundaries, the Kukis were left behind, un-represented. The boundary lines pierced right through the heart of the Kuki country throwing her people into entirely different polities. To make matters worse a succession of half-hearted and short-sighted policies and regulations such as the Manipur Hills peoples (Administration) Regulation 1947, Special Provisions under the (Indian) Constitution (Art. 371C, by Twenty-seventh Amendment Act 1971), Tribe Recognition 1956 have been enacted upon them. These policies and regulations have only generated more evil than good for the Kukis.

2. The Atrocities Committed by the National Socialist Council of Nagaland Isak & Muivah (NSCN-IM):

The National Socialist Council of Nagaland Isaac & Muivah (NSCN-IM), dominated by the Manipuri Nagas has hijacked the politics of Nagaland to Manipur. This has been done to satiate the despicable hatred that the Tangkhul Nagas of Ukhrul District has against the Kuki people. The 選saac & Muivah leadership has also exploited the Zaliengrong Nagas of Tamenglong District to turn against the Kukis. The outcome of this has been the loss of life and property of many innocent Kuki people, mainly women, children and the aged. Thousands of Kukis are now refugees because their land has been taken over by the Nagas. The consequence of the 選saac & Muivah activities has not only affected the Kukis; it has also jeopardised the Naga movement. The noble movement initiated by AZ Phizo has been communalised, with disastrous consequences upon both the Kukis and Nagas. However, as a result of the NSCN-IM痴 shortsightedness, in more recent times, the history of the Kuki people has particularly entered one of its darkest phases.

In 1992 the NSCN (IM), embarked upon a campaign of ethnic cleansing against defenceless Kuki villagers. This process has its origins in the 1950s. Tax has been imposed on Kukis, and the muzzle of the gun silenced any dissenting voice. The victims have mostly been influential Kuki Chiefs and leaders. They have been tactfully picked to instil fear in the minds of the Kuki people. The saddest part of the story, however, is that the Kukis are being taxed on their own land, by people they had sympathetically accommodated. They were accommodated and protected on humanitrian grounds in order to preserve them from extinguishing one another in intra-tribe warfare. Zale地-gam is the land the Kukis ruled in complete freedom; the land for which they had fought the British; and the very land whose fruits they had freely enjoyed through the ages.

There is an irony in all this. The Manipur Nagas seek to drive the Kukis out of their land by using force. This is done in a manner that is most primitive and abominable. Savagery and inhuman brutality is the hallmark of their operation. These are the same people who under the notorious banner of NSCN-IM (a synonym for inhuman and primitive savagery) cry out against human rights violations by the Indian Army. They have fuelled their 鮮agaland for Christ struggle with the mercy and sympathy they managed to garner from the international community in the name of human rights. These are the people who were subjects of the Kukis; they had been paying tax and tributes to the Kuki Chiefs. The world needs to know, and without any shadow of a doubt, that the NSCN (IM) is that body which would take refuge in Human Rights when the Indian Army are out to discipline them. However, they conveniently forget all about human rights when they butcher, rape and slaughter Kuki women, children and innocent villagers.

The Kuki National Organisation rejoinder to Nationalist Socialist Council of Nagaland-

Isak & Muivah



By PS Haokip
President, Kuki National Organisation
The Kuki National Organisation (KNO) is pained to respond to the National Socialist Council of Nagaland Isak & Muivah痴 (NSCN-IM) article 銭UKI AND THE NAGA PUBLIC CLASHES, posted on the website

A ceasefire was signed between the Government of India and NSCN-IM in 1997. Adopting a paternalistic position the Government have since engaged in dialogue with the NSCN-IM. In spite of the extreme atrocities committed on innumerable innocent Kuki public, particularly between 1992-1997, the KNO, through its armed wing, the Kuki National Army (KNA), agreed to a ceasefire with the Tangkhul dominated NSCN-IM in 2002. This was done a) to demonstrate Kuki does not begrudge Naga gaining its due as a result of the talks with GOI, and b) in anticipation that Naga would honourably reciprocate where Kuki issues are concerned. Unfortunately, such confidence has been betrayed by Isak & Muivah痴 article 銭UKI AND THE NAGA PUBLIC CLASHES. Rather than reciprocate to Kuki overtures, Muivah disgracefully continues to engage in activities that are negative.

KNO is therefore compelled to respond to NSCN-IM痴 diatribe with certain clarifications so that mutual trust may be the mainstay of Naga and Kuki relationship. (Please note that historical relationships among Kuki, Angami, Kabui and Zeliang have been cordial.)

1.In the article 銭UKI AND THE NAGA PUBLIC CLASHES, Isak and Muivah have brazenly tried to deny the role of NSCN-IM in the genocide against Kuki. This is the main purpose of their article, besides wanting to malign the Kuki people and airing their general views and grievances against GOI. They have also tried to portray the relationship that turned violent between the two communities in 1990s as 祖lashes, which is a complete misnomer. The motive for this description appears to be intended to involve all Nagas against Kuki. It must be noted that it is mainly the Tangkhul-led NSCN-IM that are responsible for aggressions against the Kukis; most of the Naga people have good relationships with Kukis, which goes back to ancient days. In other words, it is essentially the Manipur Nagas, organized as Naga Limguards (volunteers), who were led by NSCN-IM that have been hostile to Kuki, not Nagas of Nagaland.

2.The Kuki people did not start any 祖lashes. Since the 1950s the Tangkhuls have been engaged in a process of ethnic cleansing of Kukis. Unable to bear the sustained killing of their people, the Kukis started to fight back in the 1990s. The media has popularly used 粗thnic conflict, an equally incorrect term like 祖lashes, to describe the turmoil in the two communities relationship. It must be noted that Kuki only acted in self-defence against the atrocities committed by NSCN-IM. There is no 粗thnic conflict or 祖lashes between the two communities; there is only aggression by NSCN-IM, and defence by Kuki. The proof of this lies in the fact that as soon as NSCN-IM and GOI singed a ceasefire in 1997, the Kukis stopped fighting back.

3.Between 1950-1990, Tangkhuls carried out a selective and systematic elimination of Kuki chiefs and elders. This was done to implant a fear psychosis among Kukis so that they may leave their lands for Tangkhuls to occupy. In total 42 people were killed, and 64 Kuki villages were also uprooted (see APPENDIX I); the land is now occupied by Tangkhuls. The NSCN-IM-led Nagas of Manipur intensified the ethnic cleansing of Kukis from 1992. By 1997 Kuki casualties totaled over nine hundred people dead (see APPENDIX II), three hundred and fifty villages uprooted, and more than fifty thousand Kuki population displaced.

4. Ceasefire initiatives under Committee on Restoration of Normalcy (CRN) between Kuki Innpi and United Naga Council:

Several meetings under Committee on Restoration of Normalcy (CRN) were held to discuss ceasefire between Kuki Innpi and United Naga Council. On all of these occasions, despite the gruesome killings of Kukis led by NSCN-IM, the Kukis agreed to have a ceasefire with Nagas. The Naga contingent, however, were unwilling to commit themselves because, as they put it, 閃uivah does not want peace with the Kukis. Therefore, we are scarred to agree to sign a ceasefire with Kukis. The extent of Muivah痴 intentions became apparent following a meeting held at Manipur Baptist Council on 8 October 1994: soon after this session, Pu Lalkhohen Thangeo, vice-president of Kuki Innpi, who was on his way home to Kangpokpi was abducted while boarding a bus at the station at Dewlahland by NSCN-IM. He was treacherously beheaded. A few days later Pu Lalkhohen痴 truncated body, stuffed in a gunnysack, was found in a pond. There ended the initiatives for ceasefire between Naga and Kuki. The failure of the ceasefire talks is clear evidence of the fact that NSCN-IM was behind the genocide of Kukis. Muivah cannot deny NSCN-IM痴 involvement in the atrocities committed on Kuki. The fact that he does in spite of all the evidence pointing against him, suggests that he is a pathological liar.

Committed to the cause of our people痴 movement to integrate both Kuki and Mizo ethnic group, Pu Lalkhohen Thangeo served as a Senator in the Mizo National Front (MNF) from the 1960s. Mamang, following in his father痴 footstep, is also dedicated to work for his people. This deeply embedded sentiment is reflected in compositions in which he laments his father痴 death:


Palms creased with work, pelf
Lived he in Jerry-built,
Unwilling to accept for self,
Yet, God forsook not him a bit;
And bestowed him the daily lot.

He could tell a jest with sobriety
Within and without a peace-lover entirety
Laboured he long thirty-six years;
Upshot of sweat, toil and tears,
Say, could he ever be frivolous?

In the pleasant month of October,
Nineteen Ninety-Four we remember;
Like a waif, took him, with murderous grin,
A treat unthinkable for a member of CRN.

Brutal! Chopped they his head,
Spread his limbs sliced to shreds;
Home he came all in pieces,
Cold and dead; a human species;
Head of the KIM and malice towards none.

Cruelty, not among his fates,
Decided otherwise by twist of fates
However far the 叢lace Unknown Organization
Still the sacred 全oil be known,
詮ear God, not gods, he states.

(in a Kuki dialect)

Nazalna khulsin a kon thou in
Navanchoi cheng kana lhemding
Lunglai anai HEPA tiding
Vangkholai a kavaimo zeh in

CH: Tonin mol alep in nahung pon
Bu-al alamloi in zong nahung poi
Kajo samang kazal nadin
Lhaolha behin neihung villin

Gancha vahmang apun ahollen
Kazo ngai nakhulsin chanhi
Navanchoi lonlhi kahul dem
Khenkhat din kipana hizongle

Chung Pathen phatsah ahivangin
Toni kalhum taikho kaval
Nadam laini ngaina in
Tongdon theilou haibang nalo tai


Without adieu my father was 組one
No clairvoyant 叢on Calamity Jane done,
A wet blanket his life curtness,
Ere my days wert always happiness.

He wasn稚 the knight guest but of daft
On the two nights of chill and waft,
Dipped they him in icy-water, then
Famed with blowlamp shivered when.

Not bravery, the style cowardice tramp;
Moved a sharp-edge in body, then damp,
Made him topsy-turvy they did all;
With sniggering names they call壇.

Beheaded him, yes, not for nought.
For, him a fang for the foe in aught.
His carrion body in an old meat found;
Fetid, but valued than diamond or pound.

Sure, I can say, he knew atom to object
Or word perfect in each subject;
Lovesome and judicious wording,
Which his people hanker to harkening.

Its muse fury me, but I won稚 riot
Or heaven I値l be honoured the idiot;
So, good is to yodel a doleful strain;
A woe-minstrel in sunshine and pouring rain.

- Mamang Thangeo

A brief biographical detail of Lalkhohen Thangeo (1929-1994)

General, Kuki National Volunteer (1958-1959): KNV was the first political body formed for the purpose of re-uniting all Kukis residing in the Indian Union and its adjoining areas. The organisation was launched on 20 October 1958 at a public meeting in Kumbipukhri, which was attended by more than 10,000 people.
Senator, Mizo National Front (1964- 1968) and signatory of Mizoram independence in 1986. Imprisoned as political prisoner for about two years.
President, Kuki National Assembly (1974): Founding member of KNA in 1958, Motbung, Sadar Hills. Constitution of KNA adopted in 1964.
Proponent of the first state level celebration of Kut. First celebration of state level Kut on 1 November 1979 at Keithelmanbi. From 1979 1994, he trained the Kanpokpi Youth Club the theme song Mim Kut Taote, Zoumin Kut Taote
Founder and president of Kuki Inpi (Kuki Parliament), June 1988-1989
President, Khongsai Union, 1989
Member among the seven reorganisation of Kuki Inpi into Sadar Hills Kuki Inpi on 30 November 1992 with a view to deal with United Naga Council痴 Quit Notice served to Kuki people 22 October 1992.
Vice president of reorganised Kuki Inpi (1993-1994). Represented Kuki National Organisation to sign the Kevichusa Peace Treaty with United Naga Council on 29 June 1993.
Co-Chairman of Committee for Restoration of Normalcy (CRN) comprising members of Kuki Inpi Manipur and United Naga Council. - TK Khongsai

5. There is a notable distinction between the late AZ Phizo and Muivah痴 political philosophy: AZ Phizo, president of Naga National Council (NNC), did not communalise Naga nationalism; in contrast, Muivah did. This is evident in the fact that there was never any organized offensive towards Kuki during Phizo痴 time; pogroms against Kuki started only after the NSCN-IM faction was created.

6. To achieve a successful pogrom against Kuki, Muivah first of all incited Naga public sentiment. He succeeded in doing this, for example, by fabricating videotape recordings depicting Kukis killing Nagas in the past. The videotapes were circulated widely for viewing among Nagas. Thereafter, Muivah was able to divert the attention of Nagas and hijack Naga politics to carry out a personally charged vendetta on Kuki. The severe atrocity committed on Kuki could not have been possible otherwise. If the aggressions were carried out by Naga village folk alone, the Kuki casualty would be much less.

7. It is preposterous that Muivah should attempt to dissociate himself for the crimes committed on Kuki people. This, in fact, is the focal point of Isak & Muivah痴 article. It is astonishing that Muivah has managed to rope in Isak in carrying out his malicious activities. The well-oiled NSCN-IM propaganda machinery cannot hope to continue to deceive the public. The Zeliangrong Nagas, with whom Kukis always had good relations, have also realized that Muivah exploited them for his ambition to establish a Tangkhul dominated Naga politics. Curiously, among the Naga casualty there are very few Tangkhuls, most are Old Kukis in Chandel, who are under pressure from NSCN-IM identified as Naga, and Kabuis in Tamenglong district. At the height of tensions between Naga and Kuki, it was relatively peaceful in Ukhrul. The violence was concentrated in Chandel, Senapati and Tamenglong districts. This reveals the extent of Muivah-Tangkhul slyness. Muivah痴 track record, which is fraught with crimes he has committed over the years, is meticulously maintained by a host of NGOs concerned about justice and human rights issues. Muivah should not be so deluded to think that he will be allowed to go scot-free, ever.

8.A dichotomy of views among Naga leaderships became palpable after the Shillong Accord of 1975, particularly when Muivah eliminated pro-Phizo NNC members in large numbers. Muivah also killed Rev Longri Ao, who was designated by the Nagaland Baptist Church Council (NBCC) to work for reconciliation among the Naga factions. After committing such a sacrilegious crime, Muivah fled to Burma. One hundred Naga warriors, consisting mainly of Chakesangs and Angamis, pursued him, but the NSCN-IM cadre eliminated them all.

9. On 14 August 1992, the NNC leaders were celebrating Nagaland Independence Day at Athibung. Rhuphrielie, H Ajang Kuki, Dzusoto Angami, Roklosielie, Neizolie, Rhurhrielie, T Moa Ao, Medo-u, Pfushealea, Vizosei Chakesang, Mekhrie Lheukhon Mao, S Joseph were present on the occasion. All of these NNC members were massacred in cold blood by NSCN-IM. Dally Mongro General Secretary of NSCN (K), Lt General Lemchu, Zhekhovi, James Trakha Pochury, Asang Snock Pochury, General Puvezo Chakesang, Tobu Kevichusa, Chale Kevichusa are some of the other prominent Naga leaders who were killed by NSCN-IM.

10.In Burma, altercations with Khaplang resulted in the death of a multitude of committed Naga nationalists, all killed by Muivah痴 men. At this juncture, fearing severe Naga retribution, Muivah schemed a diversion: he initiated an anti-Kuki drive for which there was considerable sympathy in Nagaland among Isak痴 followers. Details of some of the more serious acts of NSCN-IM aggression perpetrated on Kukis are as follows:

Uniformed NSCN-IM cadres armed with sophisticated weapons, such as AK47, were deployed on several occasions to lead the Naga Limguard against vulnerable Kuki village people. One major incident is the Zoupi massacre, which took place on 13 September 1993, in Tamenglong District of Manipur. The incident is marked as 禅he Black Day for Kukis. The British Broadcasting Corporation reported on the gruesome event.

The Zoupi massacre of 13 September 1993

The Nagas issued a notice to the people of Zoupi to quit the village by 15 September. Aware that the NSCN-IM was behind the quit notice, the Kuki people of Zoupi did not wait until the 15 September deadline; they left on 13 September. However, they were intercepted en route the same day. Altogether 90 Kuki men were separated from their families. Hands bound to their backs, they were mercilessly hacked to death with machetes. Had it been a case of just Naga village people involved in the interception, the ninety Kuki men would have put up a struggle. There was no trace of any resistance. The scale of violence demonstrates the extent of influence Muivah wielded among the Nagas of Tamenglong. It beggars belief that Muivah should try to deny his involvement in the incident and have the gall to refer to it as 奏he unfortunate Zoupi incident of 14th September 1993! Yambem Laba of Manipur Human Rights remarked that the Naga cry against human rights abuse perpetrated by the Indian army for over fifty years was completely overshadowed by one incident of Naga atrocity against the Kukis of Zoupi village on 13 September 1993. This is a statement, which reflects accurately the degree of violation committed in this incident by the NSCN-IM.

A dirge in a Kuki vernacular recounts the tragic incident:

Phunggol golang adamlouleh adamlouleh
Lhanghui phai thi golgin
Vuijin hin hol lu vo
Zoupi golchang pheiphung son tonglam ana
Thonglhung lou va hoija vajang
Tham den taimo

Hoija vajang tham den taimo
Nungsul del ding Nampi gollhang
Gam vang lha e
(By Pu L Hempao)

With regard to Muivah痴 claim on 奏he issue of 轍uit Nagas order in Moreh on 30th May, 1992 by KNA, the facts are as follows: In 1992, on 12 May, Holkhojang Haokip; 17 May, Lhunkhothang; 26 May, Tongkholun were killed by NSCN-IM near Moreh in Chandel district. On 3 June 1992, Onkholet Haokip, a schoolteacher and social worker, was also killed by the NSCN-IM. Onkholet Haokip was forced by NSCN-IM to reveal the KNA camps. All of these killings took place in the heart of Kuki land. This is where NSCN-IM had the effrontery to demand tax from Kuki villages. Members of the Tangkhul community at Moreh were found to clandestinely engage in providing information to NSCN-IM. They also supplied ammunitions to NSCN-IM cadres, and served as collectors of 禅ax from Kukis, etc. The Kukis did not want to harass the Tangkhul public, but such arrogant activities were intolerable. Therefore, the KNA served them quit notice to leave Moreh. As mentioned by Shimray, Luithui and Bose (1994), 前n July 13, 1992 mass exodus of Naga civilians started from Moreh area. Please note, the quit notice date served by KNA is 30 May; the 僧ass exodus of Tangkhuls took place on 13 July. This is in stark contrast to what happened at Zoupi where 15 September was the quit notice deadline, and in spite of the Kuki village people leaving on 13 September, they were still massacred en route. Why is it that those Tangkhuls and the Nagas of Manipur led by Muivah always such a barbaric group? Do they not know that honour is a virtue especially at the worst of times?

Atrocities that involve rape of women, killing of male infants and other serious incidents are also included (photographic evidence is available):

19 September 1993:
Following the Zoupi incident, Kuki families, mainly comprising women and children were stationed at Taloulong transit camp. NSCN-IM people went to the camp and picked out thirteen male infants; all aged below five, and butchered them. One of the mothers recounted the event involving her son: 選 was carrying my baby daughter in my arms and my son was strapped onto my back. My son, who was evidently conscious of the Naga痴 intentions, clung tightly on to the collar of my blouse, crying not to let him be taken away. The Naga, who identified the child痴 sex, snatched him from me, threw him up in the air and sliced him into pieces with a machete. This is Naga genocide of Kuki.

8 October 1992:
Three women were murdered after being raped at Moultuh, in Chandel district; a two-month old female including two men were also killed. Dr Isack Lamkang, Medical Officer of Chandel, conducted the post-mortem on one of the rapped women, Tinkhohoi Touthang, 20 years of age.

The Doctor痴 report:
Face blindfolded. Gang raped before being killed. Throat slit up with knife. Left portion of the skull completely battered up. Left breast badly bruised. A piece of stick measuring about 7 inches was found inserted in her vagina.

Pu L Hempao composed an elegy in a Kuki dialect to mark the brutal event:

Hammol dougal mason nin
Vangkho khumlhan sangnem noi
Banjal gobang tan taimo

Lhaolha mubang sehih ow Lhingkhonem, Veikhotin
Janglei chungchon nathim thu
Mangkom thong alhung te

Mangkom thong alhung tai
Nampi sonmel Soyang in mangkom
Thim thu alel te nunghei pheiphung sonkit louding

Moltuh gamlei anguije vo Tinkang
Vensen sungtui lo louva chunnu
Gojang tan taimo

Chunnu gojang atante
Vengsen sungtui lo lou vin
Gamgil nao bang a oi oije

7 June 1993:
14 people were killed at Khalong, in Sadar Hills. Eight of these victims were women, all of whom were raped and then killed; the remaining three were children and three men.

18 September 1993:
Pu Mangkholen Hangsing (IAS), Commissioner, Department of Taxation and Excise, was assassinated in cold blood by three men belonging to NSCN-IM cadres around 8:00 AM inside his residence at Signal Basti in Dimapur, Nagaland.

Pu Mangkholen was a political visionary: as president of Kuki Students Federation of Nagaland, Assam and Manipur, in 1959 he linked up with Kuki leaders, such as BK Hrangkhawl in Tripura, and others from Burma and the Chittagong Hill Tracts in Bangladesh. As a sportsman, he was a team player and demonstrated excellent skills, particularly in football. In 1964, Pu Mangkholen obtained first position in MA English literature in Guwahati University. He was also the topper in the Nagaland Public Service Commission examinations in 1965, and extraordinarily began his career as Extra Assistant Commissioner, rather than as Circle Officer. He was awarded the President gold medal for meritorious service in 1976.

At Pu Mangkholen痴 funeral service, Pu Tobu Kevichusa, general secretary, Naga National Council, remarked that he was compelled to make a statement: Isak and Muivah, leaders of NSCN-IM have proclaimed among the international community that the Government of India have killed innocent Nagas and abused their human rights. On the contrary, here is a stark example of their role of engaging in fratricidal activity by killing blameless people like Mangkholen to benefit their sectarian policy. One begs the question: if Isak and Muivah were true leaders of the people, why are they concerned with creating 壮mall houses only to serve as tiny pockets for a select few rather than build 鼠arge houses to accommodate the whole nation? Such activity reflects the narrow-minded politics of NSCN-IM.

Sadly, on 4 June 1996, Pu Tobu Kevichusa, who firmly stood for peace and unity of the people, was also eliminated by the NSCN-IM at Dimapur. PS Haokip, President of Kuki National Organisation, sent a letter of condolence to the President of Angami People痴 Organisation.

23 October 1993:
Pu Paosei Singsit was founder of Kuki Students Organisation, Delhi and its first president. He was deeply concerned for the Kuki people and committed to improving their lot politically. En route to Athibung Kuki area Pu Paosei and Pu Paolam Chongloi, KSO痴 general secretary, were murdered by the NSCN-IM between Zalukie and Saijang. They were on a mission to encourage their people, who were terrorised by the NSCN-IM to pay taxes; several people had already been killed, too. As a mark of respect to his memory, an annual Pu Paosei Singsit Award is given by KSO in Delhi to individuals who have contributed significantly in social services.

10 May 1995:
At Taphou, in Sadar Hills, three women were raped and killed; one male was also brutally murdered.

18 January 1994:
At Yangnoi, Sadar Hills, seven women belonging to the Chongloi Kuki sub-clan were raped and killed while they were collecting a local herb called aithanglou (in a Kuki dialect) in a nearby forest; as a mark of the tragic incident, men of the village have sworn never    again to eat the herb.

19 November 1994:
At Thingsan, in Chandel district, NSCN-IM cadre dressed in Indian Security Forces uniform and armed with sophisticated weapons, huddled together twenty-five men, tied their hands to their backs and killed them all.

(A comprehensive list of Kuki casualty is given in APPENDIX II)

11. NSCN-IM痴 tenet 鮮agaland for Christ?
The preceding atrocities committed on the Kuki people clearly violate the principal tenet 鮮agaland for Christ adopted by NSCN-IM. Furthermore, a list of incidents of killings, occurring mainly on Sundays inside the church building, highlight the severe incongruence between motto and action:

i) Sunday 18 April 1993, six persons were killed at Sita village in Chandel District.
ii) Monday 19 April 1993, Bongli, Chandel District, five children, all below the age of six were burnt alive along with the Church building.
iii) Sunday 23 May 1993, Pu Paokam Singson, Naga National Council member, from Ahthibung, Nagaland was killed.
iv) Sunday 20 June 1993, Pu Lunjahen Singson was killed at Saijang in Nagaland.
v) Sunday 24 October 1993, three persons killed between Saijang and Lilen.
vi) Sunday 25 April 1993, Pu Haopu Kuki of Longphailen, Tamenglong district, killed.
vii) Sunday 9 May 1993, Pu Maj Pagin Kipgen was assassinated in front of his wife and little daughter near his home in Dewlahland, Imphal.
viii) Sunday 27 June 1993, Ngaitinkim Haokip, a child aged a year and a half was killed at Aisi village in Ukhrul district.
ix) Sunday 27 June 1993, Pu Khotinthang Kipgen, Chief of Tujangvaichong was kidnapped and later killed.
x) Sunday 18 July 1993, three persons killed at Sikibung village in Ukhrul district
xi) Sunday 19 September 1993, fifteen children (all male and below the age of five) were slaughtered at Taloulong transit camp.
xii) Sunday 10 October 1993, Jamkhomang Haokip and his wife Tongnem were killed in a paddy field in Ukhrul district.
xiii) On New Year痴 Day, Sunday 1 January 1995, five people were killed during a worship service at Haipi Village in Sadar Hills.
xiv) Sunday 15 May 1994, Pu Thangboi Lenthang was killed at Moljol in Karbi Anglong, Assam.
xv) On Saturday 14 May 1994, fifteen people were slaughtered and burnt along with the church building at Sipimol in Tamenglong district.
xvi) Sunday 11 December 1994, Pu Henkhohao, a college student, was killed in Nagaland.
xvii) Sunday 11 December 1994, Pu Lamkhongam, a college student, was killed in Nagaland.

The Kuki people have always dwelt in Zale地-gam, their ancestral land. Zale地-gam includes the hills of present-day Manipur. Ukhrul District, where Muivah, belonging to the Tangkhul tribe, hails is also a part of Kuki territory. Kuki maintained peace in Zale地-gam. The Tangkhuls paid tax and tributes to the Kuki chiefs. It was also customary for them to carry the Kuki chiefs on palanquins whenever they toured the region. In Zale地-gam, the Tangkhul population, which engaged constantly in intra-clan warfare would have become extinct, but for the intervention of Kukis. Contrary to Muivah痴 allegation of Kukis killing Tangkhuls, that intra-clan or internecine warfare was the order of the day amongst Nagas in general is clearly described by SC Jamir, former Chief Minister of Nagaland in Bedrock of Naga Society:

The main 祖ontact between villages was through the savage practice of headhunting. Mutual suspicion and distrust was rife. People led an insular and isolated life. Internecine warfare was the order of the day. There was no trust or interaction between different tribes.

13. Records dating back to AD 33, during which Nongba Lairen Pakhangba, the first Meitei king existed refer to two Kuki Chiefs named Kuki Ahongba and Kuki Achouba. Cheitharol Kumaba (Royal Chronicles of the Meitei Kings) notes, in the year 186 Sakabda (AD 264) Meidungu Taothingmang, a Kuki, became king. A letter to the editor of The Telegraph, which corroborates the authenticity of Kuki痴 existence in their ancestral lands, is reproduced below:

The Telegraph, 17 January 1994
Letter to the Editor Reader, NP Rakung, Imphal
Mr S Horamwo痴 letter contains an error (Too many Kukis? December 1)

The term 践ao, in fact, refers to all tribals in Manipur, and the term 鮮aga is never mentioned in the 善ooyas the ancient texts of the Meithis. The term Kuki however features prominently in the texts.

According to the 善ooyas, two Kuki Chiefs named Kuki Ahongba and Kuki Achouba were allies to Nongba Lairen Pakhangba, the first historically recorded king of the Meithis, in the latter痴 mobilisation for the throne in 33 AD. In fact, there are innumerable instances provided by the texts which show the Kukis were a salient part in the creation of the Manipur kingdom. Moreover, the Meithis are a sub-tribe of Chin-Kuki-Mizo ethinc groups, according to Linguistic Survey of India.

Hence, if the Kukis deserve to be thrown out of Manipur, an event the author doubtless endorses, the Nagas, who have been terrorising India for the last 40 years too merit a similar treatment.

Prof JN Phukan writes:

If we were to accept Ptolemy痴 禅iladae as the 銭uki people, as identified by Gerini, the settlement of the Kuki in North-East India would go back to a very long time in the past. As Professor Gangumei Kabui thinks, 壮ome Kuki tribes migrated to Manipur hills in the pre-historic times along with or after the Meitei advent in the Manipur valley (History of Manipur, p24). This hypothesis will take us to the theory that the Kukis, for the matter, the Mizos, at least some of their tribes, had been living in North-East India since the prehistoric time, and therefore, their early home must be sought in the hills of Manipur and the nearby areas rather than in Central China or the Yang-tze valley. This hypothesis needs a very serious study in the light of recent findings of pre-historic and proto-historic settlements in North-East India.

In spite of the historical facts related to Kuki indigenity, Muivah chooses to resort to accounts written by British officials, which begin only from the eighteenth-century. Kuki history cannot be confined to those accounts covering only the latter part of the last millennium; their history extends beyond those that exist in British records. Irrational as it is, British accounts referring to Nagas and Kukis, nonetheless seems to serve Muivah痴 intentions to degrade Kuki, and hence he and his ilk痴 continual reference, for instance, to McCulloch. McCulloch might have been responsible for resettling a small population of Kukis in certain parts of the hills of Manipur. In any case, those places were within Kuki domain, where the Tangkhuls paid tax and tributes to the Kuki chiefs.

It must be noted that the Kukis were a constant threat to the British. Movement of a particular Kuki population from one point to another was purely to safeguard the British from Kuki offences. In contrast, the British did not move the Tangkhuls from one region to another because they were loyal to them. It is ludicrous to suggest that McCulloch settled the entire Kuki population. Muivah should hereafter refrain from making the remark 銭ukis are nomadic, which he has based on British accounts. It shows how shallow his knowledge is. The deeper we dig into history, the more it becomes clear that Tangkhuls are not indigenous to Manipur. They migrated, for instance, from Somra Tracts in Burma, where they still dwell.

14. Both Kuki and Naga are historically owners of their respective regions presently encompassed within Northeast India and Northwest Myanmar (Burma). Their countries were divided by the British and administered under British India and British Burma. In post-independent period, Government made the line of division an international boundary without due consultation of the concerned peoples. To suggest that either Kuki or Naga are migrants in terms of movement between Burma and India is to accede to alien rule over their territories. This is a direct contradiction in terms of assertions of self-determination by KNO and NSCN.

Therefore, migration is a relative matter. It can only be applied contextually. Besides, boundaries are created and can change over time, especially in the past. Waves of migrations, whether of Naga or Kuki, took place and perhaps continue to take place within a region that was part of ancestral lands with boundaries that tended to be porous. A particular migration at a particular period cannot be the be-all and end-all of any ethnic group痴 movement. It is conceivable, too, that not all Tangkhuls migrated in one wave. For example, the people of Bongpa Tangkhul village (which is the village Rishang Keishing comes from) were originally from the banks of the river Nathalit (Tizu) in the Somra Tract, in Burma. In this regard, the particular Tangkhul tribe migrated from Burma; the chief of Chassad settled them in their present-day Bongpa village in Ukhrul. Phungyar is the constituency from which Mr Keishing was elected member of the Manipur Legislative Assembly. The original name of the village was Phaisat, a Kuki village. The Tangkhuls seized this village from the Kukis and named it Phungyar. The point of this illustration is that if Kukis are to be referred to as 創omadic or 訴mmigrants, how the Naga people痴 movements should be termed? If Tangkhuls were to take a rational view on the issue of 僧igration, it would go a long way in creating better understanding with Kukis. Maybe someday they will, and perhaps then they will realise that it is irrational to keep harping on about the Kuki community being nomadic. Otherwise, they risk a) the same measures being applied to them and b) the eventuality of another dispute that could turn violent again.

15.The items of British colonial literature concerning Kuki are generally not complimentary. This is essentially because Kuki opposed the British colonialists from the outset, the 銭uki rising, 1917-1919 (OIOC) being the culminating event of the opposition. Nagas, in contrast, were often referred to as 素riendlies. Perhaps this explains why there are so many more books written by the British on Nagas, and not surprisingly, very few on Kukis.

16. Significant Kuki offences to protect their territory against the British invaders started in 1760s, during the time of Warren Hastings, Governor General of India. Carey and Tuck (1932) refer to an event that took place a hundred years on: 奏he year 1860 saw the great Kuki invasion of Tipperah [Tripura], and the following year a large body of police marched to the hills to punish and avenge. Of this war Col Elly (1893) wrote, 訴n 1845, 1847-1848, 1849-1850, and 1850-1851 there were raids culminating in what is called the Great Kuki Invasion of 1860s.

17.In the twentieth-century, Kuki featured in both the World War theatres. The period of WW I marked a momentous Kuki offensive against the British, which is recorded as 銭uki rising, 1917-1919, and also referred to as 羨nglo-Kuki War, 1917-1919. Shakespeare (1929), Palit (1984) and the recently released book Guardians of the North East (2003), record the event as 銭uki Rebellion, 1917-1919. A notable feature of this war is the fact that a relatively minor ethnic group withstood the might of the British imperialist power continuously for nearly three years. Kuki offensives against the British are a reflection of Kuki痴 historicity, that they are indigenous people of what is understood as Northeast India, today, as well as parts of Northwest Burma and the Chittagong Hill Tracts. The evidence of this historicity is embedded in the lineage of the Maharajahs of Tripura, who are Kuki, and as cited above (section 12), in that of the Ningthou痴 of Manipur.

18. In WW II, Kuki sided with the Axis powers along with the Indian National Army. The Kukis fought this war to regain Zale地-gam痴 sovereignty from the British. During the war, Pakang, alias Japan Pakang, various Kuki leaders and many warriors actively participated with the Japanese in expeditions against the British. The late Jamthang Haokip has meticulously recorded the details of the expeditions. In total there are about one hundred and fifty (150) Kuki INA pensioners, as many as eighty are listed in Freedom Fighters of Manipur (1985).

19. A clarification concerning Kukis in Nagaland

The Kuki National Organisation explicitly states that issues concerning Kuki in Nagaland are separate from those related to Kuki in other parts, such as in present-day Manipur, Assam, Tripura and Burma. In a press release on 13 March 1994, the Kuki Inpi of Nagaland categorically stated that the Kukis of Nagaland are not a part of the Kuki movement that is taking place elsewhere. Muivah痴 attempt to mix up Kuki politics, intended to whip up anti-Kuki sentiments in Nagaland, must be categorically ignored.

Hitherto, Muivah has to a significant extent managed to ride on the successes of Phizo痴 Naga movement. For instance, attempting to gain credit for NSCN-IM on an exercise of humanitarian gesture that was demonstrated by Phizo, Muivah unashamedly refers to 9 (nine) aircrew, of which 2 (two) were Air Force officers, who were released unharmed. The event occurred during Phizo痴 time. Squadron Leader Kartik, brother of the film actress Kalpana Kartik, and wife of actor Dev Anand, was one of the Indian Air Force officers. Kalpana Kartik went to London to meet Phizo, where he was in exile, to plea for her brother痴 release by the NNC cadre. Moved by Madame Kartik痴 entreaty, Phizo issued an order of pardon and the entire air force crew was set free. It is unthinkable that Muivah would be capable of exercising such humanitarian gesture, considering, for example, the fact that he had the husband of his present wife shot in cold blood so that he could marry her! Furthermore, by his order, on 9 May 1993, Major S (Pagin) Kipgen was assassinated by NSCN-IM in front of his wife and little daughter. To this day the cowardly Muivah has officially not admitted to ordering the assassination! This shows he is unscrupulous and does not uphold any revolutionary principle. That he has acted treacherously against the Nagas and Kukis is also a sign that he does not believe in the Naga emblem of 鮮agaland for Christ. On the one hand, Muivah still uses the 鮮agaland for Christ logo on the NSCN-IM letterhead. The threat letter sent to Major Kipgen before his assassination also is stamped with the same logo. Muivah痴 contradictory actions can only be attributed to his pathological disposition to lie, and to the Maoist indoctrination he received during his stay in China, along with Isak.

Tributes to Maj Pagin:


Oh, how much he loved India!
That I壇 define:
Home he came, a leg lost,
From war on border line;
No heroes welcome, no gains personal
For guarding his motherland
From forces external.
Yet he did the best he could;
For peace with people hills around,
Reward, of course, as Nagas would;
Hot leads for love to them abound.
Widowed his wife, orphaned a child;
And his people not waken wide,
船espised and forgotten by half you saved,
Major, the rest salute your grave.


Head bent, a woman lauded
Honour and admirations to her dead.
Greatly glad am I, your aim you won.
For us you built a home, not mere a house;
Yet, left me to live a Churc-mouse,
Just to survive in august of your candour.

You, a man of supra-mental power,
But in you dwelt more of reverence,
So, prevent I my sons from vices of vengeance,
And those barbarians had I pardoned in God痴 name.

Is the work 銭uki worth dying for?
When we shall frame our oneness to unity,
When each of us池e lead by honesty,
And when all shall strive for peace.

Oh, I eared to affix my heart-sore mean;
He was tortured to death this morn!
I dare not so to unveil his face,
He died the death of a Soldier of Peace.

- Mamang Thangeo

20.Participation of Kukis in Nagaland

Kukis, as indigenous people in Nagaland, have from the outset participated actively in the pursuit of independence for Nagaland. Kukis were members of the Naga army much before Muivah appeared on the scene of Naga politics. For example, Pu Lengjang Kuki was a signatory of the memorandum submitted by the Naga Club to the Simon Commission in 1929. Kuki was one of the five tribes that formed the Naga Club in 1919, which later changed to Naga National Council. In 1946, Pu Seikhohen Kuki and Pu Jangkhosei Kuki (Ex-NPSC member) were elected as members of Naga National Council. NNC was the prime mover of Naga nationalism. The late Pu Seikhohen Kuki was also one of the selected members of the constitution Drafting Committee of NNC. He was also included in the first Naga Delegation that went to Delhi to meet Jawaharlal Nehru, Prime Minister of India, to discuss the issue of Naga Independence.

Participation of Kuki in the Naga Plebiscite held in 1951

The Naga Voluntary Plebiscite was completed on 16 May 1951. The Kukis in Nagaland participated in the plebiscite, voting in favour of Naga Independence. This marks Kuki痴 unflinching support to the undisputed leadership of Phizo. The Kuki leaders of the time, many of whom have passed away, are Onpao Kuki (President, Kuki Union), Paochung Kuki (GB, Khaibung), Dr Lenzalal Kuki (Gaonbura, Bungsang, father of late Seikhohen Kuki) and several other Gaonburas. Indelible historical records exist to bear witness to Kukis indigenous status in Nagaland.

Khaplang, leader of NSCN, has made the following observation (On Naga Hoho痴 Naga Integration, dated 5 June 2002, p7):

Simon Commission: The 1929 memorandum submitted to Sir John Simon by the Naga and considered as another footstool of Nagas right to political existence and Sovereignty had other Nagas but not the Tangkhuls. Had the Tangkhuls been Nagas then, what were these Tangkhuls doing then? The Kukis has been erashed to almost nothingness had the NSCN not been there but remember, Kukis were the main participants of this Commission. However, the Tangkhuls who have never been Nagas and immediately taking identity of a Naga and running criminalism against the Kukis is undeniably Terrorism. And, if the Kukis, the main participant can be deprived of Naga identity for the sake of Tangkhuls then, what about the Tangkhuls who never participated? Absolutely no to Tangkhuls!

Despite the cordial relationship that has prevailed between Kuki and Naga in Nagaland, Muivah has unremittingly pursued a racially motivated campaign to malign and discredit Kuki. Relevant to the history of Nagaland, Ms Adino, President Naga National Council (NNC) and daughter of Phizo, in an interview with , pointed out that Tangkhuls did not want to join the Naga movement, preferring to remain with Meitei in Manipur. On Naga Hoho痴 Naga Integration (p12), too, it is clearly stated that the Tangkhuls were given the opportunity from 1964 to 1972 to join the union of Nagaland. However, in 1972 Rishang Keishing denounced such an idea as deplorable, and declared that Meiteis and Tangkhuls were brothers and that they were inseparable. Further to that, Mr Keishing, as a Chief Minister of Manipur, passed a Bill, which confirmed that not an inch of Manipur would be merged with Nagaland. Tangkhul is also referred to as the elder of Meitei (p8). All of these leads to the question: Why are Tangkhuls, both civilians and those who are members of Muivah痴 NSCN faction, engaging in terrorist activities on Naga soil?

21. Muivah refers to the British motivated Meitei and Kuki expedition in Kohima. With regard to this incident, Muivah claims in the article 銭UKI AND THE NAGA PUBLIC CLASHES that 3000 Nagas were slaughtered. That Muivah has a proclivity to lie and to exaggerate is also revealed in this instance: according to NSCN-IM publication Statement on Kuki Atrocities Against the Nagas, the alleged figure is 300. It was to guard against the divide-and-rule policy of the British, such as in the above episode, where Meitei and Kuki and Naga are together pitted against Naga, that the Angami Naga people and Kukis made a formal peace treaty. To formalise the treaty they drank zu (wine) from the barrel of a flintlock; and in a customary fashion of oath taking, they killed a dog, broke open its head and snapped the intestine. The symbolic significance of this was that whichever party broke the treaty would be cursed: they would die from the barrel of a gun, and their head smashed open and the intestine snapped like the dog. Friendship gifts like spears and guns were exchanged. The Kukis helped Khonoma, Samoa Khel, in their constructions of a fort called Semo-Kunda, which still stands today. The late Niu Lungalang (former IPS officer) also recalled that the Kukis gave the Khonoma people three indigenous made pumpi (canon made of bison hide).

In 1995 two Angami men from Khozuma village of Nagaland were persuaded by Tangkhuls to go and purchase buffalo from a Kuki village in Manipur. This was at a time when NSCN-IM was engaged in killing innocent Kuki villagers in great numbers. The Kuki villagers were unaware of the two men痴 activity. However, when the people of Khozuma realised the two men had not returned they assumed Kukis had killed them. Consequently, in 1995 the Angami People痴 Organisation (APO) served quit notice to the Kukis of Nagaland, the deadline being set for 25 July. At Delhi, on 24 July 1995, the Kuki Students Organisation went on a rally and presented a memorandum to the National Human Rights Commission, appealing for intervention. Fortunately, the intervention took place in the nick of time and the Angamis, realising foul play was involved, retracted the quit notice. The Kuki National Organisation are grateful to the Angami people for their timely discernment and positive action. The organisation also appreciates the role of Pu SC Jamir, former Chief Minister of Nagaland, in resolving the sensitive issue.

22. Relationship between Zeliang people and Kuki people

The Angamis did not welcome the Zeliang people, who arrived in Naga Hills from Assam. The Khonoma Angamis therefore assaulted the Zeliangs, raping their women while the men folk were made to stand nearby and bear the lighted torch. On the strength of their relationship, the Kuki chiefs dissuaded Angamis from abusing Zeliangs. It was this humanitarian intervention that enabled more and more Zeliang population to migrate from Assam and establish their settlement in Nagaland. In the 1950s, more Rongmeis arrived from Manipur.  

The Zeliangs were settled in Kuki land. As owners of the land, Kuki chiefs received tax from the Zeliang tribe. In the Insoung region, tax was paid to the Kuki chief of Jolpi; in M鍛oulo and Boulo regions, to Kuki chief of Sailhem; in the Inkeo range, to Kuki chief of Sinjol; in the Tening range, to Kuki chief Bombal. In 1968, Kuki chief of Tolbung received from Basampui (Neisempui) tax for the last time. At a solemn ceremony it was decided that payment of tax would discontinue and the two peoples would live together as jol (traditional form of friendship).

However, today, we experience a rather ungrateful attitude, which is also unsettling. Rather than show gratitude to Kukis, Zeliangs, have soiled their hands by joining Muivah and went on the rampage against Kuki, killing as many as 150 of them. That Zeliangs should treat the Kukis in such a manner is inconceivable. Muivah has managed to reduce the Zeliangs to such a dehumanized state that they are now capable of treating the Kukis this way. The Zeliangs also mercilessly burnt down 14 Kuki villages. To make matters worse, influenced by Muivah痴 racist anti-Kuki ideology, their villages in Peren sub-division are subjected to a humiliating forced payment of Rupees fifty, every five years, per village, in order to acknowledge the landownership of Zeliangs!!! (Govt. Nagaland, NO.CON7/86, countersigned by Wepretso Mero, Additional DC). This illegal act was carried out at gunpoint, and will not be countenanced by anybody. It will also be inadmissible in any court. If Zeliangs ever want to redeem their status a decent community, they must free themselves from Muivah痴 manipulations.

23.In contrast to Phizo痴 broad-minded Naga nationalism, mean-minded Tangkhuls, who share similar traits as Muivah, have exhibited a narrow outlook. This has primarily been because of their emotionally charged sense of vendetta against Kuki since 1950s. On 26 May 1987, Pakang Haokip of Maokot in Ukhrul District was assassinated by the NSCN-IM. Following this incident, the Kukis decided to form a Consultative Committee of Kuki Leaders (CCKL), on 4 July 1987. In order to raise awareness on the Kuki plight, the committee submitted a memorandum to Rishang Keishing, Chief Minister of Manipur, which included the list of 42 Kukis killed and 64 of their villages uprooted (see APPENDIX I). Needless to say, no concrete measures were taken up by the government to help the Kukis. The apathy of the government was followed by the onslaught against Kuki led by NSCN-IM from 1992-1997. As pointed out above, unable to bear the continued badgering, and the realization that government would not be able to provide protection, the Kukis started to fight back. This act of self-defence against the aggression of NSCN-IM, unfortunately was reported as 祖onflict between Kukis and Nagas. It must be reiterated that there is no 粗thnic conflict or 祖lashes between Naga and Kuki; there is only aggression by the former and defence by the latter.

24.It is worth mentioning that Naga casualties (as a result of Kuki retaliation to Naga aggression) do not include women and children. This was owing to Kuki tradition to maintain honour in war. During the 銭uki rising, 1917-1919, at the Oktan durbars, Pu Tintong, C-in-C of Kuki army, strictly forbade his men to kill JC Higgins, the British political agent, who had gone to meet the Kukis in relation to recruitment for the Labour Corps. Pu Tintong is recorded to have remarked that it was against Kuki custom and a cowardly act, too, to behave like the Meitei people who in 1891 invited the British Chief Commissioner to their court for a meeting and killed him and his entourage in cold blood. The above list of Kuki casualties confirms that NSCN-IM, contrary to the claim of Muivah, was deliberately engaged in afflicting civilians. It is time for Muivah to try and exercise a degree of self-respect, and also try to serve his followers with some honour. He must therefore discontinue falsifying data and seek professional psychiatric help to try to overcome his pathological disposition to lie. Muivah alleges that various Indian newspapers have falsely accused him of committing many crimes. The evidence cited above are corroborated by the media in several Nagaland newspapers, such as Nagaland Post, Ura Mail, Naga Banner as well as in other local and national newspapers. Relatives of victims who have died at the hands of NSCN-IM- led Manipur Nagas are still alive to provide eyewitness accounts.

25. The Chingjaroi incident

The Chingjaroi episode has been repeatedly quoted to slander Kuki. Perhaps it is time to present the true picture of the incident, however embarrassing it may prove to be for Muivah. The background is as follows:

Tukei [Tukih] is a Kuki. His jol (jol was a form of close friendship that existed between Kuki and other ethnic groups, such as Tangkhul), a Tangkhul, was owed a certain amount of money by people in Chingjaroi Tangkhul village. Tukih痴 jol went to Chingjaroi to collect the debt owed to him. Rather than repay the loan, the debtors decided to kill Tukih痴 jol, and that too in a manner most gruesome: sliced pieces of his body flesh, including the heart and liver, was stuck onto his own spear and sent to his wife. Clearly, this was intended not only to avoid paying back the loan, but also to humiliate. Tukih, who was unaware of the incident, went to visit his jol. The distraught wife did not immediately reveal to Tukih what had happened. She acted normally and prepared a meal consisting of a dish of chicken and rice. When Tukih finished eating, she explained how her husband had been brutally murdered and showed him the spear with its contents. Tukih avenged his jol痴 death, which was also requested by the wife. Lhungdim (1995, 159) writes about this event:

The infamous plunders committed by Pu Tukih Lupheng and Vumkhokai Haokip which were very much talked about did not come out as mere expeditions against villagers of Chingjaroi Tangkhul. It was rather an act of vengeance necessitated by the bond of friendship between Tangkhul and a Khungzai (Kuki) in those days.

Muivah also alleges other atrocities committed by Kuki. With reference to these please note the excerpt below (Lhungdim, 1995, 158-159), which will shed light on the subject matter and provide the relevant historical and political background of Naga and Kuki affairs:

Internecine wars among the Kabuis and the Tangkhuls led the Kuki warriors to come to the rescue of certain weaker sections among the Nagas in Ukhrul and Tamenglong divisions of Manipur. It was said in those days that had there been no Kuki intervention, the magnitude of human lives toll on account of the internecine wars among the Naga groups of people, could have been much heavier than that was actually seen among Naga villages. The ill-conceived view that the Kukis ware exploiting a section of the Tangkhuls along the Bongpa areas up to the level of slavery as wrongly given vent to by some vested politicians in Manipur hill areas cannot but be denied inasmuch as the role of the Kuki chiefs had all along been one of mediation and intervention only for the sake of preventing further loss of lives. One Kuki patriarch, Pu Haokhohem Haokip, who died at the age of 100 years or so in 1967, said that they (Kukis) had no desire to poke their nose in the wars among some sections of Tangkhuls, but it was only after much lobbying and cajoling that they used to intervene in the inter-village wars towards the end of the 19th century in Ukhrul areas. Pu Nehlam Kuki, chief of Chassad, was said to have saved many Tangkhul lives from the clutches of the other Tangkhul clans who were of diverse linguistic groups, having no common bond of kinship till the onset of the first half of the 20th century.

26.As stated above, prior to the advent of the British colonialists in Zale地-gam, the Kuki chiefs accommodated the Tangkhuls and Kabuis, from whom they received tax and tributes. During the 銭uki rising, 1917-1919, people of Khotum Kuki village and Akhui Naga village performed a ceremonial feast to seal an agreement to fight against the British. In the meantime, Tintong Haokip, C-in-C Kuki army and Enjakhup Kholhou, Dy C-in-C, were away in Naga Hills to make a similar agreement with Angami Naga people of Khonoma village and to encourage the Kuki freedom fighters. While they were away, the Akhui Nagas reneged on the agreement they made with Khotum Kuki. With the help of a few surrounding Naga village people the Akhui Nagas attacked Natjang Kuki village, killing all of its inhabitants, except for a father and son who were away from the village. Upon their return from Naga Hills, Tintong and Enjakhup razed three Kabui Naga villages in retaliation, not ten 岨eliangrong villages as exaggerated by Muivah. The names of the three Kabui villages are Natop, Khungakhun and Chaloi.

27.Muivah alleges the Indian armed forces support to the Kuki National Army. Consider the following to ascertain the facts that reveal support rendered to NSCN-IM: At the height of NSCN-IM-led genocidal activities against Kuki, Rishang Keishing, a Tangkhul, was Deputy Chief Minister of the Government of Manipur. Lt General (Retd) VK Nayar, the Governor of Manipur, was the General Officer Commanding (GOC) of the states of Nagaland and Manipur. He had successfully brought under control insurgency activities in the two states (Hindustan Times, 23 September 1993). The Governor submitted a report to the Government of India regarding Mr Keishing痴 nexus with the NSCN-IM. Singh (1996) wrote in an article Is Keishing backing Naga movement? 前n Oct 5, 1993, Gen Nayar had written a confidential letter to the President of India in which he had alleged that Keishing was 殿iding and abetting the NSCN (I-M) in order to 都ubvert the Government machinery and the police.白

Singh (1996) also refers to an alleged letter addressed to Mr Keishing, Chief Minister of Manipur, sent by the Government of People痴 Republic of a Nagaland (CPRN), stating that the organization had received a sum of 25 lakhs from the CM 奏oward our national movement for Shepoumaramth region. 禅he letter, a copy of which is in possession of 典he Hindustan Times, is signed by one K. Maikho Pao, 迭evenue Officer of GPRN, and is apparently written on the letterhead of that organization.

Following the news report and disclosure, curiously, rather than Mr Keishing being apprehended, Gen Nayar was removed as a punishment from his Governorship of Manipur before his tenure was completed. On the other hand, rather astonishingly, Mr Keishing was promoted from Dy Chief Minister and installed as Chief Minister of Manipur. During this period Indian security forces were deployed strategically in the war torn hills of Manipur to favour the Naga villages. Furthermore, at this critical juncture, Prof Meijinlung Kamson, MP, a Kabui Naga, was given the sensitive portfolio Minister of State for Home Affairs. It is a known fact that Prof Kamson was a crony of the Mr Keishing, CM.

The same letter to Mr Keishing from GPRN cited above also states: 前n the same we are standing (Sic) on our earlier commitment to give our full support to the candidature of Prof Meijinlung Kamson for the forthcoming Parliamentary elections.

The Manipur Legislative Assembly addressed the issue of the uniform scandal: Ngaraipam, a Tangkhul, CO, 2nd Manipur Rifles, was involved in channeling uniform worth rupees 35 lakhs to NSCN-IM. Vigilance case was also registered against the CO.

In the state of Nagaland, too, the situation was not different: The Times of India, 24 February 1995 reported:

In Nagaland, the NSCN-IM have openly set up camps in villages, confident that they have nothing to fear from the Indian security forces. Says Shri Sebi, headman of Khonoma village, in Angami territory, NSCN factions and the India Army see each other, and do not fight. The NSCN people are in our village. We asked them to leave. We do not want to get in trouble with the Army, who will torture us. They said 鮮o, the Army will not come when we are here. Why is the Army not chasing the NSCN, when earlier they lost no chance to hound the Naga National Army (Phizo group)? We ask these questions, does the government want the NSCN to be strong? How have they become so powerful?

Following all of these sordid events, from 1997, the Government of India chose to sign a ceasefire with NSCN-IM, completely leaving aside Kukis. Given the prevailing circumstances, one has to beg the question: Who is backing whom?

The above points show the historical position of Kukis in relationship to their ancestral lands. NSCN-IM, a terrorists group, has aggressed upon Kukis and their land. In the process there have been scores of Kuki casualties. In other words, the victims deprived of land, those who have been killed, not to mention other abuses of their human rights, have been categorically ignored. In spite of the deluge of evidence that Muivah & Isak have engaged in genocidal activities, the Government of India is talking to them rather than with Kukis. The signal being sent out by this act of Government suggests, reward the aggressor and ignore the victim. This attitude has encouraged NSCN-IM to become more confident and make assertions, such as not having killed innocent people, not being guilty of committing acts of terrorism, etc and the absurd allegation that KNA and Indian security forces have worked together.

The NSCN-IM cannot hold talks with the Government of India concerning Kuki land. The facts regarding ownership of land is that Kukis possess legal rights, which is indisputable. The Tangkhuls have engaged in a systematic elimination of Kuki chiefs since the 1950s to dispossess Kukis of their rights.

Muivah should be tried by a tribunal, and declared a terrorist, rather than entertain his outrageous demands and legitimize him as a leader. The Government of India must deal with NSCN-IM leadership as terrorists, not as legal entities of an organisation. The Government must also prove that contrary to Muivah痴 claim, the NSCN-IM have killed thousands of innocent people, and that his organization is definitely a terrorist group. To confirm this, the Government should also call NSCN-IM痴 bluff and actually send a fact-finding mission to Manipur. This will satisfy not only the Kukis, but also every self-respecting human being who are concerned about human rights issues. The Kukis are prepared to produce concrete evidence of NSCN-IM痴 brutal murders and other material, such as photographs, mass graves (where it was impossible to have individual burials), bones of those hacked to pieces, fabricated videos, as evidence.

The Kuki National Organisation hopes justice will be done.

Many villages have been torched and have been vacated, and about a thousand innocent Kuki lives have been lost.




Name of Village & District



Jampao Kipgen

Joupi, Tamenglong



Lhaijaneng Kipgen

Joupi, Tamenglong



Henkai Kipgen

Joupi, Tamenglong



Thangjalam Chongloi Chief of Toljang,




Lhaijavei W/o Thanglim Chongloi

Khonomphai, Sdr Hills



Otpao Touthang

Phaikoh, Ukhrul



Paokhohen Touthang

Changsang, Sanapati



Tongpu Lupho

Saioh Village



Seilet Kuki

Bungsang, Nagaland



Khaipao Lupheng

Changsang, Ukhrul



Songsei Kipgen

Chief of Saichang,Ukhrul



Satkhosei Chongloi

Phaikon, Sadar Hills



Sehthang Chongloi

Phaikon, Sadar Hills



Hollet Kipgen

Chief of Saihaphoh(Burma)




Chief of Jangnoi (Burma)



Pakang Haokip

Maokot, Ukhrul




Old Gelbung, Sadar Hills



Min Hetlou mi-3

Khomunnom, Ukhrul




C.Kholen, Ukhrul



Pasei Haokip

Akhen (Nagaland)



Paokhomang Haokip

Akhen (Nagaland)



Letkhopao Haokip

Akhen (Nagaland)



Thongkhopao Singsit

Cf of Ihangkarong, SadarHills



Letkholun Haokip

Gelbung, Sadar Hills



Ngamjathang Haokip

Gelbung, Sadar Hills



Haopu Singsit

Laikot Village



Khuplet Dimngel

Joupi, Tamenglong




Selsi East, Tamenglong




Nganje Village



Somkhosei Kipgen

Saichang Village



Jamkhoson Haokip

Chief of Tokaibung, Chandel



Doukhosei Haokip

Hengjang, Ukhrul




Dahtum, Sadar Hills




Hengjol, Ukhrul



Langkeng Haokip

Gashpani, Nagaland



Seikholet Lhouvum

Tengnoupa, Chandell



Paokholet Thangeo

Tengnoupal, Chandel



Holkho Lhugdim

L Mongbung, Ukhrul



Hatkho Touthang

Phaikoh, Ukhrul



Lhaijeneng Touthang

Phaikoh, Ukhrul



Otkhojam Touthang

Phaikoh, Ukhrul



Chungkholet Touthang Phaikoh,




Paokhongam Chongloi, Chief

Chingjaroi (Kuki), Ukhrul



Ngamkholet Kipgen,  Chief

Poi, Manipur



Paokam Kipgen, Chief

Phaljang, Manipur



Dimthem Hangsing

Khomunnom, Manipur



Chonghao Hangsing

Khomunnom, Manipur



Ngulkhohen Chongloi

Khomunnom, Manipur



Lhingjahoi Chongloi




Jonkhothang Haokip








Ngamkhosei Kipgen




Jamkhosem Kipgen Chief




Ngampao Kipgen




Jamkam Chongloi Chief




Thangkholun Lhungdim




Nemkhochin Singson




Jamkhohao Lupho




Helkhoson Chief




Jakhothang Kipgen











Ngulkhojang Hangsing



NNC member



Letkhojang Hangsing



Chief of Phanjang



Thangkhongam Hangsing



Chairman, Village Council



Paokam Singson



NNC member









Chungneilal Gangte



Pastor, UPC Church



Lunjahen Singson



Secy. VDB



Nguljang Hangsing

Old Chalkot


Rtd. Head Goan Bura



Thangkhotheh Hmar

Old Chalkot





Letjang Guite

Old Chalkot





Chungjang Hmar

Old Chalkot





Seithang Singson

Old Chalkot


NAP constable



Singkhohen Haokip

Old Chalkot





Mangkholen Hangsing, IAS,



Com of Excise



Thenjalal Thangeo

Maova village






Songlhuh Village





Paosei Singsit

Saijang Village


Lecturer, Pr KSO,



Paokholam Chongloi

Vongkithem Village


UDA & Gen. Secy KSO (N)



Thangsat Thangeo

Saijang Village





Seikhahao Singson

Lilen Village





Haojang Chongloi

Phanjang Village





Letkhothong Hangsing



Jt Secy Kuki Innpi, Nagaland



Seikam Chongloi






Thathang Thangeo






Nemhoi Hangsing






Henkhokam Hangsing



HSLC (Class X)




Sailhem Village








Chief of Phaikholum
















Old Soget






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