IMPHAL, Aug 28: The final religious rites of the departed Queen Apei Hinga of Maram was held today at her residence known as “Gongdikijang” located at Maram Khunou in Senapati district.
The final ceremony was attended by MLA K. Raina, MLA Thangminlen Kipgen and members of various Naga organizations, namely UNC, Naga People’s Movement for Human Rights, ANSAM, Maram Union, Karong Senapati Town Committee, Naga Women’s Union of Manipur, Senapati District Students’ Association and others.
Expressing condolences at the demise of the Queen of Maram, MLA K. Raina stated that Queen Apei Hinga was the only female chieftain amongst the Naga tribes and during her long period of chieftainship she had brought remarkable changes in the Naga society, especially allowing intermarriage between Maram Khunthak and Maram Khunkha and also promoting the unique “naked wrestling” of the Maram community through mass media.
She had a modern outlook and ideal qualities of being the Queen of a major tribal community, Raina stated.
Many people who were present at the ceremony lauded Apei Hinga as a Queen who had led a disciplined life dedicated to the service of the people. She had been instrumental in bringing about various social changes in the Maram society.
In 1968, she banned the evil practice of “M-Bung Katai” under which practice a pregnant woman undergoing difficult labour used to be taken out of the house and kept alone outside, lest her death should defile the whole house. If the woman died she would be buried by someone on hire and all her belongings would be thrown away. With the abolition of the evil practice, today, the status of Maram women is being upheld in the society.
Then, in 1975 the Queen also gave her consent to inter-clan and inter-tribe marriages and she also proclaimed the freedom to villages to start cultivation works on their own convenient season even before or after the “Sahara-Katilura Kamanai” (seed sowing ritual). As a kind hearted Queen and a loving mother, even when a criminal ran into her house, protection and shelter was ensured. She had no objection to the traditional practices to be Christianized, and for which the number of Marams converting to Christianity is increasing today.
Known for her justice and as a peace loving mother, Naga Women Union Manipur conferred “Best Mother” title in 2006. The Pioneer Health Club, Khurai, had also acknowledged and awarded citation to the Queen on International Day of Older Persons in 2009.
Being the only female chieftain amongst the Naga tribes, the oldest Queen graced and blessed the 2010 Lui-Ngai-Ni held at Katomei village in Senapati. Through frail in body but with an indomitable spirit, it is worthy to mention that the Queen had carried out all customary and traditional rituals and practices efficiently and was respected by all.
Before her death she had crowned her only surviving son, K. Namba as the King of Maram.