Origin, migration and settlement of Zeliangrongs – Part 4

107

Dr Budha Kamei

From previous issue
Even now the erected megaliths remain intact. At the time of dispersal they took oath that they would unite again in future and planted the tree called Chutebu. A genna is observed if a branch of this sacred tree is broken and it is also a taboo to cut the branches of the tree. According to T. C Hodson, “At Makhel is to be seen a stone now erect which marks the place from which the common ancestors (of the Nagas) emerged from the earth, Makhel is regarded as the centre from where the migration took place.”

From Makhel the ancestors of the Zeliangrongs went westward and took a temporary shelter at Ramting Kabin, old squeezed land. Then, they went south ward and settled in a place called Chawang Phungning or Gwang Phungning, where the concept of Chawang or Gwang meaning king or chief was developed in a rudimentary form. There are many references to the prosperity of Chawang Phungning in many ritual hymns. From this place, some of the migrants took towards the northeast and arrived at Makuilongdi. Chawang Phungning is identified with the present village of Oklong in north Manipur. The ancestors of Zeliangrong ultimately came to occupy Makuilongdi meaning round big mountain. Nothing is known about Makuilongdi before the Zeliangrong migration. Many Zeliangrong lineages traced their origin from Chawang Phungning which was considered the main village of the cluster of villages, commonly known as Makuilongdi.

As the migrating people came in groups, they must have established separate settlements. Chawang Phungning was the main settlement and the settlers of this village built up Makuilongdi. There was cluster of villages or settlements under the jurisdiction of Makuilongdi that was adjacent to Chawang Phungning. The land, forest and water available at the new site and the rounded great mountain provided enough sustenance to the people. The ancestors of Zeliangrong lived in Makuilongdi for many generations. The village became prosperous with enough land for shifting cultivation, which produced surplus food grains. From a small village it had become a cluster of small hamlets and settlements, which were established for organizing shifting cultivation, as they were quite distant from the original village. In fact, the Zeliangrong people built up a settled life based on shifting cultivation. The territorial extension of Makuilongdi was ubiquitously. At Makuilongdi, a polity was developed under a chief. Religious beliefs and social customs were developed and flourished. Religious ceremonies and festivals were celebrated. Clans and lineages also grew up. It is said that the number of houses in Makuilongdi reached as many as 7777 and people enjoyed a long peaceful and attained the zenith of their socio-cultural life. (To be contd)

Source: The Sangai Express

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