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EXCLUSIVE ‘NAGA INHABITED AREA’ – NON-EXISTENT

 

- Dr. T.S. Gangte

INTRODUCTION:

It is said, “search, ye shall find it. Thus, I search and search and re-search over and again. But I could not find as to where was the place called exclusively ‘Naga inhabited area’. Instead, I stumbled and fell on an Anthropologist- Administrator, Prof. Hudson, T.C., (1911 : p.9 : The Naga Tribes of Manipur) who told me that there was no such thing as I was looking for and said,

“… tradition affords link which makes the Nagas, Kukis and Manipuris descended from a common ancestor, who had three sons who became the progenitors of those tribes. The tradition, which is widely spread, agrees in its many versions in assigning the primacy of descend to the Kukis, the next place being given to the Nagas, while the Manipuris are said to be the children of the youngest of the three brothers”.

I found it difficult to believe in the said tradition or allegory with full conviction. And so, I continued my search, and as I continued to do so, I once again came across another eminent scholar-administrator called Hutton, J.H. (1928 : p.1 : Introduction to the work of William Shaw in The Thadou Kukis) who said that there was no such area as exclusive to any tribe. Having said this, Hutton contended that Maharajah of Manipur did not take interest in hill areas and its people except that of his method of control by periodical massacres to extract forcibly tributes. The Kuki Chiefs ‘ruled the roost’ in the hills as allies of the Maharajah of Manipur till outbreak of Anglo-Kuki-War, 1917-1919, when the two parted ways which prompted Hutton to say,

“Before the Kuki (War) of 1917-19 the administration in the hill areas of the Manipur State was not very close, and the Kukis, ruled as they were b y their own well-recognised Chiefs, and treated as they had been in the past at any rate, by the Manipur State as allies … managed their own affairs in their own way …”

 

 

We may recall herein Robert Reid, Sir, (1942 : p.88 : History of the Frontier Areas Bordering On Assam – 1883-1941) who said that even after the Anglo-Manipuri War of 1891, there was no proper administration of the Hill tribes and no proper provision for them in the budget … Neglect of their interests and lack of touch between them and the administration came to a head in the Kuki Rebellion of 1918. He further contended that –

With the suppression of the Kukis in 1919 the confiscation of all guns and the punishment of several of the leading Chiefs, an era of much closer administration set in, and the Kukis have had to put up with a great deal of administrative interferences (with the opening of first ever Sub-Divisional Headquarters at Ukhrul, Tamenglong and Churachandpur mainly to check-mate recurrence of Kuki uprising).

And so, the entire hill areas and tribal ethnic groups living therein, along with Meiteis in the valley were for the first time under a new system of modern administration, thereby establishing a permanent boundary called “territory of Manipur” which exists till date. The then Governor of Assam, thus had to say,

“… The State of Manipur consists of a Central valley some 700 square miles in areas, surrounded by 8000 square miles in the hills.”

This is what Manipur today is. Yet, unable to locate, if at all exists, a placed called “Naga inhabited areas” exclusively. I continued my quest for the same till the dawn of independence in India in 1947. With it came the expediency of re-structuring administrative set-up decentralizing administrative machinery further into interior hills by a Regulation:

 

THE MANIPUR STATE HILL PEOPLES (Administration) REGULATION, 1947


Table – 1

NUMBER OF VILLAGES AND TRIBAL ETHNIC GROUPS UNDER THE REGULATION

Sl. No.

Name of Circle

No. of Circles

Name of Tribe & No. of villages

Ethnic tribes

Kukis

Others

Total

I.

Sadar Circles :

 

 

 

 

 

 

(a) Sadar Circle No.1 (Central)

3(three) circles

1.           Kabui – 50

2.     Tangkhul – 11

3.   Kacha Naga - 4

 

 

 

 

 

 

65

68

42

175

 

(b) Sadar Circle No.2 (Mao Circle)

 

Mao – 56

27

Nil

83

 

(c) Sadar Circle No.3 (New Churachandpur)

 

Nil - -

149

25

174

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

II.

Ukhrul Circles :

 

 

 

 

 

 

(a) Ukhrul Circle No.1 (Ukhrul)

 

Tangkhul – 79

29

Nil

108

 

(b) Ukhrul Circle No.2 Ukhrul East Sub-Divn. (Phaisat Circle)

3(three) circles

Tangkhul – 39

30

1

70

 

(c) Ukhrul Circle No.3 (Tengnoupal & Mombi)

 

Nil

135

21

164

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

III.

Tamenglong Circles :

 

 

 

 

 

 

(a) Tamenglong Circle No.1 (Headquarters)

 

Kabui – 60

53

2

115

 

(b) Tamenglong Circle No.2 (North Circle) West Sub-Divn.

3(three) circles

1.       Liangmei – 50

2.             Zemei – 9

3.            Kabui - 14

 

 

 

 

 

 

60

58

2

120

 

(c) Tamenglong Circle No.3 (Southern Circle)

 

Nil

62

Nil

62

 

 

Total :

359

611

103

1073

 

A brief analysis of the above table shows the following highlights –

(i) that while the term Kuki was used consistently in all the circles to distinguish their villages from other ethnic groups, the term NAGA was not used whatever except in the Tamenglong Circles No.1 and 2 to denote tribal groups, sucyh as, Liangmei, Zemei Kabui and Kacha-Naga to show that each of them was distinct from the others.

(ii) that villages belonging to the Kukis and other ethnic tribes are mixed-up so closely in physical proximity that a good number of such villages bear the same name. To mention a few of them, such as, are –

           

1.      Kharasom Tangkhul & Kuki

2.      Khayang Kuki & Tangkhul

3.      Kashung Kuki & Tangkhul

4.      Kachai Tangkhul & Kuki

5.      Tera Tangkhul & Kuki

6.      Chingjaroi Tangkhul & Kuki

7.      Leishen Kuki & Tangkhul

8.      Khongban Tangkhul & Kuki

9.      Nongtam Kuki & Tangkhul

10.  Phalang Kuki & Tangkhul

11.  Nongnou Kuki & Tangkhul

12.  Laimanai Kuki & Kabui

13.  Nungadang Kuki & Kabui

14.  Gaidimjang Kabnui & Kuki

15.  Kaimai Kuki & Kabui

16.  Sempat Kuki & Kabui,

17.  Chingmei Kabui & Kuki,

18.  Satudai Kabui & Kuki;

(iii) that while Kukis are wide-spread in all the nine Circles the Nagas are found only in six Circles : and

(iv) that the total number of villages in the entire hill areas are as follows :

Table – 2

1.

Sadar Circles :

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(a) Naga -

121

(b) Kuki -

244

(c) Others -

67

=

432

2.

Ukhrul Circles