Monsang
Total population
2,427 [1]
Languages
Monsang language
Religion
Protestantism - roman catholic
Related ethnic groups
Moyon Naga, Naga tribes

Monsang tribe are one among the indigenous tribes of North-East India, inhabiting the south-east part of Manipur state[2][3] border to Myanmar particularly in Chandel district. Monsangs have their own distinct culture and tradition and are traditionally peaceful.

History

Monsang tribe are one among the indigenous tribes of the North-East India, inhabiting the south-east part of Manipur state border to Myanmar particularly in Chandel district. Monsangs were originally known as 'Sirti'. Sirti is derived from the word 'Ati' meaning 'south'. Therefore, it is believed that Monsangs originated from the south though the exact geographical region of origin cannot be determined.

Monsang mythology describes the emergal of their people from a cave which was guarded by a ferocious tiger. After overpowering the tiger with the help of weaver birds and hornbills, Thumpungpa, the Monsang leader led the people out of the cave in search for suitable place for settlement.

The earliest Monsang village is Tungphejur. Tetejur, Kolenbung, Heikaching, Ruwngphetung come in successive sequence in the course of migration. During the time of their settlement in Ruwngphetung, Monsangs came in contact with the Meiteis (valley people of Manipur). Among the Monsangs was a popular leader named Mosang. Subsequently, Ruwngphetung was referred to as 'Mosang's village' by people from other communities. In due course of time, the people of Ruwngphetung were known as the Mosang people, and 'Sirti' came to be known as 'Monsang' after Mosang.

Clans

Generally in Monsang Tribe there are two clans namely (a) Simputi and (b) Rinheti. Each clan is again divided into several sub-clans.

(a) SIMPUTI CLAN:- 1. Ngiiriiti 2.Kiiriiti 3. Thrumhliti, 4. Hranglumti, 5. Chahliiti, 6. Eenlha Bungjirti and 7. Serbumti. (b) RINNHETI CLAN:- 1. Rohinti, 2. Wanglarti 3. Thresongti, 4. Hongamti 5. Shongsirti 6. Khartuti 7. Khartu Bungpi.

Marriage

In ancient days, negotiation between the boy's family and that of the girl preceded the formal marriage. This was known as juwr Ikhuw. However it is no longer in practice today.

Jutii (engagement); for the engagement ceremony the boy's parents goes to the girl's house along with a jar of wine and a hen. If no agreement arises then the girl's parents arrange a jar of wine which is consumed by both the parties then the engagement will be cancelled. Today, in Christianity, tea has replaced wine in all such occasions.

After the Jutii the boy goes to the girl's house and starts living with her at her house in union. He lives there for three consecutive years only after which the girl would go to live in the boy's house. During the boy's stay at the girl's house’ his parents will have to make three presentations to the girl's family known as Chatla, Thungpham and Mharsha or Min. Chatla consists of meat and wine. Thungpham includes a pig and a jar of wine. Mharsha or Min includes a metal gong, one pig or one hen and a cow and a basket-full of Chahao.

Today, the marriages are almost replaced by the Christian ceremonies ministered by a catholic priest or a Reverend. Many of the old traditions have been replaced to a considerable degree.

LHU- A unique friendship system among the Monsangs.

"LHU" stands for bosom friend. Every Monsang male has a bosom friend, Lhu. Friends of this nature are distinguished from those of one's ordinary friends. In this type of friendship, there is no question of marriage between the brothers and sisters and between the children should they arise. This friendship is bound by the conviction that whatever the circumstances that may befall should be faced boldly and jointly. When any animal is killed by any of them the rear portion of the animal is given to the other. Such a trend is still practiced today in the Monsang culture.

Inter-marriage

Marriage between the Sub-Clans of Rinheti and Simputi can marry within its sub-clans i.g. marriage between Ngiiriiti and Kiiriiti, Kiiriiti and Thrumhliti so on. The sub-clans of Rinheti may also marry within sub-clans of e.g. Wanglarti and Thresongti, Hongamti and Shongsirti, so on. But in the Simputi clan marriage within the sub-clan of Ngiiriiti and Hranglumti and in Rinheti clan marriage within Rohinti and Wanglarti, Hongamti and Thresongti and between Khartuti and Khartu Bingpi are prohibited. They are treated as close blood relation known as juwr. If these happen to be any marriage between the above said clans then village authority will impose fine as per the Monsang customary law.

Religion

Religion among Monsang[4]
Religion Percent
Hinduism
0.00%
Christianity
100.00%
Others
0.00%

Chiefs

Chiefs are not hereditary, they are elected by the people. The tenure of Chiefship is not fixed period. He holds the post as long as he enjoys confidence of his villagers. The Chiefs can be removed when his villagers do not have confidence on him or when he is too old.

Villages officials

(Duties and Functions of Village Authority)

  1. Chief (Eruwng) - He is the head of the village officials and also the ex officio chairman of the village authority. All developmental, educational and other economic programmes are carried out in consultant with the Eruwng. In times of crisis the Eruwng has certain extraordinary powers to make any decision which may deem justified without consulting other officials. There is no time limit or life span for the chief. He holds the position so long as he enjoys the people's mandate..
  2. Senapati - He is the second highest village official. During the absence of the Eruwng he acts on his behalf and may do anything in the capacity of an Eruwng.
  3. Khullak - He upholds the third post in the traditional village council; He is obliged to take active part in all the development as programmes. He assists the Eruwng in many of the developmental programmes
  4. Lullak - The Lullakpa occupies the fourth position in the Eruwng's council. He assists the Eruwng and makes suggestions or joins hands in other activities of the council.
  5. Mantri - Mantri occupies the fifth post in the village council. He is also one of the members in the executive wing of the village council.
  6. Pakhanglak - Guiding the male (unmarried ones)
  7. Ningolak - Guiding the female (unmarried ones)
  8. Chingsanglak - To give information about the surrounding village.
  9. Meitei Lambu - To enquire & verify outsiders who visit village.
  10. Langching - To lead villagers in any social work or other community work in the village.
  11. Wangkhera -
  12. Nahara -
  13. Selung -
  14. Yupaar - Usher of Ekam ritual. Ekam offered by well of people. Offered meat, food, drink etc. with ritual songs and dances.
  15. Kerung - Ushers of any ceremony.

Land holdings

Each and every individual, sub-clans, family owned land which comes down from their forefathers or grand parents known as Lhenhiing. The land is not easily transferable from one clan to another or family. It can be given or transferred to others in two conditions (1) If the particular land owner does not have male issue, it can be given to his daughter. Transferred to his son-in-law on his daughter's marriage.

1. If the land owner is too old and his family members are not interested in jhum cultivation then the land can be given to his nearest relatives or can be sold to other sub-clans. Land sole to outsiders is not encouraged as it is immovable property. The above said land rules are followed only in the time of Jhum cultivation but when there is no cultivation is taken place then whole land is treated as common land.

2. A land owned by an individual i.g. wet paddy field (survey/patta land) is treated as individual land own property.

References

  1. ^ "CENSUS OF ST". CENSUS 2011. MHA GOI.
  2. ^ Singh, K. S. (1998). People of India: India's communities. Vol. 5. Oxford University Press. p. 2360. ISBN 9780195633542.
  3. ^ Prakash, Col Ved (2007). Encyclopaedia of North-East India. Vol. 4. Atlantic Publishers & Distributors. pp. 1560–1563. ISBN 9788126907069.
  4. ^ Census of India - Socio-cultural aspects, Table ST-14 (compact disc). Government of India, Ministry of Home Affairs.