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The Historical, Archaeological, Religious & Cultural Significance Of 'Kangla': The Ancient Citadel Of Manipur

Pandit N.Khelchandra Singh

Related Notes of Interest while on this topic

1. How Pakhangba Extirpated Khaba Chief Nongjengba From Kangla?

In Chakpa Khunda Khunthok (Manuscript) scripture there is an account of Khaba salai as the first to absorb into the Meitei fold and thereafter to rule from Kangla by about the beginning of the Christian era. But when Pakhangba (Nongda Lairen) did arrive from Hanching Hill lying to the north of Imphal to seize Kangla, the Khaba king Nongjenba resisted fiercely in their first encounter, whereafter Pakhangba took refuge in Moirang principality and left behind two progenies _ Mungyang Chaopa and Tangkhrum Limiyipa. These two were absorbed in the Moirang salai or clan under the respective sageis of Mungyangjam and Loirenjam. The fact that Pakhangba's Ningthouja salai still do not intermarry with these two sageis of Moirang bears eloquent testimony to Pakhangba's existence and taking refuge at Moirang after his first encounter with the Khaba king Nongjenba. Soon afterwards Pakhangba organized a militia and, with the help of the Moirangs, overcame the Khabas and annexed the Khaba principality by occupying Kangla. This incidentally embodies the first phase of formation of Meitei polity.

Even prior to Khaba, according to these legends, Chakpa and Sarang Leisangthem were there as the chiefs of Manipur valley. According to Panthoibi Khong-gul, Khaba Sokchronba, the father-in-law of Panthoibi, ruled from Imphal Kangla. The present Sanjenthong is so called because Khaba constructed a bridge for the convenience of his children to cross Imphal river from the Kangla side for tending the Kangla cattle in the meadows across the river. Further according to Leithak Leikharol, Pudin, and Leisangthem Lon annals, Laleksang, one of the elders of Sarang Leisangthem went over to the western hills and settled there ever since and never came back to the valley. According to yet another legend Moirang Ningthourol Lambuba, Laleksang became the progenitor of the Kabuis. This goes to prove that the Kabuis and the Meiteis are descendents of the same parentage. Likewise, Tutenglon, Naothingkhong Phamban Kaba and yet other annals give similar accounts of close parentage, cultural contact, and relation between hill and plain people. Apart from such precise connection between the Kabuis and the Meiteis, further affinities are claimed. For instance, the Kabuis have yek salai just like the Meiteis: viz. Kamei, Golmei, Gangmei, Longmei etc.

Those who went over to the hills and settled there permanently must have gone according to their own innate preference for greater solitude, freedom and wilderness. It follows mutatis mutandis that those who remained behind in the valley developed stronger cultural and linguistic ties within the confines of their own habitats. Despite their close blood proximity and intimacy during the first generations, the long passage of time have led to development of seemingly divergent cultural and linguistic ties between the hill and plain brethrens. So much so that the hill brethrens may have even opted to remain autonomous, and to resist full integration because separate economic life-processes over these two millennia have led to even different economic growth rates as if the hill and valley were disjointed partners. (See also Chpt 11: Sec 7).
As on date, the growth rate of standardizing and differentiating effects between the two have mushroomed onto an open issue for the stronger "partner's" intended hegemony and the "weaker one's" search for qualified dependence (cf. England and Ireland).


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