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

Pandit N.Khelchandra Singh

3. Origin of The Manipuri People:

Latest effort to trace the origin of Manipur in the Stone Age through recent archaeological finds (Phunan ware, Tripod ware and Corded ware) has thrown enough light on the earlier held legendary brief on the present Manipur culture and population having descended from the Late Choukoutien of China (see Chpt.3 ). R. Brown puts the then ongoing riddle quite succinctly:

"The origin of the Manipuris is obscure, and the written records having mostly been composed since they became Hindus, are not worthy of much credit. From the most credible traditions the valley appears originally to have been occupied by several tribes, the principal of which were named Khumal, Luwang, Moirang, and Meithei, all of whom came from different directions. For a time the Khumal appears to have been the most powerful, and after its declension the Moirang tribe. But by degrees the Meitheis subdued the whole, and the name Meithei has become applicable to all. Some persons who studied the subject with great attention have rejected their claim to a Hindu descent. One officer formed his opinion that they are descended from a Tartar colony from China. Another imagines them to be descendents of the surrounding hill tribes."4

In fact, both theories might thus now appear partly, if not wholly, true if for instance they could be deemed to have first come along the newly formed land-bridge from China and initially settled in the hills, whence one after the other, some have left for the valley and become valley-dwellers. Of course having remained in the hills the hill-men continue to belong generally to an `inferior order of civilization,' according to R.Brown in Statistical Account of Manipur "because their manual productions are few, rude and unimportant; they have no written character of any kind, and their general intelligence, except in rare instances, is very low. Their reputed truthfulness is believed to be much exaggerated, and the more intelligent of them can lie when occasion serves."5 At least this was the state of affairs during the reign of Maharaja Chandrakirti (1850-86), during whose tenure R. Brown worked in Manipur as a Political Agent.


     Powered by: