Thadou people

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Thadou
Total population
c. 5,00,000
Regions with significant populations
Northeast India, Bangladesh, Burma
Languages
Thado
Religion
Christianity (majority)
Related ethnic groups
other Kuki and Naga peoples

The Thadous (Thadou te) are a tribal people native to north-eastern India, Chin state and Sagaing Division in Burma (Myanmar) and eastern Bangladesh. Thadou is a Kukish language of the Tibeto-Burman family. Thadou is spoken in the different parts of North East India and adjacent portions of Burma and Bangladesh. It was the second language after Meiteilon (Manipuri) in the Manipur state during British Colonial Period. In Manipur, the Thadou are mostly found in Churachandpur district, Senapati district, Ukhrul district, South-Western Hills and Sadar Hills, Chandel district and Jiribam. They are one of the largest of the Kuki peoples.

Thadous are known as:

  • Thadou by the Chins of Myanmar(Burma).
  • Lusuong by the Lushais/Mizos.
  • Khongjai/Khongsai by the Meiteis.
  • Khongchai/Khachami by the Tangkhuls.
  • Kusamei by the Maos.
  • Makheng by the Anals.
  • Thangkumsa by the Kacharis.
  • Kuki/Cuci by the Bengalis.
  • New Kuki by the Britishers.
A Thadou couple in Traditional dress (Saipikhup and Khamtang)

Religion[edit]

A great majority of the Thadou people are Christians. Christianity among the Thadous can be traced back to an Anglican named William Pettigrew who worked in Manipur as a missionary from 1894. The 100th anniversary of the Thadou people embracing Christianity was held at Motbung, Sadar Hills, Manipur India on 13 December 2008 under the aegis of the Thadou Baptist Association, India.

Historical Perspective[edit]

It is believed that Chongthu, the forefather of the Thadous, emerged out from a cave called “Chinlung or Shinlung or Khul” the location of which was believed to be somewhere in Central China, whereas others claimed it to be in Tibet. (Ginzatuang, 1973:5) Mc. Culloch (1857:55).Those ancestors emerging from the cave include Chongthu/Songthu, Khupngam, Vangalpa and some clansmen, leaving behind Noimangpa, Chongja and others of the group.

William Shaw’s (1929) description about the origin of Kuki’s is recorded from his collected verbal information. The story goes like this: Noimangpa was the chief of subterranean region. Chongthu, a relative of Noimangpa, while hunting in the jungle with his dog, discovered a large cave. Chongthu, rejoiced at this discovery, gave up his hunting and went back to his village. He conjured up ideas of forming his own village on the earth. Meanwhile, Noimangpa the chief of the underworld was performing the ‘chon’ festival, in which everyone including chongja, the elder brother of Chongthu, Noimangpa’s son Chonkim participated. During this feast Chongthu started waving his sword so vigorously that he injured some of the people present, at which all were annoyed. This action of Chongthu was premeditated so that he can find an excuse to go to the upper world to form a village of his own. When Noimangpa came to know this he wanted Chongthu dead. Chongthu on hearing Noimangpa’s wrath, prepared to leave for the uninhabited earth, ‘khul’, as spoken of by the Thadous. So, Chongja and Chongthu along with the cavemen feasted before their departure. On their journey to the upper crust of the earth there was a great darkness, which lasted for seven days and seven nights, called “Thimzin” by the Thadou’s. They found a stone blocking their passage out and after making many attempts Chongja and party gave up and returned to Noimangpa and reported the result’. Pi Nemneh, wife of Songja, cursed Chongthu and party for leaving them at doom in ‘Khul’. It is also believed that Chongja, Noimangpa and other clansmen who were left behind are assimilated with the Chinese and Japanese people.

A group of Thadou men

The Kuki Rebellion (1917-19)[edit]

A life size statue of Pu Khotinthang Sitlhou (Chief of Jampi)

The Kuki Rebellion (1917–19) was one of the important uprisings against the British imperialism which went on par with the Indian National Movement for Freedom. This movement was known by different names. In the Chin Hills, it was called the Haka Movement. The Meiteis called it “Khongjai Laal”. The Zous called it Zougal. The Thadous called it Thadou Gal (Thadou War) . However, in the official records of Manipur it was known as Kuki Rebellion 1917-1919. It commenced from March 17, 1917 and concluded on May 20, 1919


As a mark of protest against the British and to stop further recruitment of the Kukis in the non-combatant force at the battlefront in France in the First World War as per the appeal received from the Secretary of State for India, London, in his telegram dated January 28, 1917, the Kukis in Manipur openly revolted against the British in the month of December, 1917. The Chief of Aisan, Chengjapao Doungel, who was the “Piba” or head of the Thadous, sent orders to all the leading Thadou chiefs to resist the British with force, if necessary. A very important meeting was held at Jampi Village. The chiefs who attended the meeting were 1) Pu Khotinthang Sitlhou alias Kilkhong, Chief of Jampi 2) Pu Khupkhotintong (Tintong) Haokip, Chief of Laijang 3) Pu Songchung Sitlhou, Chief of Sangnao 4) Pu Lunkholal Sitlhou, Chief of Chongjang 5) Pu Vumngul Kipgen, Chief of Tujang 6) Pu Lhunjangul Kipgen, son of Vumngul Kipgen 7) Pu Enjakhup Kholhou, Chief of Thenjang 8) Pu Leothang Haokip, Chief of Goboh 9) Pu Mangkho-on Haokip, Chief of Tingkai 10) Pu Heljason Haokip, Chief of Loibol 11) Pu Onpilen Haokip, Chief of Joupi 12) Pu Onpilal Haokip, Chief of Santing 13) Pu Jamkhokhup, Chief of Boljang and Pu Nguljahen Haokip of Boljang. The Thadou chiefs appointed Khupkhotintong Haokip as Field Commander of the war. Khotinthang Sitlhou (Kilkhong), the Chief of Jampi killed one Mithun to entertain the chiefs and “Sajam” was distributed to all the chiefs. Thus, a powerful conspiracy of the Thadou chiefs was established. And the Singson chief cut off the tail of a mithun as a mark of declaration of war against the British government on behalf of his clan. In Manipur, the rebellion spread like wild-fire, particularly in the Thadou inhabited areas — Jampi, Dulen, Sangnao, Khauchangbung and Laijang in the west; Chasat and Maokot in the east; Mombi and Lonza in the south-east and Henglep and Loikhai/Ukha in the southwest.

After many months of aggressive fight between the tenacious Kuki warriors and the mighty British force the Kuki Rebellion finally came to an end on May 20, 1919, with the subjugation of the Kukis by the British Rulers.

Modern History[edit]

Thadou[1] has been recognized as Scheduled Tribe in India since 1956. The followings covered under the Amended Vide Govt. of India Ministry of Law Notification Order No. SRO-24777-A, Dated 29 October 1956, New Delhi, India.

1. Guite   2. Doungel 3. Sitlhou  4. Singsit     

5. Kipgen  6. Haokip  7. Chongloi 8. Hangshing    

9. Touthang  10. Lotjem  11. Haolai 12. Tuboi

13. Sa’um  14. Khuolhou  15. Mate  16. Baite  
17. Ngailut  18. Kilong  19. Insun  20. Jongbe

21. Lhungdim (also includes Singson, Lhouvum)

Marriages[edit]

There are four form of marriages among the Thadou: chongmu, sahapsat, jol-lha', and kijam mang. The latter two, sahapsat, jol-lha', are non-ceremonial betrothal forms akin to elopement. The first of these forms involves the following elements 1) the negotiation of a bride-price between the parents of the groom and the parents of the bride 2) the establishment of a date for the removal of the bride from her parents' house to the home of her espoused 3) the sending (by the groom) of strong young men to retrieve the bride; ceremonial feasting and wrestling 4) and the triumphant return of the groom's representatives with the bride. The sahapsat marriage form contains only the marital negotiations between families. The jol-lha' marriage is resorted to in the case of a pregnancy resulting from premarital relationships. In this case, a bride-price is usually agreed upon before the cohabitation process, which begins immediately when the pregnancy is discovered. The kijam mang is a marital arrangement that results from the union of two parties Without the consent of the parents of either bride, groom, or both by eloping. The bride-price is settled at some point after the union takes place. Post-marital residence is patrilocal . Inheritance is exclusively through the male line, i.e., eldest son. Thadou women are the chief agents of socialization among the Thadou society. Children are permitted a great degree of independence once they learn to walk. Little structured education is provided by the parents, thereby leaving the Thadou child to learn through experiential means.

Literatures[edit]

Dr G.C. Crozier along with his wife Mrs M.B. Crozier and Pu Ngulhao Thomsong worked in full cooperation to translate the Bible especially in Thadou Kuki after obtained permission from the British and Foreign Bible Society. Pu Ngulhao earlier works included, 1) Pathen La- 1922 2) Thukidong leh Kidonbut - 1924 3)Pathen Thu - 1925 4) John Sut Kipana Thupha- 1925 5) Lung Phatvet- 1930, 6) Rome Mite Henga Paul Lekha Thot - 1933.

The first edition of "Lekha bul:Thadou Kuki first primer" was written by Pu Ngulhao Thomsong in 1927

Longkhobel Kilong (1922) was another native scholar of this period

References[edit]

  1. ^ Thadous are the single largest tribe in Manipur as per population census 2011

Other sources[edit]

  • William Shaw 1929 Notes on the Thadou kuki .
  • Shakespear, J. Part I, London, 1912, The Lushai Kuki Clans. Aizwal : Tribal Research Unit.
  • Tribal Research Institute. 1994. The Tribes of Mizoram. (A Dissertation) Aizwal: Tribal Research Institute, Directorate of Art and Culture.
  • The Socio-Economics Of Linguistic Identity A Case Study In The Lushai Hills . Satarupa Dattamajumdar, Ph. D
  • Lieut. R. Stewart in the Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal (1857) entitled "A slight notice of the Grammar of Thadou or New Kookie language,"

External links[edit]