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|Rongmei language (Tibeto-Burman), Songbu dialect|
Christianity (82.76%), Unknown (1.44%), |
Indigenous Faith (TRC) (15.80%)
|Related ethnic groups|
|Other Naga people|
The Rongmei are a major Naga tribe indigenous to Assam, Manipur and Nagaland in North-East India. The Rongmei Naga are a scheduled tribe under the Constitution of India. Like any other Naga tribe, the Rongmei have their own rich culture, customs, and traditions. The Gaan-Ngai festival (post-harvest festival) is celebrated annually between December and January. Among Naga tribes, they are known for their colorful dances and exquisite traditional attire.
The ancestral home of the Rongmei Naga is in the mountain ranges of Tamenglong district (including Noney district ) and the adjacent hilly areas of Peren district, NC hills (present day Dima Hasao District ) and cachar district of Barak Valley. The term Rongmei -- etymologically -- means "the southerners" and refers to the location of traditional Rongmei settlement to the south of the vast Zeliangrong Naga. Those settling in the southern part of Manipur call themselves Rongmei.
The Rongmei territory was conquered by the British in the nineteenth century. In 1891, house tax was imposed upon the people of Tamenglong by the British. The Rongmei in defiance of the house tax refused to pay any tax from 1891-1894. In response, C.L. Crawford, the Assistant Political Agent of Manipur, used force in collecting the house tax from the Tamenglong hills in 1894. Defiance of the house tax payment for four years by the Rongmei and its consequences aroused national consciousness among the Rongmei. Eventually, under the leadership of Haipou Jadonang and his successor Rani Gaidinliu, the Rongmei rebelled against British rule in the 1930s. This rebellion against the foreign invasion gave momentum to and garnered support for the vision of "Naga Raj" among the Nagas. The government of India has also recognized Rani Gaidinliu as the most prominent freedom fighter from the Northeast India region. These gigantic figures show the importance of the Rongmei Naga tribe in the Naga family.
The economy of the Rongmei is agrarian in nature. Agriculture is the main source of livelihood for the people, with jhum cultivation being especially common. Artisans are skilled in bamboo, wood, blacksmith, and pottery works. Bamboo baskets, mats, shields, etc., are manufactured in abundance.
- "The Constitution (Scheduled Tribes): Order, 1950". Ministry of Law and Justice (India).
- G. K. Ghosh, Shukla Ghosh (1997). Women of Manipur (illustrated ed.). APH. p. 4. ISBN 978-81-7024-897-2.
- Puanthanh Gangmei (November 19, 2017). "The Struggle And Plight Of The Rongmei Tribe During The British Era". Rihpyan. Retrieved February 10, 2018.
- G. K. Ghosh (1 January 1992). Tribals and Their Culture in Assam, Meghalaya, and Mizoram. Ashish Publishing House. ISBN 978-81-7024-455-4. Retrieved 5 June 2013.
- Kusumlata Nayyar (2002). Rani Gaidinliu. Ocean Books. ISBN 978-81-88322-09-1. Retrieved 12 June 2013.