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Research Paper on GANGTE TRIBE

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Research Paper on GANGTE TRIBE
   union biblical seminary, pune 01 Research Paper on G NGTE TRIBE   By: LetminJose Gangte, M Th (Missiology) On: 3 rd  October, 2012 CONTENT INTRODUCTION I HISTORY AND BACKGROUND 1 Original Home Of The Gangtes:  2 Migration  II SOCIAL LIFE 1 The Village:  2 Khawmuol  3 Shelter/ House  4 The Family  5 Position of Women  6 Laws and Customs  7 Marriage  8 Divorce  III POLITICAL LIFE 1 Chieftainship   i.   Changseu   ii.   Salieng   iii.   khuotha   2.   Siehmang Upa 3.   Tangsam 4.   Thiempu/Priest 5.   Thiksek IV RELIGIOUS LIFE   1 Religious Beliefs 2 The Concept of God 3 Taboos V PERSECUTIONS AND HINDRANCES VI THE INFLUENCE OF CHRISTIANITY 1.   Social life 2.   Spiritual life 3.   Religious life VII MISSIOLOGICAL RESPONSE AND CHALLENGES CONCLUSION   union biblical seminary, pune 02 INTRODUCTION: Washed up and over by multitudes of interpretations and takes, the genesis of the Gangtes is almost like a well-kept secret bedimmed by theories of grandeur or otherwise. The Gangte tribe is one of the tribes of  the North-East India mainly residing in Manipur in the southern part of  Churachandpur District and some North-Eastern states of India like Mizoram, Tripura, Assam. In the total Indian perspective, as per survey of 2001, the total population of Gangte tribes has been enumerated to be 15,100. 1  They are fun-loving, humorous, friendly and peaceful people. This paper is a brief and general introduction on this particular tribe before and after the coming of the Gospel. It might not reach up to the mark of expectation because of the less or little availability of resources for which the researcher would like to ask for the understanding of the readers. I HISTORY AND BACKGROUND The Gangtes are one of the Hill-Tribes of Manipur belonging to the Kuki-Chin-Mizo Group, which is a sub-family of the Tibeto-Burman or Indo-Chinese family. 2  The Gangtes belong to the Mongolian race and speak the Gangte language, a Tibeto-Burman language family. Gangte is recognized as one of the 29 th  Schedule Tribes in Manipur by the Government of India according to the list modification order of 1956. The Gangtes have affinity with the Chins of Myanmar, the Mizos of Mizoram and the Kukis of Manipur. The srcin of the Gangtes and how the name came into being is difficult to ascertain due to lack of proper history records. ‘ Gang’   is the name of a place in China and ‘ te’   means people. The word ‘ Gangte’    literally came to mean ‘ The People of Gang’  . 1.   Original Home Of The Gangtes:  Like the other tribes of Manipur, the Gangte legend also assets that the Gangtes were srcinally from ‘ Khul’    meaning ‘the Great Cave’. Khul   is believed to be somewhere in China, which was believed to have been closed by the Gulheupi’  3  from where they at last came out after killing it. 1 › ... ›  Indian Tribal People  ›   Tribes of Manipur,  (Accessed on 12 th     September 2012)  2  Edward. Guit,  A History of Assam  (Churachandpur: L & R Press, 1985), 5. 3   Gulheupi   is a Great Serpent with extra-ordinary power which is believed to have kept the people inside that cave for many years.     union biblical seminary, pune 03 Below is the traditional Folk- Song called ‘Hanla’ which substan tiate the Khul srcin of the Gangtes - “Kathang’ie! Khul a kapien in aw, Ka Chun le Zuon than nan chembang eichawi ie, Namtin Ganggam guollai lawibang kathang ie!”  4   2.   Migration:  Though the exact date of the exodus from Khul is not known, it is believed that they spent around 500 years to reach Manipur. They came to Burma (Chin Hill) through the Great Wall of China, and lived for 300 years there and then shifted to Mizoram. After living for 200 years in Mizoram, they migrated to Manipur in the year between 1800-1900, due to frequent attack and raid from the people. According to Major General Sir Johnston, “ In A.D 1839- 1840, this tribal people has existed in Manipur and had a nomadic life” 5   II SOCIAL LIFE 1.   The Village:  The village occupies primacy on par with other forms of institutions among the Gangtes. According to Rev. G.S. Gangte in his book Gangte Chronicle , the village constitutes the bedrock of social, economic and administrative complex of the Gangtes. 6  Owing to their nomadic tendency, the Gangtes are rarely famed for establishing a flourishing village. The primitive Gangte villages were built along the ridges on top of the hills. These sites gave them security from frequent inter-tribal conflicts and are more hygienic than the damp area and the insect ridden thickly wooded river valleys. But one disadvantage of hill-village is the scarcity of water. 2.   Khawmuol:   Khawmuol   is the gateway that leads to the village. Khawmuol is a special zone that one passes through just before entering any village proper. It occupies an axis position in the village affairs. The villagers erect a wooden post at Khawmuol   upon which they hang the heads of enemies taken after tribal wars. Dignitaries from outside or other tribes are welcome and received here. 4  Meaning –    “I am famous since I was born from Khul, My parents praise me in Gan ggam, the village of my people, I am famous”.   5  Vumson,  ZO History   (Aizawl: Published by the author, n.d), 33. 6  G.S Gangte, Gangte Chronicle  (n.p: Published by the Author, n.d), 13.     union biblical seminary, pune 04 3.   Shelter/ House:  Houses were mostly set up on wooden posts depending on the slope of the hills. Bamboo matting was used for the floors and the walls. The roofs are mainly thatched with some particular tree-leaves or grasses which they call Laisanah, Siellunah, Vungnah , etc. When built a typical Gangte house is mostly erected out of wood, hay and bamboo. The front wall usually doubles up as the projection where owners display heads of animals hunted. 4.   The Family:  The Gangte tribe has a patriarchal type of family with father as the head of the family. The children belong to the father and the mother has no share in the property in the family. Mealtime is regarded as an important occasion for the family where the father gave instructions to the other members of the do’s and don’ts. The eldest son inherits all the household property. 5.   Position of Women:  The women play the greatest role in the family of the Gangtes. A wife has almost no status in the society and possessed nothing in the family. But regarding the family, the whole management of the household affairs belongs to the women. From childhood, the girl helps her mother in carrying water, collecting firewood and all domestic works. After attaining her puberty, she had to entertain khawlaileng  (suitors) till late night. And i t was also her duty to get everything ready before sunrise. ‘It is no surprise to know that a husband sitting near the fire and seeing the pot boiling would call in his wife to look after the cooking even though she is busy pounding the rice’. 7  They spent the whole day working at the Jhum weeding the grasses, and by evening have to carry home foods for the pigs, feeding them on reaching home, again cook food for the family, work till late night weaving and spinning. The only rest she ever had is her bedtime. There are many phrases or sayings in the society indicating the low status of women. Below are some of the most popular sayings by elders: -   “Numei chitnan luigal akhelpoi”  , - Women’s wit does not cross the river point.  -   “Numei leh palsie thentheih zing ahi”  , - Wife and old fence can be changed at any time. -   “Numei leh Baalchi a umnan apuoi”  , - Women and seeds depend on where they are. 7  Sangkima, Mizo Society and Social Change  (Guwahati: Spectrum Publication, 1992), 34.   union biblical seminary, pune 05 6.   Laws and Customs:  Laws and Customs are strictly observed. Each village is separately ruled by its own Hausapu  (Chief). To assist him the chief appointed some elderly men known as Siehmang Upa  (Council Members). This forms a sort of council which discussed all matters connected with the village and decides all disputes between the people of the village. Besides the Village Council, the chief also appoints another village official called Tangsam  (The Village Crier), who usually tours around the village to proclaim the orders passed by the Council. He also arranges the works to be done by each villager for the community. At the end of the year he receives a small basket of rice from each house in the village. As a custom, the chief enjoys the prerogatives of various kinds such as Changseu - a share of rice by those who cultivate his land, one hind leg of every animal shot by any of the villagers. The chief naturally tries his best to stop people leaving their village and it was customary to confiscate the paddy of any person who left the village without permission. 7.   Marriage:  A young man is free to choose any girl of any clan or any particular family, but polygamy among the Gangte is not encouraged. There are two kinds of marriages in the Gangte Community: i). Chawngmou: T he boy’s parents along with their Behcha  and Tucha   went to the girl’s parents with their  Zu  (rice beer) to negotiate. After they both agree the marriage is performed. ii). Kitaih - This is generally a love marriage in which the boy and the girl ran away without the consent of their parents. This usually happens when either of the parents is against the marriage. The price of one Gangte girl according to custom is a blue cloth, one matress and three Mithuns which are paid to the nearest relative to the bride on the father’s side. The bride’s paternal uncle receives one Mithun called Mankhang . 8   8.   Divorce:  If a man turns the woman out for no fault, he must pay her full price plus the alimony. If a woman commits adultery or leaves her husband against his will, however 8   J. Shakespeare  , The Lushai Kuki Clan , Part II ( London: Macmillan and co. Lmt., 1912. ), 143.  
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