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Emergence of "Zeliangrong"

Akham Gonmei Neumei

The term "Zeliangrong" for the common nomenclature of the mis nomered Kabui (Puimei & Rongmei) and Kacha Naga (Zeme & Liangmai or Zeliang) was first coined, at a joint public meeting held at Keishamthong, Imphal, the State Capital of Manipur State in India on 15th February, 1947 ie 63 years ago.

The later name "Zeliang" for Zeme & Liangmai came up in the new State of Nagaland in 1963 besides many earlier names like (Kachaq Khou as its seeing base), Kasa, Kaupoi, Coupuoye, Songbu Naga, Kala Naga, Kapui, Kabui etc. Liangmei was the name of direction for north or northern people, Zeme or Nzengmei western people while Nzei village as the origin was another theory.

Rongmei as southerners or Marong land/Milong by Chin Mizo for empty while Puimei, Mpui is said to have been known after the village Kabui/Kapui Khullen (Lonjang) ie Kabui, Kapui, Puimei or Npuimei. The name Kabui khullen might have been the basic source for the term Kabui and even the later name, New Kabui etc.

The facts and circumstances shown above speak volume about the bygone days when no specific nomenclature was in state for this ethnic group for a long time till 1947. The Agangmei-1925, Kabui Chingshang-1927, Kabui sumiti-1934 and Kabui Naga Association, 1946 (during the period Naga National Council was established on 2/2/1946 at Kohima) were the transforming stages without a Concrete nomenclature of the same tribe.

The apex social body "Zeliangrong Council" was constituted on that red Letter day of 15-02-1947 with T. Haralu as the President PG. Chikhong, (former President of Agangmei), Chaopa Remei (Former Chairman, Kabui sumiti), Kakhangai Kamei (Former Chairman, Kabui Naga Association), R, Taleping, L. Lungalang, Namaheing, Kaithanga-Maringmei, Jam Thambou, Merajao Palmei, Razousilie, Chaoba Remei, Abungson and others were porominent among those involved.

Just as the Gauls, Britons, English, England, UK appeared after much transfonnations, Zeliangrong tribe of about 4 lakh approximately scattered in Assam, Manipur, Nagaland, Meghalaya, Mizoram, shielet (Bangladesh) China, Myanmar and else where has emerged as a popular entity in the Naga family.

The Govt of India in 1956 without proper survey and study denied Zeliangrong tribe recognition on the ground that the same was a composite combination of different tribe. That was a wrong conclusion of mis-informed consideration as the Anthropological survey of India (ASI) being competent expert body states "Zeliangrong as an ethno-culture entity is a valid concept". The status report of the ASI prevails. Yet, the same confusion (1956) has been inherited by some Zeliangrongs themselves.

The Two monoliths still standing at Makuilongdi village speak of the facts about Pame (Pamai/Pamei) and Neume (Niumai/Niumei) clans and also of the Zeliangrong origin when 'Nguiba', the chief of the ancient village was the common ancestor. (Nguiba affinity with Japanese & Meitei names eg Nguiba, Nguibe, Nguibou & Kohima, Kohime, Kohimei etc. Ethnic summit (cleansing of ethnic sin stained with the blood of "sangna ri" or inter village feuds) held on 04/04/1934 at the residence of Lunglinbou of Chakha village at Tamenglong organized by kabui sumiti under the auspicious of SC Booth, SDO had paved the way for progressive socio-political activities of the tribe.

Tadanang of Magulong and G Kajeidai of Sou-bunglong were the priest (Amu) and Associate priest (Mujeb) of chukthoibe/chukthoibo/chuk sumei ritual ceremony performed with the blood of a pure-black dog of no blemish. It is unfortunate that some senior persons including Pou Ragongning Gangmei (article on Zeliangrong date -31.7.2010—The Sangai Express) failed to understand the reality of a single family tree that only made up a tribe flow called Zeliangrong. It is not a federal set up but a tribe having a social body ie Zeliangrong Council succeeded by Zeliangrong Union ( Zeliangrong Baudi) now.

The common tradition, dress, customary law & Practices, culture, dialectic essence/property can also provide the unfailing proof of oneness. I can also prove myself as a Zeliangrong entity, not that of Rongmei alone which only represents a group of southern Zeliangrong. Zemei is also a Zeliangrong group "Nzeng" (west & Nzei village & valley) while Liangmei represents, the Zeliangrong group of northern direction.

(Liang Means North, Zang means valley, Nzeng means west & Rong means south/Marong means wilderness or empty space) and Puimei/Npui is another Zeliangrong group known after Kabui Khullen/Kapui Khunlen (Lonjang village) that Kabui & New Kabui were British names meant for Rongmei & Puimei. Puimei who returned later from the Southern part of Manipur borrowed chin- Kuki­Mizo ascent of dialect only but not the Chin culture.

My family (ancestors) lived at Chawang Phungning of MakuiJongdi and migrated towards the south via Tening, Konphung, Chaton; Buning (Mbulong), Longkhui, Dailong, Changdai or Akhui, Longchum or Awangkhul, Longdingjangg or Longmai-2, Napsulaobut or Chakanlong, Sangji, Ganglon, Laorangmei Longren or Phourungpu Longren, Monphei, Longsai (Henglep, CCp. Manipur), Laorongpung (CCpur-Henglep), Longsai again, Monphei (Henglep-CCpur) again and finally settled at SoubungJong, Nungba Sub-Division, Tamenglong District, Manipur.

As we came from Mahou Taobei (Great Wall of China, 221 B.C) and dispersed from Makhel, our ancestors came to Makuilongdi via Maram (Marem Khundi) where cave Ramting Kabin located.

I remember the time when Ashinpou Gangmei and I met former SDO of Tamenglong SC Booth at Maliki, Shillong on 28.12.1978. We sought his opinion on Zeliangrong tribe or the separation as Zeme, Liangmei, Rongmei & Puimei, "why small small things, even Zeliangrong is too small. It is suicidal," he said. Booth knew well and he helped Sumiti to perform "Chukthoibe"/Chukthoibo/Chuksumei, the rite of the reconcilation towards Zeliangrong solidarity as a tribe (though it was Kabui Sumiti for all Zeliangrong at that time) and spent time, energy, money and Govt. machineries.

Former Union Minister of state for Home Affairs, India & Ex-President, Zeliangrong Union Pou K. Meijinlung on the Zeliangrong solidarity Day at 1.4.2006, Tamenglong exhorted that the Zeliangrong people should find out all the basic words being common for usage in the spoken versions. This message of senior Citizen of exhaustive experience should be valued by all generations to come. And the absence of communication or long separation which caused dialectic variation is not the case now.

It's a computer age of fast and instant communication with shortest possible spelling system. We should also do away with long spelling system which is difficult to read and the Zeliangrong people fmd easy asses to each other while living together everywhere. Peren, Kohima, Dimapur, Jalukie, Tening, Tamei, Haflong, Laisong, Nungba, Taosem, Noney(Longmai), Imphal and elsewhere. Zeliangrong common dialect emerging shall enhance the unity and solidarity.

The Govt of India, Manipur, Nagaland and Assam shall have to extend timely help towards Zeliangrong recognition ie "Any Zeliangrong tribes including Zeme, Liangmei, Rongmei & Puimei".