Galngam: The epic hero of Kuki Zale’n-gam
By Tintong Kuki
August 9, 2003: The Epic of “Galngam Fish Hunting” is one of the most favourite past time story of the elders to their grand sons and daughters.
In the golden era of Kuki Zalen’gam (around 300 B.C to 400 A.D), Galngam (Ralngam) name bore the air waves. He was known by every one. He was a daredevil person and he was known for his valor and adventurous spirit. His best friend name was Hangshai (who was a human-being but bearing lion’s spirit). His extravaganza wife was the only daughter of Doikungpu (The witch master of the whole Land).Galngam had three dogs of which Lunche survived till his last day. His other dogs were poisoned by his mischievous wife for want of her husband’s magical power.
One day, Galngam went out for fish hunting with all his dogs. He was told that there was a big and mysterious fish in the Lohlai-Twivai vadung (river). Galngam and his dogs reached down the trijunction of Twivai, Lohlai and Twilang River of the Kuki-Zalen’gam (Present Manipur State of Northeast India). They saw the big fish and the hunt began.
Galngam told his dogs to block the fish at different niches. But the big fish could change it size and shape even it can fly certain distance. At one occasion, Galngam was so close enough to slash the side of the mysterious big fish. He missed it but slice down one of its scalp which was as big as two diameter circle size.The epic drama is musically blown in the Goshem of Kuki musical instrument depicting the daredevil action of Galngam and his hound of dogs.
The Goshem music ever reverberates the account as:
“Chalpu Chalpu twi nah lam a ana khel in lang, ana lam tin in”, which nearest translation will be: Chalpu (the common name of his dogs) go ahead and block the path of the fish.”
It took a week long to track the trail of the big fish. The fish could disappear and reappear that made more hardship for the hunting group. The fish was driven in the wrong course as it headed up the Lohlai stream. As there was less water in upstream, the mysterious fish was driven to the corner, but the fish leap with all its force and fly over the Thangting ridge and landed to the other side of the valley (Moirang valley).
Galngam and his three dogs saw the place where the fish took the ground. As the hunting groups look the spot from Khoupum Muolkot, they saw water began to appear around the areas of the fairy fish. Galngam look and felt the valley is more scenic and beautiful with the newly rising Lake. So, he and his team retreated from the fish hunt. People today called this lake – Loktak Lake in Manipur, near Moirang.
This lake is the most beautiful place and the only biggest inland lake in the south East Asia. And The Kuki folklore had attached Loktak Lake with the Kuki Epic Hero – Galngam.
Galngam loves to preserve natural beauty of the land. He left many footprints and trademarks and also made foes into friends and dare to confront any adventures.