Nakali Nagas of Chandel (India)

Published on July 11, 2004

By Dorothy Chongloi

July 12, 2004: Contrary to the claims made by ideological supporters of Naga unification, the Maring, Anal, Lamkang, Moyon, Monsang, Chiru, Chothe, Aimol, Purum, Koireng and Kom tribes of Manipur are not Nagas. They come under the broad generic nomenclature of “Kuki” in terms of race, kinship, customary laws & traditions, language and even basic physical characteristics. The Marings of Tengnoupal Circle, for instance, have inextricable affinities with the Poi tribe of southern Mizoram.

The Aimols of Pallel area are close cousins of the Hrangkhols of Tripura. There is not an iota of truth in the claims concerning the connection of these tribes to the Nagas. Dr. H. Kamkhenthang, a reputed Paite scholar and Director of the Tribal Research Institute of the Government of Manipur, in his work, "The Affinities of The Marings", a short but lucid essay on the anthropology and history of the tribe, clearly determines the true status and history of the tribe.

Therein, he mentions a quote detailing the historical incident in which tribal heads of the Maring tribe sought the permission of the Manipur State Durbar to allow them to visit their Poi cousins of Mizoram for consultations on the “correct way of worship of the tribe”. British colonial historians, Indian anthropologists and other foreign researchers are unanimous on their classification of these tribes as belonging to the Chin-Kuki family.

Notably, members of these tribes had their own socio-political platform called the Khulmi National Union (KNU) before they were finally converted into Nagas in circa 1960.The use of the term “Khulmi” itself signifies the Kuki-Chin linguistic orientation of the Khurmi tribes. Remarkably, the term “Khurmi” and its etymological connotation are common to almost all the dialects of the Chin-Kuki family.

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