Understanding Stimulative Terms in Kuki Society

Published on August 15, 2009

By Ngamkhothang Haokip




The stimulative term Tahchapa has been traditionally use word of many of the Kukis. It is a strengthening word to stimulate personal self-determination to stand up and to confront against the challenges of the odd circumstances in life. In other words, the term Tahchapa has been uttered and used, in order to overcome sadness, dullness, hopelessness or mental sleepiness of a human person by awakening his/her inner power of living spirit with a forceful word of challenge as…TAHCHAPA!’  Why shouldn’t you!? Wake up!? You can if you will! In other words, all things are possible with God, like the self-determined words of Napoleon, “impossibility is found in the dictionary of fools.” Tahchapa is an encouraging word of forceful provocation, like fuel to the fire to face and triumphant the challenges of odd natures of the world, which are considered to be obstructive and evil for the growth of human person.




Tahchapa is a personified verb (refers to a man). Etymologically, the word Tahchapa has two meanings:


In divine term TAH-CHA-PA


Tah-cha-pa (three syllables i.e, (Tah=truth, Cha=child/son and Pa=father) means TRUE-SON-of the FATHER. Here, the father refers to God, the divinely understood Holy-Father called Pathien/Pathian/Pasian. Pathien (God) is traditionally understood as The Father who is holy/ holy-one because heavenly God is considered to be the only righteous, mighty, great or powerful father and not like earthly father, who lives with imperfectness. True/truth cannot be changed and unchangeable truth is eternal, everlasting, infinite and omnipresent. Truth is the pre-existed (Logos) word of divine incarnate form of God as human person, dwelling amongst us called Immanuel (God with us). In the world history of humankind, there is none other than Jesus who said, “I am the Truth, way and life” (John 14:6). For God the father so loved the world that he gave his begotten son (John 3:16 ). Jesus, the true son, of the father God (Pathen). This truth about life seen in resurrected Christ depicts that Jesus is the Tahchapa (The true son of the father, God).


Tahchapa refers to Jesus; the only divine incarnate one in human form. Christ Jesus is the TAHCHAPA who stimulates human spirit because God is spirit and the divine power of Christ’s spirit works in every human person. The Tahchapa Jesus Christ’s spirit is the living spirit that stimulates Kuki human to overcome evil with good. (Tah-Cha-Pa can also be understood as the father, son and holy-spirit of God, personified in Jesus Christ, the most human). Tahchapa is Kuki-Jesus because the usage of the Tahchapa refers to the eternal truth, undying and unchangeable. No other than the suffering and resurrected Christ is Tahchapa (pheichawm chiengpa at the cross, his crown of thorn, Dielkop replaced with Lingkop).


So, the spirit of the Tahchapa is the simulative spirit of courage to a human person like fuel to the fire. It is the struggling spirit to establish Khankho (Khan=growth and kho=village. Traditionally, khankho refers to the growth in love, care and concern of socio-political, economic, religion and educational that nurtures human community for the wholeness of the Kuki people in village, town or cities). Khankho is not only an act but a duty to response, to transform, and to establish Kuki humanity with love, concern and sacrifice for growth, prosperity, integrity and fraternity. The duty and the act of human khankho is mainly found in the selfless sacrificial nature of the love of God in the Tahchapa, the M=most human Jesus Christ, who established and transforms humankind to live spiritually and physically alive and also for humankind to be lively in the love of one another.


Another term of TAH-CHAPA:


Tah-chapa, {two syllable i.e, tah=truth and chapa=male child (kachapa/nachapa= my son/your son) means genealogical son/sons from one father}. Here, it means biological son of the earthly human father, denoting genealogically multiplied clan men and its descendents as true-son/sons of a father (tahchapa).


The name of clans of the Kukis are the name of their forefathers (one-man), for example; Doungel, Sontak, Taithul, Lunkim, Hangsing, Hangmi, Ralte, etc, etc. Their decedents use their forefather’s name as Tahchapa Sontak chapa (true son of Sontak) Tahchapa Doungel chapa (true son of Doungel) and the like. This shows the true genealogical nature of patriarchal order. Kuki polity starts from a village; during the time they began to form a settled life in a village. The head clan man (father/true son of a chief father or the chief is called Haosa or Lal) of a family used to be the chief of a village. Traditionally, father is the head of the family too. However, it is to be understood that clan and the name of clans does not make any relationship with others because it is the process and order of breeding. The name of breeding have nothing to do with administration in contemporary democratic era because democracy is better than chieftainship of tribal monarchy (Traditionally existing titles, like Haosa or Lal, Inpipu, Nampipa, Kumpipa etc. needs to be preserved and used democratically) .




Tahchanu, sahchungnungnu is a feminine term and used/uttered for/by women; it is also a personified verb (refers to women). Etymologically, the word Tah-chanu (tah=true and chanu=daughter) means the true daughter of a mother/father. Women use this term the same as mentioned above in reference to the use of the ‘tahchapa’. Tahchanu also has a divine chosen term called sahchungnungnu meaning highly favored woman (not as a divine incarnate woman because there is no such divine incarnated person in the form of woman) righteous woman. However, Mary (mother of Jesus) was the specially chosen earthly daughter among many women of the world that adored her to be called sahchungnungnu (the highly favored woman) by Pathien, God. (Luke 1: 28 & 30).

It is interesting to note that Pathien (God) first met a woman (Mary) and not a man to make relationship in love with the world. The Sahchungnungnu (Mary) was in fact more responsible to take care, and nurture the tahchapa Jesus that the policy of God’s love to the world must be fulfilled. God’s favorite woman becomes the foundation of making relationship between heaven and the earth. Therefore, God’s highly favored woman among all women, virgin Mary, is the Tahchanu because she was divinely favored and chosen as the only woman among all women of the world for the incarnation of God in the image of human Jesus (The son of man).




In olden days, women were often referred with the term ‘Numei Phungmang’ meaning ‘woman losing clan’. Traditionally, Kuki woman did not retain her clan name after marriage because she has to take and accept the clan name of her husband. This is considered as the two lifespan of women: (a) from her childhood until her marriage she has to hold her father’s clan name and (b) after marriage, she begins to adapt with the family of her husband. Woman’s nature of acceptance and adaptability, to be dissolved like salt in the water in the family clan of her married husband (man’s family), is a turning point to continue new beginning of love in a new family life for human growth. This makes life meaningful, interactive and woman feels great and being honored mostly when she has sons or daughters.

The woman father’s family is traditionally and customarily honored with the title called ‘Pute’ (pronounced as poote) and her new family with her husband becomes ‘Tute’ (pronounced as toote) to the ‘Pute’ . The title Pute is given to woman’s family and Tute to her husband and children. They are most honorable titles because they make relationship in love forgetting their differences in clans with understanding that breeding order does not unify humans. Pute and Tute relationship functions as family administration and the like. It is one of the most loving relationships, concerning each others in times of sorrows and happiness. Women are the foundation of relationship between man to man, clans to clans, village to village and one place to other places for the growth of Kuki human community.


So, the courageous and self esteemed woman struggling for growth and progress is always considered tahchanu, the true daughter of her mother/ father with her dignity as a woman. Her womanhood is respected and regarded with love and care because fifty percent of human growth, foundation for the growth and wholeness of Khankho depends on the active and meaningful participation of women especially for the humanity of Kuki indigenous people. Every mother son, bachelor, seeks the favors of his beloved damsel to make a new family.




The concept of Pathenu and Pathenpa hails that, if Jesus is the son of God then he must have his father called Pathenpa (God Father). And if Jesus is the incarnated God (Pathen) then his mother, virgin Mary, must be Pathennu (mother of God). It is interesting to learn that the primal indigenous Kuki priest (Thiempu) used the term Pathennu le Pathenpa, Tuitawpa le tuinahpa (in the act of Phuisam/ enchanting- spirit). The use of Pathenpa and Pathennu may also refers to the understanding of God in dualistic image as seen in the image of man and woman because human beings both man and woman are made in the image of God. (Gen 1:27).

(literally; tui=water, nah=fountain, pa=father) means the owner father of water fountain. Tuinahpa is the beginning known as Alpha. Tuitawpa (literally tui=water, taw=anus/bottom, pa=father) means the father of water bottom. Tuitawpa is the ending known as omega.  I am the alpha and omega says the lord God, who is and who was and who is to come (Rev. 1:8). Therefore, primal Kuki priest traditional understanding of tuitawpa and tuinahpa is found parallel to the concept of alpha and omega (God) the beginning and the end mentioned in the New Testament of the holy Bible. It is traditionally proof that Kukis perceived God not only in the image of man, but also in the image of woman too as depicted in the use of Pathennu le Pathenpa in the primal religion of chanting (phuisam) of the village priest (thiempu).




Therefore, understanding the only true son of the father, the Tahchapa Jesus Christ will help us to transform our individual life, family-life and life in society as a whole. The most-human, Tahchapa (Kuki-Jesus) has established Kuki humanity with selfless sacrifice; whosoever believe in him will grow and live in prosperous heritage. To understand the Tahchapa Jesus in terms of religion alone is one of the threats that narrow down the mission of God through the Tahchapa for the wholeness human growth and prosperity. To follow the Tahchapa with clear understanding as the way to go, the truth that triumphs and the foundation of sustaining life will help us to learn about, how to face trial and temptations of life and the ideal way to struggle in spirit, truth and non-violence in one accord.

The human Tahchapa should learn to stand by the truth like divine Tahchapa Jesus because truth alone triumphs and truth will set free the Kuki community from the bondage of political marginalization. In the same way Tahchanu, the virgin Mary’s nature of the highly favorability as a woman, has to be upheld and imitated by the human tahchanus in order to live, in love and in concern with tradition of accommodativeness and adaptability. Kukis have a clear traditional understanding of God in dualistic image of both man and woman depicted through the use of chanting words Pathennu leh Pathenpa. God is good and omniscience. Jesus is superfine and holy spirit is omnipotent and omnipresence.


The writer is a theological student at Bishop’s College of Pluralistic Inclusivism, Kolkata (India).