Mary Kom: The Star of Tahchanu

Published on October 21, 2014

By Ngamkhothang Haokip

The term ‘tah-chanu’ is combination of two words; tah meaning truth and chanu means daughter. True-daughter known as tahchanu is traditionally used slogan that stimulates her zeal and inner self-esteem spirit of self-willingness tawmngaihnu as a woman for growth and prosperity.

Literate or illiterate, wise or stupid, bad or good, child, youth or old-aged, a woman is known as numei in Thadou-Kuki dialect. Damsel is known as nugngah and a married woman is called nupi. She is generally known by numei nature of her strength in obedience, kindness, softness in voice and body. Nupi is born numei woman of tahchanu to learn, care, nurture and to preserve humanity towards growth and prosperity.

Recently recorded and a well-known numei among the people-of-tribes by the dawn of 21st century nupi feminism of the tahchanu frontier is no other than the Hmangte Chungneijang Mary Kom, also known as MC Mary Kom. She was born on March 1, 1983 at Kangathei in the hill land of Kom locality, Churachandpur district of Manipur, India.

Born and brought up in her khankho village way of life, she completed her primary education from Loktak Christian Model High School, Moirang, up to class VI standard and attended St. Xavier Catholic School, Moirang, up to class VIII. She then moved to Adimjati High School, Imphal, for class IX and X, but was unable to pass the matriculation exam. Not wishing to reappear, she quit her school and gave her examination from the National Institute of Open Schooling (NIOS), Imphal and later graduated from Churachandpur College.

Her parents, Mangte Tonpa Kom and Mangte Akham Kom, worked in jhum fields. Her parents and social system may find odd and she may not be always appreciated for playing a game of boxing even during motherhood. However, her inner self-determination and commanding tahchanu’s spirit of courage, self-willingness, zeal, self-esteem to face challenges of odds; she committed to struggling to catch hold of the top medal. She had been empowered by her husband like filling oil to the engine.

According to the Kukis’ numei feminism of the tahchanu, whatever profession, position, ability or fame a numei has, she is fifty percent to her man. In the same manner pasal (man) is also fifty percent to his numei (woman). This fifty plus fifty unity-in-couple makes hundred percent for growth and prosperity of a family called insung. In another word, fifty/fifty make a couple one-body, as the scripture says, they are no longer two but one, therefore what God has joined together let no man separate’ Matthew 19:6.

The notion of equality between man and woman had been set right by the words of Chung Pathen (God), the planner and maker of relationship between man and woman, for their prosperity in the tradition of villagers’ humanity called mihing-khankho. Neither from his head nor from the toe but, from the middle portion, numei (woman) had been made out of the rib of man’s body. In another word, prosperity of human flourished through relationship in love and understanding, where a man of fifty percent plus a woman of fifty percent making it hundred percent, can fully nurtures humanity.

Therefore, God made woman to walk equally hand-in-hand with man for life-time as found in the scripture of the Bible Genesis 2:21-23 states, so the LORD God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man’s ribs and closed up the place with flesh. Then the LORD God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man. The man said, “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called ‘woman’ for she was taken out of man.”

MC Mary, on her way to a holy-matrimony in the year 2005, she is found to be the upholder of her custom, culture, tradition and religion. In her traditional way of equality between man and woman, she hailed her true married-womaness feminism of the tahchanu (traditional hill village woman way of life). It is because, on her way to marriage, she was sent-off from her home traditionally and according to the wish of her parents and went to her beloved chosen husband, Onler Kom’s traditional khankho way of village life.

MC Mary Kom or the tahchanu magnificent Mary entered her passionate field of games and sports in the year 2000. She began her training under the coach of M. Narjit Singh at Khuman Lampak, Imphal. She is an Indian boxer nicknamed “Magnificent Mary,” she began her first stage of the ring in her state of Manipur, then national level and also became six-time-champion. Kom won her first gold medal for any Indian at the Asian Game in Incheon, South Korea on October 1, 2014 by beating Kazakhstan’s Zhaina Shekerbekova in the flyweight 51-kilogram category.

Her won tallies under coach M. Narjit Singh and Charles Atkinson are:

Sl. Nos Name of the Competitions Participated Weight Position Location Year
1 WWABC (Women’s World Amateur Boxing Championship)  48  Second Scranton, Pennsylvania, USA  2001
2 WWABC 45 First Antalya, Turkey 2002
3 Witch Cup 45 First Pecs, Hungary 2002
4 Asian Women’s Championships 46 First Hisar, India 2003
5 Women’s World Cup 41 First Tonsberg, Norway 2004
6 Asian Women’s Championships 46 First Kaohsiung, Taiwan 2005
7 WWABC 46 First Podolsk, Russia 2005
8 WWABC 46 First New-Delhi, India 2006
9 Venus Women’s Box Cup 46 First Vejle, Denmark 2006
10 WWABC 46 First Ningbo, China 2008
11 46 Second Guwahati, India 2008
12 Asian Indoor Games 46 First Hanoi, Vietnam 2009
13 WWABC 48 First Bridgeton, Barbados 2010
14 Asian Women’s Championships 46 First Astana, Kazakhstan 2010
15 Asian Games 51 Third Guanghou, China 2010
16 Asian Women’s Boxing Tournament 48 First Haikou, China 2011
17 Asian Women’s Championships 41 First UlanBator, Mongolia 2012
18 Summer Olympic 51 Third London, UK 2012
19 Asian Game 51 First South Korea 2014


The year 2013 was another milestone for tahchanu Chungneijang, because under the co-authorship of Dina Serto, she wrote an auto-biography called Unbreakable and published by Harper Collins. Then came the next for her to bloom with the quality of tahchanu’s popular achievement in the screen of Bollywood. Popular actress Priyanka Chopra went to her local home at National Games Village, Imphal West District of Manipur for a biographical film.

The movie entitled MARY KOM, directed by Omung Kumar, was released on September 5, 2014 in New Delhi. Kom also started a female-only fight club at Imphal to teach girls to defend themselves against sexual violence in India. To spread her academy all over the country, Chungneijang wants Priyanka Chopra to become its brand ambassador.


The star of tahchanu has been honored with several awards and recognitions as given below:

Sl. Nos N a m e o f t h e   A w a r d s Year
1 Arjuna Award (Boxing) 2003
2 Contender for Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award (CRGKRA) 2007
3 People of the Year by Limca Book of Records 2007
4 “Magnificent Mary” by AIBA 2008
5 Pepsi MTV Youth Icon 2008
6 CNN-IBN & Reliance IndustriesReal Heroes Award on April 14. 2008
7 Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award of India 2009
8 Padma Shree (Sports) 2010
9 Padma Bhushan (Sports) 2013


She has also been honored with cash award by several Indian state governments:

  1. Government of Rajasthan 50 lakhs (US$81,000)
  2. Government of Assam 20 lakhs (US$32,000)
  3. Government of Arunachal Pradesh 10 lakh (US$16,000)
  4. Ministry of Tribal Affairs (India). 10 lakh (US$16,000)
  5. North Eastern Council 40 lakhs (US$65,000)
  6. Government of Manipur 50 lakhs (US$81,000) with a government quaters at National Games Village, Imphal West District of Manipur, two acres of land and a government job at Superintendent of Police rank.


Her participation in the Indian national level boxing tournaments are given below:

Sl. Nos Names of the Boxing Tournaments Venue Date and Year
1 Gold – 1st Women Nat. Boxing Championship Chennai Feb. 1-6, 2001
2 The East Open Boxing Champ Bengal Dec. 11-14, 2001
3 2nd Sr. World Women Boxing Championship New Delhi Dec. 26-30, 2001
4 National Women Sort Meet New Delhi Dec. 26-30, 2001
5 32nd National Games Hyderabad 2002
6 3rd Sr. World Women Boxing Championship Aizawl March 4-8, 2003
7 4th Senior. WWBC Assam Feb. 24-28, 2004
8 5th Senior WWBC Kerala Dec. 26-30, 2004
9 6th Senior WWBC (29 Nov.-to-3 Dec) Jamshedpur Nov-Dec 3, 2005
10 10th WNBC (Lost) Jamshedpur Oct. 5, 2009


The tahchanu Chungneijang Mary Kom is known to be the bravest numei of daring and valiant fighter. Indeed her action is colorfully seen brighter than her words as saying goes, action speaks louder than words.

She did set tears of pain, suffering, abuse, discrimination and the like. But her inner self-commanding tahchanu’s spirit of courage has been empowered by her faith in God as seen in the Messiah Jesus. Her trust in the living and the speaking God of spirit works strengthens her in prayer like petrol to the engine that empowers dynamo to run for its destination.

Overwhelmed by her strength of God’s blessed stamina, she even used to cry out of joy in victory. Her popularity became the source of courage and challenging not only to her Kuki numei brethren but also for the women of her country, India.

Her story of struggle being seen, heard and read, now she is recorded frontier, pioneer and deem fit to be honored as ‘The Star of Tahchanu’ for the new trend. She is the true numei who hails ‘numei feminism of the tahchanu’ for getting married in Kom’s traditional Kuki hill village way of life for growth and prosperity called khankho.

In her profession, married life, achievement and prosperity, the Tahchanu Chungneijang Magnificent Mary Kom is the pride to her God, herself, her husband, her children, family circle, for her Kuki brethren as well as an icon of the whole Indian nation.

Indeed, the Star of Tahchanu is a realist who can outshines and promotes the right value of woman in Numei Feminism of the Tahchanu. Her commitment must advocate humanly love, equality, peace and prosperity of the humanity.

The growth and prosperity of Onler Kom’s family is now seen through his persistent support and co-operation towards passionate and valiant career of his beloved wife. They are blessed with three sons and he is now well settled after endurable support to his fifty percent of life, Chungneijang. They are blessed with three children, twin sons namely Rechungvar and Khupneivar; her third son named Chungthanglen was born in 2013.

The writer, a resident of Delhi, is the author of the book entitled “The Kuki Worship Service towards Community Transformation ISPCK” and chaplain of KWS-Kolkata (2011-2013). He can be reached at






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