Ngambom & Khupting: The evergreen Kuki love story

Published on August 16, 2004

By Zamlhun Kuki

August 17, 2004: The folklores of the mighty Kukis are unmatched in its own genuineness and decency. If comparison be made in the intensity of lovebarometer (Loborometer), Ngambom & Khupting romance would have surpassed that of the degree of Greek’s “Odyssey” or Hindus’ “Rama & Sita”, which ended in happy reunion and at best be depicted equally the desperado in Shakespear famous play of “Romeo & Juliet”, which ended in remorse tragedy.

The Kukis history is deeply rooted with valor, integrity, sanctity and unrelenting commitment to the cause of integral relationship. One such relationship of ‘Romance’ had existed, as legend passed down through to date, between Tangpa Ngambom and Lanu Khupting. Young and Old irrespective of social positions shed tears uncontrollably when the Epic Love story is ever retold in the hearths, workplaces (fields), or  even in the sojourn trip, in and around the abode of the mighty Kuki in their Zale’n Gam.

The evergreen story usually commence, once upon a time . . . there lived two friendly women, who married with a fine grooms in the same month at the same hamlet in Zale’n Gam. They were friend since their childhood. They had practiced the age old traditional “Lawmcha” working one day at one’s field another day at the other person’s field. Tradition like friendship, fellowship, sportsmanship and occasional festive activities were part of their lives and it only bloom in the land of Pu Benglam, Pu Galngam & Hangsai, Lanu Lengchonghoi & Khalvomtepu, Tangpa Nanglhun & Lanu Jonlhing, Pu Jamdil, Lanu Ahsijolneng, and et al, which we now known as Kuki Zale’n Gam (The fatherland of Kuki).

The two women continued their lawmcha even after their married life. They both realized that they were with baby in their wombs. One day they both felt excruciating pain in their abdomens. They were still working in the field, there was no one to help them. Out of apathy and partly because they suffer the same nauseating pain, both embraced each other and tried to console one another. Strangely as they rub their bulging stomach, they felt relieved, another time the pain strike, they rubbed their belly; it was a new panacea. They never told this event to any body even their spouses.

Nine months has passed and the ensuing month sparked off the Kukis’ Love Epic Hero and Heroine. One woman gave birth to a baby boy and the parent gave his name Ngambom. The other woman gave to a baby girl and the parent name her Khupting. The two mothers laid their babies, one above the banana trunk another below of it. Whenever they took off to rest and fed their respective baby, to their amazement they found Ngambom and khupting lying side by side not a distance away. This was the strange destiny of Love beneath the skin-every fibers and gems of blood in the body metabolism had acknowledged the predestined “theisen neo kilungset.”

Tp. Ngambom and Ln.Khupting and their romantic glitz was the talk of the entire Zale’n Gam. The quality and dignity of Ngambom was beyond expression. His talent in the lyrical Gosem music was known in the entire world. Beside this, he was the most handsome person, having the distinctive quality of nobility, courteous, prowess, sportsmanship, integrity and truthfulness in all his works. Ln. Khupting proved to be the icon of her days. She was ornately beauty, lovely and excelled other in her musical masterpiece of Lhemlhai lyric. Above all, she was modest, virtuous, lovely, hospitable, meek, kind, and superb in shawl weaving.

The expression of every November full moon (Lhalih Jan) and their love legend couldn’t be rejected or hid. People of Zale’n Gam came to learn the genuine meaning and ideal love from Ngambom-Khupting love living world. Old folks were eager to cast their eyes on the two duo. Young folks peeped beneath and below their rank and  file to cast a glimpse of the duo epic lyrical performances.

As always was the case of the epic love stories in Odyssey, Rama-sita, and Romeo-Juliet, the bliss of romance between Ngambom and Khupting were short live. The maxim of full bloom tender-love turned sour when Ln.Khupting’s health began to deteriorated day by days. Khupting body shrinked away, yet her beauty never faded. The Parents, Priests (thiempu) and many physicians couldn’t preserve the tenderous beauty life of Khupting.

Ngambom had tried day after days, and year after years following the “Apeu Vadung” (Apeu river- known to be present Irrawaddy river in Myanmar), to find the drifting hair of Khupting. The village priest advice Ngambom to get Khupting hair and put khoigip attach to stone in the middle of Apeu river, hoping the running water might healed the ailment of his darling. But the sudden storm and heavy torrential rain in the night flooded the river basin, eroding away including the big stone to which khupting hair was stamped with khoigip. This worsen the lingering health of Khupting. Her health was beyond repair and she eventually succumbed to death leaving the entire Kuki Nation shock and sorrow.

The pain of separation from Khupting due to the untimely demise, in Ngambom life was beyond human strength to bear. He was driven half mad and no one can replaced his darling in life but only Khupting. To find solace, peace and restrain, Ngambom snatched his Gosem and played the sweet lyrical music by blowing gently. He was amazed to find another companion whenever he played his tunes-the Whizzing bee (khoiva) whirled around the organ pipes, seemingly dancing in tune with the heartbeats of the blower.

Khupting parent invited Ngambom to cut the branches of Thingzabuong in the central of their field (Legend depicts that this tree can be seen on the moon at every full moon night). Selneng who was the younger sister of Khupting attempted to appease Ngambom and appeal for his love by offering sweets and gifts. Yet Ngambom had one love in life though his love bird had been taken mercilessly by the stink of sickness and death. The day in which he was asked to cut the branches of Thingzabuong, Ngambom prepared with his sharp knife, tuibuh (podium of apiate), and his Gosem musical instrument. He climbed up the big bushel trees and began to cut off the wild flourishing branches. Ngambom felt the buzzing sweet tune around him and sensed the present of Khupting Lhaulha (spirit). Ngambom then took a short break, pulled out his Gosem and composed his great Love-song. The tune came through the bamboo pipes of Gosem:

“Abah langkhat kalham leh sim’a mal’a toingei kisai kisai’e.”

The nearest English translation would be: As I cut the branch off, my destined love in the east and west dances gently and mildly in the air. Ngambom was overjoyed having consoled by Khupting’s spirit and he continued to talk through his musical pipes;  

“Khupting Lhaulha nahi leh, simlang nga in kisai kisai ‘e.”

(If you are the spirit of Khupting, turn east and show your gracefully flying dance). The Whizzing bee responded the melodious love mantras from Ngambom and turned east and splatter its wings and responded with sweet buzzing sound similar to Lhemlhai.

Ngambom spoke to Khupting again through his musical tune;

“Khupting Lhaulha nahi leh, mal lam nga in kisai kisai ‘e.”

(If you are the spirit of Khupting, turn west and show your gracefully flying dance). The bee heartily followed the rhythmic thumbing musical notes. When the music stop, the bee disappeared. It appeared again when the Gosem music is aired melodiously.

How did Ngambom passed his last days? Did he marry Selneng the younger sister of Khupting? Those story, who would bother, when Ngambom played his Gosem and Khupting Lhaulha (spirit) in a form of Whizzing bee came to appear to be with him. The Kuki folklore of Ngambom and Khupting deserved world recognition. It is an epic preserved in the muzzles of Gosem -the Kuki traditional musical instrument.
Philosophical insight:

Love seems to have no barrier. Even death can’t separate the fibers of love.
Two different and opposite worlds have no panacea to control over Love.
People say, “love is blind,” yet this Epic Love story says “Love never dies.”

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  1. Lun

    Nilhah in ahung kile un khupting nu le pan ngambom jubel khat in availhun lhonne.
    Anu le pan ngambom nei lachoi lhonin atile, ngambom in
    khupting te ahchal in khonthu atho peh in che tailou nangni lachoi nadi kahepoi tin inn lam akijot tai. Inn mai ahung doh le khupting lhanchu amun akap den tai.
    so, sir
    I kindly request your highness to give a look to my comments and also see the difference in you and me and to rewrite this article. This are points not new or extra but is rather the missing scences I should say. I don’t meant that I am good but all I want is if not for me for the coming youths of tomorrow. Coz they are sure to read this kind of articles they can find in web and they can easily get the wrong side of the point or neglect the truth and holds the wrong one to be truth. This is what happens right now. Many scholars with destorted history brainwashed many civil and its consequences is division. The same will be here when they are in a quarrel or debate about this novel.
    Hope you read me clear. My points are not said but guess you have me.


  2. Lun

    Contd…ajinga ahungkit phat in ameitah atuh le khupting umna mithikho chu alhung tai.
    Hiti chun phat sottah alengkhom lhon in ahi. Khupting injong asot valphat chun ngambom kom hilai eini hiti umkhom thei ihipoi e, innlang kile inlang kasei bang hin gabol tan ati. Apute vohchal tuh 5 a kilhalho din, asa anehva set teng akemchung uva lhumlam angat a imu ding.
    Ahile tin ngambom jong inn ahung kilen khupting seibang chan ki lhalho, ho achaijin kemchunga aimut leh khupting leh aloihon van a pat songtum adip kong laitah a ahin khehsah u le athitai.
    Hichea patchun thakhat in alengkhom lhontai.
    Hichea pat ahi tehse hon lhumlam ngat a imut ajahda u ahe.
    Thingzabuong alham:
    khupting thijou phat chomkhat jouvin anu le pan lou avat lhon e. Alou vatlhonna a chun thingphung lientah khat akeh in alhamding a khosung gollhang um jouse atep lhonle koima angapcha aum tapoi. Hichun ngambom tailou um taponte tin khupting nun apa chu atiem din asoltai.
    Apan jong nang aki lem in ngambom tiem din akigotai. Hinla melma banga ana thetbol mikhat ahijeh in hou ngamlou in kotbul phangam lou in ahung kile jitai. Hiti chun nikho ijat ham achetai. Jankhat aki godoh nah2 in ahi. Agasei leh ngambom jong ahung nomtai.
    Alham a ache ule lampia ngambom in agosem aladoh in lunghel tah a amut jile anunga khupting nu le pa chu amoh kaden lhon jengtai. Ngambom in “tingo nanung tieng in o, na chun le jon sangthing lhamdin eidei laije” atin lhase tah in amao lhungkei tai. Amun aphah phat un avet le thingphung bul a chun vompi lentah khat aum in, achung langa khoi ana kaije.
    Hichun ngambom in hitin alachoi e,
    “abul a vompi apange
    aleh a khoipi akai je
    tingo kalham ngam lou jen e”
    tin ahin oije.
    Chu in adoi aladoh in vompi le khoi chu ano jamtai.
    Thingphung alham2 le alung ahung hel in agosem aladoh in ahung maotai
    “simlang kalham le sim lanu toh kakidai in
    mal lam kalham le mal lanu to kaki dai2 e”
    tin amao jin tiengle alhampha kitji.
    Chutieng amaokit ji.
    Khupting lhaolha akou pantai. Hichun khoi khat ahung in chetoh chun aki houlhon tai.

  3. Lun

    Khupting chu ama dammo ahipon, Ngambom in Khupting nu leh pa lung tahval a lungthim agonna khoigip a lim sem chu theibong sunga ahet a khupting lha toh ahet a twipang a aga koi le dammo ahibouve. Ngambom in hiche (khupting dammo) chance chu alah a kholai lenga cheji ahe. Achetieng vapang a theibong chu ahun kichoi jia ahon jile khupting chu anat a-ol ji e. Tiengle ahung dohtieng asin kitjia vapang a agakoi kit ji ahe. Hitia chu abol jile khupting nu le pan ngambom tailou khupting sudam jouding aumpoi tia masang a lung tahlhon chu asuhnem lhon a kichen di ahin phatsah lhon ahe. Jingtieng ngambom ahungle seipeh tate akiti lhonle, ajan chun go aha juh val in twi asuoh in khupting lha umna theibong chu ana lhohte. Nga6bom la go hatjeh chun apotdoh thei tapon, khosung mi koima avahle aumpoi. Jing khovah a Ngambom jong alungtheh lheh in theibong hol a achele amu mong2 tahih e, tihin ahin sadoh e
    atwidung lhahtang
    peu twidung
    ting’o samang kavaimo e
    Hichun khupting jong jana chun anathitai. Ngambom invang ahenaipoi. Vapang a theibong amu louphat chun lhase tah in suongchung a ana touve. Mi khat in ahun kouin khupting athitai ahungti peh e. Hichun ngambom jong seidi helouvin akap jengtai. Alhan a avui got uleh khupting chu lhan chun adoltapoi. Hichun mipin ngambom nangin nalhah loule hithei taponte atiule, ngambom in jong
    ting’o lhaolha selou jen in
    Khulsin noiya samang jaltan
    atile alhan chun athol in avui tauve.
    khupting lhan chu pal hoitah in akai jin, alhan a chun pahcha khat atu in ahung pah phat in mi khattou in loulhan te atin angah jing e. Jankhat sangah khat ahung in, pu ngam na pahcha chu kapi khupting in galou in eiti e ahung ti. Hichun keijong kahung di ahe, atile mithikho ahibou e nang hungthei pon nate ati e, kei kahung theilou dile pahcha nape pong e atitai. Ahile kamei thah natuh di ham, kamei
    lui natuh di ham atile ngambom athah lhoujep inte tin athah chu atuh tai. Sangah ahung lhaileh a-ehh atuh jeh in abotdoh tan ama aumden in sangah alhai pai2 ta…to be contd