Christianity along with western education came to the Tangkhul hills in the late 19th century. Prior to this era, the art of recording history in written form was unknown to the Tangkhuls. In the absence of writing, history was therefore passed on the younger generations mainly through folk songs and partially through stories, some of which became folk lore or epic. As the Tangkhuls used to be head hunters, most of the folk songs glorify bravery and warfare. However, there are songs about, love, revenge, beautiful places, beauty, death, jubilation, birth, sickness, famine, seasons, etc. The folk songs about Sihai Phangrei is an example of songs about a place composed to pay homage to the majestic hill which even in olden days serves as a major landmark. There are also folk songs that portray Sihai Phangrei as one of the favourite hunting grounds in Tangkhul region, however, today the hillock serves as a favourite picnic and outing spot in Ukhrul district.
Seikhor is a village located west of Hunphun (Ukhrul) village and is about 15 kilometers from the district headquarter. The following folk song speaks of the dawn of hunting season witnessed on Sihai Phangrei. This song was sung by an old man from Seikhor.
Oh! Ramkachiva (Oh! Every village)
Oh! Lui changtaya (Is engaged in cultivation)
Oh Sihai yaronna (Oh! A handsome youth from Sihai)
Oh! Safa singraya (came along with his hound)
Oh! Safa singraya (Oh! Came with his hound)
Oh! Sihai Phangrei kashungda (Came up till Sihai Phangrei)
Oh! Kaheiririya (Hollering hunting sounds)
Oh! Kazing kumuya (Heralds the turn of season)
Synopsis: When hunters from Sihai come up till Sihai Phangrei with hounds, it announces the dawn of hunting season for other villages. Sihai is famous for hunting in olden days and Sihai Phangrei used to be one of the hottest hunting grounds in Tangkhul region.
Nungshong Khullen is a village located south east of Hunphun/Ukhrul village. Nungshong is about 14 kilometers south of Sihai Phangrei. This song was sung by a group of elders from the village.
Oh! Sihai Phangreili, haaah (On Sihai Phangrei)
Yah!.. Silui chon rachon chonya…. (I saw footprints of a buffalo)
Oh! Silui chonchi….. haaah (The buffalo’s footprint)
Yah!… Hop kharei siluina….. haah (is that of a majestic bull)
Oh! Kharei silui chiphangvana….(With full grown horns)
Oh! Iwui silui sangaiya ………. Haaah (I wish to own such a buffalo)
Synopsis: The composer of this folk song (probably from Nungshong) saw the footprints of a wild buffalo on Sihai Phangrei. The footprints being slightly larger than that of normal full grown bulls, he imagined the buffalo to be really enormous with well groomed horns which, he sings would love to own.
Khangkhui Phungdhar is a village that lies below the foothill of the Majestic Shirui Kashong/Shirui peak on the south side. Sihai Phangrei lies on the north side of the Shirui peak sharing the same hill range with the Kashong. Khangkhui Phungdhar is about 13 kilometers from Sihai Phangrei.
Oh! Ava hongailakli heh (I long/yearn to called mother)
Lunghar na taimatuiya (Lunghar took her away)
Oh! Lunghar raikhuiramma heeh (A head hunter from Lunghar)
Harkho singlo wungramnu (Sacrifice a chicken leg)
Oh! Harkho singlo wungramnu heh (Oh! Sacrifice a chicken leg)
Avathit kapha vasa (And let’s go to avenge for mother)
Oh! Avathit kapha vasa heh (Let’s go to avenge mother’s dead)
Sihai Phangreili loya (We assembled at Sihai Phangrei)
Oh! Sihai Phangreili loya, heh (Oh! Assembled at Sihai Phangrei)
Ngalengtheina huishongra (A heavy hail storm stopped us from proceeding)
Synopsis: This song narrates a sad story of a son seeking revenge for his mother. A head hunter from Lunghar took away the head of a woman from the village. Knowing that the head hunter was from Lunghar, the villagers led by the son of the victim sacrificed a chicken and trekked towards Lunghar to avenge the dead of the woman. During the days of head hunting, taking woman’s head was considered cowardly as the Tangkhuls believed in fair warfare between men. The pursuers assembled at Sihai Phangrei but could not proceed beyond due to heavy hailstorm.
Oh! Iwo leishishunnei (Oh! I love a lot)
Sihai Phangreili shok-kahang akha (Hearing the hunting cries on Sihai Phangrei)
Oh! Inao khalumli (Oh! My beloved son)
Inao khalumli, Ishi vanaoni (Oh! My beloved son)
Pheikar Kashonglo (Hasten your pace)
Synopsis: This is a hunting song through which a father apparently is teaching his son the art of hunting. The song speaks about the macho hollering sounds made while on a hunt. The father sings about the hollering sounds made on Sihai Phangrei while they were hunting. The last line reminds his son to hasten so as to keep pace with the prey.
Teinem is a village located west of Hunphun/Ukhrul. The village is about 36 kilometers from Sihai Phangrei. The following folk song was found sung by an old man from Teinem mentioning Sihai Phangrei as a landmark.
Oh! Ava hongailala (I long to call mother)
Avazakla matheima (but, I no longer can see her)
Sihai Phangrei shokka (Went up till Sihai Phangrei searching for mother)
Oh Sihai Phangrei shokka, (Went up till Sihai Phangrei)
Ava khamsui leisai (There I saw mother’s walking stick)
Oh! Ava khamsui leisai (I saw mother’s walking stick)
Oh! Ava khamsui shoksingta chappa. (I wept when I hold my mother’s walking stick)
Lunghar athit khale (She was taken by Lunghar)
Synopsis: This song also is about a head hunter taking away a woman. The victim’s son went searching for her and found the woman’s walking stick on Sihai Phangrei.
Lungharna tengkatuiya (Lunghar captured my mother)
Ava thitla phazat (I went to avenge mother)
Sihai Phangrei vashung (reached Sihai Phangrei)
Ava khamsui leisaya (There I saw mother’s walking stick)
Sysnopsis: This song is also about finding his mother’s walking stick on Sihai Phangrei.
Ava thitli phavai
Sihai Phangrei vashunga
Sihai Phangrei vashung
Ava khamsui leisaya
Ava khamsui leisa
Kathi Lungharna rungkachuiya
Ava hongaireoreo (I long so much to call mother)
Ava kathi Lungharna tingkatui (Mother was captured and killed by Lunghar)
Oh! Lungharna tingkatui (Oh! Someone from Lunghar killed her
Avathit phavai (I marched to avenge her dead)
Oh! Sihai Phangrei vashung (reached Sihai Phangrei)
Ava khamsui (My mom’s walking stick)
Oh! Ava khamsui leisai (Oh
Ava khamsui vashingkhui
Synopsis: This song is also about finding his mother’s walking stick on Sihai Phangrei