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Now that the harvest is almost over in most Tangkhul villages, people are getting ready for Chumpha Phanit. Chumpha Phanit is an important post harvest and agricultural festival that the Tangkhul community celebrates. Apart from this, there are two other agriculture related festivals: Luita Phanit and Mangkhap Phanit.

This festival is one of the most significant festivals of Tangkhul community, especially for married women as it marks a change of hands and exchange of responsibility from mothers-in-law to their daughters-in-law.

In the olden days, one day prior to the festival, the menfolk of the village would take out their bows, spears, knives, axes, etc., and keep in the open courtyard and go away to the jungle in search of crabs. The menfolk would collect crab and soft reddish clay and spend the night in the jungle. They would then return only the next day with the crabs and clay. The womenfolk would then take the live crabs -which are carefully moulded with clay -and put inside the granary.

The musical instruments of Tangkhuls are not younger than the music itself. The Tangkhuls are music loving people; they used different musical instruments for different purposes. Everything has its own time and musical instruments are play according to time and season. The musical instruments of the Tangkhuls can be broadly divided into three categories. 1. String instruments 2. Blowing instruments 3. Percussion instruments
Tangkhul, a sub-tribe of Naga tribe inhabitants of Ukhrul District in Manipur, India and some in Somra tract of Myanmar had very distinct burial rituals before the advent of Christianity in the late 19th century. The pre-Christian era rituals reveal the tribe's reverence and respect for the dead.
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.
The Tangkhuls have great respect for the dead, which ostensibly is attributed to the strong belief that there is life after death. For this, there used to be a special festival ‘Thisham’ celebrated for twelve days in the month of January. The festival was typically an occasion to bid goodbye to departed souls of the previous year. Thisham was celebrated in strict adherence to rituals practiced from time immemorial. Folk dance and folk songs performed during the festival are said to be unique.
Resu, the founder and first Khullakpa, originally lived on Khundei hill. From there he moved to what is now the site of Phaibung Khunao. One day he went hunting, and wounded a large deer. He followed the tracks to a pool of water near the present site of the Khullakpa's house. He climbed a tree and found millet, which he took. Next morning he went home, and his wife offered him rice and zu, but he refused it. That night he sought omens in a dream, and the dream told him to change the site of his village. He was to tie a rope round the neck of his mithan and a stone to the other end, turn the mithan loose and follow it. When the stone fell off, the site was reached. However, he found a suitable site behind the present one, and did not wait for the stone to fall. As he was clearing his house-site many lice came up from the ground, and after he had settled there tigers came and killed his cattle. Then he remembered the omen of the lice, and moved up to the present site of Chingjaroi, where he built a house in the position of the present Khullakpa's.
It has become customary to label the Assam-Burma border as a “well-documented region” : among the several tribes concerning whose ethnography virtually nothing has been recorded are the Sangtam Nagas who comprise a small, but well-defined tribal unit in the eastern area of the Naga Hills.
It is ‘a complex fate’ being a Naga. But in our context, it is a double-edged sword because the complexity lies not only in the way ‘outsiders’ view us but also in the way we see ourselves…. Being a Naga has never been easy for us. The mystique and negative power of the ‘savage’ has always fascinated the western mind and when we were ‘discovered’ by anthropologists and ethnographers in the 19th century, we became exotic and exciting specimens for them to study, but from their perspective only.

The world is fast moving, marching towards the future where both men and women are joining hands together in building a better, prosperous and more peaceful and happy society. Resultantly in many parts of the world the gap between men and women is fast bridging. The sooner the better! The shift is most evident post Second World War in many western countries which gives birth to the concept like Women in Development (WID), Women and Development (WAD) and Gender and Development (GAD) among others. These kinds of concepts have occupied important stage in any country’s developmental programme policies. No doubt there is a debate on the pros and cons of all these approaches, including the natures of its origin. Many critiques have pointed out that the policies emanated out of the above concepts are mostly guided by the economic reason and not necessary to challenge the traditional social structure which is deeply rooted in patriarchal norms. Nevertheless, if we see the statistics of the world rich list one can see 172 women billionaires out of the total 1,645 billionaires in the world (2014 Forbes list). Likewise there is also a staggering rise in women CEOs in big enterprise across the globe. Not only in economy but also in politics there is an increasing number of women active participation, taking a lead role especially in developed countries. Women parliamentarian in some of the Scandinavian countries such as Sweden or Finland has almost proportionate representation from both the genders. In a nutshell it would not be wrong to say that gender equality is a sign of progressive society.

Tuisem Ngakang

Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.
Matt: 5: 17

Abstract: The following article is focused on how Christianity uses Nagas belief system as a ground for its own message. Similarities and differences between the two religions have been discussed here. The article will also make an attempt to show how Christianity builds on the foundation of Naga traditional religion.

The growing of Christianity is at a faster rate in Naga society than in any other community. The extraordinary growth prompts one to seek for reasons and specifically to ask whether the Christian conception of God may be an important factor in the acceptance of Christianity by so many Nagas.

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